op-ed

Paul Krugman, Ana Marie Cox and the circle of retribution

Mark Judge Journalist and filmmaker
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The only thing I found shocking about New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s sad, juvenile post about 9/11 is that conservatives were shocked by it. Less than a week ago, I wrote a piece for The Daily Caller exploring how liberalism is a religion, one that considers conservatives to be Satan. Why is anyone surprised that Krugman, the pluperfect left-winger, is acting like the axioms of his religion are more important than decency? When the devil appears, you toss holy water and ask questions later.

In a short post uploaded at 8 a.m. on September 11, Krugman made the following observations:

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

As I wrote in The Daily Caller last week, once you understand that liberalism of the Krugman variety is a totalizing religious belief system, outbursts like this are not shocking at all; indeed, one becomes surprised when they don’t occur. If tomorrow morning a bus full of kids careened off the Brooklyn Bridge, Krugman’s mind would immediately zero in on the role that Satan, i.e. conservatives, had played in the tragedy. Aha — Republicans are against school funding! That’s it!

This exercise can be applied to any situation. Post-nasal drip? The right hates health care. Your favorite football team lost? Corporate owners need to pay more taxes and thus make teams more equitable. Did someone fart? Dyspepsia is caused by the poor American diet, which is forced on us by conservative corporate overlords (either that or it’s global warming).

Once you fully absorb the absolute theological system that Krugman believes in, his appalling 9/11 jihad makes perfect sense. It is in keeping with things like the infamous Paul Wellstone funeral, which liberals turned into a political rally. Or the death of conservative journalist and former White House spokesman Tony Snow, which was met with vicious personal comments on The Daily Kos. In a beautiful essay, the philosopher Roger Scruton noted that what is revolutionary about Christianity is that, at its best, it asks us “to step outside the circle of retribution.” To the Paul Krugmans of the world, there is no stepping outside the circle of retribution. If your god is a specifically political god, then there is no time or place where it is inappropriate to pray to that god. After all, after 9/11, conservatives (the devil) delayed the arrival of the progressive utopia. They did not represent a different political point of view; they represented — represent — evil. And their policies were like forcing the crown of thorns on Christ himself.

Shortly before I saw Krugman’s newly minted bowel movement, I came across a short item about Ana Marie Cox, a liberal political commentator and author. She has a massive Twitter following and gained her notoriety by mocking conservative politicians and activists in sexually graphic terms. Cox was a frequent quest on “Morning Joe,” “The Rachel Maddow Show” and the D.C. cocktail circuit. She once panned a Sarah Palin book in The Washington Post after admitting that she hadn’t finished it.

Last March, Cox, as she herself put it, went “off the grid.” She stopped tweeting, writing and appearing on television. She still has barely been heard from. In late August, the website Fishbowl DC reported that Cox is dealing with some serious personal issues, including a possible problem with her marriage.

When I read this, I was proud that no conservative website, or even individual that I have heard about, has pursued any information about Cox, who, as founder of the putrid website Wonkette, gleefully riffed on Republican sex scandals. For Christians, or just people of decency and good intentions, it’s not only a matter of having basic compassion for someone who may be suffering. It’s the acknowledgement that there is a realm that belongs to God, a place outside of politics. It is a sacred space we enter at funerals, weddings, times of sheer joy and moments of profound introspection about tragedy. It is the place we enter on 9/11 anniversaries — which is why we are subdued, a state of mind that Krugman found surprising. If Ana Marie Cox is in such a place now, it is our job to simply let her have peace of mind there. Last year, Pat Buchanan was asked about an old enemy of his who was having a health problem. “When God puts his hand on someone,” Buchanan replied, “I take my hand off.”

To liberals, there is no such place, because politics is their religion.

The weird religious fanaticism of the left often reminds me of G.K. Chesterton’s observation in “Orthodoxy” that “the madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.” In light of the turd Krugman laid at The Times on Sunday, I think Chesterton’s full quote is appropriate:

Every one who has had the misfortune to talk with people in the heart or on the edge of mental disorder, knows that their most sinister quality is a horrible clarity of detail; a connecting of one thing with another in a map more elaborate than a maze. If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment. He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by charity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.

Mark Judge is the author of A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.