Maiello: Defeat the Press
Miami Fans Mistakenly Chant "Let's Go Eat" During Playoff Game
In Chapter 1 of Blowing Smoke, author Michael Wolraich (Genghis) introduces what he terms “Persecution Politics,” or the way in which the right wing has employed a trinity of unreality-based ideas to instill fear in the populace.
Those three things are: 1) the slippery slope; 2) the secret plot; and 3) persecution of you and people like you.
In Chapter 2, Wolraich lays out starkly the history of the birth of Persecution Politics.
…in a crucible of racism and piety, baked red-hot by the fear of corrupted youth, a movement was born.
Wolraich fuses one historical trend to another historical event. First, the trend: there is, and has always been—at least as far back as ancient Greece—the fear that the big, scary government or at least big, scary teachers are trying to indoctrinate children with ideas that are not just antithetical to all their parents hold dear but also irreversibly harmful to the fabric of society.
Second, the historical event: in 1978 the IRS moved to un-exempt the so-called “segregation academies”—private schools for white students only that had grown up in the south after public school desegregation. Although they started as mirror images of the public school system, many of them subsequently affiliated with Christian denominations.
Thus, right-wing leaders, hoping to benefit from the involvement of thousands of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians in the political system, used the slippery slope of government corrupting youth, the secret plot of destroying Christianity, and the persecution of Christians to whip a whole new wing of the conservative party into a frenzy of fear and loathing.
Along the way, the term secular humanist morphed into secular progressive and then again into simply progressive, a term basically devoid of meaning. As Wolraich says, “the progressives don’t actually stand for anything except the destruction of all that is good in America.”
So, to get the discussion started:
1. Are you as impressed as I am with the steady rise of persecution politics over the course of three or four decades, culminating in such a division in the electorate that it is impossible to work in good faith to solve any widespread problems in our country?
2. How is it that we manage to let the conservatives define us over and over? How many times have O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Beck, and the lot of them cried, “This is what they want, this is what they think…” yada yada yada. How do they know what we want and what we think? I don’t remember being asked.
3. Why didn’t anybody see this happening and attempt to put a stop to it?
Please feel free to add your own questions, and especially insights. However, let's not rehash last week's inhospitable discussion (on another thread which I don't care to link to) about what it means to be progressive. Please keep the comments focused on content.
Dagbooks: Blowing Smoke is a series of posts in a loose book group format intended to foster discussion.