It’s always amazing what crazy sh*t normally intelligent people will believe when fear and hatred and group prejudice get the better of them. Why, I can think of a highly-educated, insightful, brilliant black preacher who believes that the U.S. government invented HIV to destroy black folks. And I can think of a law professor at a legitimate university, who also commands a blog audience of 100,000 readers a day, who thinks that Barack Obama is a socialist. Yes, that’s the same Barack Obama whose most admired economic thinker seems to be Alexander Hamilton and who supports the market-oriented cap-and-trade approach to containing global warming.
These are not information problems. These are psychiatric disorders, or cynical manipulations appealing to the ignorance and psychopathology of the audience.
Footnote And no, using the word “fascist” to describe an administration that practices torture, distrusts reason, despises the legal system, and believes that in wartime the Leader has ultimate power is not comparable. It’s not a label I’d use — “fascism” properly speaking is corporatist, which Bushism isn’t — but it’s not a bad shorthand description of a major set of tendencies. No one who wants to leave the means of production in private hands can sanely be called a socialist.