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The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Rightby David Neiwert
Synopses & Reviews
The Eliminationists describes the malignant influence of right-wing hate talk on the American conservative movement. Tracing much of this vitriol to the dank corners of the para-fascist right, award-winning reporter David Neiwert documents persistent ideas and rhetoric that champion the elimination of opposition groups. As a result of this hateful discourse, Neiwert argues, the broader conservative movement has metastasized into something not truly conservative, but decidedly right-wing and potentially dangerous.
By tapping into the eliminationism latent in the American psyche, the mainstream conservative movement has emboldened groups that have inhabited the fringes of the far right for decades. With the Obama victory, their voices may once again raise the specter of deadly domestic terrorism that characterized the far Right in the 1990s. How well Americans face this challenge will depend on how strongly we repudiate the politics of hate and repair the damage it has wrought.
"Neiwert (Strawberry Days), founder of the political blog Orcinus, links the proliferation of radical conservative ideas in the political mainstream to the looming specter of 'eliminationism,' an ideology rejecting dialogue and debate 'in favor of the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through suppression, exile, and eviction, or extermination.' Eliminationism has taken many forms in American history, from the attitudes of early settlers toward the Native Americans they displaced and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan to the establishment of 'Sundown Towns' that banned nonwhite residents and the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. In recent years, the eliminationist urge, articulated by conservative fringe groups associated with the Christian Patriot movement, has emerged in talk radio, news networks and national press outlets providing a platform for attacks on immigrants, Muslims, homosexuals and liberals. In these efforts, the author discerns a nascent American fascism, an argument that is by turns frightening and overwrought. Rich in historical and journalistic detail, the book offers a fine overview of the uglier strains in American politics. However, those looking for concrete solutions will find the author's call for ever-increasing vigilance somewhat less than fortifying." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Vile, slanderous attacks in politics are not new. But their distribution via modern technology is....[C]learly written text and well-laid-out research." Library Journal
Drawing from his extensive reporting on right-wing groups, David Neiwert argues that the conservative movement's alliances with far-right extremists have not only pushed the movement's agenda to the right, but have become a malignant influence that's increasingly reflected in political discourse. The result is a pathology Neiwert calls pseudo-fascism — a political style that talks and acts like fascism without its core violence and thuggishness. The author argues that only effective response is a rhetoric of peace and not a surrendering one, but the kind of peace that stands up for human values, civil discourse, and basic decency.
About the Author
David Neiwert is a journalist and author based in Seattle. His reportage on domestic terrorism for MSNBC.com won a National Press Club Award in 2000. The founder of the award-winning weblog Orcinus, Neiwert is also the author of Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community and other books.
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History and Social Science » American Studies » Culture Wars