Paul J. O'Rourke's Links

Salon.com
AUGUST 29, 2009 8:27PM

Who's Spinning the Hip-Hop Hitler?

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I could have written these words six months or six years ago, the substance unchanged. I’m writing it now because the nutbucket Republicans and their Fellow Drivellers have invited us all to ponder the comparisons between the forces of modern American politics and the Nazis. In my view it’s a fair question to be asked, but only after acknowledging the extreme result was horrid, and unlikely to be replicated. It’s that result that prevents discussing the forces and ideology that led to it, the target of Pin-The-Label crying foul even if the association is legitimate. 

However, history does repeat, but perhaps most often as echo rather than shout; an aftershock reverberation less destructive that leaves us wondering if it’s artifact or harbinger. The reason some stoop to echo the political tactics of extremism is because, even though it is a shrill, cheap and destructive political trick, it has proven to work.

This historical - hysterical repetition resembles in substantial ways the original event, but with a new twist more appropriate to the times. In modern terms, it’s a remix of an old song to make a new one. So, I'll answer the question our Republican friends pose: Who’s spinning the Hip-Hop Hitler? 

I’ll begin by explaining the basic differences between right and left wing radical movements, then the similarities.                            

                          Identifying right - left extremism                            

Politically, right wing moves away from equality, towards the rule of the few, left being the opposite.  

Economically, left radicalism moves toward equality, an attempt at financial leveling; the Worker’s Paradise, where all share in the state’s bounty.

Right wing radicalism is used to support a wealthy ruling class that convinces the masses of indoctrinated adherents that their interests are the same.

 

In terms of demagoguery – seeking support of an agenda by tying it, somehow, to a popular set of prejudices, the leftist embraces their fellow “downtrodden” minorities and blames the wealthy for society’s problems.

The rightist embraces the wealthy, and blames the minorities for society’s problems. 

Therefore, left wing political movements are Bottom –Up, the lower classes rising to claim some form of equality. In this case, the political equality is a good thing, the extreme economic leveling proven to not work. They are the disenfranchised seeking to upset the rulers. 

Right wing political movements are Top-Down, the ruling class indoctrinating that lower class element to do their bidding by telling them what to fear and why, which, by “coincidence,” happens to serve the upper class goals. Here, the powerful seek to maintain or expand their position by encouraging dissent and distrust among the lower classes.                             

                        Left Wing, Right Wing – Same Bird 

There are at least two similarities between left and right extremists. Both are ideologues – holding a strong but irrational, fundamentalist belief in a political ideology. It is this certainty that disables them from accepting democratic rule because they are sure the rest of us must be forced to their belief for our own good, regardless of popular will. And, well…both are stupid people. I realize that ignorant is a less harsh term, so I will clarify. I am largely ignorant of Quantum Mechanics, so I don’t act like I’m not, or have Glenn Beck explain it to me – that would be stupid. 

I should point out that I’m talking about political stupidity. There are many intelligent people who function very well in our society, but when it comes to politics their ideas aren’t well formed. They treat politics as some do religion, placing their faith in certain beliefs, explained to them by people they trust. They do so without critical examination, either because they are already convinced, and/or are incapable of that task of reasoning. Their problem begins with transferring that religious-type faith in the unknown and unknowable to a political faith that is often in contradiction with the known and provable. 

There is little hope in influencing an ideologue, because if your ideas are different they see you as the ideologue; how could you be so ignorant as to not see the obvious validity of their viewpoint? You must, therefore, oppose everything they stand for, and now identified as an enemy of the Right and Just you must be converted or tormented.

 

Such is the nature of a radical viewpoint. Those whose extremist thinking places them at the South Pole look around and see nothing but north. They think like a cultist, so any contradicting information you have to offer must be the product of a conspiratorial effort directed at discrediting their Great Patriotic Vision.

 

There is no sense in arguing with them, it's futile.

 

                 OK, got it, now answer the question

 

I think I telegraphed the answer, so let’s get to it. Our right wing is real and radical; their frozen minds dictating their South Polarization, making them see the Sasquatch of the radical left in all directions. There is no radical leftist movement in America, period. The “conservative media”  was a creation of some of the wealthy and used to advance their goals, even though it runs on its own "useful idiot" energy now.

