Monday, March 6, 2017
Week of 03/06/2017
Conservatives And Their Fixation On MAD Politics
At the very end of the classic movie “Doctor Strangelove” (spoiler alert), when all of the mechanizations to stop the release of a nuclear bomb in the Soviet Union have failed and the “doomsday weapon” has been unleashed and humanity is doomed to die horrible radioactive deaths, the idea is floated that a small percentage of humanity can in fact be saved by hiding in deep mine shafts. As the President of the United States and his advisors and generals hash out the details of this hypothetical salvation, the discussion immediately turns to the idea that their counterparts in the Soviet Union could be considering the exact same thing. They too could be considering how their people could be saved hypothetically in their own mine shafts and how they could have even staged the whole conflict so they would already have their “most important people” in those hypothetical mine shafts so when the threat of lethal radiation from this “doomsday weapon” has passed, they would come out “ahead” and thus be considered “the winners”. It is then that the general played by George C. Scott stands up and demands that the United States not suffer from a supposed “mine shaft deficit”.
It was the absolute height of lunacy in the movie, especially after seeing Slim Pickens ride a nuclear bomb to the ground like it was a rodeo bull, and it shows the absolute extent that some people will go to in order to prove their “superiority”.
Sadly, we have been seeing this constantly with the conservatives in America.
Certain conservatives have expressed what can best be considered a Cold War-era Mutual Assured Destruction (or MAD) mindset when it comes to politics. Everything they do that is considered wrong or unjust or even criminal “has” to be countered by some event that happened in the past by their political counterparts.
Take, for instance, the actions of the GOP legislators in ramming through some of President Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, including changing the committee rules on a whim to avoid procedural stonewalling by Democrats. This actually happened for two of Trump’s nominees. Now if you try to call out those GOP members of Congress on their actions, they and their myrmidons and their cult morons and especially the propagandists in talk radio and Fox News will dig up some obscure incident in the past two hundred years when some Democrat did something similar. They usually don’t really have to go back very far, and it doesn’t even have to be identical to their own actions, just something for them to justify what they did, as if that automatically makes it right.
“We changed the rules,” they would claim, “but so-and-so went in front of the media back in 2007 and threatened to do the very same thing when they were in charge, so that automatically validates our actions.”
And that’s really what they are trying to accomplish with this tactic. Validation through negation. Right and wrong don’t matter to these people. It never did. It’s always about what they are allowed to get away with. It is the typical mindset of a sociopath.
It’s like when a police officer pulls you over for speeding, but then you try to validate it by saying that dozens of other people were driving even faster than you. In your mind, that “validates” you breaking the law for your own gain. Other people do it, therefore it’s “right” that you do it too.
Unfortunately, you and I, the ordinary people, don’t have the luxury of telling the police officer or the judge that they can’t sit in judgement of our actions simply because other people do worse things. Politicians and propagandists, on the other hand, pompously and self-righteously presume that they can do just that.
But what happens when there is no equivalent event or situation to “validate” their actions?
Take, for instance, the political faction known in the media as the “alt-right”.
These are the worst-of-the-worst in the conservative group. The white supremacists, the bigots, the neo-nazis and skinheads, the extreme theocrats, the militia groups, the flat-earth theorists... These are the people that believe that 9/11 was an inside job, that Barack Obama was born in Kenya instead of Hawaii, that adding fluoride in the drinking water is really a communist plot, that we never went to the moon, and that the aglets on shoelaces are really something sinister. These are the people that gave us Eric Robert Rudolph, the Christian terrorist responsible for bombing the 1996 Olympic Games and several women’s clinics and one LGBT nightclub. They gave us Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. They gave us the Christian terrorists who attacked and killed doctors and nurses all in the name of their anti-abortion cause. They gave us Clayton Lee Waagoner, who spread the fear of anthrax to women’s clinics in the fall of 2001, and who, despite the claims of then-President George W. Bush that such actions were the definition of terrorism, was never treated as a terrorist.
In other words, these are the true “basket of deplorables” that the conservatives would previously dismiss as being “not one of them”.
So why should we care about them now?
Because these were the people that saw then-candidate Donald Trump as “their” candidate, that were encouraged by Trump’s campaign, and now have representation through now-President Trump’s Rasputin-styled political “advisor”, Steve Bannon, former editor of Breitbart News. They heard his promises to “drain the swamp” and didn’t even think twice before supporting him. He was the “ultimate outsider” to them; the non-politician running for a political office. And Trump would even respond to them, re-tweeting their messages and appearing on their programs. Sure it would be backtracked and Trump and his people would claim ignorance and Twitter-idiocy, but it would be too little and too late. The alt-right got the message that this was “their” guy.
All of a sudden, the “alt-right” became the “ultimate right”. The “outsiders” had an insider in the White House.
But that puts the conservatives in a pickle. How can they defend a group of people that they previously distanced themselves from at every opportunity?
The answer to that is simple: they made up a counterpart that did not previously exist.
Their rationality was easy to comprehend. If there was a “religious right”, then there “had” to be a “religious left” that they deemed to be just as bad or worse than their own. If there are conservative extremists, then there had to be liberal extremists that were also just as bad or worse than their own.
So if there is a faction called the “alt-right”, then there “must”.... *must*... be an “alt-left”. There just has to be one. Their fragile little minds cannot comprehend a situation where there is no counterpart to rail against.
So, much like those phony Obama birth certificates, they fabricated a counterpart out of thin air.
Now the first thing that the conservatives will say about the “alt-left” is that the people who rail against the alt-right supposedly cannot “define” what makes up the alt-right... even though I just showed you who they are. This is just Orwellian doublespeak to get to the second part, which is to say that the conservatives that rail against the fictional “alt-left” cannot really tell you what makes up that fictional group. They just know that “it exists” and that “it” is evil and corrupt and worse than the alt-right ever could be, which, they would tell you “doesn’t exist”.
Again, textbook Orwellian doublespeak.
I’m sure some of you are wondering why they even bother coming up with something like this. Well, they have to in order to comply with their MAD fetish, which is the only way they can negate the problem of the alt-right.
Let’s get brutally honest here... the “alt-left” is fiction, not faction. It is a fictional construct created by the conservatives in order to validate and thus negate having to defend the actions and positions of their own very real extremist groups. Because if they can get people to admit there is such a thing as an “alt-left”, then they can throw their hands up and say “Oops! It’s all just politics! We can’t fix a group that we refuse to acknowledge until the other side first cleans up the fictional group that just we got you to acknowledge!”
And this is why nothing gets done, people! We have reached that level of lunacy straight out of “Doctor Strangelove” where the political generals are screaming about a “mine shaft deficit” that only exists in their heads while the whole world slowly dies.
The conservatives knew what they were getting into with Trump. They knew what kinds of factions were supporting him. And, to borrow from the New Testament (a book that they supposedly cherish more than the Constitution), maybe if they spent more time removing the alt-right plank from their own eyes, they would be in a better position to notice any hypothetical splinters in the eyes of others.