Among the often unhelpful detritus of our educations, the impulse to create geometric depictions of abstractions can be among the most useless. From the instances in which lines and graphs and diagrams aid understanding we develop a habit of thought which becomes a block to viewing even parts of wider reality.
I remember the line that my dreadful, Bircher, World History teacher drew on the board with Marxism leading to socialism to liberalism, ever upwards (as, I always assumed, he would have it) to moderates to conservatives and on to fascists. And that is the most common graph of political positions which people carry around in their heads.
The present day Republican Party often seems to be rather confused about even that oversimplified convention and is quite willing to throw everything they figure will stick to Barack Obama, at times calling him names that even schematically, make no sense at all. You can chalk that up to the kind of ignorance that our education system, and even more so our mendacious media ensures in this age of insouciant liberty. The people want to be deceived, an ancient Roman said, which I used to take to be an aristocratic insult, and in his formulation it was. And it was exactly in rejection to that kind of aristocratic attitude that the public schools in the United States were instituted in the agricultural society of the 19th century. Among other things, the old public schools were meant as an incubator of democracy. But I’ll write more on the schools another time, our depleted and degraded schools aren’t a major player in this situation. Even the best schools can’t compete with the electronic mass media we have, they are the primary and secondary schools, they are the division of continuing education that have produced the American Public as it is today. It is the media which has given us the greatest danger to democracy since the 1950s.
Watching the tea party phenomenon, watching Sarah Palin and Scott Brown, Michele Bachman, etc, air headed liars of with nothing but plastic sex appeal and shamelessness to recommend them, as they and their less telegenic cohorts lie and lie and lie it’s become clear that more than just common ignorance is at play. They really mean it, what they say in the least coded of codes.
This conservatism isn’t merely a difference of opinions about the facts that liberals interpret differently. As I’ve been constantly shocked to discover, it’s not that these people believe things that are false, it’s that they don’t care if something isn’t true. No amount of proof is going to break through because they don’t care that their positions are lies. They aren’t interested in what’s real and what isn’t even if it’s forced on them. Like those folks living on various forms of government assistance who are a surprisingly obvious part of the loony Republican mainstream, their hate and resentment completely overcomes any connection to even their personal situation.
For us and the media to not recognize this is an entirely off chart development in our politics is dangerous, these people have to be exposed for the dangerous crack pots they are because, thanks to the Republican right of the Supreme Court and the gun lobby, they are very heavily armed and dangerous. This has nothing to do with moderate or liberal politics, this is entirely different, it is more like a hostile force intent on destroying democracy and every vestige of progress. Look at how the “moderate” Republicans in the Senate have acted during the past four years. They are the frontier of the conquered, they don’t dare take stands on principle or on evidence or reason that will stir up the FOX - Republican hate talk radio addled right because they know they will be deposed by them. They are worried about challenges from the base of their party, which is now comprised of the crazies. Their capitulation is the hard proof of how dangerous this is.
The old rules of liberal niceness or even the pretenses of moderate civility aren’t in effect anymore, no one is playing by them except those liberals who you will see on TV or on the radio. You can’t reason with these people. The media that pretends this is something to mildly discuss with the two conservabots from the media and guess pools and the obligatory Brookings quisling are engaged in an enablement operation for these people.
Newt Gingrich talked the other day about the 1850s. I’ll bet that not two percent of his cheering, addled fans understood the import of that and as they cheered they didn’t care. It was a declaration of intent to foment another civil war. The clear statements couched in veiled language for these crackpots who are already armed and dangerous to get ready is incitement to kill. This is very serious and we have to give up our self-deceiving reluctance to face that truth. This is sedition against democracy, it is pathological zealotry. It can’t be countered by ACLU rules, they don’t intend to be civil with the liberties they have been handed.
Those are real guns and bullets they're stockpiling, they are real explosive devices. They aren't just collectors.