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Last Sunday, I reviewed Dave Neiwert’s excellent new book, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right. During the ensuing week, he and I had an email conversation about various aspects of the extreme right wing, which he has studied for years. And today, he will join us in comments to answer questions and to discuss what he has learned about hate rhetoric and the mainstreaming of extremism within the conservative movement.

My questions are in bold, Neiwert’s answers are in lightface. And feel free to ask whatever you like of the author in comments and he’ll respond.

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What would a process of ratcheting down eliminationist language and action look like? Has it every been successfully tempered without going through a full round of violence and culminating in (for example) a Nuremberg trial?

Yes, it has: As I mention in the book, the decline of the lynching era is a good example of a deliberate effort to scale back eliminationist violence and rhetoric. What worked there was a combination of external pressure and internal moral suasion. The NAACP rose to prominence by bringing the travesty of lynching to people’s attention and making it a national issue; but what actually worked best at bringing about its decline (at least according to scholars like Philip Dray) was the efforts of regional organizations like the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching, who had some real success making it socially unacceptable to participate or condone it any longer.

Far more often, though, the arc that you mention occurs, where events reach such a fever pitch that something horrific, and cause for great shame afterward, occurs. In the USA, the internment of the Japanese was just such a case. Americans were profoundly ashamed to see the 442nd veterans return home, being greeted by Harry Truman in D.C. as the most decorated unit in the war, while the camps were still open, I think, and the stories from the camps still circulating. Combined with our horror of the fresh news of the Holocaust, a lot of Americans reeled at the realization that they too had opened concentration camps. This had a lot to do with the relatively quick recission in 1952 of the longstanding prohibition against naturalization by Japanese immigrants.

Do you see any current organization like the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching, or the NAACP, that seem to having an effect on toning things down? Or thus far, do we seem fated to get to a higher level of violence before the rhetoric is condemned and marginalized, particularly by the mainstream conservatives?

Well, if we’re going to use the lynching analogy here, then we need to think of the national body politic as being like the South. I see a couple of entities that actually are having a real-world effect in toning things down. One is the liberal blogosphere, which is effectively circulating counter-information and blasting a lot of the really egregious rhetoric when it comes up, instead of just letting it float at there, which was so much the case for so long. And the other is really two established organizations: Media Matters and Think Progress, both of which I consider a model organizations for this sort of thing. They’re very, very effective for blunting the effect of toxic rhetoric by turning it against the people who wield it. They do great work, and I wish there were more like them.

I’d also be remiss not to mention the work of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which undoubtedly does more to track both the actions and the words of the extremist right than anyone in the country, and the Anti-Defamation League, which also does excellent work in disseminating information effectively. In the lynching analogy, these are the NAACPs, doing the important work of disseminating critical information and playing the role of being the outside critic, the national entity that can bring its weight to bear on local thuggery.

What is your best guess on how the current climate is going to play out?

I’m really, really bad at predicting. So take it with a large grain of salt. But if I were to map it out, well ... Of course, I do predict in the book that we’re going to see an uptick in right-wing violence. Mostly I expect to see more police shootouts, lone-wolf attacks, and probably some attacks on media entities or key liberal figures. Give it a couple of years or so down the road and we might see some more seriously organized violence in the form of McVeigh-style action cells.

How deep and how awful it is will depend on a couple of things – the first contingency being the economy and Obama’s effectiveness in turning it around. Though I have to say that even if he does turn it around, that will just enrage these people all the more. On the other hand, I do think it will have a largely temperature-cooling effect. That’s probably our best hope.

If Obama fails, then all bets are off, and we’re all in the deep kimchee. But I personally doubt that scenario. Now, I could play the middle route and suggest that he won’t be a robust success but he’ll do well enough to hang on, which means the right-wing extremism will keep bubbling upward. But I don’t really think that’s how it will play out. I think he’ll do reasonably well, and the far right will grow more inchoate the more powerless it becomes, which is when they become more of a public threat.

But you know, the more violent the Right becomes, the more marginalized it will become. Eventually conservatism—which I actually consider a vital impulse to the overall health of the body politic—will have to reinvent itself in something that actually is humanist. But it could be a long and ugly downward spiral en route to the bottom.

You’ve written about how important you believe individuals speaking out against hate talk is, and how calling them out, day after day, is part of the mission you felt you personally were compelled to undertake after the Oklahoma City bombing. In your opinion, are such independent truth-telling missions enough, or should some organizations be formed to specifically draw attention to such rhetoric?

Well, the personal interaction is critical. I really do believe that the power of individual, person-to-person persuasion can be a powerful agent for change if it spreads, and in fact is the juice that in the end makes real change take place. But no, it’s not enough by itself. There should be more organizations that draw attention to this rhetoric. I’ve already mentioned the SPLC, Media Matters, and Think Progress as excellent models for this kind of work. There should be more.

An obvious question, but one that needs to be asked whenever speech of any kind is at issue: How does one balance the need for free speech with the deleterious effect and knee-jerk desire to shut eliminationist speech down (especially when it's couched, as it so often is, as "humor")?

That’s the trickiest part, I suppose, except that I tend to be what Michelle Malkin calls a "free speech absolutist" – I don’t believe in shutting any of this down through official means or through the power of government. I also don’t believe in shouting people down or harassing them, since it isn’t just government, but also our fellow citizens, who are capable of depriving us of our rights. I think anyone interested in being part of the solution eschews trying to fight fire with fire, thuggery and intimidation with thuggery and intimidation.

However, that doesn’t mean backing down or letting them take advantage of the specifically nonviolent approach I think progressives should take. This is especially true on a rhetorical level; when they punch, punch back harder. In the rhetorical arena, I think anyone who’s read my blog over the years knows I don’t believe in laying down and taking it.

I mention Bill Clinton’s speech in Minneapolis (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=51270) in the book for a reason. It remains kind of a benchmark for why I do what I do:

In this country we cherish and guard the right of free speech. We know we love it when we put up with people saying things we absolutely deplore. And we must always be willing to defend their right to say things we deplore to the ultimate degree. But we hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable. You ought to see -- I'm sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today.

Well, people like that who want to share our freedoms must know that their bitter words can have consequences and that freedom has endured in this country for more than two centuries because it was coupled with an enormous sense of responsibility on the part of the American people.

If we are to have freedom to speak, freedom to assemble, and, yes, the freedom to bear arms, we must have responsibility as well. And to those of us who do not agree with the purveyors of hatred and division, with the promoters of paranoia, I remind you that we have freedom of speech, too, and we have responsibilities, too. And some of us have not discharged our responsibilities. It is time we all stood up and spoke against that kind of reckless speech and behavior.

If they insist on being irresponsible with our common liberties, then we must be all the more responsible with our liberties. When they talk of hatred, we must stand against them. When they talk of violence, we must stand against them. When they say things that are irresponsible, that may have egregious consequences, we must call them on it. The exercise of their freedom of speech makes our silence all the more unforgivable. So exercise yours, my fellow Americans. Our country, our future, our way of life is at stake.

You know, after Oklahoma City, I felt a certain burden of guilt, because I was one of a handful of journalists who had done work on the militia movement prior to the bombing – and I had been remarkably unsuccessful in selling the stories as a freelancer, even to the paper where I worked my regular day job. And truth be told, I only took them half-seriously, as almost an amusing novelty. And I don’t think anyone in my position could have seen that photo of the firefighter removing that little girl’s body from the rubble without wishing to God they had done more – that perhaps raising public awareness, perhaps helping defuse some of the paranoia, might have helped prevent this. And so I resolved then to do what I could to keep it from happening again.

So I am, per Clinton’s admonition, using my free-speech rights to speak out against this kind of rhetoric, to point out the irresponsibility of the people using it, and to point out the clear connection between it and the very real acts of violence it inspires.

I’m trying to lead by example. I think that when we get the ball rolling, and get people talking about it, it won’t just be my voice standing up to them, but a whole crowd of them. That’s why I wrote this book.

And from there, you know, all kinds of things can happen. The marketplace can be a powerful thing, especially when people understand that big things are at stake.

So this is why I talk about culpability for people like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly in cases like Richard Poplawski and the Pittsburgh cops, or Bernard Goldberg and Jim David Adkisson – because there obviously is no criminal culpability in these situations, and likely not even any civil or legal culpability of any kind. But because the inspirational connection is clear and unmistakable (Adkisson, you’ll recall, specifically cited Goldberg in the manifesto he left outside the Knoxville church in his car, while Poplawski was posting Beck FEMA camp videos to Stormfront), there certainly is a moral and ethical culpability. And that’s where the social component comes in – and along with it, the marketplace consequences.

I frequently hearken to the case of David Lewis Rice, a mentally ill drifter who horribly murdered a Seattle family of four on Christmas Eve in 1986 because he had been worked into a frenzy about them by a local group of ultra-Birchers who told Rice that his future victims were the state’s chief Communists – a complete fabrication based on 30-year-old zombie lies from the McCarthy era. The characters who whipped him up were thenceforth lower than the worst social lepers in Seattle and were shunned socially thereafter except by their close circle of fellow hatemongers.

The same principle is at work here: I have no compunction about exposing these conservatives as the irresponsible fearmongers they are, and shaming them for the ethical and moral dimensions of their behavior. They like to whine that this is an effort to "silence them," but it’s not. It’s shaming them.

And after shaming comes shunning. That’s where I think Spocko’s model of raising awareness among some of these transmitters’ advertisers about just what their dollars are supporting, and what many of their would-be customers are associating them with, can be so effective. I think the more we organize to let our chorus of disapproval be heard on a commercial level, the more change we’ll see.

So there’s no coercive aspect to how we respond. Basically, people make commercial decisions based on their moral and ethical standards all the time, and there’s nothing wrong with pointing out that these media figures are behaving so irresponsibly as to be harmful to the rest of us. It’s all free speech, free association. It’s just time that we used ours, too.

When looking at leaders in the movement, particularly the transmitters, does it seem the leaders actually believe this stuff? Or do any of them appear to be spouting the hate rhetoric to accrue a paranoid and susceptible power base?

I wish I knew the answer to that. You can’t look at a Rush Limbaugh and not size him up as one of the most cynical human beings on the planet. OTOH, there’s Glenn Beck, who I’m beginning to suspect really is a True Believer, but emotionally unstable and doomed to a spectacular explosion when his ratings do their inevitable decline.

I suspect it’s actually a combination of both: Their deep belief in the cause leads them to excuse, justify, and rationalize any kind of manipulative or cynical behavior, because the end justifies the means.

It's interesting that one of the ways to make the Japanese "other" during World War II and earlier was NOT to say they were intellectually inferior or lazy. It was to dehumanize the by talking about their efficiency like they were essentially robotic and had no moral sense. Do you know why, in particular, this group was treated this way when other immigrant groups in America were not? Mind you, this was years before Japan became an economic force that challenged the U.S. and before the best and brightest Japanese and Japanese Americans were competing for slots in top American colleges, so I find it curious.

A number of reasons. In some regards you can go back to the roots of the eliminationist impulse, that is, the European conception of the world, which saw everything outside of "civilization" as "wilderness" or "jungle," and the inhabitants of those regions appropriately savage barbarians wholly given over to the wantonness of nature. The exception was always the Far Orient, which Europeans saw as a civilization, but an exotic and idolatrous civilization, morally and spiritually inferior.

This conception of "Orientals" as intellectually competitive but morally inferior was always part of the cultural perceptions of Asians. Still, it was quite a shock in 1906 when the Japanese navy defeated the Russians, because this was the first great refutation of the basic doctrines of white supremacy. The narrative, however, simply adapted itself by acknowledging Asians – and the Japanese in particular – as intellectual and military equals, but maintaining their moral and ethical inferiority. You can find this, for example, in such classic eugenicist tomes as The Passing of the Great Race as well as Yellow Peril texts like The Valor of Ignorance.

So today the running stereotype of Asians is that they’re really good at math but socially and otherwise deficient – which really is just a reiteration of self-serving racial fables that have been told for generations.

You discuss in your book how rural areas are experiencing the most immigrant population growth; in many cases, without the immigrants, population would have declined in these regions.. And these areas are experiencing an increase in hate crimes against these groups. A couple of questions: 1. Are the immigrants cited in that study undocumented or here with their papers, do you know? 2. And if they're undocumented, wouldn't it really be in those areas best interest, electorally, to get these people legalized as residents and have their citizenship count toward the census? In some ways, it seems whole regions are cheating themselves out of tqualifying not just for proper and balanced electoral representation, but for federal funding that ends up being based on citizen population count.

  1. I went back and checked, and the study I cited (http://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/Feb03/Findings/HispanicsFind.htm) uses Census Bureau data, so the numbers apparently reflect Census standards – which are something of a mix in terms of accuracy.
  1.  This question presumes that logic and reason are part of this debate – obviously you’re right that it would be in their best interests to help these immigrants on the path to citizenship. Hell, it would be in these people’s best interests to support labor unions and progressive policies in general. But they vote and behave according to cultural tides whose pull is often so powerful that reason hasn’t a chance. I think we saw in the last election, however, the way economics can help progressives work upstream; nothing wakes people up like discovering that the wealthy corporate interests they so reflexively defended have screwed them over completely. And I think making sound economic arguments like this in the immigration debate are how we’ll finally make progress in that arena.

