"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Friday, April 29, 2005

The New Right in Historical Context

The right-wing populism of the New Right shares many characteristics with the right-wing populism in Europe and right-wing populism in the American past. Among the commonalities are a sense of victimhood, intense nationalism, fear of cultural pluralism, and the potential for acceptance of conspiracy theories and authoritarianism.

In 1984 ,the French National Front became the first European right-populist party to escape marginalization at the polls by combining nationalist xenophobia with ant-government establishment nationalism. The combination of these issues represented a successful "master frame"– as the European scholars call it, which was soon copied by emerging similar parties in Europe. They were also partially successful in overcoming the stigma of anti-democratic policies, authoritarianism, and biological racism that they inherited from similar movements earlier in the Twentieth Century. These parties attracted largely working class voters, people who generally would have stayed with left and socialist parties had then shown any inclination to address the economic threats posed by postindustrial society.

Once convinced that their old parties could not or would not deal with the problems growing out of the global economy, these voters looked to express their concerns about declining social status and threats to their cultural values. Biological racism is no longer acceptable in Europe, so these new parties adopt what some call "culturalracism," but they claim not to go beyond pointing out that new subcultures are incompatible with the European heritage. The claim that the new subcultures would bring about the extinction of the older European tradition caused great fear and rage, emotions likely to cement political affiliations and mobilize voters. Anti-political establishment populism was very attractive to them because they were convinced that the liberals and socialists in power no longer cared about them and richly deserved punishment. Leaders of the new right-populist parties portrayed themselves as being outside the political class. People who have lost faith in government and their old political party are more likely to form new cognitive routes to interpret reality.

It is difficult to establish how much racism attends right-wing populism in the United States. It is rarely an overt element, and appeals to it are masked at as calls for law and order and criticisms of people who are alleged to lack the work ethic. Right-wing populism in both Europe and the United States is marked by intense nationalism, fear of cultural pluralism, and contempt for much of the heritage of the Enlightenment.

Some believe that right wing populism is an ante-room to fascism, but worries about this cannot be entertained until Republican populists have serious violated constitutionalism and deprived others of basic rights. The New Right has demonstrated strong authoritarian tendencies by drastically limiting the rights of the minority in the House of Representatives and threatening to strip the Senate minority of certain filibuster rights. There is also an on-going effort to muzzle progressive professors. The Right has consistently attempted to intimidate the media into providing coverage it considers suitable. However, none of this represents clear violations of law, and intemperate rhetoric is not an acid acid test for fascism.

Polish writer Adam Michnik suggested that populism always contains an element of envy and employs demagoguery. When mixed with intense nationalism, it can produce fascism. After 9/11 intense nationalism was wed to right- wing populism , producing an irresistible political force Populist nationalists have learned that extreme nationalist and aggressive policies can forge powerful political majorities, and they have been unable to refrain from regular use of this very effective political ploy. Provoking hatred of foreign enemies as well as fellow Americans who happen to disagree is too effective a tool not to deploy whenever necessary. Republicans used it to tar opponents as allies of terrorists and Saddam Hussein, increasing their majorities in the House and Senate and reelecting their warrior-hero George W. Bush.

The traditional conservative thinker John Lukacs wrote, "when...temperance is weak, or unenforced, or unpopular, then democracy is nothing else than populism. More precisely : then it is nationalist populism....the fundamental problem of the future." Right-wing populism easily morphed into nationalist populism. Anyone objecting to any policy claimed to be part of the war on terrorism was likely to have her patriotism questioned. Jim Gibbons, a Republican Congressman from Nebraska, was to say it was "too damn bad we didn’t buy {critics of the Iraq war} tickets to become human shields there. He also said those who complained about corporate contributions to President Bush were "communists. " Such outbursts are relatively rare because they tend to spook independent voters, but his remarks accurately reflect the spirit of nationalist populism. There were many other ways to say the same thing without alarming independents and moderates.

So far the union of right-wing populism and extreme nationalism has not produced fascism, but it has clearly threatened the health of our democratic polity. John Lukacs believes the new populism could almost destroy democracy because it so easily degenerates into the tyranny of the majority. 'Nationalism is a very low and cheap common denominator that unites people,'' Lukacs says. ''It is hatred that unites people. People take satisfaction from the idea that we are good because our enemies are evil. This is a very American syndrome, but it is also universally true of mankind.'' Lukacs was one of the few conservative intellectuals to object to Senator Joseph McCarthy; it is likely that he will have even less company this time around.

Previous manifestations of American right-wing populism have had the quality of a Roman candle. They burned brightly but fairly briefly. There were the anti-Semitic followers of Father Charles Coughlin, the anti-Communist crusaders led by Senator Joseph McCarthy who also the American WASP establishment, and the anti-black backlash populists of George C. Wallace. In many ways ,Wallace pioneered in developing many of the arguments employed by the today’s New Right. Those three movements were short lived because their extremism quickly became obvious. This lesson has been learned by right-wing populist strategist here and abroad.

