Sunday, January 29, 2006

blog roundup: the politics of fear

place today's blog roundup under the heading "the politics of fear." (due largely no doubt to recent remarks by that political "genius" known to some as "turd blossom" that the 2006 elections will be run on a campaign of fear. (and hey, why mess with a winning formula, right?) the la times' jonathan chait gets it pretty much right.

"Finding a Place for 9/11 in American History," a NYT op-ed piece by joseph j. ellis, a history prof at mount holyoke, essentially argues that the threat from terrorism, contrary to everything we are being told, does NOT rank among the great security threats of our nation's history, but that the countermeasures currently being taken are as shameful as any of the others undertaken. glenn greenwald comments astutely as usual.

barbara o'brien looks at a recent WaPo editorial and an op-ed piece by eugene reobinson, using them as the occasion to consider this president's politics of fear. she looks at an essay, "American Roulette: The Effect of Reminders of Death on Support for George W. Bush in the 2004 Presidential Election," in an advance copy from a book apparently forthcoming from blackwell. this article cites eric fromm's Escape from Freedom, which "proposed that loyalty to charismatic leaders results from a defensive need to feel a part of a larger whole, and surrendering one's freedom to a larger-than-life leader can serve as a source of self-worth and meaning in life." check out her elaboration of other concepts from fromm as a helpful way of understanding this bewildered and bewildering american republic.

there's of course the so-called liberal media's role in all this. greenwald also points out the recent attacks on the blogosphere, to which jim vandehei's WaPo latest dovetails all too well. see also matt stoller. once again, the discursive sphere where civilized and incisive commentary takes place is charged with lunacy and yet the constant stream of uninterrogated lies perpetuated by the major media is defended. "Assent--and you are sane-- / Demur--you're straightaway dangerous--" (emily dickinson ca. 1862)

peter daou has it just about right in his vaguely lakoffian argument that facts and reality simply do not cut through frames that support lies and illusions.

1 comment:

K. Lorraine Graham said...

Hi Tom. I always like these roundups. The link you posted in your commend didn't come through. Do resend/post. -Lorraine