The Corner

Politics & Policy

Liberals’ Irritable Mental Gestures

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in by committee chairman Chuck Grassley at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, September 4, 2018. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

In a post earlier today, I made the following observation about the press’ addiction to Steve Bannon:

Indeed, there’s a certain Baptists-and-Bootleggers dynamic at work with Bannon, but also with the alt-right. Many in the liberal media want Bannon or the alt-right to be the face of conservatism because Bannon represents the kind of enemy many liberals want to have.

An even better example of what I’m talking about came this afternoon during the Kavanaugh hearings. An attractive woman sitting behind Kavanaugh, Zina Bash, after hours of sitting quietly behind the Supreme Court nominee, managed to touch two fingers together to make a kind of “Okay” symbol. She’s a Mexican-American descendant of Holocaust survivors.

For a shockingly large number of people, the most obvious interpretation of this “gesture” is that she was flashing a “white supremacy” signal. Here’s one headline that came up at the top of Google News when I search for her first name: “White Supremacy Is Front And Center At Brett Kavanuagh’s Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing.”

Countless frenzied tweeters, including many with Blue Checkmarks, immediately bought the idea that the Nazi cabal allegedly behind the Trump administration was literally behind its Supreme Court nominee.

When Occam’s razor takes you immediately to this conclusion, you might want to look down and make sure you’re not holding a spoon, or perhaps a ferret. Indeed, you should know you’re on shaky ground when even Louise Mensch demands more evidence:

I am a critic of this president and an implacable opponent of the alt-right. But many liberals are going to have to make peace with the possibility that their political enemies aren’t always the cartoon villains they so desperately want them to be.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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