def: The fear experienced of posting a status update on Facebook, and worrying if anyone will comment.

I've listened to enough of Sean Hannity over the last six years to know he's this Paul Revere figure warning us Socialism is Coming, Socialism is Coming... And still there is no socialism: always pointing his attack at President Obama where he knows as much as anybody else, its all in the system. For example Bush introduces stimulus policies for recovery; it goes into effect without a remark from Hannity as he's totally immersed in warning us about Barrack H. Obama and his minister, Rev. Wright. Obama continues the same policies as Bush started and they magically become radical socialistic policies. In reality the Right opposition had turned radical, and overly ideological. I plan to now explain why.

This is going to be too long for some, so if you're who I think you are, turn off your computer or tune into another thread. There have been absolutely no structural changes to the U.S. political system as the result of the BHO Presidency. It is the same as before, but polemics are only effective when they're directed against people.

A lot of his right-wing following has been lamenting the loss of the Founding Fathers' vision, recently one post proclaimed the Founders would hate to see U.S. government as it is today. Du-uh.

Sure our Founders feared democratic excesses of Roman rule, where poor or propertyless Have-Not's could wreak havoc against the Have's. In 1787 self-conciousness of their property and with a desire to limit the electoral role of the people being uppermost in their minds, they set about creating

  • a non-popular Senate, selected by the States;
  • an appointed Judiciary, holding office for life;
  • the President elected thru an electoral college.

Jeffersonian democracy rooted our populist character, distinctive in that politics is in the arena of the hoi polloi and is the source of common political appeal, if not authority. It was not so in the beginning, but Hi-El, everybody knows that, don't they, from High School history?

Sean Hannity's aim, and quite a few others here as well probably was not to go against our tradition of liberty. Sure, factions - divergence of interests - are inevitable. A well-functioning Republic protects the causes of factions - and democratic politics means bargaining between legit groups in search of consensus (often called making progress.)

But in Sean Hannity's world, political debate moves from specific clashes of interest in which issues are identified and possibly compromised, to insisting on prolonging ideologically-tinged conflicts which polarize various groups and divide society.

This banter appeals largely to the newly-rich and rising ethnic groups, who crave social recognition thru living in suitable districts, attending to protocol within the clubs therein, and subscribing to certain media of entertainment, all of which serve to mark off their territory. It is largely thru politics that these groups begin to assert their power and social position.

This politicking forms up during periods of prosperity, where class and economic issues lose force. That is, cold, hard economic issues take on importance during depression, while these paltry status issues are more amorphous and ideological. The characteristics of status politics have largely been:

  • portraited by a vanishing image of a muscular America defying a decadent Europe;
  • composed of a "new rich" e.g. real estate manipulators, auto dealers -- who feel need for the certain psychological assurance of having earned wealth rather than attained thru government aid (which had really been the case,) and who fear that "taxes" would rob them of their newfound prosperity;
  • joined by a middle class of new ethnic groups seeking to prove their inclusion;
  • whipped up by intellectuals opening up attacks on liberalism in general.

Any of this sound familiar to readers of this forum? Now, political sociologists maintain that Socialism will never emerge in America because we have a "Broker State" (that is, a business society within the generally accepted corporate capitalist model, modified by union regulations, and checked by government control where deals and interest group trading goes on.) It was rooted in the times of the New Deal, when functional groups (i.e. labor, ethnic classes) played into existing sectional interests, giving rise to pressure groups and lobbies.

So basically, the content of all this ideological banter had been born of the prosperity rising from the Clinton economic boom, followed by Bush's Ownership Society policies, tax cuts for the rich, and that long costly Iraqi occupation, that culminated with financial crisis. In wake of the clashing interests are these new anxieties, strains, and pseudo-urgencies. The conditions (above) leading to the ugly era of McCarthyism are the same as those underlying today's Socialist polemics... more to come.