E25: Fascism & Demagoguery (w/ CV Vitolo-Haddad)
On today’s show, Alex and Calvin discuss demagoguery and far-right rhetoric with CV Vitolo-Haddad, a doctoral candidate in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Director of Debate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In particular, we discuss CV’s recent publication in Rhetoric Society Quarterly - “The Blood of Patriots: Symbolic Violence and “The West” - which focuses on the rhetoric of the far-right group known as the “Proud Boys.”
This article explores how the Proud Boys are motivated by an imagined, at-risk spatial terrain of whiteness known as “the West” (or “Western civilization”). In our discussion, CV explains what such groups’ demagogic rhetoric can teach us about the paradoxes of demagoguery more broadly: from their vacillation between a rhetoric of strength and violence to one of victimization and precarity, to their attachment to “a libertarian aesthetic of freedom” which often occludes their truly authoritarian politics. We also discuss the pros and cons of publicly debating the far-right, with CV sharing some best practices from direct experience.
Works & Concepts Cited in this Episode
Roberts-Miller, P. (2017). Demagoguery and democracy. The Experiment.
Roberts-Miller, P. (2019). Rhetoric and demagoguery. SIU Press.
Vitolo-Haddad, C. V. (2019). The blood of patriots: Symbolic violence and “the west”. Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 49(3), 280-296.
Walden, D. (2018, 28 June). Dismantling the “west.” Current Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/06/dismantling-the-west