Recently, I received a specious and nasty bit of work via email. It was entitled ‘History 101’ and was full of snarky Republican ‘facts’ that ‘proved’ that all liberals were (to paraphrase): mama’s boys, wimps etc. As a liberal who does martial arts and bow hunts, and can kick ass reasonably well, I took offense to this (though they do have a point: I love to watch the modern dance of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and I’m fond of arugula). What capped it for me was the 5-year old psychology at the end: basically, if you agree that all liberals are pansy-boys, send it on to your chortling he-man friends. If you don’t agree, and are formulating a response – then you’re a liberal pansy-boy. Oh no! I can’t respond ‘cause my manliness will be called into doubt! What a brilliant tactical move.
Screw that. If you come in contact with ‘History 101’, you may want to respond with my version, or a version of your own. Mine is just as vitriolic and emotional as theirs is. I decided to can my normal ‘objective’ tone and go for the damn jugular.
The idea that liberals are all pansies clearly illustrates the modern conservative mindset. These 'Hannity' conservatives are basically chimps. They believe in black and white, they can see no shade in-between. Everything is simplified to stereotypes. All problems are solved by aggression. He who shouts loudest, wins.
Chimps discovered millions of years ago that the chimp who makes the biggest noise is king. Conservatives, who are in general less evolved than their liberal counterparts, apply this chimp-logic to both interpersonal relations, and foreign policy. In fact, they apply it to all problems - they have only one solution for almost everything. They seem to think that bullying, violence, and bellicosity solve all problems. They specialize in spousal abuse, lynching people who don't look like them, and attacking sovereign nations without provocation, and then justifying these actions with platitudes and slogans. These slogans are often quotes of the 'Founding Fathers', usually taken entirely out of context.
Conservatives are very easily misled, more so than any other political group. One might even call them 'rubes', as they are so easily led by the nose with the aid of 'hot button' issues. While the party they support manifestly cares ONLY for the very rich and bleeds the hard-working middle class white, they will gladly believe that gays and abortion and ALL MUSLIMS are the roots of all evil, and in so doing first give up their liberty, then mortgage their children's future (they are so short-sighted as a subspecies that their time horizon never exceeds 6 months), and eventually sacrifice their own children's sacred lives, indulging in infanticide-by-war.
They rail against taxes while supporting a military budget that is larger than all of the other military budgets on earth combined. Yes, all other nations combined. They seem to believe in some kind of magic 'money tree' that will provide for this. Welfare cheats of small amounts of money catch their ire, but the wholesale theft of public land by multinational corporations, or the fraud, theft and shoddy workmanship (leading to troop deaths by electrocution in substandard showers, inadequately armored vehicles etc. in Iraq) by the likes of Blackwater and Halliburton seem to escape their notice entirely.
They rail against 'special interests' and 'big government', yet support John McCain, a Washington insider for over 26 years, whose entire campaign staff is composed of ultra-fat-cat lobbyists.
They somehow buy into the seemingly paradoxical arguments that: 1) Barack Obama, a freshman senator, is too inexperienced. 2) Barack Obama is almost single-handedly responsible for high gas prices - even though he's a freshman senator and has neither the seniority nor the chairmanships of ... John McCain! Yes, John McCain, that 26+ year Washington Insider, is not in any way responsible for the mess this country is in. No, the brand new guy, with 'no experience' is the one who messed it all up.
They decry the 'flip-flopping' of 'liberals, while ignoring John McCain's record-setting flip-flops. Even a casual examination of his speeches and interviews reveals that the 'Straight Talker' has flopped on almost every major issue – even the hot-button issue of gay rights. He's even flopped on abortion!. He's done a Michael Phelps on Flip-Flopping, eclipsing both John Kerry's and Al Gore's previous records handily. In fact, he's crushed them.
