The Difference Between Baggers and Libertarians

Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Stuff to read, in case I don’t have time to post any more this weekend. This should keep you busy.

Kim Messick, The Tea Party’s paranoid aesthetic. For Mahablog readers this will be old ground, but Messick does a good job explaining how Richard Hofstadter predicted the Tea Party way back when. Also old ground, baggers perceive people with different views as a personal, existential threat, which is why they are paranoid. Also, too,

The Tea Party’s paranoid aesthetic conveys this narcissistic view of itself and its role in our politics and history. If its fusion of form and content is compelling to its audience — and it obviously is — this is because it offers one of the most intense pleasures any narrative strategy can: the pleasure of luxuriating in our own importance and significance, qualities only confirmed by the fact that history itself has resolved on our total defeat. This is the message paranoid narcissism ceaselessly delivers to its devotees. “The Others are irreligious, unproductive, licentious, treacherous. You are the rock on which this nation was built and you are the foundation on which it will rise again. You. It’s all about you.”

See also Michael Lind, once again skewering libertarianism in Conservatives once ridiculed Ayn Rand.

When she died in 1982, Alissa Rosenbaum — the original name of the Russian-born novelist — was the leader of a marginal cult, the Objectivists, who had long been cast out of the mainstream American right. But the rise of Tea Party conservatism, fueled by white racial panic and zero-sum distributional conflicts in the Great Recession, has turned this minor, once-forgotten figure into an icon for a new generation of nerds who imagine themselves Nietzschean Ubermenschen oppressed by the totalitarian tyranny of the post office and the Social Security administration.

So baggers are paranoid narcissists and libertarians are narcissists with a mixed martyrdom/superiority complex. Got it.

C u n d gulag pointed this one out in comments — Sorry, It’s Not A ‘Law Of Capitalism’ That You Pay Your Employees As Little As Possible by Henry Blodget. Don’t miss it. See also Sean McElwee, Republicans have no clue how businesses work.

(Righties believe they are inherently knowledgeable about business, even if they’ve never run one, just as they are inherently knowledgeable about war and the military, even if their entire military experience consists of watching John Wayne movies. It’s just who they are. Libtards will never understand.)

Another must read — Death Panels and the Apparatchik Mindset, by Paul Krugman.

Aaron Carroll reads the Wall Street Journal, which is outraged, outraged, at the prospect that Oregon’s Medicaid system might seek to limit spending on treatments with low effectiveness and/or patients who aren’t going to live much longer in any case. Death panels!

Carroll points us to the actual staff recommendation, which is far milder than the WSJ blast would have you believe. But as Carroll points out, the larger point is the absurdity of the Journal’s position. On one side, it’s fanatically opposed to Medicaid expansion — that is, it’s eager to make sure that millions have no health coverage at all. On the other side, it claims to be outraged at the notion of setting priorities in spending on those who do manage to qualify for Medicaid. It’s OK for people to die for lack of coverage; it’s an utter horror if taxpayers decline to pay for marginal care.

Yeah, funny how that works.

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 11, 2013 @7:06 am

    Maybe I’m wrong, but when I look at the Teabaggers, I see, mostly, the members of the Baby Boomer’s who were too straight-laced to ‘Tune in, turn on, and drop out” – and they’re experiencing their rebellious period in their old age, that they could have had in their youth, when the could have been licentious (FSM, what a great, seldom-used, word!!!) and decadent.

    But they couldn’t, or didn’t – they were too straight-laced.

    They were listening to Pat Boone and others of that ilk of white rip-off artists, when, in 20 years, young Americans went from Elvis and Chuck Berry, to Dylan, to The Beach Boys, to The Supreme’s and The Motown Sound, to The Beatles, to The Stones, to The Doors, to Joni Mitchell, to The Who, to Billy Joel, to Springsteen – and all of that great, great, music from the mid-60’s, until Punk, New Wave, the birth of Rap, and that signal of the death of great music – Disco.
    I came of musical age, in the early 70’s, and was a big fan of The Who, Punk, and New Wave.
    And I’ll never forget, when I was still in my early 20’s, walking into a bodega in NY City, and experienced the raw power of pure rhythm and street poetry, that was early Rap – when it was still “protest” music, and hadn’t yet turned misogynistic, and mindlessly violent, vain, and “bling”-centered.

    So, looking at the Teabaggers, it’s either The Boomers who didn’t “boom,” or the kids of the 60’s Boomers, who rebelled against their rebellious parents – think Alex P. Keaton, of “Family Ties.”

    The Teabaggers have the same narcissistic, world-centered around them, tendencies and views, of the worst of the worst of The Boomers.
    They pick the parts of the Constitution and the Bible that they feel support their self-centered views – often, out of the context of the whole, which negates the true meaning.

    And Teabaggers could be looked at as an amusing, more modern version of the old “Know Nothing Party” – except that the astro-turfed movement is financed by big-money people, like the Koch Brothers (whose father was one of the founders of The John Birch Society).

    And this is their entire philosophy:
    “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
    Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children.
    And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.”

    Ezekiel 25:17
    (Ezekiel must have gone for the ‘two-point conversion, somewhere during the game) 😉

    Have a great Sunday, all!

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 11, 2013 @7:09 am

    I’m “awaiting moderation” again.
    Just like everyone in my family, is awaiting my moderation.
    If I had less brains and heart, I’d have been the perfect Teabagger.

  3. biggerbox  •  Aug 11, 2013 @12:00 pm

    The insight that I found important in the Messick article was the idea that, for a number of people, they never constructed a self definition based on their own qualities, but defined themselves in terms of their community at the time. So that any change in the community is an assault on their fundamental sense of self.

