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Right-Wing Populism

Obama Bashing:
Demonization, Scapegoating, & Violence

The 21st Century Witch Hunt

Since the inauguration of Barack Obama there have been nine murders by men and women who have intersected with ideologies of White Supremacy, xenophobia, and antisemitism. Across America there is a rising crescendo of diverse voices clamoring for a public discussion of the connection between demonizing rhetoric by high profile pundits and politicians and the rash of violent attacks by individuals enmeshed in bigotry and conspiracy theories. During the election campaign in 2008 it was clear some people on the political Right were becoming agitated about the potential for a Black man backed by liberals to become the next President of the United States. Shortly before the election, police broke up an alleged plot by racist skinheads in Tennessee to kill Black people and then assassinate candidate Obama. On election night Ali Kamara, a teenage Muslim and Black immigrant from Liberia who lives on Staten Island, New York , was brutally assaulted by attackers who shouted “Obama.” That same night a church serving a predominantly Black congregation in Springfield, Massachusetts , was burned to the ground in an arson attack later determined to be a racist hate crime. In Maine residents discovered Black figures hanging from nooses tied to trees. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey crosses were burned in the yards of Obama supporters.
The acts of bigotry and violence continued. In December a man in Maine was shot to death by his wife who said he had become increasingly agitated about the election of Obama and had collected bomb-making materials in their home. Police found a filled-out application for joining a neonazi group. Just a day after Obama’s inauguration in January, a young White man is alleged to have killed two people of color in the Cape Verdean community in Brockton, Massachusetts. Reports indicate he had been browsing White Supremacist and neonazi websites and had come to believe that White people were facing genocide at the hands of non-Whites, Hispanics and Jews. NeoNazis in Chicago

 

After police detained him, he told them he had also planned to kill as many Jews as he could find that night. The dead included Selma Goncalves, who had tried to stop the alleged rape of her sister by the gunman. The other death was a father of eight, Arlindo Goncalves (not related), shot dead in the street simply because of skin color. There were other incidents of violence and threats against Obama linked to White Supremacists in North Carolina and Florida. On April 4, 2009 , a Pittsburgh man was charged with killing three police officers, Eric Kelly, Stephen Mayhle, and Paul Sciullo III. According to news reports, the gunman had expressed White Supremacist and antisemitic views, and worried that there was a conspiracy afoot for government agents to seize all guns. Then, in the space of two weeks, there were three more deadly incidents.

May 30, Arizona. Police allege that a gang of racist vigilante “border patrol” activists staged an armed invasion of the home of a Mexican family, killing the father, Raul Flores, the nine-year-old daughter, Brisenia, and seriously wounding the mother. According to the charges brought against a trio linked to the Minuteman American Defense (MAD), the plan was to kill all the residents of the house, and then steal the narcotics and money the vigilantes expected to find there. The funds were to be used to support increased border vigilante actions. In a “Patriot Hearts Network” web radio interview a few weeks earlier, one of the trio had denounced the illegal crossing of the border by Mexicans and warned, “We’re going to be walking into some times of revolution….”

May 31, Kansas. A man involved in the right-wing Sovereign Citizen movement and the militant wing of the anti-abortion movement walked up to Dr. George Tiller, standing at the entrance to his church, and shot him dead. Tiller, considered a hero by many in the reproductive justice movement, was a symbol of evil to many in the anti-abortion movement. The Sovereign Citizen movement is rooted in a White Supremacist interpretation of U.S. Constitutional law, and frequently overlaps with antisemitic conspiracy theories. Several right-wing pundits on TV and radio had repeatedly condemned Tiller by name. June 10, Washington, DC. A gunman walked toward the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum firing a rifle, and killing a Black security guard, Stephen Tyrone Johns. The man charged in the armed assault has a long history of virulent writings outlining his White Supremacist and antisemitic views. The victims are named in this update. The perpetrators are evidence of a larger pattern of racist scapegoating and conspiracist thinking that is toxic to democracy. Their names are not as important as the need for a public discussion of these deadly dynamics.


What you can do... 1) Spread the word about the Fresh Air interview with Chip Berlet. Read Media Matters' Report on Right-wing media and the fringe: A growing history of violence (and denial). 2) Download and Read Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating. 3) Browse the list of resources from a number of civil rights and human right groups concerned about this toxic environment of bigotry. Then pick a group to work with and support them. Get involved. 4) Resist further erosion of our civil liberties. The recent government report on so-called "Right-Wing Extremism" had valuable information, but was flawed by dubious claims and a failure to differentiate between right-wing ideas and criminal activity.
Get educated and get active See also:

Who You Calling Fascist?

