Paranoid Politics: J. Edgar vs LaPierre

Seldom in history has file-keeping been a path to power, but last week’s NRA convention celebrated its chief clerk’s kind of national clout unseen since J. Edgar Hoover bullied the White House and Congress half a century ago.

Hoover and Wayne La Pierre, two bombastic file-keepers who rose to control those elected by voters through fear and blackmail, seized and held on to power to push the nation into diametrically opposed directions.

Hoover exploited anxieties over Cold War spying and domestic crime in a time of economic abundance to fuel paranoia and glorify government, his kind of secret policing, at the expense of civil liberties and individual rights.

LaPierre, in contrast, has taken advantage of economic adversity and lunatic nightmares about a minority President to make government itself the straw-man suppressor of citizens’ freedom to arm themselves with weapons of war.

What they have in common is practice of what historian Richard Hofstadter described as “the paranoid style in American politics,” which prompts a proponent to see “conspiracy in apocalyptic terms–he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization…he does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician.”

Beyond their divergent choice of devils, Hoover and LaPierre share a bone-deep racism…

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Author: ROBERT STEIN

2 Comments

  1. It is easy to write-off the NRA and laPierre as a bunch of kooks, however, we only see and hear from the tip of the proverbial “iceberg”. The NRA is a huge machine that is supported by not only fire-arm manufacturers, but, everything from Christian groups, hate groups, posse comitatus, law enforcement individuals, ranchers, farmers and every-day people. Our next door neighbor, who is a well-meaning person, might be sympathetic to the NRA. The NRA has slowly been built on a strong and mostly out of sight base. The NRA is exploiting the average Americans frustrations and anger and I believe the NRA is strong enough to be a serious challenge to the U.S. Government.

  2. I agree Today. They certainly have recruited enough legislators. They are by definition, a terrorist organization who has the power now to make some startling and horrifying changes to our constitution through their lackeys in congress and in turn, their lackeys on the supreme court. They have already begun to destroy our rights. Coupled with the Republican party and the changes THEY are making to our constitution…and trying to..they are changing and may irreparably change the face of America as our parents and grandparents knew it

    “Destruction of every civilization always comes from within”

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