Chronicling the Right Wing Nuts

The 2012 Presidential election stirred me. The venom of the right wing was almost unendurable. Romney is gone. Hopefully, he will follow the 3-strike rule and never return. But what remains is that dark, virulent voice of the extreme right. It is eating away at the midsection of America like that grisly beast from Alien, spewing toxic juices and corroding the most even-minded of us. They evoke in me emotions that alternate between rage, astonishment and hilarity. But I know they are not a laughing matter.

I first read about the extreme right wing in the late 1980s. Somewhere, probably at my favorite used bookstore, I picked up a paperback called Danger on the Right. The book was first published in 1976 and gave a detailed accounting of the organizations and people and agendas and beliefs of what was then mainly a fundamentalist Christian movement. I wish that I’d kept that book.

A few weeks ago, I ordered John Dean’s Conservatives Without Conscience and have been reading it in small installments. A part of me would rather remain distant from these lunatics – but another part recognizes they are not lunatics. I should qualify that this is a tiny minority, the ringleaders, and even they are far from sane. But they have created something. Something large and tentacled and dangerous. We should be frightened into action.

Tonight on a whim, I started searching the bookshelves at amazon.com. It was curiosity. How many books have been written since Danger on the Right, I wondered. The results are amazing. I trimmed my search term to “right wing” and drew up 85, 942 results. I made it to page 9, surveying about 100 books.

Below is a sampling of those 85,942 results. We need to become educated. This scourge must be stopped and that will not happen while we remain ignorant and complacent. Laws are being changed already. My fear is that if these right wing nuts are not stopped in their tracks, we will be looking at civil violence.

ALL TITLES AND DATA WERE SOURCED AT AMAZON.COM

1983: Right Wing Women by Andrea Dworkin (Nonfiction)

Andrea Rita Dworkin (September 26, 1946 – April 9, 2005) was an American radical between feminist and writer best known for her criticism of pornography, which she argued was linked to rape and other forms of violence against women. An anti-war activist and anarchist in the late 1960s, Dworkin wrote 10 books on radical feminist theory and practice. During the late 1970s and the 1980s, she gained national fame as a spokeswoman for the feminist anti-pornography movement, and for her writing on pornography and sexuality, particularly in Pornography: Men Possessing Women (1979) and Intercourse (1987), which remain her two most widely known books.

1992: Search for the American Right Wing by William B. Hixson (Nonfiction)

This text is a creative synthesis of the published scholarly research on the contemporary American right wing from the rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy to the election of Ronald Reagan as President. It directly engages that research by critically analyzing the major explanations emerging from it. Emphasizing neither the lives and backgrounds of the scholars that he discusses nor paradigms within the social sciences as a whole, William Hixson focuses on the way the concepts of individual researchers have interacted with accumulating evidence on the American right, and how this evidence has led to new and more comprehensive theories.

1995: The Party Of Fear: The American Far Right from Nativism to the Militia Movement by David Harry Bennett (Nonfiction)

The Party of Fear — which has now been updated to examine the right-wing resurgence of the 1990s — is the first book to reveal the common values and anxieties that lie beneath the seeming diversity of the far right. From the anti-Catholic riots that convulsed Philadelphia in 1845 to the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City, it casts a brilliant, cautionary light not only on our political fringes but on the ways in which ordinary Americans define themselves and demonize outsiders.

1996: Dragons of God: A Journey Through Far-Right America by Vincent Coppola (Nonfiction)

From Publishers Weekly:

Former Newsweek reporter Coppola spent the last few years investigating the far-right extremist fringe, meeting white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Klansmen, “Identity Christians” who worship an Aryan Christ, survivalists and paramilitary groups in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Idaho, Colorado, Kansas and California. His chilling report, notable for its crisp, restrained prose, sounds a wake-up call to mainstream America. His respondents see themselves as idealistic patriots out to save the nation from “mud people”-African Americans, Jews, minorities, immigrants; many of them preach racial warfare or violent confrontation with a federal government seen as under the sway of Zionists. Among those he interviewed were Richard Butler, founder of Aryan Nations, and neo-Nazi Klansman Tom Metzger, head of the White Aryan Resistance. His report shows that in the 1990s, neo-Nazis have invaded “patriot” citizens’ militias, infecting them with virulent anti-Semitic and racist beliefs and paranoid fantasies.

1997: Between Jesus and the Market: The Emotions that Matter in Right-Wing America by Linda Kintz (Nonfiction)

Between Jesus and the Market looks at the appeal of the Christian right-wing movement in contemporary American politics and culture. In her discussions of books and videotapes that are widely distributed by the Christian right but little known by mainstream Americans, Linda Kintz makes explicit the crucial need to understand the psychological makeup of born-again Christians as well as the sociopolitical dynamics involved in their cause. She focuses on the role of religious women in right-wing Christianity and asks, for example, why so many women are attracted to what is often seen as an antiwoman philosophy. The result, a telling analysis of the complexity and appeal of the “emotions that matter” to many Americans, highlights how these emotions now determine public policy in ways that are increasingly dangerous for those outside familiarity’s circle.

1999: Eyes Right!: Challenging the Right Wing Backlash by Chip Berlet (Nonfiction)

This collection provides essays which challenge the right wing backlash, considering how the political right is determined to roll back social gains and threaten democratic processes. This anthology examines the movements and forces which motivate the hard right, examining the facts for those seeking to oppose the right wing: an entire section of suggested strategies provides a most important series of ideas. — Midwest Book Review

2002: Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Politics and Society in Twentieth Century America) by Lisa McGirr (Nonfiction)

In the early 1960s, American conservatives seemed to have fallen on hard times. McCarthyism was on the run, and movements on the political left were grabbing headlines. The media lampooned John Birchers’s accusations that Dwight Eisenhower was a communist puppet. Mainstream America snickered at warnings by California Congressman James B. Utt that “barefooted Africans” were training in Georgia to help the United Nations take over the country. Yet, in Utt’s home district of Orange County, thousands of middle-class suburbanites proceeded to organize a powerful conservative movement that would land Ronald Reagan in the White House and redefine the spectrum of acceptable politics into the next century.

