Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eliminationists in Iowa

Eliminationists in Iowa

Monday's death threats against state Sen. Matt McCoy can be understood, to the extent one can understand such things, with a review of The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right by David Niewert.
Eliminationism: a politics and a culture that shuns dialogue and the democratic exchange of ideas in favor of the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through suppression, exile, and ejection, or extermination.

At the risk of a Godwin's Law fail, where have we heard that one before?

Niewert writes:
"Rather than engaging in a dialogue over political and cultural issues, one side simply dehumanizes its opponents and suggests, and at times demands, their excision. This tendency is almost singularly peculiar to the American Right and manifests itself in many venues: on radio talk shows and in political speeches, in bestselling books and babbling blogs."

Neiwert acknowledges that leftists have been known--less frequently--to toss around talk of assassination or insurrection but, he points out, they tend to focus on threatening talk toward an individual (think Cheney or Bush), not an entire category of human beings. The far right, on the other hand:

"Right-wing rhetoric has been explicitly eliminationist, calling for the infliction of harm on whole blocs of American citizens: liberals, gays and lesbians, Latinos, blacks, Jews, feminists, or whatever target group is the victim du jour of right-wing ire."

No gay senator, no problem.

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