Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Pushing Back the Clock

The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History

I saw this book in the bookstore about a month ago, leafed through it, and tossed it aside, shaking my head in disgust.

Of course, I knew it would be beloved by the same folks that embraced Ann Coulter and Rush – the folks who have no real interest in whether a thing is true or not, just in whether in shores up their worldview – but I’m still discouraged to find out it’s number eight on the NYT bestseller list.

Here’s what today’s NYTimes editorial has to say about it, in part:

More than a history, it is a checklist of arch-conservative talking points. The New Deal public works programs that helped millions survive the Depression were a "disaster," and Social Security "damaged the economy." The Marshall Plan, which lifted up devastated European nations after World War II, was a "failed giveaway program." And the long-discredited theory of "nullification," which held that states could suspend federal laws, "isn't as crazy as it sounds."

It is tempting to dismiss the book as fringe scholarship, not worth worrying about, but the numbers say otherwise. It is being snapped up on college campuses and, helped along by plugs from Fox News and other conservative media, it recently soared to No. 8 on the New York Times paperback nonfiction best-seller list. It is part of a boomlet in far-right attacks on mainstream history that includes books like Jim Powell's "FDR's Folly," which argues that Franklin Roosevelt made the Depression worse, and Michelle Malkin's "In Defense of Internment," a warm look back on the mass internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The editorial goes on to note the real dangers of this revisionist tack Conservatives are taking these days:

It is not surprising, in the current political climate, that liberal pieties are being challenged, and many of them ought to be. But the latest revisionist histories are disturbing both because they are so extreme - even Ronald Reagan called the Japanese internment a "grave wrong" and signed a reparations law - and because they seem intent on distorting the past to promote dangerous policies today. If Social Security contributed to the Depression, it makes sense to get rid of it now. If internment was a good thing in 1942, think what it could do in 2005. And if the 14th Amendment, which guarantees minorities "equal protection of the law," was never properly ratified - as Mr. Woods argues - racial discrimination may be constitutional after all.

I keep trying to convince myself that the Right can’t really be trying to take us back to the world where people of color were routinely abused, where women had no rights, where anyone who wasn’t a white male adult Christian could be treated like a criminal – I mean, they can’t really want to go back to that country, can they?

But read James Dobson.

Listen to Rush Limbaugh.

Have a look at Ann Coulter’s columns, sometime, if you can stand it (and yes, I know she’s female – so what? So’s Michelle Malkin.)

That’s exactly what they’re arguing for.

1 comment:

zelda1 said...

Yes, let's give up on social security and let Bush have more money to fight his war with, and by all means forget what happened to the Japanese, and the lack of equality for people of color will not happen now; afterall, we are more civilized, our government is more civilized and our moral consciousness has been raised due to the enlightment of those wonderful fundies, who led by Dodson, are changing the world one family at a time and from the inside out. It starts with the family, or so he says. And Rush, well he is such a man of moral fortitude that we should all listen to him spout his racists crap.
But I have experience with the drones of Dodson and even of Rush. The majority of people in my family are fundalmentalists. The women, young and educated, regurgitate that Dodson man like he wrote the Bible. They say, women should stay home and raise their children, men should make all the decisions about finances, and that children should be seen and not heard. And for all those misfortunate women who are widowed or divorced, they should be taken care of by the church. They should live off the generosity of others so they can stay home and raise their children. Their children should be fathered by the men of the church. Is this man for real? I can not believe they buy into this man's crap. They have all his books and tapes and the young women meet once a week for Bible study/Dodson study. They are learning how to be better submissive wives and better mothers. They take up clothes and food for the poor and I wonder how terrible the poor must feel when the do gooders bring their hand me downs. I think they are two steps away from the Stepford wives. Because my neiece stays home to raise her two children, her husband teaches highschool, drives a bus, tutors, and in his spare time replaces windshields and sells wood. Just so they can make ends meet. I can not believe this is what is going to make society better. And when they are old and his health is ruined for all the working he has been forced to do now, is the government going to have money to see them through their old years? Probably not. In the mean time, those tapes and books and all the other things they keep buying is making Dodson a very richer man. Now that is christianity here in Arkansas.