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Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  149 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The Eliminationists describes the malignant influence of right-wing hate talk on the American conservative movement. Tracing much of this vitriol to the dank corners of the para-fascist right, award-winning reporter David Neiwert documents persistent ideas and rhetoric that champion the elimination of opposition groups. As a result of this hateful discourse, Neiwert argues ...more
Paperback, 281 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Paradigm Publishers
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Bill Kerwin
Sep 19, 2009 rated it liked it

Here, at the end of July 2019, Trump is again tweeting about "infestation," and, whenever he tweets about "infestation," you can bet that (whatever rodent or insect is may be mentioned) there are always black or brown people somehow involved. Why? Charles M. Blow, in his NYT column of July 28, said it best: "infestations justify exterminations."

This is classic eliminationist rhetoric, and, if you wish to see how this developed, you would do well to read this vigilant examination of how embryonic
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
The trends described in this 2008 book have magnified and spread to a sizable chunk of the body politic. This book is on the money its diagnosis of where we are and where we are likely going. It is a good book examining the rise of a proto-fascist and para-fascist growth in militia movements and the eliminationist rhetoric and deeds on the hard right. Also how this has captured conservatism and the Republican party. It might have been harder to spot in 2008 but today its conclusions are unmistak ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Adults.
Recommended to Helen by: No-one.
This was an interesting, straightforward book written in 2009 about how right wing extremist talk (such as that of "entertainers" on radio and TV) has gradually seeped into the mainstream GOP, and the future dangers of "eliminationist" talk insofar as such talk many times precedes violence. He identifies the emergence of fascism with the disillusionment of an electorate with the existing political parties. Some say Trump hasn't yet declared himself dictator because of the North Korea issue - he ...more
Jan 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Eliminationists is an important examination of the state of American political discourse and right-wing ideologies in this country in the early 21st century. Neiwert does an admirable job of examining the history of what he calls eliminationism in America (see Ch. 8) and using that history to explain how we've gotten to where we are today.

I think this book does two main services:

1. It provides readers with a clear understanding of the nature of both eliminationism and one of its specific ma
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Almost a decade after it was written, I decided to finally pick this one up and give it a go. The main focus of the book is vital, interesting, and desperately in need of thoughtful analysis: the historical roots of “eliminationism” in American political rhetoric. Mr. Neiwert falls short of his promise.

The meat-and-potatoes of this topic should be—or at least I expected it to be—focused on media, argument, rhetoric, and the like. Instead, Mr. Neiwert decides to talk about the most prominent huma
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Are you perplexed by the seemingly sudden rise of angry right wingers advocating the death of liberals? Do you wonder how much influence Rush Limbaugh has in the country? Are you puzzled by people should take Ann Coulter seriously? Then read David Neiwert's book, and have it all spelled out for you in great detail. Neiwert looks at the rise of eliminationism in the US, how it spread from the far right to mainstream punditry, and what can be done to resist its influence. An amazing and informativ ...more
Maritza Soto
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is *the* book to read in order to understand why (and how) we got where we are politically.
Mar 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: us-politics
Neiwart has a good thesis, but it's as though his editor said, "this is not enough... add more pages".

Neiwart begins with observations from his childhood in Idaho and his early career covering the right wing militia groups for which Idaho has been known. He was in a unique position to get a close up view of the fringe elements of the far right. He watched this more closely than most of us who wonder how it got so extreme that one day we noticed a Fox News pundit suggesting that candidate Obama s
Dan O'connell
Oct 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Neiwart grew up in Idaho, knew John Birchers, and covered the Christian Identity and Patriot Movement in the 80s/90s. He looks at the state of the far right in 2008, and how Limbaugh and Hannity and Beck have convinced many on the right that the US polity has been poisoned by Liberals, and that they need to be eliminated from society. He wrote this before the Tea Bag movement sprung up, but he shows the underlying ideas and emotional reactions that led to this movement. Also nicely covers elimat ...more
Oct 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
After the heated and crazy health care town halls of this past summer, I wanted to read books that would help me put the insanity in a context I could understand. This book helped do just that. Like "Idiot America" (ISBN 978-0-7679-2614-0), this book provides some historical and cultural context for the right-wing backlash that has followed eight years of a horribly failed GOP presidency and the election of Americas first Black president.

I found the book easy to read and very engaging (but I su
Apr 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A somewhat repetitive review of the corrosive influcence of hate speech on the denizens of the right wing in America. Basically it traces the source of the principle of Eliminationism back to the early settlers in America as well as to early 20th century Fascism. It's an interesting point and it is made well, it's just made over and over and over again.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is Neiwert's expansion on a lengthy 2004 era essay he wrote called Rush, Newspeak, and Fascism. I read that essay back when it was new and it had a significant impact on the way I was processing the politics of the time, and it has remained with me ever since. The book, while not adding greatly to the essay, does expand Neiwert's thesis in certain directions, and updates it as of 2009, when this book was published.

