'Our growing, authoritarian nightmare': MSNBC host sounds the alarm about the right's 'book-burning stage'

'Our growing, authoritarian nightmare': MSNBC host sounds the alarm about the right's 'book-burning stage'
Image via Screengrab

Just two weeks after sounding the alarm about the rise in right-wing authoritarianism, MSNBC's Medhi Hasan is back again to shed light on how some Americans have veered even further to the right.

On Thursday, November 11, Hasan discussed a recent school board meeting that took place in Spotsylvania County, Va., earlier this week. During that heated debate, far-right Republicans expressed the desire to burn books they are adamantly trying to keep away from students in an effort to censor the teaching of America's real history.

Pointing to Pen America's new report about the number of proposed pieces of legislation passed to block the teachings of critical race theory, Hasan explained how politicians have mounted legal attacks to control education.

"On Monday, the same day those Virginia school board members were rhetorically reaching for the gasoline and matches, the human rights group Pen America released a new report citing 54 bills introduced nationwide this year to limit what teachers can teach, and students can read 54 bills targeting discussions of race, racism, gender and of course, pen," he said. "America says those bills, 11 of which have already become law educational gag orders and even that doesn't capture the insane. American right now seems to have for banning books and viewpoints that don't reinforce their own biases."

As right-wing authoritarianism continues to erode classrooms across the country, Hasan also pointed out an example of how political influence is continuing to impact education. Following Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance's recent speech invoking the words of former President Richard Nixon, universities have faced a rise in threats.

Take it from a leading conservative thinker who's running for a Senate seat in Ohio," Hasan said as the segment flipped to a clip of Vance's recent speech. "There is a wisdom in what Richard Nixon said approximately 40, 50 years ago," explained Vance, adding, "He said, and I quote, 'the professors are the enemy.'"

Hasan went on to discuss the aftermath of Vance's speech as he noted the problems that are arising around the country.

"In the weeks since that speech, bomb threats were called into a university, Miami University, Cleveland State University, Yale, Cornell, Brown, Columbia, and the University of Chicago," he said. "The FBI continues to investigate. Look at where we are in America right now. Republicans are making it harder to vote, trying to overturn elections, glorifying violence against protesters, threatening civil servants, scientists, doctors and teachers for doing their jobs."

Hasan concluded with a warning as he noted what America is not supposed to be. "This isn't supposed to be Hungary, where right-wing demagog Viktor Orban took control of the universities to install political cronies and crackdown on dissenting knowledge.

"This is America where we're supposed to give a damn about, I don't know, freedom of speech and thought an open society. But hey, welcome to our growing, authoritarian nightmare."

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