Friday, June 4, 2010

Upcoming MSNBC doc

This might be interesting. I wouldn't call Jones right-wing, exactly, but it's better than saying "rise of the conspiranoids" or "rise of the rednecks" or something like that.


the_last_name_left said...

I'd call him a fascist.

This from Professor Roger Griffin, Oxford:

The broad area of scholarly consensus9 which now exists, admittedly one
with highly fuzzy boundaries, is that: fascism is best approached as a genuinely
revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anticonservative
nationalism. As such it is an ideology deeply bound up with
modernization and modernity, one which has assumed a considerable variety of
external forms to adapt itself to the particular historical and national context in which
it appears, and has drawn on a wide range of cultural and intellectual currents, both
left and right, anti-modern and pro-modern, to articulate itself as a body of ideas,
slogans, and doctrine. In the inter-war period it manifested itself primarily in the form
of an elite-led ‘armed party’ which attempted, mostly unsuccessfully, to generate a
populist mass movement through a liturgical style of politics and a programme of
radical policies which promised to overcome the threat posed by international
socialism, to end the degeneration affecting the nation under liberalism, and to bring
about a radical renewal of its social, political and cultural life as part of what was
widely imagined to be the new era being inaugurated in Western civilization. The core
mobilizing myth of fascism which conditions its ideology, propaganda, style of
politics, and actions is the vision of the nation’s imminent rebirth from decadence.

That very well describes Alex Jones: Griffin calls it "pallingentic populist ultranationalism", the core of fascism.

Paul said...

Alex comes from the old paranoid right wing that is anti-free trade, isolationist and almost comically anti-communist. Alex certainly is not a right winger that would get taken seriously in National Review but he would get taken seriously in American Free Press or over at World Net Daily.

The Tea Parties tend to attract people like Jones and I've read many accounts of "infowarriors" showing up to hand out copies of Alex's documentaries so I think they've definitely been a magnet for crazy of the bad and weird kind...

I find myself a bit worried that the rise of Rand Paul may send the Republican Party further off the rails and then we'll have only one party in this country that is semi-functioning and I don't think that's good for the country.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many members of Jones' cult realize he's just parroting John Birch Society nonsense? That's the only reason I can think of that would explain why his followers think he's "neither right or left". Well that and they'll just believe whatever he tells them to believe.

Anonymous said...

Once Rand Paul is senator, he can run for prez in 2012....and thus pull us out of Afghanistan, end the illegal wiretaps here, hold the uncaught Bernie Madoffs accountable, and repeal the Patriot Act....but he can never be president

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that the key components of fascism was 1 state worship 2. adoration, fealty toward a supreme leader 3 militarism

I think Jones flunks out as a real fascist on these points, and some others

S.M. Elliott said...

Why can't Rand Paul become president?

the_last_name_left said...

Anon: I was under the impression that the key components of fascism was 1 state worship 2. adoration, fealty toward a supreme leader 3 militarism

Granted that "pallingenetic ultranationalist populism" doesn't convey everything about fascism. But it is an (the?) eminent academic view of its core.

Fascism is nationalist, and will reflect chracteristics of its host nationalism - and so it's mutable in many respects outside of that core.

Adumbrations like Eco's 14 Ways to Spot a Blackshirt are useful as addition, but they don't get the nub of it like Professor Griffin's view. Certainly not in my opinion. And in Griffin's rendition, undoubtedly Alex Jones qualifies.

But accepting your suggestions - which I don't disagree with necessarily - does Alex really fail your test? I'm not sure he does.

Take a look at Alex again, and assess the militarism in his visual style? It's certainly present. And in all sorts of ways. All those BLACK 911 Troof TShirts and the dark shades marching along downtown NY etc? Guns. No-one can say Jones loathes all that stuff.

How much play does "building the movement" get at Prionplanet? Endless, right? They're building - and educating - a cadre, aren't they? Looks like it to me.....

And doesn't he like to imagine himself as that charismatic leader? Or Ron Paul? Or Eustace Mullins - "A modern day founding father", apparently. A modern american hero? Y - Mullins is dead.....but Jones is in no way averse to a bit of hero-worship, not to hierarchy - he's against socialist equality, remember?

And his love of the state? Well, bit tougher, obviously, but how about his drooling over the Israeli separation wall, his call for greater police powers in Arizona over immigration, the need for someone to "do something!" in the Gulf etc? None of that betrays the sharp principles of a genuine libertarian and a loathing of the state.

I don't think it's so easy to dismiss.

And consider - accepting the idea Alex Jones is actually a fascist explains a lot of things: the prevalence of Willis Carto material.....the presence of racism.....anti-semitism....the continual undermining of faith in liberal democracy....the trashing of opponents....the anti-intellectualism....the anti-science....the populism....THE CONTRADICTIONS - THE LIES - THE DISTORTIONS?

