The anguish of the right-wing intellectual

goose step

From Doug Henwood of Left Business Observer and more. He used to be on the right, thus he knows the territory, and sees how intellectuals on the right have been marginalized by the yahoos.

The anguish on the right reminded me of something that Slavoj Zizek said in Laibach: A Film from Slovenia. In the 1980s, Laibach loved to dress up in fascist and Stalinist garb, much to the annoyance of Slovenian nationalists who were pushing for independence from Yugoslavia. Zizek, who appears as a talking head throughout the film, commented that the annoyance came from Laibach’s exposure of the “hidden underside” of Slovenian nationalism. To the outside world, Slovenian nationalists wanted to appear modern and civilized, but hidden underneath was a strutting authoritarianism that was revealed by Laibach’s uniforms, goosesteps, and martial anthems.

So you have to wonder if the anguish among intellectuals on the right is anguish at the exposure of their hidden underside.

Indeed, intellectuals and thinkers on the right, like Andrew Sullivan, are horrified at what has happened to the right. There’s no there there anymore. Just foaming-at-the-mouth nativism, thinly disguised racism, and deliberate and willful anti-intellectualism as championed by Limbaugh, Palin, and Chuck Norris (who appears to have recently completely gone into Loony Land)

But Henwood’s point is deeper than just a comment on the current chaos and whiny bad loserism in the Republican Party. Rather, now that the intellectuals have been purged, the jackboots are clearly in view.

No wonder the intellectual right is beside itself. It badly needs to work up some fresh camouflage.

Now, I think that’s just a teensy bit overstated. There are plenty of intellectuals on the right who are anything but closet goose-steppers. But they have little or no say in the party now. The lunatic fringe has taken over the asylum.

But if the Republicans should choose a competent moderate like Gov. Hunstman to head the party, that could change.

  • Um, did Sarah Palin create the southern strategy? Was Joe the Plumber the one carpet bombing women and children in Cambodia? Was it Rush Limbaugh who couldn’t even bring himself to acknowledge AIDS existed? I wonder who these magical moderate Republicans are and when they were ever in power.

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