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I've made this argument - that Conservatism is a Disease - for quite sometime, but this will be one of the first times I really get down to the nitty gritty of it.  It's been my feeling that the modern day conservative cult that thrives in America is fueled by a low-grade form of anti-social pathology and compulsive-addictive disorder. They're like Hate-Junkies.  And the number one thing they hate are Liberals.
Recently the following screed was posted as a comment on my lonely little blog.

Anonymously - of course.

It began with "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder" - and went downhill from there.

Details over the flip...

Liberalism is a mental disorder,
This is the agenda of the Left. And they don't even try to hide it:

  1. Re-establish the "Fairness Doctrine" to silence Conservative Talk Radio
  1. Insure the success of the Mexican (and other Third World) invasion and conquest of White America.
  1. Disarm all law-abiding citizens
  1. Silence all speech of which they disaprove by expanding the definition of "Hate Speech", and pass laws to make such speech punishable by imprisonment.
  1. Immediately surrender to the enemy in the Islamic War.
  1. Establish Islam as a State-Protected Religion with assistance by CAIR and government schools.


My immediate response was the following.

If they "don't try to hide it" could you find any single respected "Liberal" who openly, or even on the sly - endorses any of that crap?

My own view is...

 1. Re-establish the "Fairness Doctrine" to silence Conservative Talk Radio.

The Fairness Doctrine would do no such thing.  It would actually require that the News, be the News - while Equal Time for Commentary and Editorialism would be enforced.

 2. Insure the success of the Mexican (and other Third World) invasion and conquest of White America.

By what - making them American too?  I'd say that's America conquering them.

 3. Disarm all law-abiding citizens

Short 2nd Amendment Lesson, there's nothing in there about law abiding citizens, law enforcement or even hunting. The 2nd Amendment is directed specifically at "a well regulated militia" being neccesary for the maintainance of freedom from tyranny. You in a Militia? No? Then it doesn't apply to you.

 4. Silence all speech of which they disaprove by expanding the definition of "Hate Speech", and pass laws to make such speech punishable by imprisonment.

I do support enforcement and some moderate expansion of Hate Speech and FCC regulation of same. But not to stop such speech, simply to make it painful to be an asshole in public. If we can fine ABC for Janet Jackson's titty we could fine Imus or Limbuagh, but they'd both still be on the air.

 5. Immediately surrender to the enemy in the Islamic War.

Which Islamic War? - the one between the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq or the one in Afghanistan and Pakistan aginst Al Qaeda? In the former case, we've got no hunt in that fight. Do we side with the Sunni or the Shia? In the later case I've heard NO ONE suggest we should surrender to Al-Qeada or Hezbollah for that matter, in fact Democrats have been struggling to get Bush to send more troops to Afghanistan by taking them out of Iraq..

 6. Establish Islam as a State-Protected Religion with assistance by CAIR and government schools.

Ok, that's just ridiculous.  Liberals and Progresses want protection from a state sponsored religion, y'know like the Pilgrims and the Quakers who were trying to escape the persecution of Henry VIII's Anglican Church. Or for that matter - the Taliban.

Now I'd like to take my response a bit further, and rather than address the tit-for-tat points of Mr. Anonymous, consider exactly how anyone could come to believe such drivel.  I understand of course, that these were merely boiler-plate cut-and-paste straw-man B.S. right-wing talking points. In understand that this person clearly hasn't been reading my blog, or it's crossposts on Dkos, Democratic Underground or OpedNews and hasn't seen what I've already discussed concerning The I-Mess  or Immigration or  Hate Crimes Legislation. (Cuz y'know... Facts are for Pussies!) It's clear that this just typical right-wing radio blather. I know that this is a form of Projection, making accusations of others that are simply fun-house mirror reflections of their own actual positions. (Liberlism is accused of being a "mental disorder", when in all likelyhood it is Rabid Neo-Conservatism that is based on abnormal pathology),

I know he's just a troll!.

I understand all this, but what I've always felt disturbing is how many people are more than willing to eat this stuff up and spew it right back out.  Normally I wouldn't care, except for one thing -  I'm pretty sure all these deeply deluded people vote!

As I've written before on Hating the Enemy, (namely Liberals) the leaders of the right-wing movement are not at all shy about telling us how they feel and who we should be hating.

Let's do a quick review (thanks to Media Matters) of some of the things that Republicans, including Hannity, regularly say about Democrats and Liberals.

