The Crank is right about one thing…naah, just kidding. Sorry but meaningful debate is deader than the Kentucky Darwin Museum. It’s why any discourse officially ended here on The Discord; it’s why I’ve decided to hunt ghosts in brewpubs instead of cover our pending collapse (Twilight of the Grogs?). Today, if you show any political insight whatsoever, you can be overturned with one Bachmannesque, crayon-graph backed rant.
Actually, in a Romney-style flip flop, I’m okay with a good chunk of your last rant, Mr. Crank. Check out my blogversaries’ last post here. I know you didn’t ask for my opinion, but oh well. You’ve finally realized you’re not going to get anything you want for Christmas from the Republican Party. Do I sense some buyer’s remorse, finally? Deviating from a Fox News talking point is rarer than an Iranian gay pride parade. I’ve often said you have a few good ideas Crank, but the GOP is never going to champion any of them.
That’s why I’ve suggested the Republican Party reform and encouraged the Tea Party to become a viable and distinct third party. Now who are you going to vote for? Oh, but I will contest one point, sir. I was in college for 19 years, not 20. It’s as easy to get these things right, you know. I would have tried to graduate earlier but the mandatory Noam Chomsky retreats were just too amazing! Yeah, I still remember those mornings saying the pledge of allegiance to George Soros, at noon we’d split up all of our lunch money equally and order out, and then in the afternoons we’d break into groups of healthcare death panels. Good times.
But instead of another riveting debate where I offer examples and you offer expletives, I prefer to discuss why this is happening. The reason why two reasonably intelligent people can no longer address the issues of our time is the issue of our time. There’s a reason why we’re all DEEF, as you call it (apparently some of us are DEEF and spell-checkless).
We’re being split down the middle like a Christmas goose by design. I just used that analogy to fuel the War on X-mas, bitches. I used the word bitches to ramp up the War on Women. I left out the Christ part in Christmas to spur on the Culture War, you hickwads. I added the word hickwads to…well, you get the idea.
Look, I was the one who tried to reach across the aisle, Crank, during that fake yawn…but then you went all James Holmes on me in the theater. Now it’s too late. We are officially two tribes: Republicans and Democrats, Progressives and Conservative, Left and Right….or as I call them dumb and dumber (check out my article from 2009).
But we’re not the only two people having trouble communicating, Crank. Both sides are entrenched in ideology. Recently, I heard Joe Biden say something like, “People don’t care about all the political details, they’re just out there trying to earn a living.” Bullshit! If you’re paying attention, you’ve already chosen sides. You are either a Maddow-loving-progressive (MLP), or you’re a Limbaugh-loving-Foxeteer (LLF). This is another one of my points that you’re now trying to make your point.
“Reasonable people can, depending on their vantage point and life situation, look at the same set of events and form different beliefs about them. These beliefs then become a filter that determines what they see and, indeed, what they look for. It is as if they enter separate but parallel realities.”
As for your comment on how toxic comment threads are these days, see my similar take on that subject here. Hey, I have an idea, why don’t you paraphrase one of my old articles and then use my own thoughts to tell me how wrong I am? That could be great fun.
Here’s the question we should be asking ourselves:
“Can a campaign be based on lies that are premised on a deeper invention of the past – and still win? Has [Roger] Ailes successfully created a new reality? We will find out. But what is at stake is the very empirical basis of our democratic debate. Are we about to live in a post-truth world? Is the Republican belief-system about to replace reality?”
For years this has been my “Henny Penny the sky is falling” issue. The Right is farther out there than Curiosity’s robotic arm drill thingy. At the Convention last week Paul Ryan made only about eight actual points and five of them turned out to be patently false. Nice ratio. The rest of the conventionites didn’t even bother to make any points at all, except to occasionally point to the debt clock and say, “pull my finger.” Eastwood even added, “Go ahead, make my Depends.” It was very moving (BM joke eliminated).
Then Romney explained how—by cutting absolutely nothing and starting a land war in Iran—we’re going to bring those deficit numbers back down to Earth…or, in his case, the Mormon planet Kolab.
Oh, and did you see Real Time with Bill Maher this week? Republican strategist Ron Christie came to Paul Ryan’s aid by saying we should “fact-check, the fact-checkers.” Umm, so you can refute these men and women pouring over our laws, statutes, and policies without any of your own factual information? That’s your suggestion? I can’t wait to see your “facts”, Ron…try using Foxipedia or the Palin-Latin Translator.
We already lost our journalists, so lay off our fact checkers! They’re all we have left! Shit, I’m being told they’ve been outsourced to Pakistan.
