Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blasts from the Past

I've been noticing an increasing tendency among those on the right to respond to any sort of criticism or mockery as "fascism" and "censorship," an attempt to "silence our voices." (e.g.) Perhaps this is one of those tropes that spread like opportunistic infections among the incestuous rightosphere. Or maybe it says something a little deeper -- a collective response to their awareness that the conservative stranglehold on the discourse is at long last being loosened. If so, perhaps it's the case that the rightwing bloviators have had it too soft for too long, and they've lost their callouses in the absence of any abrasion. Or maybe they've always had thin skins, and I'm just now noticing.

I had hopes for a time that the Pantload's magnum opus would have one positive effect: causing the word fascism to become so meaningless that we could just discard it. So much for dreams. It seems instead to have given permission to every whining wingnut with a keyboard to use it as often as John McCain says POW.

I've been wasting too many electrons on the forums and elsewhere trying to make clear the difference between disagreement and censorship, between snark and authoritarianism. To that end, I wanted to note some eloquent essays from long ago (in Internet time) that argue the same idea, that I just happened across.

To give a little context, a guy named Lee Siegel used to write a blog on culture for The New Republic's website. At one point, back in 2006, in reaction to the netroots-fueled movement to defeat Joe Lieberman's bid to retain his Senate seat, Siegel let loose a couple of bilious burps equating bloggers with Hitler and baseball caps with jackboots. Or something like that. Hilarity ensued, of course, but many also took the occasion to pause their goosestepping and put some real effort into rebutting Siegel's rants. See hilzoy, Yglesias, and Wolcott for three examples of what I am trying to say, done much, much better.


Anonymous said...

I think that when those in the right complain about others trying to silence their voices, it's just their frustration about running out of arguments to defend the indefensible, and blaming that on someone else. I don't do well with that kind of whining. Well, any kind of whining, I should say.

John Evo said...

Eh... you atheist Islamocommufascists are all the same.