Find me a better explanation for so much? I'd like to see it. ;)

the_last_name_left said...

"Robert O. Paxton, who is Mellon Professor of Social Sciences Emeritus at Columbia University....his essay "The Five Stages of Fascism," which appeared in the March 1998 edition of The Journal of Modern History, proposed an even more helpful model for understanding the phenomenon.

1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.

2. The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.

3. Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.

4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.

5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.

6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.

7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle."

AJ qualifies again?

I think Randy Paul could get elected. (I said Obama could in 2006)

Don't you think he could? Reassure me?

Anonymous said...

Rand Paul was born in Kenya

S.M. Elliott said...

Rand Paul was born in Somalia, but that's no impediment.

Srsly, tho, I see no reason why he couldn't become prez.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like some of us see fascism under every bush....a radio host is all hell ever be, albeit one with an intense fan base..

.saying to the govt to "do something" in the gulf is a fascist appeal? All your lists, like trashing opponents, anti intellectualism, anti science, lies distortions,etc. I find all these things in the MSM.....and a 9-11 truth parade where the marchers wear dark sunglasses becomes, in your view, a harbinger of a movement for a greater America, a nation on the move to take over Cuba or Iraq ?(oops, we did those already, and Jones didn't like it).....seriously, If Jones formed his followers into paramilitary units and called for a putsch or the suspension of elections and the constitution, then he might be a fascist,which is a so over used term as to not have much meaning anymore.( I had a teacher who was a 'fascist') the meanwhile, ill keep watching you tubes where Jones exposes police brutality or declares that Israel has a right to her land and a right to defend herself...

the_last_name_left said...

Ah, I might have guessed.

What you miss about the fact that "all these things [appear] in the MSM" (do they?) is that they lack the fascist core.....they are not grounded in a pallingenetic populist ultranationalism. Whereas in Jones' case they are.

And those responses of mine were to your suggestions of what would make a fascist. They were your suggestions. And note - I started my charge by using Professor Griffin's core of fascism....*not* your version of what you think characterises fascism. The weakness in my response is inherent in the weakness of your characterisation. I wish I hadn't used them now.

anon: .saying to the govt to "do something" in the gulf is a fascist appeal?

No - but what it does is help illustrate that Jones is no principled libertarian. It suggests Jones is opportunistic, prepared to shift his ground to suit the needs of the moment.

That IS (and was) a characterstic of fascism:

...fascism does not rest on formal philosophical positions with claims to universal validity. There was no "Fascist Manifesto," no founding fascist thinker.

Fascists despise thought and reason, abandon intellectual positions casually, and cast aside many intellectual fellow-travelers.

The lack of principle and the obvious contradictory nature of Jones' positions is what I am getting at.

That vacillation, and "casting off of positions" defies categorisation as "libertarian", "conservative", whatever. The point is, Jones is happy to appeal to the state when it suits him, undermining his supporters' efforts at categorising him as libertarian. Who knows if Jones' position on the state could turn to "state-worship"? Point is, he isn't against it in principle, as the facts attest - contrary to peoples' usual impressions.

My point is that fascism fits him - and fits well, as it explains an awful lot else about him and his "causes".

Whereas it was your suggestion that "state-worship" was the primary characteristic of fascism. How does Jones' appealling to the state (to address various issues) disqualify him from your definition? It doesn't - and that was my point.

So maybe you should address why you think "state-worship" is "fascist" when you so easily dismiss calls to the state for "action" are in no way fascist?

the_last_name_left said...


What qualifies as "state-worship"? Socialism would. So there's more to it than that. Furthermore, socialist state-worship is largely principled and doctrinaire commitment - something Jones totally rejects. On the other hand, Jones (and fascism) have a commitment to private sector, socialists generally don't. So, again, Jones actually qualifies.

anon: a 9-11 truth parade where the marchers wear dark sunglasses becomes, in your view, a harbinger of a movement for a greater America, a nation on the move to take over Cuba or Iraq ?

I didn't say that. I didn't say he was expansionist/imperialist (though doubtless he could be)

Would you have been so dismissive of marching blackshirts during formative years of fascism? They're only shirts? they're only marching? They're only populists with a contrary and conspiratorial worldview? Or the Hitler youth? Or......

anon: ..a radio host is all hell ever be, albeit one with an intense fan base..

A tramp and a painter is all he'll ever be.........

anon: If Jones formed his followers into paramilitary units and called for a putsch or the suspension of elections and the constitution, then he might be a fascist

He'd be arrested if he did!

Pardon me, but gun-loving nuts harboring anti-semitic conspiracies gathering into "the movement" actually fits very well a putative paramilitary cadre.