Could you define for readers the distinction you make between "proto-fascism" and "para-fascism?"

It’s kind of a subtle teleological difference, and frankly I was worried that I hadn’t made the distinction clear enough, so here goes:

Proto-fascism is the full constellation of fascist traits arranged in nascent and semi-nascent forms. It’s essentially fascism waiting to mature. Basic examples: The Ku Klux Klan, the Patriot movement.

Para-fascism is something like quasi-fascism: An assemblage of some of the traits that make up the fascist constellation, but not all of them. Thus movement conservatism is para-fascist in the sense that it has a number of the fascist traits, but not all of them – particularly not essential traits like the open embrace of an ethic of violence.

In the comments of last Sunday’s review, there was an objection to using the word, "fascism," because it’s so loaded. Do you stand by that, and would you like to explain your reasoning further?

A reasonable objection, though I think if anyone reads the text they’ll see that if anyone’s specially positioned to talk about fascism, not as an abstract notion but a real-world phenomenon, it’s probably yours truly. Still, that said, I understand the objection: the word is so toxic that it immediately poisons partisan discourse.

However, I’m really neither an ideologue trying to persuade people to adopt an ideology, nor am I a strategic thinker who appreciates the finer points of winning rhetorical battles. I’m really just a journalist who is making fairly straightforward observations based on my experiences and my research. I’ve always had the unfortunate tendency to let the cards fall where they may, which can be hell on one’s career and alliances.

I also have to point out that, these days, it isn’t liberals who are throwing the word about with abandon. If it’s going to be used to describe Barack Obama, then I think we could all use a serious talk about just what the hell the word actually means.

There was a portion of your book I quoted in last week’s review that I would like to revisit. Here’s the section in question:

   For all its logic and love of science, a consistent flaw weighs down modern liberalism: an overweening belief in its own moral superiority. (Not, of course, that conservatives are any better in this regard; factoring in the religious  Right and the "moral values" vote, they are objectively worse.) This tendency becomes especially noticeable in urban liberal societies, which for all their enlightenment and love of tolerance are maddeningly and disturbingly intolerant of the "ignorance" of their rural counterparts....

   If we want to look at all those red counties and come to terms with the reasons the people there think and vote the way they do, it's important to come to terms with our own prejudices, our own willingness to treat our fellow Americans--the ones who are not like us--with contempt and disrespect....

   In the end, we cannot prevent fascism from happening here by pretending it is something it is not; it must be confronted directly and straightforwardly, or it will not be confronted at all. Yet, at the same time, those who are the targets of its eliminationist bile must resist the temptation to wield this recognition like a cudgel. We cannot dehumanize and demonize those who have fallen under its sway. And we cannot stop the forces of hate by indulging it ourselves.

Quite a few readers of the review took exception to the formulation that liberals need to take responsibility for part of the problem. What is your response to that objection?

I’m glad it got brought up, because I felt wasn’t able to explain myself well enough within the framework of the book, which by necessity was whittled down to something of a bare-bones argument (I originally handed them a manuscript about a third again as long as the finished product). I can see in the comments that there was a lot of misapprehension about what I was saying. Though in a lot of cases I can see people are just going to disagree, which is fine too.

First, I need to point out my parenthetical remark immediately following the controversial sentence:

(Not, of course, that conservatives are any better in this regard; factoring in the religious  Right and the "moral values" vote, they are objectively worse.)

So I think it’s probably safe to say this is a universal human flaw, something closely akin to hubris, because that’s where it inevitably leads.

And as much as I am proud to call myself a progressive or a liberal these days, I’m also a an honest student of history who’s perfectly aware that, for all their general rightness, we have been wrong in the past too. Prohibition – a horrendous mistake – was a progressive enterprise. The role of progressives in fostering and promoting eugenics will forever be a black mark on their record. Likewise the shameful record of racism of the early progressives and labor-union movements.

The point is not to wallow in guilt about these mistakes, but to acknowledge that we’re capable of making them too. And when we operate from that knowledge, we’ll be more honest, more capable of dealing with realities on the ground, and have a greater chance of actual success.

Now, in the pages just preceding this passage, I spent some time talking about Robert Jay Lifton’s Superpower Syndrome and some of its keener insights. Lifton, one of the most brilliant minds in the psychiatric field, essentially diagnosed the nation after 9/11 and urged that it give up its mad ambitions for global hegemony as the world’s sole remaining superpower, release its hold on trying to control the world and opt instead for a leadership-in-cooperation role.

It’s in the same spirit, on a more human political scale, that I talk about repudiating the desire to be the hero. When we give up our assumptions about our moral superiority, it lets us see people we disagree with – people on the other side – in a different light a lot of the time. (Not always, of course; some people are just assholes.)

But a lot of why I think anti-liberal memes have so much success out in rural areas is that we’ve actually withdrawn from any dealings with rural dwellers, they have no idea what we’re really like, what our actual reasons are for taking the positions we take. It’s easy to begin believing urbanites are amoral libertines if their only exposure to them is through right-wing yammerers’ caricatures.

We are all caught up in dynamic that’s like a two-headed dragon chasing its own tail, and it’s a destructive one. We can blame the Right for fueling it and feeding and living off it, but we also have to recognize we have a role in fueling it too. And vicious dynamics like these cannot be broken by one side or the other gaining ultimate dominance, because human nature is what it is, and that simply won’t happen. Neither side is going away. The only way to break the dynamic is to step outside of it altogether.

As I say, I have this unfortunate tendency to let the cards fall where they may and say what I think. Liberal hubris will ensure the cycle continues. Liberals won’t want to hear that, but as always, I consider it my duty to write what I honestly observe. People don’t have to like it – I don’t particularly like it myself – but it is what it is.

--

Click for further information on Neiwert's The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks, Susan (146+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    N in Seattle, Randy, DemFromCT, chrississippi, DavidW in SF, keirdubois, Trix, gogol, AlanF, Maudlin, mrcharlie11, mcjoan, Gooserock, phastphil40, SusanG, RunawayRose, WestWind, rincewind, Jay C, OLinda, adkay, BenGoshi, shermanesq, rasbobbo, Gustogirl, NoisyGong, understandinglife, nargel, NMRed, asterlil, Tracker, hoolia, On The Bus, sancerre2001, riverlover, Pohjola, Brian82, DelicateMonster, Oaktown Girl, side pocket, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, Twilight Jack, Josiah Bartlett, mm201, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, vcmvo2, bowtieguru, kbman, Jagger, kingubu, BluejayRN, rlteiken, panicbean, boofdah, eru, Ex Con, Sun Tzu, eaglecries, Joy Busey, RElland, The Raven, bunsk, JanL, terjeanderson, lilyvaldem, Jennifer Clare, suz in seattle, dopper0189, dougymi, deha, rhetoricus, LokiMom, The Hindsight Times, funluvn1, Crashing Vor, Dauphin, dirtfarmer, James Kroeger, revgerry, Arthur Wolf, ms badger, Eryk, Aaa T Tudeattack, Michellebird, tonyfv, ibonewits, wa ma, Bob Guyer, blue armadillo, dclawyer06, roberta g, Light Emitting Pickle, kafkananda, NotGeorgeWill, wayoutinthestix, I, limpidglass, bythesea, skohayes, Akonitum, Judgment at Nuremberg, pamelabrown, RandomNonviolence, Jeff Y, SottoVoce, meldroc, MacJimi, Four of Nine, Aidos, Diogenes2008, Neon Vincent, Dirtandiron, Stranded Wind, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker, jck, cultural worker, Mercuriousss, jemjo, allep10, BlueMama, Plubius, PoliticalJunkessa, strangedemocracy, TFinSF, Vacationland, LaughingPlanet, theBCI, princss6, Melissa J, Eddie L, ramara, Surly Cracker, Micheline, cranquette, Mr MadAsHell, BlackQueen40, princesspat, lovespaper, UberCryxic, dle2GA, leftymama, sjr1, Edgewater, whaddaya, Larin

    I'll be around for the next hour or so for anyone who wants to join the discussion.

    Of course, those of us on the Left Coast are still getting through that first cuppa Joe ...

  •  a couple of points and a thank you (35+ / 0-)

    I had the extreme pleasure of meeting you in Chicago at the last yearly Kos event, and I just want to thank you for your scrupulous and fair coverage of this issue for years and years. I recall posting at The Next Hurrah about Minutemen issues and you were to go-to source at Orcinus for that.

    I also wanted to thank you for bringing up progressive intolerance as well at least as a theoretical issue. We can on occasion go over the line in comments and diaries, especially towards those who don't agree with us, and we can be a 'sometimes wrong, but never in doubt' crowd. It happens and should be recognized.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:07:42 AM PDT

    •  And thanks back (27+ / 0-)

      I figured saying it wasn't going to make me very popular. But it would have been dishonest of me to write an entire book attacking the Right and not to acknowledge that I do see destructive behavior on the Left as well, and not to discuss how that behavior affects our ability to reach an effective solution.

      •  When the Right goes to war... (7+ / 0-)

        I have a couple questions (and I want disclose upfront that I have not yet read your book):

        1. Are you familiar with the work of Carl Schmitt and in particular have you read Schmitt's work The Concept of the Political?
        1. Schmitt's central thesis is that politics is war.  This was the thesis of the Nazis.  This would seem to play well with your "eliminationist" theme, and I agree that the Republicans seek to eliminate (or in the words of Tom DeLay, "exterminate" all opposition in the US).  When you face an opponent who is bent on your destruction, what is your obligation as a reasonable person with a family?  This is a different situation than Gandhi faced.  It is different even than the one MLK faced.  Would non-violence and compromise have worked with the German's following Hitler in 1932?  Would it work with the neo-cons who follow Strauss and Schmitt today?

        I think the Democratic Party (but not Obama) was extremely slow to wake up to fact that Bush, Cheney & Co. had embarked on a game-changing strategy and tactics.  Bush/Cheney succeeded to the point where the nation we thought we lived in has been called into question.  That is a unbelievable feat of politics, fear and power.  For instance, we are discussing WHETHER people should be prosecuted for torturing other human beings in contravention of a slew of laws, when they have admitted doing so.  And it looks now like the answer our government (including Obama) is coming up with is a resounding NO!!??  This is not the America I grew up in.

        Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

        by maxschell on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:17:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  David, have you spoken with Howard Dean? (14+ / 0-)

        I found this part of your conversation, above

        lot of why I think anti-liberal memes have so much success out in rural areas is that we’ve actually withdrawn from any dealings with rural dwellers, they have no idea what we’re really like, what our actual reasons are for taking the positions we take. It’s easy to begin believing urbanites are amoral libertines if their only exposure to them is through right-wing yammerers’ caricatures.

        ... to be remarkably in line with Governor Dean's 50-state strategy, which had as part of its genesis the notion that we can't disengage from the so-called red states and leave them with no idea what Democrats stand for because they've never seen any.  It also seems consistent with the Governor's comment, during the 2004 Presidential campaign, that

        White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back ought to be voting with us, and not [Republicans], because their kids don't have health insurance either, and their kids need better schools too ... We can't beat George Bush unless we appeal to a broad cross-section of Democrats.

        Thanks for coming here today.  I've been reading your stuff, online and in print, for a long time, even though you frequently scare the hell out of me.

    •  only on occasion? nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DemFromCT
    •  Prohibition (3+ / 0-)

      I also wanted to thank you for bringing up progressive intolerance as well at least as a theoretical issue. We can on occasion go over the line in comments and diaries, especially towards those who don't agree with us, and we can be a 'sometimes wrong, but never in doubt' crowd.

      Think smoking tax on blue collar smokers to support SCIP.  Dumb as hell idea.  And only time will tell the cost to the democrats.

      Prohibition – a horrendous mistake – was a progressive enterprise

      Watching today's anti-smoker crusade, somehow I am not surprised that prohibition was a progressive initiative.  

      While republicans want to control peoples choices in the bedrooms, democrats want to control people's choices when it comes to health.  

      Really just let adults make up their own choices...it is not that hard.

      •  smoking tax is a great idea (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snakelass

        it's already cutting down teen smokers.

        A 10% Tax Hike Equals 10% Fewer Teens Who Smoke

        Some states have boosted the cost of a pack of cigarettes further by raising taxes—probably the only popular tax increase anywhere, anytime in history. In Washington state voters overwhelmingly approved a 60-cent tax increase for a pack of cigarettes along with increases for other tobacco products, too. Revenue will go to tobacco prevention programs and health care for low-income people.

        Price may be the most effective way to prevent teens from becoming daily smokers. A joint study from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research matched price hikes with teen smoking rates over six years. They found that a 10% price increase would decrease the number of children who started to smoke between 3% and 10%, depending on their stage of smoking, such as experimentation, beginning daily smoking, or relatively heavy daily smoking.

        "More states that haven't (raised taxes) should do so. This will stop tax-skirting smuggling of cigarettes from low-tax to high-tax states and discourage youth smoking," Todd said.

