Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nazis in the Suburbs

First they hijacked town hall meetings. Now they've had their March on Washington.. Reactions vary from mystified to irritated. (That's pretty much the entire emotional spectrum for the Left, nowadays, which lost its sense of outrage and fury in the 70s, so much so that they viewed the election of Clinton as a victory.)

Keep an eye on the extreme Right. They wear plaid shirts instead of brown ones, cowboy boots instead of jackboots, but their mentality is virtually the same and their methods are restrained only by an effective police force. The current atmosphere is reminiscent of pre-Nazi Germany, as noted in a previous post.

For the suburban Nazi the greatest danger facing America is socialism. It used to be communism but it can't be any more because communism collapsed and the great Bogeyman was dead. This was a terrible blow to the Right, but it gradually discovered that socialism was an even better Bogeyman because it was everywhere and nowhere. Socialism can't fall, so it can always be a danger. This danger is so grave that it justifies any act, any lie; indeed, to refuse to consider the extreme act is to show a lack of patriotism.

Many folks say this is laughable and maybe a little unsettling, but no more. That was the reaction of liberals in Germany. The things said by the Right were so obviously false, so melodramatically hysterical that one felt like a fool taking it seriously. In fact, the only ones who did take it serously were the Communists, who were likewise anathema to the political majority. No one in power took them seriously until they were the ones in power.

It can happen here, as Sinclair Lewis pointed out years ago. And as he noted then, there are three key ingredients to a takeover by the Right. They need a crisis. They need a leader. And they need a failure of will by the majority.

We've had a crisis, and I fear we have the failure of will, though that will has not yet been truly tested. The Right has yet to produce a real leader. They thought they had one in George Bush but he let them down; he was merely a fool, it turns out, and they cannot forgive him for that.

So I say it again. Watch out for these people. They are dangerous, because they are self-righteous. Like the suicide bomber, they have in their own minds justified every act they will ever commit. They repeat their political creed like mantras and they work their radios and remote controls like working a rosary, never straying outside the prescribed boundaries, for outside lies perdition. This is, in fact, precisely the mob that the Founding Fathers sought to protect our government against.

I've been watching these people all my life. They spat on us when we wore long hair and they kicked at us when we protested the Viet Nam War. They supported government spying, war without declaration of war, and flaunting of law national and international. They don't want the government telling them what to do because they're too busy telling everyone else what to do. They have that poisonous hatred that is born of a life lived in fear. They have always been here. And they've always been dangerous.

Monday, September 7, 2009

If this is life under socialism, it feels more like Germany in about 1932. The left still appears confused, uncertain, hesitant while the right is increasingly shrill and strident.

One comes to the point where one understands the limits of reform are determined by the limits of will. The right in America is willing to go further, to perpetrate violence, to flaunt the law, to throw out any and every principle in order to win even a tactical victory against its declared enemy, while the left forswears violence, reveres the law, and clings to its principles even at the cost of defeat.

Those old enough will understand this. It's why the civil rights movement became the black power movement. It's why the SDS split. It's why people took to the streets. Not because of the nobility of the cause but because of the utter hopelessness of the path of moderate reform.

The trouble with the radical solution is that is splits. It splits the nation, it splits communities, and in the end it splits even its own members into increasingly marginal factions. It's like a great wave that begins with seeming overwhelming power as it crashes into the shore, but ends in a hundred rivulets and tiny pools, isolated and evaporating. But while mighty, it can sweep away much.

It has been a very long time since those who genuinely want reform have held real power in this country. They don't seem to know quite how to handle it. I wish them well. In the wake of three decades of bonehead politics, this country can benefit from even the most modest tune-up.