Embargoing Death by Liberalism

It's not often that a leftist actually admits to tactics as low as embargoing books, but that's the claim made by Frank Rich, former New York Times political commentator and in-house song and dance man.  Rich is a former drama critic who for obscure reasons was selected for the Times editorial page.  He has spent the past two decades free-associating about politics on much the same level as a guy you'd come across at the coffee shop, and with much the same impact.  Few things are certain in life, but one of them is that you will never hear Frank Rich quoted in a serious context.  Until his recent leap to New York magazine, he was one of the paper's clowns, tootling around the ring on a small trike with a big horn along with Maureen Dowd and (last weekend, at least) Gail Collins.  His main hobbyhorse is gay rights (we should probably put that as "privileges" at this point); his major thesis is "politics are just like show biz."

Several weeks ago, Rich published a column announcing the final downfall of the right -- something I'm told he does every other month or so.  One of his examples involved a book titled Death by Liberalism, which I know a bit about.  According to Rich, DbL is a "screed" that has been declared taboo among all decent Americans, evidently because it had something to with the Tucson shootings.

You usually hear about these "embargoes" from bad writers whining about their lousy books.  But such actions do occur -- consider how Rush Limbaugh's first book went unreviewed by the Times for six months only to be contemptuously slapped on the back page when it could no longer be ignored.  It does happen, and it usually happens to right-of-center books.

But could it have happened to DbL?  First things first, you can't go by what Rich, a known prevaricator, has to say.  There are all sorts of reasons why Rich might make an assertion, but to state a fact ain't one of them.  In the column in question, he asserts that conservatism has collapsed due to the Giffords shooting.  In other words, a month and half after the incident, Rich was still peddling the "Tea Parties shot all those people" narrative, long after the most fanatical Kos blogger had dropped it from sheer embarrassment.  You can't call that anything else but a lie by implication, not to overlook the fact that Rich then took the trouble to implicate an innocent third party (J.R. Dunn, a citizen enjoying his coffee), transforming it into a second-order lie, which appears to be a Rich specialty.

But here's the thing: Rich's claim matches several other odd incidents that occurred since the book's publication.  Scheduled appearances in national magazines failed to come off, and some readers will recall the weird events surrounding my canceled appearance on the O'Donnell program, where I was supposed to have been publicly wept on for my sins.    

The thesis of Death by Liberalism is simplicity itself: that liberal policies are not only inept, expensive, and futile, they're lethal.  This is so obvious it's puzzling why it hasn't emerged previously.  Policies such as criminal justice "reform," the CAFE fuel standards, deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, and various "green" programs have killed up to a half-million Americans before their time.  The DDT ban killed up to 30 million internationally.  This information is derived directly from government statistics available on public websites.  It is neither debatable nor answerable.

So it would be understandable if liberals chose not to debate it.  It's quite possible that they instead turned to their standard run of dirty tricks -- dirty tricks being the only thing they have left.  (As we're seeing once again in the Wisconsin judicial election.)

But wait -- that's only half of Rich's claim.  The other part is an assertion that conservatives are carrying out this blockade, on the grounds that they're so ashamed of the book.  The problem here is that nobody, but nobody, in the center right took liberal accusations of responsibility for the Tucson shooting seriously for as much a nanosecond.  So where's the source of shame?  Buried somewhere deep in Frank's brain, evidently. 

But it happens to be true that the Northeast corridor conservatives have had a serious apostate problem for years, if not decades.  We all know the names of Christopher Buckley, Kathleen Parker, and Andrew Sullivan, who maintain a conservative presence while swinging the murder blade on behalf of the left.  We know that they act as shock troops, lashing out at anyone who draws blood from liberalism.  We know, for reasons not easy to grasp, that they exercise an influence.  If anyone was behind such an action, it would be that crowd.  (For one thing, there's no other way Rich would have heard about it.)

It is easy to see how it might happen.  Nothing formal, nothing overt.  A few hints here, a few remarks there.  "It would be a pity to have this kind of thing floating around with poor Representative Giffords still in a coma, now wouldn't it?  And the book is simply set aside.

There's no way to know, now or ever, if interference of this sort occurred.  So we have to go by the Scottish verdict of "not proven," no matter what Frank Rich wants to claim. 

The facts in Death by Liberalism are indisputable, and are now on the record.  They will be brought up again and again.  They will eventually become part of the narrative on liberalism, something that liberals must answer that they will not be able to answer.  In time, they will contribute to the final goal of removing the cold hand of liberalism from this country's throat.  I think that Rich knows this full well, and that's why he was moved to bring it up in the first place.  It was like a cut that he couldn't leave alone, that he had to keep scratching and fiddling with, making it far worse than it had been.

In the end, this is nothing more than yet another example of the viciousness, squalor, and sheer lack of class that characterize the New York Times of the millennial epoch.  It has become a point of pride to be slandered by today's Times, a kind of rite of passage.  I can now look upon that as a milestone gained -- and to think that I owe it to Frank Rich.

That part I could do without.