        One analysis by the activist group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids estimated that if cigarette prices were raised 10% per pack across the nation, it could save more than a million teens from becoming regular smokers.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 03:31:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Own choices (0+ / 0-)

          Just go the prohibition route and be honest.  A regressive tax on blue collar smokers to support a SCIP tax is unprincipled and unjust.  But not surprising.  God forbid, adults be allowed to make their own choices.

          •  why the pretense that the community (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eaglecries

            doesn't clean up your mess? Whether it's helmets on cyclists, or smokers, everyone pays to fix the health issues down the road that "adults making their own choices" cause.

            Nothing is more dishonest than "just leave me alone".

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 03:50:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Righteous high (0+ / 0-)

              Nothing more righteous than the crusader forcing others to live life by the crusaders standards.  Its for their own good as defined by the crusader.

              You crusaders are fighting human nature.  You may hurt and damage people with your taxes, fines, demonizations and prohibitions but you cannot beat human nature.  But crusaders don't understand they are fighting a losing battle.  Regardless  Crusaders enjoy the hell out of their righteous high.

              Prohibition, drug wars, taxes and demonization on cigarettes...  all about controlling others...for their own good.

              Authoritarians in action...for their own good.

              •  hah - i love when thre righteous (0+ / 0-)

                come barreling in only to be hoist on their own petard. Talk about projection...   ;-P

                Look, there's room for disagreement (plenty of room) but the public agrees with a tax on cigs for SCHIP by 60% or more. The polls are crystal clear on that.

                So it goes.

                "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 04:18:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  True enough (0+ / 0-)

                  Look, there's room for disagreement (plenty of room) but the public agrees with a tax on cigs for SCHIP by 60% or more. The polls are crystal clear on that.

                  Yes, 60 percent of the 80 percent agreeing that taxing the 20 percent for their benefit is a good idea.  Within democracy, tt is called tyranny of the majority.

                  So it goes.  

                  True enough but it is unprincipled.  There is a price to paid for unprincipled actions.  In this case, that 20 percent of smoking voters is extremely upset and we may see it in the ballot box.  Which is not good.

                  •  True enough (0+ / 0-)

                    Look, there's room for disagreement (plenty of room) but the public agrees with a tax on cigs for SCHIP by 60% or more. The polls are crystal clear on that.

                    Yes, 60 percent of the 80 percent of non-smokers agreeing that taxing the 20 percent of smokers for their benefit is a good idea.  Within democracy, it is called tyranny of the majority. (edited because I wasn't able to preview as I was fighting off a cat)

                    So it goes.

                     

                    True enough but it is unprincipled.  There is a price to paid for unprincipled actions.  In this case, that 20 percent of smoking voters is extremely upset and we may see it in the ballot box.  Which is not good.

                  •  now, that's an interesting point (0+ / 0-)

                    (truly interesting.) But it's doubtful that the smokers all think alike, vote as a block, blame Dems for the bipartisan bill, or even think cig taxes are the most important topic (as opposed to jobs and the economy or health care, which always rank higher.)

                    Got any data to support your contention? Didn't think so. I don't either, though we do know that the SCHIP-supporting Obama does well with all demos based on income (at 67%, less than 30K/year supports him more than upper income demos). So, by all means come up with some numbers showing it'll hurt Dems. Post them when you do. Data should change minds, but I suspect you don't really have any.

                    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 04:40:14 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Head in the sand (0+ / 0-)

                      (truly interesting.) But it's doubtful that the smokers all think alike, vote as a block, blame Dems for the bipartisan bill, or even think cig taxes are the most important topic (as opposed to jobs and the economy or health care, which always rank higher.)

                      I have conversations with many other smokers.  If you had you would know the anger sparked when you see a pound bag of tobacco go from $17 to $45.  It is human nature to be angry at that sort of tax hike.  And it is extremely easy to place the blame. The store I use has a sign on the front stating "Blame Obama and the democrats for any tax increase on our products".  And people know it is true.  You may dismiss the anger from your theoretical crusader viewpoint but realistically I would say every smoker that has to spend the extra dollars in today's economy is very angry.

                      And what is happening now is just a cumulation of increased taxes and demonization of smokers which has been increasing over the last 10 years.  Smokers are sick of it.

                      Just because the media doesn't cover it or studies haven't been conducted doesn't make it untrue.

                      Post them when you do. Data should change minds, but I suspect you don't really have any.

                      I know.  The anger is not real unless it is data....

                      I think you have your head buried in the sand if you really believe those 20% of voting Americans that smoke are not angry and it won't have a political impact.

          •  When your choice to smoke (0+ / 0-)

            gives someone else cancer then it is not just your choice.  There are real reasons why the income from these taxes tends to go toward health costs.

            Frankly, if you were to only smoke at home in a personal smoking room, you would have somewhat of an argument.  That would require, given human nature, such privacy-invasive costs to enforce that a few extra cents per pack is a more palatable compromise.

            But Holy State (we have lived to learn) Endeth in Holy War. - Kipling

            by nargel on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 09:29:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  and as far as hurting Dems (0+ / 0-)

        you do know the polls are overwhelmingly in favor of the tax to help pay for SCHIP, right? And that it was a bipartisan idea pushed by grassley and Hatch?

        So, where's your data to back up your strong opinion?

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 03:37:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  20 percent (0+ / 0-)

          Of course, only one in five voting Americans smoke.  The 80 percent that don't smoke have no problem with taxing the 20 percent of smokers for SCIP.  So polls would show overwhelming support.

          But that 20 percent of voting Americans is very unhappy with Obama and the democrats.  Remember your taxes won't go up if you make less than $200,000.  Sure fooled a lot of blue collar smokers...once.  

          But the Democratic party is the white collar party-not blue collar.  They are also the party of prohibition and telling people how to live. It is the authoritarian wing of the left in action.

          And you see no problems with your actions.  It is for their own good.  Just like alcohol prohibition and the drug war.

          Crusades can't beat human nature no matter how righteous you feel.

          •  29 percent? It used to be much (0+ / 0-)

            higher.  The previously hidden health costs, and not just to the smoker, once studied have caused that percentage to drop quickly down to your stated 20%.

            Alcohol prohibition was enough of a bad example to keep tobacco prohibition thankfully of the table.  The drug war is a failure, in part, due to the scientific evidence that the stated rational is false to fact unlike the evidence of tobacco's physically harmful effects.  Show me substantial evidence of tobacco having an anti-cancer effect and I'll join you're side of the argument tomorrow.

            But Holy State (we have lived to learn) Endeth in Holy War. - Kipling

            by nargel on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 09:45:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Hello David. First, thanks for being here today (16+ / 0-)

    and I'm a big fan.

    What will it take to get the right wing mindset to actually begin to understand and then be able to form the words "I was wrong." ?

    That is the one thing that I believe holds them back so very much at this time.

    'Media' is the plural for 'mediocre'. - Rene Saguisag

    by funluvn1 on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:10:44 AM PDT

    •  It has to do with emotional investment (32+ / 0-)

      People form their identities around their political beliefs, so asking people to back down from core beliefs is asking them to reconfigure their personal identities. Tough thing to do.

      This is where person interaction is critical, because that's the only level I've ever seen it break down. We can form all the movements we like and ultimately overpower them, but we'll never change their minds like that.

      The only thing that changes people's minds is blowing up their preconceptions. One of the biggest preconceptions is that liberals are arrogant, prissy assholes with no common sense at all. I love blowing that one up by letting people get to know me.

      •  Sensable and obvious, thank you. (6+ / 0-)

        Letting others understand your basic character is beyond important in being taken seriously (or not, if your basic character is flaky).

        I don't fight with my right wing co-workers as it does nothing.  Sure, I tease the hell out of them at times, but for real discussions they know I will ask real questions about their statements.  We are starting to agree with reality these days.  Even the teabagger amoung us is starting to bend.

        Hey everyone!  Read David's comment above and be reassured.

        'Media' is the plural for 'mediocre'. - Rene Saguisag

        by funluvn1 on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:23:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  HI David (4+ / 0-)

        First excellent interview, I haven't read your book yet, but am looking forward to it.

        Second, your phrase 'People form their identities around their political beliefs' caught my eye and it made me think of something Susan Neiman observed in her recent book "Moral Clarity"

        She writes "You can not take the relationship between self and the world for granted, if you've seen very much of it".

        That relationship between self and the world I've always assumed to be political so it's not such a far stretch from your own observation, but what makes it interesting is the context in which she writes this. Neiman's talking about this in relation to how we understand and empathize with mythical hero figures, specifically the distinction between Achilles and Odysseus. Odysseus, she contends is fully human, wily and skilled, but also, at times, vainglorious and foolish. Her argument though is that morally speaking, if Odysseus can be a hero "so, in short, can we"

        I wonder how much of what passes as delusional in conversation by one side of the polity is understood as heroic by the other at some level--our unabomber vs. their Terry McVeighs--those are probably the furtherest extremes outward, but you could ratchet up levels of civilty and tone down the incivility until you were comparing Eisenhower to Kennedy--both of whom I greatly respect; but both of whom were also deeply flawed humans, who could still bear an heroic image.

        Maybe in some ways the deep yearing of our world is a search for heros in one form or another and the contorted hate speech of the right is merely the frustration at realizing they don't have any, not yet anyhow. And this, in fact, may be a good thing.

        Reagan was far more dangerous to the world and to our country than Rush Limbaugh, and ultimately Rush Limbaugh is far more dangerous than Timothy McVeigh. It seems there is an essential ingredient that we need to watch out for--it's not just the rabidity of the hate or the toxicity of the words, but that person who seemingly comes from nowhere, who is widely loved or repsected, who is somehow charming and who can tap into those feelings without turning off everybody else on the planet.

        Mussolini was that kind of guy, so was Hitler. Ultimately, I think, they called him 'father' because he was their hero.

        DelicateMonster a slightly left of center reading experience

        by DelicateMonster on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:24:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Can I ask one question about the tea baggers? (14+ / 0-)

    from my observations, it seemed that there were several different movements coming together, sometimes with radically different views and goals. It almost reminded me of our regional GOP from 2000-2008.

    Do you think that the stem cell protesters, the tax protesters, the anti-Obama protesters, the anti-military cuts protesters, the anti-leaving Iraq protesters, the anti liberal protesters, and those who call Obama a fascist in one sentence and a socialist in the next, can organize, combine forces, decide on just 2 or 3 issues,  and become a real movement?

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:11:10 AM PDT

    •  Aren't they already? (27+ / 0-)

      I actually think that's exactly what the Tea Tantrums were all about: uniting all these disparate factions under a single banner of right-wing populism.

      It's not a healthy development, let's put it that way.

      •  there's no Perot to lead them right now (5+ / 0-)

        the Becks and such aren't running for office.

        That could change. but the movement predates this year... there are always april 15 protests.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:21:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perot may have been portrayed (6+ / 0-)

          as a loony in search of his bin, but he was not preaching revolution, death to Obama, or violence. Actually, he struck a nerve with 30% of America, which felt that both parties were horribly corrupt.

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:35:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perot was also not an idealogue, and he took fair (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            snakelass, Neon Vincent

            shots at Republicans as well as Democrats. I remember in '92, when he bowed out of the race only to return to it some time later, saying that "the dirty-tricks Republicans" had soiled his campaign and tried to smear his daughter as a way to coerce him to back out of the race.

            He was conservative, indeed, but he wasn't a right-wing lunatic. He was stridently pro-choice and picked a VP candidate who, however unprepared he was for his VP debate, did snap out of his seemingly-confused state at the podium when asked about the abortion issue to passionately assert, "I don't believe the government can make decisions over a woman's body!" to huge applause.

            Perot also pointed out the arrogance of public servants on both sides of the aisle to act like they were royalty instead of duly-elected representatives who were supposed to do the people's business. One of my favorite lines was his admonishment to Congresspeople who insisted on buying first-class airfare and riding on Air Force One with the President: "Buy a coach-class seat, eat a terrible meal, and check your baggage like everyone else in this country."

            Yeah, he wasn't the most refined candidate in the book, but I think that was part of his appeal: even though he, like Bush Sr., was a multi-millionaire, he didn't come across as a debonair phony who chose his words carefully to avoid offending his voting constituency. A lot of voters found that refreshing, which is why he won 20% of the popular vote that year (although much less in '96). Too bad his Reform Party took a colossal-fail nosedive when Pat Buchanan jumped on the party's bandwagon in 2000 and ran as a Presidential candidate under the Reform banner. Eeeew.

            End the gerrymandering; stand for fairness in Florida: FairDistrictsFlorida.org

            by boofdah on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:37:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In the early 80's (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              boofdah

              it was fairly well known in the IT industry that Perot made that money by getting government contracts through greasing palms and then proceding to provide shabby equipment as a part of fullfilling those contracts.  Being a third party was not the only reason he lost.

              But Holy State (we have lived to learn) Endeth in Holy War. - Kipling

              by nargel on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 09:54:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Ron Paul and Sarah Palin (5+ / 0-)

          They're both right-wing populists, and that's the direction it's taking for sure.