  • Sean Hannity suggested that the DNC may have been behind the Abu Ghraib prison abuse photos, asking: "Was that a DNC plot too?" (The Sean Hannity Show, 9/10/04)

  • Laura Ingraham stated that Democratic Sens. John Kerry (MA), Joseph R. Biden Jr. (DE), and Barbara Boxer (CA) are "on the side of" North Korea leader Kim Jong Il because they were opposed to John R. Bolton's nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. (Hannity & Colmes, 4/11/05).

  • Ann Coulter on Bill Clinton, "he was a very good rapist" and "molested the help" and on Al Gore, "Before we knew he was clinically insane" - "He seemed kinda gay"

  • Bill O'Reilly says he doesn't do "personal attacks", except of course for when he does.

  • On The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly has referred to media writer and Fox News Watch panelist Neal Gabler as a "rabid dog" and said of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, "How nuts is this guy?" O'Reilly also said guest Christopher Murray "sounds like a fascist" for saying that that public institutions should not display religious symbols and called former Public Broadcasting System host Bill Moyers a "totalitarian." Students at the University of Connecticut who heckled right-wing pundit Ann Coulter during her campus appearance there earned the title of "far-left Nazis" from O'Reilly.  He's also called John Kerry a "sissy", and claimed that Bill Clinton would be welcomed as president by Osama bin Laden.

  • Jonah Goldberg has distorted comments by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), called syndicated      columnist Helen Thomas a "thespian carbuncle of bile," and accused former      President Jimmy Carter of engaging in a "mildly ghoulish      exploitation of Coretta Scott King's funeral."

  • Then of course there's Michelle Malkin whose has claimed that "the vast majority of Hispanic politicians" believe that "the American Southwest belongs to Mexico;" has referred to certain Californian politicians as "Latino supremacists;" and characterized recent immigration protests as "militant racism" marked by "virulent anti-American hatred."

All of these people, are playing The Fear Card.  Fear the brown-skins and the darkies. Fear the muslims. Fear the fags.  Fear the ACLU. And Fear the Liberals who somehow have this crazy idea that America is supposed to be somekind of "Land of the Free" where all kinds of weird and different and disgusting people are supposed to be able to "Seek the American Dream" or some such nonesense.  

John Dean has written about this strategic re-writing of Americas History in his book "Conservatives without Conscience"

In their efforts to present conservatism as an American tradition, conservatives have also reinterpreted the U.S. Constitution.  One of the key elements of the Constitution is the establishment of a unique republic, in that a federal system would coexist with state and local governments.  Before it was ratified many opponents attacked its progressive and innovative nature, for far from representing the status quo, the Constitution was dramatically liberal.  


James Madison defended it in The Federalist Papers by explaining that the founders "have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom" but rather employed "numerous innovations... in favor of private rights and public happiness."  Madison said that "precedent could not be discovered," for there was no other government" on the face of the globe" that provided a model.  Madison, the father of the Constitution, clearly saw his work as the opposite of conservatism.

Yet conservatives today continue to exploit xenophobia and paranoia of all things "progressive" all tucked up in nice neat American Flag wrapper of gingoism.  Dean also argued that what currently drives the conservative movement is nothing less than Totalitarian Authoritarism.  From his appearance on the Daily Show with John Stewart.

Dean: In dealing with that, in the Milgram experiments, where he brought people in off the street, and indeed found that he could get them to administer high voltage -- what they thought was high voltage, and it wasn't. I deal with that to show how people can set their conscience aside. In other words, how do people go into the CIA every day and carry out some of the orders for torture? How do people go into NSA and turn that incredible apparatus against Americans? This is a typical Milgram situation. I actually go beyond that to find the nature of the authoritarian personality that will follow a leader who is an authoritarian.

In Milgram it was shown that otherwise normal people would submit their own conscience to the will of an authority figure and would, if continually pushed to do so, administer a lethal level electric shocks despite the screams and protests of the intended victim.  Compare this with the definition of a Sociapath.

Sociopaths are very egocentric individuals that lack a sense of personal responsibility and morality. They may be impulsive, manipulative, reckless, quarrelsome, and consistent liars. Sociopaths are usually unable to sustain relationships and have a total lack of remorse for their actions. The sociopath may also be very prone to aggressive, hostile, and sometimes violent behavior. This aggression may or may not lead to criminal behavior and often takes the form of domestic violence. Along with these other actions, sociopaths often engage in self-destructive behavior such as alcoholism or addiction to drugs. This, of course, usually worsens many aspects of the sociopathic behavior. Despite these previous symptoms, the sociopath may be an excellent actor, always appearing charming, calm, and collected. They usually have a normal or above normal intelligence level and good verbal fluency. It is these qualities that sometimes place the sociopath in leadership positions within their social groups and often make it hard to spot their "black side".

