Friday, September 03, 2010

It's Us versus Them, and they've got the Illuminati

A couple days ago, a close relative of mine said something that perfectly encapsulates a lot of conservative thinking. It's like a fractal chunk of right-wing thought, as I see it.
We heard on the radio that under health care reform, we will have to pay for treating drug addicts.

It's like a crystal cube, it's so perfect. All the parts are there -- you only have to tweak it a bit to get almost any conservative whine.

--Credibility attributed to a forgotten / Questionable Source?

--The Victims are "We", "Us", "Americans", "Real Americans" or other tribal identification that excludes the Villains?

--The Villains are members of a despised out-group who gain from suffering Victims?

--The implication of a Conspiracy or malevolent tendency among some Villains that harms the Victims?
Check -- in this case, apparently nobody knew 'till now that the Democrats' Affordable Care Act would bring about this indignity.

--A profound Lack of Empathy or the inability to understand another person's point of view?

--And, of course, the Conflation of two Villains or the implication that they're working together?
Check! Here, it's the Democratically controlled Congress and the Obama Administration in cahoots with drug addicts.

These are the basic elements driving the conservative / Tea Party / Birther / John Birch freakout we're seeing, and it's nothing new. What's weird is that anyone takes these people seriously -- or rather that there's no concerted effort to single them out, ridicule them, and use their idiotic pronouncements as political weapons against Republicans.

I'm not talking about all Republicans, of course. But there is a significant portion whose reasoning, attribution of source credibility, and grasp of simple facts about the world are completely useless. And these folks have always been there, always will be. Sometimes they're on the left, but the bulk of them have been with conservatives for a long time now.

As it happens, these Dupes, as I call them, were the only adults I knew until about age 14. They fascinate me endlessly -- they're normal, caring, thinking people who somehow believe that nefarious forces are working together in the shadows to screw over good folks.

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