Friday, August 7, 2009

Has the Right Gone Crazy?

"Adolf Hitler issued six million end of life orders--he called his program the final solution. I kind of wonder what we're going to call ours," - a spokesman for the Patients First bus tour, fighting healthcare reform.

Okay, I admit that the question in the post title is rhetorical. The Right has been crazy for a long time.

But there seems to be an uptick in loopiness lately. A surge of insanity. A new benchmark for bonkers.

Protesting healthcare reform, the right has decided to connect it to fascism. Rush Limbaugh has been comparing Obama to Hitler all week. The townhall protests taking place are rife with swastikas and clever posters of Obama with a Charlie Chaplin 'stache. I'd go through a list of reasons why this comparison makes no sense, but it is such a complete non sequitor, so totally out of left field (right field?), that there is really no way to break it down into reasonable chunks.

For a long time I've felt like conservatives were living in opposite land, where supporting rights for minorities makes you a racist. Where not wanting palestinian homes to be run over by tanks makes you an anti-semite. Where desiring children and poor people to have access to doctors makes you a thief and (apparently) a fascist.

What I think is happening is effectively this: progressives have won the ideological war. In a profound way conservatives have been forced to incorporate into their own world view fundamental progressive truths like "racism is bad." Having accepted these truths, but still not wanting to be associated with progressives they impotently hurl insults at progressives inadvertently inverting the meaning of the words they are using as they do. Fundamentally, they know that Hitler was a bad man and they are angry at Obama so they compare Obama to Hitler, but there is no comprehension there. No actual awareness of why Hitler was so bad.

This is profound cognitive dissonance at work. They've accepted that the ideologies of conservatism are evil, without wanting to cease to identify as conservatives. So the new way to insult a liberal is to call him or her a conservative. Take that!

9 comments:

Adrenalin Tim said...

Right on. Political discourse has devolved to the playground taunt "I know you are but what am I?"

Doug Hagler said...

For the left, presidential "fascism" is stripping away civil liberties, creating secret prisons, torturing people without even formal charges, lying to get us into a war, and massively expanding presidential power. Also some other stuff.

For the (lunatic? or mainstream? isn't clear) right, "fasicsm" is the belief that everyone should get to see a doctor when they're sick.

I think its clear, and will be "progressively" more clear as time rolls past, who is really sick in this situation.

Jodie said...

So,

Should Obama's health plan cover mental health treatment of right wingers?

Or should we just let them become homeless?

Hummmm....

Seriously, I am amazed at the current right wing ideology in America. It is mindless in every way, and has collapsed into nothing but name-calling. Almost like reverse evolution is taking place. There must be an angst that drives it, but I can't figure out what that is.

Pam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug Hagler said...

I think they should get the Reagan treatment, all get booted out of long-term care facilities, become homeless and die of curable diseases.

I mean, that's what the Gipper would do, right?

In all seriousness, I think the crazy is being driven by the following:

They got everything they wanted, and they lost. They got Dubya...twice. They got two wars. They got spineless Democrats who voted for the Patriot Act I and II. They got secret prisons and executive privilege covering every track. They got two Supreme Court nominees. They got tax cuts for the ultra-rich (and tiny ones for us I guess. I mean, the $300 I got was still $300). They even got their horrifying Leave No Child Behind test-fest. They got a pass for Katrina.

And they lost. The lost the presidency, they lost the congress, they lost the trust of the American people and they lost their approval ratings.

If only the Democrats had something better to offer. I'm still waiting for it.

August 8, 2009 12:33 PM

Jodie said...

Freedom?

To think?
To have faith?

Jodie said...

An interesting article at:

http://www.alternet.org/politics/141819/is_the_u.s._on_the_brink_of_fascism/

Some quotes:

"America's conservative elites have openly thrown in with the country's legions of discontented far right thugs. They have explicitly deputized them and empowered them to act as their enforcement arm on America's streets, sanctioning the physical harassment and intimidation of workers, liberals, and public officials who won't do their political or economic bidding.

This is the catalyzing moment at which honest-to-Hitler fascism begins. It's also our very last chance to stop it."

[...]


"It's so easy right now to look at the melee on the right and discount it as pure political theater of the most absurdly ridiculous kind. It's a freaking puppet show. These people can't be serious. Sure, they're angry -- but they're also a minority, out of power and reduced to throwing tantrums. Grown-ups need to worry about them about as much as you'd worry about a furious five-year-old threatening to hold her breath until she turned blue.

Unfortunately, all the noise and bluster actually obscures the danger. These people are as serious as a lynch mob, and have already taken the first steps toward becoming one. And they're going to walk taller and louder and prouder now that their bumbling efforts at civil disobedience are being committed with the full sanction and support of the country's most powerful people, who are cynically using them in a last-ditch effort to save their own places of profit and prestige."

[That would be the angst I am looking for]

"We've arrived. We are now parked on the exact spot where our best experts tell us full-blown fascism is born. "

"Every day that the conservatives in Congress, the right-wing talking heads, and their noisy minions are allowed to hold up our ability to govern the country is another day we're slowly creeping across the final line beyond which, history tells us, no country has ever been able to return."

Having spent my youth on that threshold, I have to say America today sounds eerily familiar. And I am really worried.

Doug Hagler said...

Though I think the above might be a little over the top in terms of worry, it is worth noting, perhaps that fascism grew out of democratic states and was a violent reaction against the perceived threat of socialism.

The fantasy of the Right is that socialism will leave American in ruins. The fact of history, however, is that it was fascism that left Europe in ruins, and that those European states have chosen socialism to pull themselves out of the ruins since WWII. We all know the hyper-right position is a failure. The middle-left position of socialism practiced in Europe, however, has a lot of successes.

So I'm not sure what the screaming is about.

I am quite sure, however, that neither Obama nor Limbaugh and his ilk are real Nazi-class fascists. To claim otherwise, to me, is to simply forget history altogether.

There's a lot separating proposing a national health-care option, or blathering into a microphone while high on Oxycontin, or even screaming at a town hall meeting because you're being paid and trained by conservative groups...and putting people into ovens.

Jodie said...

It's the totalitarian autocratic police states that worry me.

They can do a lot of damage short of tossing scapegoats into ovens.

(the political spectrum is really a circle. It has a dark side where left and right meet)

The reason the right likes them so much is because they are all about rules and discipline and order.

Orthodoxy at its finest.

The way you get there is by claiming that without them you are going to fall apart under anarchy. It's a primordial fear in Western Civilization. The Barbarians are at the gate. Chaos is upon us. The Apocalypse is here. A self fulfilling prophesy of doom.

I think its related to our fear of snakes and spiders.

On the bright side of the political circle is Faith.

Faith is the opposite of fear.