Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Hitch on the Tea Party

Hitch on the Tea Party, its demagogues and its apologists here.

On Beck and his followers:
The president is a Kenyan. The president is a secret Muslim. The president (why not?—after all, every little bit helps) is the unacknowledged love child of Malcolm X. And this is their response to the election of an extremely moderate half-African American candidate, who speaks better English than most and who has a model family. Revolted by this development, huge numbers of white people choose to demonstrate their independence and superiority by putting themselves eagerly at the disposal of a tear-stained semi-literate shock jock, and by repeating his list of lies and defamations. But, of course, there’s nothing racial in their attitude…


Hey Skipper said...

Obviously far worse than calling entire swaths of people bitter religious nuts clinging to their guns.

I can't say I've seen three continuous minutes of Glenn Beck. However, if for nothing else, his rally in DC was unique for one thing: the place was clean when the crowd left.


Gaw said...

Fascism is good at things like picking up litter and making the trains run on time.

Sean said...

No I think the left even the intellectual left, make the mistake of seeing protest as politics when they are not the same thing.

Same here with the students "heralding the revolution" and other social significant consequences due any minute.

The Tea Party are a protest movement at best reminding us they are there, and they have a voice too. Oh yes and that document they found the nation on still matters to them.

In the secret space of the ballot box, credibility and a program for government is all that will matter. And its when and if the TP come up with a program that you and I and hitch if he is still around, will be able to judge them objectively.

Pearl said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head...


Hey Skipper said...

Fascism is good at things like picking up litter and making the trains run on time.

That is the quickest example of Godwin's Law I have ever seen.

You don't suppose the crowd picked up their trash (or didn't throw it on the ground in the first place) for some reason other than fascism, do you?

Gaw said...

Sean: But there's just been an election.

Pearl: Thanks.

Skip: Does Mussolini count towards Godwin's Law (that's where the train reference comes from I believe)?

As for litter and fascism, as Pravda used to begin the odd paragraph: 'It is surely no coincidence...'.

Peter said...

Yes, Gaw, we must remember how many fascist movements in history featured mobs chanting: "Get government off our backs!"

The late (and quite anti-American) Canadian philosopher, George Grant, once said: "The left is always warning of the imminent arrival of fascism in America, but when the real thing comes, it always seems to descend on Europe."

Gaw said...

Peter: There seem to be two different governments in the US:

- The one which extends health insurance, saves Detroit and stimulates the economy at the bottom of the deepest recession for eighty years;

- Then there's the one that is required to fight permanent, expanding and expensive wars overseas, torture prisoners, prevent the building of certain places of worship, eavesdrop on its citizens, not to mention continue funding Medicare for seniors.

It seems to me to be interest and positioning rather than principle that distinguishes the two. And my bet is that of the former all but universal health insurance would be backed by most Tea Party-aligned politicians if they were in the box seat with the pressure on.

I'm reminded of the observation that the Puritans fled England for America to flee persecution - and also to have a free hand in undertaking their own.

That's a good quotation about fascism in America, but it doesn't amount to one of them iron laws of history.

Vern said...

I'm late to this party obviously but: fascist my arse.

Vern said...

And Hitchens pulls much of this bit right out of his arse, or rather the airy chit chat of bien-pensant salons:

"Millions of Americans are currently worried about two things that are, in their minds, emotionally related. The first of these is the prospect that white people will no longer be the majority in this country, and the second is that the United States will be just one among many world powers."

How does he know this? What astounding telepathic powers he has! Funny that those millions first voted for a black guy, thus embracing the post racial thing and then suddenly they all went:



And back to fascism- Switzerland is very clean. Are they fascists?

Vern said...

You do know by the way that the Tea Party elected a black Republican in an area of Florida with a miniscule black population?
3% in fact, versus an 82% white population?

They managed to get over their fear of a black planet for a second there. Weird.

(I actually think a lot of their blather is incoherent guff, but the racist/fascist canard bores me to tears.)

BTW, Obama still hasn't closed Guantanamo and isn't going to; still ships crazy terrorist cats off to foreign lands for interrogation; still digs on extrajudicial death sentences for American citizens in foreign lands; still bombs the shit out of Pakistani villages, women and children n'all; still loves a bit of indefinite detention without trial; and so on, and so on.

So if all these white Tea Party cats are fascists, why aren't they digging on his hardcore Bush style EVIL?

Guess they must be stupid or sumthin'

Gaw said...

Hi, Vern! Nice to hear from you. Do you ever get over to The Dabbler?

To take your points seriatum:

- How do any of us know anything about anyone else? Anyway, aren't you going to damn him for going to 'Washington cocktail parties'?

- I would imagine a lot of the Tea Partiers didn't vote for Obama

- The TP'ers aren't digging Obama's Bush-style evil because of who is perpetrating it - the Kenyan Leninist Nazi - which supports the thesis that there's a lot of racism colouring their views. And, yes, I think a lot of them are stupid.

Ian Wolcott said...

I think we generally make too much of this TP business. Though (as I think) it undeniably contains a racial element, it’s largely par for the course in American political culture. Consider this quote from Mencken’s The Foundations of Quackery (ca. 1920s):

"I have often pointed out how politics, under democracy, invariably translates itself from the domain of logical ideas to the domain of mere feelings, usually simple fear – how every great campaign in American history, however decorously it started with a statement of principles, has always ended with a violent pursuit of hobgoblins. The great majority of the half-wits who followed William Jennings Bryan in his three Presidential battles were certainly not attracted to him by his complex and nonsensical economic doctrines… What attracted them was not Bryan’s economics but his adroit demonology; an evangelist by divine inspiration, he invented demons that palsied them and took their breath, and so they stormed after him."

This is equally applicable to the TP today and to the MoveOn.org folks during Bush II.