Decoding the Semiosphere
ressentiment and the mechanisms of defense
Early Tea Party Images
Whatever we mean by racism, these Tea Party images are what we are talking about.  The first two images barely conceal the racist thrust of the TP, and are virtually indistinguishable from the third image ("Impeach the Muslim Marxist"), the fourth image ("Obamacare"), the fifth ("niggar"), and the sixth ("monkeysee").

The exchange between Juan Williams and Newt Gingrich (1)--and the crowd's response--at Fox’s Republican presidential debate in South Carolina on January 16, 2012 puts on display the raw emotions at the core of the mass appeal of the right:

1. Gingrich Slams Juan Williams in Racial Exchange,   newsmax.com, 1-17-12

At a Gingrich rally the next day a women thanks Newt Gingrich for "putting Mr. Juan Williams in his place" (2).  

2. Republican Woman Thanks Newt For Putting Juan Williams In His "Place", Uploaded by hennehn on Jan 18, 2012


The issue here is not ideological, but performative.  It is not a question of whether a particular individual is a racist, not a question of  whether the statements made indicate the presence of racist motives and ideas.  What is the psychological content and purpose of these performances (of Gingrich and his audience)?  The answer is that
there is a deep structure of rage that is endemic to our more broadly conceived historical situation (Nietzsche)--inchoate rage expressed in the theater of ressentiment that politics provides.  This is the heart of darkness at the center of civilization--and the core psychodynamic logic that generates the rhetorical performances at the heart of the right of today as well as at the heart of the fascism of the 1920s to the 1940s.


dd
capcong



impeach
This page is divided into two major parts.  

The first--theoretical resources-- includes a) excerpts from key texts on ressentiment, and my own comments on the political significance thereof.  Following my comments are b) excerpts from key historical texts, the first group of which (Asbridge, Walzer, Blanning, McMahon) covers the period from the First Crusade to the mid-nineteenth century.  c) The second group of texts are contemporary in focus (Levien, Clayton, Cash, Carter, and Paxton).  Both groups of texts illustrate the deep historical continuity of ressentiment as an ontologically irreducible force.  This is followed by my comments on the theoretical significance of these works.

The Second Part--from crux to flux: wallowing in the muck--turns to the flux of the matter, the stuff, the muck now accessible over the internet, such as is seen in the images to the right.  Wallowing is a vital aspect of transcendental empiricism (see philosophy and history).  Whether my practice of transcendental empiricism is faithful to Deleuze's writing on that theme is irrelevant.  What matters is the work that it provoked, not exegetical fidelity.  This entire site is that work, whose spirit is captured by another Deleuzian term: rhizome.

This page presupposes a familarity not only with the basic concepts of psychoanalysis but, as George Makari put in Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis (2008):

 . . . the culture of Kant; the assumptions of Geisteswissenschaft and a European classical education . . .  (p. 485)

Simon Clarke, Social Theory, Psychoanalysis and Racism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), is essential reading.
"While at a Tea Party event on February 27, 2009, a photo was taken of TeaParty.org founder and president Dale Robertson with a sign that said "Congress = Slaveowner, Taxpayer = Niggar". It has been reported that he was ejected from the event because of the offensive nature of the sign, and Houston Tea Party Society leaders ousted him from the society shortly after. It was also reported that Robertson intended to sell the domain TeaParty.org; however, as of May 2011 he is named the "President & Founder" on the TeaParty.org "Founder" section."  (From Wikipedia: Tea Party movement)


niggar
obamacare
Part I.  Theoretical Resources monkeeseewolf

a.  theoretical resources




 
from Friderich Nietzsche, Geneology of Morals, II 16

“The man who, from lack of external enemies and resistances and forcibly confined to the oppressive narrowness and punctiliousness of custom, impatiently lacerated, persecuted, gnawed at, assaulted, and maltreated himself; this animal that rubbed itself raw against the bars of its cage as one tried to “tame” it; this deprived creature, racked with homesickness for the wild, who had to turn himself into an adventure, a torture chamber, an uncertain and dangerous wilderness—this fool, this yearning and desperate prisoner became the inventor of the “bad conscience.”  But thus began the gravest and uncanniest illness, from which humanity has not yet recovered, man’s suffering of man, of himself—the result of a  forcible sundering from his animal past, as it were a leap and plunge into new surroundings and conditions of existence, a declaration of war against the old instincts upon which his strength, joy, and terribleness had rested hitherto. . . .  Let us add at once that, on the other hand, the existence on earth of an animal soul turned against itself, taking sides against itself, was something so new, profound, unheard of, enigmatic, contradictory, and pregnant with a future that thee aspect of the earth was essentially altered”   

“All instincts which do not discharge themselves outwardly turn inward—this is what I call the internalization of man: thus it was that man developed what was later called his ‘soul.’  The entire inner world, originally as thin as if it were stretched between two membranes, expanded and extended itself, acquired depth, breadth, and height, in the same measure as outward discharge was inhibited.”
demons
grunwald
Matthias Grünewald,The Temptation of Saint Anthony, 1515
Panel from the Isenheim altarpiece: oil on wood
Musee d'Unterlinden, Colmar
from Michael André Bernstein, Bitter Carnival : ressentiment and the abject hero (Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 28

Abjection and ressentiment can be distinguished most readily by their different relationships to temporality and to the urge for vengeance: abjection suffers constantly new, and usually externally imposed, slights and degradation, whereas ressentiment is trapped forever in the slights of the past.  . . . .  What “empowers” someone afflicted by ressentiment is the intensely focused, but impotent hatred with which he feeds his sense of having been treated unfairly, and his hope of someday forcing others to suffer in his place.


from Fyodor Dostoevski, Notes from Underground, p. 96-7

 Now let’s see how things are with people who are capable of revenge and, in general, of taking care of themselves.  When the desire for revenge takes possession of them, they are drained for a time of every other feeling but this desire for revenge. . . . .  Now let’s look at this mouse in action.  Let’s assume it has been humiliated (it is constantly being humiliated) and that it wishes to avenge itself.  It’s possible too that there’s even more spite accumulated in it than in l’homme de la nature et de la verite.  The nauseating, despicable, petty desire to repay the offender in kind may squeak more disgustingly in the mouse than in the natural man who, because of his innate stupidity, considers revenge as merely justice . . . .  In its repulsive, evil-smelling nest, the downtrodden, ridiculed mouse plunges immediately into a cold, poisonous, and—most important—never-ending hatred.  For forty years, it will remember the humiliation in all its ignominious details . . . 




I wish and I ask that our rulers who have Jewish subjects exercise a sharp mercy toward these wretched people . . . They must act like a good physician who, when gangrene has set in, proceeds without mercy to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bone, and marrow. Such a procedure must also be followed in this instance. Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them, as Moses did in the wilderness, slaying three thousand lest the whole people perish. They surely do not know what they are doing; moreover, as people possessed, they do not wish to know it, hear it, or learn it. There it would be wrong to be merciful and confirm them in their conduct. If this does not help we must drive them out like mad dogs, so that we do not become partakers of their abominable blasphemy and all their other vices and thus merit God's wrath and be damned with them. I have done my duty. Now let everyone see to his. I am exonerated."

Martin Luther, The Lies of the Jews (1543)

comments:

The  culture of ressentiment is a fundamental characteristic of modern society



Ressentiment is civilization's evil twin.  It accompanies the rise of the state, and persists with greater force and effect into the twenty first century than anyone--except Nietzsche--thought possible. Ressentiment is the deep structure of the real, a fundamental element in the making of the West.  

Ressentiment emerged as an adaptive response to the discipline imposed by power in the first civilizations (Schmookler).  According to Nietzsche, ressentiment is more than simply a form of adaptation of an otherwise intact organism to power.  Ressentiment is the chief characteristic of “natures that, denied the true reaction, that of deeds, compensate themselves with an imaginary revenge.”  (Bernstein, Bitter Carnival: Ressentiment and the Abject Hero (Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 102)  It is a fundamental reconfiguring of the organism, an alteration of Being, a transformation of Becoming.  It is something new, contrary to the existence of hunter-gatherers.  It is a particular type of Being that is the characteristic element of the age of civilization and the state.

This adaptive response is empirically and clinically developed in psychoanalysis's concept of the mechanisms of defense.  
                 the mechanisms of defense in the                                   the other as constructed by the                                    construction of the other                                                                      mechanisms of defense   
mdyy

b.  key historical texts: from the First Crusade to the mid-nineteenth century

comments: (Asbridge, Walzer, Blanning, McMahon)

Marx, and the enlightenment ethos of which he was a part,  was wrong in a decisive area.  Not only did the Enlightenment not acquire a proletarian or popular embodiment.  The ‘people’, even in its "working class" moment, became the mass base for right wing, nationalist, racist, xenophobic cognitive modalities, political cultures, and socio-culturally contextualized character formations.* (Blanning, Paxton, Clarke; Sugrue)  These modalities of ressentiment are ontologically prior to the political forces that utilize, absorb, and manipulate them (see Right-wing Elites in the Postwar era; Red Scare, links).  That is why answers to such questions as What’s the Matter With Kansas?  cannot be given in political terms or through political analysis.

Ressentiment is the dark energy against which the Enlightenment is powerless.  It bubbles and explodes in the 2009 anti-"Obamacare" town hall meetings.  Some see ressentiment as backlash--as episodic and event-driven (ie, as reactions to ghetto rebellions, school busing, student radicalism); they are wrong.  There is a deep structure of rage that is endemic to our more broadly conceived historical situation (Nietzsche)--inchoate rage expressed in the theater of ressentiment that politics provides.  This is the heart of darkness at the center of civilization--and the core psychodynamic logic that generates the rhetorical performances at the heart of the Right, magnificently in your face and on display in the 2011-12 GOP primary debates.


