Now that our distinguished liberal intellectuals have finished proclaiming “the end of ideology,” it begins to seem that we are entering an intensely ideological period in American history.
After living in California only a few months, one discovers that the upsurge on the political right is a more serious matter than anyone in New York or Boston is likely to suppose; that it needs to be examined, in one manifestation, as a new version of conservative ideology, and, in another, as an outbreak of a primitive semi-fascism; and that on the American scene today, at least in this part of the country, it constitutes a force of some energy.
The crackpot side is somewhat frightening. Local newspapers are full of stories about the Minute Men, a secret private “army” supplied with light and medium arms that has been formed to protect the nation against invaders and, perhaps more to the point, residents of rural counties against urban refugees who may be expected to flee the cities after atom bombs are dropped. I say “protect” but they do not hesitate to say “shoot.” And so diseased is the moral atmosphere that the “problem” of what to do if someone invades your fal...
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