Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Word's Getting Around: Fromm, Reich and the Right

I've posted here and elsewhere about the relevance of some of the old psychoanalytic literature, in particular Fromm's 'Escape From Freedom' and Reich's 'Mass Psychology of Fascism', to current rightie/Tea Party politics. Turns out others, believe it or not, have had the same idea. Here's one:

Journalist (Max--PW) Blumenthal documents the movement of conservative evangelicals from the political wings to center stage, delving into the psyches of those who now lead a Republican Party "fixated on abortion, homosexuality and abstinence education; resentful and angry." Guided by Eric Hoffer's 1951 cult classic The True Believer ("Faith in a holy cause, is to some extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves,") and Eric Fromm's 1941 psychoanalytical study of the Nazi movement (Escape from Freedom), Blumenthal suggests that childhood abuse has shaped the personalities of key leaders, including Focus on the Family guru James Dobson. Blumenthal is at his best examining these characters up close, including presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich and his born-again conversion; John Hagee, a Pentecostal pastor who lauded Hitler for "forcing the Jews to Israel"; Sarah Palin, whose political aspirations first came to her as part of a religious conversion; and evangelical pastor Ted Haggard, a self-proclaimed spiritual warrior caught in a relationship with a male prostitute. (Amazon blurb-PW)

It may be possible that he's explored the idea at greater length than yr. obdt. svt. Haven't read it yet; will...

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