The activity of provincial, archaic and traditional elites (Persistence of the Old Regime), together with newer firms in the west and south and newly emergent crony capitalist formations (Enron, World Com), and now a whole new set of predatory financial institutions plays a critical role in the politicization of ressentiment.

the activity of these old and new elites, in aiding and abetting the construction of the political structures of mass mobilization (Town Hall meetings), is decisive in determining the political effectiveness of anti-modern right wing movements, which otherwise might languish in a populist stew of ineffectual rage. (Red Scare)  But they do not call into existence these ontologies of ressentiment, of the right, of anti-modernism.  They merely utilize and shape them.  (See
Right-wing Elites in the Postwar era.)

That which is called Marxism can be taken as the Enlightenment embattled, confined, demonized and defeated.  (more on this later)

What the left shares with the right today is a common deification of the "People".  In the public sphere politicians and pundits alike invoke "the People" as the Good and the True.  The same can be said of much of scholarship.  

from
Werner Stark,  Sociology of Religion: A Study of Christendom (Fordham University Press, 1966-72) vol. 1, p. 188

As democratic convictions became settled . . . 'the people' emerged increasingly as the true sovereign, and the conception gained ground that 'the people' is sane and sound, and its voice, at least to some extent, is sacred.

and from Nietzsche, Will to Power, § 863

“The values of the weak prevail because the strong have taken them over as devices of leadership.”

This entire site has as one of its primary purposes the deconstruction of "The People."

*There are exceptions.  Studies of the rise of Hitler show that where the Left was strongamong industrial workers, National Socialism was met with fierce resistance.  Likewise, in the years before the Revolution Russian railroad workers protected Jews from anti-semitic mobs (get source).  These exceptions, however, only prove the rule of this site (especially the page on the CPUSA): The "real" force was not class membership, but cognitive/cultural development, of which class was context not cause.




from The First Crusade: A New History, Thomas Asbridge (Oxford, 2004)

These accusations (  ) had little or no basis in fact, but they did serve [Pope] Urban's purpose.  By expounding upon the alleged crimes of Islam, he sought to ignite an explosiion of vengeful passion among his Latin audience, while his attempts to degrade Muslims as 'sub-human' opened the floodgates of extreme, brutal reciprocity.  This, the Pope agued, was to be no shameful war of equals, between God's children, but a 'just' and 'holy' struggle in which an 'alien' people could be punished without remorse and with utter ruthhlessness.  Urban was activating one of the most potent impulses in human society: the definition of the 'other'.  Across countless generations of human history, tribes, nations and peoples have sought to delineate their own identities through comparison to their neighbours or enemies.  By conditioning Latin Europe to view Islam as a species apart, the  Pope stood to gain not only by facilitating his proposed campaign, but also by propeling the West toward unification.
pp. 34-5

"Two forces seem to have been at work, stimulated by the crusading message that Urban had shaped.  Characterising Muslims, the expedition's projected enemies, as a sub-human species, the pope harnessed society's inclination to define itself in contrast to an alien 'other'.  But tapping into this innate well-pool of discrimination and prejudice was akin to opening Pandora's Box.  A potentiallly uncontrollable torrent of racial and religious intolerance was unleashed." p. 85


from Puritanism as a Revolutionary IdeologyMichael Walzer, History and Theory, Vol. 3, No. 1 (1963), pp. 59-90

About the Puritan saints Walzer writes of " . . . their almost Manichean warfare against Satan and his worldly allies, their nervous lust for systematic repression and control." p. 63 

"They felt themselves to be living in an age of chaos and crime and sought to train conscience to be permanently on guard against sin.  The extent to which they would have carried the moral discipline can be seen in the following list of offenses which merited excommunication in one seventeenth-century congregation:

-for unfathfulness in his masters service
-for admitting cardplaying in his house . . .
-for sloth in business.
-for being overtaken in beer.
-for borrowing a pillion and not returning it.
-for jumping for wagers . . .
-for dancing and other vanities.

Had the saints been successful in establishing their Holy Commonwealth, the enforcement of this discipline would have consituted the Puritan terror." p. 64

"The persecution of witches, of course, was not a vital aspect of Puritan endeavor, but the active, fearful struggle against wickedness was.  And the saints imagined wickedness as a creative and omnipresent demonic force, that is, as a continual threat." p. 79



Blanning's work is what I have dubbed a Very Massive Object:  an author so well established in his field and a work so well received that The Pursuit of Glory:  Europe 1648 -1815 can be taken as "canonical", in the sense of representing at the present time a definitive account--a Very Massive Object (VMO)--that can not only be relied upon but more importantly must also be taken into account.

Am I justified in reading this text on the context of Nietzsche's concept of ressentiment?  This is the only question that can be asked of my use of this work.  Take note of the final paragraph, where Blanning demolishes the myth of the people.  I repeat Stark and Nietzsche to emphasize this point.


from Werner Stark,  Sociology of Religion: A Study of Christendom (Fordham University Press, 1966-72) vol. 1, p. 188

As democratic convictions became settled . . . 'the people' emerged increasingly as the true sovereign, and the conception gained ground that 'the people' is sane and sound, and its voice, at least to some extent, is sacred.

and from Nietzsche, Will to Power, § 863

“The values of the weak prevail because the strong have taken them over as devices of leadership.”

from The Pursuit of Glory:  Europe 1648 -1815, Tim Blanning (Viking, 2007).

"If the state was one master-noun of eighteenth-century political discourse, the nation was another.  Indeed, as a source of inspiration, it was the more potent.  For although the state was an ambitious, omnivorous, hyperactive agent, the blood it sent pulsing round the body politic was very much on the thin side.  While a dedicated enlightened absolutist such as Frederick the Great or Joseph II might wish to dedicate his life to its service, most Eurpeans found it difficult to work up much enthusiasm for such an abstract entity.  The nation, on the other hand, proved to be brimful with motivating force, for it triggered both positive and negative responses to a self-generating dialectical progression.  For every virtue a nationalist ascribed to his own national group, there was a corresponding vice to be denigrated in the 'other' against which national identity was defined."

"This kind of mutually supportive national prejudice was of long standing by the eighteenth century.  In the Middle Ages, satires singled out, for example, the envy of the Jews, the cunning of the Greeks, the arrogance of the Romans, the avarice of the French, the bravery of the Saxons, the bad temper of the English and the lasciviousness of the Scots.  As the German scholar Winfried Schulze has cogently argued, the humanists of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries advanced these simple stereotypes much further by integrating simple prejudices in national historical narratives, especially foundation myths, for 'just about every culture and every religion has its own creation myth, its own equivalent of the Book of Genesis' (Colin Renfrew)." (306)

"To detect the continuing ground-swell of submerged hatred of past wrongs and hopes of future vengeance, it is the oral tradition of nationalist ballads and epics that need to be examined, for 'if a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation', as the Scottish patriot Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun (1653? — 1716) put it.  That this is not an impossible unertaking has been shown by Vincent Morley, who has demonstrated just how ubiquitous and popular ws the long historical poem variously entited 'Tuireamh na hÉireann' ('Ireland's Dirge') or 'Aiste Sheáin Uí Chonaill' ('Seán Ó Conaill's Composition'), first composed in Kerry in the middle of the seventeenth century.  This offered all the essential elements of a fully fledged nationalism: a foundation myth (the migration of the Milesians to Ireland from Spain), a mythical hero (Fionn mac Cumhail and his warrior band, the Fianna), special assistance from God (the arrival of St Patrick), cultural achievement (the monasteries), an alibi for failure in the face of foregn invasion ('the betrayer Dermod' was just the first of many), and — above all — a gnawing sense of grievance in the face of foreign oppression (Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Cromwell, etc.)." (314)

"The targets of the London rioters [1733] were often national or religious minorites.  Attempts to allow the naturalization of Jews in 1751 and again two years later, for example, provoked waves of popular anti-Semitism.  The most estructive episode of the enire century was the 'Gordon Riots' of 1780. directed against the Catholic Relief Act." (326)

"Unfortunately for enlightened intellectuals, more often than not 'the people' proved to be not just unenlightened but positively reactionary, just as likely to riot against attempts to remove discrimnation against Jews or Catholics as to demonstrate in favor of 'Wilkes and Liberty!'  In the Habsburg Monarchy they were far more likely to turn out to greet the Pope, as more than 100,000 proved in April 1782, than to welcome the enlighened reforms Joseph II was trying to thrust down their throats.  Indeed, what prompted Joseph to put the brakes on his liberalization of the public sphere toward the end of his reign was the awful realization that it was not being used to propagate enlightenment, as he had hoped, but rather to incite conservative resistance to his reforms.  As so often before and since, it was the reactionaries who proved the more adept at exploiting the written word, not least because their arguments struck a much more responsive chord than those of their progressive opponents." (334)




I take McMahon's statement:

"It was precisely this tendency to view society as a battleground between opposing camps that stands as a hallmark of the bipolar, Right-Left model of politics so fundamental to subsequent European history. . . .  Dividing the world between good and evil"

as setting the larger framework for my account of contemporary American politics.  Hence, when I refer to recent rants by Rush Limbaugh, I intentionally place them in this larger context.  I do this because it is required by the methodology of the VMO (the fact that this accords with my own personal inclinations is insignificant)




from Darrin M. McMahon, Enemies of the Enlightement: the French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity (Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 48-52

What were the elements of this emergent right wing vision?  The fundamental importance of religion in maintaining political order, a preoccupation with the perils of intellectual and social license, the valorization of the family and history, the critique of abstract rights, the dangers of dividing sovereignty, and the need for a strategic alliance between throne and altar . . .  Even more fundamental was a Manichean readiness to divide the word in two: bewtween good and evil, right and wrong, Right and Left.

Yet to say that the anti-philosophe discourse fulfilled an ideological function is not to assert that it offered a fully developed political platform.  Rather it provided a "symbolic template" through which to construe a perplexing and rapidly changing world, a number of "authoritative concepts" and "suasive images" by which they could be grasped.  

By invoking this mythic golden past . . . anti-philosophes revealed signs of a romantic, qasi-utopian yearning for wholeness and social unity that would characterize a strain in far Right thinking for years to come.             

