Journalist Glenn Greenwald frequently appears on the Fox News show of white supremacist Tucker Carlson, and did so again last night. Why? Greenwald often says that it’s because he wants to engage in debate, but there’s not much debating going on. If you watch Greenwald’s appearances, it’s clear that he agrees with Carlson on a number of things. And Greenwald’s old blog posts might explain just how much they have in common.
Greenwald’s politics are admittedly tough to nail down. But for some reason, many on the left think that he’s one of them. Greenwald’s blog from 2005-2007, Unclaimed Territory, should make it clear that he’s not a lefty. On his old blog, Greenwald wrote against immigrants, he wrote in favor of “national identity,” he wrote against gun laws, and he even wrote a sideways defense of George W. Bush in an attempt to attack the “media elites.”
I’ve excerpted just a few of his blog posts from that era below, if only for posterity. Greenwald has railed against “cowards” who delete their old tweets, but has done precisely that in a mass purge recently. We don’t know how much longer these blog posts will stay up.
Glenn Greenwald on the "Endless Hordes” of Immigrants and National Identity
Headline: Yelling "racist" as an "argument" in the immigration debate
December 3, 2005
Glenn Greenwald writes:
More importantly, it is simply indisputable that a nation cannot survive if its population lacks any common foundation, is characterized by scattered allegiances, has nothing culturally in common, and is separated by an inability to communicate with one another. What you end up with are balkanized, fragmented enclaves of people who happen to occupy the same geographical space, but you do not end up, in any sense, with a nation that can endure or prosper.
Intellectually lazy and smug people love to casually throw insults like "racist" around because it saves them the trouble of addressing the substance of an idea with which they disagree, and because it makes them feel so very superior and enlightened. For an example of a wild orgy of such cheap, self-praising smugness, check out the dismissive name-calling directed at Tancredo in the comments section of the Drum post which prompted Willis’ outburst.
The notion that a nation requires a cohesive "national identity" is hardly the malignant invention of the Ku Klux Klan or White Supremacist groups. It is a central prong for how our country was formed and how it has survived.
Current illegal immigration – whereby unmanageably endless hordes of people pour over the border in numbers far too large to assimilate, and who consequently have no need, motivation or ability to assimilate – renders impossible the preservation of any national identity. That is so for reasons having nothing whatever to do with the skin color or origin of the immigrants and everything to do with the fact that what we end up with are segregated groups of people with allegiences to their enclaves, an inability to communicate, cultural perspectives incompatible with prevailing American culture, and absolutely nothing to bind them in any way to what we know as the United States.
Glenn Greenwald on George W. Bush
Headline: Bush v. The Washington Media
November 28, 2005
Glenn Greenwald writes:
So [Seymour] Hersh thinks it's "alarming" that he's been writing anti-war articles for several years now and Bush still hasn't caved in his support for the war. We're supposed to be scared and outraged because Bush doesn't watch Wolf Blitzer interviews and then change his mind afterwards, or that Bush still supports the war even after Hersh writes another article based on anonymous officials who have come to him in order to attack Bush's policies.
And when Hersh complains that Bush is inured to "facts," what he plainly means is that Bush doesn't accept Hersh's view of Iraq. In sum, Bush is supposed to know that he has to listen when the Washington press elite speaks, and his refusal to do so means that he is either pathologically stubborn, certifiably crazy, or a religious fanatic beyond any reason. Certain elements on the Left hungrily eat up this cheap and easy caricature.
The media sees shifting public opinion in Iraq as their big chance to show that their power has not waned. They are committed to milking public discomfort over Iraq in order to show the Administration that they still rule Washington. And the longer Bush refuses to adhere to their demands -- or, as Hersch revealingly complained, the longer they "can't get to him maybe with (their) views" -- the angrier and more frustrated they are going to become.
Glenn Greenwald on American power
Headline: The Myth of International Wisdom
November 25, 2005
Glenn Greenwald writes:
This is corrupt and dangerous reasoning. All of Ignatius’ assertions regarding rising American unpopularity may be (and likely are) true, but they are also completely besides the point, if not downright irrelevant, when it comes to debating what measures the U.S. ought to pursue and is justified in pursuing in order to defend its national security and protect its national interests.
