Issue #69

Last Update October 31, 2010

Commentary August 2009   Hysteria on the right has now reached the point where it is seriously flirting with thuggishness. From the Sarah Palin-inspired threatening chants, to disruption of "town hall" sessions where right-wingers shouted down anyone who wanted to ask a serious question, to openly carrying loaded weapons to meetings and speeches, to racist signs at right-wing marches, conservatives seem to be focused less on debate than intimidation. What looks like the early stages of Mussolini's Black Shirts or Hitler's SA has begun an attempt to make this nation ungovernable, with the hope that a right-wing authoritarian state will be the successor to our democracy.

These are not just fringe elements of the right, although they certainly are fringe elements of the American people as a whole. These are people who are encouraged, supported and defended by Republican congressmen, Senators, Governors and Vice Presidential candidates, and in some cases funded by major Republican contributors. Their purpose is to frighten people into passivity and silence, to prevent government from acting, and to squelch any views not their own. It is basically a rule or ruin philosophy. 

Their sponsors and abettors, the congressmen, ex-government officials and businessmen, should know better. Movements like these have a nasty way of escaping from the control of their original sponsors and turning on them. The German businessmen of the Weimar Republic though they could control Hitler and the Nazis. They were disasterously wrong. Unleashing a torrent of xenophobia, racism, nationalism and religious fundamentalism to undermine the government and Constitution may, indeed, make our country ungovernable, but the iron fist that will replace it will not be to their liking; nor will it be good for business. 

By preying on some people's fear of change, fear of of losing whatever slender social and economic advantage they may presently have, the conservative power-brokers hope to reverse their own deep unpopularity and cement their grip on the controls of the economy and political power. They are sowing the seeds of their own destruction, and the destruction of our democracy. 

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