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American Hate-Based Politics

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History has proven again and again that the skillful demonization of a despised and feared group of outsiders, or a fifth column of insiders, is a great means of consolidating authority over a society and ensuring obedience. The Nazis used the Jews primarily, but also homosexuals, and gypsies, and to a lesser extent anyone who wasn’t properly Aryan as the bogeymen of their political psychodrama. The Stalinists used the petit bourgeoisie and the Kulaks. The Red Chinese used intellectuals, professionals and, ironically in hindsight, capitalist-roaders. But never has there been an odder, more cobbled together, and highly selective out-group and unlikely set of internal traitors than those presented for the voter’s wrath and revilement by the modern GOP.

The cast of cretins includes welfare mothers (‘queens’ in New Speak); drug dealers and their reliably criminal users; sexual deviants of all sorts; homosexuals and lesbians (though arguably they are just a stop on the slippery slope to pedophilia and bestiality in the GOP’s eyes, especially the ones who try to marry each other); unwed mothers, unless they are lesbians, in which case they should cannot be wed and should become nuns; anyone seeking an abortion; the doctors who perform those abortions, or who allow people to die with dignity (Euthabortionists); immigrants (especially of the Mexican [meaning any brown skinned] variety; foreigners in general (but especially those with brown skin and Qurans); anyone who might use violence or property destruction as a political tool (terrorists, especially Muslims, especially Arabs, and especially Environmentalists or Animal Rights activists, but NOT right-wing nationalists or racists); intellectuals are suspect unless they work for a Right wing think-tank or Christian college; intellectuals who appear in the print, audio, or video media and question Right wing orthodoxy are the worst of the internal enemies and form the corporate enemy – the Liberal Media Establishment. Where it is established is a topic that is not an acceptable subject of inquiry.

Recent additions to the internal enemies list are traitorous whistle-blowers in the diplomatic, executive, or intelligence services. All are jealous and disappointed hacks who have documented major flaws and errors in policy to embarrass and weaken the United States in eyes of our enemies. Worst of all internal enemies are the dastardly and cowardly men and women who claim to have served our country in our glorious armed forces and have come back with tales of war crimes, human rights abuses, environmental nightmares, ill-health, mental breakdowns, and any other sort of counter-revolutionary folderol. Shame on them. They have been given the opportunity to put their lives on the line for poverty wages, lacking proper protective equipment (apparently, dead soldiers were cheaper than armor until recently) and, damn it, they should be grateful, not shooting their mouths off and asking for expensive medical treatments, asking questions of their superiors, or asking for ‘conscientious coward’ status.

If you were to gauge the greatest danger to America by GOP rhetoric, it wouldn’t be who you might expect, like Osama bin Laden, whom we have had ‘on the run’ for almost 4 years now (you’d think a sick old man would have gotten tired by now from all that running). No, America’s enemies are poor lesbian Latina immigrant mothers on WIC, pregnant and headed for an abortion clinic, with an illicit Klonopin addiction, who have converted to Islam, are members of Earth First! and/or PETA, hold Ph.D.s in media studies from Berkeley, are officers working in any of the Defense intelligence agencies with the dirt on the Bush Administration, and the will to use it.

The left isn’t entirely free of this sort of nonsense, either. The bogeymen of the left are foreign workers who are taking our jobs (not untrue, but enmity toward working people anywhere isn’t an answer); Christians who are intent on overthrowing our Constitution (very few Christians are that extreme in their politics – many are outraged about a few issues, but most wouldn’t dream of supporting a revolution of any sort – the beliefs of many would put them in the Democratic party but for a few wedge issues); political operatives skulking about and rigging elections (I’ve seen little direct evidence of actual voter fraud, though the resistance to auditable electronic elections by the GOP is very suspect), and big corporations out to dominate our lives and our government (well, even paranoiacs have enemies – I think corporations are out of control, any economic force that big is bound to have a very distorting effect on public life if not carefully and vigorously held in check).

