Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, November 02, 2015

The late, unlamented

Willis Carto, of whom I had never heard -- not surprisingly, since he worked behind the scenes and didn't put his name on his publications or organizations. Carto was the insane wizard behind the curtain of the far right racist Liberty Lobby, it's publication The Spotlight, and its radio broadcasts; and the Institute for Historical Review, dedicated to proving that the Nazi holocaust was a lie.

Lest you think he lived beyond the fringe and had no impact on American politics, he was invited to testify before congressional committees numerous times, and, as the Times obit notes, he "helped bolster what became fairly conventional rightist causes: drastically slashing the income tax and blocking a constitutional amendment to guarantee women equal rights. His positions on immigration, globalization and multiculturalism — all of which he loathed — were influential."

We hear the echoes of the Liberty Lobby in the modern Republican party. Holocaust denial and overt anti-Semitism are largely out of fashion on the right, because of the alliance between right-wing evangelical Christians and right-wing Zionism, not to mention Sheldon Adelson's money. But the rest of the program is the essence of contemporary conservatism. While the historical association of these causes is not an argument about their substance, it does help to explain the psychological appeal of contemporary conservatism in terms of its cultural roots. The line we can trace from Carto to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is very easy to see.

1 comment:

robin andrea said...

Never heard of this guy before, but glad to have discovered him through his obituary.