The Difference Between Baggers and Libertarians

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.