We must be careful not accede to the Siren’s song of the politics of fear and hatred, or we too could find ourselves too far down the radical road to find our way back. We can only lead the GOP back from the edge by setting a positive example, not by emulating their poor one, no matter how successful it may be.

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  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Wow, and here I thought the only enemies we had to fear were leftist whack-job paranoid blogger.

    Dave

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    How nice of you to point out the haters on the left. Unfortunately as a white, anglo saxon, hetero, born again, Bible thumping, married with children, conservative with advanced degree, living in Inglewood, CA with my 50% Mexican wife, I think your depiction of people like me is bigoted to the max. As my very liberal playwrite, Jr. College drama professor says: I’m the only person he knows who admits to being a conservative. I suspect that is true of Michael, also. Do you really know people like you describe or is do you get your stereotypes from leftist tv, radio and websites?

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    Please call back when you have a real grip on reality.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I happen to agree with this post for the most part. Conservatives have demonized liberalism, they have demonized secularism as nothing but an intentional assault on Christianity, they have demonized gay people as predators, they have demonized immigrants as all being gang members, the list, as the post points out, goes on and on.

    When you are a conservative, conservatism is all about creating a world that you and only people like you fit into. When you are not a conservative, conservatism demonizes you. If you want proof of that, just read any conservative article.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    oh, and another thing. When someone from such a hateful ideology calls YOU wacko, it’s a compliment.

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    If those who are posting and writing in this thread will go back and reread what they have said, but put in the name of any protected minority group, they will see why I have suggested that the comments are biggoted.

    That there are folks all over the political spectrum who are haters is undeniable. That there are people of every stripe who wish everyone was like them is certainly hard to debate. But the very things that Steve and Michael are unhappy about, they have fallen into the trap of doing . . . demonizing everyone in a group based on stereotypes.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Saying that conservatives have demonized liberalism is not demonizing conservatives. It is stating fact.

    Consider the titles of conservative books. ‘Deliver us from Evil’, ‘How to speak to a liberal, if you have to’, etc.

    Of course if I point this out, then I am the one demonizing.

    Conservatives demonize secularism. They portray secularists as anti-God. This is a proven fact, listen to any conservative leader speak about the Godlessness of the Left. It’s all wrong, most of the Left believes in God. It is not demonizing conservatives to point out this fact.

    Conservatives demonize gay people. They portray us as predators and compare our monogamous relationships between two consenting adults to pedophilia and beastality. It is not demonizing conservatives to state this as fact. Just look at the conservative discussions right here at BC to see substantiation of that.

    Conservatives portray immigrants as the ‘dregs of society’, just look at the immigrant threads here. It is not demonizing conservatives to point out their own comments.

    With free speech comes accountability. Conservative ideology demonizes that which is not conservative. As a non-conservative, I do not see that as demonizing conservatives but as pointing out fact.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    This thread should have its title changed to ‘Pot Calling the Kettle Black’. Liberals do just as much or more to demonize conservatives in just as many outrageous ways, including most of these accusations of conservative intolerance.

    When anyone makes a demonizing attack from either side there is usually a kernal of truth, either some far out group that actually holds the beliefs being attacked, or some similar but innofensive belief or practice which can be misconstrued.

    When a conservative accuses liberals of supporting welfare queens, they’re not doing it out of the blue, they’re remembering a couple of real cases – like the woman in Baltimore who was trading in foodstamps while driving a cadillac and living in suburban luxury off the profits. When liberals spread similar hate about fat-cat CEOs, they’ve got a point – there are a few – but there are far more who run smaller companies who make reasonable salaries, and who may actually be liberals themselves. In fact, some of the wealthiest CEOs are big time Democratic activists

    This is a knife which cuts both ways, and the original post really doesn’\t represent that fundamental reality.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Speaking for only myself, Dave, I would agree with you, although I don’t think that when somebody talks about the ‘bad’ of something, they must always include references to other things. Meaning perhaps the demonizing of conservatives by extreme liberals can have it’s own thread for discussion.