Reactive, reductive, Manichean, this thinking is less noteworthy, perhaps, for its particulars than for its general form.  It was precisely this tendency to view society as a battleground between opposing camps that stands as a hallmark of the bipolar, Right-Left model of politics so fundamental to subsequent European history. . . .  Dividing the world between good and evil, between the pious and the profane, anti-philosphes saw their struggle as a cosmic war in which the winners would take all.

from Mary Vincent, "The Spanish Church and the Popular Front: the experience of Salamanca province," in Martin S. Alexander and Helen Graham, eds., The French and Spanish Popular Fronts (Cambridge University Press, 1989)

Catholic polemicists writing during the Civil War had no difficulty in blaming the Popular Front for the tragic end of the Second Republic.  One of the innumerable tracts put out by Catholic apologists in support of the generals' rising [Franco] baldly stated that the Popular Front was essentially evil, 'a monstrous conglomeration of anti-Catholic political parties' whose tyranny was manifested in its persecution of the 'sacred institutions' of the family, relgion and property.  Manipulated by international masonry, it intended to deliver Spain to Soviet communism thus betraying both the fatherland and the Catholic religion. (p. 79)

This appeal for united action was given greater weight by the presentation of the Popular Front as the Church's declared enemy, a nihilitic alliance of the forces of evil.  The right was firm in its intentions to cauterize all 'unhealthy' elements in the Spanish state.  In 1933 Gil Robles had announced the need to purge the fatherland of 'judaising freemasons'.  In 1936 he broadened this considerably, saying on the eve of the elections that the party wanted primarily

to eliminate the sowers of discord who leave the fatherland broken and blood-stained, to eliminate in the realm of ideas that suicidal rationalism which, killing the great universal ideas of Catholicism and the fatherland, had broken with those supreme factors which made up the soul of the nation.

The CEDA called on all its supporters to work against 'anti-Spain', 'against the revolution and its accomplices', obscure figures commonly understood to be marxists, fremasons and Jews.  In similar vein, the Dominican Father Carrión published an article in his Order's journal which spoke of those three forces aligning themselves against Spain.  Jewish marxists, expelled from ghettos all over the world, came to Spain where 'they settle down and sprawl about as in conquered territory'.

c.  contemporary historical texts

from Anatol Lieven, America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2005)

America is the home of by far the most deep, widespread and conservative religious belief in the Western world, including a section possessed by wild millenarian hopes, fears and hatreds—and these two phenomena are intimately related. . .  [A]t the start of the twenty first century the United States as a whole is much closer to the developing world in terms of religious belief than to the industrialized countries (although a majority of believers in the United States are not fundamentalist Protestants but Catholics and “mainline,” more liberal Protestants).  p. 8

In the United States, this sense of defeat and embattlement resides in four distinct but overlapping elements of the American national tradition: the original, ‘core’ White Anglo-Saxon and Scots Irish populations of the British colonies in North America; the specific historical culture and experience of the White South; the cultural world of fundamentalist Protestantism; and the particular memories, fears and hatreds of some American ethnic groups and lobbies.” p. 91

The Greater South extends beyond the borders of the former Confederacy and even the Mason-Dixon line . . . to cover large parts of the Midwest and the West. According to some cultural geographers, the northern border of the Greater South lies rightly along route 40, which runs from east to west across the middle of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.  In the West, the Greater South includes Oklahoma and other states largely settle from the Old South.” p. 107

 . . . the fundamentalist wing of the evangelical tradition is a very powerful ideological force in large parts of the United States and retains elements of thought which have come down with relatively few changes from much earlier eras.  Its origins are pre-Enlightenment, and its mentality to a very great extent anti-Enlightenment.  p. 124
American Exeptionalism:
Wealth and Religiosity

rel
from  World Publics Welcome Global Trade -- But Not Immigration
Pew Global Attitudes Project 10.04.07
grunwald

In the context of Levien (above) look at the graph to the right.  The demons of Martin Luther's day are still with us.  Then do a thought experiment with the graph above right, by imagining what the result would look like if the U.S. is broken down by region, as in Figure 1.




p33Also refer to the map below right, Largest Participating Protestant Religious Group, and consider the implication's of the Media's failure to note even the most basic geographic and ideological features of contemporary politics.

August 23, 2012  NYT
The Crackpot Caucus, By TIMOTHY EGAN

In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins
,  Gallup.com




birth

Data from the DailyKos, "Birthers are mostly Republican
and Southern," by kos, Fri Jul 31, 2009

The Research 2000 findings were pulled together from a survey of 2,400 adults.

Poll question: Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?

Choices: Yes   No   Not sure

No + Not Sure = variable graphed




the Proto-Dorian Convention--the answer to Thomas Frank's question: What's the Matter with Kansas


from Bruce Clayton, "No Ordinary History: W. J. Cash's The Mind of the South", in  Charles W. Eagles, The Mind of the South: Fifty Years Later (University Press of Mississippi, 1992)

Cash offered a gripping argument that the elite had so drilled its superiority into the psyche of the common whites that they intricately and mysteriously connected themselves once and for all with their betters.  Here was Cash's "proto-Dorian convention."  Because of slavery, and the common white's psychological needs, color elevated the common white "to a position comparable to that, say, of the Doric kight of ancent Sparta," Cash wrote. The planters were admired and obeyed not because they were inherently good or capable, but because the lowly white saw in their masters--cotton patch Doric knights, in other words--examples of what they might become.  This belief was a fantasy that coddled the ego of the common man and was thus integral to maintaining the proto-Dorian bond.  When Helper,* Cash wrote, "and others began at last on the eve of the Civil War to point out the wrongs of the common white and to seek to arouse him to recogizing them, they could get no response."  Why?  Becuse "the common white, as a matter of course, gave eager credence and took pride in the legend of the aristocracy which is so valuable to the defense of the land.  He went further, in fact, and, by an easy psychological process which is in evidence wherever men group themselves about captains, pretty completely assimilated their own ego to the latter's--felt his planter's new splendor as being in some fashion his own."  (pp. 11-12)

from W. J. Cash, The Mind of the South (Alfred A. Knopf, 1941)

Yeoman and cracker turned to the planter, waited eagerly upon his signal as to what to think and do . . . because he was their obviously indicated captain in the great common cause.  "The stupid and sequacious masses, the white victims of slavery . . . believe whatever the slaveholders tell them; and thus are cajoled into the notion that they are the freest, hapiest, and most intelligent people in the world," wrote the bitter Helper, gazing in baffled anger at the scene.  (69)

*Hinton Rowan Helper (December 27, 1829 – March 8, 1909) was a Southern US critic of slavery during the 1850s. In 1857, he published a book which he dedicated to the "nonslaveholding whites" of the South. The Impending Crisis of the South, written partly in North Carolina but published when the author was in the North, argued that slavery hurt the economic prospects of non-slaveholders, and was an impediment to the growth of the entire region of the South. Anger over his book due to the belief he was acting as an agent of the North attempting to split Southern Whites along class lines lead to Southern denunciations of 'Helperism'. (Wikipedia)

Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees  
glenprot



from
Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004):


The legitimation of violence against a demonized internal enemy brings us close to the heart of fascism.  p. 84

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. p. 218

Today a "politics of ressentment" rooted in authentic American piety and nativism sometimes leads to violence against some of the very same "internal enemies" once targeted by the Nazis, such as homosexuals and defenders of abortion rights.  p. 202
The languge and symbols of an authentic American fascism would, of course, have little to do with the original European models.  They would have to be as familiar and reassuring to loyal Americans as the language and symbols of the original fascisms were familiar and reassuring to many Italians and Germans, as Orwell suggested. . . .  No swastikas in an American fascism, but Stars and Stripes (or Stars and Bars) and Christian crosses.  No fascist salute, but mass recitations of the pledge of alegiance [one minute and 45 seconds into the video to the right].  These symbols contain no whiff of fascism in themselves, of course, but an American fascism would transform them into obligatory litmus tests for detecting the internal enemy.  p.  202 (Emphasis added)

The Daily Show Ridicules Megyn Kelly's Claim That Fox News Figures Don't Make Nazi References  
"I want my country back!"  
("The languge and symbols of an authentic American fascism . . . ")
wantcountry
RINO [Republicans In Name Only] American Traitor Rep. Mike Castle
Tap-Dances Around Obama Birth Certificate (July 20, 2009)
comments on Levien, Clayton, Cash, Paxton and Mayer
proto-Dorian Convention; Fascism; Internal Causes and Purposes of War


Levien (America Right or Wrong) is describing what is today in the public media called "Conservatism."  Certainly the United States is exceptional in that

 . . . the fundamentalist wing of the evangelical tradition is a very powerful ideological force in large parts of the United States and retains elements of thought which have come down with relatively few changes from much earlier eras.  Its origins are pre-Enlightenment, and its mentality to a very great extent anti-Enlightenment.  p. 124

This description provides a necessary context for consideration of various anti-science crusades.  It is a signal mark of the weakness of the Enlightement in the United States that liberals concede defeat at the start by taking seriously, and on scientific grounds, the barbarian assault  on science.  That is, they take in good faith each assault on science (global warming, evolution), attempting to respond on scientific grounds to the claims of what is transparently a band of cognitive primitives whose political and corporate connections, as well as their complete lack of scientific credibility, comprise the entirety of their historical being.  Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway's Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Oscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming (Bloomsbury Press, 2010) is essential reading in this context.  

On climate change, see the panel to the right.  I wrote up this analysis of the database of climate change deniers a few years ago, when the number of individuals listed was only sixty.

The map above right portrays the geographical strongholds of today's "conservatism."  This map should be borne in mind when reading Joseph E. Lowndes, From the New Deal to the New Right: Race and the Southern Origins of Modern Conservatism (Yale Univesity Press, 2008)  

just in: Leading Psychiatrist Apologizes for Study Supporting Gay ‘Cure’, NYT, May 18, 2012

Another example of why history, not biology, climatology, or psychiatry, is the only way to approach these "scientific" issues.  The inner moral life of these crusades is revealed in xxx  Dover case

Climate Change Deniers (analysis of database* provided by http://www.desmogblog.com/)


Right-wing GOP Senator Inhof, in his attack on the UN report on global warming, cited sixty experts disproving global warming and climate change.  A preliminary analysis of this dataset revealed the following:     A first subgroup of the Sixty consists of people directly connected to extractive industries and their service organizations and political fronts.  Almost all of the peer-reviewed articles in "the Sixty" were written by this group.  A second group consists of quirky individuals with pet theories (i.e.: cosmic rays cause global warming, not greenhouse gasses).  A third group consists of individuals with little or no expertise in climate change.   Overall they have few peer reviewed pubs, they are very old (often retired), they are almost all Anglo Saxon in descent and attached to universities in the Anglo Saxon fringe of Canada, western and southern USA, New Zealand, Australia, and Great Britain.  In addition, the three with the highest profiles (inst affil & pubs) were also connected to the tobacco industry's denial of the health hazzards of smoking.