 

Socially, their demagoguery is directed at most of the usual suspects the Nazis also sought to scapegoat. The only difference between Goebbel’s list of those to blame for society’s problems and the list drawn up by the Newt Gingrich’s of the political world is the absence of Jews and Gypsies. (That’s some “talent” you have, Newt...) The others – homosexuals, intellectuals, liberals and socialists – remain. Ol’ Adolph couldn’t get enough of blaming Germany’s societal decay (also a popular illusion) on the permissiveness of Liberalism.

Sound familiar?

 

Economically, there is no better example than the healthcare issue. The insurance company lobbyists and Republican propagandists create false flag organizations and use their media to gin up anger among those less than average political IQ True Believers whose stupidity opens them to believing what they are told. Yes, the “Astroturf” Town Hall shouters’ anger is real; it’s only the reason for it that is invented. Told they are threatened, they react on cue.

 

Thus wealth’s position is preserved while the same liberal/socialist/minority straw men are burned in effigy as the excitable nativists dance around the flaming phantoms that have descended from the above. Top-down, as always.

 

I could go on as examples are abundant, but the above points to the reality, and answers the question. The last subject right wingers should want to talk about is the destructive result of a right wing movement. But they can't resist because it's such an emotional hot button for the dull thinker to use, even as the true comparison doesn't flatter them.

It’s no surprise that those spinning the echoing reverb of Hip-Hop Hitler are the right wingers; he is, after all, the granddaddy of right wing extremism.  

Fo’ shizzle!

 

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i can be philosophical now. too old to worry anymore.

i am very confident that only democracy can form the political basis for a just society. i am also very confident that democracy is beyond the grasp of modern americans. they don't have the necessary education and character.

no shame in that. only switzerland of modern nation states has attained a reasonable level ofdemocracy, and that attainment is as much accident as any immanent superiority of alpine culture.

humans are smart enough to live in a democracy, and maintain it, but not smart enough to get it. close, but no cigar.

so we endure oligarchy, in great variety. america, more than most, has the 'plutocratic' variety, wherein the rich rule through a political guild. america's special curse is the 'the rich' are corporations, utterly amoral, remorseless, untroubled by any consideration of human responsibility.

whence the seeming insanity of their human mouthpieces.
You've nailed it Paul, but then you always do. The left and the right are equally convinced of their own infallibility and equally as mistaken in that conviction. But as you point out, it's ironic that the right vilifies their perceived nemesis as a Nazi, when they're the nearest thing we have here to true fascists. It's just like under Bush; the things they make the most noise about being FOR - family values, morality, compassionate conservative, etc - are the very things they could give a fuck less about
al,
I am getting older, and find myself waxing my philosophical more often than before.
I believe there is a way out of this mess, and a chance to rediscover self rule.
Keep the faith, but turn the channel.
Thanks for commenting.
"Youre so warm...oh, the ritual...when I lay down your crooked arm...

Spin, spin...spin the black circle
Spin, spin...spin the black, spin the black...
Spin, spin...spin the black circle"
E. Vedder

Well written and all true Paul.

Rated
Jeff,
Thanks.
The difference is there isn't a radical left movement in America. Two reasons I see: There is no substantial element crying for real socialism, and left wing movements don't draw in copius amounts of capital to propel them.
What most Americans want, if somebody would be brave enough to honestly explain it, is a reasonable balance between public and private, all geared towards benefitting the whole. Fair as well as free markets, competition instead of monopoly. The right to claim some fundamental needs market functions as requiring their added control, and the wisdom to know where to draw that line.
The way I see the politics, we have a right wing and a 'not the right wing."
Thanks for the compliment and the serenade, Greg.
Rocketh onward!
If only your words wouldn't fall on Al's deaf ears Paul. Al's not a bad guy, he just refuses to believe in any possibility of change and offers no explanation about how this "democracy" that he/WE long for is going to be accomplished. Only that it's not going to happen with the current players.

