Sunday, August 8, 2010

On the Need for A New Party and Fear of Fascism

I just returned from a large chain bookstore. The "current affairs" section of the store was dominated by extreme and non-intellectual right wing attack books by authors such as Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter. I complained to the sales clerk and he said he shared my concerns, but that is "what sells here." Here is Arizona.

I am not suggesting that these books should be replaced by others that reflect only my political viewpoints. The problem with these books is that they are intolerant and intensely, incredibly simplistic. Their solutions to complex problems are absurdly unrealistic. Most problematically, they spew hate.

This is not about defending liberals or democrats or greens or whatever. Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and crew reduce problems to persons and values. The problems facing this nation are not reducible to persons and values in the 1-dimensional manner implied by these authors.

Americans' legitimate frustration with our hollowed-out neoliberal economy, out-of-touch and corrupt politicians, and imperialism abroad are being channeled by these right wing nuts into simplified problem-solution frames that rely on "purges" for their solution.

Ann Coulter implies that liberals ought to be purged. Doesn't this remind the reader of some other famous purgers: Hitler? Stalin?

The U.S. does need a new political party. But it also needs a better educated public that can be distracted from television long enough to learn about, and engage in serious dialogue over, the serious and complicated issues confronting our nation.

Max Keiser's interview with Danny Schechter today (Aug 8) takes up this challenge of reaching an apathetic public that has been trained to respond only to the most base and vulgar forms of political appeals.

I fear that totalitarian fascism is right around the corner...

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