Friday, March 4, 2016

Quote for Day: Chris Hedges on Working-Class White Americans' Embrace of Fascism with Trump

Lower-class whites are embracing an American fascism. 
These Americans want a kind of freedom—a freedom to hate. They want the freedom to use words like "nigger," "kike," "spic," "chink," "raghead" and "fag." They want the freedom to idealize violence and the gun culture. They want the freedom to have enemies, to physically assault Muslims, undocumented workers, African-Americans, homosexuals and anyone who dares criticize their cryptofascism. They want the freedom to celebrate historical movements and figures that the college-educated elites condemn, including the Ku Klux Klan and the Confederacy. They want the freedom to ridicule and dismiss intellectuals, ideas, science and culture. They want the freedom to silence those who have been telling them how to behave. And they want the freedom to revel in hypermasculinity, racism, sexism and white patriarchy. These are the core sentiments of fascism. These sentiments are engendered by the collapse of the liberal state. . . . 
Fascism is about an inspired and seemingly strong leader who promises moral renewal, new glory and revenge. It is about the replacement of rational debate with sensual experience. This is why the lies, half-truths and fabrications by Trump have no impact on his followers."

And why is this happening in our culture? Hedges is clear: "College-educated elites, on behalf of corporations, carried out the savage neoliberal assault on the working poor." As he insists, the duplicity of these elites, many from East Coast Ivy League schools and embodied in politicians like Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, has driven working-class white Americans into the arms of fascism. These "liberal" elites have talked a good game about "values," Hedges thinks—"civility, inclusivity, a condemnation of overt racism and bigotry, a concern for the middle class"—at the very same time that they have been "thrusting a knife into the back of the underclass for their corporate masters."

The results of this toxic politics of pseudo-values-based duplicity, with its callous exploitation of middle- and working-class workers, could not have been more disastrous for the whole nation, he concludes. And I think he's absolutely correct about this.

The photo of Chris Hedges is from his Truthdig biography page.

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