Thursday, February 16, 2006

Political Cultism

Dave Neiwert reports:
Much of the blogosphere, both left and right, has been abuzz over Glenn Greenwald's excellent post limning the cultic nature of the modern conservative movement. It created, as Greenwald observed in a followup post, a predictable response from right-wing circles.
Judging by the hundreds of comments on Greenwald's posts, and the length of the followup, "abuzz" is an understatement.

This is interesting, because what he's discussing isn't really new -- Neiwert, Zook, Luker, and a bunch of other folks I read have been saying almost identical things for months, at least -- I guess it's just finally reached a point where it's got everyone's attention.

Neiwert expands the discussion somewhat, as is his wont, with a nicely detailed discussion of the hallmarks of a "political religion" and a review of some of his work on pseudofascism. I'd love to see reaction from other, like Greenwald, actual conservatives like The Cunning Realist, Ralph Luker and Chris Bray, etc.

I keep thinking of the French Revolution, that hotbed of political cultism, and what happened to Robespierre: one day he was the most dangerous and radical man in Europe; then he went just a little bit too far, got shouted down in public, and within a week he was headless and the Revolution backtracked to a more sustainable equilibrium. Are we finally at the point where we can stand up and be outraged, employ the legal means and political will which has been building up, to shock the system into stopping our self-destruction?


Chris Bray said...

I am officially vomiting forcefully over the possibility that anyone on the planet regards me as "a conservative" in the current meaning of that term. Poltically conservative in many, many regards, yes. But I've been calling Michelle Malkin a Stalinist for a long time, and I've enjoyed every bit of it.

Ahistoricality said...

No, you're entirely right. I very specifically mean conservative in the more classical sense -- you were citing Ed Burke a while back, and he'd be just as appalled by the Malkin/Limbaugh/Coulter sort of right-wingers (which is much clearer) -- because the kind of religious/security "conservatives" which are shouting the loudest are the ones who need a corrective from folks like yourself who don't identify as liberal, etc.