Sunday, January 07, 2007

Another book I can remove from my list

I earlier stated my cautious interest in Chris Hedges's American Fascists. Rick Perlstein has drained my interest. This paragraph was enough.

Hedges’ conclusion: “The crowds are wrapped in the seductive language of violence, which soon enough leads to acts of real violence.”

To reach it, he relies on a body of thought devised long ago to explain the rise of totalitarianism in the middle of the previous century — ideas about how alienation, economic dislocation, the deformation of language and exploitative authoritarian leaders become both the necessary and the sufficient cause for imminent purgative violence. The problem is that he can’t point to any actual existing violence among the people he’s reporting on. This is an argument in the subjunctive mood.

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