          Of course, Newt is really good at faking the populism, so he might be able to pull it off.

  •  David thank you for writing about the extremists (12+ / 0-)

    It's important, I am glad some one is taking this seriously.

    A witty saying proves nothing. Voltaire

    by Dirtandiron on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:13:55 AM PDT

  •  Glad to see you here, Dave (20+ / 0-)

    We former Idahoans (not to mention all of us up here in the upper left) got some bad news via AP yesterday. Despite the success in fighting Butler and drumming out the Aryan nations at the beginning of the decade, Aryan nations is back recruiting in northern Idaho.

    I think this time we need to band together across the region to keep them from getting re-established. But how, and what can the regional blogosphere do to help that?

    •  Ah, they never left (27+ / 0-)

      The compound closed, but those folks were always there. They just faded back into the woods a bit for a few years, but they were having little convocations in places like Farragut State Park in the years after they shut down that compound.

      So now they're emboldened and coming back out, and I suspect it's because of Obama. They hear all those Idaho Republicans bashing him and figure it's prime recruitment time.

      That's always been the problem for Idaho: They just don't want to talk about it. They want to pretend it isn't there. They especially want to pretend that the rabid liberal-hating that's a basic part of the political discourse in Idaho has nothing to do with it, either.

      Which is, of course, half the problem.

      What to do about it? Jesus, if I knew that, I'd still live there. The best I've ever figured out is to just make sure the counter-information gets distributed.

      •  But the folks in Northern Idaho (12+ / 0-)

        weren't pretending they weren't there, and I'm really proud of some Idaho Dems like Mary Lou Reed, and plenty of non-political but civically-minded folks who stood up against them. It wasn't a statewide effort, to a large degree, which is I guess a reflection of Idaho's fractured physical and political geography.

        I see a real microcosm of the liberal moral superiority you talk about in our region. When folks here in Seattle think about Idaho at all (or even eastern Washington) it's with the kind of dismissive attitude that just assumes those folks are ignorant and susceptible to hate. We do need to work on that, and I think our blogosphere is a way to do that.

        Tara at The Political Game in Idaho has been great at tracking that horrible Zeb Bell, along with Left Side of the Moon and MountainGoat. They talk about the "rabid liberal-hating" part of Idaho's ongoing political discourse.

        I guess I want to figure out how we on the other side of the Cascades can help them. I think it would be informative for a national effort to combat hate.

        •  Father Bill (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mcjoan, boofdah, Andrew Ekud, Neon Vincent

          Unfortunately, Father Bill has passed, but his model is always there to follow. We ought to find a way to encourage a new one.

        •  We live in E WA now (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          canyonrat, mcjoan, boofdah, Neon Vincent

          and my wife lived in Bonners Ferry, ID for a while in the early 1980s. Both places have/had sizable far left contingents, and they get along with the loony far right just fine in general and in particular on some issues - for example, government-owned hydro and irrigation, or survivalism and keeping the government out of your business.

          In general, I've found people in E WA a lot more tolerant of divergent viewpoints than people from the Seattle area. We're involved in several different community projects - partly political in nature - and for most of the people we've worked with, I couldn't tell you their political orientation (other than the ones who surprisingly turned up at local Dem Party meetings or caucuses).

          Coming from the midwest, I've always chalked it up to the fact that you count on your neighbors a lot more in the rural west and people are more interested in helping and getting things done than in segregating by political ideology.

          And while I know a few people who are far to the left of me (and I'm pretty far to the left already), I can't think of anyone here I'd suspect of militia sympathies. If they're here, they don't have much visibility. I get into more arguments with people who supported Wal-Mart coming here.

          Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho

          by badger on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:18:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm Sorry, Rationality IS Superior to Superstitn, (22+ / 0-)

    tolerance is morally superior to hate.

    Ideas that are facts are absolutely superior to ideas that are fraudulent.

    Some things actually are better than others.

    Liberalism does not have a logically or a morally equivalent opponent. It has only a vicious enemy that's not at all interested in governing differently, but in conquering to rule.

    As soon as somebody finds a way to assemble a significant sized conservative movement, and makes an electorally viable 3rd party at minimum out of it, we're not in a political contest, we're in a fight for the survival of our form of government not just political power.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:15:15 AM PDT

    •  You're right, but ... (26+ / 0-)

      I think the problem is that we wield our rightness like a club.

      Look, right-wingers believe they are being moral when they bash gays. And we believe that's fundamentally immoral. And there's no reason to change that.

      But we need to be able to look at them and recognize that they too believe they are doing the right and good thing.

      Where I've found liberals can be effective in changing people's minds is in demonstrating that right-wing assumptions about liberals' reasoning, and particularly the moral dimensions of their reasoning, are ill-grounded.

      Taking gay-bashing as the working example: Conservatives assume liberals are tolerant of gays because we want to promote sexual libertinism, etc etc. It almost always throws wingnuts for a loop to discover that you may be just as opposed to libertinism, but believe even more strongly in fair play and equal opportunity as core American principles. And when you start asking them why they don't believe in those principles, it begins to shake their worldview.

      •  We've seen this in environmental issues (17+ / 0-)

        I'm in Texas, surrounded (lol!) by many various types of right wingers...and often, they want to know why we "hate people!" because there are fights to save animals or plants or whatever - the idea is that "tree hugging" environmentalists hate people.

        Well, there is a great deal of discussion about the exploding human population (but that doesn't mean we want to kill people, just that we are concerned many of those yet unborn will die miserable deaths due to lack of resources!), and there are many fights to preserve fresh clean water that come down to preserving habitat for endangered species (cave crickets, salamaders, fish) and people don't understand that using the Endangered Species Act to save some tiny creature's habitat is what preserves fresh clean water for us humans - and for future generations of humans.

        It takes taking to people one on one to really get that kind of message across.  It is just so hard and seems so futile compared to the blaring RW media machine of misinformation.

        But we do what we can.  

        •  They have good reason (6+ / 0-)

          "the idea is that "tree hugging" environmentalists hate people"

          They have good reason for feeling that way. Logging means jobs which means putting food out for your family and not watching them starve. Then Liberal "tree huggers" come and spike the trees and that kills human beings but you don't care about that because for you trees really are more important than human lives. Then the liberals demonize the working class, yell at them, laugh at at them, tell them they are worthless pieces of shit

          and then liberals wonder why they are despised.

          --

          And of course, simply for saying this I'll get accused of being a troll. Fuck that noise.

          We are in a vicious circle of angry recriminations that repeat the same horror scene over and over. The only way to break such cycles is for someone, that would be us, to step up and just stop. Just fucking stop it.

          There is a word for what we need, it's called solidarity

          Solidarity means giving support to a stranger on their own terms; so solidarity differs from community because it is extended to strangers, and differs from philanthropy because it is given on the stranger’s own terms, not that of the giver.

          In other words, solidarity is not about you. It's about meeting the Other as they are, not as you wish them to be.

          But that means dropping one's hubris:

          def: "Overbearing pride or presumption"

          type of:
          haughtiness
          hauteur
          high-handedness
          lordliness
          and... oh? what is that word? Oh yeah... arrogance.

          "My cow is not pretty, but it is pretty to me."

          by MnplsLiberal on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:41:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hypocrisy, thy name is MnplLiberal (4+ / 0-)

            You wave a broad brush in mischaracterizing "liberal" actions, then making a broad leap from actions you've created out of thin air to liberal motives which are "trees really are more important than human lives".  Then, you call for "solidarity" and "meeting the other as they are"???

            How about meeting us as we are, and not as some cartoonish figure made up by the right wing.  I support the working class, as I AM THE WORKING CLASS.  Humans are more important than trees.  Still, logging may not always be the best idea.  Care to meet me as I am, not as you envision me?

            •  spiked trees? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              snakelass

              all the instances I know of where the haydukes of the world resorted to spiking, the spiking was made public after the fact and efforts were made to make sure that the forest service (or state equivalent) and bidding/owning companies were warned before cutting began. I never read of, heard, or saw EF! or any other radical eco-group direct violence towards people. And no, I don't consider the Unabomber to be part of some radical left fringie lone-wolf; he's a man who is mentally ill, and it quite clear that he has been so most of his life, his political theories are incidental to his psychosis.

              •  He may be wrong about spiked trees (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                canyonrat, ms badger

                but in general environmental groups are fairly clueless when it comes to understanding how both ecosystems and economies operate - and that includes groups a lot more mainstream than Earth First! or deep ecologists (it also excludes some groups like the Wilderness Society and Nature Conservancy).

                Generally, they fight the ideological battles (of which logging has become one), and forests, trees and animals don't much care about ideology.

                Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho

                by badger on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:27:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not an expert on environmental groups (0+ / 0-)

                  but I'm not sure what wide survey of environmental groups you have that shows they are "in general fairly clueless... (about) ecosystems".  

                  My point is, rather than argue about people who aren't us and what their beliefs, tactics, and knowledge are (or simply make up people to argue about, in the case of the post I responded to)...we could discuss the things WE think.  That's what I try to do, so I take issue with any characterization of all liberals as being any particular way--especially ways that are contrary to pretty much any "liberal/progressive/etc" I know.

        •  Texas bashing (0+ / 0-)

          There was another thread recently about our photogenic but loose-cannon governor. Many liberals were tempted to bash my state as a whole, not give credit to other Texans such as Molly Ivins or Ralph Yarborough or Bob Eckhardt. Or acknowledge Mary's Lounge as Houston's best gay bar.
          Some liberal hubris.

          •  Since I'm not a native Texan (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            scott5js

            I understand why Texas is such a fun target for bashing - but now that I live here (and love it) I really try to tamp down the Texas bashing.

            There are lots of really good folks down here.

            And the armadillos are kind of cute.

      •  definitely a danger. (5+ / 0-)

        We on the left have a group that thinks our criticism of Obama or Biden or Hilary is tantamount to treason. Group-think is the only way to achieve our goals, or some such nonsense.

        Of course, take one out of the group-think group, and ask the individual questions, say, "Do you support torture at Gitmo, knowing that 2/3s of all detainees were innocent of any crime or wrongdoing?" or, "Should all criminal acts be treated with a live and let live attitude, especially CIA agents who were simply following orders?"

        I suspect that taken out of group-think, that individual will rationally reason that we should prosecute the authors and actors of America's official torture policies of 2002-2008. And then it becomes inescapable to realize that Obama must be criticized for failing to uphold both domestic law and international treaties, both of which are critically important in making our country the beacon for all who love freedom.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:45:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Smug doesn't look good on either party. (7+ / 0-)

        I have a problem with the word Republican being turned into an epithet. I know and love plenty of Republicans amoungst my family and friends, some of who differ mightily with my political and cultural beliefs but I'd rather we kept it civil so we can talk about those differences. I still hope to change their minds! I don't want to be summarily dismissed or hated for my (D) affiliation anymore than more than they do for their (R).

        "The perfect is the enemy of the good." Voltaire

        by Melissa J on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:54:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Libertinism? (0+ / 0-)

        I support a strongly laissez faire polity concerning consensual sexual behavior and that is a core belief of mine. The right wing supports a strongly laissez faire polity concerning the conduct of business. I left the Republican Party about 1967 for the Democratic Party largely over what I did NOT want government to do. Like criminalizing abortion or marihuana or gay sex.
        And I visit Warmoesstraat when I am in Amsterdam.

    •  Absolutely right. BUT: (8+ / 0-)

      Rationality and reason alone aren't going to cut it.

      I am currently reading Drew Westen's The Political Mind.  The Eliminationists is next, sitting on my desk waiting for me to pick it up.  (There's a dissertation in here somewhere, and as soon as I find it my proposal is as good as done.  Any and all suggestions welcome.  :-))

      We can't just reason with these people.  According to Westen, that's been our mistake all along--right along with, as Mr. Neiwert so rightly points out, assumptions of our superiority that impede communication.  (NOT that there isn't a hierarchy of right here--just that assumptions about the Other, on both sides, make it impossible for us to either hear or be heard.)

      We have to make emotional and ethical appeals--we have to reach the values-connected part of the brain, using values-laden language, if we're really going to get anywhere in this "dialogue."

      Get back to me in a year or so for more details . . .

      •  Didn't Lakeoff wring "Political Mind"? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Neon Vincent

        ..I just finished it, and I agree with you that reason alone is not enough.

        Right wingers have a preset neuronet already constructed for them and it operates outside of reason.

        How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

        by rhetoricus on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:56:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  um, "write," I mean. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Neon Vincent

          How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

          by rhetoricus on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:57:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I see... they are robots? (0+ / 0-)

          Well then we should exterminate them right? It's like they are almost human!!

          But we are different. We are the Children of Light. We are all that is good and right in the world. We certainly don't operate outside of Reason! We are not machines, we are pure Spirits who have come down to this gross material plane to lead these poor troglodytes into the Liberal Utopia of Love.

          How dare they reject us!! WIPE THEM OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH!!

          "My cow is not pretty, but it is pretty to me."

          by MnplsLiberal on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:52:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Read Lakeoff. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kafkananda

            And don't put words in my mouth. You sound like a troll.

