The Veil of Piacular Subjectivity:
Buchananism and the New World Order


Mark P. Worrell Kansas City Art Institute

University of Kansas


The structure and logic of paleoconservative ideology is critically interrogated by focusing on the economic, cultural, and political dimensions of Buchananism and locating the phenomenon within the context of post- Fordist globalization. Recurring patterns and themes are interpreted; conceptions of power are examined; significant contradictions are discussed; and an attempt is made to provide a plausible theorization of Buchananism by focusing on what Durkheim might call the “piacular” quality of this form of imagination. My aim here is to locate the “essence” of Buchananism as it is in itself and for us. Ultimately, I argue that Buchananism represents an authoritarian and ambivalent response to globalization rooted in an experience of transgressed boundaries. Buchananism, more than a simple attempt to eradicate the corrupted Other, represents a worldview that demands “self- wounding” and suffering of the faithful. I try and make a plausible case that, though Buchananism is a response to what it perceives as chaos and ambiguous; it wills the continuation of that experience as its animating force even as it calls for its eradication.

Introduction1 2

At a time when political and moral distinctions are constantly blurred – when the international order we have regarded for nearly half a century as a given is virtually collapsing and our definitions of work, art, and gender are in flux – the very notion of a social order is being questioned. At such a point it is therefore critical for us to understand the actual process by which we establish boundaries and make distinctions. How we draw these fine lines will certainly determine the kind of social order we shall have.

Eviatar Zerubavel, The Fine Line

The path to catastrophe turns out to be only a fictional detour bringing us back to our starting point.

Slavoj Zizek, Looking Awry

Pat Buchanan has been the public voice and conscience of American paleoconservatism for more than a decade. His campaign speeches, newspaper columns, and frequent pronouncements on political talk shows, are filled with militaristic and aggressive metaphors devoted to bashing corporations and finance capitalists uncommitted to the well-being of the United States. The “Savonarola of the Right,” as Hans Haacke calls him (Bourdieu and Haacke 1995, p. 45), routinely denounces homosexuals, radicals, illegal aliens, and abortion rights advocates, among others, as morally perverse and corrosive to the American way of life; recently announcing that he would again seek the presidency of the United States, Buchanan vowed that he would, if elected, make it his job to “clean up America.” All that is stupid and evil in the world, from Buchanan’s perspective, is contained in the notion of what he and others call a New World Order. 3

One of the primary forces driving Buchanan and the paleo-right has been the generation-long shift away from a regime of capital accumulation known, to economic sociologists, as Fordism. The “leaner and meaner” economic world emerging in its place, so-called “post-Fordism,” has been depicted in popular discourse by such phrases as a “post-industrial society” and things like cheap imports, corporate restructuring, downsizing, class and income polarization, dual-income households, and declining wages dominate our representations of this transition. The social, cultural, technological, political, and subjective transformations that have followed over the last 25 years have also been profound and these, too, have a home in Buchanan’s worldview. But the social materials living in the Buchananist imagination do so only insofar as they are converted from the empirical world of processes, relations, history into a fantasy space populated by nefarious beings possessing, what can only be described as, “unearthly” or meta-physical qualities.

In this paper, I attempt to comprehend the logic and structure of Buchananism by situating it within the broad context of an emerging post-Fordist society and examining this ideology’s economic, cultural, political and subjective aspects. My aim is, for one, to locate the social “substance” that binds together these various manifestations and, relatedly, account for its logic of “enemy construction.” After concluding that the fundamental element underpinning Buchananism is the experience of dissolving and transgressed boundaries, I try to interpret why Buchananism appears as it does by advancing a theory with enough power to grasp, if not the totality, then at least some significant aspects of this variety of thought.

A few objections might be raised concerning my decision to interrogate Buchananism. First, Buchanan, it seems, will never be elected to a major political office because he is too caustic and generally unappealing to Americans. So why bother? Second, Buchanan is Catholic while the overwhelming majority of extreme right-wing politicians, demagogues, and movements are rooted in Protestantism. Third, Buchanan’s philosophy on trade and foreign policy place him in sharp contrast to the profile of the New Right and the main currents of neo-conservatism. However, choosing to examine Buchanan makes good sense I think.

Closely examining Pat Buchanan’s view of the world is sensible because doing so provides a concrete point of entry into the most popular and coherent current of thought commonly known as the paleoconservative right. 4 First, the particularities of Buchanan, the individual, are less important than the fact that he is only the current representative of a durable current of socio-political thought in this country. The kind of ultra right ideology that he reflects will survive long after Buchanan himself ceases to be a political factor. Given the appropriate conditions and a more appealing spokesperson (i.e., an end to “I don’t like him but I think he’s right” proviso), the paleoconservative right could, conceivably, score at least minor victories with the same substantive. 5 The name would change but the sentiment would remain relatively unaltered. Second, Buchanan’s social critique may have its origins in Catholic “social doctrine” (cf. Burns 1992) but its implications far outrun Catholicism. There is no evidence that Buchanan’s movement is restricted primarily to Catholics. Even Buchanan’s direct historical predecessor, Father Coughlin, the Depression-era anti-Semite, captured the sympathies of millions of non-Catholic Americans with his “social justice” crusade (G. Marx 1962). Denouncing corporate greed, stagnating wages, and immorality is clearly not copyrighted by Catholic romanticism, and, as I point out below, the political gulf that separated Catholics and Protestants in the past was greatly bridged by the 1920s with the spectre of international communism and their political missions became nearly synonymous after the Second World War.

Another compelling reason to consider Buchanan is that his ideology exhibits an elective affinity with some western and eastern European currents of political theology. 6 In short, Buchanan articulates what must be considered an ecumenical and quasi-secularized message of social and political protest. Further, Buchanan’s posture toward trade, as evidenced by his anti-NAFTA and anti-GATT crusade, places him squarely in league with the current leadership of the AFL-CIO and “populists” like H. Ross Perot and the Reform Party. Significant segments of organized labour and the unorganized mass of workers in the U.S. find Buchanan’s posture, or Buchanan-like stances vis-à-vis the capital-labour relation, to be sensible and appealing in a way that would evade, say, the Christian Coalition of Pat Robertson or the intellectually haughty, pro-market neo-conservatives. Before moving on, a few more clarifications are necessary.

I want to point out now that I am aiming at a critique rather than scientific analysis in a positivistic sense. Additionally, Buchananism is not approached in this paper as a social movement nor am I concerned, immediately, with the electoral bases of this ideology. For the moment, I aim solely at generating a phenomenology of power and purity whereby Buchananism is one-sidedly interpreted in itself and for us rather than from the perspective of its supporters. On another note, the intellectual consensus seems to be that the ultra right is self-evidently and simply fascist and that inquiry, here, can only produce banal conclusions. In other words, we think we already know what Buchananism and related phenomena are when we see them. However, I take considerable time to unfold the multiplicities of Buchananism not to parade out what might seem self-evident upon reflection but to articulate the interpenetrating structure behind its various political, economic and cultural faces. What is truly interesting is, in the end, not what Buchananism says but why and this aspect of the problem cannot be adequately addressed until this form of thinking has been thoroughly presented from all relevant sides.

Pat Buchanan

Patrick J. Buchanan is an undeniably dominant figure in contemporary American politics. Even though Buchanan shifted his allegiances in the post-Reagan era and waves a flag of a different colour, for more than thirty years he helped shape the New Right and the platforms of the Republican Party. While he attained his greatest notoriety during the 1996 presidential primary race and is a constant fixture in the world of televised and print commentary, Buchanan’s political biography includes participation in the 1964 Goldwater race, speech writing for Richard Nixon, and serving as Ronald Reagan’s Director of Communications. Despite his failure to secure the Republican nomination in 1996, Buchanan’s movement has retained much of its dynamism. Hence, there is every reason to believe that even if his political success remains stunted, his influence on GOP strategy and conservative voters will be significant; even in failure, Buchanan and his movement has the ability to shape the political behaviour and consciousness of many people.

Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of Buchanan and his “critique” is the extent to which it has penetrated virtually every dimension of the mass media and, in the process, been accorded a status of respectability. A person might ask, for example, that if Buchanan were merely a political crank, as many contend, why would he be afforded regular appearances on public television – the supposed bastion of high-minded analysis, sober commentary, wholesome educational programming, and innocuous family entertainment. However, according to Lee (1997, pp. 227-28; cf. Shapiro 1996) “It was Buchanan who reportedly scripted Reagan’s chilling remarks about how SS soldiers buried at Bitburg ‘were victims, just as surely as the victims in the concentrations camps.’ Buchanan described Hitler as ‘an individual of great courage, a soldier’s soldier,’ and referred to Holocaust survivors’ memories as ‘group fantasies of martyrdom.'”

It might also be remembered that Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign co-chairman, Larry Pratt (the author of a 1990 book titled Armed People Victorious), was forced to resign in the wake of scandal after it was revealed that he, also the head of Gun Owners of America, had intimate connections with the Christian identity movement, Aryan Nations, and the KKK (Lee 1997, p. 361). In response, Buchanan denied knowledge of Pratt’s activities (The New Republic, March 11, 1996). Further, in the Washington Times (Oct. 23, 1991) Buchanan personally endorsed David Duke, the former neo-Nazi and KKK leader, in his bid for governorship of Louisiana (Diamond 1995). Is there any wonder, then, why Senator Alfonse D’Amato referred to Buchanan as a “philosophical ayatollah”? (Lambert 1996). At the 1992 GOP convention, Buchanan raged in every direction and “The pundits joked, ‘it sounded better in the original German'” (Langman 1998). How could someone like this appeal to supposedly democracy-loving people?

Buchanan’s representation of modernity, his critique and characterizations of capital, liberalism, culture, and morality becomes comprehensible when one analyses the particularity of his various arguments and exposes their unity and the underlying structure of his worldview. For the purposes of this paper I would like to focus one- sidedly upon the social-psychological processes evident in Buchananism and link these processes to the formation of what Buchanan calls the “New World Order.”

Buchananism and the New World Order

The Fordist era of capital accumulation, including its politics and culture, has become the fetish object du jour for Pat Buchanan and other paleoconservatives. Mourning the death of America’s golden past Buchanan recently stated that:

In the late nineteenth century a dynamic American capitalism spawned a new elite, the captains of industry, or “robber barons” and “malefactors of great wealth,” depending on one’s point of view. Yet, for all their eccentricities and faults, John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt and their peers saw themselves as American patriots, master builders of the greatest nation on earth, with duties to that nation and, for the best of them, to their workers (1998, pp. 93- 4).

Henry Ford, in Buchanan’s eyes, was an exemplar of this American hero – the kind of employer who, in the words of William Tolman, “saw himself as ‘more than a producer: an instrument of God for the upbuilding of the race'” (Montgomery 1987, p. 252). Sadly, “Men and women of wealth who possess that sense of obligation – similar to what a good commander feels toward his soldiers – are a dying breed” (Buchanan 1998, p. 93-94). 8 The realm of economics and morality, capital and culture, intertwine in Buchanan’s worldview: the passing of the good entrepreneur and industrial capitalism is inextricably tied to a degeneration of morality (homosexuality, radicalism, and abortion, for example) and the realignment of international and domestic power relations. In short, to use Buchanan’s jargon, we have entered a “New World Order.”9

Part of Buchanan’s appeal lies in the fact that, rather than standing on a narrow plank, he addresses an ensemble of problems: the globalization of capital and free trade; the corruption of democracy; the increasing internationalization of culture; racial suicide; the continued threat of communism and Godless socialism; illegal immigration; linguistic multiplicity; educational degradation and declining spirituality, to list only a handful. In short, Buchanan’s “populism” seems to be a response to everything modern including the dissolution of stable identities and life-projects. This makes sense given what many theorists say about an emerging “post-traditional” world in which social totalities, moral standards and identity have become radically contingent (Bauman 1996, p. 50). It would be impossible to discuss every aspect of Buchananism within the confines of this paper but I will address the aspects that I feel capture the “essence” of the phenomenon. By that I mean that my analysis will place primacy on the intersection of capital, culture, power and subjectivity.

Fetishizing Fordism

Generally, “Fordism” refers to a period of capitalist social organization dominant between the First World War and the late 1960s. Fordist regimes of capital accumulation are characterized by mass production, assembly lines, deskilling of labour, rising wages, mass consumption, large factories and centralized production. Strong state presence in mediating the conflict between labour and capital, relatively developed welfare structures, vertically integrated firms, and a central role for organized labour in securing concessions from capital are other major characteristics of the Fordist system (Bonanno and Constance 1996; Bonefeld and Holloway 1991; Hirsch 1991; Harvey 1990; Lipietz 1989; O’Connor 1989, 1984; Aglietta 1979; Edwards 1979; Braverman 1974; Gramsci 1971).

In the late 1960s Fordism began to change into a new regime now known, variously, as post or neo-Fordism. What is involved in the shift from Fordism to a post-Fordism? In the face of increasing competition from foreign firms beginning in the late 1960s, U.S. corporations adopted new strategies for recapturing falling profits. Focusing on short-term returns, U.S. companies hit American labour on multiple fronts. One approach was the running away from organized labour (union avoidance) and purchasing cheaper labour power in developing countries. This strategy contributed greatly to the increasing globalization of U.S. based production and the proliferation of claims that the U.S. had become a post-industrial society (Moody 1988). Of course, for many analysts, this transformation of the American economy was seen as a positive turn for, not only capital, but for labour as well. What they misinterpreted as a step forward was the crystallization of a new international division of labour whereby “Firms disperse their various operations across the globe, keeping their central administrative personnel in the United States, a growing portion of their production workers in low-cost nations, and a sales staff stationed in every country in which they can market their products” (Harrison and Bluestone 1988, pp. 32-33). Internally, this turn of events led to the creation of a two-tiered labouring class in which a small, elite segment of high skilled and highly rewarded workers stand juxtaposed to a growing body of low-paid, low-skilled service workers such as janitors, retail salespeople, waitresses etc. (Antonio and Bonanno 1996; Ashley 1997; Harvey 1990; O’Connor 1984. See also Langman 1998; Merelman 1998; Gottdiener 1997; Gordon 1994; Newman 1994; Schor 1991; Harvey 1990; Moody 1988; Katz 1986 for other aspects of the turn from Fordism to post-Fordism).

Following in the wake of this new division of labour, coupled with the turn to high-stakes financial gambles and real estate investments, was the revitalization of urban centres and downtown business centres. Capital could be congratulated for reversing the degradation of metropolitan infrastructures. Taken at its outward appearance, Buchanan espouses a critique of the economy that crosses paths with institutional and political economists alarmed at what amounts to the passing of the Fordist regime and the accord that prevailed between capital and labour during the post-war era. 10 However, the extent to which Fordism has passed into the beyond, if at all, is not entirely clear (see Kiely 1998).

Buchanan’s economic analysis takes myriad forms but the essence of his economic critique, that recurring sentiment that holds the various forms together, is contained in the following statement: “America is no longer one nation indivisible” (1998, p. 6). This “indivisibility” is crucial for understanding Buchananism because it resides at the centre of its “economic nationalism.”

1. Economic Nationalism

“Economic nationalism” is made up of several interrelated elements: trade barriers and protectionist strategies that benefit those he calls “Second Wave” Americans in the face of imports and low, overseas wages. As Buchanan puts it:

On one side is the new class, Third Wave America – the bankers, lawyers, diplomats, investors, lobbyists, academics, journalists, executives, professionals, high-tech entrepreneurs – prospering beyond their dreams. Buoyant and optimistic, these Americans are full of anticipation about their prospects in the Global Economy….On the other side of the national divide is Second Wave America, the forgotten Americans left behind. White-collar and blue-collar, they work for someone else, many with hands, tools, and machines in factories soon to be hoisted onto the chopping block of some corporate downsizer in some distant city or foreign country (1998, pp. 6- 7).

