Noted UW-Madison Environmental Historian William Cronon turns his exceptional research and writing skills to the resurgent Right and posts a must-read, annotated essay online, here.
As he explains in his:
"A Study Guide for Those Wishing to Know More""After watching the sudden and impressively well-organized wave of legislation being introduced into state legislatures that all seem to be pursuing parallel goals only tangentially related to current fiscal challenges–ending collective bargaining rights for public employees, requiring photo IDs at the ballot box, rolling back environmental protections, privileging property rights over civil rights, and so on–I’ve found myself wondering where all of this legislation is coming from."
Take the time to read it.
Cronon focuses on the training offered to conservative legislators by ALEC, the American Leadership Exchange Council - - and I swear I have seen attendance at or travel to its meetings by Republican legislators listed on state legislative ethics disclosure statements.
I had also found earlier that ALEC is another recipient of Koch Industries funding, so you can see that the financial and strategic influence of Koch Industries and other conservative/libertarian funders extends to entities with lower profiles, than, say, than, say, Americans for Prosperity or the Cato Institute or The Heritage Foundation.
Cronon notes the Right's impressive ability to organize and networ, adding:
"Again, I want anyone reading this post to understand that I am emphatically not questioning the legitimacy of advocacy networks in a democracy. To the contrary: I believe they are essential to democracy.}A big ALEC effort these days, according to its website is undermining attention to and belief in climate change. It also offers materials on school choice, state budgets, public pensions and "undoing Obamacare."
You get the picture.
Prof. Cronon has done a service as a historian to help people understand what's behind headlines and trends and events that began long before the 2010 election and also to explain the direction in which we're being pulled.
As he concludes:
"...what we’ve witnessed in Wisconsin during the opening months of 2011 did not originate in this state, even though we’ve been at the center of the political storm in terms of how it’s being implemented. This is a well-planned and well-coordinated national campaign, and it would be helpful to know a lot more about it."