Essentially Sociopaths have no conscience, no morality as we would describe it. Whereas Dean discusses the ability for ones conscience to be selectively suppressed under specific situations and in regards to specifics types or groups of individuals when directed by a "trusted authority". Clearly, a true sociopath doesn't need to be directed by others - and frankly wouldn't allow it - yet their behaviors remain markedly similar.

We can see it in the way the Bill O'Reilly can be so charming at one moment and then a raging lunatic the next. We can see it in Douglas Feith as smilingly twists reality and facts regarding Saddam and Al-Qaeda into logical linguini.   We can see it with Bill Kriston, Michelle Malkin, Katie O'Beirn and Ann Coulter.  These people are the standard bearers of the right-wing.  The "Authorities" to which many for which many of our fellow citizens are willfully neutered their own conscience in aquiesence to.  Here's an example from Dr. Bob Altemeyer, one of Dean's primary sources, intoducing his new book - The Authoritarians.

For example, take the following statement: "Once our government leaders and the authorities condemn the dangerous elements in our society, it will be the duty of every patriotic citizen to help stomp out the rot that is poisoning our country from within." Sounds like something Hitler would say, right? Want to guess how many politicians, how many lawmakers in the United States agreed with it? Want to guess what they had in common?
Or how about a government program that persecutes political parties, or minorities, or journalists the authorities do not like, by putting them in jail, even torturing and killing them. Nobody would approve of that, right? Guess again.

The idea that "All Men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights" is lost on these people.  All rights become optional, based on whether that person passes the proper litmus test. Maintaining Habaes Corpus is "giving terrorists special rights."  Monica Goodling did "nothing wrong" when she attempted to achieve ideological purity within the Justice Dept, that's the way it should be.  Tim Griffin did nothing wrong by systematically caging the votes of African-American Troops while their were serving in Iraq.  Who said their opinion and vote should matter? War Crimes and Torture are good for our intelligence, that is if we did do the torture. Karl Rove is just so misunderstood. I need my tax money for the down payment on my second condo. The poor are just lazy and deserve what they get. Iraq had it coming.  The President has the "inherent power" to do any damn thing he feels like. That Vanity Fair Media Whore Valerie Plame-Wilson had it coming too. Good healthcare is for those who can afford it. Whose Bin Laden, that Obama guy running for President?  Free Libby! Climate Change is just a hoax and even if it's not we didn't do it - it was sunspots, or volcanos, or maybe all the animals in the rain-forest farted - so there's nothing we can do to stop it. Stop bugging me, I need to refill the tank on my new Cadillac Escrapade, anyone got change for $1000?

See, I can do The Running-Man (from the 80's) and the "Straw-man" too.  I'm like Ambidextrous and stuff.

All of these arguements are about shifting blame and responsibility for all the ills of the world - to someone else.  Anyone but us. It's Them, always Them!

The real truth about being liberal is simply that you realize that we are all connected.  Economically. Bio-chemically. Thermo-dynamically.  What happens at the bottom of the ocean can change weather patterns across half the globe.  What happens in a cave in Afghanistan can change an entire National pathology on the other side of the world.  The truth about Liberals isn't that we "Hate America First",  we love America's promise and potential and are angered and disgusted when we see her fail to live up to that promise - that All Men Really Are Created Equal and that preserving and protecting those rights from government overreach - beside being "Really Hard Work" - is the primary goal of our nation,  

With that view in mind we don't fear or even really hate conservatives, we only hate what they've done to regress this nation back toward the type of totalitarian and repressives states that predated the Great Elightenment and the truly progressive vision that birthed this nation.  Those regressive forces will always be there, but the tide of history is not on their side - it's on ours.

We are the True Sons of Liberty (oh, a Punk reference!) - not them.

I don't hate conservatives. I for one, pity them. They need help. (Treatment, Rehab, Deprogramming, a Colonic - anything!)  Even if they don't deserve it, certainly won't seek it and won't return it.  If they honestly and openly ask for it, Liberals will provide it.

Does anyone believe conservatives would do the same?


Originally posted to Vyan on Sun May 27, 2007 at 10:48 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Mostly, I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There are, actually, some well-educated Conservatives that wish to preserve things the way they are rather than accept change for change's sake.

      Some fear that rampant liberalism can go too far.  In fact, I believe that it can and there is a necessary place for a Conservative (not, I didn't say Republican!) opposition party that can say "No" or at least ask "why? and what are the consequences?"

      The American Revolution was a Conservative Rebellion.  We wanted to keep the Rights of Englishmen.  "No Taxation without Representation."  The English WERE represented.  Our ancestors were not.

