Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chris Hedges on Theological Roots of Tea Party Extremism: "I Think It's a Kind of Christofascism"

At Truthdig, Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer discuss the theological roots of the radical wing now controlling the Republican party, which is responsible for the current government shutdown: Hedges notes that the media shy away from noting or explaining these roots to the American public, with unhappy consequences. He concludes:

Much of the failure to understand the engine of this movement is a failure to really examine closely this religious extremism. They use the traditional language of Christianity, but what they're promoting is something very radical, very frightening. And I would not be shy, as you mentioned, to use the word "fascist." I mean, I think it's a kind of Christofascism.

I think Chris Hedges is absolutely correct here. The mainstream media have long refused to look carefully at the theological roots of the growing radical-right movement in the U.S. They've done so not merely out of polite disdain for popular religious movements, but also because the elites on whose behalf the mainstream media speak, which claim to be above the populist hysteria of the heartland, actively need that hysteria to serve their own economic interests.

The polite disdain for the masses and what they think out in the hinterlands is a charade designed to permit the ruling economic and cultural elites that control the mainstream media to pretend that they are distant from the prejudice, the rancor, the ignorance of the masses they manipulate to serve their own economic ends. In what's happening now in the GOP, however, all of this is coming back to bite said elites very hard on the hindquarters. And it's exposing the duplicity of their claim to be above and removed from the misguided theological end-times fervor they've massaged and helped along for years now, as they pick the pockets of the folks they've stirred up with their ugly diversionary tactics targeting minorities and others perceived as threatening to the hegemony of conservative white working-class evangelicals.

The graphic: at Third Coast Daily, Michael Ray uses this image, noting that it comes from the Flickr photostream of Thomas Guest, which permits users to replicate images for non-commercial use under Creative Commons license.

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