Where to begin. Perhaps with Paul Krugman, who says right wingers have some sense of humor.
What’s happening, presumably, is that modern movement conservatism attracts a certain personality type. If you identify with the downtrodden, even a little, you don’t belong. If you think ridicule is an appropriate response to other peoples’ woes, you fit right in.
And Republican disillusionment with Mr. Bush does not appear to signal any change in that regard. On the contrary, the leading candidates for the Republican nomination have gone out of their way to condemn “socialism,” which is G.O.P.-speak for any attempt to help the less fortunate.
So once again, if you’re poor or you’re sick or you don’t have health insurance, remember this: these people think your problems are funny.
Over the long years I’ve observed some consistent traits among righties. One is that they sincerely believe most people think the way they do, even when polls say otherwise. In fact, “most people agree with me” is a common fallback debate tactic. Some have an almost frantic need to believe they belong to a majority, possibly because it makes them feel powerful. Erich Fromm wrote that people who find autonomy isolating and bewildering often will submerge themselves in an authoritarian group. Such people often have a strong sado-masochistic streak, Fromm said. They derive pleasure both from submission to a higher authority and from aggressively dominating people who fall below them in the social/power strata. “Humor” is often a socially acceptable form of hate speech used to keep less desirable people in their place.
Naturally, people who submerge their individuality into an authoritarian group place much importance on the trappings of conformity. Today much of the Right Blogosphere is in a tizzy because Barack Obama has stopped wearing a flag pin in his lapel. From right-wing reaction you’d think Obama had announced his engagement to Osama bin Laden.
Beyond parody, isn’t it? The wingers won’t volunteer for the war, their kids don’t serve in the war, they won’t pay taxes for the war, but by God they’ll wear their lapel pins!
No wonder this country is dysfunctional. We’re one big dysfunctional family now. We don’t have political factions; we have political pathologies.
Of course, they think we’re crazy. John Hawkins, a “mainstream” blogger of the Right, today explains what would happen if liberals ran America:
If the left were able to totally dominate American politics starting tomorrow, all 50 governors, every seat in Congress, the presidency, and all 9 Supreme Court Justices, my guess is that they’d immediately start implementing the worst aspects of European socialism wholesale.
In other words, you’d see socialized medicine, government takeovers of industry, reams of new regulations on businesses, sky high tax rates, the military would be gutted, the national debt would grow to unimaginable levels, drugs, prostitution, gay marriage, and polygamy would be legalized, penalties for committing crimes would be greatly reduced, and draconian speech codes would be put into place.
This would of course have disastrous consequences for the country and the world. The US economy would start to fall apart, crime would explode, and conflicts would break out all over the globe as terrorists were given free reign, other nations rapidly escalated their conventional military spending, and dozens of nations built nuclear weapons. Within a couple of decades, multiple “small” nuclear wars would probably break out in Asia, South America, and the Middle-East even as the global economy started to tank.
Now, you might think that if this were to happen, the libs would see the error of their ways and move back to the right — but, that doesn’t take into account the nature of the left.
When liberal idea fail miserably in practice, which is most of the time, their response isn’t to go in the other direction, it’s to go FURTHER in the direction that they were already moving. This is exactly what the left did in countries like China and the Soviet Union and it’s what it seems likely that they would do in the US as well when it became clear that turning the United States into a giant version of Belgium/Amsterdam wasn’t working out so well.
What you’d probably get then would be madcap combination of the world in George Orwell’s 1984 mixed with the dictates of Stalin. Religion would be banned, conservatism would be illegal, the state would take over ever larger portions of industry, and the Constitution would be scrapped and replaced with a 500 page tangle of bureaucrat speak that spelled out everything from what political ideas were to be made “thought crimes” to what sort of lightbulbs people were allowed to use.
Does that sound too fantastic to be true? Maybe it is. But, if people like Ted Kennedy, Rosie O’Donnell, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and Michael Moore were allowed to actually implement their ideas without having to worry about the voters, the wildest excesses of liberalism that you could imagine would probably pale in comparison to what they’d actually end up implementing.
Jaw-dropping, isn’t it? Never mind that little of this nightmare scenario has anything whatsoever to do with liberalism. Never mind that much of it — the gutting of the military, runaway national debt, free speech restrictions, rising crime rates, escalating global conflict, a deteriorating economy — is happening now. I want to know what’s up with their obsession with Rosie O’Donnell.
It’s a pathology, I tell you. They refuse to believe there’s a problem with climate change, health care, or habeas corpus. But Rosie O’Donnell gives them hives.
We’re all cartoons now. I swear, America is Loony Tune Nation.
See also: Right-Wing Cartoon Watch.
And is Ann Coulter a walking freak show, or what?