As I’ve noted elsewhere, right-wing media hacks sound more and more like old guys in bars using tired pickup lines, and nobody sounds more torn and frayed than America’s leading bellicose classicist, Victor David Hanson. Hanson & Co. seem to be trapped in their own special pyschedelic version of Groundhog Day: everything apparently circles back to some midnight showing of Barbarella that went horribly wrong, and by this point the cliches flow so naturally that columns like this are probably generated automatically by Hoover Institute software before Hanson’s name is affixed to them.
Something that isn’t noted enough is the extent to which this kind of thing is at bottom based on aesthetic objections. For Victor Davis Hanson, tie-dye and jam bands and long hair and patchouli oil and naughty words are deeply distasteful, and therefore harbingers of the collapse of Western Civilization. Hence we get observations like this:
Another permanent ’60s legacy is the assumption that the ends justify crude means. . . .The crass anti-war group Moveon.org was not just content to object to Gen. David Petraeus testifying before Congress last autumn. In the fashion of 1960s agitprop, it had to go the next step in demonizing at a time of war our top-ranking Iraq ground
commander as a traitor — a “General Betray Us” as the group’s ad in The New York Times blared.
Thus it is that a cheerleader for the Iraq war criticizes the use of intemperate language in the pursuit of desired ends, because it is “crude” and “crass.” Meanwhile destroying a country in order to save it while killing several hundred thousand people in the process is, for Hanson, a far less problematic use of means-end reasoning.
As the opening montage of this new ad illustrates, the McCain campaign is going to try to push a similar line.
Barack Obama, like 75% of America, isn’t old enough to remember the 60s. But for the right-wing noise machine — and indeed for John McCain — it’s perpetually 1968 all over again.