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We have all marveled about the aloofness, selfishness, and fierceness of wingnuts (and I would add Libertarians).  I have spent hours of idle time wondering what it is that drives people to ignore the plight of the unfortunate.  Why do they gravitate towards blatant lies to support the agenda of Wall Street, Big Insurance, and twisted politicians?

Suddenly, while reading some comments posted with this diary today, it started to fall into place.

I'll set the stage after the fold:

Here are the comments that inspired my ah-ha:

There are two sides to the agenda of (6+ / 0-)

Recommended by:Creosote, Winnie, Paul Goodman, FindingMyVoice, DixieDishrag, No one gets out alive

deprivation which need not be accomplished at the same time.  Sometimes, it's enough to do one and not the other.  The two sides or goals are
1   enrich us
2   deprive others
Some may assume that 2 automatically produces 1 and willingly settle for one or the other.  Regardless, when all else fails, depriving others generates a psychological satisfaction.

We don't often think of deprivation being intentionally caused.  We need to.  Because there are a host of deprivators out there.

How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

by hannah on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 02:38:52 AM PST

and this response:

Different people (2+ / 0-)

Recommended by:Pescadero Bill, drewfromct

Hannah, you mentioned in an earlier thread that you thought that some people ( conservatives) may not be truly self aware, hence their lack of empathy.  A fundamental sort of sociopathy.

I have reflected much on this idea, as it resonates strongly with Julian Jaynes' concept of bicameralism, which I find intriguing.

I have a theory that many of the people we identify as 'conservatives' are different from 'us' in a subtle, but truly fundamental way.  Their minds truly do not work like ours do.  One 'type' cannot truly understand the other.

This might be an example of the evolution of the mind.  Both types still exist.

I don't know how to apply this constructively to help us live together more peacefully, but understanding is always a good start.

Anyways, that's my crackpot theory.  Still ( and always ) a work in progress.

Thanks for all the food for thought.  I'm always glad to come across your comments here!

It's time for the pitchforks and torches! Guillotines are way too complicated.

by No one gets out alive on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 05:01:56 AM PST

I had to look up bicameralism, and it doesn't explain what my gut feeling is. I have not studied up on all the various theories of the mind that may explain the difference.  But there really IS a fundamental difference between mind-sets that drift to the right vs. the left.  

Regardless of what drives it, my theory boils down to these two opposing elements:

  1.  Scarcity
  1.  Abundance
  1.  GOP'ers world view is that there isn't enough to go around, therefore they must trample everyone they can in order to get what they want and need.  So the following actions seem reasonable and even necessary:

It's all about oil.  US Oil is running out, so we need to conquor countries that have oil.

People are hardwired to hate and distrust each other.  I'm struggling to keep my middle-class rights of home/freedom to do whatever I want, so I'm going to imprison anyone who may possibly harm me and/or my family.  I support strict laws that will keep me safe, but I oppose any law that will take anything away from me!  That includes taxes.  I'm not going to give one cent to anyone outside my family and church!  They don't desreve it.  I need it more than they do!

It's a dog eat dog world. Everybody is programmed to exploit each other for their own gain.  If I can't live like a millionaire, I'm not happy.  It's all about me and my family, I don't give a d*mn about anyone outside my family group.  They are my enemy, I don't trust them, they will harm me.  THEY are thinking the same thing about me and my family.  I need to fear that they will take away what is dear to me. They cannot possibly care about me and my family.  Besides, there isn't enough wealth in the world to let everyone live like a millionaire, we'll all be unhappy and fighting for all of that wealth.  Anyone who is stupid enough to share with others deserves to be exploited.  So I'm going to be the one who is on top of the heap.

  1.  The Dem view is that there IS enough to go around and still be happy and fufilled, so we want to fix the problems of everyone and lift everyone into having what they need and want.

There are more ways than oil to power our lives.  If the oil is running out, let's find other ways to power our lives.  After all, we don't have to be oil-centric.  If we look at what oil does for us (powers locomotion, our appliances, our heat and cooling, our computers, etc.), we realize that we can still have the same outcome if we develop substitutes for oil.  Therefore, we are not running out of resources, we just need to shift our supply chain. Oh, and by the way, maybe we can create jobs this way!

People are not hardwired to harm each other.  We should be able to live in harmony.  So if I have a troubled neighbor, let's look into what's wrong with them and fix it.  Did they grow up in a violent home?  Let's get them therapy to get beyond it and not do it to the next generation.  Did they grow up in poverty and not get a good education?  Let's have programs to educate them and give them a level playing field in order to get a good job and live a "normal life".