This concern for the downsized and deindustrialized “Second Wave” was, ostensibly, the center of Buchanan’s attack on NAFTA. “Why,” Buchanan asked, “does the Populist Right abhor NAFTA? Because NAFTA epitomizes all that repels us in the modern state. 11 Though advertised as ‘free trade,’ it is anti-freedom, 1,200 pages of rules, regulations, laws, fines, commissions, – plus side agreements – setting up no fewer than 49 new bureaucracies” (AF). But when one moves beyond the anti-NAFTA rhetoric (e.g., regulatory multiplication, downsizing, capital flight and frozen wages) the centrality of the Buchananist argument is that a crystallized form of national existence, the so-called American Way, faces destruction by alien forces. The particularity of American culture and work organization has become perilously endangered by the forces of globalization.

The password for Buchananism in the new world of multiplicity and fragmentation is “America First” (AF;TE). America is a “frontier” nation 12 (M); it is God’s nation and the true American people, the patriots, are harbingers of a divine spark. Buchanan asks, “What, after all, is America? Is she just a ‘part of the global economy’ or a beloved country the unique character of which must be preserved? What is American? A consumer or a fellow citizen?” (AF). Thus, the struggle over NAFTA was more than a battle over trade policy. “NAFTA is the chosen field upon which the defiant forces of a new patriotism have elected to fight America’s foreign policy elite for control of the national destiny” (AF) – that is, the destiny of the “little guy” struggling to “hold on” to the familiar, the particular, and to be globally and historically unique and nationally homogenous.

The sin of NAFTA and the “new” corporate mentality is the weakening of national borders. “The transnational corporation is a mutant of the old multinational” says Buchanan (1998, p. 100). Quoting William Greider, Buchanan confides that:

A transnational corporation is one that operates in the global marketplace, that does its research wherever there are scientists and technicians, that manufactures where economics dictate (in many countries, that is), and that has a management that doesn’t feel any allegiance to the economic or national security interests of the country in which it is incorporated. It obtains its financing from institutions around the world. In short, it regards itself as a free agent in a global economy (1998, p. 100).

The consequence has been the “leaking” of America’s economic vitality into the wilderness of the so-called emerging markets and the wasteland of outsourcing with its diminished security and worker rights. Buchanan equates NAFTA, and unregulated trade in general, with the dissolution of the American way of life and the specter of a free-floating, transnational, globally conscious elite or the new “Masters of the Universe” as he calls them. One fraction of these new “Masters” is represented by the image of international banks and bankers. “Far more serious,” says Buchanan, “is backdoor foreign aid, the scores of billions of dollars funnelled yearly to foreign regimes through the IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, etc. These relics of our ‘Marshall Plan mentality’ have become global-socialist centres for the redistribution of American wealth” (1998, p. 315). Or, as he stated in 1994:

…$2.5 billion is walking around money compared with the heist the Inter-American Development Bank just pulled off. On April 11, finance officials from 45 nations met in Mexico to pump up IADB’s capital from $60 billion to $100 billion, allowing the bank to raise annual lending to $7 billion, three times what it was in the Reagan era….Like Gulliver asleep, we are having our pocket picked, while being tied down with strands of thread that will one day have the strength of steel cables” (RSF).

The Buchananist preoccupation with international finance leads in two different directions. On the one hand, finance and money constitute a major motif in his theory of power and, on the other hand, its representation of money and bankers places him squarely within the old Catholic, romantic, and fascist traditions of capital critique whereby capitalism undergoes a “tactical compartmentalization” into the separate entities of rapacious finance capital and productive industrial capital (Massing 1949). While I provide a separate analysis of Buchanan’s theory of power and its relation to money below, this impulse to compartmentalize or segregate capital will be investigated here. By grasping this compartmentalization, Buchananism relation to an emerging post-Fordist and globalized world is better comprehended because it underscores the divergent economic and cultural transformations that separate older forms of “populist” social critique from newer ones like Buchanan’s.

2. Compartmentalizing Capital

Father Coughlin, the Depression era Catholic priest (see Warren 1996) and Buchanan’s most direct historical predecessor, provided his many listeners with a classic example of the “populist” denunciation of capitalism. Coughlin claimed to reject the “rugged individualism” of the entrepreneur (1934, p. 65), the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few (i.e., class polarization), the “doomed philosophy” of wage-labour, mass production that left “little else but tears and fears for the lot of the laborer,” exploitation of labour, and “indus- trial slavery” (1934, pp. 66-68). “Modern capitalism,” said Coughlin, “is doomed. It is not worthwhile trying to save it. It has written its own funeral march in the minor key of greed” (1934, p. 69). His audience felt assured that the “insane distribution” of wealth and goods, overproduction, poverty, and greed were soon to be a thing of the past.

Could the renunciation of capitalism be anymore unambiguous or resolutely opposed to its continuation than Coughlin’s? In brief, capitalism was absolutely evil, godless, and failed to work except for a lucky few and it should be destroyed in favour of a more just social organization and economic regime. But it was at this moment that Coughlin’s argument regarding the economic and moral concerns for “social justice” derailed on the “vulgar economics” of capital compartmentalization. In 1933, Coughlin provided an ideal-typical version of this “vulgar” compartmentalization and laid the groundwork for the negation of his rejection of capital:

The capitalist or – to coin a more pertinent word – the financialist and the industrialist are really two distinct persons each fulfilling a definite function in our civilization. The object of the former is to make money out of money, caring only for profits. The object of the latter – the industrialist – is to make things – shoes, plows, stoves, typewriters, automobiles – out of raw materials. He is essentially a producer. The financialist is essentially a parasite (1933, p. 118).

This propensity to perceive finance capital as a separate species of capital was addressed by Karl Marx in his discussion of interest-bearing capital. Marx’s term for this compartmentalization was “capital fetishism” (Marx 1981, pp. 515-24, 968).

In volume three of Capital, Marx indicates that “In interest-bearing capital, the capital relationship reaches its most superficial and fetishized form. Here we have M-M’, money that produces more money, self-valorizing value, without the process that mediates the two extremes” (1981, p. 515). The consequence of this fetishization of capital lies in its misplacing the social and historical concreteness of capitalism – i.e., the misrecognition or “mystification” of capitalist social relations and a corresponding inability to comprehend the source of profits; “the result of the capitalist production process – separate from the process itself – obtains an autonomous existence” (1981. p. 517). While Marx’s analysis of capital fetishization provides many answers, the “evolution” of capitalism since the 19th century demands an expansion of this theory to cover empirically evident variations in the fetishizing impulse.

The segregation of finance from productive capital can fall within two distinct registers. On the one hand, the political-economic register (analytic), and, on the other, the purely political (synthetic). The analytic register is distinguished from the synthetic in that the latter is primarily an emotional form of classification. In a word, the synthetic critique relies upon a surplus of representations that obscure the empirical dimensions of capital while the analytic fails due to its inability to comprehend social facts as totalities. A classic example of political economy analytically decoupling finance from production is provided by Rudolf Hilferding.

2.A. Analytic Fetishization

Hilferding’s analysis of finance capital is noteworthy because it demonstrates the difficulty of maintaining a steady gaze on capital. He states that:

The most characteristic features of “modern” capitalism…bring bank and industrial capital into an ever more intimate relationship. Through this relationship…capital assumes the form of finance capital, its supreme and most abstract expression.

The mystery which always surrounds the position of capital becomes more inscrutable than ever in this case. The distinctive movement of finance capital, which seems to be independent, though in reality it is a reflection; the diverse forms which this movement assumes; the dissociation and relative independence of this movement from that of industrial and commercial capital – these are all processes which it becomes more urgent to analyze the more rapidly finance capital grows, and the greater the influence which it exercises on the current phase of capitalism ([1910] 1981, p. 21).

Hilferding’s characterization points to a seemingly intractable paradox: finance as both dependent reflection and relatively independent from industrial production. The other register in which the fetishization of capital may fall is the synthetic-political and tends toward the creation of demonological enemies. This is the register that most concerns us.

2.B. Synthetic Fetishization

With Coughlin, as with the Nazis, the distinction between productive and parasitic capital devolved into Judenhass. The conceptual Jew becomes the key to everything rotten (S. Wilson 1982, p. 604); critique devolves into pseudo-critique, negation collapses into pseudo-negation. But the post-holocaust era has made the anti-Semitic critique of capital analogous to political suicide in the West at least for now and the foreseeable future. Buchanan has been accused of being an anti-Semite but it is unclear what his true beliefs are regarding Jews. If nothing else, he has been smart enough to publicly avoid the issue. Buchananism can, therefore, not be regarded as a specifically anti- Semitic form of reaction nor does it offer an anti-Semitic critique of capital per se. In itself, Buchananism may indeed be anti- Semitic but for others, i.e., for followers it is definitely not anti-Semitic. In other words, it is not socially anti-Semitic and to argue that Buchanan is anti-Semitic is to confuse the person with the larger worldview that followers find appealing. Nonetheless, Buchananism does contain its own version of capital fetishism that exhibits an elective affinity to the classic anti-Semitic form offered by Coughlin and the Nazis.

Where the fascist critique conjures up terms of finance and production, Jewish and Gentile etc., Buchanan parades out the World Bank and the IMF as well as transnational elites. 13 Buchanan puts it this way:

As America’s Industrial Revolution spawned a new elite, so, too, has the Global Economy. In mind-set and outlook, however, this new elite is a breed apart, another species altogether. Unencumbered by any national allegiance, it roams a Darwinian world of the borderless economy, where sentiment is folly and the fittest alone survive. In the eyes of this rootless transnational elite, men and women are not family, friends, neighbors, fellow citizens, but “consumers” and “factors of production” (1998, p. 97).

In this respect the Buchananist and anti-Semitic forms of critique are structurally identical despite the utilization of different signifiers. Instead of trying to determine whether Buchananism is anti- Semitic or not, it would be more useful to say that it is “functionally” anti-Semitic or that it is a form of “virtual” anti-Semitism. It is as if it were anti-Semitic but it benefits from being free of references to Jews. This is not an insurmountable contradiction because anti-Semitism is not really about Jews but about the people that hate them. This is why anti-Semitism can be found in societies where there are no Jews and why anti- Semitism can intensify as Jews assimilate in a society (cf. Finkielkraut 1994). But while the common fascist and Buchananist economic models are related, there is a significant difference between the Coughlinite social critique and Buchananism. Hence, another crucial distinction is possible beyond the synthetic and analytic: exophobic and endophobic fetishization. This historically rooted demarcation is visible in the transition from Fordism to post-Fordism.

2.c. Fetishization from Fordism to Post-Fordism: Exophobia to Endophobia

The structural and institutional transformation of global capitalism and the transformation of Fordist culture into a post-Fordist (“post-modern”) one is what separates Buchananism from earlier synthetic compartmentalizations of capital like Father Coughlin’s. No longer is the simple distinction between finance and production sufficient. I will briefly illustrate how the Fordist and post- Fordist synthetic fetishization of capital diverge from each other.

The Coughlinite segregation of capital, i.e., the style observable during the Fordist era, is dominated by the notion of an external threat to the American way of life. In short, it represents an exophobic fear of the external Other. In Coughlin’s case this fear manifests itself as a crusade against international Jewish and communist conspiracy that endangers an internally pure America. The Buchananite form of compartmentalization posits an internal threat: an endophobic fear of America’s desacralization. America is no longer threatened by external forces. Rather, the once good, productive entrepreneur has become identical to the globalizers and the conspirators. The industrialist has joined with the financialists and ran off into the wasteland of the New World Order.

For Coughlin, “Americans” were harbingers of a divine historical task. He believed that fate, The American Dream posited by God, had proceeded as intended until the unforeseen disaster of the Great Depression. Naturally, good Christians were required to respond to the interruption of their divine task. It was for this reason that Coughlin claimed to have departed from his pre-depression religious programming and taken to the airwaves with his “political sermons.” However, Coughlin’s Christian ethos precluded particular forms of protest. Radicalism, i.e., communism and socialism, were un-American and inconceivable. Coughlin exhorted his listeners to reject the Godless mythology of radicalism:

When the communist is confronted with [the] facts, he runs to the bible of Karl Marx to discover a solution. ‘Nationalize it! Confiscate it! Let the State be the manufacturer and the mass productionist! Let the government become the capital- ist! Let us wipe out the Seventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” and every other Commandment because there is no God, there is no morality.’ But, thanks be to God, we Americans have not become communistic (1931, p. 84).

Radicalism, however, was not merely synonymous with communism or socialism. These forms of protest, for the priest, paled in comparison to another threat.

Coughlin informed his listeners that a necessary distinction was needed between two types of radicals: the “Red” and the “Gold.”

In the United States of America at this moment we have two separate kinds of radicals. To the first class belong those men who have sworn allegiance to the red flag of Russia and whose sole ambition is the overthrow of our government and the subjugation of our people. These unmolested revolutionists, in one sense, are to be congratulated because of their open honesty and straight- forwardness.

The other class of radicals, who throw up their hands in unholy horror of the red flag, carry no card which proclaims their identity with the Third Internationale….the founders of this new communism are neither Russian, nor English, nor American….It is international in that it hopes to amalgamate the workers of the world in one great nation known as the human race…[they are] men from every nation who long since had devoted themselves to the anarchy, the atheism and the treachery preached by the German Hebrew, Karl Marx (1931, pp. 101- 3).

Leaving little to the imagination, Coughlin named the latter type of radicalism “The Golden Kind.” Elaborating on any ambiguities in the above description of the “Golden” radical, Coughlin identified them as “fiscal agents…acting in collusion”; they were affiliated with the League of Nations, the World Court, the International Bank, and associated with the likes of J. P. Morgan (1931, p. 106). Their goal was to drain the wealth from America and the world for their own use by “amalgamating the workers of the world” not for emancipatory purposes or revolution but for enslavement and appropriation.

Buchananism, in contrast, conceives not of an external threat to America but to the belief that the once-external enemies have already captured the heart of America. The legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the federal government, the traditional political parties, including the GOP, the universities, etc., have all been colonized by the ideology of globalization and international socialism. This same belief can be seen in conspiratorial theories of a Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG) that secretly controls the levers of global power, and by extension, in the U.S. as well (Bennett [1988] 1995; Stern 1996). The threat is no longer “over there” or separated by moral and geographical boundaries. Contemporary America, its politics, industrial policy (or lack thereof), and culture resembles an alternative script for Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Much of the difference between these Fordist and post-Fordist critiques of capital hinge upon radically different realities regarding cultural education and assimilation as well as the accumulation of capital.

The Fordist era both helped to cultivate, and in turn was created, by an aggressive “Americanization” program of cultural integration and assimilation. Employers in the 19th and early 20th century confronted a crisis of adequate labour power because many immigrants, in terms of their ability to work, were ill-prepared for life in modern industrial work processes. As Montgomery says, “Rustic styles of behaviour that were easily accommodated on railroad track gangs played havoc in the midst of tightly integrated machine processes and assembly lines” (1987, p. 236). Consequently, at the turn of the century, entrepreneurs engaged in an aggressive program of cultivating an adequate labour force.

Ford’s “sociological department” is a classic example of such efforts (Montgomery 1987, p. 236). Ford’s “sociological department” concerned itself with the lifestyle and behaviour of immigrant workers. The reward of high wages, the famous $5 per day wage scheme for example, were dependent upon workers conforming to the cultural and behavioural desires of the firm. And the consequences for not conforming could be severe. In the spirit of “Americanization,” Ford fired nearly 900 workers “for staying away from work to celebrate the Eastern Orthodox Christmas. If ‘these men are to make their home in America,’ explained a company official, ‘they should observe American holidays'” (Montgomery 1987, p. 236). The emergence of “corporate welfare workers” also provides testimony to the new emphasis placed upon cultural integration and conformity.