    Just like when I introduce my family, there shouldn’t always have to be a disclaimer, in the same vein, when we discuss the likes of Hannity, Coulter, Dobson, etc. we shouldn’t have to bring up Peta or Earth First.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Can’t disagree with you Steve, because usually when you discuss a particular problem you focus on the specifics of it, and there’s no logic to bringing in balancing points.

    However, this article paints with a very broad, very general brush, essentially saying that all conservatives are hatemongers, bigots and hypocrites, and while I don’t expect the author to provide balance, it isn’t a fair or particularly accurate assessment and that needs to be pointed out.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    “I happen to agree with this post for the most part.” was the first comment I made here. I should have been more elaborate, I should have seen the focal point people would stick too.

    The article should have been written, not as conservatives demonize, but that conservative ideology does. And then it should be pointed out that not every conservative adopts their sides platform/ideology 100%, and yes, just like liberals don’t adopt all liberal ideology.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    and okay, to be fair to Dave, who I do feel tries to be fair to me, the TRUE conservative ideology does not demonize, but of those that are in power, not just in politics but in the civic arena as well, have twisted conservativism to meet their own ends and in that twisting comes the demonizing.

    That better?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Those who twist the truth and actually do spread hate deserve all the demonizing you can slap on them. I just don’t like to see it spilling over into a blanket condemnation of all conservatives or all members of the GOP or everyone who lives in the south or midwest.

    Dave

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Sounds fair.

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    While driving to and from the barber, this thought came to mind. Those who are looking for attention for their ideas or for their personal fame probably find that they get more of that attention when they yell really loud or really push buttons.

    It works like that in interpersonal relationships, too. Some get lots of attention and even get their way by being loud, tough, even mean. It works, they keep doing it. It doesn’t make it right, but it works for them.

    In just the couple of weeks that I’ve been playing in this pool, my ideas have gotten the most attention when they have been the “loudest.”

    What I consider to be a very middle of the road post on immigration got scant attention, even though it is a hot button issue. Wonder how much more action would have come to that post if I’d been more strident or mean.

  • Nancy

    Maybe I’m missing something: I read the post and it specifically goes into not only conservatives demonizing liberals, but liberal demonizing as well. How is this unbalanced?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    He does indeed have a paragraph at the end on leftist demonizing of the right, but it’s clear he sort of agrees with their demonization – it’s a much weaker presentation than he makes in the rest of the article – half hearted at best.

    Dave

  • http://www.blogforarizona.com Michael

    Thanks for all the good comments.

    I don’t claim to be impartial. I am a liberal and make no bones about it. That said, I do recognize the glimmerings on the Left of the sort of hateful rhetoric the Right too often employs.

    Steve S’s comment was very useful. Indeed, I should have said that those in power have twisted conservative ideology into one of hatred and exclusion. I agree that true Conservatism has no need for such tactics. I am a great admirer of much of what Barry Goldwater stood for. In fact, much of the civil libertarian tradition, budgetary restraint, and limited and balanced goverment beliefs of real Conservatism are damned fine things, and have found their way into the modern Progressive movements of both the left (think Deaniacs) AND the right (think Perotgies and McCainans).

    My intent was not to paint all conservatives as bigots; they are not. But, much of the modern rise of the GOP over the past 30 years can be attibuted to preying upon the very hateful and bigoted themes I point out in the article. Does this mean that it’s likely that many Conservatives respond favorably to fear and bigotry on election day? Yep. But that isn’t a Conservative trait so much as it is a human one.

    The Democratic party could become every bit as demonizing, racist, and bigoted if it makes the wrong choices. I’m warning against the understandable impulse to emulate success.

  • http://www.blogforarizona.com Michael

    It occurs to me that I should add something more.