Compare this with: the IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's
Working Group I Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis: Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors and Review Editors

This list of climate change scientists is enormous.  More important, when you do Google searches on each one and obtain their vitas--degrees, institutional affilation, and publications--one finds a young to middle-aged, cosmopolitan group drawn from the world's major universities, in stunning contrast to the group of sixty climate change deniers summarized above.

These are provisional categories and may be changed.  The oveall picture however is clear.  When we compare this matrix of right-wing scientists with two other similar groups, one involved in the Terry Schaivo battle of the experts and the other  involved in the Dover school boards battle over evolution and creationism, we notice a similar pattern of fraud (Judges' comments), intellectual marginality, and a marked ethnocultural provincialism and homogeneity. 

The above provisional conclusions were arrived at when desmogblog.com had a database of 60 climate change deniers.  Now that number has been multiplied several times over.  This would be a good student project.  For purposes of such an analyis I suggest the following categories:

name/age/retired/country/institution/publications/corp. connections/events/
comment on Paxton re fascism

Paxton's conceptualization of fascism directs our attention to general themes: preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood (Feb 2012 brouhaha over contraception for example) . . .

 . . . and general processes: demonization of an internal enemy, and redemptive violence without ethical or legal restraints (consider the debate on torture and the recent displays of sadism at the 2011-2012 GOP debates).

These are the key elements of contemporary right-wing politics in the United States.  Does this mean that the GOP right is "fascist"?  Only if one is capable of formal operational cognitive performativity would that question make any sense.

On the other hand, if one takes these themes and processes as fundamental modes of being in the West (from the First Crusade to the Tea Party), then the almost exclusive focus on Europe in the 1920s, 30s and 40s is misleading.  Paxton's work, in other words, has a far greater relevance than might at first be assumed.  His text discusses a particular moment in the unfolding of the general process that he has described.  These general processes concern what Nietzsche referred to as ressentiment. 

Lionel B. Steiman, Paths to Genocide: Antisemitism in Western History (Macmillan Press, 1998) is a work of far greater significance than would appear from  its title.  In the panel to the right I outline a historical model that can be adduced from Stemian's work

The essence of that which is called fascism is central to the history of the West.

The outstanding feature of recent organized outbreaks (2009, 2010, 2011) has been their lusty embrace of the symbols of violence, their embrace of torture as a national value, and their obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood. 

But this is hardly new.  Consider this excerpt from Michael Walzer's Puritanism as a Revolutionary Ideology, (panel below to the right).  This can be taken as the eigenvector of the politics of ressentiment.  From the First Crusade to the current Republican Primary campaign, it's the same old shit.  Indeed, it was in this context that Nietzsche's elusive concept of eternal recurrence finally made sense when cojoined with the psychoanalytic concept of the mechanisms of defense.  The latter adds a clinical specificity to the concept of ressentiment.
















 Ontological, Structural, Situational Elements of Historical Model

Ressentiment, desire, and cognitive development are the primary ontologies of the world (plus primate inheritance--Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees)

secondary ontologies would be the institutions (estates, corporations, churches) emergent out of the play of primary ontologies

structural configurations (or tertiary ontologies: e.g., securities bloc, Keynesian elite)

finally situations and events

Was the Holocaust a necessary or contingent event--necessary in the sense of flowing from a deep  ontology (Hitler's expression of ressentment taken as determinative: the intentionalist school); contingent in the sense of being an event shaped more by circumstances.  Browning takes the latter position.

[from wiki: Browning is a functionalist in the origins of the Holocaust debate, following the principles of the "moderate functionalist" school of thought, which focuses on the structure and institution of the Third Reich, moving the focus away from Hitler. Functionalism sees the extermination of the Jews as the improvisation and radicalization of a polycratic regime. Functionalists do not vindicate Adolf Hitler yet they recognize that many other factors were involved in the Final Solution.]

  This makes the Holocaust a removable singularity: a particularly brutal (words actually fail here) but nevertheless not essential element of German fascism.  The essential elements of German fascism are the same as those of contemporary American "conservatism."  Had the rage against Muslims during the Ground Zero Mosque near pogrom (let us call it what it was) been operationalized and produced a large number deaths (and who knows how close we came to that), we might have gotten an event similar to German fascism's Kristallnacht.

The works listed below can be read in terms of the ontological, structural, and situational elements of such an historical model.  (I will comment on them when I get a chance.)


Lionel B. Steiman, Paths to Genocide: Antisemitism in Western History (Macmillan Press, 1998)

Christopher Browning, The origins of the Final Solution : the evolution of Nazi Jewish policy, September 1939-March 1942; with contributions by Jürgen Matthäus (University of Nebraska Press, 2004)

Don E. Carleton, Red scare! Right-wing hysteria, fifties fanaticism, and their legacy in Texas (Austin, Tex. : Texas Monthly Press, 1985)

Thomas B. Edsall, Building Red America: the New Conservative Coalition and the Drive for Permanent Power (Basic Books, 2006)

Michael W. Miles, The Odyssey of the American Right (Oxford University Press, 1980)

Richard M. Freeland, The Truman Doctrine and the origins of McCarthyism: foreign policy, domestic politics, and internal security, 1946-1948  (New York University Press, 1985)



on vulgarity and hypocrisy

This question raised by Jamieson (right panel)--Why the vulgarity in this message does not alienate the churchgoing conservatives--is easily answered.  Jamieson also reveals the intelllectual weakness of liberalism when faced with the "hypocricy" of the right.

First, one should not confuse the ideology of "Church-going conservatives" with their psychology (which is what Jamieson does).

Second, one should not confuse performativity with ideology.  Consider this May 16, 2011 episode from the Daily Show, in which an exceeding vulgar performance by Ted Nugent in support of Mike Huckabee passes without comment by the right (but John Stewart is on the job):

"The Not Running Man," The Daily Show, Monday May 16, 2011.  Mike Huckabee announces his decision about a possible 2012 presidential candidacy after rocking out with Ted Nugent. (03:20)

One should bear in mind the Freud-Klein matrix of psychological modalities when considering these apparent contradictions between professions of morality and sado-pornographic rhetorical elements.  This is the performativity of the Paranoid-Schizoid position. Methodologically (see Barad) one must pay attention to phenomena, and avoid the deployment of Enlightenment as well as Protestant ontological presuppositions of possessive individualism in a market economy (C. B. Macpherson).  That is, do not assume a person who possesses values and attitudes, and do not cry "hypocricy" when you see those values contradicted from within.  Understand that this is precisely the problem to be analyzed.  Liberals demonstrate their intellectual bankruptcy when they deploy this term in lieu of any serious analysis.

The discourse on torture should be understood in this context.  Torture is not something that one, for pragmatic reasons, might reluctantly have to do.  It is an  expression of sadism in politics, and the rationale given for torture is merely incidental to the underlying sadistic drive of right-wing politics.  Inflicting pain on the other is an eigenvector of right-wing politics.  When in 1981 Reagan cut school lunch programs with the rationale that ketchup could be considered a vegetable, liberal critics argued both that it was cruel and that the savings would be miniscule.  Liberal critics, as usual, missed the point.  It was precisely its cruelty that was its most appealing feature.  This is the performative core of the Right-wing's theater of ressentiment.  In case you doubt this, remember the audience's cheers for the death penalty, and for leaving a hypothetical ininsured man to die, in the GOP debates. of 2011-12.

But then, this is nothing new.  Read the excerpt to the right from Walzer's "Puritanism as a Revolutionary Ideology," and you will recognize today's rightwing moral crusaders.

Just in! The Sado-sexual eigenvector of the right on display:

Rush Limbaugh - "It Makes Her A Slut, A Prostitute"  Feb 29, 2012

Rush Limbaugh advocating people should post online sex videos
 

As Nietzsche has said:

"Moral judgments are therefore never to be taken literally: so understood, they are always merely absurd.  Semiotically, however, they remain invaluable: they reveal, at least for those who can interpret them, the most valuable realities of cultures and psychologies that did not know how to "understand" themselves. Morality is only a language of signs, a group of symptoms: one must know how to interpret them correctly to be able to profit from them." p. 55 Twilight of the Idols

These comments by Limbaugh are a window into the soul of the right, into their deepest fears and desires.  Taken together with The Political Morality of Ressentiment, we get a good map of the right as inner world and public performance.  This is the theater of ressentiment (see excerpt from Rozik, The roots of theatre)

from Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Joseph N. Cappella, Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment (Oxford Univeristy Press, 2008), p.p. 188-89. (Emphasis added.) See Carter, p. 78 n. 37

Limbaugh's attempts at gender-based "humor" are of the locker room variety.  As the California gubernatorial recall was heating up, Limbaugh informed his followers that Leutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante--"whose name loosely translates into Spanish for 'large breasts'--leads the Terminator by a few points" (August 18, 2003).  A photomontage on the Limbaugh website shows a photograph of Schwartzenegger's head and shoulders from his Pumping Iron days as a body builder.  A naked woman has been transposed onto his shoulders.  Over her breasts is a sign reading BUSTAMONTE.  When Madonna endorsed General Wesley Clark, Limbaugh reported that she had "opened herself" to him.  Why the vulgarity in this message does not alienate the churchgoing conservatives in his audiences a question for which we have no ready answer.





from Puritanism as a Revolutionary IdeologyMichael Walzer, History and Theory, Vol. 3, No. 1 (1963), pp. 59-90

About the Puritan saints Walzer writes of " . . . their almost Manichean warfare against Satan and his worldly allies, their nervous lust for systematic repression and control." p. 63 

"They felt themselves to be living in an age of chaos and crime and sought to train conscience to be permanently on guard against sin.  The extent to which they would have carried the moral discipline can be seen in the following list of offenses which merited excommunication in one seventeenth-century congregation:

-for unfathfulness in his masters service
-for admitting cardplaying in his house . . .
-for sloth in business.
-for being overtaken in beer.
-for borrowing a pillion and not returning it.
-for jumping for wagers . . .
-for dancing and other vanities.