“The Pioneering Sociological Department of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, established in 1901,” says Montgomery, “illustrates this early style of welfare work in an elaborate form” (1987, p. 237).

A physician, R. W. Corwin, supervised a small corps of employees who provided medical services, cooking classes, and temperance dining rooms for miners and their families in the company’s widely scattered camps and supplied the state’s public schools with a uniform curriculum, so that children moving from one camp to another with their parents would never break educational stride. Corwin described the Greeks, Italians, Croats, and Mexicans who mined coal or smelted ore as ‘drawn from the lower classes of foreign immigrants’ and explained that their ‘primitive ideas of living and ignorance of hygienic laws [rendered] the department’s work along the line of improved housing facilities and instruction in domestic economy of special importance.

Whether “Americanization” really succeeded or not is beside the point. From Buchanan’s perspective, the Fordist era was equivalent to cultural uniformity and normative monism. And there is a grain of truth to the idea of national and cultural unity during this era. By the time of the Great Depression and New Deal, immigration had actually reversed and there was, relatively speaking, a pervasive spirit of collective fate and responsibility. The American golden past of Buchanan’s with its heroic entrepreneurs and team spirit was predicated upon this supposed monism. According to Buchanan, from the end of the First World War to the 60s, Americans acted, dressed, thought, and felt alike. We were a nation undivided. And when we were at odds, the superficiality of our differences was immediately suspended in the face of common enemies. Now identity politics reign and managers seek to exploit ethnic and cultural differences amongst their workers rather than raise them up to some American behavioural or cultural ideal (see Hossfeld 1988). What we find in Buchananism that is missing from the Fordist era fetishization of capital, . la Coughlin, is the incorporation of a culture critique into the analysis of capital that emphasizes the disintegrating effect of corporate strategies of capital accumulation. True, Coughlin and his ilk could declare that capitalism was absolutely evil, doomed to total failure, and that an alternative must be created but they effected a total reversal of this stance in the way capital was conceived. The result was the coarctation of historical alternatives. Coughlin-like, exophobic critiques saw the capital-labour relation as essentially American and Christian but plagued by the presence of a shadowy alien force. Both “real” capitalists and labour were hampered by parasites. Now, from the historical coordinates in which Buchanan reads the logic of capital, “real” capitalists are parasites as well; they have abandoned their accord with American workers and pursued cheaper labour power somewhere over the border. They have gone beyond the frontier, both morally and physically, and into the wilderness. As such, they have acquired, like the financialists, a shadow form of being. Consequently, as Postone explains, the power of the anti-Semitic critique of capital, and really any form of capital fetishism, lies in the fact “that it provides a comprehensive worldview which explains and gives form to certain modes of anti-capitalist discontent in a manner which leaves capitalism intact, by attacking the personifications of that social form” (1980, p. 113). So, does Buchananism amount to a nascent attack on class injustice?

3. Critique of Class Domination?

“What is good for General Motors is no longer good for America” (FFT). Buchanan tries to expresses this frustration: “What we gain as consumers, we lose as citizens. Hourly and weekly wages in the U.S. have been falling for 20 years. In real dollars, they are 20 percent below where they were in 1972 – down to levels we know in the 50s. Beyond our suburban mall affluence, the consequences can be seen in gutted cities and ghost towns all across America” (CGOP).

One consequence of restructuring was that much of the production previously occurring within vertically integrated firm was “outsourced” to leaner, meaner, less bureaucratically encumbered, firms within the U.S. and to offshore companies that produced goods at much lower cost due to lower wages and weak state regulation of the environment and worker safety, not to mention a moratorium on taxation often provided by foreign nations. Buchananism takes aim at these corporate strategies. As he told a crowd of supporters in Escondido, California in 1996:

Friends, what are we doing to our own people? During this campaign I went down to a tiny town [Raine] in Louisiana….because I heard that a Fruit of the Loom plant was shutting down. The plant had [been] built in 1992. So I went outside that plant where 600 women worked. They looked bewildered and some of them were crying. And they didn’t know what was happening, because the plant was brand new. And they were making six dollars an hour. And they were told that the plant was being shut down, and one just like it, was opening up in Mexico. So you know, in Washington, the think-tank scholars, foundation fed, get up and tell you: these are sunset industries; these are “dead end jobs. Let ’em all go!” But, those women of Raine, Louisiana, those $6/hour jobs are how they are raising their kids. They are the best jobs they ever had. They’re not going to be making computers when they lose those jobs. They’ll be on welfare. They’ll be on unemployment. (CH).

The exodus of manufacturing jobs to offshore facilities is not a purely economic and trade policy issue in the Buchananist scheme, however. As is obvious, the issue of ethnicity and nationality plays a significant part. As he stated in 1994, “All of us believe in free trade among the 50 states. Most of us believe in free trade among compatible economies: America, Canada, Britain, etc. 14 But forcing American workers earning $15 an hour into dog-eat-dog competition for jobs with Asians earning 25 cents an hour is wrong; it is a formula for Asia’s rise and America’s fall” (CGOP). Interestingly, in evoking the ethnic or racial issue alongside the critique of class domination, Buchanan projects a veil of representations over the material and economic interests of his followers. This has long been a strategy of “populists” when dealing with the complexities of capitalist society. Class and economic analysis devolve into racism and ethnic identity.

One other point worth making here is that in describing imminent plant closings, Buchanan attempts to create fear of unemployment by portraying workers as essentially static and powerless in their capacities and biographical trajectories: either $6 per hour or nothing, welfare. Clearly, plant closings are catastrophic for employees but fired workers are much less vulnerable and hopeless than Buchanan would have his audience believe. One hidden aspect of this is the conciliatory posture he urges employees to take toward low wage jobs and, secondly, the way Buchanan cultivates or reinforces the perception that workers have of themselves as essentially helpless in the face of corporate malevolence.

Buchanan proposes protecting American workers and the future of small businesses by returning to the “Night Watchmen State” of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Coolidge (AF) by imposing steep tariff walls on imports, reducing domestic taxes, and restricting free trade. More than a purely economic strategy to protect workers, though, these taxes are designed to punish corporations for their lack of commitment, patriotism, and moral decency. As he says, we should:

impose an ‘equalization tax’ on the imports of Third World countries where wage rates are so far beneath those of the United States that they have become meccas for transnational corporations anxious to off-load their American workers on the junk heap of the ‘global economy’ and hire Asians at a tenth of the price. Corporations that close factories here, and open them up abroad, should pay a price of re-admission to get their goods back into the United States (FFT).

Rather than a critique of class, then, Buchananism gives us the affirmation of class domination. Buchanan’s solution to the crisis of global post-Fordism, in relation to the capital-labour relation, is the renewal of an “accord” that amounts to the bribery of labour with high wages in return for exploitation. Social stability and security paid for by the assassination of extended democracy. 15 Buchananism can in fact, I think, be considered a form of anti-labour.

4. Labour and Buchananism

The first noticeable aspect of Buchanan’s posture toward labour is that he pays astoundingly little attention to either organized labour or the working class in any substantive way. True, his critique of capitalism involves bashing corporations for various practices, especially falling and stagnant wages, but the hatred of MNCs and the wailing over declining wages is qualitatively distinct from a reasoned perspective on the various problems facing the working class. Or, another way of looking at the issue, is to stress that anti-capitalism is not synonymous with a demand for social justice or extended democracy. From the few things he does have to say, one concludes that the relationship between Buchanan and labour is, at best, ambivalent (see Lewis 1996). 16

Buchanan, for example, points favourably towards what he sees as the driving force of the AFL-CIO on the Clinton administration’s increasing “protectionism” (STC) and Buchanan appears hostile toward business attempts to “lower the price of labour” (AF). However, “the worker” gets transformed within the Buchananist worldview through nationalist filters and the aura of the glorious past. “Is a worker”, asks Buchanan, “a unit of labour, or one of the family?” (AF). What does he mean by one of the family? He states clearly that America is not merely a “part of the global economy” but a “beloved country the unique character of which must be preserved….What is American? A consumer or a fellow citizen? Is a worker a unit of labour, or one of the family”? (AF). For Buchanan, “the worker” is first and foremost an American and all other considerations, in the final analysis, must subordinate themselves to America. If corporations demonstrated a modicum of loyalty to American workers it seems that Buchanan would have few complaints. Buchanan unintentionally grazes a critical concept in his rhetoric: the impersonal quantum of energy. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of workers are, from the perspective of their employers, merely units of labour or labour power. But instead of articulating or clarifying to workers that their being in capitalist society is reduced to particles of abstract labour, Buchanan drives a mythologizing wedge of nationality and homey images of family intimacy. 17

Perhaps even more telling is Buchanan’s support not of labour per se but of a labour aristocracy similar to the AFL of the 19th century. As Friedman points out (1998, pp. 34-5) in relation to his trade policy ideas, Buchanan

would not hesitate to force low and middle-income workers to pay more for their cars and computers and cameras in order to subsidize the jobs of their higher-income fellow citizens who make those products. Mr. Buchanan further compounds this poor- to-rich redistribution by proposing to use the proceeds of his various tariffs to reduce income taxes not for incomes in general but for income earned from investment and saving….he is in effect, using the tariff to impose a tax on lower-income citizens and rebating the revenue to high-income people. Indeed, the well- being of the 85 percent of working Americans who do not earn their living from manufacturing never directly enters his argument.

One further point should be raised. Buchanan’s theory of financial “bail outs” is really a pseudo formulation and marks a serious contradiction for any critique of capital that ostensibly concerns itself with the welfare of U.S. workers. As with most things Buchanan, the rhetoric manages to land on a real issue but misses the essence. It is true that after becoming flush in OPEC money during the 1980s, bankers made irresponsible loans to developing nations. It is also true that the American people will be forced to “bail out” these bankers. (When have workers not “bailed out” capitalists?) And any reasonable person could conclude, with Buchanan, that these lenders should be held accountable for their lending practices. But this really misses the point all together. In fact, the “bail-out” rhetoric really points to further anti- labour moments in Buchananism. The real framing of the “bail- out” issue is debt relief and the austerity associated with structural adjustment programs (SAPs). One consequence of SAPs is that they often create lower working standards and wages in developing nations. In short, SAPs create labour markets more attractive to MNCs and transnationals searching for ever-cheaper sources of labour. On the other hand, SAPs typically results in making U.S. exports too expensive for consumption in poor nations. Buchananism, then, contradicts its own industrial policy positions.

Buchananism, then, like Coughlinism during the 30s and 40s, amounts to a “critique” that leads to misrecognition. Both forms of fetishism amount to pseudo negations or (re)misrecognition of capitalism. The key is that Buchananism, while fetishizing Fordism, critiquing class domination, and standing up for the working class, professes to get behind appearances but really satisfies the universal demand of natural consciousness for surplus representations. Post-Fordist regimes of capital accumulation are characterized by unusual fluidity and mobility, risk and impermanence. What is lacking is the hierarchic durability or rationalization and “feudal” security offered by the large, vertically integrated firms of the past generation and the social and cultural arrangements tied to them. This goes to the heart of the Buchananist preoccupation with relations of subordination and superordination and, especially, to its conception of power. These matters will be taken up below.

Cultural Degeneration

On one front, Buchananism forms a running battle with secularism and social rupture. The problem: just as we are no longer “one nation, indivisible,” we are also no longer “one nation under God” (CW). Buchanan, like Robertson, claims to be countering the “New Age Gospel” that “There are no absolute values in the universe; there are no fixed and objective standards of right and wrong. There is no God. It all begins here and ends here” (CW). Changes occurring over the last generation, the palpable shift away from some decisive aspects of Fordism, correlate with definite changes in the cultural realm and what Harvey calls the “mode of social and political regulation” (1990).18

An important aspect worth drawing out in regard to contemporary socio-economic transformations is the “massive proliferation of hyperreal simulations culminat[ing] in yet another postmodern phenomenon, implosion, referring to an erosion of boundaries and distinctions that were previously differentiated by modernity” (Harms and Dickens 1996, p. 213; Baudrillard 1983). Boundary erosion and implosion is linked in many ways with the above changes in contemporary society and the implications for the structure of collective subjectivity cannot be overstated. The idea of implosion and disorientation is decisive and I think it goes a long way in comprehending the intellectual and emotional project of movements like Buchanan’s in the U.S. As Lash states (1990, p. 173):

The critics of postmodernism are…correct in their contention that what Lyotard takes to be postmodernity is in fact part and parcel of modernism. This however does not entail that postmodern culture does not exist. I think that it does exist, but that Lyotard has not got it quite right. I think that if modernism and modernity result from a process of differentiation, or what German social scientists call Ausdifferenzierung, then postmodernism results from a much more recent process of de– differentiation or Entdifferenzierung.

De-differentiation or the postmodern transgression of boundaries along with the disorientations associated with spatial and temporal compression is especially acute in the realm of culture and has led serious thinkers to theorize the cultural realm as the decisive location of class domination (Bourdieu 1984). “Whereas…earlier spatialities occupied their own relatively autonomous sphere,” says Arvidson (1995, p. 10), “postmodern hyperspace collapses relative autonomy; any palpable difference between superstructure and infrastructure, culture and commerce, is obscured. This spatial collapse and disorientation cripples socialist politics. In postmodern hyperspace, the microcosm becomes the universe; micropolitics replace (international) class politics…” (cf. Bauman 1996). As I tried to demonstrate in the Buchananist representation of capitalism, the problem of boundary stability, conflation, and disrootedness among other things, is central. In his analysis of immigration Buchanan continues to project a synonymous logic.

1. Ethnicity and Immigration

Immigrants pose a fundamental problem in the Buchananist imagination. “Friends, I do not exaggerate: The issue – the central issue of this coming century will be whether America survives, as an independent republic, with her own defined borders, a common language, and a common culture” (CH). If America fails to respond to the immigration “crisis” by not taking, as Buchanan calls it, a “time out” then we can expect the same fate that has come of other “great multinational empires [that] have fallen apart.” These great empires that point toward our future are Canada, Czechoslovakia, India, Russian Yugoslavia, South Africa, and Ethiopia. Clearly, for Buchanan, ethnic and cultural plurality is destroying America. Buchanan proposes a “moratorium on illegal immigration” that would allow “America time to absorb and assimilate the record number of recent immigrants…” (LPB, emphasis added). He adds that if the “unprecedented flood of illegal immigrants” is not checked, then the U.S. can expect “massive crime, social disruption and an enormous financial drain on government services” (LPB).

In its benevolence, Buchananism sings the praises of “those people.” “A few miles south of here is a great country, with great people – Mexico. The Mexican people are a good people, but they’ve been robbed repeatedly by venal and corrupt governments… Now our hearts must go out to these people. But this land is our land. And this country is our country” (CH). The Buchananist strategy for managing the immigrant problem (i.e., the Mexicans) is, therefore, to deploy an army along the Mexican-U.S. “frontier.” Buchanan realizes that the majority of the public perceives this line of rhetoric as racist. But, as he says, followers simply have to get beyond name calling: “If the future of America is not to be decided by our own paralysis, Americans must stop being intimidated by charges of ‘racist,’ ‘nativist,’ and ‘zenophobe’ [sic] – and we must begin to address the hard issues of race, culture and national unity” (M).

The Buchananist problem of immigrants is not merely an economic or political one in which cheap labour displaces high-skilled American workers. The drifter lifestyle of the immigrant and farm hand, as Buchanan sees it, means furthering the threat to American identity and moral dissolution. The perceived unconnectedness and randomness that Buchanan attributes to the lifestyle of illegal immigrants is their real crime. They have no formal responsibilities to the U.S., no discernable “life-project” other than daily survival, and no real long-term commitments; they come and they go – wearing a path across our boarders (cf. Bauman 1996). By no means is this theme peculiar to Buchanan though.