      There is a legitimate role for a conservative voice in politics.

      These Republicans and "Liberatarians" have just gone completely nuts, though.  This smash-mouth power grab by the fascist wing of the Republican party has got to end.

      And, perhaps, certain people (28% ?) are readily hoodwinked by the tactics and beguiling language of the NeoCons.  In truth, they need to be ground out and destroyed.

      But there will remain a role for a Conservative party, just as the "Far Left" (whom I equate with Socalists and Communists) has a role as well.  I don't think the state should raise our children.  On the other hand, I don't think everyone needs a semi-automatic weapon, either.

      Happy little moron, lucky little man. I wish I was a moron, my God, perhaps I am! -- Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Mon May 28, 2007 at 05:38:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish I knew what the conservatives are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat, gatordem

        really for.

        Many of the people I know who are "conservative" are really looking to return to a simpler time when we didn't worry about terrorists. As the diarist pointed out - it's an emotional need. I think many conservatives are looking to feel personally safe.

        The conservative is oblivious to the idea that by exchanging personal freedom to regain a sense of personal safety is actually giving terrorists victory.

  •  Conservatism is a social disease (19+ / 0-)

    Authoritarian followers are eager to engage in various sociopathic behaviors, as you suggest, with the fig leaf of twisted rationalizations supplied by their leaders to justify their actions.  History shows us how far this can be carried, and how dangerous the results can be.

    Yet authoritarian followers will not engage in such behaviors without a movement and a leader to goad them into it.  Those movements appeal to the basest of motives:  greed, hate, and fear.  They use religious bigotry and xenophobic fear-mongering to inflame their followers.  

    Until the conservative authoritarian political movement is discredited and dismantled, people like your commenter will be encouraged.  We are in danger from this movement until we take it on and bring it down once and for all.  So far, there is little evidence that the Democratic party has the stomach for this fight.  It will be up to citizens like us to bring them down.

    -4.50, -5.85 Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls. -- Rumi

    by Dallasdoc on Sun May 27, 2007 at 10:53:23 AM PDT

    •  Yes! call them by an accurate name: Authoritarian (14+ / 0-)

      thanks for using the term Authoritarian.

      The word "conservative" is bound with the concept "risk averse"  Less of a mind f*ck to call them authoritarians.
      being risk averse is generally a good thing in leadership & does not at all apply to those running the admin.

      Perhaps clear thinking might follow if the right-wingers were no longer referred to as "double plus good" by us progressives.


    •  American politics is like an abusive relationship (0+ / 0-)

      I've mentioned this elsewhere, but it seems especially appropriate to this diary, so I'll throw it out again.

      You say there's little evidence the Democratic party has the stomach for this fight, and people here often accuse Democrats of having "battered spouse syndrome."  As a counselor who has worked with both abusers and abusees for years, it has become increasingly clear to me over the last decade that there is more truth in this than people realize.  

      Disfunctional, miserable, wounded people tend to sift out into to groups of extremes, which I've found can be roughly labeled "abusers" and "victims."  They are both miserable, but abusers are molded by two conditions:  1) They are miserable;  and 2) They are psychologically unable to take even the slightest responsibility for their misery.  Thus, they are miserable -- AND IT'S EVERYONE ELSE'S FAULT!  (their spouses', society's, brown peoples', the System's ...)  Anger and fear are their prime emotions, because they are cop-out, outward-focused emotions:  they allow them to say, and actually believe, "I'm miserable -- and it's your fault!"  

      People with healthy self-esteem can afford to say, "I'm sorry," or "I made a mistake," or "I'm not perfect" -- ie. to take responsibility -- because while those humbling actions lower them a little inside, they are still way up there overall.  Arrogance and conceit are the qualities of those whose self-esteem is a half-millimeter above rock bottom -- if they admit even the tiniest bit of fault or take even the tiniest bit of responsibility, it will lower them to rock bottom -- which basically feels like the grandmother of all panic attacks.  That's where the authoritarianism comes from:  "I'm miserable -- AND IT'S YOUR FAULT!" naturally leads to, "You need to change!  You're screwed up!  You need someone perfect (like me!) to control you and tell you what to do!)"

      Who does this sound like?  Modern Republicans!  And more specifically, their current leaders -- the Bush Administration.  (I see that just today, always true to form, Paul Wolfowitz is blaming the media for his having to resign.)

      Victims, on the other hand, compensate for the extreme imbalance of Abusers by going to the other extreme.  They take on too much responsibility for the other people's misery.  

      ABUSER: "I'm miserable -- and it's your fault!"  

      VICTIM:  "I'm sorry.  I'll try to work even harder with you in an equal, mutually respectful way to achieve a harmonious relationship for the good of all."  

