Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

The "L" word

Expand Messages
  • Ram Lau
    Long ago, there was a noble word, liberal, which derives from the word free. Now a strange thing happened to that word. A man named Hitler made it a term of
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 30, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      "Long ago, there was a noble word, liberal, which derives from the
      word free. Now a strange thing happened to that word. A man named
      Hitler made it a term of abuse, a matter of suspicion, because those
      who were not with him were against him, and liberals had no use for
      Hitler. And then another man named McCarthy cast the same opprobrium
      on the word. Indeed, there was a time - a short but dismaying time -
      when many Americans began to distrust the word which derived from
      free." - Eleanor Roosevelt, Tomorrow Is Now
    • Ram Lau
      ... Some 40 years later, a new generation of Hitlers and McCarthies are still demonizing the word liberal when love and peace and tolerance are needed more
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 15 3:40 AM
      • 0 Attachment
        > "Long ago, there was a noble word, liberal, which derives from the
        > word free. Now a strange thing happened to that word. A man named
        > Hitler made it a term of abuse, a matter of suspicion, because those
        > who were not with him were against him, and liberals had no use for
        > Hitler. And then another man named McCarthy cast the same opprobrium
        > on the word. Indeed, there was a time - a short but dismaying time -
        > when many Americans began to distrust the word which derived from
        > free." - Eleanor Roosevelt, Tomorrow Is Now

        Some 40 years later, a new generation of Hitlers and McCarthies are
        still demonizing the word "liberal" when love and peace and tolerance
        are needed more than ever in our world. How much does it take for
        people to wake up?
      • THOMAS JOHNSON
        The following is an excerpt from a John Dean interview by Keith Olbermann on last Monday s Countdown. John Dean warns us that we are much closer to fascism
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 15 9:59 AM
        • 0 Attachment
          The following is an excerpt from a John Dean interview
          by Keith Olbermann on last Monday's "Countdown."
          John Dean warns us that we are much closer to fascism
          than this nation has ever been before... fascinating
          stuff from the former Nixon staffer:

          Olbermann: "It's interesting there was so much
          personal in that letter from Mr. Hoekstra to Mr. Bush,
          that it seemed that there was as much offense taken
          that he personally, Mr. Hoekstra did not know what Mr.
          Bush's people were doing as any violation of law
          there. Does this sort of segue us into the topic of
          the book, that there's way too much personal going on
          here rather than politically professional?"

          John Dean: "Well, I think, you know, the question is
          really what had happened at the presidential or the
          vice-presidential level. A lot of these efforts to
          withhold information from the Congress are really
          coming out Cheney's office. It may well be his office
          giving instructions, and the President might have
          given Hoekstra an assurance, 'Hey, I'm going to give
          you everything I've got when I got it,' and he might
          have been offended by that. So it's hard to tell. We
          don't have enough facts yet, but to say again to the
          end of the book there certainly are a number of
          conservatives up there who will march in lockstep when
          they get the word from the authority they are expected
          to follow."

          Olbermann: "That would be the thesis of the book, and
          we'll go into that at length, but I wanted to start at
          the very beginning. You dedicated this book to Barry
          Goldwater. What would he, in your opinion, having
          known him and having dealt with him on these political
          issues, have thought of the current conservative
          movement as it has become? And what would the
          conservative movement have thought of him at this
          point? What do they think of him now?"

          Dean: "Well, that's a, I think right now we can say --
          in fact, I discuss this in the book -- that Goldwater
          Republicanism is really RIP. It's been put to rest by
          most of the people who are now active in moving the
          movement further to the right than it's ever been. I
          think the Senator before he departed was very
          distressed with conservatism. In fact, it was our
          conversations back in 1994 that started this book.
          It's really where I began. We wanted to find answers
          to the questions as to why Republicans were acting as
          they were, why conservatives had taken over the party
          and were being followed, you know, as easily as they
          were in taking the party where he didn't think it
          should go."

          Olbermann: "What did you find? In less than 200 pages
          that the book goes to?"

          Dean: "I ran into a massive study that had really been
          going on for 50 years now, by academics, they've never
          really shared this with the general public. It's
          remarkable analysis of the authoritarian personality,
          both those who are inclined to follow leaders and
          those who jump in front and want to be the leaders. It
          was not the opinion of social scientists. It was
          information they drew by questioning large numbers of
          people, hundreds of thousands of people, in anonymous
          testing where they conceded, you know, their innermost
          feelings and reactions to things. And it turned out
          that these people were, most of these that came out in
          the testing were people who had been prequalified to
          be conservatives, and then they found that this indeed
          fit with the authoritarian personality."

