Holy Belief Systems

Today’s theme is “Good Conservatives Must Not Allow Reality to Tarnish Their Holy Belief System.”

Krugman has a number of posts up that point out how conventional wisdom about the economies of other countries, plus the news stories about those countries, tend to leave out anything resembling objective reality. Here’s one, about how Argentina is recovering from the financial crisis, and Ireland isn’t. But somehow Americans are being told just the opposite.

I’d just add something else: press coverage of Argentina is another one of those examples of how conventional wisdom can apparently make it impossible to get basic facts right. We keep getting stories about Ireland’s recovery when there is, in fact, no recovery — but there should be, darn it, because they’ve done the “right” thing, so that’s what we’ll report.

And conversely, articles about Argentina are almost always very negative in tone — they’re irresponsible, they’re renationalizing some industries, they talk populist, so they must be going very badly.

The “right” thing is, of course, going full-monte austerity, and the “wrong” thing is following basic Keynesian principles.

Of course, righties are famous for denial. Global climate change comes to mind. This denial often is coupled by projection. Jonah Goldberg’s new book sounds like a study in pathological projection, for example.

[Update: Speaking of climate change — now they’ve got a billboard campaign going that compares climate scientists to terrorists and mass murderers.]

But the richest example of rightie denial to come down the pike lately is their reaction to the murder-suicide allegedly commited by J.T. Ready, a neo-Nazi deeply imbedded in Arizona Republican politics. Ready’s political proclivities are beyond dispute, as Maddow explained last night —

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Immediately the dumber elements on the Right stepped forward to associate Ready with Occupy.

As Zandar observed,

Remember, America doesn’t have a right-wing domestic terrorist problem. We have a long string of completely unrelated “mass shooting” events where gunmen declare that various minority groups or random bystanders are the enemy and kill a bunch of them seemingly out of the blue in an attempt to strike fear into the hearts of millions and/or to force political change through bloodshed, but since these folks are FOX News viewers, it’s just “unfortunate” when this happens every couple of months or so. Meanwhile, the real terrorists are the New Black Panther Party because OOGA BOOGA BLOOGITY BLACK. Cue the scary chyron, folks.

In America today, “conservative” should be defined as someone so pathologically blinkered by ideology that he is blind to reality.

But the economic fantasies Krugman talks about are being pushed by alleged “centrists” too. The truthiness of austerity economics has been so firmly established by the money of those who stand to gain by it that reality itself is banished to Siberia, so to speak. For more on the latter, read Krugman’s latest column, “Feel the Confidence.”

10 thoughts on “Holy Belief Systems

  1. Isn’t it the truth, maha. i recently saw a chart showing 30 years of income distribution in this country. The top 1-2% practically goes off the top of the chart while the income of the rest of us has basically flat-lined for the last 30 years.

    Seventy percent of our economy is driven by consumers. Consumers consume with disposable income – have none, don’t consume. How often do we hear Republicans, or even Democrats tell the blatant truth about this sick/stagnant economy and then, of course, how to fix it. Never. (Tell a Republican that wages have to be raised and he’ll drop dead at your feet.)

  2. I love the caricature of the protesting liberal in the Che Guevara T-shirt on the cover of Goldberg’s book. It’s telling that none of the people involved in the book’s production noticed what a cliché that is.

  3. In the rightie mind, if ‘Liberals are Fascists,” then Conservatives are the true Progressives!

    And, since my Niece and Nephew are now in their mid-20’s, late-teens, I wonder if I have enough crayons to take notes while reading Jonah “The Whale’s” new book, and to fill in the pictures.
    Anyone who actually pays for this idiot’s book, joins him in the “National Registry of Feckin’ Imbeciles.”

  4. I had a sliver of insight into this last night, when I watched The Iron Lady. For the first time I understood that Margaret Thatcher was at least sincere in her beliefs; then I had the a-ha moment of seeing just how naive those beliefs were. Mrs. Thatcher saw all businessmen as her dad, Mr. Roberts the simple, honest Conservative grocer from Grantham. When all businessmen are, deep down, just her simple honest dad, how can an unregulated free market ever go wrong?

    Maybe that’s just the tea & toast version of Jonah Goldberg in his mom’s basement (figurative accuracy there!) bloviating over the Internets and in books about the solid verities of the novels of Ayn Rand. In other words, last night I “learnt” that delusion speaks with many accents, Received Pronunciation being just one of them.

  5. gulag: no, no, no; if Liberals are Fascists, then Conservatives are _Communists_. They both like red, right?

    Hey, how about we call them Reds?

  6. Sunday will tell a tale. Voting in both France and in Greece. The current leaders in both of those countries are not polling well and are expected to lose.

    Austerity is a losing position. Raising taxes and priming the pump with gov’t spending will bring happy results.

  7. Just heard some research on PBS that indicates businessmen (or any overly-goal-oritented humans) cannot be such and maintain their morality. The human brain is not constructed to do so – once their goal (riches/power/winning) becomes paramount, all ethics is put on the back burner (even though intellectually they understand their failures, they just cannot help themselves).

  8. Jonah gives me hope…whenever I have a moment of insight, and see myself as a blovating asshole who just says stupid stuff to feed my sense of self importance. Jonah gives me hope and reassurance that I’m not alone in my insecurities.

    I like Jonah’s picture though….kind of a dashing upgrade of the Leon Trotsky look.

  9. Conservatism:
    ‘I’d rather bleed the patient to death with leeches, than give-up a drop of my blood for a transfusion. I need all the blood I can get.’

  10. I just realized… if you substitute the word “austerity” with the word “torture” this is the exact same argument we had during the Bush Administration.

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