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Most of us tend to think of religion when we hear the word fundamentalism. At least I always have. Yet, recently I’ve been looking at it from a broader prospective.

This has been brought on by the inexplicable support that average low, middle, and high-end working class folks are giving to policies that are diametrically in opposition to their own self interest. And for many of these people, religion is something they barely think about, other than to give lip service to a general “belief in God.”

Much of this has come forth as I’ve been continually surprised, shocked, but often confirmed in the positions taken by the uber right-wing extremist. In other words, while I can usually predict their “position” on any given issue, occasionally I am truly surprised and quite puzzled.

The more I have thought about it, the more I have reached the conclusion that fundamentalism is a concept much broader and greater than simply religion. The need for certainty, something to cling to as “always true” and what “will work” is seductive to a certain type of person.

Let me say, that the book pictured is not one that I have read. I chose it for its statement of truth as I see it. I quick look at Amazon’s description suggests that it probably refers mostly to religion, but perhaps may go further. The author is a psychoanalyst and may perhaps delve more into the mindset of the afflicted personality rather than discuss the inerrancy of the Bible for instance.

Why do working class people, who have by and large had little or no increase in salary or benefits for years still support policies that are meant to reduce the influence of unions, reduce environmental protections that protect our air and water from pollution? Why are they unalterably opposed to global warming? Why do they decry government regulations on business practices in an effort to forestall more economic meltdowns? Why the opposition to universal health care? Why? Surely these things cannot contribute to their largess in any way, but function solely to at best make their lives more drab and awful, and at worst result in higher prices, less service, and lower wages with fewer benefits.

It seems to me the answer is at least in part, that those who are the lowest on the totem pole are the most fearful. The average working joe lives pretty much paycheck to paycheck. Not much stands between himself and homelessness. One major catastrophe, and well, he’s done for.

So why the opposition to all the things that might help ensure that that catastrophe is not his or her Waterloo?

Fear. The thing that drives us all to our worst decisions. And fear is the thing that every manipulator in history has learned is the means to effect the result they wish.

What has the working joe decided to cling to? What in his desperation does he hold onto as his “inerrant bible?” It seems to me it is the American dream. From the cradle we are bombarded with slogans, perhaps not meant initially to serve as mantras of control, but mantras nonetheless.

You recall them.

  • Any one can grow up to be President (or fill in the blank)
  • Keep you nose to the grindstone
  • Protestant work ethic
  • If you work hard you can attain any goal.
  • You have the freedom to be whatever you want.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • They came to this country to realize the American Dream
  • A chicken in every pot

Quite simply, we have been raised to think that we can do and be anything if we will work hard for it. And those phrases have been used by the power elite in this country (corporate elites) to effect their own greedy ends.

If you find yourself not succeeding after hard work? Oh, that’s easy. The powerful cast plenty of “reasons” why it is not your fault. It is the Africans, the Mexicans, the Arabs fault. They are somehow by preferential treatment, stealing of jobs, or whatever, getting unfairly what is yours. Their laziness and cheating requires “social” services, that you poor Joe are asked to pay for, which keeps you from attaining the good life.

When you trust in the Master, you accept all his rhetoric. The Liberal Left are just those who want to give your earnings to themselves and their lazy friends. Pound it into their heads: ANYTHING LIBERALS LIKE YOU MUST HATE.

If Liberals say that manmade climate change is threatening our very civilization? They LIE, because my Corporate daddy, who promises me paradise if I stop regulating him, says they lie.

If Liberals say that health costs can never be reduced unless everyone is guaranteed health care and the system overhauled to take away the powers of the insurance industry? They LIE, because my Corporate daddy says he can’t give me any because of all those taxes to pay the lazy to have health care.

On and on it goes. The working stiff dare not let go of the mantra that he can achieve whatever he desires. He is lost without it.He will lose his dream of a better life. So he listens to the mantras, he repeats them, and he listens to those who promote them for their own interests, and he closes his mind like a steel door against truth.

The politicians stand in the middle. They know the mantras aren’t true. The use them, because Corporate daddy makes its so very lucrative for them to do so. Millions pour into their campaigns–just get those “masses” to vote for you, and we’ll take “care” of you. You take “care” of us. The politician after shaking the hands of the joes of the world, uses a hand sanitizer, and puts on his silk tie and attends a lavish Corporate party.

It’s so insufferably sad. So insufferably wrong.  So insufferably evil. It almost makes me wish there was a hell for them all to fry in. Almost.