That America faces real dangers in the world is beyond dispute for rational people, but -- just as Americans care more about the dangers threatening them than they care about dangers which threaten other countries -- the dangers facing America will naturally be under-appreciated and under-valued by people in countries for whom those dangers pose no threat.
The important corollary to this principle is that measures which Americans believe are appropriate and justified in order to confront these threats will be viewed as excessive and unwarranted by people in other countries, who view those threats as less significant and alarming than Americans do. For that reason, among others, the popularity or lack thereof of America’s foreign policy in other countries should not be used as a metric for determining the rightness of America’s actions.
While such trends may be upsetting to some, they cannot reasonably be used to argue that American foreign policy is misguided. Any nation would be acting foolishly, and self-destructively, if it allowed its foreign policy to be guided by the threat perceptions of people in other countries. When it comes to facing the profound threat posed to American interests by Islamic extremism, it is naturally the case that people in other countries will view the danger posed by that threat as being less serious and important than Americans perceive it to be.
Americans, justifiably and understandably, consider the 9/11 attacks to be a profound and intolerable assault on U.S. national security, an event so threatening and jarring that it justifies measures which would have previously been considered to be too extreme. But here in Brazil, and in most other countries in the world, Islamic terrorism is a virtually non-existent threat, and, for those countries, 9/11 is no different than any other event occurring in any other country which results in lots of tragic deaths -- such as, say, a massive earthquake or an outbreak of a deadly virus.
The population of most every country on the planet does not perceive the threat of radical Islam to be what Americans perceive it to be – and rightfully so, because the threat which this extremism poses to America is far greater and more serious than it is to most other countries. Brazilians wake up worrying about violent crime in their cities or the massive poverty which causes it, but they -- like so many people outside the U.S. -- don’t wake up worrying about Muslim terrorism because it is not a threat to them. But it is a threat to Americans.
Glenn Greenwald on Guns
Headline: Brazilians refuse to give up the right to bear arms
October 25, 2005
As Brazilians thought more about the gun ban, opposition steadily grew, culminating in the astounding and lopsided defeat for the gun ban referendum.
Brazilian cities are plagued with epidemic gun violence. Organized criminal gangs based in the favelas (slums) of Brazilian cities are often better-armed than the police. Ordinary street criminals are well-stocked with firearms. And the perception is widespread among the citizenry that the Government is inept at providing its citizens with basic security and protection.
Brazilians realized that the last thing they wanted to do was to bestow upon the nation's theives, muggers, kidnappers and murderers the peace of mind of knowing that they can invade whatever homes they want or assault whomever they want with impunity, free of the fear that their victims may be as well-armed as they are. Nor did Brazilians want to cede the right to protect themselves to a Government which so drastically fails to fulfill its duty of protecting them.
As a result of the referendum -- both the result and the process leading up to it -- personal security and political liberty are substantially healthier in Brazil.
These are just a few examples of what Greenwald was writing about in the mid-2000s, but I genuinely think they shed some light on why he appears on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. Greenwald’s lines about “endless hordes” of immigrants and the importance of “national identity” is the kind of garbage that Carlson spews every single night on his program.
Yes, Greenwald’s views have seemed to change in some respects since these blog posts were originally written over a decade ago. But another way to read all of this is that Greenwald has simply gotten better at obfuscating his foundational beliefs.
Not only did Greenwald support the invasion of Iraq, he also worked pro bono to defend white supremacist Matthew Hale when he hatched a plot to kill a federal judge. The U.S. Attorney said at the time that ''Freedom of speech does not include the freedom to solicit murder.'' But Greenwald disagreed and defended a neo-Nazi for free.
''They are probably trying to take things he said along the lines of political advocacy and turn it into a crime,'' Mr. Greenwald said in defense of Hale in 2003.
For the record, Greenwald has called me a “piece of shit smear artist” in the past for calling him a libertarian. But I don’t know what else you’d call his politics. I honestly think Greenwald’s early work speaks for itself.