John Moore: America is being held hostage by right-wing purists
Six years ago, I was shopping a book idea to publishers. The concept was a guide to how the Internet and radio and television gabbers were creating a self-contained parallel universe for American conservatism complete with its own system of economics, a fanciful version of U.S. history and even its own science. That this loopy world view required the rejection of matters established in fact and history posed no impediment to its adherents: They merely asserted that the record and the facts were wrong. My central thesis was that a portion of the American conservative movement had quite simply gone nuts.
The consensus of editors I met with was that the phenomenon was a cyclical historical blip explained in Richard Hofstadter’s seminal essay The Paranoid Style, which documented the ebb and flow of hysteria in American politics. During one meeting, a publisher leaned forward and said, “We love the idea but really, how much crazier can things get?” She was afraid that the looniness had crested, and she didn’t want to buy into a declining stock.
Flash forward six years and crazy still hasn’t found a floor. As their radical postures in the debt-ceiling fight shows, right-wing nutters have taken reason hostage and the American government along with it. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)