Excellent, documented lists of McCain's flip-flopping and outright lying can be found at:
But of course conservatives have no attention span, and also seem to have a total aversion to any information (i.e. FACTS) that would force them to THINK or maybe even reappraise their positions, so not many will bother with the above links. Conservative thinking is characterized by extreme rigidity and a mulish stubbornness, even in the face of contradictory facts. This mortal character flaw is best exemplified by the 25% or so 'dead enders' in America who still insist, in the face of overwhelming evidence on all fronts, that George Bush is doing a 'heckuva job!'
The conservative rube is also easily convinced that John McCain, a man who for the last 2 years has voted precisely 94% with the Bush administration, is somehow a 'maverick' rather than the truth: he is more of the same - another ideologue who has no grasp of the intricacies of either foreign or domestic policy, and supported Bush's idiocy, needless bellicosity and cronyism, from Katrina to Iraq, from the start.
The conservatives will laud John McCain's strident call that congress 'get back to work' - when he has one of the very highest absentee rates in the senate, and has for years!
The conservative motto (formulated approximately 200,000 years ago): 'Don't confuse me with the truth'.
Conservatives rail against taxes while seemingly having no concern for deficits. Somehow 'tax and spend' is bad, but 'tax-break and go into an unsupportable debt that will affect your great-grand-children's lives' is too abstract a concept for them to grasp. Again – there’s that six-month time-horizon...
He has also clearly forgotten the basic fiscal-responsibility tenets of the historical conservative movement, instead throwing vast sums of money to useless security programs, ill-advised military adventures, tax-breaks for the super-rich and large corporations, and contracts paid to overpriced fraudulent civilian-military subcontractors. Under Bush, the cost of serving an deployed infantryman a meal in-theater has gone up some 300 percent - because mess hall services have been privatized.
Interestingly, though he decries the ‘creeping socialism’ of everything from public schools to Medicaid, and slathers masturbatory praise on his prized ‘free market’, when those free and unfettered markets fall apart (due to his concerted campaigns to deregulate them), he is the first to run in and offer to plunder the treasury for corporate welfare. His kind has now produced the most profound socialization of American capitalism in history with the AIG and Fannie and Freddie bail-outs/buy-ins.
The fact that drilling offshore (which John McCain, and George Bush Jr., and George Bush Sr., and Jeb Bush ALL opposed fiercely up until only a few months ago) will take 10 years to bring oil to market and then will reduce the price of the pump by 2 cents(!!!) is too confusing.
The idea that a country that has three percent or less of the world's oil reserves but uses 25% or more of the world's oil cannot possibly drill itself out of this problem is also too complex for the average conservative mind to grasp. Instead, there’s a magical thinking process apparently going on inside their primitive limbic brains, akin to Dorothy tapping her heels together: If I just yell ‘Drill Baby Drill!’ loud enough and long enough, there will somehow be enough oil.
conservative philosophy is best summarized as: we've only got a hammer, so treat everything as a nail.
They rail against 'big government' and for 'freedom and liberty' - except when that freedom involves people or activities that make them uncomfortable, or boogiemen-issues like terrorism - then they are all for more government, and for letting that government into our bedrooms, bank accounts, hospital rooms, and onto our telephones.
What is most striking about the modern conservative, though, is that contrary to his uber-tough talk, wherein he rails against supposedly pansy-boy liberals, he has, since 9-11, himself actually morphed into a bedwetting whiner. Or perhaps, to look at Limbaugh, Cheney, and the other 'Chicken Hawks' - he's always been one.
And, as they quail in their basements with duct tape and plastic tarps, the macho conservatives also call on the government to hold any ‘bad guys’ indefinitely without charge and without trial. It is interesting to note that the conservative, who professes to hate government, who states over and over again that government is ineffectual, corrupt, dysfunctional, and, in short, ‘the problem’ – is somehow the first to beg big government to save them from the big bad terrorists, and the first to suggest that in this instance only (never in one so mundane as financial regulation), government be trusted to possess the necessary skills and acumen to suspend Habeas Corpus and practice torture on the truly guilty. Oh yeah, torture’s OK... for the bad guys.
