I’ve finally read Richard Hofstadter classic essay from the November 1964 edition of Harper’s Magazine – the Paranoid Style in American Politics. It’s one of those pieces of journalism/scholarship that I’ve heard about over the years (most recently in the Economist’s Lexington column) but never actually got a round to looking up. I should have done so earlier because it is remarkable. Hofstadter was writing in the early 60s about the supposed plots by communists, catholics and Masons.
It is a world I’ve only read about in James Ellroy novels, but replace the paranoia aimed at those groups with a fear of, well, socialists (still), Muslims in general and a certain “Kenyan Muslim” in particular and you have a perfect description of much of the American fringe right of today. Hofstadter was 45 years early but describes perfectly the type of thinking behind those who have been marching outside the “townhall meetings” with AR-15s over their shoulders, calling the president a communist AND a fascist for trying some healthcare reform.
The Tundra Tabloids takes exception to the notion offered by Toby, that (a) any American worried over his country taking one more step closer to becoming socialized, is on the “fringe of society” and (b) labeling Obama as a communist and/or fascist “for trying some healthcare reform” as some gross contradictions in terms, and (c) by implication, such labeling is an example of “the fringe” blowing things way out of proportion.
Any such thinking that relegates those US citizens worried over trend towards socialism, as being solely from the fringes of society, is frankly, downright condencending. It also shows a great lack of understanding in the US being founded as a constitutional republic, as opposed to just being “a democratic state”.
Those people who are marching outside the “Town Halls”, know more about the founding of the United States, (that a republic is fundamentally opposed to that of a democracy) than the people who are rooting for government healthcare. Don’t they teach “civics courses” in Britain anymore?
The people who are protesting socialized healthcare, reflect the thinking of the Founding Fathers that built the United States of America. Lets be honest here, what he’s really saying is that Republicans and other conservatives are “fringe”, and alwaysa will be, though they make up the half (or more) of US society. That’s why the TT stated early on that the claim very condencending.
But that’s not all, somehow, Northern Lights believes that Communist Marxism and Fascism are not related, so much so that, those taken to calling the US president in those terms, (and the TT does hold to the notion that Obama’s agenda is fascistic) are reason enough to, yes, relegate them “to the fringe”. I guess where there will be the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Especially the gnashing of teeth.
Anyone taking the time to read George Watson’s book “The Lost Literature of Socialism” and/or Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, will understand where all of this is going. Both highly destructive movements of communism socialism and nationalist socialism are leftist ideologies, with the latter laying the groundwork for the modren European welfare state. That Norther Lights is confused by that….is
amusing highly amusing.
It’s undeniable that both communism and fascism have strong comparable identifying traits and characteristics, something that those protestors marching outside the town hall meetings, can easily identify, and sadly something that this political analyst fails not only to see, but smears. Hmmmmmmm.
What makes it even more amusing, is the guy he quotes to prove his point, hated capitalism! Hmmm. Richard Hofstadter: “I hate capitalism and everything that goes with it.” So the only economic system in the history of mankind that is solely responsible for lifting billions of people world wide from dirt poor poverty over the last 150 years….is something that this guy despised totally.
The TT is more than certain that if Hofstadter were alive, he would be one of those rooting for Obama’s “change” and bad mouthing the rabble of “tea baggers”, like Toby is doing, protesting outside of the town halls that dot the American landscape. But hey, don’t take my word that both socialisms are related, check out the following display of pictures that speak for themselves. KGS
to troops of South-Eastern front
City of Saratov
A shoulder patch is approved for Kalmyk units, according to the attached drawing and description. The right to wear this patch is given to officers and Red Army privates of existing Kalmyk units, as well as the ones being raised, according to order of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, this year, # 11<6>.
“Below are the signatures of the front commander, the Member of the Revolutionary Military Council (the commissar) and chief of staff. On the right there is a description and the picture. Of interest are the Cyrillic letters R. S. F. S. R. inside the swastika. This abbreviation stands for “Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic”, the official name of the part of the Soviet Union that is now Russia. By the way, even now the official name of Russia is Russian Federation.
So, basically this is a Red Army shoulder patch with the swastika on it that was used during the Russian Civil War after the Bolshevik Revolution. My late grandpa told me many times that in 1939 after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact the Soviet newspapers kept praising the friendship between 2 socialist countries. Indeed there were very few differences between the two.”