I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Extremism in the right-wing blogosphere - con't

Following up on my post from yesterday regarding the extremism and violence-inciting rhetoric among the "mainstream" right-wing blogs, I want to highlight two superb posts today on this topic. This one is from Dave Neiwert, who explores some of the reasons why they have come to rely so heavily on this such rhetoric and the broader purposes it serves.

This post, from the Great Society, elaborates on the media's obsession with, and incessant criticism of, petty attributes of the liberal blogosphere, as contrasted with their studious efforts to ignore the authoritarian impulses, and extremist and dangerous rhetoric -- much of it directed at them -- emanating literally on a daily basis from right-wing blogs.

Shining light on the extremist impulses and authoritarian mindset of the pro-Bush movement is, for reasons I've explained here, one of the most important (and effective) weapons against it. John Dean's new book is resonating so well, I believe, because it documents these authoritarian attributes and describes just how un-conservative, pro-government-power, and follower-dependent the Bush movement is. And just as anyone who criticizes their ultimate Leader, the Commander-in-Chief, is attacked with full force, so, too, will criticizing their online leaders subject one to all sorts of bitter personal invective, impotent attempts to research one's background, juvenile name-calling -- all of which is promoted and encouraged on an almost daily basis by their wounded leader. Dean's preface is devoted to detailing some of the most amazing personal assaults aimed at him once he spoke out against the new "conservative" movement.

But that is how all bullies and authoritarian movements behave -- by collectively swarming to demonize anyone who criticizes it as the Enemy, a mentally ill liar, etc. etc. Ask Richard Clarke, or Joe Wilson, or Howard Dean, or Jack Murtha, or Al Gore, or the anti-war Generals -- or any of the other mentally ill, seditious traitors and liars who have criticized the Commander-in-Chief and who oppose his movement. It is simply par for the course. And the more wounded and threatened they feel from the criticisms, the more intense will be their insults and name-calling tantrums and efforts to attack personally. It is one of the hallmarks of a dying movement that knows it is dying an ignominious death, and it is grounded in great weakness.

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