      (When in reality, the last thing an abuser wants is an equal, harmonious relationship.  He wants a SCAPEGOAT."  

      Joe Lieberman and DC Democrats, anyone?

  •  #2 Is the Conservative Corporations (11+ / 0-)

    True many liberals support high levels of immigration. But they've been in no position to drive it.

    It's the conservatives' unfair free trade policies that drive southern peoples from their farms and jobs, and the US corporations' constant hiring of underpaid labor, that created the problem on this scale.

    If liberals had been in such broad control, there would have been fair trade not free trade, and labor unions raising wages to the south to the point that there wouldn't be a huge economic refugee surge coming here.

    We never had this surge before Reaganomics.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun May 27, 2007 at 11:07:19 AM PDT

  •  Paul Waldman (18+ / 0-)

    It's the Conservatism, Stupid

    Ask a conservative what the biggest problem in America is today, and you’ll get answers like overtaxation, a sexualized culture, lack of respect for authority, insufficient church-going or big government running amok. But if you then asked the conservative what the real source of the problem was—the beating heart pumping blood to each and all of these socio-politico-cultural wounds—you’d get the same answer: liberalism.

    On the other hand, you could ask a liberal a hundred questions about the problems facing our country before you’d get to an answer that placed conservatism at the heart of the nation’s ills.

    And conservatives learn these messages when still young. What does a "campus liberal" do? Well, it depends what his or her issue is: fighting sweatshop labor, or environmental degradation, or the Iraq war, or any of a dozen other problems about which liberals are concerned. What, on the other hand, does a "campus conservative" do? Fight liberals and liberalism.


    What we haven’t yet seen from the left is a sustained critique, not just of a particular politician or a particular policy, but of the entire ideology and worldview of conservatism.

    As everyone knows, conservatives have succeeded in making "liberal" an epithet, something they throw at their opponents—who try desperately to dodge the label. The demonization of "liberal" has been successful in part because conservatives have effectively created what social psychologists call a "schema" with decidedly negative features around the term. A schema is a set of ideas that are connected in people’s minds, such that activating one idea—"liberal"—activates a whole set of related ideas, like lights on a Christmas tree. We assemble schemas as a way of storing and categorizing related information in memory. In this case, the related ideas are things like "soft on crime," "weak on defense," "sexually permissive," and so on. The ideas liberals would like to pop right up in people’s heads when they hear the term liberal—"wants prosperity for everyone," "supports universal health care" or "stands up to powerful interests"—are farther away from the schema’s center.  

    This didn’t happen by accident. It is the result of a relentless campaign against liberalism by conservatives. And liberals need to do the same thing to conservatism.

    A good first step would be to never, ever again use the word with a positive connotation. How many times has a Democrat, in order to score a debating point, said, "A true conservative wouldn’t tolerate these Republican deficits?" How many times have solidly liberal Democrats described themselves as "fiscally conservative?" Those formulations accept that true conservatives are principled people with noble goals. They are not, and should not be talked about as though they were. When was the last time you heard a Republican call himself a "social liberal," even if he is one? They don’t, because they understand that liberalism is an opposing ideology to which they will give no aid or comfort.  

    He continues by outlining and discussing three lines of attack:

    1. Conservatism has failed.

    2. Conservatism is the ideology of the past—a past we don’t want to return to.

    3. Conservatives are cowards, and they hope you are, too.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Sun May 27, 2007 at 11:08:13 AM PDT

  •  6. The Constitution Makes Islam a State Protected (9+ / 0-)

    religion. All religions are state protected.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun May 27, 2007 at 11:10:30 AM PDT

  •  I believe that many of the people who (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, Bodean, Libertine 777

    follow these Leaders, follow them out of fear. They fear their ability to count or matter in the grand scheme of things. By following the crowd they are a part of something. It is like the old days of hangings before a person was tried. That type of group think and group anger is sweeping through the conservative parts of the Country. I would rather see America have a Countrywide goal of stomping out hunger than stomping out Liberals.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Sun May 27, 2007 at 11:11:15 AM PDT

  •  More and more (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    latts, snakelass, Vyan, Libertine 777

    I see conservatism as a serious character flaw - at the very least.

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Sun May 27, 2007 at 11:49:55 AM PDT

    •  it is possible ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... that it has material roots.  Perhaps the sociopathology of Conservatism is caused, like Herpes, by a virus.  After all, the root behavioral trope of all Conservatives is to rid themselves of something they hate, something which is part of them but which they refuse to subsume into their "self".

