Good Riddance, Anthony

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Anthony Lewis has written his last column for the New York Times, and while he most likely will be replaced by someone as bad as he is, it is nice to see that at least one shill for the totalitarian state has voluntarily silenced himself. It would have been nice, however, had that awful advocate for the state taken up a more useful occupation like cleaning toilets or driving a bus instead of spreading lies, bile and hatred for the past three decades.

The column was named u201CAbroad at Home,u201D which was meant to reflect that Lewis was an expert on everything, whether it be in the USA or in a Palestinian refugee camp. He loved to say that he appealed to the u201Cvoice of reason,u201D but in reality no other media pundit appealed so much to hyperbole and emotionalism than Lewis. In a last interview with his employer, Lewis was described as u201Cthe newspaper’s most consistently liberal voiceu201D and that was true. To understand the mentality of those who ran the Times, you had to read Anthony Lewis.

It is difficult to document all of Lewis’ sins in this brief space, but suffice it to say that his last column and interview revealed everything there is to know about this evil man. I begin with his last writings. One of his favorite targets was religion, and especially Christianity, or at least the fundamentalist branch of American Protestantism. I let his words speak for themselves:

No one can miss the reality of that challenge (fighting extremist religions) after Sept. 11. Islamic fundamentalism, rejecting the rational processes of modernity, menaces the peace and security of many societies.

But the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism is not to be found in Islam alone. Fundamentalist Christians in America, believing in the Bible’s story of creation is the literal truth, question not only Darwin but the scientific method that has made contemporary civilization possible.

The arrogance is stunning, but vintage Lewis. In case you missed it, what he does is to equate those who believe in the Scriptures to be of the same ilk as Mohammed Atta and his friends who piloted jets into the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon and murdered thousands of people. It is not enough that Lewis believes those who question evolution (which is NOT based upon anything that resembles the scientific method, by the way). No, he must declare that these people who live in our very midst are dangerous, murderous and a threat to civilization itself, since they don’t agree with his own secularist religion.

Lest one think I am exaggerating, let me again quote Lewis verbatim from his December 16 interview in the Times:

. . . certainty is the enemy of decency and humanity in people who are sure they are right, like Osama bin Laden and John Ashcroft.

It should be noteworthy that the interviewer (Ethan Bronner, a Times editor) did not blink at such an assertion. Furthermore, being that no columnist was surer of his u201Crightnessu201D than Anthony Lewis, he was condemned by his own words, but the irony of it seemed to slip past both Bronner and Lewis, I am not surprised to say.

One does not have to be a defender of John Ashcroft to realize where Lewis is headed with his slanderous assertion that Ashcroft’s Christian faith makes him an u201Cenemy of decency and humanity.u201D When coupled with the recent Newsweek piece on Ashcroft that attacked his Christianity and made it sound as though fundamentalists Christians wanted to establish their own Taliban rule, it is not difficult to see where Lewis is headed.

There is something monstrous about declaring oneself to be the voice of reason and tolerance, then declaring that Christians basically are a bunch of murderous terrorists because their beliefs differ from that of the New York Times crowd. While this may appeal to the people who run (and religiously read) the Times, it should give the rest of us pause that those who control the nation’s most u201Crespectedu201D newspaper are so twisted by hatred for people of a religion that conflicts with their secularist view that they should all but declare Christians unfit to live.

This is doubly ironic, for it is the Times and Lewis that have been beating the Holocaust drums for many years should use language against a religious minority that is not unlike the language Hitler used to demonize the Jews in Nazi Germany. (Lewis once declared that the military regime that ran Argentina’s government in the late 1970s and early 1980s was preparing its own u201Cfinal solutionu201D against Jews living there, something that never came close to materializing — except in Lewis’ own mind.)

Elsewhere in the interview, Lewis declares himself to be a socialist who supports total state ownership of everything, even though he admits it u201Cdoesn’t work.u201D He adds, not surprising, u201CI’m still for it.u201D In other words, this u201Cvoice of reasonu201D understands that socialism in practice is disastrous, but his egalitarian emotions tell him to support it, anyway.

Lewis’s uncritical support of socialism also undermines his supposed belief in the rule of law. He says, u201C. . . given the kind of obstreperous, populous, diverse country we are, law is the absolute essential. And when governments short-cut the law, it’s extremely dangerous.u201D

That is exactly what socialism does, as it destroys rule of law and substitutes the petty rule of commissars and bureaucrats. Individuals who own property find their rights stripped away, and the results, as seen from one murderous socialist rampage to the next, from the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 to North Korea today, we see the landscape littered with the bones of people who perished under this awful system. Yet, Lewis tells us, u201CI’m still for it.u201D This from a man who champions himself as the defender of reason and the rule of law.

Some of his most poignant commentary came during the first two years of the Clinton Administration. First, when the Republicans were a minority in the U.S. House and Senate but still had enough numbers to block the proposed u201CHillaryCareu201D health plan for the nation, Lewis moaned that we had u201Cminority governmentu201D that was depriving the nation of the wonders of socialist medicine.

Later, after the Republicans captured Congress in the election of 1994, he changed his tune, as then he urged Democrats to engage in their own disruptive tactics to thwart the will of the majority. Furthermore, when some Republicans suggested some minor changes to the awful command-and-control structure of U.S. environmental law, he hysterically wrote that the Republicans literally wanted human feces to wash up on America’s beaches. This from the self-anointed champion of reason.

Although he often (and sometimes correctly, I should add) attacked saber rattling that came from the Ronald Reagan and George Bush regimes, he was not above advocating war himself. He urged U.S. intervention into the Balkan wars, declaring that all it would take would be a few air strikes to stop the Serbs. At his urging, the USA entered the conflict on the side of the Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army, killing thousands of innocent Serbs in the process. However, since it was the Democratic regime of Bill Clinton doing the bombing and killing, well that was OK.

To give Lewis credit, he was one of the few columnists to decry the illegal Israeli settlements that have so made any peaceful resolution of the Middle East crisis nearly impossible to attain. Yet, being right a few times does not excuse the decades of evil that this man placed into print. I will not miss the noxious creations of this bigoted ignoramus.

William L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him mail], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

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