    This helps me understand why they spend so much time talking about the “real” America and “losing their country” and freaking out about the littlest shift away from the way things used to be (or they imagined to be) in whatever backwater white enclave they grew up in.

    Sadly, it means we really are dealing with psychological problems, not political ones. The real remaining political problem is “how do we govern a country when one party is controlled by crazy people?”

  4. Swami  •  Aug 11, 2013 @12:36 pm

    Thinking back on the possibility of a Romney/Ryan presidency makes me realize how fortunate we were to have dodged that bullet. One was worse than the other, but I can’t figure out which one of the two was the worst.
    Paulie with his dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged is a frightening thought.

  5. Stephen Stralka  •  Aug 11, 2013 @2:46 pm

    An essay I keep going back to is Umberto Eco’s Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt. It’s a perfect match for what Messick is talking about here:

    To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country.

    This is the origin of nationalism. Besides, the only ones who can provide an identity to the nation are its enemies. Thus at the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one. The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia.

  6. erinyes  •  Aug 11, 2013 @3:00 pm

    One of the main factors in this tea party mentality is change and uncertainty, which can be pretty damned scary to the 60 and over crowd. There’s not much time left to make up for bad I vestments and relationships gone south. Guys like beck fan that fire, and reinforce the illusions of the Norman Rockwell america that lives only in our minds. If gas was 50 cents a gallon, food was cheap, and we had a white guy at the helm, there would be no tea party.

  7. moonbat  •  Aug 11, 2013 @3:35 pm

    Righties believe they are inherently knowledgeable about business, even if they’ve never run one, just as they are inherently knowledgeable about war and the military, even if their entire military experience consists of watching John Wayne movies. It’s just who they are. Libtards will never understand.

    Those are the flakes, the wannabes. The wingnut core are those with real world business or military experience. They range from the small guy around the corner who’s trying to keep his business afloat despite government regulations (which he hates), all the way up to the Zuckerbergs, the John Mackeys, the Jack Welches, and Jeff Bezos who can throw millions of dollars into the public space to push their libertarian views. All of these guys are heroes to the wannabes. If the wingnut wannabe in question has a mean streak, they would include Donald “You’re Fired!” Trump in that list.

  8. Swami  •  Aug 11, 2013 @5:07 pm

    erinyes…I’m still holding on to my Colonel Sanders fantasy. Parlay my Social Security check into a financial empire. Only in America.. Land of Opportunity.

  9. Monty  •  Aug 11, 2013 @5:08 pm

    When I look at the teabaggers, I see something resembling a certain segment of Germany, ca. 1920s. Think white nationalism (although not sure if that’s precisely the right term) and frustration with economic malaise, brought to a boiling point. And just as a certain someone misused Nietzsche during that period, so did (ironically enough) Ms Rosenbaum and her cult of goons.

    I don’t see these people fetishizing gun-ownership for the sake of self-protection; I see them arming for war.

  10. Swami  •  Aug 11, 2013 @8:23 pm

    That piece on Glenn Beck was interesting.. For the longest time I’ve been puzzled trying to figure out what it is that could possibly allow Beck’s completely nonsensical rhetoric to get any kind of traction. Now I know it’s a catalytic mixture like epoxy.. a resin of narcissism and a hardener of paranoia.
    His conversion to Mormonism has still got me stumped. I know it’s all in the realm of jabberwockyville, but even at that reason would still have to factor in.

  11. Swami  •  Aug 12, 2013 @12:27 am

    Well, it’s after midnight and I’ve managed to keep the Sabbath holy.. So with that, I’d just like to start my new week of sin by saying:…Glenn Beck is a dickhead.

  12. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 12, 2013 @7:36 am

    Offered, without comment – a rodeo clown at a Missouri rodeo, mocks President Obama:

    No, it’s not George W. Bush.
    Or, Paul Ryan.
    Or, Ted Cruz.
    Or, Rand Paul.
    Or, Michele Bachmann.
    Or, Steve King.
    Or, Peter King.
    Or, Louis Gohmert.
    Or, etc…

  13. Thank You!  •  Aug 13, 2013 @9:21 pm

    Gee, Gulag, look what they’ve done up your way, at the Ostego County Fair a few days back:

    (The County Seat up there is Cooperstown, alleged birthplace of baseball for those who don’t favor urban legends.)

    Empire State, meet Pennsyltucky!

    Speaking of P’tucky, I found it most disturbing that last week’s PA gun ‘shows’ both occurred in New York City exurbs –

    They’re a coming for U.S., Maha…

  14. Thank You!  •  Aug 13, 2013 @9:38 pm

    (awaiting moderation) was it n.e.w.s.b.u.s.t.e.r.s? I can link to other sites…

  15. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 14, 2013 @6:09 am

    Thank You!
    Rural Upstate NY, is as Red State America as rural parts of KY, AL, LA, Ga, etc. – just with colder winters.

  16. Jim  •  Aug 20, 2013 @8:37 am

    I don’t get the references to tea party and over 60.. Look at the referenced “talking” heads. Not a one of them. I’m over the 60, and repudiate any one who says they talk for me. They don’t have a clue.
    Now, the reasons I have to dislike the tea party, is the same reason i try not to watch faucks (not spelled correctly), they yell. Yelling doesn’t promote civil discourse. They yell to scare you, intentionally. Like the brown shirt mentality.
    If no talking, No solution or attempt to create a solution to a problem. Therefoore n problem to solve.

  17. Phoenix Justice  •  Aug 20, 2013 @10:41 am

    I have always viewed the “tea party” movement as nothing more than microwaved social conservatism wearing tri-corner hats. The only difference this time is obscene amount of money backing them. Nothing has shown me otherwise.