The Parallax Brief

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Unrepentant Subjectivity on Economics, Politics, Defence, Foreign Policy, and Russia

Charles Krauthammer Nailed for Lying

Regular readers may remember the Parallax Brief’s exasperation with Charles Krauthammer’s wooly and wantonly disingenuous column for the Washington Post on missile defense. To use unsound reasoning is one thing, but the Parallax Brief is noticing that the Right is increasingly crossing the rubric into outright lies to pursue its ends.

Now, the Parallax Brief expects this from unhinged demagogues like Anne Coulter or Rush Limbaugh, but he holds intellectuals like Charles Krauthammer to higher standards. Yet here is Krauthammer, in his very next Washington Post column, “Obama’s Manifesto”, lying:

“Conservatives take a dim view of the regulation-bound, economically sclerotic, socially stagnant, nanny state that is the European Union. Nonetheless, Obama is ascendant and has the personal mandate to take the country where he wishes. He has laid out boldly the Brussels-bound path he wants to take.”

Miss that? Krauthammer has crafted a paragraph which silkily skewers Obama without criticising him directly. He presents conservatives’ views of Europe to imply that Europe isn’t really a good place to live, and merely states that Obama’s polices match more closely those preferred in Europe.

However, Krauthammer doesn’t actually present the conservative’s ‘views’ of Europe, as he would have by writing “Conservatives dimly view the European Union as…” He  instead writes “Conservatives take a dim view…” followed by four phrasal adjectives, which paint a negative picture. In other words, Europe is a bad place, and that’s why conservatives take a dim view.

Of course, the first two phrasal adjectives  — “regulation-bound” and “economically sclerotic” — are not false, as the Parallax Brief thinks its fair to say that the US is more economically dynamic and free of regulation than,  say, France, and the last — nanny state — can be defended as anything.

But the third, “socially stagnant”, slipped in like a pork barrel project paperclipped to a lengthy piece of legislation at midnight, is clearly an outright lie: the EU is not socially stagnant when compared to the US.

In fact, the US finds itself at the bottom of the heap when it comes to social mobility: in the US, a boy’s future is far more dependant on his father’s standing than it is in, say, the socialist dystopia that is Norway, as this graph from the Economist shows:


The devilish subtlety of Krauthammer’s lie makes it particularly pernicious. It is designed to seep unnoticed into the conscious as a fact: in social-democracies you can’t get ahead – and that runs contrary to the American dream.

The Parallax Brief believes that lies are not required to justify the American way. It’s vibrant society, ingenious and dynamic businesses and remarkable achievements and innovation should be enough.

Shame on Charles Krauthammer.

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Filed under: Economics, Politics, , , , , , , ,

9 Responses

  1. @ says:

    Obama is a liar. However, no one really cares now that his Iraq policy is really no different from Bush’s (ie. effectively stay, maintain a presence until Iraq is relatively self-sufficient)

    No one ever cared that Obama lied about not knowing and/or hearing of his extremely close, like-family, mentor, Pastor’s racist ideology in church for 20 odd years.

    The great majority of the mainstream media gave him a pass, and helped along Obama’s personality cult until he was elected.

    • parallaxbrief says:

      Don’t be a fool. Obama is no more liar than any other politician, and in terms of his personal moral code is far better than Bush. You’ve simply been duped by those who don’t like his policies and are willing to smear him with slime and lies to present their message.

  2. @ says:

    “Obama is no more liar than any other politician……”

    Glad you realise. So, he isn’t Jesus is he.

    “…his personal moral code is far better than Bush…”

    It is? How do you know?

    Also, refute the initial reply’s first two paragraphs if you can.

    • parallaxbrief says:

      I find it instructive that you jumped to a completely different subject, sliming Obama (and his pastor — whatever that’s got to do with anything), rather than attempting to defend Krauthammer.

      This is the problem I have with the right: hysterical attacks on completely unrelated subjects instead of reasoned debate.

      How I wish someone could resurrect Ike Eisenhower to get the GOP back on track.

  3. @ says:

    You write about how some rare mainstream media writer goes against the expected Obama-can-do-no-wrong trend, by whining about the author’s supposed mistruths.

    Yet, you get a couple examples of Obama’s dishonesty (reflecting upon his character), which you don’t give a damn about. Lying, afterall is a normal political action, right?

    “….How I wish someone could resurrect Ike Eisenhower to get the GOP back on track.”

    Good idea. However, forthright Eisenhower types wouldn’t get much support in today’s mainstream media climate.

    • parallaxbrief says:

      If Obama has been dishonest, I do care about it. But the point is that the thread is not about Obama. The point of the original post was this: Krauthammer and anyone else has plenty of ammunition with which to build a case that the American way is better than the European way, so why do they have to lie?

      I wonder why people cannot defend or debate that point without going into rabid attack dog mode on Obama — who was really incidental to this point.

      As a supplementary point: I would be more interested in the accusations against Obama if they were (1) reasonably believable (accusing him of being a communist muslim terrorist is not), (2) mostly about him rather than his pastor, who I don’t care about (only a religious fanatic could think that somebody’s pastor is SO important) or someone he may or may not have known in his college years, and (3) presented in a clear, logical way, instead of hysterically, and by people I could trust, instead of ONLY by those who have huge interests in speading the slime.

  4. @ says:

    Your:

    Point (1) “is” hysterical and very atypical. Don’t know why that was brought up.

    Point(2) is pertinent though. However, the issue is not specifically about Reverend Wright, its about Obama’s honesty: Obama’s ridiculous lies about having no knowledge of his like-family-to-him, spiritual mentor’s racist ideologies through 20 years of close interaction.
    (Dishonety aside, for a less-media-favored presidential candidate, Reverend Wright (hardly any less vile than 21st century KKK extremist) associations would have been political poison for his/her aspirations.

    Point (3) discussion about “slime spreading” has nothing to do with any reply in this thread. If it were, you would be implying someone posted something here that was dishonest.

    You should write another article though – on Iraq: “After election: Obama ain’t no cut-and-run advocate no more”

    I’d just like to say you articles are well written, and generally interesting. And, my apologies for not discussing the main emphasis of your writing in this topic.

    • parallaxbrief says:

      Well, if you really feel that strongly about Obama, that’s fine. My problem, I guess, is that after conservatives smeared Kerry about his war record, I just can’t give any of their accusations any credibility. I also think that what I’ve seen seems to have shrill, fanatical overtones. I just can’t take it seriously — but perhaps that’s my problem?

      Anyway, thanks for the engaging debate.

      Views contrary to my own are welcome here.

      I hope we can disagree again sometime.

  5. E. Henry Thripshaw says:

    Dear Mr. Brief,

    I will attempt a partial defense of Krauthammer (and believe me, I don’t do that often).

    The phrase “socially stagnant” is slippery and can have a number of meanings. You assumed it referred to social mobility. I wouldn’t have done so – I would think K was referring to the EU’s low birthrate, entrenched habits, or just the general placidity or lack of excitement that a lot of Americans seem to think is representative of Europe.

    In short: you assume too much.

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