      It's not about defunding the troops. It's about defunding the war criminal president.

      by Yellow Canary on Mon May 28, 2007 at 04:38:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Love your typo: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    means are the ends

    Liberalism is a Metal Disorder

    Heavy metal?

    When civilizations clash, barbarism wins.

    by Allogenes on Sun May 27, 2007 at 11:50:26 AM PDT

  •  KKK (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, Libertine 777

    Conservative thinking reminds me of the way the KKK think.  So very much alike..

  •  Maybe politics and religion are socially- (4+ / 0-)

    acceptable ways for damaged people to try to come out in public, feel powerful, and scratch that itch they carry inside them?

    The rest of us, we mind our own biz, enjoy our lives, and mobilize (too slowly for my liking) when the aforementioned take control and get out of hand...

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Sun May 27, 2007 at 01:15:29 PM PDT

    •  Very interesting idea. I'm going to work on it. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arlam, greeseyparrot, Bodean

      I've discovered since being asked to "step up and not back" by John Edwards when he suspended his campaign in March 2004, that there are a whole lot of whackos in party politics.  But Thom Hartmann also said we had to join our local party and then take back the Democratic Party.  But it's rough out here.  There are a lot of damaged people in both parties in politics.  

      We need to make civics and politics part of normal people's lives again.  Otherwise, as you say, the damaged people get out of control and those of us who were going about our business are all of a sudden caught in a world we didn't make, but we did let happen.

      "Whatever is calculated to advance the condition of the honest, struggling laboring man, I am for that thing." Abraham Lincoln

      by MontanaMaven on Sun May 27, 2007 at 02:13:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Damaged:: Two Types (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snakelass, Vyan, Bodean, demoKatz

        Those who respond with "hmmmm, let me look inside and try to figure out what happened to me, so I can end the cycle," and those who react with "I'm gonna get back at somebody for what was done to me!"

        Guess which party I associate with each...

        If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

        by HenryDavid on Sun May 27, 2007 at 03:21:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What an excellent diary!  I wish I had been on dkos when you first posted this because it really deserved to be on the recommended list.  I look forward to reading your future diaries.  

    "Imagine all the people, Living life in peace..." John Lennon

    by angrybird on Mon May 28, 2007 at 12:44:38 AM PDT

  •  Read this link from the above diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yellow Canary, electric meatball

    The Authoritarians

    This is the source material from which much of Deans book is drawn.

    It is also a free book in pdf format. I don't understand why so many people cannot read the damn thing. It is well written, not lapsing into the leaden academic pedantry that so many social psychologist seem to do as easily as breathing, and non apologetic for the truth it reveals.

    Invest a little time into it. Print it out to read on a train, ferry or plane.

    Print a copy for the bathroom.

    But read it and then consider what can be done to combat, divert or control it. Like much of human nature, authoritarianism will be with us forever so we better learn how to keep it from destroying us.

    The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

    by NCrefugee on Mon May 28, 2007 at 03:59:58 AM PDT

    •  Not so well written (0+ / 0-)

      Written so that it's syntactically and grammatically correct, yes.  But also rambling, patronizing (you'll probably be disappointed to learn that these personality traits connect only moderately . . ."), didactic, and annoyingly chatty-folksy (people, darn it, are more complicated than psychologists want them to be"). It's like political opinion by a writer for Cosmo. I gave it a shot and then gave it up. Can't recommend it.

      Much better books to read would be They Thought They Were Free and Defying Hitler, both available for free from the library.  

      "When you encounter stupidity, you begin to grasp the concept of infinity." --Flaubert

      by kospacetic on Mon May 28, 2007 at 10:21:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  An absolute must read, THANK YOU!! (0+ / 0-)

    This diary is a must read, and most importantly, you should also read the free book "The Authoritarians", although I've only finished the intro and first chapter, I will complete it before the day is over. Also TAKE THE RWA TEST/QUESTIONAIRE, you will either learn something about yourself or confirm what you already know or suspected.  After reading the first chapter of "The Authoritarians", I am as scared as shit. You will read/find that there is a very reasonable chance that right wing authoritarians will f*** it up again and again, even if they are given a second opportunity and knowledge that the path they have chosen will lead to failure. The good news, it appears that individuals with low rwa scores can/will save the planet/us from destroying ourselves. Yes, there is a real differnce between us and others, or shall I say "them".

  •  Yeah, baby! (0+ / 0-)

    A few years ago I had a little fit after reading "bleeding heart liberal" one too many times and decided that we absolutely needed an opposite equivalent phrase.

    So, I thought, if a "bleeding heart liberal" is somebody so compassionate that he sometimes leaves common sense behind, what is the logical opposite?

