I’ve been through this scenario many a time. When we talk about religion, we talk about fundamentalism. You know the drill. It’s a deeply emotional psychological expression. Folks who are in need of surety in life, who need rules and assured outcomes, gravitate to religious expressions that give them a blueprint. Do it this way, believe this set of principles, all will be well. And for goodness sake don’t begin to entertain even the Possibility that someone else Might, Might, just MIGHT have a alternative that might be true. BLASPHEMY! Stop your ears, squeeze tight your eyes. If you even listen, God will consider that a defection!
I began to wonder, is this true of the fringe political landscape? Is this true of right and left at the extremes? I rather think so, yet, as in religion, I don’t think that the left suffers from the malady.
I consider myself to be a fearless liberal. I believe, as the Contrarian is wont to say, in the perfect world that someday will come. We will give up this silly notion of nation state, we will use our resources worldwide for all, yada yada yada. I truly do believe it, mind you, but you can envision it without me laying it all out.
But at the same time, I fully admit, that I may be wrong. We may not grow up as I envision, and we main remain locked in petty squabbles and our own insecurities and selfish behavior. And we may disappear as a species, having nearly destroyed the planet in the process.
Because of this, I can concede that there may be arguments on the right that are worthy of listening to, and they may actually have a point here and there. I’m willing to listen. I’m not willing to listen to “death panel” crap, nor Glenn Beck nor most of Foxy Noise which is insane at this point in their desire to topple a president at any cost.
I am also convinced that the far right is not at all willing to listen to me. They are not able to concede that anything I believe or say could possibly be right. Not possible.
And that is why I conclude that those on the far right fringe are in fact political fundamentalists. They have developed a worldview in which they feel comfortable, in which they can operate, feeling whole and in charge of their destines. Nothing that might upset that is allowed. Racism, sexism, and all that stuff emanates from such people not because they can logically defend those positions, but because they NEED them to be true for their world to be livable.
We’ve been through racism and such before. Some folks cannot abide their own lives, and their failure to be rich and famous in any other way, than to say, “well at least I’m not _________. ” Fill in the blank. Black, Hispanic, gay, a woman, Muslim. Somebody is at the bottom, and it ain’t me. I don’t have to make excuses for my poor performance in life, I’m sorta average, because I can point to groups who are worse off than me.
We hear at the town hall meetings this rant, that “My America has been taken from me, I want it back.” We know the code. Your white power America is taken away, and thus your ability to associate with its power by association. Now I got to find my importance on my own. NO!
You see, it’s much as Martin Buber told us. Is it I-Thou or I-It? I’m a I-Thou kinda person. I have to be, because the moment I give in to the possibility that you may have a valuable contribution (no matter than I think it unlikely more often than not), I grant you equal status with me. You are equally human.
To the extreme right, it is heretical to consider the possibility that I have anything valuable to add, thus, I an not equal, I am simply wrong. Period. I am an it. I am an obstacle to your getting your vision of America installed.
No doubt many could see my stance as self-serving. I’m standing on the podium and pointing down at the those who are “unreasonable.” And I suppose that is true. No doubt there are radical lefties who want the entire right machine-gunned tomorrow. But they are precious few I would contend. And I believe truly and honestly, that the psychological need of the extreme right to have the world constructed in a way that feels good, is compelling in the same way that an addict craves his drugs or booze. I think we have to realize that.
Nobody is totally and completely illogical for no reason. You can’t spout death panels and Kenyan citizenship because its rational to do so, it’s because you are absolutely sure that your world will collapse in a heap, everything good lost, and all sorts of satanic evils will ensue if the other side wins. They don’t believe they are racist, or unfair, or any of that. They believe they are right; that most people are poor for a reason, most people are drug addicts for a reason, and no amount of coddling will change that. Only hard talk and refusal to support such people is really helpful.
But since I can see that they may have valuable points to make, here and there, it behooves me to listen. And on blogs, we mostly don’t. We play with the group that agrees with us. You and I read blogs that agree with our mindset. I do way too much. I want to do better.
Give me the names of some of the conservative blogs you read. Ignoring them is not an answer I don’t think. I’m broadening my horizons again. Just no Glenn Beck or Sean for me please. That is going too far into “I only say it for my economic gain.” Who do you read that rankles your peace and pushes your buttons?