Had the saints been successful in establishing their Holy Commonwealth, the enforcement of this discipline would have consituted the Puritan terror." p. 64

"The persecution of witches, of course, was not a vital aspect of Puritan endeavor, but the active, fearful struggle against wickedness was.  And the saints imagined wickedness as a creative and omnipresent demonic force, that is, as a continual threat." p. 79
social issues as the performance of ressentiment




In fact--as Dan T Carter has shown (From George Wallace to New Gingrich)--expressions of moral concern--ie, the social issues--when taken as contextualized perfomativity, are enactments of white supremacy.  But white supremacy should not be understood as a primary ontological formation.  On the contrary, the primary ontological formation is ressentiment and the mechanisms of defense.  Whenever one begins with the ontological presuppositions of the isolated socal atom in possession of opinions and attitudes, one inevitably finds onself perplexed by the "hypocricy" of the right.
 
Yet, as is evident in reading Carter, the moral concerns allegedly behind the social issues of the sixties in fact are transformed expressions of white supremacy(Wallace to Gingrich,  pp. 4, 14, 20-21, 43, 52, 80, 112).  After all, on one level white supremacy is about the assumed moral superiority of the dominant ethnie.  What better way to perform that racist hegemony, in an era in which the overt racist rhetoric of the past has become taboo, than through attacks on the moral failings, the moral inferiority, of the other.

And what more rewarding form of political theater is there than the scarcely veiled sadistic attacks on the other--from attacks on school lunch programs (Reagan 1981) to attacks on Medicare today.  Bear in mind that among the rightwing masses such programs are identified with the other (however factually wrong this may be).  Think of these performances as lynchings, and you are very close to their inner logic.  The essential element?  The infliction of pain on the other.  And thus, in this context, think of the discourse on torture.

Inflicting pain on the other is an eigenvector of right-wing politics, and thus sadism is the core value of the values voters.

Consider Thomas Frank's concept of the Plen-T-Plaint.  This is not only consistent with the above.  It is a detailed mapping of the eigenvector of right-wing politics.  
from Dan T Carter, From George Wallace to New Gingrich:

Theoretically, it might be possible to separate race from the social issues.  Theoretically.  In reality, fears of blackness and fears of disorder were the warp and woof of the new social agenda, bound together by the subcounscious connection many white Amerians made betweeen blackness and criminality, blackness and poverty, blackness and cultural degradation.  42

from Lisa McGirr, Piety and Property

. . . in the wake of Goldwater’s defeat Reagan and other conservatives had refashioned their discourse, moving away from tirades on socialism and communism and toward attacks on liberal “permisiveness,” “welfare chiselers,” and “runaway spending.” 365-6

National political contenders like Nixon and Wallace picked up on the discourse of “morality,” “law and order,” “welfare chiselers,” and “liberal permissiveness,” and rode a tide of popular middle- and lower-middle-class resentment toward the social changes of the decade. 366

Free marketeers, the senior partners in the conservative coalition, have been at the cutting edge of recent historial change.  Religious conservatives, while obtaining new access to the corridors of power, are still waiting to see their concerns over abortion, homsexuality, and obcenity reflected in pubic policy.”  370

from E. J. Dionne, The Religiious Right and the New Republican Party, p. 377

Reagan proved himself to be very much a man of the Old Right . . .  Although Reagan could speak as movingly about traditional values as he spoke about everything else, his priorities were elsewhere: in cuts to domestic programs, in reductions in marginal tax rates, and in large increases in military spending . . .  In the meantime, abortions continued, women kept flooding the workplace—and not a word of prayer was recited in the schools to petition the Almighty to turn these trends around.”


from Thomas Frank, What's the Matter with Kansas: the Plen-T-Plaint

"As culture war, backlash was born to lose.  Its goal is not to win cultural battles but to take offense, conspicuously, vocally, even flamboyantly.  Indignation is the great aesthetic principle of backlash culture; voicing the fury of the imposed-upon is to the backlash what the guitar solo is to heavy metal.  Indignation is the privilege emotion, the magic moment that brings a consciuosness of rightness and a determination to persist. . . .  Everything seems to piss conservatives off, and they react by documenting and cataloguing their disgust.  The result is what we call the plen-T-plaint, a curious amassing of petty, unrelated beefs with the world.  Its purpose is not really to evaluate the hated liberal culture that surrounds us; the plen-T-plaint is a horizontal rather than vertical mode of criticism, aiming instead to infuriate us with dozens, hundreds, thousands of stories of the many tiny ways the world around us assaults family values, uses obscenities, disrespects parents, foments revolution, and so on."  121-3
proto-Dorian Convention; Fascism


The proto-Dorian convention of Wilbur Cash enables one to understand what to liberals is the peculiar lack of any class consciousness of low income whites (What's the Matter with Kansas?), and indeed their lusty support of

The planters [who] were admired and obeyed not because they were inherently good or capable, but because the lowly white saw in their masters--cotton patch Doric knights, in other words--examples of what they might become.

Today big shots like Donald Trump, politicians who extol the virtues of wealth, and billionaires who bankroll the Tea Party (and Fox News which organized it) are playing an ancient game.

There are seveal elements to this game.  

1. the legitimation of violence against selected enemies (How the "ground zero mosque" fear mongering began, BY JUSTIN ELLIOTT salon.com aug 16 2010) thus performing the service of providing a theatrical framework for acting out ressentiment qua mechanisms of defense;

2. "the common white, as a matter of course, gave eager credence and took pride in the legend of the aristocracy which is so valuable to the defense of the land.  He went further, in fact, and, by an easy psychological process which is in evidence wherever men group themselves about captains, pretty completely assimilated their own ego to the latter's--felt his planter's new splendor as being in some fashion his own."  This process of identification with elites has confounded enlightenment thinkers for centuries (see Blanning and McMahon above)

3.  the deep biological roots of gang violence that is still a major elment in the contsruction of action in the present (Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees)

4.  the cognitive dimension of the politics of ressentiment has a natural affinity with the preoperational and gestural cognitive modalities.  This will be dealt with in Developmental Divergence: Cognitive Development in History

it focuses on the individual as the sole ontogical element in discoure on politics (the group expressed as collective noun is just the individual writ large because such discursive limitations lend themselves readily to deployment of the mechanisms of defense--one needs the pesonification of the other, the recepient of redemptive violence, for right wing politial performtivities to work.  Liberals note, without saying so clearly, the pettiness of right wing charges--where's your lapel pin, why did you appologize for burning the Koran, etc.  Yet they fail to realize that centration (see developmental divergence) and the Plen-T-Plaint are central features of right wing rhetorical  performances, and one argues in vain, for example, that Obama was really born in the United States.  "Truth" is what feels good, and what feels good is whatever facilitates the psychological release that Ressentiment is about.  Thus Rick Santorum's truth that is in his heart when he lies about euthenasia in the Netherlands (Colbert Report march-15--2012---pt--3 1 minute into clip)
theater of ressentiment (I'm not sure how to integrate this into my work, but I am sure what Rozik has to say should be taken into account, and is of great importance)

Eli Rozik, The roots of theatre: rethinking ritual and other theories of origin (University of Iowa Press, 2002)

"As thought, mythos never appears on its own but is always coupled with a logos--a thematic contextualization--which enables its assimilation into the system of values and beliefs of the society within which it is articulated."  312

"The basic relationship between the audience and the fictional world thus ceases to be, as commonly conceived, one of watching a world of others with whom the spectator can identify or not and becomes instead a confrontation with the spectator's own inner being, including conscious and/or unconscious layers, in the shape of a (usually metaphorical) mytho-logical description.  Such a relationship cannot be understood in terms of identification, since it is the spectator on two different levels: being and self-description.

"The combination of mythos and logos indicates that the ultimate aim of drama based on myth is to provide an opportunity for a culturally controlled encounter between the spectator and the deeper layers of the psyche and to integrate disturbing unconscious contents into conscious discourse.  When integrated into a drama, it becomes a complex object of experience that enables the spectator to confront the unconscious self with the shield of culture and even to make such a confrontation enjoyable.

"A dramatic fictional world based on a myth may, therefore, be an opportunity not only to confront suppressed contents of the psyche but also to indulge in a suppressed method of representation.  Theatre may provide an opportunity to experience both within the context of a cultural permit.  Mythos, logos, and theatrical iconicity thus create a legitimate collective way of facing the unconscious: this is the arena where culture meets and subdues nature."  pp. 312-3
Deeper causes--domestic causes--of the Iraq war

“The values of the weak prevail because the strong have taken  

                    them over as devices of leadership.” Nietzsche, Will to Power, § 863

Arno J. Mayer, Dynamics of Counterrevolution in Europe, 1870—1956 (Harper Torchbooks, 1971.  Emphasis added.)

