Jun 18, 2011

Right-Wing Movements 101

by Matthew N. Lyons

Presentation at a political study retreat in Monroe, New York, on 5 June 2011.

I'm going to try to give you an overview of right-wing movements in the U.S. and how they've developed over the past several decades. This is not going to be comprehensive. Instead, I'll focus on a few examples of specific movements and some of the kinds of issues and dynamics that I think are important for an overall understanding of the right. But before that, let me make a few general points about the right and how I approach it.

Rightward shift since the 1970s

The United States has seen a major upsurge of right-wing movements more or less continuously since the late 1970s -- from the so-called New Right and the Reagan Revolution of thirty years ago to the Tea Party and the anti-immigrant movement of today. Part of the impact of this upsurge is that it's helped to bring about a whole rightward shift in what people consider mainstream political discourse.
To help put this in perspective, here's a little exercise: Imagine a president who expands affirmative action, actively promotes school desegregation, enacts important new laws in social welfare, environmental protection, occupational health and safety, and consumer protection, supports comprehensive health insurance and a system of guaranteed income for all citizens, and whose Justice Department opposes the RICO Act on the grounds that it gives the government powers that are much too broad and sweeping for prosecuting criminals. In 2011, such a president would be considered far to left of Barack Obama and far to the left of almost everyone in Congress. Forty years ago, such a president was called Richard Nixon. That's the shift I'm talking about.

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Anonymous said...

The Right Wing Movement:

I have a problem with the right wing movement, in that; they seem to possess a distorted sense of entitlement. They’ve set themselves apart, and seem to think that their faith gives them the right to view the world from a platitude of conceit, through condescending eyes, and with a false sense of superiority. They actually believe themselves to be superior beings, with a manifest destiny and some strange notion that God is on their side. A people with a desire to conquer, under the false guise of Christianity, seeking to dominate in the name of Christ, their view of humanity being reduced to nothing more than a matter of “us” and “them”.

What they fail to realize is; if the Christ you believe in leads you to view other humans as lesser beings, then you are a follower of the anti-Christ. The plain truth is; God doesn’t have a religion and God doesn’t discriminate. Any religion that professes to be the only true religion, or that they‘re special in the eyes of God preaches false doctrine. If the Spirit of God is truly with you, it will only be known by acts of “unconditional” love and charity. No religion can claim exclusive rights to God. He belongs to all that He has created, and to foster a belief in “us” and “them” is to divide humanity, not unite it.

And so it will be in The End, that those who have set themselves apart from their fellow man will find that they have set themselves apart from God. The worth of a soul will only be measured by how much it has loved, nothing more, nothing less.

Woe to those who have taken the widow’s mite and built castles and empires in His name. They have incurred a great accountability. Their suffering will be unending.