Right-wing demagogues have gotten a lot of mileage comparing universal health care to government “national socialism,” but when a woman castigating Congressman Barney Frank held up a sign comparing President Obama to Hitler, Frank did the right thing.

The woman holding the LaRouchite manufactured sign -- depicting Obama with a cowlick and Hitler mustache -- confronted Frank by saying of Obama’s healthcare reform, “This policy is actually already on its way out. It already has been defeated by LaRouche. My question to you is, why do you continue to support a Nazi policy... as Obama has?"

But Barney Frank recognized the tiresome neofascist LaRouchite protestors for what they were. He glared at the LaRouchite and asked "On what planet do you spend most of your time?"  He then turned serious. "You stand there with a picture of the President defaced to look like Hitler and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis," said Frank. "It is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated." Then, with his classic biting wit, Frank said: "Trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table, I have no interest in doing it." See video here.

Right Wing hacks and demagogues immediately filled the Internet with denunciations of Frank for abusing a constituent. Congratulations. We await their apologies. Inadvertently, these pro-Republican stooges were siding with a racist, sexist, homophobic, antisemitic, neofascist cult. It is reminiscent of the Nazi rag Der Stürmer. See some images from Der Stürmer: here.

Are the LaRouchites really fascists? You bet.

Jewish organizations across the political spectrum have called LaRouche not only an anti-semite but also a “small-time Hitler.” The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) warned against ignoring the "infiltration by the neo-Nazi elements of Lyndon H. LaRouche," and worried that too often, especially in the media, "the LaRouchites" are "dismissed as kooks….In an age of ideology, in an age of totalitarianism, it will not suffice for a political party to be indifferent to and ignorant about such a movement," said Moynihan. Ironically, when the New York Times covered Moynihan's speech, they showed cowardice by repeatedly substituting the softer term "fascist" wherever Moynihan had said "nazi."

Dennis King’s book on the cult was titled Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism. Read it online here.

I have written popular and scholarly studies identifying the LaRouchites as neofascists. You can find the details here.

So the Republican spinmeisters, right-wing radio and TV demagogues, and insurance company hacks have a tough decision. They can denounce the odious LaRouchite neofascists who have allied themselves with the right-wing populist protests against health care reform; or they can continue to lie in bed with these strange bedfellows who are heirs to Nazi propaganda techniques complete with the big lies, antisemitism, racism, and “vile, contemptible” claims.

Thanks Barney, for setting the record straight, as only a proud gay Jewish Democrat with an urban accent could. That's why he gets getting elected by a diverse constituency... he stands up, talks plain, and does the right thing. We could learn a lesson here.

==================

Populism as a Staged Event

The aggressive public protests against Obama’s healthcare plan are an example of right-wing populism, a type of mass movement that periodically sweeps across the United States. Since the late 1800s, right-wing populist movements led primarily by angry White men have demonized and scapegoated people of color, immigrants, Jews, and other marginalized groups.

Populism on the right does not necessarily represent the policies or practices of traditional conservatism or economic libertarianism. In right-wing populist movements, anger, fear, and resentment are often mobilized by cynical rightist political elites as part of an orchestrated response in defense of unfair power, wealth, or privilege (and sometimes all three).

This does not mean, however, that the individual persons currently disrupting the town meetings have no right to participate in the public square.

Calling these protestors 'extremists' or 'wingnuts'; suggesting they are only Astroturf or mere puppets of elite rightist spinmasters; or demanding they be silenced; undercuts basic concepts of the democratic process.

Democracy is not a spectator sport and it can get loud and boisterous. Protestors and dissidents have a right to demand answers from elected officials, but they have no right to be bullies or attempt to silence their opposition. No matter what our political viewpoint, we all have a stake in ensuring that these public events are not marred by intimidation and mob rule. People need to stand up and defend democracy.

Anger and shouting are part of the chaos of real democratic struggles over policy. People who support a government role in providing health care need to step up. We need to be focusing our anger and doing some shouting ourselves. Not to disrupt, not to shout other people down, but to show Democrats that they need to develop some backbone. People who support serious reform of healthcare in our country need to attend town halls and public meetings, contact their elected officials, and rally their neighbors and to get involved in the public square. We need to be in the streets and suites raising a ruckus. We are being out-organized.