J.R. Dunn is the author of Death by Liberalism.
It's not often that a leftist actually admits to tactics as low as embargoing books, but that's the claim made by Frank Rich, former New York Times political commentator and in-house song and dance man.  Rich is a former drama critic who for obscure reasons was selected for the Times editorial page.  He has spent the past two decades free-associating about politics on much the same level as a guy you'd come across at the coffee shop, and with much the same impact.  Few things are certain in life, but one of them is that you will never hear Frank Rich quoted in a serious context.  Until his recent leap to New York magazine, he was one of the paper's clowns, tootling around the ring on a small trike with a big horn along with Maureen Dowd and (last weekend, at least) Gail Collins.  His main hobbyhorse is gay rights (we should probably put that as "privileges" at this point); his major thesis is "politics are just like show biz."

Several weeks ago, Rich published a column announcing the final downfall of the right -- something I'm told he does every other month or so.  One of his examples involved a book titled Death by Liberalism, which I know a bit about.  According to Rich, DbL is a "screed" that has been declared taboo among all decent Americans, evidently because it had something to with the Tucson shootings.

You usually hear about these "embargoes" from bad writers whining about their lousy books.  But such actions do occur -- consider how Rush Limbaugh's first book went unreviewed by the Times for six months only to be contemptuously slapped on the back page when it could no longer be ignored.  It does happen, and it usually happens to right-of-center books.

But could it have happened to DbL?  First things first, you can't go by what Rich, a known prevaricator, has to say.  There are all sorts of reasons why Rich might make an assertion, but to state a fact ain't one of them.  In the column in question, he asserts that conservatism has collapsed due to the Giffords shooting.  In other words, a month and half after the incident, Rich was still peddling the "Tea Parties shot all those people" narrative, long after the most fanatical Kos blogger had dropped it from sheer embarrassment.  You can't call that anything else but a lie by implication, not to overlook the fact that Rich then took the trouble to implicate an innocent third party (J.R. Dunn, a citizen enjoying his coffee), transforming it into a second-order lie, which appears to be a Rich specialty.

But here's the thing: Rich's claim matches several other odd incidents that occurred since the book's publication.  Scheduled appearances in national magazines failed to come off, and some readers will recall the weird events surrounding my canceled appearance on the O'Donnell program, where I was supposed to have been publicly wept on for my sins.    

The thesis of Death by Liberalism is simplicity itself: that liberal policies are not only inept, expensive, and futile, they're lethal.  This is so obvious it's puzzling why it hasn't emerged previously.  Policies such as criminal justice "reform," the CAFE fuel standards, deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, and various "green" programs have killed up to a half-million Americans before their time.  The DDT ban killed up to 30 million internationally.  This information is derived directly from government statistics available on public websites.  It is neither debatable nor answerable.

So it would be understandable if liberals chose not to debate it.  It's quite possible that they instead turned to their standard run of dirty tricks -- dirty tricks being the only thing they have left.  (As we're seeing once again in the Wisconsin judicial election.)

But wait -- that's only half of Rich's claim.  The other part is an assertion that conservatives are carrying out this blockade, on the grounds that they're so ashamed of the book.  The problem here is that nobody, but nobody, in the center right took liberal accusations of responsibility for the Tucson shooting seriously for as much a nanosecond.  So where's the source of shame?  Buried somewhere deep in Frank's brain, evidently. 

But it happens to be true that the Northeast corridor conservatives have had a serious apostate problem for years, if not decades.  We all know the names of Christopher Buckley, Kathleen Parker, and Andrew Sullivan, who maintain a conservative presence while swinging the murder blade on behalf of the left.  We know that they act as shock troops, lashing out at anyone who draws blood from liberalism.  We know, for reasons not easy to grasp, that they exercise an influence.  If anyone was behind such an action, it would be that crowd.  (For one thing, there's no other way Rich would have heard about it.)

It is easy to see how it might happen.  Nothing formal, nothing overt.  A few hints here, a few remarks there.  "It would be a pity to have this kind of thing floating around with poor Representative Giffords still in a coma, now wouldn't it?  And the book is simply set aside.

There's no way to know, now or ever, if interference of this sort occurred.  So we have to go by the Scottish verdict of "not proven," no matter what Frank Rich wants to claim. 

The facts in Death by Liberalism are indisputable, and are now on the record.  They will be brought up again and again.  They will eventually become part of the narrative on liberalism, something that liberals must answer that they will not be able to answer.  In time, they will contribute to the final goal of removing the cold hand of liberalism from this country's throat.  I think that Rich knows this full well, and that's why he was moved to bring it up in the first place.  It was like a cut that he couldn't leave alone, that he had to keep scratching and fiddling with, making it far worse than it had been.

In the end, this is nothing more than yet another example of the viciousness, squalor, and sheer lack of class that characterize the New York Times of the millennial epoch.  It has become a point of pride to be slandered by today's Times, a kind of rite of passage.  I can now look upon that as a milestone gained -- and to think that I owe it to Frank Rich.

That part I could do without.

J.R. Dunn is the author of Death by Liberalism.