Citizens in California and Texas are surrounded by such sentiments. While running for mayor of Oakland, Jerry Brown stated that “Now too many people just live in their minds, not in communities. They garage themselves in their homes and live in market space. It’s an alienated way for human beings to live. It’s the difference between a native and an immigrant. A native lives in place, not space. Without roots, there is no morality” (Klein 1998, p. 51). 19 The sphere of abortion, likewise, provides an arena in which Buchananism can address America’s “crisis” of morality.

2. Abortion

Abortion is, according to Buchanan, “The Bosnia of the cultural war” (CW). Abortion is not reducible to reproductive rights but amounts to nothing less than a battle between the forces of Life and Death says Buchanan. As he states:

we were taught to believe, when I grew up, that life is a gift of God. No man can take it away…. This is not simply a matter of ‘personal conscience.’ It is a matter of morality, of right and wrong. It is the defining issue of an age where the Culture of Life is locked in mortal struggle for the soul of America with a Culture of Death” (CH).

In a 1995 speech to the New Hampshire Right to Life, Buchanan stated that “This isn’t Weimar Germany, it’s America” (CU). Buchanan also links “Weimar Germany” with a Planned Parenthood that is really an abortion “industry” and medical experiments on human embryos at the National Institutes of Health. Reproductive rights, then, are closed off to the usual political rhetoric of choice and an ethic of personal responsibility. Buchananism exhibits, at times, an aversion to the rhetoric of “choice”; the matter of abortion is one such instance. The freedom to choose an abortion is the most extreme case of the Buchananist fear of choice in general. Too many choices contribute to the further destabilization of life and the autonomization of individuals. Choice should be circumscribed by an either/or decision that, morally, is self-evident. Also, to adapt something from Bauman, the choice to end a pregnancy means in the Buchananist lens that life “lacks weight and solidity…it can be revoked at short notice or without notice – – and so binds no one, including the chooser; it leaves no lasting trace, as it bestows neither rights nor responsibilities and as its consequences may be discarded or disavowed at will….Freedom rebounds as contingency” (1996, p. 51). If abortion is the cultural Bosnia for Buchananism, then homosexuality must be cultural Armageddon.

3. Homosexuality

“Whose moral code says we may interfere with a man’s right to be a practicing bigot, but must respect and protect his right to be a practicing sodomite?” (1988, p. 342). For Buchanan, homosexuals are a moral abomination. As he states, referring to the 1992 Democratic Convention, “To those gathered at Madison Square Garden, a man’s ‘sexual preference’ and sexual conduct, so long as it is consensual, is irrelevant to moral character. To most of us…however, it is the codification of amorality to elevate gay liaisons to the same moral and legal plane as traditional marriage” (CW). Buchanan’s beliefs are, as he claims, rooted in “the Old Testament, in natural law, and tradition” (CW). Clearly, Buchanan wants to maintain a wide birth between homosexuals and moral people.

Homosexuals represent an impurity, bodily and morally, in the life- blood of the nation. There is the possibility that “we” will not be able to contain them; Buchanan fears that homosexuals are incapable of containing their selves and, consequently, contaminating anyone coming into contact with them. As he stated in Right from the Beginning:

Has there ever been a more telling example of the mental confusion and moral cowardice of our times than the timidity of our Lords Temporal and Lords Spiritual in refusing to condemn the perpetrators of this epidemic [AIDS] that will kill more Americans than Korea and Vietnam?

Compassion for the victims of this dread disease does not relieve us of the obligation to speak the truth: Promiscuous sodomy – unnatural, unsanitary sexual relations between males, which every great religion teaches is immoral – is the cause of AIDS.

Five years ago, when I wrote that New York City, on the eve of that celebration of sodomy know as ‘Gay Pride Week,’ should shut down the squalid little ‘love’ nests called bathhouses, the incubators of the disease, I was denounced as a ‘homophobe’…. Because these men were morally confused, men and boys continued infecting one another in the bathhouses, and continued killing one another. And, today, nine-year-olds are being educated in the use of condoms. But, it is not nine-year-olds who are buggering one another with abandon…it is not nine- year-olds who threaten…the rest of society by their refusal to curb their lascivious appetites (1988, pp. 339- 40).

Unnatural, unsanitary, immoral, squalid, lascivious? Clearly, for Buchanan, homosexuals are a threat to themselves and “the rest” of America. Equally clear is that in Buchanan’s mind, moral contamination of the nation outweighs the mere biological or medical dangers associated with sexual activity. This logic of demonization has worked itself out in numerous historical contexts. For example, in early modern Europe, the witch stood as a metaphor operating as a cultural code for superstitious villagers and towns folk: the witch’s body and bodily process were connected metaphorically with the larger world of the household, community, and polity. “All three,” says Purkiss, “had to be well ordered, that is, hierarchically; all three had to have secure boundaries which marked them off as discrete entities” (1996, p. 120). Like the witch, Buchanan’s homosexual is, I think, a metaphor for insecure boundaries and hierarchic, moral disorder. Homosexuality, like reproductive rights, ethnic pluralism, etc., is only a symptom of a decadent culture at odds with its moral traditions: “…here, we come close to the heart of America’s social crisis….What is social progress to secular America is advancing decadence to traditionalist America” (Buchanan 1988, p. 340).

The culture war transcends particular issues like abortion and immigration however. It rests upon a global sea-change in beliefs and practices.

We see it in the altered calendar of holidays we are invited – nay, instructed – to celebrate. Washington’s Birthday disappears into President’s Day. States, like Arizona, that balk at declaring Martin Luther King’s birthday a holiday face political censure and convention boycotts. Easter is displaced by Earth Day, Christmas becomes Winter break, Columbus Day a day to reflect on the cultural imperialism and genocidal racism of the ‘dead white males’ who raped this continent while exterminat[ing] its noblest inhabitants (CW).

The root of all these changes lies, according to Buchanan, quoting James Cooper, in the domination of our “‘cultural institutions'” by “the `Herbert Marcuse-generation of the 1960s'” – this generation is a “purveyor of a destructive, degenerate, ugly, pornographic, Marxist, anti-American ideology” (CW). In a word, our culture is “decadent” and abortion and

homosexuality merely represent the “essence of decadent, godless Western materialism” (CW). The same crisis of stability, morality, and purity found in Buchanan’s critique of capital and culture can be seen at work in his analysis of politics.

Political Corruption

My discussion of political corruption will be brief and contained primarily to the phenomenon of anti-communism. I have discovered that mundane political matters, the “nuts and bolts” issues, provide only an occasion for Buchanan to express an overriding preoccupation with power – a subject I deal with separately below. If the immediate political aspirations of Buchanan is the seizure and reformation of the Republican Party, the raison d’être of Buchananism was the winning of the “Cold War” and the death of global communism. Since the ending of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, it would make sense that Buchanan’s anticommunist crusade would come to a victorious end. This, however, has not happened. Buchananism continues to concern itself with the defeat of global communism or creeping socialism in the university, church and market.

While most people do not associate NAFTA with creeping socialism, Buchanan does. As Friedman reveals, “…Buchanan seeks…to give free trade a status in American political demonology once reserved for communism. Advocacy of either is a treasonous betrayal of America’s vital interests, and the advocates themselves are at best dupes, more likely traitors. Indeed, ‘free-trade theory is first cousin to socialism and Marxism'” (1998, p. 36). In a 1988 essay, Buchanan declared that

despite this abominable history…communism retains a certain magnetism in the West. In elite American universities, some professors still proudly call themselves Marxist. From their pulpits, Christian clergymen decry any U.S. effort to remove Communist regimes in Grenada, Nicaragua and Angola. In Europe, writers and intellectuals generally believe Gorbachev’s regime is a greater friend of peace than the United States. How do we explain this continuing suspension of disbelief, despite the manifest crimes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Col. Mengistu and Pol Pot? The answer, I think does not lie in a lack of knowledge about the Communist record, but, rather, in the presence of a form of religious belief (WAC).

Ultimately, communism is a “faith” that “fills an emptiness in the soul caused by the loss of faith in the animating ideas and ideals of [our] own civilization.” Buchanan postures as the understanding fatherly figure: “Nor should this be unexpected in our age of disbelief. Lost souls do not stay lost; they find a new faith. Ideology often fills the void left by a dying religious belief.” The ultimate sin of communism is that it tells people that “life begins and ends here, that the Communist state is man’s teacher and guide, [and] that building paradise is the business of this world” (WAC). In other words, the sin of radicalism is its rejection of eternal cosmic battles between Good and Evil in favour of a cult of society. Buchanan’s zeal for anticommunism may best be understood within his Catholic background.

“After the war,” state Riesman and Glazer ([1955] 1963, p. 129) “the recognition of the Communist menace still further boosted the status of Catholics by making them almost automatically charter members of the anti-Communist crusade.” The issue was stated eloquently by Hofstadter (1965, p. 74): “Under the aegis of right-wing politics, rigid Protestantism of a type once intensely anti-Catholic can now unite with Catholics of similar militancy in a grand ecumenical zeal against communism and in what they take to be a joint defense of Christian civilization. The Manichean conception of a life as a struggle between absolute good and absolute evil and the idea of an irresistible Armageddon have been thinly secularized and transferred to the cold war. The conflict between Christianity and communism is conceived as a war to the death, and Christianity is set forth as the only adequate counterpoise to the communist credo.”

Lipset ([1955] 1963, pp. 355-56) suggested that aside from the passionate hatred for Soviet “Communism,” Catholic support for extreme right attitudes stemmed from the adoption of Puritanical values concerning morality and sexual behaviour. Indeed, since the 1970s, Protestant and Catholic conservatives have discovered a common political and cultural ground upon which to fight. “Unlike earlier attempts to bring the political world back to God, this crusade [the emerging religious Right of the 1970s] leapt across the divide of the Reformation” says Kazin (1995, p. 257). So far, I have drawn out the economic and cultural aspects of Buchananism. The problem of politics was briefly addressed but, as I stated above, to get behind the Buchananist theory of politics demands that we examine its theory of power. In so doing, we will penetrate the surface of the phenomenon and get to one dimension of its core.

Power, Weakness, and Strength

Hirsch (1991; see also Haeusler and Hirsch 1989) links the breakdown of the Fordist system of production and capital accumulation with neo-Taylorism, a crisis of subjectivity, and the emergence of authoritarian forms of political control and protest (cf. Harvey 1990). Hirsch states that:

The dominant mass parties seem to be changing…into extremely bureaucratized, centralized and stratified political machines. Their central function, in view of the declining scope for material concessions, consists in providing a discourse which harmonizes ideologically a deeply divided society characterized by segmented corporatist structures. This requires the rebuilding of the party apparatuses into public relations apparatuses, efficient in their use of information technology and using commercial marketing strategies, apparatuses which are capable of developing an authoritarian-populist discourse, which runs counter to material interests but articulates the complex divisions in society (1991, pp. 30-31).

What the scholars on “post-Fordism” and “postmodernism” elucidate clearly is that contemporary political practice, whether the authoritarian proclivities of the state or the virulent reactions on the part of grassroots populists, has (again?) become startling irrational and aestheticized. How, as Harvey asks, do the “insecurities of flexible accumulation create a climate conducive to authoritarianism?” (1990, p. 168). Unfortunately, most analyses of these shifts in society and the corresponding responses from the right, tend to remain one-sidedly situated at the level of institutional analysis by investigating the state’s theory and practice of social control. In short, what is absent is a social psychology of post- Fordism that attends to the extreme rightward turn in politics and links it to culture, power, and capital.

Power, whether cultural, political, or economic is the problem at the heart of Buchananism. As Buchanan states, “Americans are locked in a cultural war for the soul of our country” (CW). And what is the culture war all about asks Buchanan? “As columnist Sam Francis writes, it is about power; it is about who determines ‘the norms by which we live, and by which we define and govern ourselves.’ Who decides what is right and wrong, moral and immoral, beautiful and ugly, healthy and sick? Whose beliefs shall form the basis of law?” (CW).

Above all, the post-Fordist regime creates cultural, economic, and political consequences of the first order including the suppression of “spontaneous social networks” by the intrusion of the state as a bureaucratic, surveillance entity (Hirsch 1991, p. 17). Further, the process of economic restructuring that began in this country in the early and mid 1970s created a new relationship and distribution of power between capital, labour and state. Buchananism points out many of the hostile features of the state vis-à-vis the “forgotten people” of America. Who are these forgotten people? In 1993, Buchanan indicated that “Sometime, just after the Persian Gulf war pushed Mr. Bush’s approval rating above 90 percent, the United States crosses a political equator, entering a new political era, the distinguishing feature of which is a radicalized middle class” (RB).

The meta-goal of Buchananism in 1996 was to capture the Republican nomination for President then unify the Party by “bringing home the good folks of the Reform Party and the U.S. Taxpayer’s Party” (CH). The purpose of all this unification was to re-energize the Republican Party and return political power to the true “heartland” Republicans. “Out in the heartland of this country,” said Buchanan, “is another Republican Party. It is a great party, full of spirit and soul. Out there, it remains Ronald Reagan’s party: Hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic – daring, decent and brave” (CH). This other Republican Party that Buchanan speaks of, comprises, to a great extent, people clinging loosely or formally to the rubric of the GOP and those who have left it behind in the political realignment of the late 60s and who now fancy themselves as third party supporters. Buchananism may be especially appealing to workers who abandoned the Democratic Party but found little solace in the GOP. Hence, Buchanan runs on the Republican ticket but periodically threatens independence in protest. Casting a ballot for Buchanan may be the emotional equivalent of the third party protest vote (heaping symbolic scorn on the status quo and professional politicians) while remaining within the confines of conventional political identities. Importantly, Buchananism, while it shares similarities with new “reactionary tribalism” such as the defence of national culture, anti-globalization, and a hatred of neoliberalism and neoconservatism (Antonio Unpublished Manuscript B, pp. 24-25) it fails to live up to its anti-universalism and the abandonment of traditional political parties.

Professional politicians are not the only source of problems. The “gross usurpation of power by the federal courts” is also of concern for Buchanan. As he stated in his “Address to the Heritage Foundation”:

In America today the power that stands astride this country like a colossus is not the power of the majority; it is not the power of the governed; it is the power of the Judiciary. The Supreme Court, not the majority, decides what is right or wrong in America. The Supreme Court has final say on criminal justice, education, voting, employment and promotion, taxation, immigration and deportation. In these areas, as in all others, the majority can pass a law or make a proposal, but it is always up to the Court to make the final decision. It may find a “constitutional right” and decide the majority’s plan violates it. End of majority plan (AHF).

The structure and practice of the Supreme Court merely illustrates, in the eyes of Buchanan, that we are burdened by a “non- democratic government” and, quoting Jefferson, a “‘despotism of an oligarchy'” (AHF). 20 The problem of the Supreme Court looms large in the Buchananist imagination because its influence extends into the economic realm by determining “the amount of competition” business is forced to contend with, encourages globalism, and because it favours policies that help “Big Business” rather than small businesses and “workers.” 21 Since, in his view, the United States is already politically undemocratic (despotic) then nearly any form of political resistance would be warranted. Presumably this could include armed insurrection. His militarized rhetoric of “lock and load” and “ride to the sound of the guns” may be more than mere slogans. Although, in his defense, he does claim that “Force cannot bring about a democratically sustainable solution to the culture wars” (AHF; emphasis added). But, perhaps they might provide a solution to political struggle or an unsustainable solution for the short-term until better means can be devised.

Buchanan’s contempt for the Supreme Court and the constant railing against the federal government should not obstruct our understanding. Unlike neoconservatives, Buchananism does not necessarily want smaller government per se or an abolition of the constitution. On the one hand, Buchananism desires constitutional fundamentalism and minimalism, while, on the other, it calls for a more powerful state, i.e., one that is corporatist and more interventionist in the face of globally conscious transnationals and the spirit of cosmopolitanism.

