The Eliminationists

The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right
by David Neiwert [PoliPoint]

David Neiwert has long been one of the most astute observers of racist right-wing organizing in the Northwest. His previous books have examined (in turn) the patriot movement in Idaho and Montana, how hate crimes law affected the prosecution of a particular violent crime, and the legacy of Japanese internment. Lately, his blogging (at FireDogLake and Crooks and Liars, as well as his own Orcinus) has focused on how far-right activists, politicans and media figures have been working in concert to make mainstream conservatism more hospitable to extremist ideas and spokespeople.

This is the specific focus of Neiwert's new book, which takes stock of the rise of right-wing talk radio, cable, and blog figures such as Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck. Neiwert takes these talkers and their eager audiences seriously, not just as uninformed buffoons, but as a serious threat to open communications and democracy. One aspect of this serious engagement is Neiwert's earnest discussion of the character of historical fascism, plus what he calls "proto-fascism," and the "eliminationism" of the title--a nationalism imprinted with white supremacy and more than a passing appetite for violent rhetoric.

Neiwert's detailed and scorching rebuttal to empty-brained efforts to equate progressivism with totaliarianism (a la Jonah Goldberg, Michelle Malkin, etc) is more than blogger-to-blogger score-settling; it's an early warning that fascist impulses are neither a thing of the past nor a safely marginal phenomenon. The Fox News-assisted rise of the "tea party" movement in the months since Neiwert's book came out makes it clear that such impulses are muscling their way into the Americal political mainstream. -jl

buy online

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey