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New York Times columnist William Kristol is a regular on Fox News, where he always has something to add to enliven the conversation. And on Sunday morning he had some very revealing advice for Hillary Clinton. Let’s go to the video.
The key that Hillary can use to take down Barack Obama, says this political analyst, is “the politics of fear.” In fact, Kristol is to be congratulated for stating an operational principle that can be distilled from much of his rhetoric. He is convinced that fear-mongering works very effectively in a democratic society, especially when it gets proper reverberation within the mass media.
Kristol is being sold to us as a “conservative” commentator. I see nothing “conservative” about his thinking or tactics. They smack of something entirely different. I would draw on Edmund Burke for an understanding of the values of the political conservative. And here is what Burke had to say about the tactics of fear:
No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. . . Those despotic governments, which are founded on the passions of men, and principally upon the passion of fear, keep their chief as much as may be from the public eye.
Fear is employed to cripple reason, to enslave, to craft tyrannical rule, he says. Fear is not a tool that a democratic state uses on its own people. This is a simple, fundamental, vital point. And Kristol exposes a crude cynicism–enough to cause a real conservative to become nauseous.
I propose that we keep on top of Mr. Kristol. Let’s open a “Ministry of Fear Watch” and keep count of his fear-mongering or fear-enabling in coming months. Readers are invited to note and clip Mr. Kristol’s fear-mongering, to be recorded and discussed in this space.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Chances that an American knows the position of his or her senators on health-care reform:
Climate experts proposed creating a fleet of cloud-seeding yachts that will pump water vapor into the atmosphere to thicken global cloud cover, thereby reflecting more sunlight, in order to counteract the effects of global warming.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighbor’s home.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."