At the same time, being aware of how historic right-wing populism has played out in ways that promote scapegoating of immigrants, people of color, Jews and other targets is vital to protect the democratic process. The right-wing populism movement is dangerous and the people in it are scared, fed with misinformation and lies by right-wing demagogues, and genuinely scared. The individual people and the rightist movement are two different things. Anyone who has spent more than a few weeks as a community organize knows that you don’t belittle or attack scared and anxious people at public events.

This is a difficult balancing act, but a necessary skill set for those who want to defend and extend democracy as a system built on informed consent.

In the short run, people scheduling public meetings need to set the ground rules for participation up front, and enforce them with courtesy and without political bias.

In the long run, the Obama administration and the Democratic Party need to learn how to rebut false and misleading statements and beliefs without name-calling; calmly rebuke those national figures spreading the misinformation as harming civil society; and develop strong and clear arguments to defend their proposed programs.

These are the Three R’s of Civil Society: Rebut, Rebuke, Re-Affirm. The tendencies found within right-wing populism are toxic to democracy. The solution is not to short-circuit the democratic process, but to ensure that questions are fully answered and all voices are heard.

While keeping our eyes on the prize of universal quality health care for all, we must also prevent right-wing populism as a social movement from spinning out of control and into more violence. This is what happened in the mid-1990s when the Patriot and Militia movements—the most recent prior examples of mass right-wing populism—helped spread conspiracy theories and false allegations about President Clinton and blocked his policy initiatives. As anger and resentment spread through the heartland, fed by media demagogues and opportunistic politicians, Timothy McVeigh and his accomplices blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City, resulting in 168 deaths, in a failed attempt to provoke an insurrection from the right.

Since the Inauguration of Barack Obama as President, there have been nine murders tied to White supremacist ideology laced with conspiracy theories. It is already happening here. Decent people across the political spectrum need to take action to preserve pluralist civil society.

More Resources: 

HuffPost: Barney Frank Slams LaRouchite Fascism at Healthcare Meeting

HuffPost: Rightists Call Obama & FDR Socialist Traitors

HuffPost: Bigotry, Demonizing Rhetoric, and Right-Wing Violence

Report: Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, and Scapegoating

Web Collection: Explaining the social science dynamics: Right-Wing Populism, the Patriot Movement, and Organized White Supremacy

Book: Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort

 p.s. If the LaRouchites show up, give them the Barney Frank response. Vicious right-wing neofascist thugs with a 35 year record of disruption and smears are an exception to the 3R rule.

Chip Berlet is senior analyst of Political Research Associates, co-author (with Matthew N. Lyons) of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, and author of the recent report, Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, and Scapegoating.

 

 

Even before Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, the Internet was seething with lurid conspiracy theories exposing his alleged subversion and treachery. Among the many false claims: Obama was a secret Muslim; he was not a native U.S. citizen and his election as president should be overturned; he was a tool of the New World Order in a plot to merge the government of the United States into a North American union with Mexico and Canada. Within hours of Obama's inauguration, claims circulated that Obama was not really president because Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts scrambled the words as he administered the oath of office. A few days after the inauguration came a warning that Obama planned to impose martial law and collect all guns. Many of these false claims recall those floated by right-wing conspiracy theorists in the armed citizens' militia movement during the Clinton administration -- allegations that percolated up through the media and were utilized by Republican political operatives to hobble the legislative agenda of the Democratic Party. The conspiracy theory attacks on Clinton bogged down the entire government. Legislation became stuck in congressional committees, appointments to federal posts dwindled and positions remained unfilled, almost paralyzing some agencies and seriously hampering the federal courts. A similar scenario is already hobbling the work of the Obama administration. The histrionics at congressional town hall meetings and conservative rallies is not simply craziness -- it is part of an effective right-wing campaign based on scare tactics that have resonated throughout U.S. history among a white middle class fearful of alien ideas, people of color and immigrants. Unable to block the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, the right-wing media demagogues, corporate political operatives, Christian right theocrats, and economic libertarians have targeted health care reform and succeeded in sidetracking the public option and single-payer proposals. A talented environmental adviser to the Obama administration, Van Jones, was hounded into resigning Sept. 5 by a McCarthyite campaign of red-baiting and hyperbole. Support for major labor law reform has been eroding. With a wink and a nod, right-wing apparatchiks are networking with the apocalyptic Christian right and resurgent armed militias -- a volatile mix of movements awash in conspiracy theories. Scratch the surface and you find people peddling bogus conspiracy theories about liberal secular humanists, collectivist labor bosses, Muslim terrorists, Jewish cabals, homosexual child molesters and murderous abortionists. This right-wing campaign is about scapegoating bogus targets by using conspiracy theories to distract attention from insurance companies who are the real culprits behind escalating health care costs... Read the rest of this article at the Indypendent, New York's finest newspaper. Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, is the author of the recent study Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, and Scapegoating., and is co-author with Matthew N. Lyons of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort.