1. Weakness, Disgust, and Contempt

According to Buchanan, America has become weak, dependent, and the whole world, every Other nation, holds the U.S. in contempt. “Disgust” says Miller (1997, p. 7), “is an emotion.” And “Some emotions, among which disgust and its close cousin contempt are the most prominent, have intensely political significance.”

They work to hierarchize our political order: in some settings they do the work of maintaining hierarchy; in other settings they constitute righteously presented claims for superiority; in yet other settings they are themselves elicited as an indication of one’s proper placement in the social order (Miller 1997, pp. 8-9).

For Buchanan, the unpardonable sin of U.S. corporations is that, beyond unfairly treating their workers by running away, they have created a situation in which America has become structurally depen- dent upon other 22 nations and forsaken America’s “industrial supremacy.” “America,” says Buchanan, “is losing her industrial dynamism and vitality. She is becoming a dependent nation” (CH). This dependence is to OPEC and Japan among others. Moreover, we have been ensnared by the Mexicans and to Third World debt in general.

Buchanan’s portrayal of foreign relations amounts to blackmail. The American public must keep underdeveloped countries and Mexican “swindlers” flush in money or they will retaliate by defaulting on their IMF and World Bank loans. “If the U.S. is so horribly vulnerable to sudden devaluations by Third World regimes, what steps are being taken, right now, to insulate us from a repeat of this debacle? Answer: None. Why? Because these men don’t want America to escape from the trap they have put us in; they want to lock us in, forever” (WANS). Importantly, he never stops to explain how IMF and World Bank loans work. Instead, what is important is that someone else has encircled us and possesses the ability to circumscribe our existence. But the Buchananist rhetoric of blackmail and weakness addresses the problem of disgust and contempt that the Other feels toward us and we (should) feel toward ourselves through the Other’s imagined ridicule.

Rather than an economic giant, America has become a nation brought down by conspiracy. We have taken “the wet mitten across the face” (TEN) we are told, and, like sissies, do nothing to retaliate; in other words, we have become contemptible in the estimation of world opinion. Others have crossed the line of decent conduct humiliating us in the process and we have failed, as a nation, to push back. This is the conclusion Buchanan draws from trade negotiations between the U.S. and Japan.

Japan’s top negotiator virtually dared us to impose sanctions….[they] hang tough for a simple reason: They are not ideologues; they are economic nationalists looking out for Japan first. Why should they abandon a protectionist trade policy that has worked splendidly for them, to adopt a U.S.-style trade policy that has failed dismally for us? It is the Americans, not the Japanese, who are the riddle wrapped in the enigma here. As for those U.S. officials who incessantly lecture them on free trade, Japan’s envoys must have a special contempt (TEN).

Most interesting is Buchanan’s admiration of strength and the fear of being perceived as weak. The reasonable solution to “being played for fools,” according to Buchanan, is to stop “whining to the [World Trade Organization], let Congress, for once, take unilateral action in the U.S. national interest.” One appreciable result from such action would be to demonstrate to “predators like Japan and China, [that] it is a time for hardball” (TEN).

2. Strength and Authority Relations

Aside from mundane suggestions for “cleaning up American politics” like bans on corporate political contributions and the like, when one penetrates the center, we find that the core of political Buchananism and the emphasis on power is the master-servant relation. As Buchanan states:

Regularly, we read in the press that the IMF or World Bank has just made another multi- million dollar loan to a Communist Chinese regime in China that killed our men in Korea, or a Communist regime in Hanoi that killed our boys in Vietnam. Soldier-patriots like Michael New are court martialed – for refusing to wear the uniform and take the orders of UN officers. A World Trade Organization that did not exist two years ago, tells the United States, “Change your laws.” European nations – – that we defend – tells us we may not sanction Colonel Khadafi’s regime in Libya that murdered our schoolkids on Pan Am 103. A UN Secretary-General travels the world, at our expense, campaigning to keep his job – in defiance of the nation that created the UN – and created his job. Our servants are becoming our masters. You have my word. As long as there is life in me, I will spend the rest of my days fighting to restore the lost sovereignty of the United States, and to rescue the Republic I love from the grip of their godless New World Order (CH).

In other words, the world is divided along authoritarian lines between those who rule and those who serve. This hierarchic order is also naturally fixed and there is some family resemblance between Buchananism, here, and Alain de Benoist’s (French right) recasting of democracy in a way that forces democracy and “hierarchical monoculture” into a shotgun wedding. Simply put, “dominance and subordination [are] core facets of organic particularity…” from the perspective of Benoist (Antonio Unpublished Manuscript B, pp. 39-40) and Buchanan. The last couple of decades represent a perversion of the natural order of world domination. Also, this is about naked domination and not legitimate authority; Buchanan admits that “lesser nations” must be put in their place of servitude whether they like it or not. This natural order may also be racially determined. In the New World Order, America shows a predilection toward “racial suicide.” Where the birth rate among “Western women” is on the decline, says Buchanan, Moslem women are averaging six children. Simple math leads Buchanan to the conclusion that “black, brown and yellow peoples…look to inherit the Earth” (CW). In a 1988 essay purporting to explain the appeal of communism, Buchanan defended South African apartheid. His analysis of the situation clearly highlights his understanding of political rule.

The spirit driving the anti-apartheid coalition worldwide is not love at all; it is hatred, and not just hatred of apartheid, but hatred of the Boer, hatred of Botha, his party and people, hatred of the 19th century idea they embody – the idea that the Christian West, because of the superiority of its values and the civilization those values produced, has an inherent right to rule over other peoples (WAC, emphasis added).

Internally, Buchananism attempts to preserve or cultivate a sense of the psychological middle class. This “middle class” refers not so much to one’s coordinate within the capital and labour axis or the labour process as it does to collective identity or to a “‘state of mind'” (Antonio and Bonanno 1996, p. 15). Psychologically, the maintenance of the category middle class in the collective consciousness insists that the vast majority will remain situated between the powerful and the powerless never confronting the responsibilities of actively shaping their own destiny and, simultaneously, never facing the prospects of being on the absolute bottom. In short, Buchananism is a psychological palliative whose essential moments are symbiotic subordination to those on top and the superordination of the Other. Who is on top? The hero.

Buchananism is characterized by an all-pervasive paternalism and a masochistic “Submission to authority, desire for a strong leader, subservience of the individual” to something larger (Adorno et al 1950, p. 231; Fromm 1941). Indeed, the admiration of strength that one finds in Buchananism is not only articulated in relation to Reagan or the cult of ancestors but also in relation to the very forces that Buchanan claims are responsible for America’s domination: Japan and other “economic nationalists” who exhibit power in the face of effeminate U.S. trade negotiators. Repeatedly, Buchanan tells his “followers” that they need do no more than support him. They will be victorious but only with their hero in the lead. When recounting the woes of restructured factory workers, Buchanan never hints at the possibility that the workers themselves possess the power to organize and resist capitalist profit relations or undemocratic labour processes. On the contrary, collective action is occluded. The only means those factory workers in Raine had available to them was to ride on the coattails of the great man himself as he symbolically battled malevolent corporations: “Ride to the sound of the guns.” The idea that displaced and unemployed workers could struggle collectively, democratically, and as a class in and for itself is meaningless. For all the smoke and thunder about “grassroots” and the “populist” nature of Buchananism, it is diametrically opposed to democracy and rule by “the people.” Corporations will be whipped into the compliance not by “the people” but by Buchanan himself.

3. The New World Order and Servitude

In the Buchananist imagination, the notion of a “New World Order” is inextricably wedded to his theory of servitude. Indeed, the “New World Order” and internationalism is the root of many of its problems. Buchanan holds this new “internationalism” (typically “godless”) responsible for creating America’s new role as economic servant. However, he is not too shy to “name names”: “Public officials who look on high office, not as a public trust, but a back door to personal wealth. Lobbyists who hire out to foreign interests, and but and sell their own country. Politicians who cannot see beyond their next fund-raiser. Diplomats who see themselves as ‘Citizens of the World,’ rather than citizens of the United States” (CH). Not only Democrats and “Mexican swindlers” are responsible for selling the U.S. down the river. “Republicans ran against Big Government. GATT creates world government, a 123- member World Trade Organization where America can be out-voted by any two tiny dictatorships” (CGOP). 23 NAFTA, like GATT, is more than economics and trade policy. As he stated, “NAFTA is not really a trade treaty at all, but the architecture of the New World Order. Like Maastricht, it is part of a skeletal structure for world government. At its root is an abiding faith in the superior wisdom of a global managerial class – our would-be Lords of the Universe” (AF). The UN and the former Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali (“His Excellency”) occupy a special place in Buchanan’s heart (AF) and, again, even the Republican Party seems to be complicitous in creating a New World Order: “In their Contract with America, Republicans said that never again should U.S. troops be put under UN command. But they are about to put U.S. trade under foreign control. Decrying regulation by Washington, Republicans embrace it from Geneva” (CGOP). Ultimately, money is the most visible of the dominant forces in the world: those who control money control the “real levers of power.”

Tyrants and “swindlers” – both foreign and domestic, then, have increasingly dominated America. Constructing the problem in this way says that we have something to feel threatened by, to be dominated by and, simultaneously, something to rebel against – it amounts to an aggressive “delusion of persecution” (Freud [1913] 1950).

4. Money Power

Corporate restructuring strategies include a new and accentuated emphasis on pursuing “paper profits.” As a result, some firms lowered the boom on recapitalization for improving their means of production and saw their salvation not in continued commodity production but in speculation and mergers (Harrison and Bluestone 1988). In laying bare the GATT and NAFTA aftermath and the Republican “bail out” of Clinton, Buchanan asked rhetorically:

What is going on here? Three times in 13 months, the GOP spit in the face of a mighty nationalist-populist movement, to bail out Bill Clinton. The GOP is acting less like a great party than like the political action committee of Goldman Sachs. How else to explain this near suicidal politics – except that someone else is pulling the strings? Who might that be? 24 …Was it not the multinational corporations and the Wall Street financial elite? (WANS).

And in the wake of Mexico’s financial crisis, Buchanan reported that:

Suddenly, Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich were desperately anxious to help Bill Clinton get $40 billion in loan guarantees down to Mexico. Why? Why, when we sit by and watch U.S. towns go belly up are we rushing loan guarantees to Mexico City? Answer: What’s going down is not just a bailout of Mexico, but a bailout of Wall Street. Clinton and Congress are using to recoup for Wall Street bankers and brokers their enormous losses from the plunderings of ex-President Carlos Salinas and friends. Those loan guarantees are about saving the fannies, faces and fortunes of morons who, for the second time in a generation, plunged vast slices of America’s wealth into Latin regimes – only to be fleeced and burned like country bumpkins (CSWS).

So “real power in America belongs to the Manhattan Money Power” and “the money-lenders of the Fortune 500” (AF), and we are told by the federal government that “We must all accept our dependency upon the New World Order” (WANS). Feeling that one is manipulated from the top down by internationalists and Wall Street elites, organized conspiracy on the part of “Money Power” and the architects of a “New World Order,” Buchananism proclaims that that somebody is “getting away with something” (Adorno et al 1950, p. 232) and generates feelings of moral indignation, hostility, and sadistic aggression.

Theorizing Buchananism

I have laid out the basic contours of Buchananism, identified its recurring patterns, pointed out a few contradictions, identified a pillar of its authoritarian impulse, and demonstrated that, at bottom, it fancies itself as America’s last stand against economic, cultural and political degeneration. What needs further comprehension is why Buchananism interprets the current social condition the way that it does. What are the underlying dynamics of the Buchananist imagination and how do they relate to the realities of modern society? It appears clear that Buchananism is authoritarian and that the underlying logic of the worldview is that of degenerate others and the corruption of sacred boundaries of various kinds. These things are not difficult to perceive; they reside, in fact, right on the surface and in the rhetoric. However, when the desire and drive of Buchananism is comprehended we find a total reversal of the expected. Just when we think we know what Buchananism is, it reveals its “mission” to be the opposite of its appearance. I hope to demonstrate this reversal here. In providing a plausible interpretation of Buchananism, I will draw upon and fuse two currents of thought typically thought of as mutually exclusive: Durkheimian cultural analysis broadly conceived in a way that includes contemporary ideas from the sociology of culture and Lacanian-inspired psychoanalytic theory along with classical critical theory.25

In his Elementary Forms, Durkheim provides a masterful analysis of collective life and the processes of collective representation. Important for the analysis of Buchananism, Durkheim explains the subjective logic of the collectivity that perceives itself to be in danger:

Does a misfortune threatening the collectivity seem imminent? The collectivity comes together, as it does in consequence of mourning, and a sense of disquiet naturally dominates the assembled group. As always, the effect of making these feelings shared is to intensify them. Through being affirmed, these feelings are excited and inflamed, reaching an intensity that is expressed in the equivalent intensity of the actions that express them. In the same way that people utter terrible cries upon the death of a close relative, they are caught up by the imminence of a collective misfortune and feel the need to tear and destroy. To satisfy this need, they strike and wound themselves and make their blood flow. But when emotions are as vivid as this, even if they are painful, they are in no way depressing. Quite the contrary, they point to a state of effervescence that entails the mobilization of all our own active energy and, in addition, a further influx from outside sources ([1912] 1995, pp. 410-11).

Globalization, as I have described it, is anything but unproblematic and whole fractions of society feel increasingly less secure than they did during the post-war era. Behind the postmodern jargon of spatial and temporal compression lies a reality of intense and accelerated social change. The moral hegemony and value monism that Buchanan attributes to the post-war era has reportedly become quaint and overthrown by a new global consciousness. The quintessential American representations and way of life have been thrown upon the multicultural lifestyle market. Now they must compete with a multiplicity of other ways of acting, thinking, and feeling and, in so doing, face the possibility of diminished legitimacy or ridicule. In short, Buchananism is a sharing and intensification of feelings of “sadness” and hostility at the passing of a cherished, if only fictional, way of life. We receive the distinct impression that this form of imagination is, as Durkheim states, “…caught up by the imminence of a collective misfortune and feel the need to tear and destroy.” Importantly, Durkheim also points to the restorative aspect of self-wounding demanded of the individual by the larger social entity.

As Durkheim says:

When [some segment of] society is going through events that sadden, distress, or anger it, it pushes its members to give witness to their sadness, distress, or anger through expressive actions. It demands crying, lamenting, and wounding oneself and others as a matter of duty. It does so because those collective demonstrations, as well as the moral communion they simultaneously bear witness to and reinforce, restore to the group the energy that the events threaten to take away, and thus enable it to recover its equilibrium. It is this experience that man is interpreting when he imagines evil beings outside him whose hostility, whether inherent or transitory, can be disarmed only through suffering. So these beings are nothing other than collective states objectified; they are society itself seen in one of its aspects ([1912] 1995, pp. 415-16).

Here, Durkheim leads us to a valuable insight concerning the nature of collective enemy construction. “Evil beings,” according to Durkheim, are the shapes consciousness takes when it attempts to interpret a sorry state of existence; it is, as he says, “collective states objectified.” Equally important is the notion that evil beings plaguing society can be defeated through the suffering of the distressed. While Buchananism’s rhetoric appears to focus on the concrete realm of capitalism, party politics, and cultural conflicts, it ultimately goes behind this world and engages in the moral uplifting and energizing that Durkheim describes. It does this by constructing a logically limitless number of malevolent entities that must, at least upon initial appearance, be defeated outright. Buchananism, like any political theology or piacular ideology superimposes a veil of supernatural representations over the mundane workings of material society. Rather than forming a “cult of society” its gaze, like an anamorphotic mirror, combines “two visual orders in one planar space” (Jay 1993, p. 48). With this, I will draw out three analytically separate but substantively interrelated themes: (i) the “anamorphotic” gaze of Buchananism; (ii) its logic of boundary maintenance; and (iii) the idea of psychic surplus and the origins of this surplus.