          Olbermann: "Does it really, do the studies indicate
          that it really has anything to do with the political
          point-of-view? Is it, would it be easier to
          essentially superimpose authoritarianism over the
          right than it would the left? Is it theoretically
          possible that they could have gone in either direction
          and it's just a question of people who like to follow
          other people?"

          Dean: "They have found really maybe a small, one
          percent of the left who follow authoritarianism,
          probably the far left. But as far as widespread
          testing, it is just overwhelmingly conservative
          orientation."

          Olbermann: "There is an extraordinary amount of
          academic work that you quote in the book. A lot of it
          is very unsettling. It deals with psychological
          principles that are frightening and that may have
          faced other nations at other times in Germany and
          Italy in the 30s coming to mind in particular. How
          does it apply now? And to what degree should it scare
          us? And to what degree is it something that might
          still be forestalled?"

          Dean: "Well, to me it was something of an epiphany to
          run into this information. First, I'd never read about
          it before, I'd sort of worked my way into it until I
          found it. It's not generally known out there what's
          going on. And I think from best we can tell, these
          people, the followers, a few of them will change their
          ways when they realize what they're doing. They're not
          even aware of their behavior. The leaders, those who
          were inclined to dominate, are not going to change a
          second. They're going to be what they are. So, by and
          large, the reason I write about this is I think we
          need to understand it and realize when you take a
          certain step and vote a certain way and head in a
          certain direction where this can end up. So it's sort
          of a cautionary note. It's a warning as to where this
          can go because other countries have gone there."

          Olbermann: "And the idea of leaders and followers
          going down this path and perhaps taking a country with
          them requires, this whole edifice requires an enemy --
          communism, al-Qaeda, Democrats, me, whoever -- for the
          two minutes hate. I mean, there is, we overuse, I
          overuse the Orwellian analogies to nauseating
          proportions, but it really was, in reading what you
          wrote about, and especially what the academics talked
          about there was that two minutes hate thing. There has
          to be an opponent, an enemy to coalesce around or the
          whole thing falls apart. So is that the gist of it?"

          Dean: "It is one of the things that, believe it or
          not, still holds conservatism together because there
          are many factions in conservatism, and their dislike
          or hatred of those they portray as liberal, who will
          be anybody who basically disagrees with them, is one
          of the cohesive factors. There are a few others, but
          that's certainly one of the basics. There's no
          question that the, particularly the followers, they're
          terribly very aggressive in their effort to pursue and
          help their authority figure out, or there authority
          beliefs out. They will do whatever needs to be done in
          many regards. They will blindly follow. They stay
          loyal too long. And this is the frightening part of
          it."

          Olbermann: "Let me read something from the book. Let
          me read this one quote, then I have a question about
          it. 'Many people believe that neoconservatives and
          many Republicans appreciate that they are more likely
          to maintain influence and control of the presidency if
          the nation remains under ever-increasing threats of
          terrorism, so they have no hesitation in pursuing
          policies that can provoke potential terrorists
          throughout the world.' That's ominous not just in the
          sense that authoritarians involved in conservatism and
          now Republicanism would politicize counterterror here,
          which we've already argued that point on many
          occasions. But are you actually saying here they would
          set up, encourage terrorism from other countries to
          set them up as a bogeyman to have again that group to
          hate here, that group to more importantly afraid of
          here?"

          Dean: "What I'm saying is that there has been fear
          mongering the likes of which we have not seen in a
          long time in this country. It happened early in the
          Cold War. We got accustomed to it, we learned to live
          with it, we learned to understand what it was about
          and get it in proportion. We haven't done that yet
          with terrorism. And this administration is really
          capitalizing on it and using it for its political
          advantage. No question, the academic testing shows,
          the empirical evidence shows that when people are
          frightened, they tend to go to these authority
          figures, they tend to become more conservative. So
          it's paid off for them politically to do this."