            The left tends to over-privilege the effectiveness of Enlightenment reasoning and debate, and fails to appreciate how word combinations and pairings create neuro-pathways in the brain that operate at levels beneath reason. The right wing media DOES understand this, and it's one of the reasons they are infinitely more effective even though they'd most often lose an argument based on facts. There's a reason they go for accusations instead of facts. It's because neurologically, they often work better.

            Luntz and others on the right are master rhetoricians, and they understand that if people hear (and use) "liberal" and "traitor" together over and over and over, pretty soon the mind will automatically associate the two words. If people hear "Muslim" and "terrorist" together repeatedly, the brain will associate "Muslim" with "terrorist" automatically, and "Muslim" will trigger the same emotional response that "terrorist" does.

            No, we're not children of light. But if we don't get the strategy behind right wing propaganda, we'll never appreciate why it works so well.

            How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

            by rhetoricus on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 04:50:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And by the way? (0+ / 0-)

            After this unbelievably nasty and offensive comment, I find this diary of yours immensely ironic. Perhaps you'd like to read it yourself a few more times.

            How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

            by rhetoricus on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 04:53:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Question, Dave (16+ / 0-)

    First, thank you for all you do. I've long enjoyed your work at Orcinus.

    Now, my question concerns right-wing radio and FOX news. Institutions like this can and do broadcast complete falsehoods, they whip the public into hysterics, and they even seem seditious at times, such as when they accuse of the Obama's of making "a terrorist fist-jab."

    Do the demands of free speech mean that we have no recourse except counter-media action? Any room for some implementation of a fairness doctrine? Or is the cure worse than the disease?

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:17:15 AM PDT

    •  Raven beat me to the Fairness Doctrine (9+ / 0-)

      I believe reinstating the Fairness Doctrine would go a long way to balancing the "debate" in this country, but in your opinion Mr. Neiwert, is there any chance in bringing it back?

      Also, not only is there just pure hate and venom spewed by these right-wing talkers but it's obviously erroneous and/or just plain lying.  Shouldn't the FCC be watchful of public airwaves not being used to hoodwink the American public.

      Thanks again Dave and Susan.

      My favorite color is orange, love long walks on the beach, and I enjoy kicking Republicans right in their canards!

      by MacJimi on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:30:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  FCC is limited (13+ / 0-)

        Jim, remember the FCC only regulates the public airwaves -- broadcast TV and radio. It has no oversight when it comes to cable and other forms of communication. Still, we can and should make effective reforms there. A carrot and stick approach would work: Make it so that the civic-responsibility aspect of ownership is a part of handing out FCC licenses. And then devise ways to make ownership not merely a function of wealth, so that more diverse and energetic voices can be heard.

        Still, we need to look at a broader-based media solution. I argue for democratizing the media as much as possible.

        •  Even if it didn't affect Fixed News (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eaglecries

          and the other cable channels, it would at least help with the right wing hate radio problem.  Combine it with some good old fashioned trustbusting to break up the media monopolists into smaller companies and things might start to turn around.

      •  Serious first Amendment issues here (0+ / 0-)

        Fortunately, President Obama has resisted calls by some to bring outright government censorship back to talk radio, and rejected bringing back the incredibly mis-named "fairness doctrine." There is no constitutional "right" to "balanced debate," and thank heavens, otherwise you'd be having a pro-life speaker follow the keynote at every NARAL event, a gun-control advocate given equal time at NRA rallies, etc. And more ludicrous and alarming, you'd have some government official in charge of enforcing it... no opportunity for abuse there, eh?

        As for your contention that the "hate and venom spewed by... right wing talkers" is "erroneous and/or just plain lying," well, by who's definition? Yours? Are you really suggesting that there should be punishment for those who espouse views that fail to conform to "government approved" truth?

        The whole reason we have competitive politics in this country is because people fundamentally believe in different "truths" about what the best policy is in most instances. It may be beyond a shadow of doubt to you that tax cuts for the wealthy are bad policy, while there is a considerable number of Americans who believe otherwise. Should the government be kicking people off the air if they give the "wrong" answer to the question of "should taxes be cut on the wealthy to stimilate the economy?"

        Inviting the government into the role you propose is a frightening concept for anyone who understands the First Amendment. Mr. Neiwert's suggestion that "civic responsibility" be an aspect of handing out licenses also seems a thinly-veiled effort to pressure broadcasters to toe the party line, or else.

        Sean Parnell
        President
        Center for Competitive Politics
        http://www.campaignfreedom.org
        sparnell@campaignfreedom.org

    •  Not a Fairness Doctrine, but definitely reform (24+ / 0-)

      Yeah, media reform is absolutely critical to turning this tide. I've written a bit recently about the Fairness Doctrine -- I once advocated its return -- and argue now instead for something different: An ownership doctrine.

      Basically, we need to get some diversity in ownership. In a sense, that's what the blogosphere is -- we're all owners of our own media entities, and so we've expanded the discourse that way. It's essentially been a market response to a market dysfunction.

      But the conglomeration of media, and particularly corporate ownership that has demanded a 15 percent return for stockholders, has just killed the existing media, because it's destroyed its diversity.

    •  Maybe some sort of regulatory body (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ms badger

      that would evaluate whether an entity had the right to call itself a news outlet, rather than entertainment?  It just hit me reading your comment, but it would retain free speech, but would force it to call itself what it actually is.

      How off the wall is that?

      If not me, who? If not now, when?

      by ramara on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:06:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I, for one (6+ / 0-)

    would welcome being "in the deep kimchee" as I've rediscovered my love of it lately.

    But as you clearly meant it metaphorically, maybe not.

    I need to read up before I can ask an appropriate question, but I've long held a belief that we need to begin looking at our problems more holistically. Until Americans stop thinking "foreigners" are inferior, or conversely other nations cease viewing global warming as "America's fault", we'll have a steep uphill battle in solving global problems.

    The best way to save the planet is to keep laughing.

    by LaughingPlanet on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:18:29 AM PDT

  •  Excellent Diary. (7+ / 0-)

    I'm for what actually works.

    We need to help educate our quick-to-anger right-wing brethren.  Knowledge, and the power to reason, are some of the most effective counter-measures against hate.

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:19:32 AM PDT

  •  Here's my question... (7+ / 0-)

    why has the American populace continuously put up with these violent segments of their society? Can it really be just a freedom thing? All i see here, is an never-ending cycle...

    I love the smell of napalm in the morning

    by Jazzenterprises on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:19:55 AM PDT

  •  The bad old days... (5+ / 0-)

    ...I remember when Barry Goldwater wanted to "saw off the entire Eastern Seaboard and let it float out to sea" --not to mention Kent State some years later,  when there was plenty of sentiment that the dead kids got just what they deserved, the dirty hippies, and it should happen to more of them. In retrospect it seems like it was worse back then than it is now.  

  •  Intentionally raising the profile of Rush & Ann (8+ / 0-)

    and other extremists on the "Right."  
    While Media Matters, SPLC, and ADL keep track and publicize their most inflammatory comments, President Obama and many political strategists are seeking to make these extremists the "face" of the GOP.  What good or bad consequences do you see coming from this strategy?  

  •  Let's not fail to see the forest... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue armadillo, Neon Vincent

    .
    . . . for the crazy trees.

    To wit:  a comment of mine re: the upswing in "State's Rights" (aka "get Washington off our backs") rhetoric in D'stower story from earlier today.

    bg
    ________________

    "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

    by BenGoshi on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:26:53 AM PDT

    •  P.S. -- not saying you *don't* see this, David. (5+ / 0-)

      .
       Just want to emphasize that this is just another uptick in the flailing-about sociopathy of an sub-strata of racists and bigots who have (sadly) been part of our nation's history from the get go.

       I'm a male WASP living in and from the Deep South, by the way.  An attorney who used to do a great deal civil rights litigation, mainly workplace-related.  I do other things now.

       bg
      _________________

      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

      by BenGoshi on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:30:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for a serious, measured look at what's (10+ / 0-)

    happening with the Right Wing and the wingnuts, two different entities IMO.

    I'm frightened by the cynical, not so much by the true believers.  Rush Limbaugh and the hate/anger fanners at Fox are the most disgusting examples of this phenomenon.  They don't believe what they say, but they know it pays in ratings.  I'm hoping that Fox will be marginalized, but fear that it won't happen until there is violence, and that violence is connected to the Glenn Becks and Limbaughs.

    I also appreciate your courage in pointing out that liberals and progressives have aspects of the same kind of "I'm right and you're a fool" hubris.  Our chances of reaching the less radical of the right wing are lessened when we take that stance.

    A clear example of change comes with the GLBT community becoming mainstream.  It's easy to hate gays as a group if you're bent that way, much harder to demonize them when you have a personal involvement with gays who fit into your community and workplace, because they are, after all, regular people with jobs and families, taxpaying citizens, and involved (often) in community building.

    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" - F. Schiller

    by I love OCD on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:29:03 AM PDT

  •  Dear Mr. Neiwert (6+ / 0-)

    Thank you for writing this book (and SusanG for the review - will check it out and the book too!)

    I have two questions:

    1. How would you advise President Obama/local/state authorities to deal with people that attend tea parties and hold up signs calling for violence against the President?  I liked the President Clinton except above, and I remember that speech.
    1. Have you read this document:

    Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, April 7, 2009  (link: http://www.fas.org/...

    I worked for both the Forest Service (in rural Oregon) and Bureau of Land Management (in very rural Idaho) in the early 90's while in college.  The extremists that hated President Clinton, with their militia movements, their wolf-killings, their bombing attempts of federal offices, their anti-UN ignorant speech, their anthrax-sending to abortion clinics nationwide....and of course the results at Ruby Ridge, Waco, OKC, etc - lead me to REALLY worry now with the Internet, media, etc being hat it is now, compared to 1993-1996.    I am now living abroad and am watching this from afar and can't seem to shake the sense of Deja Vu.

    Thank you in advance for you answer and your book.

    Check out the work of the World YWCA at http://www.worldywca.org

    by LokiMom on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:30:54 AM PDT

  •  No bright line between them, but two... (5+ / 0-)

    .
    . . . generally different kinds of -- or underlying causes for -- Radical Rightists (also posted in D'stower's story earlier today):
    .

     A.  Everything "going right" for you, but you have some kind of diagnosable mental health issues (e.g., narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, sociopathy...) then you're going to lash out at somebody, something, most any thing but yourself.  You're likely not going to critically self-reflect, but, rather, create demons, gin-up an "Other" at which you you can be pissed-off and focus your anger upon.

    . . . or,

    B.  Everything's "going wrong" for you (job, debt, the general stressers in life) and you're just a rather simple-minded person (and I don't mean like Zen Master "Simple", I mean like my former father-in-law simple), then, by damn, it's always somebody else's fault:  the blacks, the liberals, the foreigners, the gays, etc.  

    .

    Now we've got a couple of political parties, as well as an amorphous, formless, but organic "Libertarian" thing in our society.  One Party (Blue Dog exceptions notwithstanding) seeks to get to the heart of our nation's challenges and work through them, the other Party -- along with their "Libertarian" allies -- seeks to use and exploit the sad, twisted and even dangerous proclivities of those who fit generally in either Catagory A or B above.  

    And mind you:  there's billions upon billions of dollars to be made in keeping either A- or B-people (noting that there's often no bright line separating the two) all stirred-up and frothing at the mouth.  Murdoch, Ailes and all the Hate Radio people know this.

    .
     

    bg
    _________________

    "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

    by BenGoshi on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:36:09 AM PDT

  •  So what are the implications FOR FREE SPEECH ?!?? (0+ / 0-)

    Eliminationists DON'T have a monopoly on elimination.
    The whole framework of the book is MISSING the ACTUAL issue.  "Eliminating the other side" is a POSITIVELY GOOD thing if the other side is EVIL.
    The problem is that no ETHNICITY or other group of people defined by a PHYSICAL characteristic CAN be evil.  The only kinds of groups that can be evil are groups defined by the evilness of their shared IDEOLOGY.  And if you CAN'T "eliminate" THEM then you necessarily have to tolerate their eliminationist speech in your political discourse.  And the antidote to THAT, the naivete of the ACLU notwithstanding, IS NOT "more free speech"!!

    The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

    by ge0rge on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:37:01 AM PDT

    •  If we stand by the constitution... (4+ / 0-)

      then we have no alternative but to counter hateful speech with "more free speech." Obama really modeled it during the campaign. Keep on calmly telling the truth. Empower many, many others to stand up and tell the truth every time hateful, untrue rhetoric is used.

      "The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time." - Terry Tempest Williams

      by your neighbor on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:05:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  this is naive to the point of stupidity (0+ / 0-)

        Keep on calmly telling the truth. Empower many, many others to stand up and tell the truth every time hateful, untrue rhetoric is used.

        This nation would still have segregated schools if those had been the tactics employed in the 1950s and 60s.  Ultimately, the majority had to enforce its will AT GUNPOINT upon the evil minority.  Before that could happen, the evil majority had to be seen using dogs and firehoses on children, to motivate the majority to act with the necessary force.

        The situation now is not exactly similar and other tactics may be more effective.  But as long as Fox owns media AND WE DON'T, just talking WILL NOT cut it.

