Attacking the System, Left & Right: Critical theories and conspiracy theories are two paths to the same place. (JUSTIN STAPLEY, NOV 27, 2023, Freemen News-Letter)

Most conservatives recognize why various leftist theories such as CRT, the 1619 project, or Equity Theory are concerning and damaging to the fabric of society. But far too many brush off or even feed the growing instincts on the right to question the legitimacy of the results of free and fair elections, to see conspiratorial forces behind the decisions of corporations, institutions, and media companies, and to believe there’s a false flag behind every major geopolitical event. This suggests a serious misunderstanding of why such leftist ideas should be opposed in the first place, and hints that far too many right-wingers are just reflexively trying to “own the left” to achieve power, influence, and wealth rather than engage politically in a way that actually secures the domestic tranquility we are actually charged with conserving and renewing.


From Niagara Falls to Texas to Gaza, a horrifying look into the abyss of a post-truth future (Will Bunch, Nov. 26th, 2023, Philadelphia Inquirer)

No one can fault the FBI or other agencies for investigating whether this was some type of terror attack, given the location of the accident at a key border crossing, the timing — perhaps the busiest travel day of the year — and the spectacular nature of the explosion. What’s inexcusable, however, was the rapid reporting of the most extreme speculation as fact, and the large number of supposedly responsible politicians willing to run with those untruths.

“What I’ve been told is that this was an attempted terrorist attack,” said Alexis McAdams, a correspondent for Fox News, the right-slanted network that despite a series of scandals and mishaps is still the most-watched cable news channel. Reporting just two and a half hours after the crash, McAdams added that her law enforcement sources believed that the motorists — in reality, remember, two middle-aged KISS fans — “have packed that car full of explosives.”

Thus, the “reputable” Fox News was adding the meat of confirmation to what a frothing right-wing echo chamber on social media was already proclaiming: The “blast” mean a network of terrorists is poised to enter America not only from the south but from the north, thus proving — in their minds — the inherent weakness of President Joe Biden’s border policies. And there was an army of political demagogues eager to run with a false meme.

“We need to lock down the borders immediately,” GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida posed on X/Twitter Wednesday. “Full deportation efforts need to begin. The U.S. does not need to be the world’s hospitality suite any longer.” Added another Florida Republican, Rep. Byron Donalds, in a now deleted tweet: “Open borders, soft-on-crime policies and bending a knee to the woke P.C. mob is an inevitable threat to our nation and its people. Today’s apparent terrorist attack must be a wake-up call to all Americans.”

The website Meidas Touch published a list of more than 30 Republican officials or right-wing luminaries who tweeted similar sentiments and occasionally embellished their posts with new made-up details, like the discovery of an Iranian passport at the crash site. Some of these posts are still up, days after it became clear that the Niagara Falls crash was just a horrific tragedy and not the far-right’s fever dream of Islamic jihad to justify a repressive response. Others, including Fox News, have ripped yet another page from George Orwell’s 1984 — tossing their initial reporting down a memory hole.

Unfortunately, their mission had already been accomplished.


PODCAST: The Birth of British Fascism (The Rest Is History)

The cultural roots of fascism swirled around Britain at the turn of the 20th century, as medieval nostalgia, an obsession with hygiene, anti-semitism, and concern for the environment grew in the wake of modern development. In the 1920s, Britain faced similarly tough conditions to the European countries where fascism did take hold; major economic difficulties, unpopular governments, and intense fears of Bolshevism. But did fascism ever really find an audience in Britain? Listen to the first episode of our series on British fascism, as Tom and Dominic discuss fascism in Britain before the emergence of Oswald Mosley

Pretty remarkable how little you’d need to change for this to be about MAGA.


How a 1950s new left manifesto explains the 2020s new right (Jason Willick, September 5, 2022, Washington Post)

There are clear parallels between today’s populist right and the new left movement that exploded in the 1960s and 1970s.

C. Wright Mills, a sociologist at Columbia University, was that movement’s intellectual godfather. Consider a passage from his 1956 bestseller, “The Power Elite,” a polemical attack on the structure of America’s institutions that would inspire a generation of new left activists:

“[The power elite] are in command of the major hierarchies and organizations of modern society. They rule the big corporations. They run the machinery of the state and claim its prerogatives. They direct the military establishment. They occupy the strategic command posts of the social structure, in which are now centered the effective means of the power and the wealth and the celebrity which they enjoy.”

Today, that passage could easily appear in a populist-right publication such as the Claremont Institute’s the American Mind, which denounces the liberal “regime.” If uttered on Fox News or Newsmax, it might be condemned as an example of conspiracism or misinformation that sows discord and undermines confidence in institutions.

Mills, who died in 1962, didn’t use the term “deep state,” but an unaccountable bureaucracy was a major concern of the new left philosopher. “It is in the executive chambers, and in the agencies and authorities and commissions and departments that stretch out beneath them” where much policy is made, he argued, “rather than in the open arena of politics.”

Those making decisions were not chosen by ordinary voters: “Once, most of the men who reached the political top got there because people elected them up the hierarchy of offices,” Mills observed. “But of late, in a more administrative age, men become big politically because small groups of men, themselves elected, appoint them.”

When the rest of society rejects your politics it’s always convenient to have a conspiracy to latch on to.


The weird thing happening to Republicans in D.C. should scare Americans everywhere (Stephen Moore, Nov. 13th, 2023, Fox News)

A weird thing is happening politically in Washington. This new wing of the GOP is adopting the declinist rhetoric of Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying that middle-class America has fallen behind over the last 40 years, and that all the economic gains have gone to the richest Americans and big corporations.

Except this argument about the last 40 years — the greatest period of wealth creation and technological advance in world history — is flat-out false. Actually, it may be hard to appreciate given the last three depressing years of COVID, lockdowns and then Bidenomics, but the last 40 years have been a golden age of prosperity for virtually every income group — including the middle class. Median family income reached $78,000 in 2020, which is $20,000 a year higher than it was in 1983. That’s about a 35% after-inflation increase over the period.

Those income measures don’t include the much wider availability of more non-cash benefits — such as health care coverage, more vacation, and 401k and other retirement benefits — that make middle-class families almost 50% better off than in the late 1970s. They don’t take into account the cleaner air and water, the vast improvements in combating diseases such as cancer and heart disease, the superiority of the quality of products we buy today, and the fact that virtually all Americans now have a device in their pockets that puts the whole world and the entire Library of Congress at their fingertips — with access that is virtually free.