Ben Shapiro, Fascist Virgin
by Barrett Brown, Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 02:50:20 AM EDT
The last decade has been a Golden Age of bad historical commentary. Condoleeza Rice likened the Iraqi insurgency to the post-Nazi "Werwolf" movement, the one that is estimated to have caused between one and two deaths. A thousand conservative pundits have compared Bush to Churchill. And for all anyone knows, Jonah Goldberg could be working on another book at this very moment.
And then there is Ben Shapiro, the youngish columnist and author who once proudly announced to his readership that he remains a virgin. I don't know if he's hoping to be married off to the son of a prosperous local merchant or what, but at any rate he is very happy with the opportunities that male virginity supposedly brings, so we should probably be happy for him as well.
But we must also scold our virtuous maiden for not paying close enough attention to his history tutors, having presumably been more occupied with the loom and the lyre. Shapiro begins his latest screed of toy fascist propaganda thusly:
Every insurgency has a long-term plan. That plan isn't military victory. It's tacit alliance with naysayers or sympathizers from the opposing force who are all too willing to undermine the war effort. Every insurgency is a stalling tactic aimed at the enemy, designed to oust those determined to wage war and install those determined to achieve armistice at all costs.
This is complete nonsense, and examples with which to make ribbon of Shapiro's writings may be found in any era of recorded history. Consider the last several millenia worth of non-democratic political entities for which public opinion regarding foreign military adventures was of only minor practical relevance to the powers that be; consider the countless populations that have revolted against occupation with the intent of simply killing the occupiers until the occupation loses its viability. Think of the British and Russian empires in Afghanistan, for instance. Neither entity depended on public backing for its imperial operations; likewise, there was little in the way of media savvy on the part of the Afghan warlords who confronted the Russians in the 1980s, much less their counterparts who encountered the British in the 1800s. Rather, their intent was to kill and harass the foreigners who had taken over their nation until such time as it became impractical for those same foreigners to retain control - and we see similar intent in a thousand other insurgencies, which themselves are as old as occupations. But Ben Shapiro continues his reverie:
President Obama is doing nothing to boost the war effort.
I would think that the thousands of additional troops that Obama is sending to Afghanistan have probably served to boost the war effort insomuch as that those troops will be putting forth effort in fighting the war.
Shapiro knows quite a bit about winning wars for a fellow who's convinced that wars are won by will alone. Actually, I'm being a little disingenuous myself now; Shapiro does of course understand that wars are won in large part through practical measures. The problem is that he believes the adoption of fascism to be the most practical of such measures. A while back, our chaste correspondent provided his readers with another history lesson:
President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and allowed governmental officials to arrest Rep. Clement Vallandigham after Vallandigham called the Civil War "cruel" and "wicked," shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers, and had members of the Maryland legislature placed in prison to prevent Maryland's secession. The Union won the Civil War.
Cause, I believe you know Effect. Oh, you've never met? I'll leave you two to get acquainted, then.
Under the Espionage Act of 1917, opponents of World War I were routinely prosecuted, and the Supreme Court routinely upheld their convictions. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes rightly wrote, "When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right." The Allies won World War I.
He's correct. Incidentally, the Axis powers also "routinely prosecuted" opponents of World War I. And then they lost.
During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese-Americans, as well as allowing the prosecution and/or deportation of those who opposed the war. The Allies won World War II.
Again, I don't want to blow anyone's mind here, but the Nazis weren't exactly polite to those of their countrymen who opposed the war, either. And one can hardly libel them as having been reluctant to "intern" quite a few of their own citizens. And they lost the war.
During the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court repeatedly upheld the free speech rights of war opponents, whether those opponents distributed leaflets depicting the rape of the Statue of Liberty or wore jackets emblazoned with the slogan "F--- the Draft." America lost the Vietnam War.
... to the Commies, whom our buddy Ho Chi Ben clearly believes to have been doing something right.
But wait - what of today? Even as the war continues in Babylon, domestic sedition goes relatively unpunished, which is why the majority of Americans who oppose the war are not yet in prison. Are we, then, to lose this war as well? Shapiro doesn't seem to think so, having referred in another column to the "American success in Iraq." And thus it is that Ben Shapiro has not only managed to concoct his own contribution to military theory, but also to thoroughly refute it. Perhaps abstaining from sex really does improve one's productivity.