        The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

        by ge0rge on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:35:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ms badger, kafkananda

      "Eliminating the other side" is a POSITIVELY GOOD thing if the other side is EVIL.

      This is exactly wrong. You need to read a bit about Jung and the Shadow. Within the other side are characteristics that society NEEDS--and if we kill them off (even metaphorically), then our side becomes unbalanced and we become evil also.

      M. Scott Peck once wrote that there really is an Original Sin--and the core of it is laziness; people who want a quick way to solve a problem, and who are unwilling to put in the time and effort to discover the RIGHT way to solve it.

      Eliminating the other side because it is evil, is simply another way of demonizing other human beings--exactly the same sin that the right-wing is attempting now on a grand scale.

      We need to HEAL them, not destroy them.

      Pain and death are often considered evil, and people go to great lengths to avoid them--but where would Life itself be without them? (Not without them for the moment--that can be quite pleasant.  But without them AT ALL!)

      •  Jung is not an ethicist (0+ / 0-)

        You need to read a bit about Jung and the Shadow. Within the other side are characteristics that society NEEDS

        Oh, bullshit.
        You certainly can't name one such characteristic.
        This is all about how you DEFINE "side".  Obviously, if we are talking ethnicity, then it is not possible for any ethnicity to have anything that other ethnicities couldn't also have.

        Eliminating the other side because it is evil, is simply another way of demonizing other human beings--exactly the same sin that the right-wing is attempting now on a grand scale.

        NO, REALLY, IT ISN'T.
        I am so  sick and tired of people telling the lie that we are "like" the other side.  The other side is eliminating on the basis of innate characteristics.  THAT is how THEY define "side".  WE are defining IDEOLOGICALLY AGAINST that.

        We need to HEAL them, not destroy them.

        If the sides are defined by BELIEFS then that is THE SAME thing.  Convincing somebody to agree with you and abandon their old  position means that there is no longer a holder of the old bad position IN EXISTENCE.  That is one obvious DIFFERENCE BETWEEN the way THEY define "side" and the way we do.

        The issue in any case IS NOT who gets healed or destroyed BUT RATHER what the law says IN THE MEANTIME, and who gets healed or destroyed AS A RESULT of the bad people's VOTES continuing to get counted.  The right wing discounted some black people's votes in Florida in 2000 and LOTS OF PEOPLE GOT DESTROYED over the next 8 years as a result.  ALL tactics that would've resulted in FEWER innocent people getting disfranchised and destroyed ARE MORE legitimate (for that reason alone) than tolerance of the right wing was.

        The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

        by ge0rge on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:32:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

          If the sides are defined by BELIEFS then that is THE SAME thing.

          Why don't you make it clear that you are trying to eradicate faulty thinking/beliefs, then?

          The way you chose to phrase things simply stirs up panic and anger. Neither of which help when the task is changing beliefs.

          Consider how effective GWB's tactics were in changing similar beliefs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

          Other people only change because THEY want to. Attempts to force change only create stubbornness and resistance.

          The effective way to generate changes of heart is to simultaneously 1) demonstrate non-agression and 2) undermine the wacko belief system.

          Ghandi, Jesus, Mandela, and MLKing pulled it off.

  •  A Question for Mr. Neiwert (6+ / 0-)

    You mention in your response to SusanG's second question that liberal bloggers and media watch groups are providing the same sort of outside critique that the NCAAP provided against lynchings, and that this is one important factor in ratcheting down the right-wing rhetoric.

    I would like to ask if you see any spots of hope within the Conservative movement itself, more akin to the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching in the South, that show promise for moderating the more violent influences.  Personally, I feel like there are a few people, Meagan McCain perhaps most notable among them, who are starting to gain some traction for arguing that the current direction of the Republican party and the conservative movement is self-destructive.  I can't see any evidence of an organized anti-eliminationist movement within conservativism myself, but I would like to know if you see any hopeful signs coming from ANYWHERE within the movement - signs we can either watch for or help encourage.

    Also, thank you very much for taking the time to talk with all of us here. (^_^)

    •  Alas, no (10+ / 0-)

      You know, there are folks like Meghan McCain, but she seems pretty lightweight. Cal Thomas has more heft, so I see some potential with him. But mostly you have folks like John Cole and Andrew Sullivan content to be exiles, so I'm not really seeing any reform within conservatism on the immediate horizon. Just a steady downward spiral.

      •  Don't forget P.J. O'Rourke as well... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        billlaurelMD, Neon Vincent

        ...but, per your assessment of John Cole and Andrew Sullivan, maybe he too is content to be an exile. Like Cole and Sullivan, his works and arguments in favor of conservatism are some of the only materials I quite honestly can not only stomach, but appreciate, admire, and revere.

        It is tragic to me that the very thoughtful conservatives, who actually do want to engage people of all political and philosophical bents in a meaningful conversation, are continually drowned-out by the rabidness of the hatemongers and eliminationists.

        End the gerrymandering; stand for fairness in Florida: FairDistrictsFlorida.org

        by boofdah on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:47:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  thank you for answering our questions, David (8+ / 0-)

    While reading the interview, one question remained throughout.  How can we heighten the exposure of Media Matters, etc. when the right (and corporatist) megaphone is so huge.  Media Matters is already being demonized.  My fear, is that these important organizations are only preaching to the choir.

  •  Morning Bobbleheads were really insufferable toda (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jay C, boofdah

    Apparently if you're a Democratic administration, you're not allowed to single out right-wing terrorists.

    But, if you're Bush-Cheney, it's perfectly acceptable, even justified, to target lefties.

  •  I'm curious about your take on the Prison Culture (0+ / 0-)

    But a lot of why I think anti-liberal memes have so much success out in rural areas is that we’ve actually withdrawn from any dealings with rural dwellers, they have no idea what we’re really like, what our actual reasons are for taking the positions we take.

    I believe the same can be said about our move away from caring about the Civil Rights and Rehab. of those sent to prison. We have allowed millions to suffer ridiculously long sentences for minor crimes knowing full well they will be raped and beaten, if not killed. Since Janet Napolitano has announced during Obamas Mexico trip that the decriminalization of drugs in off the table I'm not sure where we go from here.

    Grow Marijuana go to Prison, Torture a Detainee to Death and earn a Medal. No wonder people get high.

    by SmileySam on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:47:02 AM PDT

  •  Thanks Susan and David (2+ / 0-)

    As soon as I leave work I'm going to go buy David's book. I need to be better armed in the personal interaction area.  Whenever I get into a discussion with someone who is spouting utter untruths and is egaging in hateful, racist rhetoric, I go "blip!" and just want to call them out.  

    •  Start with asking them what their (8+ / 0-)

      basic core values are. Make them try to express any logic or sense to their nonsense, and they will quickly collapse into a puddle of goo.

      Rather than call them out, ask them questions about the core nature of what they believe: the questions will hopefully last longer and eat away at them every time they spout their nonsense.

      At work, we have this big blowout going on a regular about 'America is a Christian nation', and people there know I am a Jew, so they modify this and say 'America is a Christian-Judeo nation'.

      I ask them why they make an exception for Jews and not for Muslims or Hindus or Native American religious beliefs, and it quickly devolves into facts about what the Constitution says. The facts show them up in their ignorance, and they have no answer.

      It has put the seed of doubt in their minds.

  •  The 6th Time. (7+ / 0-)

    .
     This is the 6th time I've posted this in a Comments Thread within the past week.  When something fits, it fits.  Note that this was written in 1923:

     "The normal American of the 'pure-blooded' majority goes to rest every night with an uneasy feeling that there is a burglar under the bed, and he gets up every morning with a sickening fear that his underwear has been stolen.

     "This Anglo-Saxon of the great herd is, in many important respects, the least civilized of white men and the least capable of true civilization.  His political ideas are crude and shallow.  His is almost wholly devoid of esthetic feeling.  The most elementary facts about the visible universe alarm him, and incite him to put them down.  Educate him, make a professor of him, teach him how to express his soul, and he still remains palpably third-rate.  He fears ideas almost as much as he fears men. . . ."

       H.L. Mencken

      1923

    .

     The more things change . . .

     bg
    _______________

    "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

    by BenGoshi on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:51:40 AM PDT

    •  Maybe it is a brain thing. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BenGoshi, Neon Vincent

      I didn't agree completely with Garafalo's take on the tea-partying crowd but her comments on the different brain patterning idea resonated with me. I think the seemingly instinctive illogical responses of the folks Mencken wrote about are fear-based and related to more automatic self-preservation in response to new circumstances than reasoned critical thinking. There are plenty of the highly "educated" who are just goofy when it comes to facts intruding on their skewed perspectives. I used to work at re-habbing injured/orphaned wild things. Patience and positive conditioning sometimes took a very long time to gain any measure of calm and trust. Drugs helped when necessary! And sometimes we just couldn't help but get bitten for our efforts.

      I've been enjoying your commentaries I've found about the place today.

      "The perfect is the enemy of the good." Voltaire

      by Melissa J on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:21:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Do you believe that media deregulation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, Neon Vincent, whaddaya

    is part of the problem?

    It seems we're playing with the deck stacked against us when there are large media conglomerates, like FOX News, which have access to public airwaves and are free to spread whatever kind of hateful garbage advances their bottom line. And this development is a consequence, among other things, of the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine.

    Thank you for your good work on a subject which a lot of people would rather ignore.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:53:31 AM PDT

  •  David - What can we do (13+ / 0-)

    to get you on either Rachel Maddow's or Keith Olbermans's show?
    Susan great post - thank you.

    "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." - Mark Twain

    by phastphil40 on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:59:45 AM PDT

  •  What is to be done about FOX News and its ilk? (5+ / 0-)

    First of all, Mr. Neiwert, thank you for your book!  I bought it and read it, and it is excellent!

    I'm deeply concerned about the dominance of the extreme right-wing in the media - in FOX News, on CNN to a lesser extent, and on talk radio and elsewhere.

    The media made a huge circus out of the teabagging parties, yet when people on the left held anti-war demonstrations and Obama rallies that were at least an order of magnitude larger, the media blacked out coverage of those events and distracted us with missing white girls and celebrity meltdowns.

    And people like Glenn Beck are disturbing.  Outlets like FOX News are a wet dream for the transmitters who want to take the unacceptable and make it acceptable.

    Any ideas on how to deal with them?  I'm not one for infringing upon their First Amendment rights, but we're in a quandry.  Normally, I'd suggest calling them out, and places where we get a voice, we do so to great effect - Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, as well as web sites like Daily Kos are a huge help.  But FOX News will not give the left wing a voice.  At all.  Unless it's a strawman like Alan Colmes who got paid to be Sean Hannity's punching bag.

    In this environment where the right wing has a monopoly, they've become bolder - we're hearing more of the eliminationist rhetoric, and we're seeing stunts like Glenn Beck's "gasoline" act and Lou Dobbs' pandering to groups like the Minutemen (I'm told that when CNN turns off their cameras and pack up, the white sheets, swastikas and Confederate flags come out...)

    How do we counter their transmitters?  I'd suggest getting the FCC to break up the big media oligopoly - force the big boys like Clear Channel, News Corp, Viacom, etc. to sell a large number of their radio & TV stations, cable channels, web sites, newspapers, etc. - and not to each other!  There is the suggestion of reimplementing the Fairness Doctrine, but it doesn't seem politically feasible.

    Waster of electrons, unlawful enemy combatant. http://meldroc.com/

    by meldroc on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:00:04 AM PDT

    •  People to people... (6+ / 0-)

      I think the Obama campaign taught us how to do this. We need to confront people who drink up the FOX rhetoric with - the truth! Facts. Sources. When they assert something, ask for sources. FOX is not a source, it's a megaphone - where do THEY get their information? Here are my sources.

      This is hard work. It was during the campaign. We went online every day and posted links to facts in online comments sections of mainstream media outlets. We canvassed, we talked to neighbors, friends, coworkers and family members. We can't stop the "Fight the Smears" project now - we need it now more than ever. But I do believe it works. It will keep the fringe where it belongs - on the fringe.

      "The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time." - Terry Tempest Williams

      by your neighbor on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:13:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The key is their media peers (14+ / 0-)

      These people won't change until they become outcasts. What we're seeing on Fox right now is an almost catastrophic collapse of the journalistic system of ethics, which always depended on criticism and shaming from the rest of the journalism establishment to function properly. You know, it used to be that getting called on the carpet by CJR was a serious problem for you as a journalist. Now that's no longer the case, because Fox just then attacks CJR.

      Nobody in the media business is calling out Fox for their abysmal ethics, particularly in the area of their ambush tactics and their irresponsible hyperbole. And they're going to continue doing it until the rest of us journalists do that. Blogs and MM alone won't cut it.

      Also, we need to be more serious about getting onboard with Fox sponsor boycotts.

      •  SkinTheFox.com has a good list of sponsors... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ms badger, Neon Vincent

        ...see here--and another good site is Debone.com.

        Interestingly enough, the Ron Paulites even have a boycott FOX sponsor list, which I guess goes to show they do indeed have something in common with us.