Especially in the United States, the movement has continued to grow over three decades because its extremist tendencies have been somewhat contained and masked. The New Right constitutes a serious threat to democracy, and will probably result in drastically remodeling how the Congress and Executive Branch do business. Popular pressure will probably further mute the mainstream press, but in the short term official assaults on individual rights may not exceed what was accomplished in the Patriot Act. The drift toward authoritarianism will most likely be contained because rapid progress in that direction could alarm a large portion of the electorate.

7 comments:

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You do not have to own a garden to tap into the benefits of plants, roots and herbs. A few herb pots located by a sunny window are enough to get you started. Then, all you need are some essential oils and you are ready to go.

For therapeutic purposes, only the purest oils will do. It is possible to be fooled into thinking that you are purchasing a pure oil. Often, a lesser quality blend of several oils is used to mimic the properties of the pure oil. Blended oils are acceptable for fragrance purposes such as for perfuming a room, but pure oils are a "must" for medicinal purposes.

A reasonable guide to the purity of an essential oil is its price. Pure essential oils are generally more expensive. Common oils such as lavender and geranium are much cheaper than frankincense and carnation oil. It is advisable to become familiar with essential oil prices and then rely on this knowledge when purchasing oils from unfamiliar sources. Keep in-mind that you will generally get what you pay for. A price list from a reputable dealer is a valuable resource when purchasing essentials oils.

Usually, pure essential oils cannot be applied directly to the skin and must be mixed in a base oil to reduce their strength. Base oils such as almond oil or wheatgerm oil are commonly used for this purpose. Base oils are generally derived from seeds, nuts or vegetables and allow you to create essential oil remedies that can be massaged into the skin.

So, what do you need to get started with essential oils and natural remedies?

Without a doubt, Lavender is one of the most useful and desirable oils. Not only does it work wonders on cuts, bruises and burns, it also aids sleep and helps with relaxation.

The Tea Tree and Eucalyptus oils are useful for treating a variety of respiratory ailments. These are excellent for the treatment of colds and coughs. They can be massaged into the chest or burned in an oil burner to help clear the airways and prevent congestion. Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic and can be dabbed on cuts, bites and stings. It is often used to treat spots and pimples and when diluted with water, acts as a mouth gargle (keep in-mind it should never be swallowed).

Another basic antiseptic is Geranium oil. With its distinctive perfume and pain relieving properties, it is a necessary inclusion when starting out.

Peppermint oil should also be purchased as it treats digestive complaints and may be used in preparations for freshening breath.

For fragrant perfumes and establishing ambience in a room, buy some Patchouli and Ylang-ylang oils. Often combined in scented candles and air fresheners, a few drops of each in an oil burner creates a wonderfully perfumed home. Orange oil mixed with Cinnamon oil is a lovely winter alternative that evokes seasonal, holiday smells. Besides their perfume qualities, all four of these oils have other properties. Patchouli treats eczema and dandruff. Ylang-ylang is reputed to relieve stress, palpitations and high blood pressure. Orange is used in natural remedies for depression and nervous tension and Cinnamon is excellent for warts and viral infections.

The herbs, Thyme and Rosemary can be grown in pots and used when needed. To create essential oils from herbs, stew some large amounts in pure water, collect the steam and cool it. The oil will rise to the top of the drained water and can be collected with an eyedropper. Alternatively, a "flower still" can be purchased to make the job easier. Thyme and Rosemary are both antiseptics and can be used in skin care preparations. They are also delicious when used in cooking.

Lemon oil and fresh lemons will purify water and, when mixed with honey, are effective remedies for colds and flu. Lemon and white vinegar are highly efficient cleaning agents that can be used for domestic cleaning tasks without damaging the environment. Use white vinegar as a natural disinfectant or mix it with water to clean windows and wooden floors. It is also handy to keep a bottle of white vinegar in your car if you swim in the ocean. It will bring instant relief from jellyfish stings.

Citronella oil is perfect in summer to keep the insects at bay. Another natural repellent is Garlic. Fleas will not bite a dog that has been eating garlic, so a few garlic capsules in the dog food are a cheap solution to your pet's flea problem. A soft collar soaked in Citronella will also do the job.

Garlic also helps to promote a healthy immune system when the weather turns cold and viruses begin to circulate. In fact, most of the oils and herbs listed above are effective in helping to prevent many common winter illnesses.

Whether you are looking for remedies or nature friendly products to use around the house, the oils and herbs suggested above should help get you started. You will be ready to make some healthy changes in your way of life!

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About Me

Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!