Reason itself is officially dead. If Socrates had watched the Republican Convention, I think he would have ordered a double hemlock. Besides all the cognitive distortions which I already covered here, there are also other psychological reasons behind this Foxeteer uprising. Apparently, individuals who feel out of control and frustrated display an ability to see patterns where none exist. In this study, that I first saw on Through the Wormhole, participants claimed to see shapes in a snowy monitor, but only if they were frustrated prior to the testing—only when conditions seemed out of their control.
I believe this study has implications for why conspiracy theories are so rampant in our society. Republicans, in particular, are desperately trying to make sense of a changing world, so patterns emerge from the white noise (aka, just stare at the Fox until you see the sailboat).
Oh, and recently I linked to a study that suggest Republican voters are the ones who show an inability to make real budget cut decisions. That study here. Another study even suggests a genetic component to our political differences.
“A great deal of literature in political science has focused on the importance of fear in the formation of attitudes, largely through social learning. However, several studies have linked fear, ethnocentrism, and out-group attitudes with genetic influences that operate through pathogen avoidance and phobias.”
No liberal or conservative genes are likely to be identified in the future, but certain genes could play a role in our decision making process. This evolutionary process—that reaches back to tribal thinking—has shaped our view of “out-group” members, which has implications for welfare reform, immigration, and more importantly that reality television series Survivor.
But if this is true, some of Karl Rove and Roger Ailes’ paranoid rhetoric may resonate further by targeting the triggering of these genes. Boo!
Using the DSM-IV (the official shrink book), I recently diagnosed the GOP and here are my results:
Axis I: Cognitive Disorder NOS
Axis II: Narcissistic Personality Disorder with Paranoid Traits
Rule out: Fictitious Disorder
Axis III: erectile dysfunction
Axis IV: socioeconomic problems caused by numerous unfunded programs and wars, while supporting ongoing unsustainable tax cuts to the rich
The level of their rigidity of thought has gone to plaid. What movie? Several licensed psychologists and psychiatrists agree with this assessment. Although this is meant as a joke, it’s disturbingly accurate. And, whereas erectile dysfunction was thrown in there for a cheap laugh, I’m sure the empirical evidence for that is cuming soon (sorry). Keep in mind, I diagnosed the collective. I’m not labeling any individual, but collectively the GOP is in need of a serious intervention.
Think this is over the top? No, that’s a Stallone movie about arm wrestling. This is true. The Right’s extremism is captured nicely in this Newsroom clip on HBO’s The Tea Party is the American Taliban. At one point Jeff Daniels reads this list showing the similarities between Tea and the Taliban:
“Ideological purity, compromise as weakness, a fundamentalist belief in scriptural literalism, denying science, unmoved by facts, undeterred by new information, a hostile fear of progress, a demonization of education, a need to control women’s bodies, severe xenophobia, a tribal mentality, intolerance of dissent, a pathological hatred of the US government.”
I know what the Crank would say to this, “Xenophobia? Bullshit! I’ve watched every Xena episode—sometimes even with the sound off!”
Okay then. Touché?
One New York Times’ author tried to explain why our current Republican ideology is thriving and how it keeps their ranks somewhat happier than other groups more mired in something called reality:
“What explains this odd pattern? One possibility is that extremists have the whole world figured out, and sorted into good guys and bad guys. They have the security of knowing what’s wrong, and whom to fight. They are the happy warriors.”
—Arthur C. Brooks
Well, in our case it’s the Cranky warrior, but he’s referring to that all-or-none thinking again. If you watched the GOP Convention last week, I don’t know how you could come away with anything but a deep existential nausea—a nausea on a level akin to Camus and Sartre deciding to move into Ayn Rand’s rectum. The GOP obviously has no cohesive plan on the foreign or the domestic fart…er, front. Sorry, I was looking at the debt clock again. They are only united in their hatred for Obama—a man destined to be ranked highly for his foreign policy and mediocre, at best, for his domestic policies. They have projected a slew of their own irrational fears and paranoia onto this man, or as Bill Maher refers to this projection, Obama X. The man in Clint Eastwood’s chair only exists as an abstract Republican thought-form. Oh, and did I mention they’re living with Camus and Sartre in Ayn Rand’s rectum?
“We Have a Choice. Our Governments and the huge, gigantic corporations that really run the world, are so invested in spreading fear, hatred and suspicion. Fear, Hatred, Suspicion. Again and again, and again. These messages are just churned out to us, dividing us, separating us, setting us against one another.”
