Thursday, December 26, 2013

Strange Bedfellows: American Christofascists and Vladimir Putin

It is amazing how hatred of others - gays in particular - can make those one would never at first blush expect to get along (much less lavish praise).  Who would have expected American Christofascists to be having a love affair with Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer and a near dictator.  But that is precisely what seems to be occurring as Pat Buchanan - a man who is both a racist and a homophobe - praising Putin because Putin is demonizing gays and giving a tacit nod to violence against gays.  A column in the Washington Post looks at the phenomenon.  Here are column excerpts:

Just in time for Christmas, Pat Buchanan has come along to alert us to the shifting alliances in the conflict between tradition and modernity. While Buchanan’s pugnacity in the culture wars has long since ceased to be news, his latest entry is jaw-dropping nonetheless. Writing last week on a right-wing Web site , he announced he’d found a new star in the paleoconservative firmament: Vladimir Putin. 

In the article “Is Putin One of Us?,” Buchanan noted that while a “de-Christianized” United States has been embracing “homosexual marriage, pornography, promiscuity, and the whole panoply of Hollywood values,” Putin has stood up for the old-time virtues. Indeed, Putin sounds increasingly like Buchanan himself. Tolerance for gay sex, Putin has said, is an “acknowledgement of the equality of good and evil.” This “so-called tolerance,” he continues, “is genderless and infertile.”

Buchanan wasn’t content just to acclaim Putin for his “moral clarity.” In embracing Putin, he suggested that a new global conservative bloc may be, and certainly should be, forming. Though many Americans are “still caught up in a Cold War paradigm,” he wrote, “the 21st century struggle may be horizontal, with conservatives and traditionalists in every country arrayed against the militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite.”

Buchanan has come full circle. Raised in a household marked by fervent support for fascist Francisco Franco in his war against the secular democratic government of Spain, he has turned in his 75th year to the anti-Western authoritarian leader of Russia. The moral arc of Buchanan’s universe may be long, but it keeps plopping him down in the company of thugs.

It’s not Buchanan’s trajectory that’s of interest here, however. It’s his argument that the American Cultural Right should make common cause with enemies of the Enlightenment wherever they may be. 

Buchanan’s epiphany that his brand of nationalism and religious orthodoxy has believers the world over is surely right — but can he convince his permanently enraged American acolytes that some of the people they most fear and despise are actually the people they should be hailing as their comrades?

If it comes down to a fight between democracy and religious orthodoxy, as was true in Franco’s day, so is it true in Putin’s: Orthodoxy must prevail.  The Intolerant International. Bigots of the world, unite.
The swamp fever of the far right obviously is continuing to fester.

No comments: