Show 318: The Authoritarian Specter

Two -Hour Fund Drive Special!

The Authoritarian Specter

Principle 8 of Humanist Manefesto II reads in part, “We must extend participatory democracy in its true sense to the economy, the school, the family, the workplace, and voluntary associations. Decision-making must be decentralized to include widespread involvement of people at all levels – social, political, and economic. All persons should have a voice in developing the values and goals that determine their lives … People are more important than decalogues, rules, proscriptions, or regulations.
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Show 310: Conspiracy!

Special 2-Hour Fund Drive Program: Conspiracy!

For much of the last century, mainly Far Right groups or individuals engaged in conspiracy theorizing often to scapegoat other groups or individuals who were considered legitimate targets for the mainstream to blame their overall sociopolitical dilemmas of the time.  European Jews conspiring against Germany and Christian Germans, according to the NAZI’s, is one famous example. The KKK and Neo-Nazis targeting blacks by trying to re-interpret the US Constitution is another.

Chip Berlet, senior analyst for the independent think tank Political Research Associates, has explained when talking about modern examples of this via the Tea Party Movement and Anti-Obama-isms in the United States, “Right-wing pundits demonize groups and individuals in our society, implying that it is urgent to stop them from wrecking the nation. Some angry people in the audience already believe conspiracy theories in which the same scapegoats are portrayed as subversive, destructive, or evil. Add in aggressive apocalyptic ideas that suggest time is running out and quick action mandatory and you have a perfect storm of mobilized resentment threatening to rain bigotry and violence across the United States.”

But what about Progressives, Liberals and others on the Left who have also engaged in what some have called Conspiracy Theories? Who are the people to be scapegoated in their case? Of course… the rich or powerful elites.  But while the so-called elites thought up by the Far Right never existed as advertised, we do live in a society where the rich and powerful can be shown to indeed manipulate the masses through indoctrination via the public school system, the media, and other means of propaganda.  So how can one separate fact from fiction as they exist with Left-leaning Conspiracy Theorizing?

For years on WBAI-NY, you’ve heard mainly one side of the story, while all others are often taken on these airwaves and among the Left in general, with great suspicion and seen as establishment apologetics.

Equal Time for Freethought’s mission advocates using critical thinking and scientific method to understand the world around us; and, moreover, trying to understand how such can help us implement progressive social change.

So in this light, we will look at the most recent, infamous conspiracy theorizing regarding 9/11 as well as the history of Right-Wing and Left-Wing Conspiracy theorizing via the History Channel special “The 9/11 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction,” and a research document edited by progressive Chip Berlet called “Toxic to Democracy.”

Joining us on the phone will be skeptic and author Robert M. Price, and Kathyrn Olmsted, author of “Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11.”

Show 253a: A Victory for Vengeance?: America’s Methods of Domination; Part One

A Victory for Vengeance?: America’s Methods of Domination; Part One

For more than 30 years now, the United States has taken a turn to the Right in how we organize our society. Prison populations have skyrocketed, prison sentences and anti-crime laws have become more and more draconian, torture has been used at home and abroad in the name of security, and the state has tightened its noose around those of us not in the upper classes… especially non-whites and the poor. Why has this occurred? What role has the rise in political Christianity played in the push for far right policies? Are there underlying reasons for this sad state of affairs beyond religion and the conservative politics of the Reagan/Bush era that are not even being talked about? And what can we do to make America more democratic, egalitarian and humanistic?

These are the questions we asked of journalists’ Sasha Abramsky, author of American Furies: Crime, Punishment and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment and Kristian Williams, author of American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination and Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America.

 

Show 246: The Court and the Cross w/Frederick Lane

The Court and the Cross

From the publisher:

While President George W. Bush has appointed two Supreme Court justices during his terms in office, the next president may be in a position to appoint up to three new justices, replacing one third of the Court. This relatively high number could drastically alter future Supreme Court rulings. Now is the perfect time to consider the role of politics in Supreme Court nominations and in the new appointees’ ensuing decisions.

In The Court and the Cross, legal journalist Frederick Lane reveals how one political movement, the Religious Right, has dedicated much of the last thirty years to molding the federal judiciary, always with an eye toward getting their choices onto the Supreme Court. This political work has involved grassroots campaigns, aggressive lobbying, and a well-tended career path for conservative law students and attorneys, and it has been incredibly effective in influencing major Court decisions on a range of important social issues. Recent decisions by the Right’s favored judges have chipped away at laws banning prayer in school, bolstered restrictions on women’s access to abortion and birth control, and given legal approval to President Bush’s use of federal funds for religious organizations.

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