Right-Wing Deconstruction: Mimicry and False Equivalencies
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My introductory chapter raised the topic of conservatives devising a mirror, or mimicry, effect in the recent American culture wars, with the example of David Horowitz writing, “I encourage [fellow Republicans] to use the language that the left has deployed so effectively on behalf of its agendas. …” And I invoked Jonathan Swift’s dilemma that “everything spiritual and valuable has a gross, revolting parody, which looks exactly like it.” Lewis Powell’s conception in 1971 of a conservative counter-establishment had a precursor two decades earlier when American cold warriors like ex-Marxists James Burnham and Irving Kristol (who, not coincidentally, became a key figure in forming the new Republican apparatus) formulated a strategy for neutralizing the elaborate Soviet propaganda apparatus in international politics and culture by devising counterpropaganda efforts like the Congress for Cultural Freedom, with the result that, as Michael Lind put it, “American conservatism, then, is a countercommunism that replicates, down to rather precise details of organization and theory, the communism that it opposes.” (Also see Saunders, The Cultural Cold War.) And even this aspect of the Cold War was anticipated by Orwell in both 1984 and Animal Farm, with their grim vision, based on the Communist and Fascist revolutions and on World War II, of rival governing elites on the right and left emulating each other to the point where, as with humans and pigs, “already it was impossible to say which was which” (Animal Farm 128.)
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