Neiwert is the best writer I've come across when it comes to explaining,
Mark Greenbaum
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Written a decade ago at the start of the Obama presidency, this book has a simple thesis: the modern Republican Party's increasing embrace of eliminationism -- seeking not simply the defeat of your ideological foes, but their total destruction -- is a threat to American democracy. While this trend has been clear for a generation, few have observed it out loud and set out a case for defeating it. It's obviously correct, and Neiwart rightly observes that our inability to call out fascism for what ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
There were at least three different concepts in this book which definitely enlightened me and gave me food for thought. The most important was the theme of the book which is the way in which traditional conservatives have become radicalized, sometimes unconsciously, by the hate spewed and supported systematically by groups that most of us would consider splinter groups. This is all too obvious when one thinks about it.
Another concept was the historical trace of groups in this country which have
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was published in 2009 prior to the rise of Facebook and Trump and already feels outdated. Yet, its basic premises remain convincing. It's too bad that few people paid attention to this phenomena and that hate promotion has gotten worse in less than a decade.
Brent Uzzell
David’s purpose for the book seems to be: 1) hold up a mirror to our political discourse and make the case that violent rhetoric can provoke violent action 2) remind us of our historical propensity for utilizing violence to eliminate the unwanted and 3) respond to the increasing use of “Nazi” and “Fascism” epithets by directly addressing Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism”.
David draws heavily on the academic work of Robert O. Paxton (Columbia), Roger Griffin (Oxford Brookes University) and J
Oct 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel-research
Very good, though the first few chapters seemed repetitive. I would've liked it a bit more had Neiwert covered the history first and then moved into the modern-day stuff. Neiwert's also seems quite compassionate and not ready to lay the blame on any large group of people for the behaviors of a few. The book is thoroughly researched and has an extensive list of endnotes.

Favorite quote:
"In the South, whites chose to deal with blacks by oppressing them; in much of the rest of the country, white c
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, psychology
Neiwert sells himself short in the titling of this book, which is so much more than a treatise on the hate machine. He delves deeply into history, philosophy, and psychology while maintaining a readability that makes it difficult to put the book down.

The author's comprehensive overview of fascism is especially relevant in these times, when the term is so overused as to become meaningless. A full two chapters are devoted to dispelling the myth that we are fully in the grip of a fascist regime -
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
this is a fantastic book up the how "eliminationist" ideology is creeping into mainstream republican/conservative dialogue. Eliminationism is the idea that your political enemies must be eliminated/removed/interned.

The author, from rural Idaho and a long time journalist covering the neo-nazi movement. Looks at how a lot of wacky right wing fringe ideas from the 1990's have moved into main stream discussion (Lou Dobbs talking about the Reconquista, Coulter talking about killing liberals, cons
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
GREAT book. At first I really thought it was going to be a book like Sean Hannity writes, but from a left view point. But It was not at ALL. I was not familiar with Orcinus, Neiwert's blog before I read this, so much of this was news to me.

It's a very intellectually written account of how fascism could blossom in the United States. There are historic accounts of attempts and a lot of references to sociological studies that have been done on fascism. He really puts to rest the preconcieved notion
Every American adult should read this book. It chronicles the shift of American conservatism farther and farther to the right, until it has gone from being conservative to being radical, from disagreeing with liberals to calling for their elimination. Any time that a political movement dehumanizes its opponents and proposes that violence should take the place of debate, it loses its place in a democracy - if it succeeds in getting what it demands, it becomes a bloody tyranny based on atrocity. I ...more
Jun 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
An interesting albeit uneven commentary on the current approach many right-wing commentators have to disagreement -- attack and remove their opponents. A strength of the book is a thoughtful and nuanced analysis of how these tendencies compare to fascism. Unfortunately, the last few chapters tend more to the polemical rather than analytical than I was hoping. Still, overall this is a worthwhile read.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
The only problem with this book is that it reads like a text book (which really isn't a problem for me, but might be for others). A bit boring in style, but very informative. The author looks at the hisotry of racism, genocide, and fascism in America and points out how this history along with the fears generated since 9/11 put us at risk for fascism now.
Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Well researched, thoughtfully organized... I learned a lot about the power of labels and mass-media. I'm worried about the future of this country, as long as people choose to allow others to tell them what to think and believe. Why do we no longer teach rhetoric in primary school? The only hope for our democracy is to teach kids to think for themselves and not listen to demagogues... like me.
Oct 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
A good read. His "brief" history of eliminationism in the U.S. -- native Americans, Chinese and Japanese immigrants, etc. -- was pretty depressing, but he shows, ominously, how the same language used to persecute those people then is being used again against Mexicans.
Sep 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Excellent history of the fascist impulse in American society and the current danger that the bilious rhetoric of the right presents.
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Brand: Fromagerie Edouard Conus
Feb 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Somewhat sensationalist. Ignores some of the history behind the hatred, and presents it as new rather than cyclical. Still, well researched for the current situation, and in important read.
Claire S
Sounds very scarily necessary..
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I consider this a must read. A great history of bigotry in our country, the power of right wing media and it gave me a clearer understanding of how fascism and Nazisim arise.
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