July 29, 2007
I have a piece in the (British) Guardian on Ron Paul, which I dashed off a bit too quickly, but it reads pretty well in spite of that. What’s interesting is the comments section, which—due to a notice in the noted hate-site “Little Green Footballs,” world headquarters of the more-Likudist-than-thou’ers—is infested with the craziest remarks. Speaking of infested, not to mention craziness, one of the little lord poppinjays of the pro-war British Left—the Euston Manifesto crowd—by the name of Oliver Kamm has commented on my piece, on his little blog, wherein he accuses me of being …. an agent of the Mikado! This is hysterically funny, and so characteristic of the species: the pro-war Left, particularly in Britain, is so friggin’ pompous and actively ridiculous that they seem as if they’re from out of some Monty Python moviel, always declaiming about the moral inferiority of anyone who disagrees with them, and—yes, even at this late date—issuing pronunciamentos as if they were at the head of an army of millions, when, in fact, they are a tiny and very disagreeable little sect that has no more political influence than … well, than Oliver Kamm.
Politically, what I call Kammunism is a doctrine that believes in war as the cure for all things: a war on the foreign front, because, after all, people need to be conquered for Their Own Good, and, in the traditionally leftist manner, a war on the home front, with the government marauding against its own people—taxing, regulating, and lecturing them (again, for Their Own Good), lest they get the mistaken impression that they’re in charge of their own lives.
So, what does the Maximum Leader of the Kammunist movement have to say? Well, this:
“I notice incidentally that The Guardian, or rather its ‘Comment is Free’ site, has lately taken a contribution from a bizarre figure called Justin Raimondo, expounding the merits of the isolationist presidential campaign of Congressman Ron Paul. On his own palaeo-libertarian anti-war web site in the US, Raimondo has gone a little further than the Greenpeace critique of the A-bomb decision, by openly regretting that the US and its allies won the Pacific War.
Here’s what he says:
“‘The great horror is that this heinous deed [Hiroshima] was committed against Japan, a civilization as far removed from our own as the streets of New York are from the African savannas. It’s at times like these that I tend to believe the wrong side won the war in the Pacific.’
“Hundreds of thousands of civilians died horrifying deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a historical and not an ethical judgement, we can say with a very high degree of probability that a conventional assault on Japan would have resulted in a far higher death toll. (One of Japan’s principal wartime officials, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Marquis Kido Koichi, later testified that in his view the August surrender saved 20 million Japanese lives.) And Imperial Japan, responsible as it was for such atrocities as the Bataan death march and the Rape of Nanking, had to be defeated such that it would pose no threat of resurgent militarism and imperialism a generation or so later. That last sentence seems to me an obvious truth, but my own occasional excursions on “Comment is Free” suggest that in that parallel universe Mr Raimondo may count as a prophet.”
To begin with, Komrade Kamm takes a snippet from a rather long column and makes it out to be the whole, but in fact, if anyone goes back and reads the thing in context, they see quite clearly that I was doing what a Kammunist would never do, and doesn’t have it in him to do: I was making a joke. Here’s what Kamm leaves out:
“The great horror is that this heinous deed was committed against Japan, a civilization as far removed from our own as the streets of New York are from the African savannas. It’s at times like these that I tend to believe the wrong side won the war in the Pacific. Just think: if we all woke up one day living in some alternate history, as in Phillip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, our cultural malaise would disappear overnight. Instead of listening to the latest loutish lyrics of Eminem, American teenagers would be contemplating the subtle beauty of the Japanese tea ceremony. If contemporary Japan is any clue, the crime rate would be cut by 95 percent, and the literacy rate would skyrocket. Certainly everyone’s manners would improve. All in all, life would be far more civilized, imbued with a gentility that would make the New York Post an impossibility.”
To the humorless Kamm, the above is a hate crime. To the rest of us normal humans, it is a bit of levity, albeit to make a point. Ah, but levity is unknown to the scowling Kammunists, who disdain such proofs of our humanity and sit in perpetual judgement, eager to condemn: it is the Comrade Ninotchka syndrome. To these people, any deviation from the Korrect Line is a crime punishable by a good smearing, to be followed—in states where they hold power—by a show trial.
I also have to note one curious characteristic of the Kammunists, and that is their inability to think independently: once the Party Line comes down, they follow it like ants on the scent of spilled sugar. Years ago, another Kammunist—pro-war “former” Trotskyite Stephen Schwartz —made the same accusation, in the same deadpan style, seizing on the same citation to “prove” that I am an agent of Japanese Imperialism and the Chysanthemum Throne. These people quote each other as if their shared delusions are some sort of cross-validation. This makes for a certain amount of repetition: thus, in a previous blog entry, Kamm reiterates his contention that I am “bizarre”—he knows this because Christopher Hitchens told him it was so.
What is truly “bizarre,” however, is the sight of a self-proclaimed “leftist,” such as Kamm and his fellow Kammunists, who declare that the Iraq war is a heroic crusade for “freedom” rather than a frightful mess that we have no interest in and never did. The Kammunists insist, against all evidence, that the religious authoritarians who have seized control of Iraq in the wake of that country’s “liberation” are upholders of “democracy” and that we mustn’t abandon the fight.
In America, Kamm would be on the staff of Joe Lieberman, or, perhaps, one of Hillary Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy advisors. Kammunism, as a movement, is tiny but influential, and they all—no matter what side of the Atlantic they hail from—have one characteristic in common: unmitigated bloodlust. The blog entry I’m discussing, you’ll note, is part of a larger piece justifying the A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is hardly an atrocity committed by the West that these people don’t justify and even valorize. War, war, and more war—death, destruction, and piles of bodies. That’s Kammunism, in a nut-shell.