 

 

Listening to the rhetoric and reading the placards at recent right-wing events has led many progressive observers to conclude that "these folks are nuts!" Well, they are no more crazy or ignorant than most Americans (stifle that giggle), but they do live inside a bubble. We all live inside our own bubbles in terms of where we get our information. If you grew up listening to right-wing libertarian talk radio and conservative Christian televangelism programs you might be able to break out of that that bubble, but it is difficult, and the exception, not the rule. Sure, many of the ideas in the Political Right ignore about 50 years of social science -- but not in their book -- literally not in the books they read. Or the TV they watch. Or the radio they listen to. Or the magazines, newsletters, and direct mail that arrive in their mailbox. And this is what it is important to understand. These folks are no more crazy or ignorant than we are, but their "fact" base is produced in a parallel political universe. The 2,000 or so folks at the 2009 Values Voter Summit this past weekend in Washington, DC share a set of ideologies with minor variations and differing combinations. While most of these folks have economic libertarian beliefs, they differ in form and focus from secular economic libertarians. I'll cover the "Free Market" sector of the populist right in another post. Conservative Christian evangelicals allied with the Christian Right represent about 15% of the electorate. Most of them also have apocalyptic beliefs about the second coming of Christ, and many of those see it as an impending event they will witness in their lifetime. That explains why 15% of Republicans in New Jersey say they think it is possible that President Obama is the Antichrist (one of the signs of the arrival of the prophesied End Times); while 14% are absolutely sure Obama is the Antichrist. For those Conservative Christian evangelicals with this specific set of apocalyptic beliefs, stopping Obama is a mission from God; and also a test of faith which might determine whether or not they go to Heaven or get Raptured. Conservative icon Phyllis Shlafly received the Values Voter Summit major award at the concluding banquet. It recognized her role in creating the contemporary conservative movement. Schlafly's ideology is rooted in that of the Old Right, based on the policies of President William Howard Taft who served from 1909-1913. After WWII, in the 1950s, Schlafly organized conservative women to roll back the liberal policies of the Administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945). She also backed the failed Republican Presidential candidacy of Sen. Barry Goldwater in 1964. When the New Right began to emerge in the late 1970s with major support from veterans of the Goldwater campaign, Schlafly, a devout Catholic anti-communist, helped bridge the gap between the Old and New Right, as well as between conservative Catholics and conservative Protestants. What books did the Old Right bring into the New Right? Several authors were named at the Values Voter conference. In addition to Schlafly, authors W. Cleon Skousen and Fred Schwarz were mentioned from the podium. In terms of the contemporary Christian Right, these authors along with Gary Allen, John Stormer, Tim LaHaye, Larry Abraham and a few others wrote the books that contain the basis for almost all the Values Voter rhetoric, slogans, and workshop sessions decried as lunatic by the Left over the past week. The best known book was Phyllis Schlafly's A Choice, Not an Echo which suggested a conspiracist theory in which the Republican Party was said to be secretly controlled by elitist intellectuals dominated by members of the Bilderberger banking conference, whose policies were designed to usher in global communist conquest. Schlafly's husband Fred had been a lecturer at author Fred Schwarz's local Christian Anti-Communism Crusade conferences and training seminars. The title "A Choice, Not an Echo" became one of Goldwater's campaign slogans. Schlafly elaborated on the theme of the global communist conspiracy and its witting and unwitting domestic allies in a number of books. The Gravediggers, was a Schlafly book on military preparedness co-authored with retired Rear Admiral Chester Ward. Ward, a member of the National Strategy Committee of the American Security Council was also a lecturer at the Foreign Policy Research Institute which formulated many benchmark Cold War anti-communist strategies. The Gravediggers claimed U.S. military strategy and tactics promoted during liberal Administrations (both Democratic and Republican) were actually consciously designed to pave the way for global communist conquest. The Gravediggers was also tailored to support the Goldwater campaign. Schlafly and Ward also wrote Strike from Space, which later formed the basis of President Reagan's missile defense program. Schlafly was appointed by Reagan to his National Security Task Force, and she worked with retired General Daniel O. Graham to promote space-based missile defense. For over 50 years ultra-conservative Christians have been reading these types of books which lay out arguments that lie at the roots of contemporary right-wing populist rage. These are not marginal or "fringe" figures. They have played a major role in Republican Party politics and governance for over 30 years. Dismiss them at our own risk. More to come. Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, is co-author with Matthew N. Lyons of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. He has studied and written about the Political Right for close to 40 years.

