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
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail