The Politics of Unreason: Right Wing Extremism in America, 1790-1970

By Seymour Martin Lipset; Earl Raab | Go to book overview

of the rhetorical and programmatic direction of the extremist movement, the Republican party might cause the substantial demise of that movement, at least for a while. But there are presumably limits beyond which a mainstream national party cannot go. The critical votes in defeating the Haynsworth and Carswell appointments to the Supreme Court were, after all, those of Republican Senators.

Whether Wallace can succeed in avoiding the organizational and competitive hazards of which he seems aware, and whether historical circumstances will be favorable, are, of course, problematical. His weak showing in the 1970 Alabama gubernatorial primaries may have eliminated him as a national figure. Significantly, when Alabama turned against him, it produced the same pattern as the nation. He was defeated in the May primary by "the country club set and the Negro wards voting together for Brewer in about the same proportions," while his support came from white workers and poorer farmers. 58 But whether his particular movement survives or not, George Wallace has put together and further revealed the nature of those basic elements which must comprise an effective right-wing extremist movement in America. The question which is next ripe for detailed inquiry is whether--even if all the technical elements were present and all the historical circumstances propitious--more than 10 or even 20 per cent of the modern American population could become seriously engaged in such a movement. What, in short, is the state of countervailing commitment?


Notes
1.
Reese Cleghorn, Radicalism: Southern Style ( Atlanta: Southern Regional Council, 1968), pp. 28-29.
2.
Charles Y. Glock and Rodney Stark, Religion and Society in Tension ( Chicago: Rand-McNally, 1965), Chapter 14.
3.
Franklin Hamlin Littell, From State Church to Pluralism ( Garden City: Doubleday-Anchor, 1962), p. 133. Emphasis in the original.
4.
Philip E. Converse, Warren E. Miller, Jerrold G. Rusk, and Arthur C. Wolfe , "Continuity and Change in American Politics: Parties and Issues in the 1968 Election." American Political Science Review, LXIII ( December 1969), pp. 1101-1104.
5.
Ibid., pp. 1097, 1100-1101.
6.
Among the more important ones not discussed here are variations in the perception of a candidate's ideological position among different individuals and social groups (for example, in 1964 Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, according to his speeches and writing, was basically a very strong-spoken economic conservative and at least a moderate when it came to civil rights; yet he probably tended to appear as a prototype ultra-rightist to the ultra-right and appears to have been taken as

-424-

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The Politics of Unreason: Right Wing Extremism in America, 1790-1970
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xv
  • Notes xxiii
  • Chapter 1 Political Extremism 3
  • Notes 31
  • Chapter 2 Before the Civil War 34
  • Notes 67
  • Chapter 3 the Protestant Crusades from the Civil War to World War I 72
  • Notes 104
  • Chapter 4 the Bigoted Twenties 110
  • Notes 145
  • Chapter 5 the 1930's: Extremism of the Depression 150
  • Notes 202
  • Chapter 6 the 1950's: Mccarthyism 209
  • Notes 245
  • Chapter 7 the Era of the John Birch Society 248
  • Notes 282
  • Chapter 8 the Birch Society and Its Contemporaries: Social Base 288
  • Notes 333
  • Chapter 9 George Wallace and the New Nativism 338
  • Notes 373
  • Chapter 10 George Wallace: the Election and the Electorate 378
  • Notes 424
  • Chapter 11 Extremists and Extremism 428
  • Notes 482
  • Chapter 12 Political Extremism: Past and Future 484
  • Notes 515
  • Methodological Appendix to Chapter 11 517
  • Notes 522
  • General Index 525
  • Index of Proper Names 537
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