"Clauswitz does not see war as a continuation of diplomacy--that is, of interstate relations--by other--that is, violent means.  Significantly, he invariably opts for the comprehensive concept of politics, which subsumes diplomacy, thus leaving open the possibility that recourse to war can be not only influenced but, in some instances, even determined by internal political considerations."  p. 136

"Here, then, is the paradox.  Whereas wars whose motivation and intent are primarily diplomatic and external retain their political purposes, as conceived by Clauswitz, those whose mainsprings are essentially political and internal fail to acquire a well-defined project." p. 138

"As for wars of primarily partisan and internal dynamic, they are decided by political actors and classes whose political tenure and social position tend to be insecure and whose latttiude for foreign policy decision tends to be circumscribed.  Precisely because their internal influence and control are tenuous, these actors and classes are inclined to have recourse to external war which, if successful, promises to shore up ther faltering positions. . . .  at the outset even the minimal external objectives of wars that are sparked internally have a tendency to be singularly ill-defined."  p. 138


Internal Causes and Purposes of War in Europe, 1870-1956: A Research Assignment, Arno J. Mayer, The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Sep., 1969), pp. 292-303

Think of how war plays out in the context of the proto-Dorian convention and the politics of ressentiment, with special reference to the above discussion of the
eigenvector of right-wing politics
on the origins of the Iraq war

Wars "whose mainsprings are essentially political and internal fail to acquire a well-defined project." p. 138

"As for wars of primarily partisan and internal dynamic . . . . at the outset even the minimal external objectives of wars that are sparked internally have a tendency to be singularly ill-defined."

Sound familiar?  Why can't we ever get a straight answer about our purpose in Afghanistan?

Rationale for the Iraq War
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Throughout late 2001, 2002, and early 2003, the Bush Administration worked to build a case for invading Iraq, culminating in then Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 2003 address to the Security Council.[5] Shortly after the invasion, the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and other intelligence agencies largely discredited evidence related to Iraqi weapons and, as well as links to Al Qaeda, and at this point the Bush and Blair Administrations began to shift to secondary rationales for the war, such as the Hussein government's human rights record and promoting democracy in Iraq.[6][7] Opinion polls showed that the population of nearly all countries opposed a war without UN mandate, and that the view of the United States as a danger to world peace had significantly increased.[8][9][10] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan described the war as illegal, saying in a September 2004 interview that it was "not in conformity with the Security Council."[11]
Accusations of faulty evidence and alleged shifting rationales became the focal point for critics of the war, who charge that the Bush Administration purposely fabricated evidence to justify an invasion it long planned to launch.[12]

Foreign policy in this case is a function of internal domestic political considerations, not the rational calculations that would flow from "diplomatic and external" considerations.  War in this case is a tool used by conservative elites in the mass mobilization of the forces of ressentiment, and whose purpose is above all political theater.  (And consider, in this regard, Wilbur Cash's concept of the proto-Dorian convention.  Given the primitive processes of identification with the chief*, one can see why a black man becoming President is a profound psychic shock to the ressentiment demographic subset.)

*Wrangham and Wilson, "Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees"
the forces at work in shaping the raw materials of ressentiment

from Arno J. Mayer, The Persistence Of The Old Regime : Europe To The Great War (Pantheon Books, 1981)

Scholars of all ideological persuasions have downgraded the importance of preindustrial economic interests, prebourgeois elites, predemocratic authority systerms, premodernist artistic idioms, and 'archaic' mentalities.  They have done so by treating them as expiring remnants, not to say relics, in rapdily modernizing civil and politial societies. They have vastly overdrawn the decline of land, noble and peasant; the contraction of traditional manufacturing and trade, provincial burghers, and artisanal workers; the derogation of kings, public service nobilities, and upper chambers; the weakening of organized religion; and the atrophy of classsical high culture.   p. 5

As for the class formations of this precorporate entrepreneurial capitalism, the owners of small workshops were the backbone of the indepenedent lower middle class.  In turn, proprietors of medium-sized as well as larger plants, especially in textiles and food processing, constituted a bourgeoisie that was predominantly provincial rather than national and cosmopolitan. This bourgeoisie, including commercial and private bankers, acted less as a socal class with a comprehesive political and cultural project than as an interest and pressure group in pursuit of economic goals.  (20)

from Michael W. Miles, The Odyssey of the American Right (Oxford University Press, 1980)

Republicanism did not abruptly or entirey disappear in 1932.  Stripped of many of its working-class and black allies, uncertain even of the allegiance of the metropolitan upper class and many farmers, classical Republicanism retained the loyalties of unreconstructed Republicans in the provincial Midwest--the core of the American right wing in subsequent decades.  The cultural traditions of political Republicanism and white Anglo-Saxon Protestantism were decisive, usually in combination with economic interest but sometimes against it.  Small business was the nucleus of reactionary Republicanism. (viii)

The basic impetus of this core constituency was to restore the old laissez-faire capitalist order and its foreign policies of protectionism and Pacific First.  (viii)

Over the question of the New Deal, the Republican Party ultimately split three ways.  The "Western Progressives" tended to support the Roosevelt Administration on domestic social policy, although many later opposed intervention in World War II.  The "Eastern" wing at first opposed the New Deal, but once the reform wave had passed, adjusted to the new order and, in addition, endorsed the "internationalist" foreign policies of the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations. Actually, this "Eastern" sentiment was metropolitan in character and sometimes found an echo in Republican constituencies in the larger cities outside the Northeast [What's the Matter with Kansas; Luebke].  As the Progressives either moved out of the party in support of the New Deal or in some cases moved to the right in opposition to it, the "regular Republicans" in the Midwest and the West consolidated their control of the party apparatus and became the nucleus of right-wing Republicans for the next two decades.  This tendency was strong in the rural areas, small towns, and smaller cities of these regions and in the provincial areas of the Northeast as well. (4)

Like its Red variation, the creeping Socialism theory attempted to organize all of social reality to conform to the resentments of provincial Republicanism.  If there was some satisfaction in the knowledge that East European immigrants, and in particular Russan Jews, were the carriers of the red infection, there was an equal satisfaction in the knowlege that the Eastern upper class and the metropolitan intelligentsia had once again succumbed to their deranged Anglophilia which this time involved Socialist subversion.  Both Communism and Socialism became symbols for whatever oppressed and displeased the Republican right. Anti-Commjunism and anti-Socialism could serve as outlets for petit-bourgeois resentment of the upper class or provincial envy of metropolitan opportunities.  (27)
Kim Phillips-Fein, Top-Down Revolution: Businessmen, Intellectuals, and Politicians Against the New Deal, 1945–1964,Enterprise & Society, Volume 7, Number 4 pp. 686-694

"Historians frequently treat the conservative movement in the United States as a populist cultural conflicts over the civil rights, feminist, and gay rights movements in the 1960s and 1970s.  During the postwar period, business and labor are thought to have been unified on basic political and economic questions, the common cause of the Cold War overriding conflicts in an era of economic expansion. My dissertation suggests that this unity has been overestimated by historians and that in fact many businessmen remained sharply critical of the political economy inaugurated by the New Deal.  Instead of looking at conservatism primarily as a populist revolt driven by the cultural conflicts of the 1970s, or as a social movement, historians need to be aware of the elite components to organizing against liberalism."
movement in its origins, which grew primarily in response to

from Kim Phillips-Fein, Invisible Hands: the Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan (W. W. Norton, 2009), pp. 142-3

Failing to get support from businessmen in the months leading up to the [1964 Presidential] election, the Goldwater campaign decided to try a new tactic: finding ways to translate the conservative message into rhetoric that could mobilize working class voters.  Even though Goldwater's low-tax, non-union vision for economic growth won the support of some union members in Arizona, Cliff White [who conceived and masterminded the conservative dominance of the 1964 Republican National Convention and its nomination of Barry Goldwater for President] thought that his surveys about reactions to the civil rights movement indicated the potental for success with a different strategy--one that focused on fearrs of racial integration and on a broad call for morality in politics.

As the election approached, the New York offices of Citizens for Goldwater-Miller . . . saved a survey of forty white ethnic voters in Queens--mostly first- and second-generation Americans, some recent immigrants, mostly lower middle class--that a supporter sent into the office.  About half were for Goldwter and half either for Johnson or still undecided.  The issues the Goldwater supporters felt most strongly about were "rising crime" and "fear of integration"; even Johnson supporters were agitated about these problems.  Nearly everyone opposed busing children from one neighborhood to another to integrate the public schools.  "Most of those voting for Johnson thought Goldwater was right with respect to the 'racial issue,' but thought he was anti-union or would weaken social security," according to the survey.  The most striking aspect of the poll was the finding that the economic elements of the conservative program--"'right-to-work' and voluntary social security"--made an "almost universal negative impression" on the Queens voters.  But these cold be trumpoed if the Republicans changed their platform to capitalize on racial fears.  And that's eactly what the Goldwater supporte suggested.  "Signs should not simply read 'Vote Goldter' but rather 'Make our meighborhood safe again.  Vote Goldwater.'  Or 'Streets must be made safe again.  Vote Goldwater' or 'Don't experient with our children.  Keep neighborhood schools.  Vote Goldwater' or 'Our children want education--not transportation.  Vote Goldwater.'"

The letters coming into the Goldwater campaign offices from political allies and supporters made similar suggestions.  In September one political consultant wrote that on Long Island the busing program was known as the LBJ program, for "Let's Bus Juveniles," and suggested that "race riots" might sway New York City voters. Another Goldwater supporter, a Wall Streeter who wrote to the campaign while on a business flight, argued that "much more must be done to exploit the white backlash," saying that whites feared that "Negroes will move into their neighborhoods."  The white backlash, he declared, "was the biggest single reservoir of votes that Goldwater can tap into but you will have to get more to the point, if you are going to get these votes."
from Irwin Ungar, Recent America: The United States Since 1945 (Pearson Education, Inc.)

"At their July[1964] convention in San Francisco the [Republican] party's right wing triumphed over its moderates by nominating Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona.  Goldwater and his associates represented the conservative politics of the growing South and West.  Funded by "new money" derived from oil, timber, real estate, and cattle, the Republican right was unabashedly opposed to the social welfare system and the regulatory state derived from the New Deal.  It wished to reduce the federal government to what it had been before Roosevelt and the Great Depression."  p. 106



from Wikipedia, Mayberry Machiavellis 

"Mayberry Machiavelli" is a satirically pejorative phrase coined by John J. DiIulio Jr., Ph.D., a former Bush administration staffer who ran President Bush's Faithbased Initiative. After he quickly resigned from his White House post in late 2001, DiIulio told journalist Ron Suskind, describing the administration of the Bush White House as published in Esquire: "What you've got is everything--and I mean everything--being run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis."

