“We are again locked in war,” says Roger Bell. “Locked in an ideological battle, locked in the language — very exaggerated language — of ideological conflict.”
Roger Bell, Professor of International Studies at the University of New South Wales, isn’t surprised that the debates and contexts of McCarthyism have resurfaced.
[These debates are] particularly about free speech, and in a broader sense also about — in the American case — about Americanism, and un-American activities, about traitors within, about evil enemies etc.
So when Bush speaks in my view in very exaggerated terms, about the evil of Islam, or the evil of terrorism, he, as it were, takes the political rhetoric to another level. And when acts such as the Patriot Act are invoked domestically to repress or to limit freedom of expression at home, then it’s to be expected that many of those traditional debates in a democratic society will re-surface.
Part of a much longer conversation in ABC Radio National program The Media Report last week. Worth a listen. (transcript) (podcast)