    Someone with a lack of compassion so severe that he leaves common sense behind. A sociopath. So the logical opposite of "bleeding heart liberal" is "sociopathic conservative."

    Since then, I have become more and more convinced that this is the right way to look at the modern conservative movement: by and for sociopaths.

    I think it's filled with genuine natural-born sociopaths (Cheney comes to mind) and that it also sustains and encourages sociopathic behavior in people otherwise capable of normalcy.

    I think it has normalized sociopathic behavior and attitudes to the point where a raving sociopathic loony like Ann Coulter is treated as the equivalent of an outspoken liberal like Michael Moore.

    And, worst of all, the domestic and foreign policies supported by the modern conservative movement are based on sociopathic fantasies of control and punishment.

    •  Well, yeah, except (0+ / 0-)

      --"bleeding heart" is a much more commonly understood term, even by the scarcely literate who comprise much of the conservative base, than "sociopathic."  Plus, "sociopathic" is hard to say, too many syllables, and it smells of intellectualism, also known as snobbery or elitism.

      "Bleeding heart," I mean, it's a winner.  A killer.  I can't think of a corresponding term for the right wing that so accurately conveys scorn for the compassion that is a hallmark of liberalism as "bleeding heart" does (and "waving-dick conservatives" can't be used in polite conversation).  

      Thing about liberals is, we don't value extremes, we don't deal in snapshot characterizations, and we couldn't ever decide on just one term that would describe everything that we scorn about conservatism. No: it would have to be an unwieldy Frankenword, like "Neo-sociopath-masculino-aggresso-proto-racio-capitalist-Earthraping-paterno-fascist" or something.  You know: for clarity and to make sure every viewpoint is represented.

      "Suck-stupid conservatism" is as close as I can get. And that's just because I like the way it cracks off the palate.  There's also "con," with all its valence with convict, con artist, con game, being conned, etc.

      "When you encounter stupidity, you begin to grasp the concept of infinity." --Flaubert

      by kospacetic on Mon May 28, 2007 at 09:59:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary - thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but I found it too late to rec - at least you made the rescued list.

    Not long ago I diaried the text of a short paper I did for a Social Psych class drawing on Altemeyer's work, and that of others, in dealing with the identification of double-high-scorers (that is, those who score highly on Right Wing Authoritarianism and on Social Dominance Orientation).  These would be the authoritarian leaders, or those who aspire to be such.  Those who are interested can find it here.

    "I seek the truth, which never yet hurt anybody. It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance which does harm." --Marcus Aurelius

    by electric meatball on Mon May 28, 2007 at 11:41:39 AM PDT

  •  Wait a minute... (0+ / 0-)

    The person who left the "liberalism is a disease" comment obviously badly misrepresented liberals, but, in my view at least, this diary seems to be doing the same thing to conservatives (full disclosure: I'm a moderate, so I'm sympathetic to, and critical of, both sides). For one thing, it paints conservatives with a broad brush when there are actually various kinds and degrees of conservatism.  In addition to neo-conservatism, there is paleo-conservatism, traditionalist conservatism and even a new movement called crunchy conservatism (conservatism with a focus on simple and eco-friendly living, which has been embraced by some traditionalists), as well as conservatism with a more libertarian bent.  It is unfortunate that they all get lumped together, since there is often a great deal of debate and disagreement among the different factions (neo-conservatism in particular is something other conservatives find a lot of disagreement with; I think some would argue that it is not even truly conservative).  It is also unfortunate because the some in the movement-particularly libertarians and big-business Republicans, I think-make the rest look like a bunch of cold, calculating social darwinists (I suppose some are, but most aren't).

    Also, I see a lot of disgust when a conservative pundit/blogger/commenter uses heated language and labels his or her opponents, and I very much dislike it as well (when I see an article or blog post like that I tend to not even bother reading it), but then I see the same thing from the other side, including in this diary.  What I want to see from both sides instead of all this name-calling and labelling of the other side's people is analysis of the other side's ideas-what are they, what are their weaknesses, what are their strengths, and how are your side's ideas better?  When one side accuses the other side as being made up of bad and/or irrational people, etc., or labels their ideas without discussing them, it shuts down meaningful discussion (although I suppose it is probably a lot easier to frame issues and win elections by doing this) and coarsens the level of discourse.  Calling conservatism a sickness and saying their ideas are based out of fear or hatred or intolerance, etc., rather than having enough respect for them as competent individuals to analyze their ideas and why they hold them is a prime example of this.  I do not mean to imply that they are alway right-and it is ok to believe they are never right- and that you shouldn't try to get them to come to your side, but they do have perfectly valid reasons for thinking the way they do, just as liberals do.  