The phrase is meant to invoke infamous Machiavellian style power politics coupled with a sense of incompetent regional backwardness as supposedly exemplified by the fictional rural town of Mayberry, R.F.D., from The Andy Griffith Show, which ran on CBS, an American television network, from 1960 - 1968. 
re above:

"in fact many businessmen remained sharply critical of the political economy inaugurated by the New Deal.  Instead of looking at conservatism primarily as a populist revolt driven by the cultural conflicts of the 1970s, or as a social movement, historians need to be aware of the elite components to organizing against liberalism."

A problem with liberalism is that it allows the right to set the parameters of its thought.  We really don't need proof of the obvious: that elites of various sorts throughout history have played the dominant role in politics.  We need analysis of the various kinds of elites and the way they have deployed their power as an historical force.

(Just as we don't need proof that racism exists.  What we need is analysis of the various forms, and the deep roots, of ressentiment as an historical force.)

the above panels contain excerpts from important works showing  that right-wing politics is

a. a politics of ressentiment that

b. depends for its effectuation on elite initiatives:

As stated above

The activity of provincial, archaic and traditional elites (Persistence of the Old Regime), together with newer firms in the west and south and newly emergent crony capitalist formations (Enron, World Com), and now a whole new set of predatory financial institutions plays a critical role in the politicization of ressentiment.

the activity of these old and new elites, in aiding and abetting the construction of the political structures of mass mobilization (Town Hall meetings), is decisive in determining the political effectiveness of anti-modern right wing movements, which otherwise might languish in a populist stew of ineffectual rage. (Red Scare)  But they do not call into existence these ontologies of ressentiment, of the right, of anti-modernism.  They merely utilize and shape them.  (See Right-wing Elites in the Postwar era.)
A.  Elites in the Political Economy: research projects

my own work on the KE led to the need to differentiate among elite formations both in terms of types of elites and in terms of the geographical locus of elites


1.  Strategic-hegemonic elites (KE, Sec Bloc, Commodities in Int'l Trade)

2.  Provincial & regional elites (E.g., Mellon and Coors; see Ungar, Miles and
     Carleton)

3.  local elites (Miles and Carleton)

Use FEC data, Open-secrets,whitehouseforsale.org to identify different kinds and levels of elite formations
Part II.  From Crux to Flux: Wallowing in the Muck
The above panels address the crux of the matter, deploying concepts, quoting key texts, supplying some commentary, and hinting at the kind of raw materials available over the Internet--"Obamacare", "niggar", "monkeysee", "I want my country back!"

The crux of the matter involves concepts and serious texts.  I now turn to the flux of the matter, the stuff, the muck now accessible over the internet.  It is time to wallow in the existential muck of politics.

Wallow in this for a while, then contnue on.

The panels on the right side give access to the muck in which we must wallow if the promise of transcendental empiricism (see 
Philosophy and History) is to be approximated.  The panels on the left side contain my commentary.

Now let us wallow.

Thomas Frank, in the excerpt below, knows what it is to wallow in a mass "
of petty, unrelated beefs with the world."  His book is essential reading for those who would take my advice and wallow in the muck of right-wing politics.

 the Plen-T-Plaint, from Thomas Frank, What's the Matter with Kansas

"As culture war, backlash was born to lose.  Its goal is not to win cultural battles but to take offense, conspicuously, vocally, even flamboyantly.  Indignation is the great aesthetic principle of backlash culture; voicing the fury of the imposed-upon is to the backlash what the guitar solo is to heavy metal.  Indignation is the privilege emotion, the magic moment that brings a consciuosness of rightness and a determination to persist. . . .  Everything seems to piss conservatives off, and they react by documenting and cataloguing their disgust.  The result is what we call the plen-T-plaint, a curious amassing of petty, unrelated beefs with the world.  Its purpose is not really to evaluate the hated liberal culture that surrounds us; the plen-T-plaint is a horizontal rather than vertical mode of criticism, aiming instead to infuriate us with dozens, hundreds, thousands of stories of the many tiny ways the world around us assaults family values, uses obscenities, disrespects parents, foments revolution, and so on."  121-3

Dan T. Carter also discusses the muck of right-wing poltics.  Carter provides more of a historical sweep, but does an excellent job of getting at the same kind of muck that Frank's more existential-phenomenological text portrays so well.
wallow
Water buffaloes wallowing in pond
Credit: BJORN SVENSSON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
These videos show incipient and actual mob violence.  In each case forces of restraint external to the proto-mob limited or prevented actual violence.  The question naturally arises as to the representative nature of these actions.  The usual excuse is that these are isolated incidents.  Such excuses have a cognitive dimension: a mode of thought that cannot see either the social or the contextual dimension of behavior, a limitation so severe as to reflect the event consciousness of homo erectus (see Donald in Developmental Divergence (Cognitive Development in History).

This question of context is a key issue raised by  John E. Jones III, United States District Judge, in the KITZMILLER, et al. v. DOVER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al.: MEMORANDUM OPINION, December 20, 2005, and should be carefully read at some time.  I provide excerpts from this case in The Political Morality of Ressentiment, wherein Judge Jones comments on the "lies", "ignorance", and "mendacity" of the defendants.

A second issue arising from these videos involves a covering theorem.  Given that this is one form of action found in a certain subset of right-wing actions, what fraction of such subets is covered by these cases when they are transformed  into categories?




proto-lynchings: videos


Video: Black Man Verbally Attacked during Mosque Protests
nomos

Tea Partiers Mock And Scorn Apparent Parkinson's Victimhandout

Woman stomped by Rand Paul Supporters
stomp



Above videos demonstrate why Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees is indespensible.
Granted: the two videos to the right represent an extremely crude form of racism, the one obsessing on Obama's middle name, the other alleging Obama is an Arab.  Nevertheless, the question arises: how large is the subset of right wing activists at rallies and demonstations whose behavior is similar?

McCain Tries to Tame Flames He Earlier Fanned
arab


  Redneck lady disses Obama    Sept 30
These videos provide us with a much larger sample of semiotic performances.  The criticism can always be made that the are not representative,  in the sense of a scientific sampling process from which one could draw quantitative conclusions.  But one can damn well do a qualitative analysis.  And so, in reference to the most extreme expressions of the right-wing performative modality--redneck lady and McCain tries to tame flames--the above question, how large is the subset subsumable under redneck lady qua category, can be asked of the performances in the videos to the right.


Campaign 2008: McCain-Palin Rallies: videos

Racist McCain Supporters in Pottsville, Pennsylvania

The Sidewalk to Nowhere, McCain Supporters in Bethlehem, PA,  

Sarah Palin Rally Causes Confrontation with Obama Supporters  Sarah Palin Supporters confront Obama Supporters after a Palin rally on October 21st, 2008. One supporter of Palin suggests that Obama could be the antichrist. Then some guy picks up horse feces, calls it Obama, and throws it at Barrett.

Hatred, Ignorance and Racism on Display Outside a Palin Rally in Ohio   Oct. 19, 2008 (read article as well)

Although the newspaper accounts to the right are texts rather than performances, the writers give us a sense of the emotional as well as the semiotic character of of these performances.  These accounts are textual excursions into the muck, thus allowing us to wallow.
Campaign 2008: McCain-Palin Rallies: news accounts


Accusations Fly Between Parties Over Threats and Vandalism

By MICHAEL COOPER
Published: March 25, 2010 NYT

Racist Incidents Give Some Obama Campaigners Pause, By Kevin Merida
Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In Ex-Steel City, Voters Deny Race Plays a Role By Paul Vitellon
New York Times, April 4, 2008 (The rhetorical maneuvers of Pa. blue
collar whites)
The links to the right were originally intended to provide examples of specific cognitive performances decodable through the deployment of the texts referred to in Developmental Divergence (Cognitive Development in History).    It is now obvious to me that both cognitive and psychoanalytic approaches must be applied to The Muck.  My effort to keep them seperated for purposes of analysis has led to much grief.  Even though this page--Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense--is psychoanalytic in its primary orientation, that separation can no longer be maintained.  These my preliminary findings:

1.  the paranoid schizoid position is entangled with cognitive performativities i ≤ 1

2. the depressive position is entangled with and enables cognitive performativities i ≥ 1

3. both positions can perform at level 1 (although on the Right much factical (fact-like) rhetoric is psuedo-concrete--i.e., Sen Kyle's denunciation of Planned Parenthood as devoting 90% of its work to abortions, a demonic assertion clothed in concrete-operational language).  The table below is discussed in Developmental Divergence.  I reproduce it here because of its relevance, the ease with which things like this can be done with current technology, and because a rhizome, by its very nature, wants to grow every which way, and is never finished.

cognitive-linguistic cardinality

a framework for evaluating American Exceptionalism in the context of:
Merlin Donald, A Mind So Rare, Table 7.1, p. 260
(Appologies to Georg Cantor)

אi

i = -2      primate semiosis
i = -1     Gestural (homo erectus)
i =  0      Oral Mythic/pre-operational
i =  1      Concrete operational
i =  2      Formal operational
i =  3      Foucault (Kant  Hegel Nietzsche)
i =  4      Internet and the Extended Mind

The Left-Right 'debate' (Ground Zero Mosque Rallies) at a ground zero anti-Islam demonstration is another such example that cries out for a cognitive as well as a psychoanalytic investigation.  The tepid rationality of the one (L) was met with the emotional outburst of the other (R) that took a particular form: given the ontological priority of rage over ideation, the leap of illogic is understandable: a target must be found, the rage against it justified.  Redemptive violence (Paxton) is the order of the day.
      

Keep Your Goddamn Government Hands Off My Medicare! Huffington Post, June 27, 2010

Anti-Obama Billboard: President? or Jihad?
November 23, 2009 MSNBC The ED Show (Video and transcript)


SCHULTZ:  . . . what does jihad mean to you, Mr. Wolf?wolf

WOLF: I think to me it means it's an extreme element of a struggle to overcome somebody. It can be interpreted probably some different ways. but to me it's-it's certainly not one of us. It's something other than what an American is, that I've been taught.