And they just happen to wear blackshirts. (I'm less interested in the shirts than you, btw - I am more concerned with what they believe, and how they act. Nevertheless, they do wear blackshirts.)

fascist,which is a so over used term as to not have much meaning anymore.

errr - that's why Professor Griffin's core of fascism is needed, and why I choose to use it ---- so that the term isn't abused. I'm abusing it? I don't think so.

As for the use of the term fascism, why not help make it more distinctive, and use it accurately rather than discard it? Why would you wish to do that?

the_last_name_left said...

his followers think he's "neither right or left".

The following applies to both this "neither left/right" rubbish, and anon's claims that fascism requires "state-worship":

Even as late as 1922 it was not clear to Fascists that Fascism, the "third way" between liberalism and socialism, would set up a bureaucratic police state, but given the circumstances and fundamental Fascist ideas, nothing else was feasible.

Fascism as third way.

Fascism unaware of its own tendency towards police state etc.

Again - look at Jones' actual response to increase of police powers over immigration and border control. No principled rejection of state apparatus there.

Likewise with Jones' supporters, many (all?) of whom believe in "undue jewish influence".

What are the implications if not for racial legislation and a bureaucratic system of identification etc?

This isn't principled libertarianism at all.

So what is it, if not fascism?

the_last_name_left said...

From the Wik:

Scholars, such as Roger Griffin, view Third Positionism as a minor branch of fascism, which rejects both Marxism and liberalism for a form of racial socialism or, more precisely, an ideology which combines a tribal form of racial nationalism with a corporatist, distributist or solidarist economic system. The main precursors of Third Position politics are National Bolshevism, a synthesis of nationalism and communism, and Strasserism, a radical, mass-action and worker-based form of Nazism.

That's the same Roger Griffin as quoted earlier btw.

So, again, we have elements of fascism present in Alex Jones' ouevre.

My point is that there is more fascism within Jones' spiel than anything else. So let's call him by a name he deserves - not one he chooses for himself?

I'm not saying he is Hitler -- he wouldn't get anywhere if he was goose-stepping around, waving swaztikas and screaming for annihilation of the jews, would he? Come on? He's more subtle than that - he has to be. That's his role.

the whole point - he is trying to avoid being identified as "fascist".....that's why he sounds off about fascists....even as he has the real thing on his show.

Whilst he has guests like Eustace Mullins (50 years association with Nazism), publishes Willis Carto's stuff (America's leading anti-semite propagandist and holocaust denier) he'll target and demonise what he calls eco-fascists, feminazis, liberal fascists etc etc etc. It's diversion. Liberals are fascists - but Alex's fascist friends are "heroes".

If he hates fascism so much, why doesn't he mention it to his friends, and maybe not have them on his show or sell their books? Come on?

Anonymous said...

so what exactly did Jones demand that the govt do in the gulf that was so bad and unusual and rare out of character?

Nowhere in your diatribes do you ever show how fascism is wrong, you do a lot of defining, though,

I think youre about as delusional as Jones is; it seems like you spend a lot of time staying up late at night watching old movie news reels from the 1930's..Maybe walking in the sunshine and some vitamin C would help you with your monomania

the_last_name_left said...


ad hominem?

You really want to concentrate on this gulf thing, and not whether Jones exhibits characteristics of fascism?

The point about the gulf is that Jones (and his various minions) are one moment touting the state-minimalism of Ron Paul, the next they are raging that the state apparatus is doing nothing and is failing our dear beloved Americans (the European ones, not the ones they walled off, not the ones they want to deprive of a present constitutional birthright etc)

Jones exposes himself as an opportunist - the source of much of his hypocrisy.

State worship was your suggestion of characteristic of fascism.

I think an American ultranationalism/fascism might be expected to have a very different view of the state, at least during its formative stages, as compared to "classic" european fascism. And when mature, with power, I suspect the "principled" opposition to the state of an American fascism would quickly wither away. Like they'd care?

We can see Jones' lack of principle on the issue of the state already, right?

Jones poses as some freedom-loving libertarian whom hates "a police state".

Yet the same man says he thinks the Israeli wall is "beautiful"....makes him cry....he wants one!


The same man who wants extra police powers regarding *suspected* immigrants....
[vere are your paperz? etc]

Look at his self-declared enemies? Liberalism and socialism.

Anyway - you don't accept he's fascist.

What is a better description?

the_last_name_left said...

anon: Nowhere in your diatribes do you ever show how fascism is wrong

(Ah - is this a confession on your part?)

I never explain what UP or DOWN mean either, if you notice.

Anonymous said...