        End the gerrymandering; stand for fairness in Florida: FairDistrictsFlorida.org

        by boofdah on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:55:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  try local talk radio sponsors (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          boofdah

          it's fun to listen just long enough to get the local limbaugh/hannity  sponsors telephone numbers and ask them if they agree with their racism, hate, and ignorance- and point out the fact the guys they're using to represent their product  have been wrong about everything important

          ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

          by certainot on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 05:06:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  but fox depends on talk radio (0+ / 0-)

        they would have been outcasts a long time ago, as 'journalists', except the talking points they regurgitate have been prechewed all over the country to a crowd the size of the one that voted for obama even before prime time every day.

        only the talk radio monopoly can do the coordinated uncontested repetition really needed to sell a lot of the crap that missinforms such large areas of the country. much of fox's audience goes there for viz reinforcement of the day or week in talk radio.

        TV, even fox, has to at least pretend to present a diff opinion- in talk radio, with a larger audience than fox and something that is listened to in cars and at work, not only is the message homogenous, most of the big blowhards have call screeners to protect them from correction and challenge.

        often, i think, liberals dismiss or underestimate the groundwork the talk radio does. IMO, it plays a dominant role in enabling crap the rest of the media puts out and where we are now, moving the political center way right and making acceptable the hate and racism and ignorance.

        ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

        by certainot on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 05:03:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I grew up ten miles from Tim McVeigh. (8+ / 0-)

    The right wing potential for violence is clearly, at least as far as I can see, almost exclusively a rural phenomenon. That's where all the militias and the nuttiest 'black helicopter' rhetoric live and breathe. The rural, agrarian regions in America have really been left behind by the general post-WWII prosperity. Particularly over the past two decades they've been in a steep socio-economic decline, as corporate agriculture has destroyed farming as a livelihood and the associated industrial base has been shipped to China.

    Now with Bush/Cheney's depression, the bottom has fallen out, and folks are getting really angry. The opportunistic demagoguing of Glenn Beck et al really is throwing matches at a gasoline spill.

    How can we in the progressive community meaningfully reach out to the angry white guys with guns before they do something really crazy? The ones I know are operating in an alternative reality, and I just don't know how to reach them when they start their rants about "Barack Hussein Obama is a communist". Where do you even begin?

    It's going to take at least a couple of decades of sustained infrastructure investment and a new economy to pull these rural communities out of their regional depression, to drain the social swamp these violent reptiles live in. I'm hoping that a combination of public shaming of the nuttier spokespeople like Beck and Limbaugh will delegitimize the entire crazy 'movement', but I dread that it will require another Oklahoma City to produce that "teachable moment".

    •  Sadly, I've had this experience as well. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Vincent

      The right-wingers I meet in normal life tend to BE the ones that assert what you've spelled out below:

      How can we in the progressive community meaningfully reach out to the angry white guys with guns before they do something really crazy? The ones I know are operating in an alternative reality, and I just don't know how to reach them when they start their rants about "Barack Hussein Obama is a communist". Where do you even begin?

      I truthfully wonder the same thing. How DOES one begin to confront such nonsense without risk of becoming the very "arrogant, smug" stereotype of a self-righteous liberal about which Neiwart warns us both here and in this book? My gut reaction is to tell such people a) to get lost or b) to grow up, or else to simply tell them they're wrong. I've read in many of the excellent responses that the way to identify with such people is via the shared common ground we all have as human beings and as Americans; yet how can you even FIND a shared common ground with a person who will not GIVE any ground to listen to you? :-/

      End the gerrymandering; stand for fairness in Florida: FairDistrictsFlorida.org

      by boofdah on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:53:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I try to start with concrete stuff. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        boofdah, ms badger, Neon Vincent

        I'm a small town family doctor, and I take care of many people like this. I don't routinely talk politics when doing a prostate exam, but when patients bring the subject up I do try to gently poke holes in some of the wingnuttier ideas. Recently I have had some success in pointing out that "socialized medicine" is better than pulling your own teeth with pliers or treating kidney stones with Advil; most folks in my depressed area are really feeling the pain of junk insurance or no insurance, and many are out of work.

        And lately I have had a few admitting their "liberal puke" of a doctor might have been right about that Iraq thing all along.

        So maybe there's hope yet.

  •  David, do you think it would be possible (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, Crashing Vor, Neon Vincent

    to convince some of the teabaggers that we have a common enemy? We're both angry over the economy. Would it be possible to get the RW populists to join us in re-regulating the financial industry?

  •  I've been 'tested' twice by a contractor (7+ / 0-)

    who I hired to do a fairly expensive project.  I agreed to the terms and the cost yet he seemed compelled to see where I stand.

    The first 'test' came at the initial meeting where the issue of his anti-evolution position came up out of nowhere and then the second time when we discussed the high cost of materials after I had OK'd the project, which he segued into, 'it's the Obama administration'.

    I deflected the evolution parry and simply said 'I support the Obama administration' for the second.

    Your book is on the way and thanks to the excellent review, I have a sense that what I'm re-telling here is an example of eliminationism, albeit a foolish one as I'm the one with the checkbook.

    Any comments?

    An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Mohandas Gandhi

    by msmacgyver on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:14:01 AM PDT

  •  Great interview, and I plan to read your book (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mike101, boofdah

    I'd say the answer is education and
    understanding basic facts and truths. This takes time, and so many Americans are just not willing to devote the time to even understand their own history, it's maddening. But that's changing.  

    It's easy to use labels to make charges that evoke an emotional response; this is the argot of the right wing. They count upon the massive ignorance of their listeners to feed into words like 'socialist' 'communist' ..

    McCain's campaign fell into the trap of using words without substance to attack to Obama; McCain did it himself a number of times, and it sealed his fate.

    I actually have some hope for the future, because it's become apparent by voting patterns and polls that more and more people have learned to reject buzzwords and actually look at issues.

    The extremists of the right who populate AM talk radio and cable TV are an anomaly, and over time they will fade away. We can help by using concerted efforts to notify their adveritsers that they have stepped beyond the limits of discourse.

  •  census (6+ / 0-)

    Your point about rural areas and the census is completely wrong.  The census counts people, not citizens.  There are some Congressional districts that have unusually low "voter participation," such as several in Texas, because so many of the voting age residents can't vote.  So the rural areas have no incentive to make immigrants into citizens; indeed, the opposite is true -- they count toward representation in Congress and the state legislature, but they don't vote, making rural conservatives have an outsized influence.

  •  Liberals in the boondocks (5+ / 0-)

    I currently live in exclusively rural Mendocino County, Ca. which though hardly a mirror of most of rural America is not altogether unique either. The political demographics nonetheless argue strongly against the misconception that liberalism is an exclusively urban phenomenon. Out here in the liberal boondocks, where rednecks and hippies rub shoulders peacefully an a daily basis there are even some hybrid offshoots of the two world views. The common thread seems to be a blanket rejection of all things "mainstream" and "urban" weather liberal or not as being irretrievably compromised. A kind of rejectionist neo-utopian viewpoint where interim solutions are unacceptable due to their failure to address all issues in a stroke, and politics per se can never lead to solutions. By then rejecting participation in the imperfect political process, folks here give themselves a pass on engagement, dialogue and productive refutation of what seems to me like a "gathering storm" to steal a phrase from the right.

    "An it harm no one, do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" Alistair Crowley

    by Old Lefty on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:17:31 AM PDT

  •  Often overlooked... (9+ / 0-)

    is how the far right maintains its strict doctrine through intimidation.
    I noticed, as a gun owner, there is zero tolerance allowed for any compromise on firearms forums on, for example, the assault weapons ban. Anyone who does so is on the receiving end of virulent hatred. True, it keeps some people in line with the NRA "my way or the highway" line, but it also has created a new split between brown gun (read sportsmen) and black gun (assault weapon lovers) in the overall group of gun owners. A fine firearms manufacturer was recently nearly put out of business by a boycott after he publicly stated his support for Obama, and a veteran wildlife magazine columnist was excoriated when he said using an assault weapon for hunting was unsportsmenlike.
    I see the same thing with Republicans who are excommunicated by Limbaugh or Beck if they get out of line.
    Trouble is, most people really do not like being intimidated.

    •  Re: your last sentence. (5+ / 0-)

      .
       That's the irony of Neo-Republicans, the Radical Right.  They blather away about "freedom", but at the end of the day seem to crave the heavy hand of a "Strongman" leader whom they can blindly follow.

       Liberals are enamored with Obama because he seems to be a liberal who "gets" politics -- often two different things!  That said, Progressives will some some of the first to hold his feet to the fire if he strays too far into the lane of sucking-up to the Stupid or Monied or Anti-Civil Rights Right.

       bg
      ____________

      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

      by BenGoshi on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:27:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  John Dean nailed it down precisely when he wrote (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BenGoshi, Neon Vincent

        "Conservatives without Conscience"

        It's all about the authoritarian mindset; not only do they want to be in control of their own little universe as much as possible, but they actually can't live unless their world is under the control of someone else (provided of course it's the control they approve of).

        I've often said that the irony is pretty deep that a bunch of religious people wanted to establish a free country so they could worship the god of their choice...because the first thing one does when walking into a church is surrender the greatest things to the power and control of God.

        So we fought to have freedom so we could surrender to the ultimate dictator (God), and as long as it's a dictator they like, that's all well and good.

        George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

        by snafubar on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:06:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not so concerned about using God as a... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snafubar, skohayes, Neon Vincent

          .
          . . . touchstone or moral compass, if it's God that is that touchstone for thought, philosophy, behavior.  But, of course, as we all know, the psychos among us follow crazy men, not God.  That is, whether it's the followers of bin Laden, Dobson, the late Falwell, Robertson, or whatever circus-barker in the pulpit of this or that Megachurch along I-35 in Oklahoma, it's crazy men who claim to speak for God that these nuts follow.  

          bg
          _______________

          "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

          by BenGoshi on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:29:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think we're on the same page. (4+ / 0-)

            The larger theme that I'm aiming for is along the lines of the Milgram experiments; people were willing to go all the way to the last switch on the shock generator provided there was someone behind them telling them it was all within the rules and according to plan.

            Remember that?

            Did you watch "The Dark Knight"?

            Remember that line when Joker is at the bedside of Harvey Dent after Dent's face was mangled; and Joker says that people don't mind if things all go horribly wrong - - as long as it goes according to plan.

            The fact that these clowns can all run back to their AM radios or to their Fox channels or to their church is irrelevant; the common thread is that in each location they are surrounded by people who share their point of view; they are surrounded by people who are convinced they (and only they) have the right answer (because they're the only 'real' Americans, and they are convinced that they are under attack - and unless they launch all the missles now, the other side's missles will get here first....

            We've all seen this movie before, the characters change from time to time, but the plot is the same.

            And believing in God means that you never have to admit you were wrong; some people often do, but there are some (I hope you will admit) who twist the faith and the meaning of "all according to "G"od's plan to rationalize that even keeping people in chains as slaves is still in the Bible -

            ...so who's to say what else is off the list?

            God works in mysterious ways.

            All I'm ever trying to point out is that reasonable people don't misuse God any more than their reason will allow. But unreasonable people can use their faith in God, and their belief that God is always right and therefore since they believe in him, so are they, to go headlong down into an unthinkable path all because they think God wants it that way.

            All of the tactics being employed by the RW now are taking advantage of that vulnerability in the minds of those who seek authority; it's why they supported Bush even after it was undeniable that he lied about the war; why the continued to support him even after the wiretaps and the secret prisons, and why they believe now still that the fact they lost in November means the terrorists are winning.

            ...we're all terrorists to them now...

            Standing in the crowd at the Alan Keyes rally, knowing that if I had walked up to the steps of city hall where they were speaking and admitted that I was a.) a Democrat, b.) a person who believes in civil rights for homosexuals, or c.) an atheist would have been more than enough to risk having my jaw broken.

            maybe keyes would have tried to stop them, but from the number of NRA stickers on crowds lining the streets and the the ten minutes they dedicated to the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer, and how God is being oppressed in America by Godless liberals,

            the psychos amongst us follow crazy men who follow God.

            I think it's a pointless distinction to say that one follows God and the other follows mortal men; in the eyes of the truly maniacal, there is no difference between the two. Those who followed Jim Jones and David Koresh or Marshall Applewhite thought that their particular 'crazy man' was "G"od.

            I'm resistant to people who say, "Don't blame God, blame men", if you are willing to read my writings and acknowledge that I believe with all that I am there is nothing more than atoms and void and there never was, nor will there ever will be a "G"od, then both categories are following men, nothing higher.

            One can say that it was merely a crazy, mortal man who launched the Spanish Inquisition, and not "G"od - that makes little difference to those who were tortured and killed.

            George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

            by snafubar on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:04:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is, of course, diary-worthy. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              snafubar, Neon Vincent

              .
               Good people, I know them, I hope you do, have God and/or the God or Higher Power of their Understanding in their lives and such brings them a little closer to the Truth.  I'm for that.

               Anything can be corrupted by bad people for bad purposes.