    To truly understand conservatism, you can't analyze it from a liberal perspective (of course, it wouldn't make sense not to analyze their actual ideas and actions from your own perspective; I am just talking about understanding where they are coming from).  You have to find out which philosophies influence conservative thought, how conservative thought evolved, etc. either from an objective viewpoint or from their own words.  I would recommend the blog Right Reason.  They discuss some pretty heavy stuff, but it is very thoughtful and a good way to understand the roots of conservative thought (they often provide good links as well). Once you do that, their ideas will start making a lot more sense.  That's not to say conservatism will suddenly start looking more agreeable-it'll just be more understandable (and, I should add, it would make it easier to engage them conversation and useful debate and get them to see your side of things).  Don't just use what other people on your side are saying to try and understand conservatism.  When I started reading about what conservatives actually say and believe, I found that what is being said about them and what they really are can be two different things entirely, and it all started making sense (and conservatism became much less scary, might I add).

    Just a final thought (sorry if I've been rambling here); I am not saying that conservativism is not guilty of heated invective and name-calling and labelling the other side's ideas instead of carefully analysing them.  But that is not to say that there aren't thoughtful conservatives out there-there are.  Conservatism is made up of all kinds of people, just as liberalism is.  And that is not to say there aren't thoughtful liberals out there either.  I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I'd like to see more thoughtfullness from both sides.  Maybe it is not the most politically expedient way of doing things, but then I think most people would find it a welcome change, and it would make politics a lot less stressful and less bitterly partisan.

    •  I think that this is a fair point... (0+ / 0-)

      one that John Dean goes into in great detail within the pages of "Conservatives without Conscience".  It is true that neither conservatives, nor liberals are monolithic. There are varying degrees of either partisan stripe and even mixtures between them.

      I used to be a Centrist, one who didn't particular swing either way but simply felt the best idea is what we should follow rather than a particular ideology.  

      But in the last couple of years my view on this has changed.  Like Dean I see a rather dangerous pathology at work in Right-Wing Authoritarians and Social Dominators.  That isn't to say that Liberals aren't prone to their own form of social pathology. For example, they tend to eat their own  .  They tend to wimper and backpeddle even when they're absolutely right.  They don't do the lock-step very well.  Trying to get them all going in the same direction is like herding cats.

      But that's also why they just might save this country from itself.

      Also, I see a lot of disgust when a conservative pundit/blogger/commenter uses heated language and labels his or her opponents, and I very much dislike it as well (when I see an article or blog post like that I tend to not even bother reading it), but then I see the same thing from the other side, including in this diary.  What I want to see from both sides instead of all this name-calling and labelling of the other side's people is analysis of the other side's ideas-what are they, what are their weaknesses, what are their strengths, and how are your side's ideas better?

      I think those days are long over.  The right-wing aren't interested in debate, they simply want power - and with control of both Houses of Congress and the White House they've spent the last six years implementing their ideas post haste.  The one core problem is that all of their ideas stem from the view that Government is inept.  It can't be trusted, it doesn't work - so naturally the way they've implemented their ideas has led to one disaster after another - from failing to pay attention pre-9/11 to invading the wrong country after it, neglecting to rebuild it, torturing it's people and then completely failing to control the insurgency until things flaired up into a civil war.  Their ideas are what led us to Katrina and the drowning New Orleans, to the our dog and cat food being poisoned, to disasters in our mines and our waterways polluted with mercury.

      It's not really about debate "whose ideas are better" it's more like trying to find which of their ideas are totally fracking worthless.

      I would agree that there is a lack of civility, and even mutual respect from left to right. The OpedNews version of this post was actually picked up by a right-wing blog and of course, ridiculed.  They attacked my spelling, which is a more than fair criticism.  They attacked my view on the 2nd Amendment, but without citing a single source. In response I pointed out that not all liberals and conservatives are made alike.

      It's now moved into a relatively civil discussion of the Fairness Doctrine as it used to exist and how it might exist in the future.  Although I think most of the right-wing are lost souls, there are some who still worth speaking to - barely.


  •  Conservatism is a social disease (0+ / 0-)

    Psychologists have speculated why people become conservative. Researchers at the University of California -Berkley and Stanford University concluded that the five common psychological traits of conservatives are: 1. Fear and aggression, 2. Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity, 3. Uncertainty avoidance, 4. Need for cognitive closure, and 5. Terror management.

    But you are right. There is a tendency of liberal politicians to follow the political consultants, which always advise the politician never to do anything unpopular, and we do tend to eat our own. Many liberals are perfectionists.

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