Monday, August 10, 2009

The Brownshirting of America

I'm actually quite pleased to see an old Paul Craig Roberts column reprised by Newshoggers' Ron Beasley. What I found valuable about Roberts' column at the time is something that I still find valuable five years hence: Roberts succinctly lays out the strategy and tactics used by what we might refer to as "movement conservatives" (in their many forms, including the Birthers, tea-baggers, ad nauseum). The strategy is to attain power by shutting down anything even remotely resembling a democratic process in order to impose a fascist society; the tactics that we see used frequently include misleading propaganda (scare tactics), disruptions, threats of violence, and actual violence itself.

It bears repeating that Roberts is no lefty. As I mentioned almost five years ago:
This guy is basically a libertarian - what would have been called a conservative many moons ago before the wingnuts hijacked that label for themselves. Agree or disagree with cats like Roberts on many issues, but realize that he and others like him have some valuable points to add to the dialog. To me one of the most important things we can bear in mind when thinking about the issues that face us is to accept the limits of ideology, and to be willing to take a look at the hard data - both those facts that disconfirm ideology and those that confirm. That's something that movement conservatives have consistently failed to do.
At the time Roberts wrote his column, The Brownshirting of America, the US was run by the Bush II regime and a Republican Congress. The events of September 11, 2001 cast a much more imposing shadow then, and the "War on Terra" was largely accepted by many as either a "necessary evil" (the general "progressive" to moderate position) or our manifest destiny to impose some weird brand of Evangelical Christianity and neoliberal capitalism on the rest of our aching planet (the general vibe of movement conservatives). Criticism of any facet of the "War on Terra" including waging the damned wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place, the carnage and displacement caused by those military actions, and of course the detainment and torture of human beings based on presidential fiat (for lack of a better way of characterizing it) would lead movement conservatives to go on the attack. Typically this meant being barraged with insults such as "America Hater", "socialist" or "communist" (odd since many of the most vehement anti-war voices at the time were actually libertarian or paleo-conservative), "pro-Islamist" or "anti-Christian" (something that wingnuts would pull out of their asses with no evidence to make such outrageous claims), along with the usual demands that such critics should "renounce their citizenship", "shut up" and just go along with whatever orders Bush II and the homeland insecurity apparatus barked at us. Take any other issue of the day, and you'd get the same basic flack from these goons. Well, Bush II is history, but the movement conservatives are still there and up to the same old tricks. No doubt that much of what we're witnessing now (especially with the Birthers) is racist in nature. Nor is there any doubt that the wingnuts are generally every bit as intolerant of dissent and nonconformity as ever before.

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