 

 

Realignment

 

There is a seismic shift occurring in the political Right as established organizations scramble to respond to the new wave of right-wing populism. The Republican Party and its largest single voting bloc, the Christian Right, are split in how to respond to the rapid emergence of a right-wing populist movement outside their control as reflected in the teabaggers and townhallers. That was clear at the 2009 Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC this past weekend. Some speakers made repeated attempts to reach out and embrace the angry teabaggers and townhallers, while the more moderate speakers praised their "patriotism" but urged toning down the rhetoric. This reflects a larger split inside the Republican Party. Contrary to popular belief, the Christian Right did not diminish in its support for Republican candidates in the last election -- they were just outvoted. And while younger evangelicals are more tolerant in their social views, there is little evidence of a larger shift in voting trends among conservative Christian evangelicals. For the past 30 years voters identifying themselves as aligned with the Christian Right total about 15% of the electorate. That's unlikely to change much in 2010, and speaker after speaker at the Values Voter Summit made it clear that their goal is to mobilize and extend the conservative evangelical base for the upcoming Congressional election. In the meantime, the Right intends to do everything in their power to block every legislative, regulatory, diplomatic, military, and foreign policy initiative of the Obama administration with which they have more than the slightest disagreement. That's what they did during the Clinton administration -- and it worked. It is neither accurate nor useful to see this as one gigantic top-down, corporate run, astroturf, revolt of ignorant wingnuts. Far too many progressive and liberal media pundits and politicians enjoy using this rhetoric, but it undercuts our ability to analyze what is happening and prepare an effective response. While corporate spin and astroturf spam abounds, focusing on just these factors takes our eye off the growth of an angry right-wing populist movement that can mobilize voters and in some cases lead the unstable and insurgent to use violence. When the power shifts in Washington, DC between Republicans and Democrats, there is always a flurry of re-alignments; and some submovements grow while others shrink. There are also attempts to parasitize or take-over other pre-existing movements and emerging movements. Some groups will reframe their slogans or broaden their agenda (in socio-speak: frame alignment and frame extension) What are the dynamics of Right-Wing populism? It involves two key sectors of the Right: Elite formations at the top, and a Mass Base being mobilized. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - At the top, the rhetoric of populism is utilized opportunistically by Elites: Large Corporate Interests Business Nationalists Astroturfers & Propagandists Right-wing Media Demagogues Opportunistic and/or Right-wing Politicians Conservative Religious Leaders The Mass Base of angry right-wing populists is targeted, but they exist in separate yet fluid and overlapping submovements: Economic Libertarians Christian Right Patriot / Militia White Nationalists (xenophobic & anti-immigrant) Ultra-Right -- Organized White Supremacists (neonazis & KKK, etc) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - For a chart defining these sectors in more detail, go here. The sectors in the Elite and Mass Base are not in actual coalitions as much as working on parallel projects that they see as in their interest. This concept was proposed by sociologist Sara Diamond to explain how mass mobilizations could be generated by right-wing movements that had fundamental ideological and/or strategic differences. As long as the short term tactical project advanced their goals, they learned to stop fighting each other and turn their attention to stomping on the progressives, liberals, and Democrats. So while most economic libertarians are happy to sincerely denounce organized White supremacists, the outcome of "parallel projects" is that they nonetheless can be simultaneously pushing the same agenda such as stopping the government option for healthcare, blocking union reform, etc. Understanding the dynamics of right-wing populism helps progressive activists craft more effective countermovements, frames, and tactics. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More to come. Previously in this Series: Roots of Right-Wing Populism--Christian Right Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, is co-author with Matthew N. Lyons of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. He has studied and written about the Political Right for close to 40 years.

