BARBARIANS AT THE GATE
The word ‘barbarian’ comes from the ancient Greeks. It simply meant anyone who is not Greek.
There once was an award winning historian by the name of Richard Hofstadter. Evidently the powers that be are reprinting a book of his. I read this quick review at Salon today-
That said, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” (along with most of the essays in the collection) never seems to get old. The John Birch Society, the state of the art in anti-Communist fringe groups in 1964, was, as Hofstadter pointed out, merely the latest iteration of a mentality that cropped up every generation or so, each time with a new supervillain. Over the centuries, America’s political paranoids have fomented scares about the Bavarian Illuminati (a European anti-clerical movement — “it is uncertain whether any member of the Illuminati ever came here,” Hofstadter remarks), Catholics, Freemasons, Mormons and international bankers (often characterized as Jews) before finding the ideal antagonist in international Communism
The reason I cite this book review today is because I witnessed all of this; that is the development of the right wing talking points over the years.
Professor Hofstadter died in 1970. Twenty years later the right felt they had no more use for the imaginary, ephemeral threat from ‘international communism’. This was interesting to me as a development in American Politics because we still had 1.2 Billion Chinese ‘communists’ as well as North Korea, Vietnam…..
I recall as recently as ten years ago watching silly shows like point counterpoint and people like Pat Buchanan would let slip the term ‘communists’ or ‘communism’ from time to time. With Pat there was a palpable tic in his expression when he caught himself doing it.
We, on the left, always knew ‘international communism’ was bullshit as far as any real threat; especially when a million or more soldiers would be found on either side of the Chinese and Russian border; or when China invaded Vietnam after we left; or when….oh who cares. There were hundreds of thousands of pages written on the myth of international communism throughout the 20th century and hundreds of thousands of pages of propaganda from the right attempting to buttress our continual concerns over international communism.
Pat Buchanan will still argue that we lost the Vietnam War because of left wing traitors in this country.
Then, under the watch of a repub Congress and a repub President, we were caught off guard when some Jihadist figured out that planes were really flying missiles of mass destruction.
Well, the right not only talked themselves out of a real embarrassment but managed to used the pain and suffering caused by the destructive missiles to its own advantage.
Now we are not worried about two billion communists but a billion Muslims.
I remember thinking by 2002 or so:
The repubs will use the threat of international Mohammedism for the next hundred years.
Instead of tearing down walls, we wish to build them.
I was watching Imus in the Morning back in 2004? And he had as one of his guests a fellow by the name of Richard ‘Bo’ Dietl. Bo is a brother-in-law of this old shock jock and has an interesting bio.
Bo was in the NYPD for years and retired due to some ankle injury.
After injuring his ankle in a skydiving accident, Dietl retired from the NYPD in March 1985 (rather than take a desk job) and went on to found Beau Dietl & Associates, specializing in corporate investigations for major international companies. Among his clients are Columbia Pictures, Coca-Cola, Grey Advertising, PaineWebber, Lehman Brothers, Bankers Trust and the Saudi Royal Family.
So it is clear that Mr. Dietl is a thoroughly despicable person, indeed.
He is heavy set and gruff and has a deep seeded NYC or Jersey accent. (Us Midwesterners have trouble pin pointing the exact location of these accents so forgive me.)
The man is a pig in a four thousand dollar suit and people from central casting will actually throw him into movies as an extra; giving him three or four lines.
Anyway, I recall that about six years ago he is on Imus in the Morning on MSNBC and he starts going into this rant about how we should just nuke all those Muslims. And Imus asks him: Which ones?
Iran, Iraq, Syria…all of them. They hate us. They hate everything about us and they wish that we were all killed. (This tete a tete is from memory so forgive me. But this is what he said as far as content)
Imus then changes the subject after going to commercial. Even Imus was not sure about airing rants that called for the murder of hundreds of millions of people.
It caught me off guard. Now I did not realize that he was working for all these corporate oligarchies or the Saudi Royal Family.
I was more interested in the fact that there were Americans out there, millions of Americans most probably, who would actually wish to wipe five hundred million people off of the map.
But then I recalled that millions of Americans at one time wished to wipe out three hundred million Ruskies and a billion Chinese.
This type of hatred is not peculiar to Americans. An awful lot of Ruskies and Chinese wished they could destroy America.
And there are millions in the so-called Middle East who would like to destroy America and everything that is American.
It just struck me, after reading all of these articles and blogs discussing the NYC Mosque that we have not really changed that much as a nation.
I do have trouble understanding how millions of Americans wish to bar citizenship to a Christian people like those who come from our southern borders. But I think this hatred underlines that religion has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE HATES AND FEARS OF A POPULATION.
Religion and political beliefs have nothing at all to do with this deep seated hatred among a people whether or not one is discussing this nation or some other part of the world. It is all part and parcel of the human condition.
To say that political parties in general will always make use of this human defect of deep seated hatred is a lie and that pisses me off. I hear this equivocation on MSM and it pisses me off.
Russians and Chinese were the barbarians of the 20th century.
Muslims and Hispanics (from south of our borders) are the barbarians for the 21st century.
The right wing in this country is what uses this innate human frailty to its advantage. And that will never change.