6/8/09

The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right

The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right by David Neiwert, an award-winning journalist and blogger at Orcinus and of late, at Crooks and Liars, ties today's hate radio directly to the eliminationist impulse of American facists. The terrorism of the KKK, Japanese internment during WWII, the establishment of Sundown towns, the lynching of African Americans, etc., as well as today's anti-Latino violence and Islamophobia, writes Neiwert, are the vile products of this phenomenon. Here's an excerpt from Publishers Weekly:

"Eliminationism--including the rhetoric that precedes it and fuels it--expresses a kind of self-hatred," Neiwert claims. "In an American culture that advertises itself as predicated on inclusiveness, eliminationism runs precisely counter to those ideals. Eliminationists, at heart, hate the very idea of America."
The sub-textual paradox that the second half of the book balances against such anti-American ideation is ... that such tendencies have been part of America from the start. This latter portion of the book is at times nearly too much to bear as the history of white European domination and eradication of Native Americans is detailed, as well as the lynchings of African Americans, the backlash against Chinese immigrants and the round-up of Japanese Americans for internment bears witness. Indeed, as Neiwert points out, nearly identical language is unleashed today against Latino immigrants as there have been against different waves of "others" in our collectively shameful past; even such modern "heroes" as the Minutemen can trace their lineage back to the lynching mobs and vigilantism of the early 20th century.

Tendencies toward fascism, both in our historical past and in our current political climate, can be triggered by what the author calls "the mobilizing passions." As a checklist, it's probably one of the most useful I've run across:

1. A sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions.

2. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, both universal and personal, and the subordination of the individual to it.

3. The belief that the group one belongs to is victimized, which justifies any action without legal or moral limits against the group's enemies, both internal and external.

4. Dread of the group's decline under the corrosive effect of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences.

5. The need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.

6. The need for authority by natural leaders (always male), culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.

7. The superiority of the leader's instincts over abstract and universal reason.

8. The beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group's success.

9. The right of the "chosen people" to dominate others without restraint from any human or divine law, "right" being decided solely by the group's prowess in a Darwinian struggle.
Link: Full Review
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