Politicians most of all? Yes, most would agree.
A retired military man speaking on Morning Joe, suggested that when you get a couple of Democrats and a couple of Republicans in a room together, you can have a pretty reasonable conversation. When you open the door, and the red light comes on, each will spew a very different version of the talk.
Jonathan Haidt, working at U of Virginia, and a psychologist, is exploring morality and politics. You can go there and sign up and help out by taking a number of their quizzes. I referenced him a few days ago regarding his book about the differences between conservatives and liberals. His work suggests that we are quite different from what we think of ourselves.
We create personas, and to a greater or lesser degree, we become them. We may be cynical about it, knowing exactly what we are doing, or we may be largely oblivious to it. In some ways, I’d prefer the cynic to the one who has no clue he is not who he thinks he is. I can confront the first type and, given the right incentives, I can cause a change. The person who buys his own rhetoric? I’m at a loss to change.
While I am quick to point out the relative racist/homophobic/Amerocentricism of a lot of folks, especially those of, shall we say, lesser educational attainment, I am fascinated by them as well. I have come to see that they have incorporated a finely wrought (not by them of course) set of principles that alleviate their guilt, and reassure them of their moral rectitude in the ugly tenets they adhere to.
My real anger is at those who actually know better, and are nothing more than grifters on a small or large scale, using the opportunity presented to make money, corporate or personal, off the stupidity and ineptitude of people who can’t or won’t think for themselves. My enemies are Fox Noise, Hannity, Limbaugh, Malkin, Beck, and a host of politicians too numerous to list. Most of them, if not all, play to and present a rationale to the great masses that means coin in their coffers or votes or both.
The other day, I linked to Fox regarding a hateful spew of comments regarding the death of Whitney Houston. When I went there, I found no comment section, found no way to “sign up”, and relied on a couple of websites who printed out parts of the comment section. I’ve since learned that nobody can now see the comments–they have been taken down, apparently without comment. This would be Fox’s way of course–never point out that they were appalled at what they read, but rather simply being appalled that they were “found out” and trying to hide the facts.
Fox is but one of course. The Fifth Column points out in her post, there are plenty more to choose from.
It’s easy to avoid this bilge. And I understand why people, given limited time, would rather spend time with “uplifting” fare, and material that is in agreement with what one naturally thinks. I’m not urging you to abandon me for goodness sakes. I’m just saying one needs to familiarize oneself not so much with the poor souls that listen to the sewage, but those who manufacture the sewage. We ignore it at our peril.
It is one thing to make fun of crazy people who are poised to put on the tricorner hat, tinfoil though it may be, grab the musket and go looking to join the regiment to “get back our freedoms”, but unfortunately the musket is really a high-powered rifle, and the ammo is suited to kill. These people can be triggered, at least some of them can, and now and then, one of them goes off all by themselves, given their underlying psychosis. They cause a lot of pain. As a group they can cause a lot more.
So do pay attention. And do inform yourselves about what Fox and others of their ilk are saying. Do respond. Do set the record straight. Do speak truth. Something about what happens when “good men do nothing” seems appropriate here. Oh and good women too.
End of rant.
- Speaking of conservatives (snohomishobserver.com)
- Why Conservatives and Liberals see the world differently (dangerousminds.net)
- Why Religion Gets Emotional (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)