SCHULTZ: Jihad is religious war, is it not? The definition is religious war. You must have put that word up there for something. Do you think Barack Obama wants a religious war?

WOLF: I think it's definitely anti-Christian. Yes, I do.

Rachel Maddow Interviews Uninformed Protesters


Ground Zero Mosque Rallies Sept. 11 CNN (at 1 minute in) 

L.  We believe in the same document.  You just said you believe in the Constitution.

R.  I do believe in the Constitution

L.  But you just said you don't.
mosquedebate

<this is where the psychic rupture>

R.  People were jumping out of the buildings; people were disintegrating, all over the city

L.  By terrorists.  you can't blame Muslims for the work of the terrorists.

R.  I'm not blaming Muslims.  But if they had the respect that they claim they have . . .

L.  Why should they have to appologize for the actions of radicals?

R.  I would rather see no church than a mosque right where people are going to to . . .

What is revealed in this performance is the cognitive vacuum, and the limited repertoire of rhetorical maneuvers, of the right. Kevin James could only deploy the rhetorical elements of demonization--in this case, the charge of appeasement (implicitly, of unspeakable evil)--without actually knowing what the word meant.  

Had Matthews not done his job so well, James might have gotten away with appearing to be a normal, college educated citizen. Instead, he revealed someone whose sole competence is in the deployment of demonic accusations.  James was able only to deploy myth-like archetypes (appeaser, appeasement), without actually knowing what the term meant, or what it was that Neville Chaimberlain actually did.  (You should click on the link to the right).

For the right wing pundit, facts are only the window dressing for demonic reference charged with sadistic intent and directed at the ontological enemy (secular humanism, Barak Obama). 

The smear reflex is his sole rhetorical tool.

Kevin James is the case study of demonization as cognitive performance.  His rhetorical moves presuppose only a listener defined by his need to act out his rage, and saddled with a mind unable, in the political context (and perhaps in all contexts) of functioning above the preoperational level of development (Piaget).
Demonization Run Amuck
core rhetorical maneuver revealed
the anatomy of the smear

Radio Host Kevin James Walks into a Smackdown
ccc
 
May 28, 2008

Pornography as Cognitive Style: GOP Ads ➝

This ad made the national news today (MSNBC).  It exemplifies the pornographic thrust of the GOP's public appeals, and in fact is similar to the anti-Harold Ford ad (Give me a call, Harold) that ran at the end of the 2006 Congressional elections ().

Innuendo and Pornography are the principle rhetorical maneuvers of the GOP. This ad is only one such example, but it could also be taken as paradigmatic of an entire class of GOP ads.  Such ads are deeply rooted in the culture of ressentiment. They appeal to the dark energy of repressed biology, that great reservoir of manipulable rage that right wing politics relies upon as its major electoral resource.
Harold Ford Jr not for Tennessee

Rep. Graves (R-MO) Attacks Opponent's "San Francisco Values" in New TV Ad

May 7 to 11


"working, hard-working Americans, white Americans"

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," [Clinton] said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

The Clinton campaign has now become the exemplar of r*c*sm. The statement above ought to be approached not as a question of whether Clinton is racist or whether her comment was racist.  When politicians speak, their utterances are purposeful.  To understand these utterances, we must view them as purposeful rhetorical maneuvers that are indecipherable if taken out of context.  

I.  During the South Carolina campaign, when it became apparent that the black vote was going ovewhelmingly to Obama, Bill Clinton deployed the rhetorical strategy of demonization (the Jesse Jackson reference).  High ranking members of the Clinton campaign (the surrogates) deployed a common rhetorical maneuver--innuendo with a loophole--referencing standard semiotic material from the glossary of demonics.  Since the Clintons are drawing from the same cultural-semiotic subset of demonic references usually associated with the Repubcan Party, for heuristic purposes I include them in the following list:

  • Muslim smear
  • Jesse Jackson comment--S. Carolina
  • Drug smear
  • lapel pin disloyal
  • pledge of allegiance disloyal
  • "reject and denounce" genuflect
  • Jeremiah Wright guilt by association
  • Clinton on two patriotic candiates (not Obama)
When surrogates deploy such rhetorical strategies over a determinate period of time, one must conclude that these are moments in the unfolding of Being.  The campaign has deployed the kind of demonic rhetoric that is the central characteristic of the symbolic work of that which is called r*c*sm.

II.  This is the immiedate background for the latest r*c*st turn of the Clinton camaign: Hilary's by now infamous reference to  " . . . working, hard-working Americans, white Americans . . .  " is a standard reference from the glossary of demonic appeals.  Polls show (I can't find the ref now) that a majority of non-college educated whites think that blacks' own lack of initiative is the main cause of their problems.  "Hardworking" as code for "white" is noted in Paul Luebke's Tar Heel Politics 2000 (U. of N. Carolina Press, 1998), p. 50.  Given the prevailing r*c*st image of lazy blacks among one of Clinton's major constituencies, use of the term "hardworking" is precicely that kind of innuendo with loophole that is the mother's milk of political campaigning.
June 2          What are the Stakes in the Democatic Primary?


The historical, sociological, and cultural differences between the campaigns of Obama and Clinton are fundamental.  

The Obama campaign's center of gravity is in the milieux of insurgent secular and mainstream Protestant cosmopolitans: the sociotechnical formation that is the essense of advanced capitalism as a society.  That these people are better educated and more highly paid that the Clinton milieux attached to the old agrarian and industrial sectors is only a by-product of their essential location and role in the making of an advanced capitalist society.  (Snide comments about latte- and wine-drinking elites miss the point entirely.)

The Clinton campaign's center of gravity is in the two oldest and most provincial segments of the Democratic party: the white fundamentalists rural south, and the catholic working class, centered in the northeast.  (MAPS)

The Clinton campaign turned to the same culture of ressentiment that is the GOP's staple resource in its attack on the progressive insurgency represented by Barack Obama, while the Obama campaign was characteristically progressive in its rhetorical maneuvers, emphasizing reason and fact, on the one hand, and a common identity that transcended race, gender, and class, on the other, avoiding the kind of identity rhetoric that is the essense of Clinton's (and  the GOP's) appeal.

The Clinton campaign is based on the two major declining sectors of north america: rural whites and blue collar catholics; the Obama campaign, on the rsing sector of a modern knowledge-based society.  This is the dynamic, long-term aspect of this campaign that is completely missed by talk of who has more votes, or who is more electable.
 
May 7 to 11


on connecting with the (white) working class:

Talking heads discuss success of candidates in connecting--ie, stroking egos, appealing to deeply-held prejudices, shmoozing around in bars and bowling alleys.  The language implies the patron-client, lord-peasant relationship.  The successful candidate, inplicitly, is the one who best manipulates the materials of everyday ressentiments and petty concerns.  It is not that you have to show that you are one of the people.  On the contrary, the very status of the patron/lord is crucial to the effectiveness of the good ole boy maneuver.  Beneath today's populist rhetoric is a politics of psychological dependency.  Ironically, Obama's "aloofness" is in part a consequence of the Progressive appeal to reason.  We expect our politicians to shmooze and to stroke; we resent attempts at complex rationality, prefering instead simplistic appeals (the gas tax holiday).  Thinking, in this context, is anathema.

Hecklers Taunt 200 in a March Against Racism  
By MARK A. UHLIG, New York Times, September 21, 1987

Racism Comes Home: The Howard Beach Case  (Queens Tribune, [re Dec. 20, 1986 ]


Right Wingers Wreak Havoc on Philadelphia Town Meeting, by Denise Dennis, Posted: August 3, 2009 10:09 AM  Huffington Post
from historytheoryphilosophyWORKING/NotesNov7.html

Hecklers Taunt 200 in a March Against Racism  
By MARK A. UHLIG, New York Times, September 21, 1987

Racism Comes Home: The Howard Beach Case  (Queens Tribune, [re Dec. 20, 1986 ]

Right Wingers Wreak Havoc on Philadelphia Town Meeting, by Denise Dennis, Posted: August 3, 2009 10:09 AM  Huffington Post, specific moments-events embedded in interviews

ADD: blogprimariesFINAL.html from Michel Foucault, Remarks on Marx : conversations with Duccio Trombadori, translated by R. James Goldstein and James Cascaito (Semiotext(e), 1991)

It was a matter of calling the theme of the subject into question once again, that great, fundamental postulate which French philosophy,  from Descartes until our own time, had never abandoned.  Setting out with psychoanalysis, Lacan discovered, or brought out into the open, the fact that the theory of the unconscious is incompatible with a theory of the subject (in the Cartesian sense of the term as well as the phenomenological one). . .  Indeed, Lacan concluded that is was precisely the philosophy of the subject which had to be abandoned on account of this incompatibiity, and that the point of departure should be an analysis of the mechanisms of the unconscious. p. 56-7


from Friederich Nietzsche,  Twilight of the Idols (Penguin, 1968)

"Moral judgments are therefore never to be taken literally: so understood, they are always merely absurd.  Semiotically, however, they remain invaluable: they reveal, at least for those who can interpret them, the most valuable realities of cultures and psychologies that did not know how to "understand" themselves. Morality is only a language of signs, a group of symptoms: one must know how to interpret them correctly to be able to profit from them." p. 55


"The so-called 'motive': another error.  Merely a surface phenomenon of consciousness, an accompaniment to an act, which conceals rather than exposes the antecedentia of the act." {re Imus and that which is called racism} p. 49

TO CONTINUE: AE4--DECODING THE SEMIOSPHERE: SEMIOTIC REGIMES (THE TWO PARTY SYSTEM AS ORGANIZED DISCOURSE)
While a rhizome never stops growing and developing, certain parts of it may acquire a kind of stability; and, since this is not a plant or a fungus but an assemblage of interconnected texts, data, and images, it is possible that this page has acquired a kind of stability and coherence.  Since I am approaching my self-imposed deadline of Super Tuesday (March 6, 2012), this page stops growing.  Then again, this is but a moment in the unfolding of . . .


“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” [Marx, 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonapatre, Chapter 1.]

or
Hitler : Trump = Tragedy : Farce