We have no choice but to deal with the players in place. Just as my/our hands were tied throughout the first 8 years of the 21st Century. I railed and railed against that machine and they walked away unscathed. I think it's redundant and condescending of Al to assume that we don't want democracy that is effective as well. It's very condescending and that's what pisses me off.
Well, Greg,
My first impression of al was much the same, kind of, but now I see it differently.
For one, if al is old enough, he gets my curmudgeon exemption, having earned the right to be taken seriously.
Second, I see his criticism as being as much a challenge. Not that we don't want democracy, but that we, as a whole, act like we don't want it, voting for the same-ol'-same'ol every time.
A reasonable complaint, and one that should challenge us to find an answer, operating, as you correctly point out, within the framework of the playing field that exists.
I think we can do that, but obviously not in the way it has been tried, if that's what we call the efforts of the last several years.
The question is how...ergo, my comment that we keep the faith, but change the channel.
Let's hum Kumbya as we ponder the possibilities.
Thanks for adding to, and prompting some thinking.
The problem for Republicans is that the vilified minorities are becoming majorities with considerable clout. Times are changing. Nice post!
Yes, Steve, they are cutting their own demagraphic necks, and that adds to their sense of impending doom, as if it needed the extra burden.
Thanks for adding some Oklahoma wisdom. If we have Will, we can find our Rogers.
While I don't agree with nanatehay's observation that both the extreme right and left are "equally" mistaken in their convictions, I do think we've lost a workable center in our political system. Obama's eulogy to Kennedy yesterday observed that his legacy was that of a bipartisan master who could get things done without having to shampoo the Senate chamber's carpet to get rid of the blood. Those days died before Kennedy did.

Now, as you yourself have noted, it's very difficult to tell the difference between parties because the systemic flaws in our brand of democracy have allowed a "third party," corporate greed in the name of shareholders, to take over. Kennedy isn't the only Teddy who was disgusted with our state of affairs. If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, he would load his buffalo rifle and start shooting....
James,

I'm not sure Jeff is saying both 'sides" are equal in error or number, but the 2-3 true radical leftists in America are as wrong as the right masses of asses. So, the theories, but not the support for them, perhaps.
The problem with "Left-Right" labeling is the great expanse of the mushy middle likes to think "fairly," and seeks a cosmetic balance between the two. So, any good idea must also carry an equal amount of bad ideas.
And hell yes, Teddy R would have busted these trusts years ago. Republican-ism and conservatism, like Democrat-ism and liberalism doesn't even know what the hell it was supposed to be about.
Confusion reigns.
Paul, that was an incredibly insightful piece, and others have said it better than me how eloquent and wise your thinking is.

My only criticism of your piece is conflating right and left radicalism as somehow equal. I consider myself pretty radical, and I've had exposure to the entire zoo of leftism. For the most part, the crazy lefties like me are much more educated and open minded about the world and their opposition than the rightwingnutjobs.

This is not a blanket generalization. I actually have known a few lefty souls who mindless blame things on "The Man." And I've known a few Communists who spew the party line, whatever The Great Factional Leader tells them to think. But these leftists are a tiny, tiny, minority.

On the other hand, I believe that there are a huge number of stupid, scared, alienated, isolated right wingers who really just parrot whatever Rushbo, O' Really? and Dumb Beck tell them to think. Numerically, this group of right wingers is muich more powerful and substantial than the true left wing crazies. I think it's also significant to note that what few left wing crazies there are, they are easily manipulated by the forces they are attempting to overthrow.

Look at the great success the FBI had in destroying the Weathermen with its Co-intelpro operations. With the right wingers, we have not only the F*x News, but a whole constellation of media publications and programs that reinforce their beliefs. And this media and political network is as American as cherry pie.
NewOld,

I only conflate them at the level of true fanaticism. The example of the Weathermen, or those other 60s groups, is a good one. They reached the point where they felt their beliefs were so purely the Right Way that others would have to be brought along with propaganda and violence.
As I said above, there is no radical leftist movement in America, but there is a right wing one.
What you say about Progressives is true, for the most part. The errors in thinking I see come when they engage a "conservative" in the HC debate, they tend to want to accept the definition of Public Option or Single Payer as socialist, and argue the perceived benefits of socialism. While they have a depth of knowledge of European Social Democracies, the simple fact is that even Single. Payer isn't socialism. So, arguing it that way reinforces what is an errant rightist position, and frames the argument as left-right instead of right ignorance - v- acceptable common sense. So knowledge, but misapplied.
You are also correct there is a huge right wing propaganda function, but that is because the right wingers are "stupid" people who can swayed by demagogues appealing to their primitive prejudices. I have more to say on that in my piece about Dems empowering the Town Hall fanatics.

Thanks for the comment and compliment, I hope I am worthy of both.