Thursday, August 16, 2007

Further Comments on Recent Posts

Let me respond to some of Steven Andresen's points here:
I am under the impression that political writers have been trying to point out the fascistic characteristics of the conservative movement for a long time. They've done it so much I hear the argument that they are like the boy who cried wolf.
Calling some group 'fascist' is indeed a well worn tactic but to me it makes a difference whether you are just throwing names around or taking seriously what the words mean. Thus, I cite Paxton who is a very serious and thoughtful student of fascism and use his carefully arrived at definition to determine if the label is justified or not.

I believe there are differences between the neo-cons and the christian zionists, for example.

I agree. The neo-cons are primarily Zionists (not all but most are) whose main concerns are a 'tough' foreign policy and US support for the hard right within Israel. The Christian Zionists are Christian fundamentalist evangelicals who believe that Israel must be supported because of their reading of the bible even though they often have the belief that Jews will ultimately go to Hell.
Do we want to argue that the kooks are beyond the pale and no one should be paying any attention to them?
I think they are part of what used to be called the 'lunatic fringe' but now the fringe has substantial power. I wish we could ignore them but as you say we can't do that if we wish to live in the real world of practical politics.
Are we wanting to question the reasoning behind the kook movements? That would be interesting. But, I'm not sure anybody has the will to follow through with any critique of their foundations.
We have to learn to be just as persistent as they are in putting forward our analysis and showing what is wrong with theirs. Drew Westen's recent book "The Political Brain" argues very convincingly how we must oppose the extremist right. Bill Clinton and Howard Dean strongly recommend this book.
I'm sure this was the argument the nazi party guys made to each other and to the German people. They said, you cannot deny the threat to our morality posed by the communists or the jews.
You are exactly right, Hitler and the Nazis emphasized the threat to the Fatherland of Communists, Socialists, Jews and homosexuals. I'd say the real threat to the US is the foreign policies we have pursued that have caused Muslims to want to fight and destroy us; similar to what Ron Paul argued at one of the recent Republican debates. Ron Paul is a Libertarian who believes we ought to leave other countries alone unless they truly pose a threat to us.
That is, the puzzle isn't so much about how all these people are different amongst themselves, but how we can know who to listen to for guidance about what to do?
I have indicated throughout this blog many of the people I think it makes sense to listen to and who have good ideas about what we can do.

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