Suburban Warriors introduces us to these people: women hosting coffee klatches for Barry Goldwater in their tract houses; members of anticommunist reading groups organizing against sex education; pro-life Democrats gradually drawn into conservative circles; and new arrivals finding work in defense companies and a sense of community in Orange County’s mushrooming evangelical churches. We learn what motivated them and how they interpreted their political activity. Lisa McGirr shows that their movement was not one of marginal people suffering from status anxiety, but rather one formed by successful entrepreneurial types with modern lifestyles and bright futures. She describes how these suburban pioneers created new political and social philosophies anchored in a fusion of Christian fundamentalism, xenophobic nationalism, and western libertarianism.

While introducing these rank-and-file activists, McGirr chronicles Orange County’s rise from “nut country” to political vanguard. Through this history, she traces the evolution of the New Right from a virulent anticommunist, anti-establishment fringe to a broad national movement nourished by evangelical Protestantism. Her original contribution to the social history of politics broadens–and often upsets–our understanding of the deep and tenacious roots of popular conservatism in America.

2004: The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right by Daniel Levitis. (Nonfiction)

The Terrorist Next Door reveals the men behind far right groups like the Posse Comitatus – Latin for “power of the county” — and the ideas that inspired their attempts to bring about a racist revolution in the United States.

2004: Big Lies : The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth by Joe Conason (Nonfiction)

Big Lies confronts right-wing slander and bias with a long-awaited, badly-needed counterpunch to the deceptions that have plagued American politics for a generation.

2004: Into a World of Hate: A Journey Among the Extreme Right by Nick Ryan (Nonfiction)

Nick Ryan spent six arduous years traveling amongst a huge array of  right-wing extremists. Winning the trust of the men and women at the heart of these movements – from bombers to presidential candidates, across Europe and the USA – Into A World Of Hate is the tale of his gripping odyssey. Ryan is an award-winning writer and producer. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, the BostonGlobe, GQ, The Guardian and Wired, among others. In 1999 he received a special commendation from the International Federation of Journalists for his investigations into the extreme right. He is based in the UK.

2005: Fascists in Christian Clothing: The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy by Richard Weisman (Fiction)

In Fascists in Christian Clothing, the sequel to Is America Nuts?, Dr. Stanley Warlib is back, and he’s discovered a melding of evangelical Christians, Moonies, and Conservatives to bring about a fascist state right here in the United States.

Banding together in a web of interlocking and interconnected organizations, these architects of American society believe that America is a cesspool and that salvation lies in taking back America for Christ. Three things stand in the way of ushering in the Kingdom of God to America: liberals, black-robed judges, and the secular government.

2006: Soulless: Ann Coulter and the Right-Wing Church of Hate by Susan Estrich

Ever since the publication of her Clinton-bashing debut, High Crimes and Misdemeanors, right-wing fire-brand Ann Coulter has made herself one of the most talked-about figures in contemporary American life–and has done so by issuing a near-continuous barrage of insult and invective, which has been described as “shameless,” “cruel,” “shrill, bombastic, and mean-spirited,” “grossly inappropriate,” “hate speech.” She has called the 9/11 widows “witches” and “harpies,” referred to Muslims as “ragheads,” called Al Gore a “total fag,” and said that both New York Times editor Bill Keller and antiwar congressman Jack Murtha deserved to die. Yet with each new statement–and each new book launch–Coulter somehow manages to co-opt the media as a megaphone for her attacks, while emerging from the backlash miraculously unscathed.

2006: F.U.B.A.R.: America’s Right-Wing Nightmare by Sam Seder and Stephen Sherrill (Humor)

If you’re a liberal who’s somehow not panicked over the state of our Union, or if you’re a Republican who’s just having voter’s remorse, or if you think what’s happening to the country is just politics as usual, F.U.B.A.R. will open your eyes to our current national nightmare. With completely unfair and unbalanced analysis, authors Sam Seder and Stephen Sherrill take readers on a whirlwind tour of what’s left of the United States, exposing the truth about the Right’s blueprint for total domination — over your money, your mind, your sex life, and even your place in the afterlife (yes, they have a plan for that, too).

2009: The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right by David A. Neiwert

The Eliminationists describes the malignant influence of right-wing hate talk on the American conservative movement. Tracing much of this vitriol to the dank corners of the para-fascist right, award-winning reporter David Neiwert documents persistent ideas and rhetoric that champion the elimination of opposition groups. As a result of this hateful discourse, Neiwert argues, the broader conservative movement has metastasized into something not truly conservative, but decidedly right-wing and potentially dangerous.

2012: Obama’s Detractors: In The Right Wing Nut House by Howard A. DeWitt (Nonfiction)

This is a study of media types from Fox TV and politicians who have written books and engaged in radio-television shows to critique President Obama. Obama’s Detractors: In The Right Wing Nut House identifies his critics and analyzes their messsage. The critics include Bill O’Reilly, Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham among others. This book argues that the anti-Obama books are a multi-million dollar industry. The conservative authors have little interest in accuracy, the facts or an honest portrayal of President Obama. The political right wing nut house threatens democracy by forcing extremism into the center of American politics. In doing so all of our liberties decline.

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