Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The White Power Movement: A Direct Line Between Vietnam and Jan. 6

An interesting point the speaker makes is that surges in right-wing terrorism tend to accompany international warfare. Whenever the US is waging a major war internationally, a surge in right-wing violence tends to follow. However, I would argue that the main authoritarian danger from the right-wing is not these fringe extremist groups, as much as potential efforts by the neocons, Reaganites, and supply-siders to stage a right-wing revanchism in retaliation against their being eclipsed by the digital capitalists, newly rich, bourgeoise bohemians, professional-managerial class, rising minority elites, etc. Neither white nationalism nor Christian nationalism would be sufficient for that purpose, though it might be a component. The main danger posed by racist extremists is ordinary violent crimes and terrorist incidents. But a serious right-wing revanchism wouldn’t be that kind of stuff so much as a perceived rebellion against PC culture that the right-wing of the ruling class was able to weaponize. For 35 years, the neocons and Reaganites used the religious right as their shock troops and useful idiots. That’s not working anymore due to generational and cultural changes. They’ve since tried to weaponize Trumpism while deflecting and containing it at the same time. The main danger is politicians who try to bend all these currents toward each other (neocons/Reaganites on the top, Trumpists and “walkways on the bottom,” nativists and Christian nationalists on the margins). There are plenty of characters like that: Cruz, Cotton, Hawley, Rubio, DeSantis, etc. Watch out for those douchebags.

The Biden administration is rolling out a new strategy to counter domestic terrorism. One of the initiative’s top aims is to confront racism and bigotry — long the primary drivers of homegrown extremism. Award-winning historian and author Kathleen Belew, a professor at the University of Chicago, speaks with Michel Martin about violence and militarization in American society and how to combat it.

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