Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I Agree With Jonah Goldberg?

Well, not quite. Spencer Ackerman reports on Goldberg's claim that the American Legion was founded a fascist organization. That's not quite true, and I'm not sure why Goldberg is taking the position. But the American Legion is one of the most loathsome organizations in American history. They fully supported the Red Scare after World War I. Their attempt to sack an Industrial Workers of the World hall in Centralia, Washington on November 11, 1919 led to the Centralia Massacre, where 4 Legionnaires died and one Wobbly organizer was lynched. There was major crossover between the Legion and the second KKK in the 1920s. They engaged in paramilitary operations in the Imperial Valley of the 1930s to keep out unions (discussed by John Steinbeck in In Dubious Battle). They supported McCarthyism and the repressions of the 1950s.

Today, they are mostly a bunch of conservative old men and provide cheap places to drink, which should not be discounted in their favor. But they are a horrible organization that has represented the worst about the United States for a very long time.

Ackerman doesn't take the claim seriously. Of course that's easy to do when it comes from Jonah Goldberg. But when he asks the communications director about it, he allows the guy to blow the accusation off without challenge. And that's not right.