Friday, May 08, 2009

Required Reading for Conservatives

And liberals. The center must hold, people.

And take your time, the link will take you to a long post.

I think of this every time Glenn Beck's show comes on the radio with a warning to "go to a fallout shelter." I think of this any time Hannity's segment begins with the apples of prosperity falling into the box of socialism. I think about this anytime I hear an attendant to the Tea Party rallies talking about how worried he is about his "liberties." I think often of how my own very conservative, very Catholic, very Southern father tell me he has had to stop watching Fox News because they have all lost their minds. I think about this when I hear southern governors talking secession again because they lost during two election cycles.

I think about many of my Republican and conservative friends who think nothing like this, but who repeat the same talking points to me, or act as if all our history has happened in a vaccum.

Radicalism is a very, very scary thing. The road leads only to places we would rather not go, because we've been there before. It leads to us a place where we hang pictures of those who are lost, and light votives to their memories.

And this is all real, in so many ways. When you get to the section entitled "Go..." read it once in the context of the article - and think of how it applies to masses of people.

Then go back, and read in the context of where we already see the fruits of this kind of isolated culture, from troubled urban streets pocketed with crack houses to rural gravel roads hiding meth labs behind the kudzu. In both places, we already hang pictures of those who are lost, and light votives to their memories.

The only difference will be scale.

(HT: Library Chronicles)

.

4 comments:

Dante said...

"I think often of how my own very conservative, very Catholic, very Southern father tell me he has had to stop watching Fox News because they have all lost their minds."

Then he's about the only person to stop watching it. I don't watch news channels myself so I can't comment on the content, but Fox News still leads TV news show ratings by a longshot. Glen Beck gets more viewers in the 5PM slot than Olbermann gets in the plush primetime 8PM slot. CNN, MSNBC, and Headline News combined barely edge out O'Reilly in that 8PM slot. Whatever Fox News is doing, losing viewers isn't it.

As far as this center nonsense, the largest Presidential wins we've had in each party in my lifetime come from the candidates that lean furthest away from center. That doesn't mean they catered to the extremists, but pandering to the absolute center is a losing strategy. You can't win without your base.

And the article? This is your required reading?

FTA: "...narratives that justify violence have always been deeply ingrained in the right-wing belief system."

Pat, the linked article lost me there. When you want act like violence is a big right wing thing yet ignore the 92 million or so people slaughtered at the hands of the Communists in the past 100 years, your argument loses just a touch of credibility. And all the sky-is-falling over the current mood of the right-wingers (especially when using such bastions of truth as voluntary Internet polls) isn't going to bring that credibility back. There might be quite a few nutjobs here and there that are right-leaning and advocate violence but I have a hard time believing a Tea Party would leave dissenters hanging from trees.

I really think the biggest problem on both sides is that both believe in this slippery slope nonsense. Either side thinks that even the slightest movement away from their way of thinking will uncontrollably snowball into a way of life that is opposite of what they want. It's a load bull. Elections happen every two years. If one side carries their agenda to a hyperbolic level, the voters will respond and get rid of them.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Fox News still leads TV news show ratings by a longshot.

I know, and that is a terribly frightening thing, because it means so many people are so attracted to outrage-as-entertainment-and news.

[T]he largest Presidential wins we've had in each party in my lifetime come from the candidates that lean furthest away from center.That may be true, and you're right, they did not pander to the absolute center. But they did make their cases on clearer stated ideas. The also gained great success as painting the other side as further outside the mainstream.

[I]gnore the 92 million or so people slaughtered at the hands of the Communists in the past 100 yearsNo one is ignoring that because the article is not talking about the rest of the world, the article is talking about the USA. In our domestic history, it is the right wing fringe with the strongest proclivity towards violence. It is a shame the article lost you over something that did not exist in side the purview of the discussion.

Either side thinks that even the slightest movement away from their way of thinking will uncontrollably snowball into a way of life that is opposite of what they want. It's a load bull. Elections happen every two years. If one side carries their agenda to a hyperbolic level, the voters will respond and get rid of them.Understanding of this very important concept is generally how I define 'centrism.' Hell, I wish more liberals would figure it out (so many of them are drinking the kool aid now, they are practically inciting backlash...).

But when it comes down to misunderstanding this concept, the left wingers talk of moving to Canada. The right wingers talk of secession.

Now, historically speaking, which one of those to courses of action led to more violence?

Dante said...

"No one is ignoring that because the article is not talking about the rest of the world, the article is talking about the USA."

Despite what many of the right (and a few on the left) would have you believe, you can't look at the USA in a vacuum. Where did the terrorists from our last major terrorist attack come from? And the one before that? And before that? You have to go back to Oklahoma City before one of our own committed a major atrocity on US soil and that was one person acting on his own. I think you have to go back to Koresh for a group effort at right-leaning violence. And I know that terrorism is only a subset of the consequences laid out here but it's only one that has a shot in hell of ever actually happening.

I know the linked article tried to limit discussion entirely to the US and I ignored it for the foolish premise it was. We'd be better off as a people doing the same lest we get caught off guard by some left wing lunatic group offing people because Obama is not leaning left enough fast enough or we stay in an economic slump and hanging people from trees sounds better than starving or some other equally-plausible left-leaning reasoning.

patsbrother said...

Pat: Please stop calling Ed your "own very conservative, very Catholic, very Southern father."

Your father is not "very conservative." Nor is he "very Catholic" or "very Southern."

I note that your argument benefits from your misrepresentation. You've done such before. (Remember when you called him a cop?)

Stop. Just stop. Either your argument stands on its own or it doesn't. Don't make things up to support it.