               Anyway, you should diary this.

              bg
              ____________

              "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

              by BenGoshi on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:09:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Have you seen my last three? Because it's (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ms badger, kafkananda, Neon Vincent

                all pretty much the same story with marginally different wording.

                But as soon as my 24 hours are up, I'll throw it up there and see what comes back.

                It's pretty pathetic to admit this, but right now the only validation of my worth on planet earth comes by mojo on this site; I'm surrounded by people here who I can't talk to about any of this, and who are, in various capacities, the very people I'm talking about.

                Lack of a job makes one's mind dig in circles.

                And spring is here, so my dogs took off and i'm all bent out of shape until they get back 'cause that was my fault too. If your dogs run away five times in four days, the dogs are telling you that the owner needs to stop believing they'll stay in the yard when he turns his back.

                What I wanna know is:

                How come when the dogs are licking their crotch at 5 AM they make so much noise I can't sleep, but when they are outside they can sneak off into the woods across all those leaves and branches on the ground and never make a sound?

                Maybe Erma Bombeck would have had an answer to that.

                Thanks for the encouragement.

                Did you read the other three diaries?

                Did you ever check out

                http:/www.pscytheology.blogspot.com/

                If I could put this place down for a while, I'd pick up and run off over there.

                Gotta find the dogs first.

                Bad day.

                George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

                by snafubar on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 02:49:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  We haven't withdrawn (13+ / 0-)

    But a lot of why I think anti-liberal memes have so much success out in rural areas is that we’ve actually withdrawn from any dealings with rural dwellers, they have no idea what we’re really like, what our actual reasons are for taking the positions we take. It’s easy to begin believing urbanites are amoral libertines if their only exposure to them is through right-wing yammerers’ caricatures.

    In many cases we were kicked out.

    Elimination of the fairness doctrine, and consolidation of media and broadcast license ownership effectively eliminated progressive voices from many rural areas.

    This goes farther than just removing access. The progressives who ran those radio & tv stations were shoved or attritioned out of their jobs, as were all their supporting staff. (This is how the "K Street Project" was inspired.)

    The situation in these rural areas is the same now as it was in 1994. Unless you have satellite TV or are an avid internet user, there is near-zero access to progressive media.

    That leaves only social access, and the right-wing attacked that via take-overs of social groups. The Boy Scouts. The Southern Baptist Conference. The Salvation Army. Etc.

    Put yourself in the shoes of a rural progressive during all that, watching the TV spew 100% conservative propaganda, seeing your social network eroded and corrupted day after day after day. Its no surprise many of them fled.

    Member, The Angry Left

    by nosleep4u on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:18:53 AM PDT

  •  One of the most rational approaches to hate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brian82, boofdah, Neon Vincent

    I've found was from a fictional character, Rydell, from Gibson's "Virtual Light":

    Rydell didn't have anything special going about black people or immigrants or anything, not like a lot of people did. In fact, that had been one of the things that had gotten him into the Academy when he hadn't exactly had great grades from high school. They'd run all these tests on him and decided he wasn't racist. He wasn't, either, but not because he thought about it particularly. He just couldn't see the point. It just made for a lot of hassle, being that way, so why be that way? Nobody was going to go back and live where they lived before, were they, and if they did (he vaguely suspected) there wouldn't be any Mongolian barbecue and maybe we'd all be listening to Pentecostal Metal and anyway the President was black.

    How can we encourage young people (I think the old will believe whatever they've always believed) that "other" hate is simply "a lot of hassle" without any real point?

    Finally, new songs up at da web site! Also. . . grumble grumble mutter mutter

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:29:06 AM PDT

  •  Thank you David (4+ / 0-)

    With regard to "liberal hubris" I would guess that it comes from fear as well. At least in my case it has the potential to- I'm hubristic enough as it is in general. I know that's the intended result, though- Limbaugh and Beck and their followers want liberals to be afraid, so I don't intend to give them what they want.

    In conversations with the (admittedly few) right-wingers in my life, we are always friendly to a point, and then there's always an impasse of some kind, where ideology or misinformation or (sometimes) we just forget where we read something that would back up our assertions eventually derails civility. Being civil people we agree to disagree and stop arguing, but no progress is made.

    I'm not afraid of the people with whom I speak. They're family and they're colleagues and I bear no ill will. I'm trying not to be afraid of the sociopaths with guns. Part of that is remembering that they're not out to get me. That they themselves are so consumed with fear and that's why they're doing what they're doing.

    Your work has been very educational in that regard and I really appreciate it and so will say thank you and keep it up.

  •  David - A Question on Relative Effectiveness (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, ms badger

    of Differing media outlets for progressive opinions:

    Naming some progressive media outlets:

    Which are we well positioned within - which are functioning optimally?

    Which demand improvement?

    For which examples listed below is a better alternative available?

    Television - specifically, OK, only MSNBC, and only three original hours thereon;

    Radio - e.g., Air America in whatever form you can find that programming;

    Internet Blogs / Discussion - like Daily Kos, Think Progress;

    Internet "News" Outlets - an example might be Huffington Post.

    If you find the framing too constraining then please answer in the manner you see fit.

  •  Hey Dave, read what I wrote in another diary this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah

    morning: this kind of sums up my attitude about the whole last week, I may make a diary of it later, but need to hijack this one for the eyeballs and hope it gets attention.

    I've got a very cold, empty feeling about what's happening right now, because I see it getting a lot worse before anything gets better.

    And the next person that says "lighten up" -

    well, please don't. It doesnt' help, because it sounds like "shut up".

    My aunt Marie used to have a sign on her back door, and she lived to be 97 years old and a rather cantankerous old woman for the last 15 years of living with broken hips, dementia, and hospital visits:

    "Cheer up, things could be worse.

    Look at me; I cheered up...

    ...and sure enough,

    things got worse.

    George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

    by snafubar on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:01:26 PM PDT

  •  Great job, as always, Big D. Now, for something (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, Neon Vincent, robizio

    ...somewhat different.

    We, and they, talk about values. As you note, wingers probably honestly feel they're representing their values and, I feel, we honestly think we're representing ours. A Mexican stand-off, metaphorically.

    You also say, and I agree, that person-to-person communications, talking, is one of the more effective ways to mitigate wingnuttiness.

    You also say, and I agree, that Obama's success or lack of major failure will help.

    Given the above, here's the kick question: what about the effect in the effort to defeat wingnuts of disastrous events outside of politics? Global warming, for example. Particularly for the West and AZ, where I am. E.g., water, water, water.

    In short, my question is two-part: 1) isn't it the case that knocking down this hatemonger effort is currently dependent on the absence outside major events, and 2) isn't that a huge Achilles' Heel in the gig?

    As always, thanks for everything you do, brother.

  •  Concur and dissent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah

    I agree that liberals have some responsibility for their own hubris and condescension.  But also for failing to put a stop to the madness which lies at the heart of the other side.  

    The current rump of the Republican party is very dangerous.  They are scared and on the ropes, and if given the right kind of charismatic leadership will be like a match to a gasoline-soaked tinterbox.

    I take our greater sin as not taking these people as the serious threats they have shown themselves to be over and over again.  They remind me of the slaveholders who Lincoln noted not only need to be placated, but needed to be convinced of the earnestness of our desire to leave them alone -- a standard that was never -- not even to this day -- met.

    Keep up the good fight -- our future may well be in your hands!

  •  Liberals are not self-rightous (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badger, Michellebird, jck
    I, for one, always give my respectful ear to conservative opinion, no matter how inferior, stupid, bigoted, ignorant, or contemptibly ludicrous that opinion may be. After all, we are all equals, even the morons.
  •  Can the Jew B the focus of (0+ / 0-)

    "a good example of a deliberate effort to scale back eliminationist violence and rhetoric in view of what I write from author James Carroll's book below?

    You say, what worked  was a combination of external pressure and internal moral suasion."

    I inquire, has such action worked for the Jew?

    Taking from the words of author James Carroll  (Constantines Sword, Houghton Mifflin Co., N.Y. & Boston, 2001, pg.478 ) neither the moral suasion of various Popes on the Jews behalf,( while lower eschelon friars & brothers at the same time, were preaching Jew hatred), nor secular pressure as in the Dreyfus affair has prevented antisemitism from being constantly exploited as an organizing principle, a pillar of Protestant and Catholic identity.
    Individual Jews & whole Jewish communities were periodically sacrificed to this principle. Nazism defined Jews as the negative other, in opposition to which it defined itself. As such it was building on a structure of mind that was firmly in place before Hitler was born. This structure of mind had its foundation in Christianity, as the negative other and has served as a self-protecting Church’s modus operandi down through the centuries.

    I point out that recent polling (The American Religious Information Survey) for example shows that we are in an increasingly pivital time with increase in secularism and loses or changes in geographical centers for many Christian religions.

    Can we really expect that "the structure of mind" that Carroll writes about for Christianity and now practiced for  radical Islam will give up on the time tested ways to stimulate the eliminationist violence and rhetoric that has served both so effectively when it shall serve their purposes, both now and again,when under
    secular pressures.

    Do we seem fated to get to a higher level of anti Jew violence before the rhetoric is condemned and marginalized, particularly by the mainstream conservatives?

  •  A depressing spectacle ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... of self-congratulation, that we have met the enemy they (whew!) ain't us. Has no one listened to MSNBC and liberal talk radio? Did, say, Janeane Garofalo identifying conservatism as mental illness, llikely a genetic defect, strike anyone as likely to further civilized discourse? Does David's statement that, "I have no compunction about exposing these conservatives as the irresponsible fearmongers they are, and shaming them for the ethical and moral dimensions of their behavior. They like to whine that this is an effort to "silence them," but it’s not. It’s shaming them ... And after shaming comes shunning," seem as if it's going to pour oil, or gasoline, on the waters?

    Personally, I'm sick unto death of the entire tu quoque atmosphere on both sides—of which this discussion is simply another sad and tired example. But of the spewing of bile there is, it appears, no end.

  •  All they need to do (0+ / 0-)

    is substitute torture for outright elimination, and all good loyal Democrats will rally in defense of them.

    "When the government becomes a lawbreaker, it invites every man to become a law unto himself." ~ Justice Brandeis

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 02:48:17 PM PDT

  •  the centrist "movement" (0+ / 0-)

    will get us nothing but half-steps that in the end compromise individual principles and freedom (i'm a civil libertarian, but not an economic one).  i find no entry in Webster's for "eliminationism."

    good luck with all those words!

    END DRUG PROHIBITION.  the first step is changing attitudes on many fronts.

    liberal hubris, centrist hubris... hubris for hubris sake. this isn't complicated. why do we suffer such non-virtuous imaginary battlefields.  fear.  fear that God doesn't exist.

  •  "...they vote and behave according to cultural... (0+ / 0-)

    ... tides whose pull is often so powerful that reason hasn’t a chance."

    Thank you a million times. That is the takeaway message that needs to be conveyed person-to-person.

    This matter of reason and voting against one's self-interest in the face of all evidence, all fact and all reason to the contrary, defines the moptives for the confusion and the stunts that are being pulled by Congressmen on the right.

    This is why Republicans, moderate, good, patriotic and well-intentioned Republicans, are scared sh*tless, as Meghan McCain said so bravely.

    First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. -M.Gandhi (see also, Republican strategy)

    by ezdidit on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 04:57:23 PM PDT

  •  Don't Fall For It (0+ / 0-)

    What about hate speech on the left?  When you label yourself, you are painted into a corner.  Left, Right, there is always hate, especially if you lock yourself into a specific ideology, with all the requisite labels, stereotypes, and enemies; real or perceived.  And their must be enemies, or how else can the game be played?  Don't you see, there are nefarious purposes behind all of this: left vs. right, black vs. white, woman vs. man, life vs. death.  What do you think it means?  I know what it means, and I refuse to play a game whose rules evolve to suit some abstract purpose, enforced by invisible referees.  It is called stereotyping when someone attempts to attatch a label to someone.  What is it called when you attatch that label to yourself?  I call it the worst sin a human being can commit.  I call it unconditional surrender.  Surrender of the mind to faith over reason.  More often than not, blind faith.  Anyone can make the arguement that one group or individual is harmful, while its direct opposite is harmless.  The arguement of the absolutist assumes that by standing for one thing, means the complete resistance to its opposite.  This requires a rigidity of unthinking, blind obedience to an ideal on faith, as opposed to a well though out response based on facts and reason.  If I say there never has been, nor will there ever be peace on Earth, an absolutist will charge that I am an advocate for unending war.  But the reasoned individual who understands human nature and its history, who accepts these facts as reality, will know better.  People avoid certain ideas based on fear, and by avoiding these realities, have convinced themselves that their beliefs are valid and opposing views never are.  By accepting only their views and rejecting all others, they have made themselves believe that certain realities do not, or never have existed.  The partison on the left says Bill Clinton is solely responsible for the economic prosperity of the 1990's, while the partison on the right says the Republican dominated congress is responsible, both showing a complete ignorance as to how our government works, and/or a lack of acceptance of the reality that the President and the Congress had the political accumen to work together on this issue for mutual benefit.  Ideologues who argue along such lines, and the author of this book you site, along with all of those who adopt his position on blind faith, have no sense of value.

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