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Sex Anxiety Replaced by Race Anxiety on Far Right

Conservatives needed to take a break from incessant moralizing about sex, and required a new ideology to take the place of their family values cant.
 
 
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I confess a gap in my education about this right wing populist trope called "producerism" and it's utterly fascinating. I urge you to read this whole article by Michelle Goldberg which elegantly expands and explains the concept I rather crudely attempted to address in my earlier post today.

Here's an excerpt:

Today's grassroots right is by all appearances as socially conservative as ever, but its tone and its rhetoric are profoundly different than they were even a year ago. For the last 15 years, the right-wing populism has been substantially electrified by sexual anxiety. Now it's charged with racial anxiety. By all accounts, there were more confederate flags than crosses at last weekend's anti-Obama rally in Washington, DC. Glenn Beck has become a far more influential figure on the right than, say, James Dobson, and he's much more interested in race than in sexual deviancy. For the first time in at least a decade, middle class whites have been galvanized by the fear that their taxes are benefiting lazy, shiftless others. The messianic, imperialistic, hubristic side of the right has gone into retreat, and a cramped, mean and paranoid style has come to the fore.

To some extent, a newfound suspicion of government was probably inevitable as soon as Democrats took power. At the same time, with the implosion of the Christian right's leadership and the last year's cornucopia of GOP sex scandals, the party needed to take a break from incessant moralizing, and required a new ideology to take the place of family values cant. The belief system analysts sometimes call "producerism" served nicely. Producerism sees society as divided between productive workers -- laborers, small businessmen and the like -- and the parasites who live off them. Those parasites exist at both the top and the bottom of the social hierarchy -- they are both financiers and welfare bums -- and their larceny is enabled by the government they control.

Producerism has often been a trope of right-wing movements, especially during times of economic distress, when many people sense they're getting screwed. Its racist (and often anti-Semitic) potential is obvious, so it gels well with the climate of Dixiecrat racial angst occasioned by the election of our first black president. The result is the return of the repressed.

 

Digby is the proprietor of Hullabaloo.

 
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