    When I say, “Does this mean that it’s likely that many Conservatives respond favorably to fear and bigotry on election day?” This could also be answered, “Yep. But many conservatives also have to hold their nose to vote GOP because of it.”

    That would be more accurate.

  • Bob

    I think one of the main problems is the assumption that there is a singular liberal or conservative ideology, rather than a near infinate blend of beliefs in various people. I call it the column A or B view.

    Quick quiz: I

    support progressive taxation, but feel it should be aimed much further up the food chain. Heartily support the “death tax” but again feel a much larger exemption is in order. Believe in elimination of many of the wealth protection loopholes.

    Oppose gun control (Including all of the “reasonable” comprimises)

    Oppose Illegal immigration, & feel legal immigration should be cut back substantially.

    can best describe my views on abortion as “torn”

    Believe in legalizing marijauna, & a vastly more treatment oriented approach to people with drug problems.

    view Political correctness as one of the greatest dangers of the modern world.

    Support private sector unions, but hate the teachers unions. Believe education is a right, but that this doesn’t necissarily mean public schools.

    firmly support protectionism for American jobs & industries over unfettered free trade.

    Believe that the police & prosecutors often lie to obtain conviction, & often convict innocent people. None the less I have never had a problem with either & generally support them.

    Hate the Patriot act while simultaneously feeling that it is probably necissary.

    Have allmost nothing in common with John Ashcroft, but can’t figure out why so many of you hate him? He hasn’t had a single Waco, Ruby Ridge, or Elian Gonzoles yet.

    Agree with the ACLU half the time & hate their guts the other half.

    So, am I right or left wing? Liberal or conservative? These labels are overly simplistic.;

  • Bob

    comment 19

    “Yep. But many conservatives also have to hold their nose to vote GOP because of it.”

    Yep. 9 times out of 10 thats me. I often describe the Republican party as the party that screws me over a little less & more slowly.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    You sound like you’re in the same camp with me, Bob – a Reluctant Republican. Your values sound a lot like those of the traditional Republican party before it got invaded by the Neocons.

    Dave

  • Bob

    Fairly accurate Dave, other than this silly “war on drugs” & a few other things. But where do I have to go? Democrats have gone so loony left that they are not even an option. Besides, I REALLY don’t want to lose the war on terror & be a slave under a Muslim theocracy.

  • HW Saxton

    Pretty good post and agree with about
    75% of it. My one point of contention,if
    it can be called that is about all the
    Fundies. You state that that most of the
    “Christians” aren’t that radical and you
    may be right. Unfortunately,it seems to
    be that the ones with influence,money &
    lobbying power are.Which casts the rest
    of them in a suspect light.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>Fairly accurate Dave, other than this silly “war on drugs” & a few other things. < <

    Hell, I'm not for the War on Drugs either. I think Bush might be shocked to hear how many Americans think the War on Drugs is a waste of time.

    If we're going to fight a war, let's make it the War on Terror and stop wasting resources on the pointlessness of the War on Drugs.

    >>But where do I have to go? Democrats have gone so loony left that they are not even an option. < <

    That's pretty much the way I feel. I wish more and more that there were a viable third party option.

    >>Besides, I REALLY don’t want to lose the war on terror & be a slave under a Muslim theocracy.<<

    I don’t think that will ever come to pass here in the US, but in fighting against that possibility we may end up in almost as bad shape.

    Dave

  • http://www.blogforarizona.com Michael

    Bob, I think that if there is going to be a theocracy in America, it will be Christian (~70%), not Muslim (~2%). If there is a valid reason to fear for our freedom, the threat is much more likely to come for within than from without. The terrorist attacks, even 9/11, are like mosquito bites on the ass of elephant. The bites won’t kill the elephant, but the malaria might. In this analogy extremism, absolutism, militarism, xenophobia, and theocracy would be valid candidates for role of the disease.