          Olbermann: "This all seems to require not merely
          venality or immorality, but a kind of amorality where
          morals don't enter into it at all. We're right, so
          anything we do to preserve our process, our power,
          even if it by itself is wrong, it's right in the
          greater sense. It's that wonderful rationalization
          that everybody uses in small doses throughout their
          lives. But is this idea, this sort of psychological
          review of the whole thing, does it apply to Dick
          Cheney? Does it apply to George Bush? Does it apply to
          Bill Frist? Who are the names on these authoritarian
          figures?"

          Dean: "You just named three that I discuss in some
          length in the book. I focused in the book not on the
          Bush administration and Cheney and the President, but
          I, because they really, I've been there, done that.
          But I wanted to understand is what they have done is
          they've made it legitimate to have authoritarianism.
          It was already operating on Capitol Hill. After the
          '94 control by the Republicans of the Congress, it
          recreated the mood, it restructured the Congress
          itself in a very authoritarian style, in the House in
          particular. The Senate hasn't gone there yet, but it's
          going there because more House members are moving
          over. This atmosphere is what Bush and Cheney walked
          into. They are authoritarian personalities, Cheney
          much more so than Bush."

          Olbermann: "Yeah."

          Dean: "And they have made it legitimate and they have
          taken it way past where anybody's ever taken it in the
          United States."

          Olbermann: "Our society's best defense against that is
          what? Do we have to hope that, as you suggested, the
          people who follow wise up and break away from this
          sort of lockstep salute that, well of course they're
          right, of course there's WMD, of course there are
          terrorists, of course there's al-Qaeda, of course
          everything is the way the President says it, or do we
          rely on the hope that these are fanatics and fanatics
          always screw up because they would rather believe in
          their own cause than double-check their own math?"

          Dean: "The lead researcher in this field told me, he
          said I look at the numbers in the United States and I
          see about 23 percent of the population who are pure
          right-wing authoritarian followers. They're not going
          to change. They're going to march over the cliff. The
          best thing to deal with them, and they're growing, and
          they have a tremendous influence on Republican
          politics. The best thing, the best defense is
          understanding them, to realize what they're doing, how
          they're doing it, and how they operate. Then it can be
          kept in perspective. Then they can be seen for what
          they are."

          Olbermann: "Did any of this ring familiar to you from
          the Nixon administration? Or is this a different
          world?"

          Dean: "No, I must say that about everything that went
          wrong with Watergate, you could really count to
          authoritarianism, as well."

          Olbermann: "Give me an example. In other words, not
          getting away with it was a result of it, too?"

          Dean: "Take Gordon Liddy and his following whatever
          Nixon wants, even a hint of anything he wants. Salute,
          yes sir, let's do it."

          Olbermann: "And the story that he has told about you
          and you've told about him about him saying I have all
          of this knowledge in my brain that could bring the
          President of the United States down, tell me to go and
          stand in a corner and what was the rest of it?"

          Dean: "Tell me where you want me shot. He said I don't
          want you shooting me in my house because I've got
          children. But shoot me on the street corner. That's a
          loyal right-wing authoritarian follower in action at
          the extreme."

          Olbermann: "You've been an historian, you've been a
          part of history. You've been at one of the central
          moments of history in the 20th century. What kind of
          danger, are we facing a legitimate threat to the
          concept of democracy in this country?"

          Dean: "I don't think we're in a fascist road right
          now. We are so close to it though, Keith. That's why I
          wrote the book. Because I want people to understand
          exactly what is going on and why it's going on."

          Olbermann: "It is an extraordinary document. All the
          best with it. John Dean, former counsel, White House
          counsel to Richard Nixon, author of the new book,
          Conservatives without Conscience. As always, sir,
          great thanks for coming in."
          --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

          > > "Long ago, there was a noble word, liberal, which
          > derives from the
          > > word free. Now a strange thing happened to that
          > word. A man named
          > > Hitler made it a term of abuse, a matter of
          > suspicion, because those
          > > who were not with him were against him, and
          > liberals had no use for
          > > Hitler. And then another man named McCarthy cast
          > the same opprobrium
          > > on the word. Indeed, there was a time - a short
          > but dismaying time -
          > > when many Americans began to distrust the word
          > which derived from
          > > free." - Eleanor Roosevelt, Tomorrow Is Now
          >
          > Some 40 years later, a new generation of Hitlers and
          > McCarthies are
          > still demonizing the word "liberal" when love and
          > peace and tolerance
          > are needed more than ever in our world. How much
          > does it take for
          > people to wake up?
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.