Can you imagine?    Take the hippies for example — by which I mean the Howard Dean left.  These folks are the heirs of the European and American leftists who, during the Spanish Civil War, went to Spain to fight the rise of a fascist dictatorship.  Their slogans (”Attack Hitler Now” and “Fascism Means War”) are now long forgotten. These same people now think that fighting fascism is a terrible crime.  But what do they really think?  Do they regret their intervention in the Spanish Civil War — their finest hour? [bold added]  Do they think that fighting fascism was a mistake because war is bad even in the defense of life and liberty?  Do they now think that dictatorships are o.k. as long as there is stability?  (Michael Moore clearly thinks that, if little else).  So … a little dose of police state and loss of liberty is fine, so long as there is general security?  Is that what they think? ~Mario Loyola, The Corner

Of all the bizarre 1930s-era things for someone at an allegedly conservative blog to invoke, complaining that Howard Dean et al. lack the zeal of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade is about as strange and perverse as it gets.  Maybe on liberals’ own terms they ought to want to fight “fascism” wherever it is found (whatever they think “fascism” means at any given time), and maybe liberals do look back with longing at the “good old days” of siding with Soviet puppets and sympathising with the people who committed heinous atrocities against clergy, monastics and other innocents in a vicious anti-Christian war, but I see no reason why anyone on the right would want to encourage leftists to resume the enthusiasms and activities of their disreputable past.  Defense of life and liberty?  Who, for the love of all that is holy, was defending life and liberty in the Spanish Civil War?  The Republicans?  Were the Bolsheviks defending life and liberty, too?  I spit on such an idea.  That is the sort of “communication” it deserves.   

Perhaps liberals ought to be just as enthusiastic about Mr. Bush’s “freedom agenda” as anybody, but complaining that they have lost the zeal that made them hate Franco and Catholic Spain is surely a very odd thing for a Catholic at National Review Online to say.  I know the old days of Bozell and apologetics for Franco are long, long gone, but the only thing more bizarre than this would be a National Review diatribe against a liberal who had come around to supporting the work of Joe McCarthy: “Don’t these liberals realise the man was conducting a witch hunt?  Oh, the oppression!” Jonah Goldberg would say stentoriously.  (Actually, for all I know, someone at NR already has done this–if any readers happen to know of such an instance, I’d be interested to hear about it.) 

Maybe if the identification of Islamic jihadis with fascists wasn’t so completely senseless and misleading, this obnoxious invocation of left-wing sympathy for the Second Republic would then at least have some remote application to our present predicament.  As it is, it just shows the kind of appalling thinking that passes for conservative commentary these days.  But, really, what’s next?  Lauding the Vendee massacres?  Praising the Great Leap Forward?  Saluting the noble ideals of the Khmer Rouge?  After all, they were just killing counter-revolutionaries and reactionaries…for progress and humanity, of course.