Friday, July 08, 2011

A Cult of 'Uncommonly Angry Minds'

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Not since the McCarthy era has the GOP been more delusional. It was always a characteristic of a group that is less a political party than it is a cult. Historian Richard Hofstadter called it the 'The Paranoid Style in American Politics'! But who let the dogs out?

Not even McCarthy witch-hunts outdo various instances of flagrant hypocrisy which define the GOP. An example is instructive: the so-called McCarthy 'era' in which the GOP indulged, perhaps created, the very template upon which 'outrageous conspiracy theories' may be designed and/or derived. The 'boogeyman' du jour was the 'World-Wide Communist Conspiracy' during which the right wing found 'commies' in the media, under sofas, in the movies, and among the masses who were, in fact, merely longing to be free, most certainly free of harassment and bullying. This aspect of the right wing mentality, the tendency to find conspiracies were none exist, is referred to by historian Richard Hofstadter. Hofstadter called it: '...the paranoid style' and, as such, it is still very much a defining characteristic of the American right wing.
Although American politcial life has rarely been touched by the most acute varieties of class confict, it has served again and again as an arena for uncommonly angry minds. Today this fact is most evident on the extreme right wing, which has shown, particularly in the Goldwater movement, how much politcial leverage can be got out of animosities and passions of a small minority. Behind such movements there is a style of mind, not always right-wing in its affiliations, that has a long and varied history. I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the qualities of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.
--Richard Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style in American Politics and other essays
The GOP prefers to have it both ways. Whatever you believe is a 'conspiracy ' and conspiracies we are told no not exist. At the time same, the GOP clings to it's favorite 'conspiracy' --the world-wide communist conspiracy' which it promoted with fervor and propaganda until just recently. When a Republican tells you that 'conspiracies' do not exist, he means that your conspiracy does not exist; he means: you stupid; GOP smart! But, it was the GOP, the right wing in general, who either cooked-up or spread the most outrageous conspiracy theories imaginable back in the 1950s and beyond. Who recalls the drinking water scares? They were all the rage. Today, if you believe the GOP, conspiracies do not exist; except their conspiracies, of course.

Cults are defined by so-called 'leaders' that are, in practice, unaccountable. Hitler was typical. Unaccountable leaders are often charismatic figures upon whom are projected the many fears, phobias and insecurities associated with periods of great economic or political change. The exploitation of this 'demographic' often requires an assist in the form of an attack by either a foreign power (Peal Harbor) or a 'terrorist attack' (the Reichstag Fire, 911).

Demagogues invariably seek to be automomous, excercising authority free of supervision or restraint. This applies as well to Bush Jr as to Herr Hitler. If war does not often cause the rise of 'paranoid style' leaders, they are, in the end the result of those leaders and their fear-driven style. Thus war is but the real world manifestation of paranoid fears and delusions. The Reichstag Fire and 911 are the most obvious examples. As models by which fascist regimes may be easily installed upon waves of fear, they are to be studied. It is hoped that the tragic experiences will have been instructive. If nothing is learned then those who died will have been sacrificed for the vainglorious ambitions of just two men: Hitler and Bush.

More recently in America, having learned the lessons of corporatism from Adolph Hitler whose military adventures were financed by legal abstrations, specifically I.G. Farben, Thyssen, Krupp et al, the GOP leadership will conspire with their corporate sponsors to invade sovereign nations for the purpose of enriching the corporate sponsors. The GOP/corporate partnership wasted no time. In his second week in office, George W. Bush created the 'energy task-force' and placed Vice-President Dick Cheney in charge. As if it had been scripted, Dick Cheney's 'Energy Task Force' convened to carve up the oil fields of Iraq! And, as conveniently for Bush as was the Reichstag fire for Hitler, 911 provided the Jr Bush the pre-text he needed to commit this nation to a war of naked aggression against the peole of Iraq. It was a war crime for which the architects must stand trial as did Nazis at Nuremberg.

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