Maybe it was different in your elementary school, but as I remember it, after every recess softball game, the losers stomped off the playground yelling “They cheated!” But by the time we were in middle school, the same kids could accept loss in a more mature way.
Today we have more evidence that “movement conservatism” is less a political philosophy than a form of arrested emotional development. Joe Conason writes in Salon that the usual hatemongers — O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Coulter — are screaming that Al Franken somehow stole the Minnesota Senate election from Norm Coleman. They have no evidence whatsoever, mind you. They are just stomping around yelling “he cheated!”
A right-winger’s ideas about morality aren’t just arrested. They’re stuck in the Bronze Age. The absolute basis of morality for them is tribal loyalty. The world is sorted into good guys and bad guys. Our side is inherently good, no matter what we do. Their side is inherently bad, which justifies our doing whatever we do. In other words, whether an action is moral or not is not determined by what is done, but by who is doing it.
The other day I quoted Cernig:
Even if the IDF were correct, something the Right accepts unquestioningly because the IDF never, ever lies like their enemies do, then Israel would only be responding to Hamas’ war crime by committing another war crime. You can’t get to the moral high ground – let alone win a COIN operation – by allowing the rules of war to be set by barbarians, something that the intellectually and morally bankrupt Right never seems to acknowledge.
Whereupon some commenters linked to an article about the principal of a UN school being bombed by Israel being a Hamas operative. The point Cernig made went right over their heads.
(Note: If any righties are reading this, a clue to “the point” can be found in the words “responding to Hamasâ€™ war crime by committing another war crime.”)
In fact, the world’s great philosophers have not considered “Jimmy did it first” to be a legitimate basis of moral action since about 500 BCE. I guess the Right missed the memo.
Poor Joe Klein, who has been somewhat more awake these past few months than he used to be, writes about President Bush’s authorization of torture, “his single most callous and despicable act. It stands at the heart of the national embarrassment that was his presidency.”
Is, Joe. He’s still POTUS, for a few more days. But we’re at the same place on the torture question. You absolutely cannot find a right-winger with half a clue why the rest of us are upset about torture. They just assume the rest of us are soft on terrorism, or we’re al-Qaeda lovers, or something.
There’s a story in the Guardian that the Obama foreign policy team is planning to talk to Hamas. I don’t have to tell you how the Right is taking that. The ghost of Neville Chamberlain continues to walk among us. And, you know, the Bush policy of not talking to people we don’t like, or even letting them sit at our table in the lunchroom, has worked so well.
Truly, if you want to understand the rightie brain, just study five-year-olds.