1. The Anamorphotic Gaze

Anamorphosis (ana=again, morphe=form) refers to, on the one hand, a way of thinking, and, on the other, a type of mirror common in the baroque era. Rather than a flat surface, the anamorphotic mirror is either concave or convex. Its use, according to Martin Jay, “allows the spectator to reform a distorted picture by use of a nonplanar surface. First developed by Leonardo in 1485 and popularized by Père Niceron’s La Perspective Curieuse in the early seventeenth century, such pictures were widely admired well into the eighteenth century” (1993, p. 48). The “alternative visual order” produced by the anamorphotic mirror was used to great effect in painting as well; notably Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors (1533). “Anamorphotic painting was virtually forgotten except as a curiosity after the eighteenth century, only to be recovered by several contributors to the antiocularcentric discourse…. Both Jacques Lacan and Jean-Francois Lyotard pondered its importance….”(Jay 1993, p. 48). Lacan’s contribution was to take the idea of the anamorphotic mirror, its effect and logic, and apply it to the life of the psyche. While Lacan’s contribution to social thinking is undeniable, it is Zizek (1991), one of his “students,” that has done the most to create a sociological application of this theme. 26

Anamorphosis is, despite its mystery, a nearly universal way of thinking. In its universality, the logic of anamorphosis can be seen in things like economic exchange-value (Marx), deities (Durkheim), and charisma (Weber). They are all social facts, i.e., collective ways of acting, thinking, and feeling whose facticity is dependent upon a “distorted” and fetishized gaze (see D. N. Smith 1988). Authoritarian and demonizing worldviews, too, are predicated upon the processes of anamorphosis. However, like any social phenomenon, their form and content constitute, as Hegel would say, a unity so one must keep in mind that anamorphosis is not, in itself, authoritarian or demonological. The dissolution of social relations or rapid social change contains the potential for eliciting a demonizing reaction. As Maurice Samuel once wrote regarding antisemitism and the common tendency to reduce the hatred of Jews to the facts of economic crises, hungry people may indeed hallucinate things but the simple fact of hunger does not fate them to hallucinate about Jews in particular. The anamorphotic mode of thought involves the construction and projection of an object for itself out if the inability to comprehend or symbolize the social universe in an objective and holistic way. In Lacanian language this object is the objet petit a, or simply the a. As Zizek states:

The paradox of desire is that it posits retroactively its own cause, i.e., the object a is an object that can be perceived only by a gaze “distorted” by desire, an object that does not exist for an “objective” gaze. In other words, the object a is always, by definition, perceived in a distorted way because outside this distortion, “in itself,” it does not exist, since it is nothing but the embodiment, the materialization of this very distortion, of this surplus of confusion and perturbation introduced by desire into so- called “objective reality.”….Desire “takes off” when “something” (its object-cause) embodies, gives positive existence to its “noting,” to its void. This “something” is the anamorphotic object, a pure semblance that we can perceive clearly only by “looking awry” (1991, p. 12).

That Buchananism is “anamorphotic” and is dominated by the logic of the objet petit a is not extraordinary. Being so would hardly distinguish it from any other worldview that did not participate in the life of negative reason. However, the anamorphotic content of this worldview reveals something about its form. Buchanan’s UN, homosexual, Marxist, etc., exist only as fantasy objects. Any objective, non-synthetic vision could never perceive in empirical, non-conceptual diplomats, homosexuals, radicals, etc., the qualities that Buchananism confers upon them. The life of these representations are dependent and shaped by a “reversal” involved in an anamorphotic gaze. The fantasy objects say little about empirical reality but amount to the objectification of the Buchananist imagination or the interpretive experience of that reality.

Durkheim was working in this direction in his Formes:

The impressions really felt by men – – the raw material for this construction – had to be interpreted, elaborated, and transformed to the point of becoming unrecognizable. So the world of religious things is partly an imaginary world (albeit only in its outward form) and, for this reason, one that lends itself more readily to the free creations of the mind. Moreover, because the intellectual forces that serve in making it are intense and tumultuous, the mere task of expressing the real with the help of proper symbols is insufficient to occupy them. A surplus remains generally available that seeks to busy itself with supplementary and superfluous works of luxury – that is, with works of art. What is true of practices is true of beliefs ([1912] 1995, p. 385).

The UN, Ronald Reagan, homosexuals, radicals et al, are all “works of art” or anamorphotic spots. They do not exist in objective reality. Rather, these objects are Buchananism itself in an outward form. If Buchananism portrays a struggle between pure and impure, good and evil, morality and perversity, then it is expressing a struggle immanent within itself. The anamorphotic spot or objet petit a is not the true object of desire, which remains “hidden” on the surface, but the object-cause of desire; the a sets desire into motion. The work of art or the constructed product of the imagination’s free association, the object that inhabits the blank screen created and presupposed by the anamorphotic gaze, has a “purpose” or “function.” This function will be dealt with now.

2. Boundary Maintenance

Buchanan’s characterization of America as a “frontier” nation is important. Communities or groups perceiving themselves to be situated on a frontier often feel threatened by their environment and see themselves as surrounded by impure and malevolent forces. This is especially the case when the group in question considers itself to be a community of elect like the early Puritans. Buchananism strikes a pose similar to the early American Puritans insofar as they “were faced on the frontier by an alliance of their Manichaean opposites, the pagan Indians and the papist Catholics” (Slotkin 1973, p. 116). The mentality of the early Puritan colonists corresponds well to Buchanan’s rhetoric of social justice. Early colonial society was truly fragmented and divided into a multiplicity of “hostile cultural enclaves” (Slotkin 1973). In the Buchananist imagination, contemporary society is represented as breaking up into mutually exclusive, cultural and moral camps. Those who dwell on the Other side of the Buchananist divide are synonymous with chaos and immorality.

Feeling that one exists on a frontier leads to the fear of being overrun or captured by the Other. Again, like the early Puritans of the 17th century with their captivity narratives, Buchananism exhibits a fascination with captivity and often uses the metaphor: “Marrakech had just given birth…to ‘the third pillar of the New World Order.’ Thus did America cross yet another frontier on her long march into captivity” (RSF). America, according to Buchanan, is on the verge of being taken over by moneyed interests, illegal aliens, foreign languages and alien holidays and moral degenerates. Buchananism amounts, at this point, to a sustained skirmish attempting to hold off and, ostensibly, defeat the economic, moral, and cultural enemies of America. This “frontier psychology” greatly determines the binary structure of its system of classification and representations.

Buchananist classifications and distinctions may be conceived as a “digital mode of thinking” (Zerubavel 1991, p. 34). Accompanying this “digital” or binary structure of consciousness is an intense preoccupation with boundaries and demarcations. Repeatedly, we see that Buchananism is obsessed with frontiers, boundaries, dissolution, fragmentation, wholeness, being one, etc. As you will recall, Buchanan’s whole immigration agenda is held together precisely by “frontiers” and boundaries: “…the central issue of this coming century will be whether America survives, as an independent republic, with her own defined borders….” According to Zerubavel, “A particular obsession with boundaries usually characterizes groups that perceive themselves as minorities in constant danger of extinction.” Further,

They regard their boundaries as critical to their survival and feel that, unless they seal them off so as to preserve their distinctiveness, they will inevitably be assimilated into their surroundings and cease to exist as a distinct entity…. Inherently conservative and antithetical to change, rigidity clearly helps maintain the status quo. It is especially during periods of great instability, therefore, that groups tend to hang on to rigid structures.” Zerubavel continues, “As they go through a major identity crisis, for example, groups, just like individuals, become much more protective of their boundaries. Particularly anxious about their identity, they tend to become obsessed with treason, heresy, and other transgressions and often resort to various ‘rites of exclusion,’ including persecution, as a way of reaffirming them…. (1991, pp. 51, 55-6).

The closing of the Cold War corresponds well with Buchanan’s isolationism. About the time the Soviet Union collapsed, he abandoned the idea of unrestricted trade. The essence of free trade, immigration, and the New World Order, in the Buchananist imagination, is the decisive weakening and transgression of boundaries. This concern comes out clearly in his attack against his representation of contemporary culture:

We see it in the altered calendar of holidays we are invited – nay, instructed – to celebrate. Washington’s Birthday disappears into President’s Day. States, like Arizona, that balk at declaring Martin Luther King’s birthday a holiday face political censure and convention boycotts. Easter is displaced by Earth Day, Christmas becomes Winter break, Columbus Day a day to reflect on the cultural imperialism and genocidal racism of the ‘dead white males’ who raped this continent while exterminat[ing] its noblest inhabitants (CW).

The idea of “displacement” is crucial. Recall that one consequence of corporate mobility was that Others would move in and displace our natural mode of existence by drawing up new rules of existence. Hence, boundary displacement gets fused with the fear of dependency and subjugation to the Other, i.e., authoritarianism. It also lends an impetus to his synthetic, endophobic fetishization of capital. So, the fantasy objects in Buchananism, the way in which they divide the world and the way they participate in the “critique” of society (economy, politics, and culture) are inextricably interwoven with a theory of domination.

In his The 120 Days of Sodom, the Marquis de Sade provides a literary characterization of the recurring pattern holding together nearly every instance of aristocratic sadism. This recurring element is the absolute violation of sacred boundaries. Every erotic and sadistic delight we find in Sade is made enjoyable through incest, homosexuality, bestiality, the violation of sacred figures such as nuns, the profanation of sacred locations like churches, and, among other things, the incorporation of vile and impure substances into erotic practice. This sadist “functions” as the near equivalent of Durkheim’s magician in Forms insofar as both the sadist and the magician take a “professional pleasure” in profaning the sacred. The magician exists on the fringes of society and has no desire to be subordinated to the collective sentiments of others or conform to prevailing social authority. The sadistic and masochistic drive rooted in boundary perversion is a decidedly aristocratic one. The puritanical drive of the lowborn (the “little man”) is bent on the clear, ritual, preservation of boundaries. Ironically, Buchananism, the champion of the “little man” exhibits an aristocratic mentality. The aristocratic sadist and the magician live on the fringes of society; they are border dwellers or threshold beings. At this point we seem to have reached an insurmountable contradiction. How can Buchananism possibly be both puritanical and aristocratic? And what evidence is there to suggest that it is indeed “aristocratic”? With this contradiction we find the “genius” of Buchananism. On the one hand it says that it wants to defend or reestablish sacred boundaries against the embodiments of evil and chaos and, on the other, stands not only beyond these sacred demarcations but delights in perverting these very boundaries. Where do we see Buchananism acting “perverse” toward the boundaries it claims to uphold? Those embodiments of evil, the anamorphotic spots or little a objects occur precisely at the point where two or more regions of experience converge – quite literally on the frontier region between the sacred and profane, life and death, male and female, American and alien. These objects of hatred, as do the sacred boundaries themselves, become playthings for Buchanan. But these objects are not objective. Rather they are purely subjective. When subjectivity “goes out” (I have in mind here Hegel’s theory of subjective duplication or objectification as found in his Phenomenology) in pursuit of its object of desire it is only capable of circling and, at best, symbolizing it partially or not at all (Lacan). But it does not return empty handed, rather, subjectivity gathers up a distorted image of the object of desire and, consequently, an unconscious representation of some unrecognized aspect of itself. The dreaded figures that dance on the frontiers of Good and Evil are “reflections.”

Hegel pointed directly to this modern form of subjective evil in his Philosophy of Right and it goes by the name of hypocrisy. Buchananism establishes and then frolics with the normative order it supposedly defends by treating it as a precondition for the preservation of his own subjective particularity. “To act in an evil manner and with an evil conscience does not amount to hypocrisy,” said Hegel.

Hypocrisy includes in addition the formal determination of untruthfulness, whereby evil is in the first place represented for others as good and the evildoer pretends in all external respects to be good, conscientious, pious, etc. – which in this case is merely a trick to deceive others. But secondly, the evil person may find in the good he does at other times, or in his piety, or in good reasons of any kind, a means of justifying for himself the evil he does, in that he can use these reasons to distort it into something he considers good ([1821] 1991, p. 172).

The existence of Buchananism, the vision of purity, depends upon that which it conceives as impurity or moral filth and it preserves the two contradictory moments of rugged/bourgeois individualism and the demand for “ethical” existence and normative monism. Hegel indirectly points toward the sadistic aspects of hypocrisy insofar as the ethically self-righteous individual feels justified in subordinating the rest or surplus of humanity, what Weber called the “eternally damned remainder” (1958), to a set of moral commandments not worthy of his or her particular subjectivity. Rather, they only feel compelled to answer to some transcendental Other like god, fate, and history. Simultaneously, the Hegelian hypocrite is both a dominating and dominated Other.

Globalization, post or neo-Fordist regimes of capital accumulation, corporate restructuring, multiculturalism and intensified moves toward international culture have at least destabilized or problematized most of the familiar, post-war economic, political and cultural boundaries. As Durkheim so insightfully pointed out, “As that international life broadens, so does the collective horizon; society no longer appears as the whole, par excellence, and becomes part of a whole that is more vast, with frontiers that are indefinite and capable of rolling back indefinitely” ([1912] 1995, p. 446). Buchananism is a response to the rolling back of frontiers and the accompanying social fragmentation that postmodern theorists have, despite their excesses, been describing for the last twenty years or so. The compartmentalized rigidity of the Buchananist imagination, the terror of the “intermediate state betwixt and between,” as Zerubavel says, percolates down into every facet of this worldview. And, simultaneously, it thrives on the preservation of that state of “betwixt and between” at the same time it says it wants to defeat it. Without that ambiguous condition, it is nothing because it is essentially, ambiguity embodied.

At the heart of Buchanan’s campaign against abortion is the “twilight” or “threshold” status of the fetus. By being both unborn and dead, the fetus transgresses “the mental divide separating the living from the nonliving” (Zerubavel 1991, p. 35). This same logic is behind the Buchananist hatred of homosexuals: they “blur the distinction between masculinity and femininity and therefore undermine the identity of men as masculine” (Zerubavel 1991, p. 52). In short, Buchananism exhibits a fear of the feminine when he condemns homosexuality. As Elizabeth Grosz writes in Volatile Bodies:

Can it be that in the West…the female body has been constructed not only as a lack or absence, but with more complexity, as a leaking, uncontrollable, seeping liquid; as a formless flow; as viscosity, entrapping, secreting; as lacking not so much or simply the phallus but self-containment – not a cracked or porous vessel, like a leaking ship, but a formlessness that engulf all form, a disorder that threatens all order (cited by Purkiss 1996, p. 120).

Homosexuals represent polluted and formless beings interacting with one another: grotesque, uncontrollable, and uncontainable. Likewise, the campaign to eradicate deviant, non-American culture, is an avenue to resist contamination of sacred boundaries (Zerubavel 1991, p. 57).

Buchananism suggests that regeneration, the “cleaning up of America,” will best be achieved by, on the one hand, conferring authority to the strong hero and, on the other, identifying the things that foul our society and eradicating them. This is another hallmark of the authoritarian impulse. The need and demand for social renewal cultivates relations of symbiosis, dependency and demonology. As such, it is actually the will to alienation and ideology. But even as it says it wants to clean up America, Buchananism could not exist without the existence of corrupted boundaries and what it considers to be morally perverse others. To do away with the demon and to achieve social purity would be to ask Buchananism to sever its own head. This is another “secret” embodied in Buchananism and helps to illustrate its “aristocratic” quality. Demonized objects are not merely weak, disgusting, and perverse. In combination with this sense of perversity is a strong identification or admiration of the Other. These fiends are in possession of the few things Buchananism wants: solidarity, organization and power. Even though the image of the “Marxist” or “abortionist” is immoral does it not stride, like Zarathustra, across the social landscape as it defies and defiles traditional boundaries of conduct and morality? America’s enemies are secretly acting in concert; they are pulling the strings and we are merely puppets being played like fools.