He is so terrified of the terrorist boogieman, that he's forgotten the founding principles of this country. He gleefully gives up his basic liberty. He supports unlawful search and seizure, believing, with striking ignorance and naiveté, that the government, which, in other areas, he excoriates for incompetence, abuse and waste, will somehow magically only do these ‘necessary’ illegal acts only to the 'bad guys'.
The conservative will do anything, sacrifice any of America's prized freedoms to try and assuage his trembling terror of the dangerous foreign 'brown hordes'. He will even countenance water boarding - a form of torture that Japanese military men were EXECUTED for after WWII. It was considered a war crime, until the pansy-boy Republicans started wetting their beds and sucking their thumbs.
Ben Franklin famously said: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. "
Based on this statement, the Modern Conservative deserves neither. He is a coward, who will sacrifice all this country stands for, especially liberty and justice for all, so he can sleep in his bed with some illusion of safety. Methinks that Franklin would be slightly-upset that these whiney bed-wetters are all for the suspension of Habeas Corpus, which has been the cornerstone of English-Speaking jurisprudence since it was first codified in 1215!!! It's also a foundation of one of those trivial parts (the Bill of Rights) of that trivial document, The Constitution of the United States of America.
Most of these tough-talkers are actually mama's boys. Michael Savage, whose real name is Michael Weiner, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dick Cheney – all of these men never served in our armed forces - even in time of war. They used their money, family connections, educational status, and even pathetic excuses like 'hemorrhoids' to avoid serving. The ones who yell the loudest, push for war the hardest, insist most loudly that it will be a 'cakewalk' (tell me about it, Rush, Sean, when some guy's actually shooting at you) are the most craven cowards of the lot.
The ones who shout that we must 'support and respect our troops' will attack a man like John Kerry, who ran into the jungle under fire to kill a sniper. They will put 'purple heart' band-aids on their arms at the 2004 Republican Convention - a grievous insult and denigration of the honor of all military men and women everywhere, and one that they would decry loudly and bitterly were it perpetrated instead at the Democratic convention. They will sully, with rumor and invective, a man like Max Cleland, who lost 3 limbs (!!!) for his country (while saving the lives of several other men).
They know no shame, and no degree of hypocrisy, no matter how tortured, obscene, or implausible, is beyond them.
The modern conservative is the archetypal bully: scratch a bully, and you find a trembling coward, who is so afraid of the unknown, or the different, that he spends all of his time trying to cow and terrify the world.
This works for a while; in the case of empires, sometimes even centuries. But eventually the bully, the selfish bad neighbor, is ganged up on by his neighbors, and gets his ass kicked. If he cannot become a good neighbor, and evolve to the point that he can 'share and play well with others' (i.e. evolve beyond emotional toddler hood) he is eventually killed, as many individual bullies and empires, from Rome to the Byzantines to the Third Reich have discovered.
The modern Conservative is an unreconstructed cave man, thumping his chest and waving a club. He is a thug. He doesn't think. He doesn't analyze. He doesn't respect facts. He only listens to opinions and demagogues who reinforce his stunted, adolescent view of the world.
Historically, he has been against the abolition of slavery (I'm talking conservatives here - the Republican party of the 19th century had little in common with the current one), occupational safety, public schools, child labor laws, workman’s compensation laws, the right to unionize, Medicare, Social Security - all things the middle-class needs and holds dear.
He has supported the rape and pillage of Native Americans, Mexicans, Phillipinos, and many other native peoples - all for the greater glory of big business (i.e. cheap labor and cheap raw materials) – though always couched in the clever catch phrases of ‘Freedom and Liberty’ and ‘Making the world safe for Democracy’.
He, the supposed cheerleader for democracy, has even supported the overthrow of democratically elected governments, from Iran in the 1950's, to Chile and Guatemala - because these democratically elected governments didn't happen to agree with US policy. He has supported America’s illegal mining of the harbors of a sovereign nation with which we were not at war (Nicaragua), and while mouthing slogans about the rule of law, then supported America’s refusal to accept the jurisdiction of the World Court of Justice that America helped found.
The modern conservative is a hypocritical, bed-wetter, a bully with no balls.
He is a throwback, and, god willing, he will someday be extinct.