I remember the precise moment Chris Mathews lost all credibility in my book. He was talking about O'Neill (Bush cabinet member) and his recollections. O'neill said Bush and his outlaw gang wanted to attack Iraq from day one of his administration.....Pat Buchanan chimed in to point out that The PNAC was penned prior to the Bush presidency, AND the neo-cons came to Clinton to strongly urge an attack....Bushanans imput totally destroyed Mathews debate- if the push to attack Iraq was a strong desire and plan in the late 1990's, then its a certainty that O'Neil was right.

But no- Mathews shut Buchanan up, because then the whole point of the discussion would be moot, and Mathews wouldn't have that. It was shocking to witness- Mathews was uncomfortable and red faced, he was exposed as a phoney, someone who just makes stuff up for the sake of argument. Of course the Bush people wanted to attack Iraq early in 2001.... Mathews is Oscar Meyer time...

Anonymous said...

Matthews is a sad desperate sack

Anonymous said...

Well, Last name left, up and down was explained to me when I read Aristotle (lol).....but really, for all your wordiness I expected some explanation as to why fascism was wrong, and not just your laborious exposition of what it is.

um, I think Aristotle was into 'how' and 'why,' also. Or was that someone else?

its important to show how and why a idea is bad, or might be bad, and not just leave it to assumptions. I expected better from you.

Jones wanted the feds to free up the states so they could do some things they needed to do to combat the gulf leak. It wasnt an appeal to vastly increase federal involvement.

Anonymous said...

Its important to offer the moral dimension of 'fascism' since thats how it can be defeated. Explaining what it might be wont defeat it as quickly as showing its defects will. Esp. since about 15% of current Europeans now say that the Nazis ought to have won, since almost 15% of the European electorate vote that way now, yet the commies dont have as much support these days....

....whereas conservative critics of communism always point out the moral and economic flaws in communist theory as part of their overall definition, which helped defeat it.....When Hitler killed himself, about 15,000 Germans commited suicide within 72 hours too....while when the Soviet empire collapsed in 1991-1992 or so, almost nobody killed themselves.

Offer how or why fascism is wrong, dont just give us long winded definitions that many of us wont bother to finish reading.

the_last_name_left said...

I think those "anonymous" replies are interesting.

The original blog, had said "I wouldn't call Jones right-wing, exactly...."

I had responded saying I thought Jones was fascist. And I gave sourced explanations why I believed that was the correct term.

Some "anonymous" disputed my use of the term for Jones.

There was a little to and fro about the definition - and whether it applied to Jones or not. (I don't think my initial point lost any weight - nothing substantial was offered to discount the notion that Jones is a fascist.)

And now, "anonymous" moves to demanding that I

"Offer how or why fascism is wrong, dont just give us long winded definitions

The entire point here is the definitions and the applicability.

I'm not particularly interested in debating the morality or the pros and cons of fascism here - at this moment - especially not with fascists. I am however interested in raising consciousness of the fascism present within Alex Jones' Troof Movement, American Patriot Movement....etc.

Seemingly the morality of fascism, and its pros and cons are your interest......somehow.

So, allow me to demur, and grant you the floor?

Why don't you explain what is so repugnant about fascism? You asked me.

And what is it that's so repugnant about fascism but which is so obviously lacking from Alex Jones?

Do tell?

My position is clear - at least crudely. Yours isn't.

S.M. Elliott said...

Yeah, I noticed how things kinda went from "Jones is not a fascist!" to "What is fascism exactly?" to "What's so bad about fascism, anyway?".

For the record, I don't think that Jones is a fascist, but he (and many far-right/populist broadcasters) have the potential to go in that direction practically overnight. And if you put them in charge of the country, they would most certainly be fascists.

Anonymous said...

It seems some of us are incapable of explaining themselves; they are throwing in the towel.

Jones isnt a fascist; he fights fascists.

Anonymous said...

If you call someone a fascist, it helps to define what fascism is......when I got ooddles of definitions, I found it odd that the 'why its bad' was never included, which led me to assume that 'last name left' might not actually know, or worse, might be sympathetic to fascism in a strange way..

...the state vs fed thing on the gulf was never explained either...sometimes I wonder if this blog is really a Jones effort.

the_last_name_left said...

@Ms Elliott:

Why do you disagree he's a fascist? What do you think is missing, or would be needed for the description to be accurate?


You want a view on why fascism is "bad"? Sorry, but I'm going to stick to talking about *what it is* and whether Alex Jones and The Troof Movement objectively qualify. In my opinion they do. Why? Look at Professor Griffin's definition? Pallingenetic ultranationalist populism - the core of fascism - according to Professor Griffin. Jones certainly qualifies in that sense, as does the American patriot movement and its conspiracism - ultranationalism, populism, a pallingenetic urge and expression ie phoenix-like renewal of the country, taking it back from others, the enemy within, etc.

This is all deeply chracteristic of Jones. Objectively so.

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