The link between classification and boundary maintenance with sadomasochism, the psychological starting point for authoritarianism, is therefore profound (Fromm 1941; Adorno et al 1950). A key in the Buchananist view of the world is the management of ambivalence and feelings of love and hatred. Both are idealized into discrete regions or compartments. Attempting to preserve a clearly delineated understanding of society and identity, Buchananism elaborates the Other as enemy, as something to be aggressively dealt with (Zerubavel 1991, p. 42; cf. Aho 1994). The production of enemies is dependent upon the energy-giving practices of the piacular rite. The “emotional state of the group” observes Durkheim, is the source of enemy projection. Just as “The dead man is not mourned because he is feared; he is feared because he is mourned” the enemy of Buchanan is not attacked because it is feared; it is feared because it is attacked (Durkheim [1912] 1995, pp. 404-5). It is this “energy-giving” aspect of Buchananism that must be further explored.

3. The Buchananist Surplus, or, Dynamogenetic Enchantment

A great cosmic struggle between Good and Evil (cf. Cohn 1993) is evident in Buchananism. America, we are led to believe, is the battleground upon which this war is being waged. In reality, the battle is waged between two distinct but related impulses residing in the various manifestations of the ideology itself. Like Sartre’s portrayal of the anti-Semite, the Buchananist perspective is a form of Manichean dualism (see D.N. Smith 1996). 27 Undoubtedly we see reference to concrete people and specific political and economic issues but they point to larger cosmic events. Thus, like the anti-Semite, “It is the original choice…of Manichaeism which explains” the world. This is completely different than a truly radical view of the world and points to the irreducibility of the authoritarian imagination. “In the eyes of the Marxist,” says Sartre, “the class struggle is in no sense a struggle between Good and Evil; it is a conflict of interest between human groups” ([1948] 1976, pp. 41-2).

What is the social basis of all this?

The intensity and effervescence of collective life, argued Durkheim, produces in people the feeling of an external and impersonal force at work in the world and on the individual. This was the basis of Durkheim’s theory of mana. This feeling is dependent upon the projective capacities of the human psyche. The moral authority people ascribe to things like kings, presidents, money, and the sinister and unearthly aspects of their enemies depends upon the propensity of individuals to projectively externalize some aspect of their subjectivity into the external world. The idea of a “surplus” is derived from the spilling over of the psyche into the environment. Literally, like surplus value, this is the life of “surplus mind.”

Durkheim theorized the idea of “surplus” thusly: “because the intellectual forces that serve in [creating representations] are intense and tumultuous, the mere task of expressing the real with the help of proper symbols is insufficient to occupy them. A surplus remains generally available that seeks to busy itself with supplementary and superfluous works of luxury, that is, with works of art” ([1912] 1995, p. 385). The production of the work of art is rooted in this process of energy giving practices or dynamogenesis. As D.N. Smith says, “Projective practices of the kind identified by Durkheim are ‘dynamogenic’ in a double sense. On the one hand, they energize the projective actor….and more importantly…projective practices give rise to collective representations invested with real social power.” (1988, pp. 83-4).

According to Durkheim:

Man does not recognize himself; he feels somehow transformed [as a member of society] and in consequence transforms his surroundings. To account for the very particular impressions he receives, he imputes to the things with which he is most directly in contact properties that they do not have, exceptional powers and virtues that the objects of ordinary experience do not possess. In short, upon the real world where profane life is lived, he superimposes another that, in a real sense, exists only in his thought, but on to which he ascribes a higher kind of dignity than he ascribes to the real world of profane life ([1912] 1995, p. 424).

In the last analysis, the post-Cold War, post-Fordist social context lends a spectrographic quality to the Other that was once singular and. But someone has shattered the Buchananist “totem.” Buchananism expresses the withering and displacement of boundaries that lend solidity and stability to personal existence and collective identity. The Buchananist crisis of identity, quite literally an “unbearable lightness of being,” is the fear of dissolution into a formless substance and the loss of power. As a result, consciousness throws itself a lifeline; the “work of art” is a buoy. Buchanan’s “role” is to give people an occasion for self-animation and vitality, by constructing a fantasy space of collective representations and an arena for action. These representations are quite literally, the “return of the repressed.” To the extent that people identify or affirm the Buchananist “message” they affirm their own alienation and ambivalence. These representations provide what Durkheim calls the emotional moorings needed to curtail the dissolution of the self into a world of collapsing frontiers. By affirming the representations that Buchanan puts forth, the surplus decomposes along characterologically irreducible fault lines (durable channels of desire) 28 and provides it with symbolically structured form. In the case of Buchananism, it is an authoritarian disposition that dominates its piacular effervescence and the process of Other construction. Once the Other has been at least provisionally reestablished, classificatory consolidation and the social construction of Evil (surplus hatred finding its perch) and the heroic Good (that surplus virtue taking up residence in Buchanan et al) is able to unfold. As far as Buchananism is a dream of punitive justice and violence against the impure Other, it reveals itself as the secret desire to punish itself: the enjoyment of suffering and humiliation (Freud, Durkheim, Lacan). As Durkheim said, and here is an implied theory of collective sadomasochism, the desire to destroy and harm the other through self-negation desires satisfaction. In order “To satisfy this need, [people] strike and wound themselves and make their blood flow. But when emotions are as vivid as this, even if they are painful, they are in no way depressing. Quite the contrary, they point to a state of effervescence that entails the mobilization of all our own active energy and, in addition, a further influx from outside sources” ([1912] 1995, pp. 410-11).

Concluding Remarks

In the proceeding I have attempted to demonstrate that Buchananism, while rooted in older forms of capital critique, marks a dramatic break in the fetishization of the capitalist mode of production. The Buchananist fetishization of capital can be summarized as endophobic. It fears the corruption of capital and culture from internal forces adopting the spirit of globalization whereas older forms of capital fetishism have been predominantly exophobic. Where Father Coughlin and the Nazis feared aliens and external threats, post-Fordist compartmentalizations of capital, like Buchanan’s, seek to combat the nearly complete colonization of America. In short, we have become identical with the alien. We are alien. To regain our once-sacred status, the forces of decency must wage a righteous battle. By proving ourselves in a great battle we will again stand in the reflected glory of God.

Buchanan’s culture critique centers on the preservation of “sacred” boundaries and amounts to a campaign against the profanation of the sacred. Radicals, Marxists, feminists, homosexuals, abortion rights activists, immigrants, etc., all represent polluting entities by virtue of their transgression of, and contaminating effect upon, America’s supposed historical, normative monism. While wearing a “populist” label and valorizing the power of the “grassroots,” political Buchananism actually promotes the negation democracy and direct political activity. Buchananism does not promise collective and democratic participation but redemption by the hero. This authoritarian impulse is most evident in the Buchananist posture toward the working class and its anti- solidarity attitude vis-à-vis labour. I have also tried to plausibly illustrate, drawing primarily on the work of Durkheim, Zerubavel and Zizek, that the Buchananist comprehension of culture and its political authoritarianism are wedded to, and inseparable from, anamorphotic processes inherent in a collective life devoted to the piacular intensification of identity amongst collapsing normative boundaries.

For sure, many people embrace multiculturalism and the affirmation of difference. For modernists, the hero has been and will continue to be Goethe’s character Faust who willed the frenzy of modernity. The old humanist ethos of self-abandonment in negative particularities and the fury of modern life that we perceive in Hegel and Whitman, for example, is now being celebrated by an “optimistic” coterie of theorists emphasizing detraditionalization and reflexivity. However, the cultural transformations during the last generation makes possible the mass desire for the firming-up of symbolic systems and a spur to authoritarian protest as a response to these changes as well as expanded roles for the interventionist-surveillance state. Whether we refer to historically recent cultural changes in terms of a new, postmodern “regime of signification” (Lash 1990) or the increasing “autoreferentiality” and depthlessness of socio-cultural phenomena (Jameson 1991) the result is basically the same. Harvey (1990, p. 284) states that “we have been experiencing, these last two decades, an intense phase of time-space compression that has had a disorienting and disruptive impact upon political-economic practices, the balance of class power, as well as upon cultural and social life.” The brutal creativity and novelty of modern life can “lead to madness” according to Schon (1969, p. 98) and result in the “inability to form structures that could be the basis for…perception of reality….”

Decisive amongst these disorientations has been the consequences of “volatility and ephemerality of fashions, products, production techniques, labour processes, ideas and ideologies, values and established practices” (Harvey 1990, p. 285). The “production of volatility” has created a society routinely subjected to “disposability,” the ascendancy of image over substance, the schizophrenic “collapse of cultural distinctions,” ambiguous work relations, and the “collapse of spatial barriers” that lead to collective ambivalence and insecurity. Perhaps most importantly and least dealt with is the displacement of “late capitalist crises…to cultural and psychic realms” (Langman 1994, p. 116). It is plausible, as Langman argues, that “in the face of greater social fragmentation, pluralization of lifestyles, values, and variations of identity, certain fixed collective identities of the past become salient, primarily nostalgic themes which are seen in the embrace of traditionalism, especially conservative religions and patriotic nationalism that provide stable identities in the face of rapid social change” (1994, p. 120).

Buchananism is a piacular act of social regeneration and stabilization. Some people might call it an attempt at re- traditionalization. But, forced to carry out its project within the environment that its abhors (unlike Coughlin, for example), it embodies all sorts of ironies and contradictions. Not the least of these contradictions is the message of value monism, absolute and transcendental morality, and durability mediated by “fleeting, superficial, and illusory means whereby an individualist society of transients sets forth its nostalgia for common values” (Harvey 1990, p. 288). Buchananism’s other great contradiction is the abandonment of material interests for ideal interests; every form of populism has been plagued by this tendency: the assassination of extended democracy in favour of “Americanization” or the dream of a Grossdeutchland. As Hirsch says:

Corresponding to a more and more divided society…an authoritarian need for security, a readiness for violence and a diffuse anxiety, a collective aggressivity and a private resignation, pseudo-liberalism and blunted morality as well as renewed nationalism is again useful as a cementing replacement for the material consensus of society which has disappeared. The new intensifying divisions have to be pasted over with the old-new enemy-images that are there: foreigners, drop- outs, social parasites and deviants, communists, pacifists…(1991, p. 31; cf. Harvey 1990, p. 168).

It would seem that “As modernity gains ground,” (Beck and Beck-Gernsheim 1996, p. 32) “God, nature and the social system are being progressively replaced, in greater and lesser steps, by the individual – confused, astray, helpless and at a loss.” But people are rarely at a complete loss or quite as helpless as social scientists often make them out to be. As misguided, confused and dangerous as they may be, large fractions of society simply will not allow their world to be abolished – at least not without resistance and destructiveness. The “evil of missing boundaries,” as Durkheim calls it, does not go unsolved.

What might seem striking about Buchananism is not the extent to which it “misses the mark” on so many things and ventures off into fabulous portrayals of corrupting entities such as radicals and abortionists, but that people “fall” for this way of thinking. One might come to the conclusion that as a social critique, Buchananism is decidedly dissatisfying; it would seem implausible that Buchanan’s critique of capitalist social relations could possibly appeal to the working class or that the basis of his appeal is determined primarily by class considerations.

But it could be much more reasonable to assume that Buchanan supporters are not really searching for social critique but transport to an enchanted world or the opportunity to re-enchant their existing world. Rather than critique and objectivity, which would lean on inquiry, analysis and facts, Buchananism represents the Lacanian “scopic drive” or desire to see it all without grasping anything. One could almost say that Buchananism represents a return of the Baroque’s “madness of vision” or “the overloading of the visual apparatus with a surplus of images in a plurality of spatial planes.” “As a result,” says Jay, “it dazzles and distorts rather than presents a clear and tranquil perspective on the truth of the external world” (1993, pp. 47-8). Rather than “social critique” or getting to the bottom of things, Buchananism supplants opacity with mystification. But, as Buchananites alienate themselves by conferring power to representations bearing unearthly qualities they simultaneously energize themselves as a collectivity. It is, quite possibly, fun to be a Buchananite. The far right is able to provide people, especially youth, with excitement, organization, community, and a sense of moral purpose or indignation. These are things the left abandoned long ago.

In a recent issue of The Nation, Robert Reich had the following to say:

How do we define ourselves, as global capital erases national borders? What is it that deserves our passionate, relentless, unswerving commitment? In the absence of a coherent answer, the public arena has become a vacant lot, open to all sorts of wacky squatters: Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, right-wing pundits from the Cato Institute and, from under other right-wing rocks, Ken Starr, Dick Morris, Phyllis Schlafly, Linda Tripp, Matt Drudge, editorial writers and columnists for the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, and the Washington Times [Buchanan included], religious nuts, conspiracy crazies, racists, Hillary-haters (1998).

While many people feel equally exasperated over the long-term degradation of even mildly progressive politics, the spectacularization of public discourse, and the ascendancy of political theology in the U.S., Reich makes a mistake that countless other liberals have made. That mistake is ridiculing those on the extreme right as atavistic throwbacks or deranged to the point of clinical insanity. To dismiss “those nuts” on the right with a wave of the hand would be to ignore the fact that a massive segment of the American public has increasingly aligned its sympathies with these people and their ideas and they are far from being simple bumpkins. However, the days in which the ultra-right was dominated by hayseeds ended with the onset of the Cold War and the crusade against global communism. As Hofstadter stated (1965, p. 80) “The participants in [the] revolt against modernity are no longer rubes and hicks, and they have gained some both in sophistication and in cohesiveness…” Is allegiance to the far right indicative of nothing more than a propensity for being duped by a “fabric of errors” or delusions? Is that all our mental representations are to us?

While the ultra-right’s representations of global capitalism, politics, and culture may, and I think indeed are, egregiously in error and viscous, their ideologies, their systems of ideas, must be comprehended in a way that looks beyond the banal fact that they are, at best, simple or reductionistic half-truths and, at worst, the leading edge of an unforeseen era of demonological hysteria. The sociological approach to comprehending the right might be accomplished if we begin with the same approach that Durkheim took in analysing other systems of belief. To appropriate a few lines from this thinker, it might be said that the paleoconservative way of thinking represents a system of ideas with which individuals and groups represent to themselves the society of which they are members, and the obscure but intimate relations which they have with it. This is their primary function; and though metaphorical and symbolic, these representations are not unfaithful to them ([1912] 1915, p. 257). It should come as no surprise to us, then, when we start to see similarities between what Buchanan, Robertson et al say about the nature of the world and what the theorists of post-traditional globalization have been saying.

Hence, while the ideas put forth by the extreme right are wrong, they are, as Durkheim would say, well founded. Their representations are grounded in reality, as they understand it. As Durkheim states, “The men who adhere to a collective representation verify it through their own experience. Thus it cannot be wholly inadequate to its object” ([1912] 1995, p. 439). Rather, the representations of the extreme right are not pure fictions but products of imaginative transfiguration (Durkheim [1912] 1995, p. 385). The extreme right will never be defeated by the collective laughter of liberals warming themselves by the fire of moral indignation. We must grasp the mentality of the right. To dismiss Buchananism would be to underestimate its intelligence and dimensionality and, likewise, to write Buchanan off as factually inaccurate would be to miss the point altogether.


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1. I would like to thank David N. Smith, Steve Gorin, the editor of EJS, and anonymous reviewers for their criticisms, insight, and encouragement. Direct all correspondence to Mark P. Worrell, 716 Fraser Hall, Department of Sociology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 66045, USA.

