It’s such a mystery how anyone got the idea that mainstream Democrats were dangerous communists and nihilists who wanted to destroy America and must therefore be given no quarter.
Ben was consistently one of the most widely shared voices on Facebook in 2020. He of course does not condone the violence of last week, and I’m sure is shocked that some of his listeners might take such actions.
Conservatives: Liberals are an alien life form that poses an existential threat to the future existence of America.
Liberals: Um, that's a really ridiculous, entirely inaccurate, and anti-democratic thing for you to say.
Media: Both sides criticize each other's extremism.
IMO, "asymmetrical partisanship" is one of the key concepts that explains US politics since the 90s. This explainer is from 2014, the year Shapiro made the comments in the linked video above.…
Years of anti-communist rhetoric rendered our political culture hamstrung when it came to identifying dangers on the right. Too many conservatives and centrists looked to their right and saw only overzealous super-patriots (but never proto- or actual fascists).
But when Jack Kemp sneeringly calls Al Gore a "socialist" in 1996 as if that's entirely disqualifying and will put us on the slippery slope to the gulag, everyone nods sagely and says "yes yes, must lower top marginal tax rates to avoid slippery slope to gulag."
It should go without saying that the US's history of giving every benefit of the doubt possible to people on the far right has everything to do with the fact that such people have been, 99.9% of the time, white and often middle or upper-middle class.
That "slippery slope" idea is basically a meme-ified version of Hayek's "Road to Serfdom." Even Hayek, however, was not exactly what the contemporary right would want him to have been.
Imagine being a an elected official and thinking "Metal detectors are communism" is a thing one could say without your constituents laughing you out of office. That is today's GOP.
By @RepDLesko's standard, the NRA is a communist organization because they made people go through a metal detector before attending President Trump's speech at their 2018 convention.…

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More from @SethCotlar

14 Jan
In the late 80s and 90s there was a spike in far right, white nationalist violence in the US. This 1991 documentary "Blood in the Face" offered a close up view of these sorts of groups, who are getting noticed more and more these days.…
This was also the same era when David Duke, grand Imperial Wizard of the KKK who had been pictured wearing an actual Nazi uniform, was able to win the majority of white votes in a Louisiana election.
For a brilliant, deep dive into this early 90s moment (and how it presaged the political world we're currently living in) I highly recommend this 2018 piece by @lionel_trolling.…
Read 5 tweets
14 Jan
It’s only fascism if it’s exactly like 1930s Italy or Germany, otherwise it’s just sparkling far right, hyper-nationalist populism that deploys antisemitic tropes & racial grievances amplified by knowingly inaccurate propaganda outlets to inspire mass hostility to “globalists.”
That was a shorter version of this thread.
I forgot to add “in defense of a nostalgic concept of the ‘homeland’ that valorizes the ‘traditional’ patriarchal family and is perceived to be under siege by culturally-foreign, ‘degenerate’ others who can never be assimilated into the ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ nation.”
Read 5 tweets
14 Jan
Wish folks cared as much about countering the political culture of far right hyper-nationalistic populism that traffics in anti-Semitic tropes and naturalized conceptions of racial and gender hierarchies, as they care about dissing those who use the word “fascism” to describe it.
Ultimately, I think that’s what lay behind this terminological dispute. Is democracy more threatened by “center-left/center-right neoliberalism” or by the far right? People who resist the f-word say the former is the *real* threat. People who use the f-word focus on the latter.
My sense is that the people who use the "f-word" are not the neoliberal simpletons their critics tend to think they are. And likewise, the f-word refuseniks are no fans of the far right, they just don't see it as being as powerful and threatening as others do.
Read 15 tweets
13 Jan
Remember in October when Trump was pushed to denounce the Proud Boys (who were one of the paramilitaries who led the Capitol invasion a week ago) and he awkwardly mumbled “stand back and stand by” and we all thought “WTF that was weird and kinda menacing?”
I’m wondering if we’ll ever get more insight into that moment and what was going through Trump’s clearly struggling hamster brain at that moment.
One thing I noticed at the time is that the chair of my county’s GOP loved that line. She was in DC last Wednesday, though I’ve seen no evidence that she illegally entered the Capitol.
Read 6 tweets
13 Jan
Since 2007, Glenn Beck has called everything he doesn't like "literally Hitler's Germany." Why do we have to continue doing this?
This article is from 2013, for crying out loud.…
I mean, I'm so old, I remember 2016 when Glenn Beck said Donald Trump was like Hitler.…
Read 4 tweets
12 Jan
The 90's called and it would like it's sneering depictions of "pathetic right wing rubes" back. I know it makes a certain segment of the educated classes (of which I'm a member) feel good about themselves to read paragraphs like this, but it's lazy political analysis.
That crowd was comprised of scores (if not hundreds) of well off business owners as well as highly skilled paramilitary warriors (many of whom were trained by our own government) who came very close to achieving their goal. Their gauche affection for Olive Garden is irrelevant.
This is the article. I share the author's revulsion at what this mob did. But this is not a time for ribald humor at the expense of people who erected a gallows upon which it appears they intended to hang the Vice President and probably others.…
Read 12 tweets

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