In today’s New York Times, Paul Krugman takes time out from his calls for more government intervention in the economy to take a shot at hate-mongers. Krugman is not the only left-winger to blame the shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Museum on conservative talk-show hosts and Fox News. But when a fellow who has won a Nobel Prize for Economics (whether he deserved such an honor is another question entirely) uses his regular perch on the most prestigious op-ed page in the country to spout such nonsense, then we have to accept that the culture wars have escalated to a new level of viciousness.
It was one thing to try and pin the tragic and horrendous murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller on the pro-life movement. Polls show that a majority of Americans were, at best, leery about the sort of late-term abortions that Tiller provided. But that does not mean that anyone who opposed Tiller’s work is responsible for the lunatic who killed him acting on his own. Yet, fair or not, it was to be expected that the Left would make a meal of Bill O’Reilly since the Fox personality had targeted Tiller in his coverage of the issue.
But for Krugman and others to seize on the case of neo-Nazi James W. Von Brunn as a rationale for ranting against Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and actor Jon Voight is the height of absurdity. Nothing they have said or done is even remotely connected to this murderous nut or anyone else who might share his anti-Semitic views. Indeed, Von Brunn probably considered that trio to be the enemy as much as Obama, since they are all stalwart supporters of Israel.
But the most egregious aspect of Krugman’s sham case for blaming the political Right for extremist violence is the fact that he and other liberals ignore the third case of political violence that recently occurred in this country: the shooting of two U.S. soldiers in Arkansas by Abdulhakim Muhahid Muhammad — a Muslim extremist who claimed to be taking “revenge” for America’s “crimes” against Muslims. That incident has received paltry coverage by the mainstream media in contrast to the all-out approach to both Tiller’s murder and to the Holocaust Museum shooting. Krugman and company prefer to ignore it because it doesn’t fit into their ideological box, in which everyone who loudly disagrees with Obama or the left can, in some way, be linked to extremist nut jobs.
To leftists like Krugman, the real story of Muslim-inspired terrorism in this country is one that needs to be played down since it reminds everyone about George Bush’s now abandoned “war on terror.” In fact, the Arkansas incident was hardly the only instance of Islamist terror in this country in the last year. Muhammad’s murderous attack fits into a pattern alongside the foiled plots against the soldiers of Fort Dix, New Jersey and synagogues in Riverdale, New York. Anyone who dares to point this out is falsely accused of fomenting hatred against Muslims when, in fact, the real problem is the flood of anti-Semitic and anti-Western propaganda emanating from Arab and Islamic sources.
Everyone who disagrees with Israel or opposed the war in Iraq ought not to be blamed for anti-American terror, even if they have sometimes spoken in a vulgar or extreme fashion. By the same token, the only rationale for trying to tie right-wing talkers to von Brunn is politics pure and simple. Far right extremism is dangerous but it has as much to do with Limbaugh and Beck as Al Qaeda does with Krugman. The attempt to politicize the Holocaust Museum shooting or even the Tiller murder is shameful. So is the refusal of the media to recognize the even more dangerous threat of Islamist terror.