2. The notion of a “piacular” form of subjectivity comes directly from Durkheim’s Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Book 3, Chapter 5, “Piacular Rites and the Ambiguity of the Notion of Sacredness.” In this chapter, Durkheim distinguishes between positive rites performed by the collectivity in “a state of confidence, joy and even enthusiasm” whereby people “celebrate …anticipating the happy event which they prepare and announce.” Piacular rites, on the contrary, are marked by sadness and “whose object is either to meet a calamity, or else merely to commemorate and deplore it….We propose to call the ceremonies of this sort piacular. The term piacular has the advantage that while it suggests the idea of expiation, it also has a much more extended signification. Every misfortune, everything of evil omen, everything that inspires sentiments of sorrow or fear necessitates a piaculum and is therefore called piacular. So this word seems to be very well adapted for designating the rites which are celebrated by those in a state of uneasiness or sadness” ([1912] 1915, pp. 434- 35). The notion of the piaculum and the piacular rite also involves anger or rage. As Lukes points out, Durkheim “regarded piacular rites in general as having a `stimulating power over the affective state of the group and individuals’; thus, for example, when, in punishing the neglect of a ritual act, `the anger which it causes is affirmed ostensibly and energetically’, and is `acutely felt by all’, the `moral unity of the group is not endangered'” (1973, p. 471). Importantly, the idea of the piaculum suggests not only a diffuse rage and punishment for the purpose of morally rejuvenating a group, but self-negation and punishment directed inward against the self as a means toward that end.

3. Pat Robertson made the phrase “new world order” a hit with the ultra and fundamentalist right with his book of the same title. As Robertson says, “It is as if a giant plan is unfolding, everything perfectly on cue. Europe sets the date for its union. Communism collapses. A hugely popular war is fought in the Middle East. The United Nations is rescued from scorn by an easily swayed public. A new world order is announced. Christianity has been battered in the public arena, and New Age religions are in place in the schools and corporations, and among the elite. Then a financial collapse accelerates the move toward a world money system. The United States cannot afford defense, so it turns its defense requirements over to the United Nations, along with its sovereignty. The United Nations severely limits property rights and clamps down on all Christian evangelism and Christian distinctives under the Declaration of the Elimination of All forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religious Belief already adopted by the General Assembly on November 25, 1981. Then the New Age religion of humanity becomes official, and the new world order leaders embrace it. Then they elect a world president with plenary powers who is totally given to the religion of humanity” (1991, pp. 176-77).

4. . I have utilized Buchanan not because my phenomena of interest is reducible to the individual but as a methodological strategy similar to Marx’s analysis of the commodity as a means to explore the phenomenology of value and Nietzsche’s interrogation of western decadence by treating Wagner as the embodiment of decadence. Ultimately, the object of analysis is not Buchanan the person but the “ideology” or worldview. My approach may make me guilty of abstraction but this is a necessary and worthwhile moment, I think, in the dialectical interpretation of right wing ideologies. In other words, I am only trying to accomplish part of the job here.

5. The conditions that make Buchananism increasingly plausible for people include a sharp downturn in the economy and, more importantly, the objective perception by people that the economy has taken a turn for the worse. Also, Buchanan benefits from the continuing delegitimation of the traditional political parties. Even though he remains formally tied to the GOP, he frequently adopts the stance of an outsider who threatens to “go third party.”

6. . Although I point, here and there, to the family resemblance between Buchananism and the European right, that task must wait for another occasion.

7. . A note on references. Much of my analysis is based upon Buchanan’s books, however, the bulk of it relies upon his speeches and writings accumulated at Buchanan’s internet home page, the “Buchanan Brigade” and his latest effort “The American Cause.” These are the most concentrated and comprehensive archives of older as well as recent data. In this paper, all references to the internet data take an alphabetized form rather than a date and page number like the rest of the references. The exception to this procedure is material that is drawn from Buchanan’s books. References to these works will appear in the standard form. It has been pointed out to me that relying on Buchanan’s own web site for data might not provide access to more inflammatory materials or that the data has been sanitized of the most virulent remarks. This may be true, but I think it is better to take Buchananism or any other form of socio-political reaction at its “best.” One should examine Buchanan’s friendliest public face for that is the one that the vast majority of uncommitted but interested people will be swayed by.

8. . It is worth pointing out that Henry Ford was famous for more than automobiles and the slogan “history is bunk.” Ford’s stance toward organized labour was sinister and inextricably tied to his virulent antisemitism. He stated in 1923 that “You probably think the labour unions were organized by labour, but they weren’t. They were organized by these Jew financiers. The labour union is a great scheme to interrupt work. It speeds up loafing. It’s a great thing for the Jew to have on hand when he comes around to get his clutches on an industry” (in Lipset and Raab 1970, p. 138). Ford’s paternal love and feelings of obligation toward America’s working people became apparent during the infamous 1932 “March Battle” in which Ford’s security force, in collaboration with Dearborn police, shot four and wounded nearly 60 hunger marchers at Ford’s auto plant in Dearborn (McElvaine 1993; T.H. Watkins 1993). Ford’s extreme anti-labour and anti-Jewish attitudes found favor in Nazi Germany. “No American” says Robert Herzstein (1994, pp. 15-16, 162) “impressed the Germans of the 1920s as much as Henry Ford….The Germans loved ‘America’s great Prussian,’ not least for his opposition to wartime intervention against Germany….[and] No anti- Semite could compete with Henry Ford in fame and influence…Ford had criticized the Jews for corrupting gentiles with a whole series of evils, including syphilis, Hollywood, gambling, and jazz.” Lipset and Raab recount that Ford’s newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, “reprinted large portions of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and for seven years, 1920 to 1927, hammered away at the theme of an international Jewish conspiracy.” These antisemitic tracts were republished as a book called The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem (1970, p. 135). The International Jew was, according to Dinnerstein (1994, p. 83) “translated into several languages and circulated in Europe and Latin America throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The work is widely credited with influencing the writing of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Hitler kept a picture of Ford on the wall of his office in Munich, praised the automobile magnate in Mein Kampf, and later told a Detroit News reporter, ‘I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration.’ On Ford’s 75th birthday, in 1938, Hitler sent personal greetings and bestowed on him the highest honor the German government could grant a foreigner: the Grand Cross of the German Eagle.”

9. . The “New World Order” is a concept touted by both the left and right, popular and elite. For those on the ultra right, this new Order is a frightening specter synonymous with global domination, cultural decline, and conspiratorial elite (e.g., Robertson 1991). For bourgeois politicians the new Order is a welcomed sign of cooperation, market hegemony, expanded trade, and value plurality. Hence, we are as likely to hear President Clinton speaking fondly of the New World Order as we are to hear Pat Robertson sermonize about its demonic nature on the 700 Club. The so-called New World Order is a normative way of conceptualizing what some social scientists call post-traditional, post- modern, or post-Fordist society. Zygmunt Bauman partially contextualizes the Buchananist problem: “Nowadays everything seems to conspire against…lifelong projects, permanent bonds, eternal alliances, immutable identities. I cannot build for the long term on my job, my profession or even my abilities. I can bet on my job being cut, my profession changing out of all recognition, my skills being no longer in demand” (quoted in Beck and Beck-Gernsheim 1996, p. 26).

10. . The cri de coeur of both the Buchananist and liberal institutional economists revolves around the passing of capitalism’s supposed Golden Age. “What has gone wrong with our economy?” they ask (e.g., Harrison and Bluestone 1988). They have yet to comprehend that our economy, with its class polarization and increasing inequality, is simply reestablishing its historical tempo.

11. . It was not only the “populist right” that abhorred NAFTA. Perot, Nader and his United We Stand organization, the AFL-CIO, environmental groups, Jesse Jackson, and Buchanan were all involved (the Halloween Coalition) in attempting to halt the deal with Mexico (Kazin 1995, p. 281; Nader 1993; Kilborn 1993).

12. . This is a moral frontier not necessarily entailing geo-political expansion (AF). “Once America stood for freedom, liberty and a Judeo-Christian moral order. Next month in Cairo, the U.S. delegation will offer the world’s poor IUDs, suction pumps, condoms and Norplant….Why should any nation follow such an example” (CW).

13. . The Buchananist formulation of money power will be considered below in greater detail.

14. . It should be noted that the “etc.” does not extend very far beyond Britain and Canada. Buchananism admits free trade with “free” nations that do not depend upon the U.S. for military support or foreign aid of other varieties. Hence, almost all of Europe (Europeans, in Buchanan’s view, have been “free riders for 50 years”) and Asia are not potential free trade partners because they are parasitic (TE).

15. . “There is no physical or moral ugliness, no vice, and no evil that has not been deified. There have been gods of theft and trickery, lust and war, sickness and death” (Durkheim [1912] 1995, p. 423).

16. . Little noticed was the presence of Roger Milliken, a textile executive and strident voice of anti-unionism, on Buchanan’s advisory committee (Corn 1996).

17. . From a more academic point of view, Buchanan does not know his labour history. Defending his protectionist stance, Buchanan stated in 1994 that “The greatest era of industrial expansion in America, where our workers saw the greatest rise in their standard of living was from 1860-1914, when America protected her industries and jobs behind a tariff wall” (IM). If, in Buchanan’s estimation, the high-water mark for American labour was between 1860-1914, and if this is the kind of golden past for American workers that Buchanan wants a return to, then Buchanan is absolutely anti-labour (see Montgomery 1987).

18. . These changes in regulation combined with other aggregate and micro-scale transformations in socio-cultural life include: renewed emphasis on family values, authority, and religious faith; the increasing importance of aesthetics in politics; the compression and acceleration of spatial- temporal experience; cultural plurality and increased multivocality; crises and periodic collapse of moral “plausibility structures”; detraditionalization; trends toward individualization and fragilities in the way we think about class, gender, family; the transformation of media communications toward hyperreality; and the saturation of everyday life with sign-values (Ashley 1997; Gottdiener 1997; Bauman 1996; Beck and Beck-Gernsheim 1996; Harms and Dickens 1996; Heelas 1996; Bernstein 1994; Harvey 1990; Baudrillard 1983).

19. . Singh (1997, p. 183) points out the similar, paranoid thread between Buchanan, Brown and other extremists: “…black American activists, such as Sharpton and Leonard Fulani, and nonblack politicians, from Duke and Buchanan on the conservative far-right to former California governor Jerry Brown on the progressive left, manifest varying degrees of paranoia in the political critiques and policy prescriptions.”

20. . In his attack on the Supreme Court, Buchanan contradicts his own position. He denounces Justice Brennan for espousing what is claimed to be a hallmark of Buchananism: “to declare certain values transcendent, beyond the reach of temporary political majorities” (AHF).

21. . Buchanan’s ideas for reforming the Supreme Court involves one year, renewable terms for justices; subjecting justices to voter recall and removal; curtailing the jurisdiction of the court; state-sponsored alterations to the constitution; and voting down Supreme Court decisions. Buchananites are, apparently, better able to interpret the constitution than Supreme Court Justices. Buchanan, then, comes close to resembling a constitutional Lutheran. The holy text speaks directly to the faithful and any mediation by legally sanctioned interpreters is an abomination.

22. . These lesser nations include almost every country but especially Japan and Mexico. According to Buchanan they are free-loaders and thieves, but also crafty and, in the case of Japan, strong and “tough.”

23. . Tellingly, the WTO is referred to as the “Supreme Court of World Trade” by Buchanan. “The World Trade Organization,” he says, “against whose rulings the United States would have no appeal, would infringe on U.S. sovereignty, and supersede the U.S. Constitution that gives Congress the power to regulate the nation’s sovereign commerce. With the appearance of the WTO, all the embryonic entities in the visions of the Strobe Talbotts and Boutros- Ghalis – are visible. The United Nations is to be the world parliament, the [IMF] to regulate the world’s money, the World Bank to redistribute its wealth, the WTO to manage its trade. All in the interest of mankind – as understood by the transnational elites who will run the institutions that will rule the world” (IT).

24. . Actually, Buchanan had already hinted at who it might be: the “big boys” at Citibank, J.P. Morgan, Alan Greenspan, and Robert Rubin.

25. I think that it is possible and imperative to fuse the two currents of thought to create a more robust optic for comprehending this and similar forms of political theology. The way to go about this is to focus upon two interrelated issues: first, the social construction of social phenomena and secondly, the problem of heteronomy or “ego weakness.” Both the Frankfurt School and the Durkheimian tradition share a social constructionist perspective. Indeed, theorizing the constructed quality of “the Jew”, Adorno echoed Durkheim’s discussion of piacular subjectivity very closely: hostility resulting from frustration and repression and socially diverted from its true object, needs, a substitute object through which it may obtain a realistic aspect and thus dodge, as it were, more radical manifestations of a blocking of the subject’s relationship to reality, e.g., psychosis. This ‘object’ of unconscious destructiveness, far from being a superficial ‘scapegoat,’ must have certain characteristics in order to fulfill its role. It must be tangible enough; and yet not too tangible, lest it be exploded by its own realism. It must have a sufficient historical backing and appear as an indisputable element of tradition. It must be defined in rigid and well-known stereotypes. Finally, the object must possess features, or at least be capable of being perceived and interpreted in terms of features, which harmonize with the destructive tendencies of the prejudiced subject (Adorno et al 1950, pp. 607-8). Adorno recognized the affinity between his own perspective and Durkheim’s at the level of social character. “The marks of social repression” said Adorno, “are left within the individual soul. The French sociologist Durkheim in particular has shown how and to what extent hierarchical social orders permeate the individual’s thinking, attitudes, and behavior. People form psychological ‘classes,’ inasmuch as they are stamped by variegated social processes” (1950, p.747). And Durkheim, too, has much to say regarding the problem of heteronomy that lies at the heart of critical theory. Durkheim very clearly prefaced the theoretical work of the classical critical theorists when he articulated the social processes of collective life and the phenomenon he called collective effervescence. The effervescent force of collective interaction and ritual, says Durkheim, has the capacity to overwhelm the individual consciousness and demand actions from people that seem irresistible even though they contradict our innermost individual desires: “the hold society has over consciousness owes far less to the prerogative its physical superiority gives it than to the moral authority with which it is invested. We defer to society’s orders not simply because it is equipped to overcome our resistance but, first and foremost, because it is the object of genuine respect” ([1912] 1995, p.209). Ultimately, I think that an attempt to synthesize the best of critical theory with the sociology of Durkheim, with an eye toward the substantive problem of political ideology and demonization, will yield new, useful, and interesting results.

26. Actually, Zizek represents a problem in that his work of just a few years ago such as The Sublime Object of Ideology was full of insight and reason. Since that time he seems to have become a star and, in my opinion, his reasoning has taken a slow, downward turn. For example, in a recent piece, he manages to reduce fascism to an articulative distortion of genuinely radical impulses. In other words, fascism and Nazism are only, at bottom, confused forms of social democracy. What has been abandoned is the structure of subjectivity. For all his professed appreciation of Hegel’s social philosophy, he falls into a one-sidedness by ejecting the form of spirit.

27. . It is important to keep in mind that the characterological correlation between antisemitism and authoritarianism is significant (D.N. Smith 1996). In the conclusion of The Authoritarian Personality, Adorno wrote “There is a marked similarity between the syndrome which we have labeled the authoritarian personality and ‘the portrait of the anti-Semite’ by Jean- Paul Sartre. Sartre’s brilliant paper became available to us after all our data had been collected and analyzed. That his phenomenological ‘portrait’ should resemble so closely, both in general structure and in numerous details, the syndrome which slowly emerged from our empirical observations and quantitative analysis, seems to us remarkable” (Adorno et al 1950; cf. Kurthen 1997). So while it may be the case that Buchananism is not a specifically or socially antisemitic ideology, it exhibits an elective affinity with antisemitism insofar as it is authoritarian.

28. . Particular representations like the UN or Clinton will come and go but “the framework is a definite form having fixed contours” able to be “applied to an indefinite number of things, whether perceived or not and whether existing or possible” (Durkheim [1912] 1995, p. 148). This is precisely Pierre Bourdieu’s point in making the distinction between substantivist and relational concepts and theories (Worrell 1998). “In short,” says Bourdieu, “one must be careful not to transform into necessary traits intrinsic to a particular group…the characteristics that they acquire at a given time due to the position they occupy in a determinate social space and in a determinate state of the supply of possible goods and practices” (1993, p. 273).

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