FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Hot Right

Living in Florida, and like any place really, the weather is one of a handful of topics that strangers can civilly discuss if not serve as a rare moment for bonding. Talk of storms with names and famous ones without can be heard every Friday and Saturday night at Red Lobsters across the state, as people wait and wait for a table. You won’t live here long before being invited to compare the tropical, humid weather to the dry desert heat. For some reason the latter tends to be the victor, though I think that’s because it is the imagined, “greener” other place. But I’m reminded of a quip a friend would offer when people claimed dry heat was “better” than the humidity: “Stick your head in an oven. It’s still hot.”

It’s “hot” right now in Arizona, for sure, and, like Florida, the state has a rich history of being on the frontlines of rightwing conservatism. I wish it were simply an issue of temperature, since that would provide a simple explanation and, in my thinking, some kind of solution. I’d strongly advocate public and mandatory air-conditioning. But given that the right-wingers thrive in Alaska to SoCal, and in fact every state, climate might be dropped from the equation.

No, rightwing views and politics are certainly made and remade, and Glenn Beck and his ilk are rightfully being brought up in connection to the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords. Sarah Palin’s now-even-more-infamous “crosshairs map,” in which Gifford’s was in dead-aim, looks to have served part of its purpose. From talk radio to so-called “mainstream” media, angry, caustic, outraged conservative polemics have long been a staple, though their frequency and intensity have indeed been on the uptick in the past few years. Seething, reactionary violence isn’t hard to hear and see.

Part of the more-recent genius of conservatives has been their ability to play the oppressed outsider when, in fact, their views are indeed shared and practiced by a majority. Not enough, in my opinion, has been said in response to the sheer absurdity of Glenn Beck forever calling the current administration “socialist.” While on one level it of course demonstrates a laughable understanding of history and politics, on another level it sadly demonstrates the pitiful ability of the left to provide a clear and noticeable answer. Conservatives have long been productively framing the terms, range, and direction of political debate. And, sadly, James Connolly’s notice of “the readiness of the ruling class to order killing, the small value the ruling class has ever set upon human life” is still all too true.

Socially speaking, these are in fact desperate times. Crisis capitalism is forcefully ? and successfully ? undoing struggled-for social structures. The so-called “financial crisis” is providing the grounds for reshaping our communities and working conditions in far more favorable terms to the capitalists. Wealth is increasingly flowing upwards. Profound ? sickening ? inequalities persist. The rightwing populism ?i?ek brilliantly foresaw and outlined is growing stronger by the day. I differ with some on the left who see the current conditions as the end road for capitalism. Far from it. If capitalism has taught us anything, it is that it is exceedingly adaptive. It will crush everything and anyone just to rebuild. Nothing remains outside its logic. I see a likely return to the Robber Barron age, not an end to capitalism. In the absence of any real socialist alternative and response, the capitalists will succeed.

Our current conditions in fact demand a radical solution. The only question, really, is whose radical solution? I actually see a glimmer of hope in Beck and clan, since there may be an opportunity to be seized. In their skewed presentation and understanding of leftist politics, they may paradoxically provide the grounds to offer a more authentic version. Attention might be redirected to questions like wellbeing and quality of life, rather than a crude economy of profits. Trillion dollar military budgets might be seen in relation to deficits in town and country. “Kinds of jobs” might be emphasized, rather than just simply “jobs.” Put another way, we might rethink how we shape, structure, and organize our daily lives, and ask who sets the terms and why. Indeed, the temperature may be just right.

Paul Myron Hillier is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Tampa. He can be reached at pbay@yahoo.com

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail