Jesse Helms’s Politics of Pious Incitement
This introduction places Jesse Helms in the context of modern conservatism and the Republican Party. Helms is compared to Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, William F. Buckley, and Barry Goldwater. Helms shared the racial views of his fellow southerners and the ideological commitments of the conservative movement. He differed from Wallace and Thurmond in their eschewal of race mixing because of his intentions to bring about a southern realignment with the GOP. Helms believed southern conservatives had to adjust their racial language to national norms, but this did not necessarily entail significant change. Helms developed his own cultural, media, and racial politics, which the Raleigh News and Observer labeled pious incitement. Pious incitement was an outrage-driven, symbolic politics that offered moral indignation, sensation, and exaggeration to build conservatism. He created a rhetorical moral community of conservatives and denied entry to liberals and moderates, including most Democrats, the mainstream media, and African Americans. The developments of the 1960s—from the Supreme Court rulings on prayer to the emergence of a counterculture that challenged traditional values—gave Helms’s pious incitement more traction.
Florida Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.