Monday, February 23, 2009

Glenn Greenwald's Hysterical Hypocrisy

Dan Riehl points his readers toward Glenn Greenwald, whose essay on the Glenn Beck survivalist episodes is the perfect primer on the contrast between the smug homosexual-progressive antiwar mandarins of the leftist elite and the silent majority of everyday Americans who truly grasp the cultural and political trainwreck of the new Democratic era. Here's Greenwald:

There is nothing inherently wrong or illegitimate with citizens expressing extreme anger towards the Government and the ruling political class ....

But this Rush-Limbaugh/Fox-News/nationalistic movement isn't driven by anything noble or principled or even really anything political. If it were, they would have been extra angry and threatening and rebellious during the Bush years instead of complicit and meek and supportive to the point of
cult-like adoration. Instead, they're just basically Republican dead-enders (at least what remains of the regional/extremist GOP), grounded in tribal allegiances that are fueled by their cultural, ethnic and religious identities and by perceived threats to past prerogatives -- now spiced with legitimate economic anxiety and an African-American President who, they were continuously warned for the last two years, is a Marxist, Terrorist-sympathizing black nationalist radical who wants to re-distribute their hard-earned money to welfare queens and illegal immigrants (and is now doing exactly that) ....

In one sense, all of this drooling rage is nothing more than the familiar face of extreme right-wing paranoia, as Richard Hofstadter famously described 45 years ago:

The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. Like religious millenialists he expresses the anxiety of those who are living through the last days and he is sometimes disposed to set a date fort the apocalypse. (“Time is running out,” said Welch in 1951. “Evidence is piling up on many sides and from many sources that October 1952 is the fatal month when Stalin will attack.”)

But it's now inflamed by declining imperial power, genuine economic crises, an exotic Other occupying the White House, and potent technology harnessed by right-wing corporations such as Fox News to broadcast and disseminate it widely and continuously. At the very least, it's worth taking note of.

Well, I'll tell you what, having written two posts on this, one in which I noted how my buddy was thinking about buying a cabin somewhere up in Montana, I can guarantee you that people who are concerned about complete social breakdown are not apocalytic conspiracists.

But note especially Greenwald's reference reference to Richard Hofstadter's, The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Interestingly, Hofstadter himself backed away from his earlier theories, during his own intellectual evolution, and in fact flirted with neoconservative advocacy in the 1960s.

In "
Ethnicity, Progressive Historiography and the Making of Richard Hofstadter," David Brown notes that Hofstadter, in his later work:

... promoted a "vital kind of moral consensus" that encouraged scholars to compete meritoriously in the market-place of ideas. The New Left's rejection of its historical fathers struck Hofstadter as a denial of the open contestation of interpretive techniques necessary for sustaining historical debate.
Or, as Hofstader's Wikipedia entry notes, "His friend David Herbert Donald recalled, 'he was appalled by the growing radical, even revolutionary sentiment that he sensed among his colleagues and his students. He could never share their simplistic, moralistic approach.'"

A "simplistic, moralistic approach."

Sounds like Professor Donald's describing Glenn Greenwald himself. As many readers may recall, Greenwald is prone to his own hysterical ramblings about the rise of fascism in the United States under the "evil" BushCo Halliburton corporatist state. Indeed, as
Dr. Pat Santy has noted about Greenwald:

Glenn Greenwald claims that "fear of terrorism" has been "inflamed and exploited" by the Bush Administration for the purpose of gaining power:
Bush opponents must finally overcome the one weapon which has protected George Bush again and again: fear. Fear of terrorism is what the Administration has successfully inflamed and exploited for four years in order to justify its most extreme and even illegal actions undertaken in the name of fighting terrorism.
Let's discuss this from a psychiatric and psychological perspective since these are the terms used in the quote above.

This blogger is essentially arguing that-- instead of using a healthy and appropriate
psychological defense called anticipation against terrorism and the Islamofascists (who most certainly want to kill us and destroy our society) - we should instead switch to a psychotic one, denial; and maintain that the only thing we have to fear is ... President Bush. The latter is a defense mechanism called displacement that I have already discussed in an earlier post.

In fact, there is a strong element of paranoia here too. And a noticeable touch of
hysteria - though he thinks he can use it to describe normal people justifiably afraid of irrational fanatics not amenable to reason. The implication is that the only purpose such "fears" (judged "inappropriate" by Greenwald's) are being manipulated must be to "justify illegal actions."

The basic tenor of his fear is easy to deduce: while we are fighting this illusory enemy, Bushitler has been amassing power and will soon set himself up as a dictator and destroy our freedom. I will let you decide who we have to fear more - the President of the United States or the religious fanatics of Islam who want to obtain a nuclear weapon? Who do we have to fear more: those who are trying to prevent another 9/11 or those who would like nothing better than to do something even worse in our country?
Dr. Santy shows Greenwald to be deeply afflicted by Bush Derangement Syndrome, a term that's loosely thrown around in politcal debates, but was in fact first offered as a kind of clinical diagnosis in psychiatric medicine.

In other words, either Glenn Greenwald is sick.

In any case stay tuned ...


shoprat said...

The way the left treats the Jihadist threat reminds me of the way Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, treated the return of Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The truth was so terrifying that he went into denial, pretending it wasn't so, and demeaned and persecuted those who were telling the truth and giving "the Dark Lord" the extra time he needed for his attack on the world.

Norm said...

I guess I am just a "Republican dead-ender", and proud of it. My tribal allegiance: "shmohawks". At least that is what my father told me many years ago when I realized that his nose had a resemblance to the Indian's nose on the Buffalo nickel.

Meanwhile, in my daily activities are am surely noting that business is very, very slow everywhere. No one has to tell me what is going on when I see counter people being laid off, and the boss out their doing counter work at my local store. It is not good.

Our economy needs big time help from the bottom up, not the top down. Small busineses and investors need a reduction in taxes to inspire growth. The Pelosi, Reid stimulus package is not going to work. Lower taxes on business, lower capital gains taxes, and give business more money to work with.

The current stimulus package is almost as good as not doing anything. Who cares right now if
construction starts on a road two years in the future.

Anonymous said...

Is Greeny Greenwaldo and his army of sock puppets barking at the moon again?