 

 

Beds

 

Yesterday Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa said Gay Marriage was part of socialist plan. Why does this make sense in a Christian Right worldview?

How did the post WWII Christian Right shift from a focus on the military defeat of godless global communism to a policing of our bedrooms—straight or gay? What happened? Why care? How do they justify vilifying President Obama?

Here is the report that broke the story: Congressman: Same sex marriage part of push for socialism By Michael O'Brien, The Hill.

Grassroots activists in the Christian Right are part of the tea bag & town hall right-wing populist revolt. This post will expose the roots of some of the right-wing slogans and poster signs that seem so far-fetched.

It is based on the premise that we need to out-organize the Political Right, not outshout them or simply dismiss them as cranks.

Teabaggers and Townhallers come from several pre-existing constituencies:

  • Economic Libertarians
  • Christian Right activists
  • Nebulous Anti-Elite Conspiracists
  • White Nationalists (xenophobic & anti-immigrant)
  • Organized White Supremacists

Sometimes there is overlap, sometimes there is feuding, some groups denounce other groups—but they all can push the same public agenda in the form of parallel projects. Hobbling the Obama Administraion is their shared goal, but it is based on different worldviews with different storylines that motivate action

At last weekend’s Values Voter Summit in the nation’s seat of power, the closing banquet keynote speaker Phyllis Schlafly praised the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade (CACC) and its founder, Dr. Fred Schwarz. CACC came to life in 1953 at the height of anti-communism during the Cold War and its witch hunts. Recent Christian Right crusades, however, have largely been based on rolling back gay marriage and undermining gay rights, outlawing abortion, replacing comprehensive sexuality education in schools with abstinence-only curricula, and other gender-related issues.

One of the core ideas of the US right in the 1960s was that that modern liberalism was an ally of freedom-strangling collectivism and a handmaiden for totalitarian “Godless Communism.” Yet even before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, there was a shift in the Christian Right to a broader more encompassing conspiracy theory based on the looming threat of secular humanism, a Godless “theology” in their minds. Understanding how the shift took place helps us understand the militancy and framing of the Christian Right contingent in the current right-wing populist revolt.

Among the most influential leaders of the countersubversion movement against the global communist conspiracy following the McCarthy period was Dr. Fred Schwarz and his California-based Christian Anti-Communism Crusade (CACC). A tireless lecturer, Schwarz in 1960 authored You Can Trust the Communists (to be Communists) which sold over one million copies. The incessant assault on America by forces of godless communism were central themes in several other widely distributed books used to mobilize support for Goldwater’s Presidential campaign in 1964.

Schwarz signaled the shift toward a secular humanist boogeyman (constructed as a scapegoat) in an essay written in 1981 where he explained to his audience the sinister plan to corrupt America’s youth through abortion, sex education, and homosexuality. When populated by fully depraved, decadent, and disarmed Americans, the country would fall like a rotting plum into the patiently–waiting outstretched hands of communist agents at home and abroad. A collectivist totalitarian state would follow.

Thus the current focus on gender issues is rooted in an anti-communist conspiracy theory, but also serves to defend traditional patriarchal and heterosexual societal norms. This defense of traditional heteropatriarchy is often a subtext masked by pseudoscientific claims, alarmist conclusions, and the invocation of God’s name in defense of “traditional family values.”

Schwarz explained how America would be brought to its knees in an essay in his CACC Newsletter entitled: "Morality, Communism, and Politics." According to Schwarz, the liberal news media didn't understand the landslie victory of Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Preidential election because:

Having long discarded what they often refer to sneeringly as the Puritan Ethic, they feel little or no moral outrage themselves and are incapable of understanding the intensity of the sense of moral outrage many Americans have felt as they have observed a liberal elite dominating the political process and destroying traditional moral values.

Schwarz then listed some of the "sources of outrage." Here are some excerpts with Schwarz's original subtitles:

Legal Slaughter of the Unborn

Many resent bitterly being compelled to participate in the insane system in which it is legal to maim, mutilate, and destroy any beautiful and healthy baby while it is in the body of its mother...

This framing of reproductive choice as murder continues relatively unchanged today in the Christian Right. Other issues have required some tweaking.

