Sunday, December 12, 2004

Working Towards the Fuehrer

Historians of Nazi Germany talk about a phenomenon they call "working towards the Fuehrer" - how non-Nazis gradually gave in to Nazi cultural demands and even cooperated towards them. It's happening here now in the wake of an election that was in no way a mandate and was more about terrorism than phony "values voters." The invaluable Frank Rich reports:

But this crowd doesn't just want what's left of Kinsey's scalp. (He died in 1956.) Empowered by that Election Day "moral values" poll result, it is pressing for a whole host of second-term gifts from the Bush administration: further rollbacks of stem-cell research, gay civil rights, pulchritude sightings at N.F.L. games and, dare I say it aloud, reproductive rights for women. "If you have weaklings around you who do not share your biblical values, shed yourself of them," wrote Bob Jones III, president of the eponymous South Carolina university, to President Bush after the election. "Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil." Such is the perceived clout of this Republican base at government agencies like the F.C.C. that it need only burp and 66 frightened ABC affiliates instantly dump their network's broadcast of that indecent movie "Saving Private Ryan" on Veterans Day.

The protests against Saving Private Ryan are symbolic of the utter insanity we're faced with. The fundies didn't object to the violence, they didn't like the way the movie GIs talked - in other words, they talked like GIs in any war from the Revolution on. But, according to these bloody-minded hypocrites, our soldiers must be portrayed as being pure. Thank God Spielberg didn't slip in a whorehouse visit.

Kinsey was an anti-Soviet, anti-New Deal conservative, but that didn't matter in an America racked by fear. He lost the principal sponsor of his research, the Rockefeller Foundation, and soon found himself being hounded, in part for his sympathetic view of homosexuality, by the ambiguously gay homophobes J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson. Based on what we've seen in just the six weeks since Election Day, the parallels between that war over sex and our own may have only just begun.

And it is a war, make no mistake - and our enemies intend to take no prisoners.


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