Below is a list of articles written which I feel every progressive, or at least people who still believe in reason and evolution, should read.
I have chosen them for their ability to cut through the clutter of academic and philosophical verbiage, and get right to higher truth about the insane and dangerous phenomenon of American Extreme Right Wing Politics. Hofstaeder once called them the "Radical Right." That might have been appropriate in the 1960s, but today, corporate-backed lobbying armies and influence merchants, using a Fox News fueled media hysteria and a small army of populist demagogues have transformed them into what I call the "Rabid Right," or the "Hatriots Movement."
While some are just good angry rants, most are the foundational grist that give rise to the rants, thus serving as backgrounders helping to inform people about how we got into this nearly ruinous condition, who did it to us, and why we're probably not likely to ever escape it in your lifetime without economic collapse, armed conflict, or both. I will be adding to this library routinely, eventually moving it to a formal library software I am working on, so please check back often for new additions. I hope you enjoy them (in a manner of speaking), and pass them on.
Note: If you like this sort of compendium, you may also may want to see my "Essays Every Progressive Should Read" page.
Liberals in the United States have been losing political debates to conservatives for a quarter century. In order to start winning again, liberals must answer two simple questions: what is conservatism, and what is wrong with it? As it happens, the answers to these questions are also simple: What is conservatism? and What is wrong with conservatism? by Philip Agre, UCLA
Related, by same author: Coup Watch: The New Jargon *Important*
If you read nothing else on this page, READ THIS.
The purpose of this writing is to demonstrate and document the rightward shift of the political spectrum that has characterized domestic politics in the United States. This examination begins in the 1950s and takes the reader to the current American political paradigm. This marginalization and demonization of left-of-center politics in American discourse has its roots in the McCarthyism of the 1950s and has survived in one form or another to its present state.
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Cliché, sure, but it's also more true than at any time since the Gilded Age. The poor are getting poorer, wages are falling behind inflation, and social mobility is at an all-time low. If you're in that top 1%, life is grand.
It's time for the Democrats to face reality: They are the party of urban America. If the cities elected our president, if urban voters determined the outcome, John F. Kerry would have won by a landslide. Urban voters are the Democratic base.
By Thomas Franks
Casting his eyes from the Bush administration’s final months of plunder to the earliest days of the Republican revolution, Thomas Frank uncovers the deep logic behind the graft and incompetence of conservatives in power. He shows how leaders dedicated to a doctrine of government by entrepreneurship proceeded to sell off the state, channeling the profits to cronies and loyalists. He surveys the federal agencies doomed to failure by the inept and even hostile staff appointed to run them.
The Powell Memo — How the Modern Conservative Movement Got Wings
How did conservatives, once considered "Fringe" in America, come to so dominate our media and public narratives? Some feel this memo is the key to it all. You must understand it, for all the rest of what is on this page to really resonate with your inner rage.
Not everyone agrees this was the seminal work it's reputed to be, in terms of its inspiration for many right wing triumphs in the past 35 years. But I find this article unconvincing in trying to minimize what has resonated with the memo–especially in recent years.
More: The Powell Memo and the Teaching Machines of Right-Wing Extremists
Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.
by Richard Hofstaeder
The legendary political historian wrote this essay in 1964. It could have been written for this week's edition of Time Magazine, with Glenn Beck on the cover. About Hofstaeder
A cartoon that says so much about people who know so little. I really hope the cartoonist makes a fortune from posters. It should be on everyone's wall.
Blisteringly brilliant summation of just how and why the Right wing emerged from an amateurish band of Clinton haters (ignoring his sheer brilliance as a Republican president), into a pathological order of fascist zombies focused only on regaining the throne of power no matter who or what opposes them–including the very Constitution they claim to love (but barely understand).
If you're a Progressive, and this doesn't capture how you feel, you probably don't have cable.
Since I pimped it heavily on Twitter in late March, 2010, this has begun the new gold standard in rants about the mess these gangsters in the #GOP have made.
Fuck The South — Another Rant You Wish You Wrote.
Fuck the South. We should have let them go when they wanted to leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves – yeah, those are states we want to keep…
Dear Red States — Still a classic, and still a treat.
My good friend @stephanieWDC went to a teaparty (Washington 9/12 Teaparty, 2009) and recorded the most frightening glimpses of a nation of racist proles gone mad.
They may be easy and fun to mock, but doe not underestimate the power of the Rabid Right. They are a grave threat to democracy, and the future of the United States.
Two Santa Clauses —or How The Republican Party Has Conned America for Thirty Years
by Thom Hartmann
A mistake or two does not deflect from this spot-on analysis of the cynical con-job done on America using tactics refined by the same Conservative Rabid Right/Republican machine elsewhere illustrated on this page.
by Chris Hedges
As a culture, we may have yielded too much of our nation to the middle managers who were needed as foot soldiers by the corporatists who have turned us into wage slaves. We have no good ideas, because we have no more people with the courage–or motive–to have them.
by Brian Elroy McKinley
Excellent overview of some of the most misunderstood (and misrepresented) aspects of Liberalism, and why it's always been seen as the very core of American values (according to almost any non-partisan historian or political scientist).
By Jane Smiley
The world would be a better place if the American right wing had never existed
By Steven Kangas
The famous essays by this web pioneering liberal, who,in 1999, mysteriously–and almost inconceivably–managed to commit suicide in the washroom, down the hall from the office of ultra right wing billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife, a frequent target of his political views.
by David Brock.
Still as current as ever, this was the seminal work on Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy. It's a vital read for any progressive.
One of my very first posts to this blog (still not quite ready for prime time), and it’s a gem, to my limited mind. In response to the stealthy and disingenuous screed by Stephen Hayward (AEI) on Sunday, this letter was sent to the Washington Post. Short and sweet, it takes just 100 word to eviscerate conservatism better than 10,000 word essays by some pretty bright progressives ever seem to do. I may print wallet cards with it.