Promotion of Venereal Disease and Illegitimacy Disguised as Sex Education

Venereal disease and illegitimate births are being fostered in tax-supported public schools and also in some private schools by programs of sex education, sometimes misnamed "Family Life" education…. The paradox is that these programs are often sold to the parents by the claim that they will diminish venereal disease and illegitimacy.

The typical "family life" educational program instructs adolescents on techniques of sexual intercourse and contraception in a co-educational and morally neutral environment. It break down the personal and social barriers to promiscuity which have been erected with such difficulty by civilized mankind on the arduous journey from savagery to civilization, and human nature does the rest….

Schwarts claims that sex education "leads to a weakening of the family and to decay of the nation while the liberal theoreticians 'gloat because they have forced their advanced ideas upon the untutored and backward masses."

Homosexuality Disease and Mass Murder

The perverse has become "Gay". Liberal tolerance demands that the homosexual lifestyle be regarded as an acceptable alternative to the traditional family of husband, wife, and children. Homosexuals must be allowed to teach in schools, to organize, agitate and proselytize. Liberal chic demands it….

According to Schwarz: "The antagonism to life, which is inherent in homosexuality, reveals itself in periodic discoveries of mass murders associated with homosexual activities."

There is also a racial subtext to Schwarz's view of immorality, contained in another of his laundry list of liberal secular humanist outrages:

Compulsory Busing for Racial Integration

Parents have become secondary citizens and have lost control over major areas in the lives of their children. A liberal elite has decided that all children are disadvantaged unless they attend schools in which a substantial number of the students are members of other races. This has led to children being bused forcibly to schools outside their own neighborhood ….

The children of the elite who force this policy on lesser mortals are usually spared the ordeal of busing for racial integration because their parents can afford to send them to private schools and do so.

The resentment and anger at liberal elites for pushing folks at the grassroots is quite clear, and is reflected in contemporary tea bag and town hall protests.

Schwarz explained that the "relationship of the declining morality within the U.S.A. to increasing Soviet military strength is revealed by the communist formula for the conquest of the U.S.A. It is: 'External encirclement, plus internal demoralization, plus thermonuclear blackmail, lead to progressive surrender.'" So, said Schwartz, the "communists do not need to convert large numbers of U.S. citizens to communism in order to conquer this country. Demoralization, not conversion to communism, is the essential element. Anticommunists must be concerned with the moral issues.

Schwarz continued:

The communists remain immensely powerful in the military, economic and propaganda realms. Their agents of influence remain entrenched in American institutions. The liberal elite continue to dominate in educational and judicial realms. The love of pleasure has sapped the patriotic fervor of the young.

The battle for freedom, morality, and national security is just beginning. A new ray of hope has appeared, but it must be enlarged into a glorious dawn. The achievement of this demands the best we have and are.

The full newsletter essay is here: http://www.schwarzreport.org/Newsletters/1981/january1,81.htm

President Ronald Reagan, seen as forcing the collapse of communism in Europe was a hero to the Christian Right, which was largely responsible for his election in the first place. They expected Reagan to end the moral outrages of elite liberalism as well. He did not. The stuggle for God and Country continued. It continues today in the form of Christian Right activism against abortion, gay rights, and comprehensive sex education..

So an elite liberal secular humanist conspiracy of collectivists put Barack Obama in the Oval Office. From there, Obama can coordinate the encircling of America for the final assault on freedom. This includes the seizure of all firearms in private possession; the roundup of Patriots into “FEMA Concentration Camps;” and the establishment of a New World Order totalitarian state.

For apocalyptic Christians, this is all part of the grand evil plan of Satan in the End Times. For older Christian Right activists, this all is just another stage in the fight against global communism.

Evangelicals who came of age after the Cold War, however, need more than anti-communism as motivation. So the Christian Right reaches them through invoking God's name filtered through an idiosyncatic interpretation of sacred text in the Bible, while supplying them with copius pseudo-scientific "studies" proving abortion, homosexuality, and other liberal secular humanist moral outrages are dangerous to society, especially children.

There are tens of millions of conservative Christian evangelicals who read, watch, or hear these messages on a weekly basis. Stop laughing and start organizing.

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More to come.


Previously in this Series: Roots of Right-Wing Populism--Christian Right

Roots of Right-Wing Populism--Realignment

Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, is co-author with Matthew N. Lyons of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. He has studied and written about the Political Right for close to 40 years.

 

 

 

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