Sean Hannity recently unveiled a new feature on his show. The idea was obviously to imitate Keith Olbermann’s “Worst person in the world.” Guess what Hannity’s segment is called. Are you ready? Enemy of the State. (Here's a clip for the incredulous.)
Usually I’m just enraged whenever I catch a few minutes of Hannity’s show, during the rare occasions when I visit the Zombie Channel out of morbid curiosity. In this case, however, I had to laugh at the sheer stupidity of the title. Of course this guy is not known for his intellectual abilities (the fact that the President has chosen to be interviewed by this lug is an indicator of how far we have sunk). But this goes beyond his normal level of imbecility, because even on supposedly conservative terms, the title is an incredible gaffe that only makes Hannity look like a clown.
Elevating the state to sacred status is not a characteristic strategy of the American right, at least not in recent years. The standard horseshit, distilled into a fine brown liquid by Ronald Reagan, is that we need less government. Self-reliance and individual effort are the bywords, and state interference is to be avoided. It was never strictly true, only a code for profit-making untrammeled by ethics, but here it’s as if Hannity has unwittingly revealed the fascist subtext. Here’s Mussolini, for instance: “…the Fascist conception of power is for the State; and it is for the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State.” I could pick any number of other quotes from the Nazis that say the same thing. For that matter, the Soviet line was identical, except that they would say “the people” or “the workers” or “the Party” instead of “the State,” but it’s the same damn thing in the end.
So by choosing “Enemy of the State” as the title of his segment, Hannity ennobles any and every person he might choose to name. (His first choice was Sean Penn, the lucky bastard.) But really, what liberty-loving American of any political persuasion wouldn’t feel honored to be called an enemy of the state? It’s about the same as being called a freedom fighter or a patriot. The only people that would not wish to be named by Sean Hannity would be craven, sniveling cowards whose only ambition is to blend into the mass of state worshippers, or at the most to gain the approval of their masters. Hannity has gauged his true audience and his judgment is clear: the ideal viewer of his show is a sheep.