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October 13, 2008
When Did We All Go Mad?

In his America's Political Capitalism, Chris Hedges warns us:

It is no longer our economy but our democracy that is in peril. It was the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia that gave us Slobodan Milosevic. It was the collapse of the Weimar Republic that vomited up Adolf Hitler. And it was the breakdown in czarist Russia that opened the door for Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Financial collapses lead to political extremism. The rage bubbling up from our impoverished and disenfranchised working class, glimpsed at John McCain rallies, presages a looming and dangerous right-wing backlash.

This mystifies me. Why, when it's the meltdown of the Rightwing, Neocon policy structure (if that's what they call it) that's causing these problems, is there the threat of a "right-wing backlash"? (With "against the Left" being implied.) Are they nuts?

Well, no. They're not. Because history shows that a "right-wing" backlash is exactly what can happen.

I don't get it....

Hmmm.... Okay, now I have to delete the next 600 words of my rant. (I hate wasting a good rant. I'll save it for later.) Because I just put the pieces together.

Considering that most "adults" are actually just tall twelve year-olds, no, it's not surprising that when things start to fall apart, they get scared and they want a Big Daddy to come along and tell them how to fix it all.

Or that they'll pretty much do whatever Daddy Says until the memory of the catastrophe starts to fade in their minds. Except that by then, it can be far too late....

Meaning no particular offense, but I think this is the same instinct that leads so many people to profess faith in an all-powerful "god." They cling hopefully to the idea that there's a Real Grown-Up somewhere out there, keeping an eye on events and in charge of making sure it all turns out ok.

And there's no way to combat that. You can't argue someone into rational belief.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:22 PM


The backlash comes from the agitators: the foundation is laid long before the crisis. Germany in the 20s had both right-wing and left-wing agitators, but the Weimar government was seen as left/liberal. Russia in the teens had liberal and leftist agitators, mostly; the right wing was the government. Yugoslavia was a socialist state before it imploded; the agitators were neo-nationalists.

It's the people who can kinda-sorta-credibly claim to have "seen the problem coming" who lead the backlash, and the rabid right has been flogging race and liberalism as the rootrot of Democracy for years.

Posted by: Ahistoricality at October 13, 2008 03:52 PM

The Right has been the problem and, by this measure, they could also win the battle (in case of a complete meltdown) over who will get to be the solution.

People are just so irrational. It makes my head hurt.

Posted by: Anne at October 13, 2008 04:03 PM