Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Leah writes in with:

Want another primo instance of irony deficiency on the right? Well, even if you don't.... look no further than Andy's just posted latest on Salon, Oct 15th. It's a stunner.

He goes after a Harold Meyerson piece in last Sundays WaPo.

The whole column is chock full of the usual nonsense.

But this is the bit that got my eyeballs pinwheeling..

Here's the classic in Meyerson's piece: "And never mind that after 45 years of containment, the Soviet Union was appeased into collapse." Now I'm assuming here that Meyerson is referring to the collapse of the Soviet Union under the last president Bush after eight years of Ronald Reagan. So here we have a serious thinker on the left arguing that Ronald Reagan and George Bush first contained and then appeased the Soviets.

You don't even have to have read either the Meyerson piece or Sully's to know that Meyerson is being.....tada...."ironic"....here.

Sully follows his incredulity at Meyerson's accusation of Reagan appeasement with a long list of Reagon policies that, in Sullivan's view, caused the Soviet collapse.

Then the coup de grace:

Assume for a deranged moment that he's right. (that Reagan was an appeaser he means) Why, then, did Meyerson and every other good lefty so passionately oppose Reagan's policies toward the Soviet Union in the 1980s? Why did they join the nuclear freeze movement? Why did they campaign against SDI? Why did they go ape-shit about support for the contras? If Reagan was such an appeaser, what on earth was the left complaining about? Similarly, what was the right doing? Surely they should have been accusing Reagan of being a complete sellout from his earliest days. Strangely, perversely, bizarrely, they weren't.

The moment that is deranged is the one in which Sullivan doesn't get that that Meyerson is making an ironic comment on the notion that the forty years of American opposition to the Soviet Union during the cold war, limited as it was to various forms of containment, was, in fact, a form of appeasement, because if it was, then it was an appeasement that brought down an empire.

One could say so much more about Mr. Sullivan's own idiocy, as opposed to Meyerson's:

Nuclear freeze movement? Supported by almost no one in the democratic party and hardly every person on the left. Why non-support for the Contras? Hardly as a sop to the Russians. The Sandanistas, as we now know for sure, we're not a Soviet beachead in this hemisphere. Nor was our support of that homicidal regime in El Salvador an effective anti-Soviet strategy. Star Wars? We opposed it because it was an expensive hair-brained notion this country couldn't afford, and still can't afford, not if cost/benefit analysis means anything at all in any other context than deciding who gets what medical procedures.

What struck me, though, once again, at the heart of a rightwing idiocy, that rightwing inability to get irony, or perhaps its a rightwing refusal to acknowledge leftwing irony, or maybe they really are that dumb, or maybe there's some kind of anti-irony innoculation we just don't know about. Cause if Andy had gotten it, writing that column would have been a whole lot harder.