Yes, despite a healthy distaste of all politics in general, I do spend most of my time commenting on the train wreck that is today’s conservatives. Republican reform is imperative. Here’s another example of how Andrew Sullivan over on The Dish is one of the most insightful bloggers of the 21st century:
“But at some point, conservatism must re-emerge, if only because we so desperately need it. Conservatism is, after all, a philosophy that tends to argue that less equals more, that restraint is sometimes more powerful than action, that delay is often wiser than headlong revolution. It reveres traditional rules and existing institutions, especially endangered elite institutions that the Founders designed to check and cool the popular will.”
—Andrew Sullivan, The Dish
Basically the Right wants a small government and a return to fiscal sanity:
Point 1: Small Government (of the drowning in the bathtub variety):
I agree. We’re almost all in agreement to limit some of this bureaucratic mess, like tax reform, TORT reform, etc, but our government will never be of the Grover Norquist, bathtub variety. We are a civilized society and such establishments come with inherent responsibilities. If you only support rampant firearms, the spirit of entrepreneurialism, and limited government move to friggin’ Columbia already.
But if you support the smallest government that adults can get away with, you can’t vote for either D or R. The only president who expanded our government more than Obama is George W. Bush (Homeland Insecurity?).
Point 2: Restoring Fiscal Sanity:
Over the last three decades Dems have clearly done a better job balancing our budget. Last week, when the Republican looked up at their Convention debt clock, they should have said. “Well, we’re responsible for about 65% of that pre-Obama cost and we’re responsible for the majority of the costly policies and wars during the Obama Administration. We successfully blocked Obama from stopping any of Bush’s unfunded policies, well, he did end the War in Iraq, the bastard, but when we get back in it’s Good Morning Tehran! Oh, and we also blocked a 10 to 1 austerity to taxes deal, because we want the economy to flounder until we’re back in power.”
Wow, I can see why they’re so popular.
This is a matter of historical record. Check out politifact.com to see who is the most frugal president in recent history (hint: it rhymes with Osama). Well, in all fairness to the Republicans, they did max out our credit cards before handing them over. Our debt involves Congressional Budget Office numbers, math, and an actual itemized bill of how much we spent on what war and which policy…you know, as translated by Fox News “a talking point”.
Okay, so the Dems are better at the fiscal thing, albeit slightly, and the Republican Party has shown no skills in either department whatsoever. Again, the Right should have considered reform, or started a viable third party—instead of birthering a group akin to the Taliban. Nice work. What do you do for your next trick? Oh, that’s right, you get someone in the Oval Office with even less insight than Bush Jr. Can’t wait. Hey, it’s material. Sorry I’m being so ethically nihilistic, but there was a little more room in Ayn Rand’s rectum, so…
Here’s another prediction:
Team Romney is going to be destroyed in every debate. The only thing they have going for them is that the format is barely a debate. In a true debate, they’d be crushed (Murder She Vote?).
Umm, I would like to add that last joke to my list of retractions. In fact, for those with Microsoft Office, if you would cut that out now and deposit into your recycle bins I would really appreciate it. Thanks.
Soooo, I’ve focused a lot of time over the years on why negotiations have broken down and the consensus is it’s primarily not a Democratic condition. I will admit the rhetoric is becoming just as intolerable and toxic on the left. The decision to polarize this country for whatever reason has worked. Without this bickering we would have proper reforms or, if need be, a proper revolution by now. I hope we never get to find out how disastrous a Romney Administration would be to this country.
But, the Republicans continue to crusade against an imaginary foe (faux foe?), their empty chair, Obama X. And when the Crank addresses my points, he too is yelling at some inanimate object or another.
During his last rant, the Crank focused on how no one is actually cutting spending. True story. This is why I backed the Deficit Commission recommendation and Simpson-Bowles—when they were proposed. Do you know if you use the search feature on the Discord, the Crank has never mentioned either of these proposals, ever?! And now folks like Chris Christie and Paul Ryan are championing Simpson-Bowles. Of course, they did this after they hit it over the head with a shovel and buried it in a shallow grave, but it’s progress…well, disingenuous progress, but progress nevertheless. I also backed your flat tax to some degree, Crank. It shifts too much of the burden to the poor, but the proposal is not without some merit. I too, understand how broke we are. You do have a few good insights Mr. Crank and, now that you’re disillusioned with the GOP, stop seeing shapes in the white noise and join the Transcosmetic Party. One more member and we’ll have doubled!
“Who would have thought something called The Daily Discord could seed so much discontent?”