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The Old Truths Often Are the Best Truths

Words written in 1963 still perfectly apply in our modern era. The prescient author could have written them yesterday.

Richard Hoftstadter

In 1963, Knopf published Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, by Richard Hofstadter, a distinguished professor of American History at Columbia University. In 1964, the book won the Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction.

Hofstadter, who also is famous for another classic, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, published in 1964, portrayed in Anti-Intellectualism in American Life an American culture largely inimical to intellectuals, and the process of rationality and speculative thought. In this thoughtful and illuminating book, The parallels to our modern know-nothing society are striking. Consider this passage:

“There has always been in our national experience a type of mind which elevates hatred to a kind of creed; for this mind, group hatreds take a place in politics similar to the class struggle in some other modern societies. Filled with obscure and ill-directed grievances and frustrations, with elaborate hallucinations about secrets and conspiracies, groups of malcontents have found scapegoats at various times in Masons or abolitionists, Catholics, Mormons, or Jews, Negroes or immigrants, the liquor interests of the international bankers. In the succession of scapegoats chosen by the followers of this tradition of Know-Nothingism, the intelligentsia have at last in our time found a place.”

Glenn Beck, in his most honest, and appropriate, pose.

Does this venerable description, tracing back 47 years in time, not sound exactly like one well-known right-wing radio talker today? You know, with the initials G.B.? That’s right: Glenn Beck, come on down. (It’s ironic that the vile tactics that the Mormon Beck uses to constantly smear and hound people and groups he doesn’t like once were used to smear and hound Mormons.) – Mickey Murphy © 2011 MMMurphy

Note to Readers: If you enjoyed reading this post, and agree with its general point of view that radio demagogues are doing vast damage to the United States, please click on the following link: “Why This Blog?” In this brief post, I provide a little history concerning previous U.S. radio demagogues. I detail what are the radio demagogues’ ignoble goals, how they work their black magic, and why they are so dangerous to the continued civic health of our nation, as well as the basic comity upon which our vital public discourse depends. Also, I discuss the mission of the RADIO DEMAGOGUES blog, and offer a simple suggestion that if all Americans followed would finally shut up all of these vile radio reactionaries for good.  Plus, I ask for your support by subscribing and linking to this blog, and referring it to your friends. “Why This Blog?” succinctly answers its own question. It is an informative and worthwhile post. Please read it.

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About Mickey Murphy

Freelance writer, Vietnam veteran (USMC Combat Motion Picture Team, RVN, 1968-1969), former member, New York City Auxiliary Police, lover of superb writing, sublime poetry, and splendorous music.

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