If I have all my needs and wants, then I am willing to share by giving a greater portion of my taxes to support lifting the less fortunate out of their predicament and into a life of happiness and abundance too.  If everyone had their needs met, and were able to reasonably purchase enough of their wants, then everyone should be happy and productive members of society.  If everyone is happy and productive, there will be less crime and therefore we can live without fear.

It seems to be a self-fufilling prophecy that if you fear that there isn't enough to go around, you won't look for alternatives to obstacles, and you cling to and hoard the diminishing resource.  

Can it be possible to re-assure the fearful that there is enough to go around so they don't need to be filled with the fear of not getting enough?  It seems to me that if people actually FELT that they would have enough, they wouldn't mind sharing with the rest.

I'm not sure there is a cure for these fearful folks.  Certainly if they were thrust into such a world, eventually they would conclude they don't have to run their lives by fear.

Perhaps I'm a naive optimist, but I think that we progressives need to just thrust them into the world that they fear and show them that it works.  I think this is why I'm so disappointed that candidate promises are dropped or compromised.  From my perspective, we have the mandate for change, and we should just do it and let these folks realize how silly their fear-based insecurities are.  We DO have enough abundance to share.  We all don't need to be millionaires to be happy.

Originally posted to denimari56 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 11:19 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well-constructed and thoughtful diary (3+ / 0-)

    I think the God-factor figures in there, too. According to some rightwingers... Good people go to heaven, bad people go to hell. So, if you're rich, somehow that means you're a good person and you're being rewarded. If you're poor, it's because you're a sinner or lazy or flawed in some way. If you need an abortion, it's because you sinned. If you don't have health care, well why don't you get a better job?

    (Note: I'm not saying this, I'm saying that that's how some rightwingers think.)

    Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.

    by Dbug on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 11:34:40 AM PST

    •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't really want to put that in the mix, but I do think that the christian right does have a distorted view on luck.  
      "If you are lucky, then god is smiling on you.  If you run into bad luck, you must have screwed up and god is punishing you.  And since you f****d up, I don't have to pity or help you.  If god doesn't help you, why should I?"

      Reminds me of an old joke about a person in a flood praying for help, but when various ways to rescue them comes, the person declines the help because they thing god is going to save them.  When they drown and get to the pearly gates, they ask god why didn't you save me.  God replies, "I sent you a boat and a helicopter and you didn't let them save you".  

      I think there is a prevalence of this short-sighted thinking.  I hope that I live to see the day when people reach out to each other without strings attached.

      Truth is subjective, Insanity is relative

      by denimari56 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 01:14:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would say (0+ / 0-)

    that this was a good diary, but the following part struck me as somewhat unfair, impractical, and overly idealistic, albeit with excellent motives:

    If I have all my needs and wants, then I am willing to share by giving a greater portion of my taxes to support lifting the less fortunate out of their predicament and into a life of happiness and abundance too.  If everyone had their needs met, and were able to reasonably purchase enough of their wants, then everyone should be happy and productive members of society.  If everyone is happy and productive, there will be less crime and therefore we can live without fear.

    First, I don't know anyone who has all their needs and wants fulfilled.

    Second, I don't know how you make that determining factor where one has reached the threshold whereby they have enough to have their needs and wants adequately provided for.

    Third, there are a lot of us who feel like we pay a fortune in taxes as it is. Mrs. Sox and I pay about $40K per annum in taxes, and we are far from living high on the hog, with the same worries and concerns as everyone else. Some might consider us rich, others might consider us middle class, we certainly consider ourselves middle class, in large part because of the cost of living in our city. How do you establish the scale for who has to pay more?

    Fourth, a good number of people (myself included) remain unconvinced that these higher taxes will lead to "lifting the less fortunate out of their predicament." Indeed, there is equal opportunity for government waste, economic inefficiencies, and creating a cycle of dependence.

    Fifth, if we continue to tax and tax and tax we're going to stymie motivation. I will have less incentive to continue to do more and reap the benefits, if those benefits are continually diminished in the name of redistributing wealth. I work long hours, and I love what I do, but I'm going to love it a lot less if these hours and subsequent pay increases are turned over at a much higher rate to the government.

    I think you do a good job in outlining some of the Republican policy failings, but the view presented here is too socialistic for my tastes. I enjoyed reading it though, and appreciate the food for thought.

    "And, the rational version of me? You probably wont ever see him again" - borkitekt

    by Red Sox on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 11:38:35 AM PST

    •  You paid 40K in taxes & don't think you're rich? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiseUpEconomics

      What in the world do you do for a living?

      The average gross (not net) income in this country is about $40K per year.

      And millions of us didn't make anything last year, because we don't have jobs and don't qualify for the benefits that we should.

      Yes, people who make as much money as you and your wife need to pay more in taxes.

      It may sound socialistic because it is. That's the price of life in a civilized society.

      Nobody deserves to make 100 times what any other worker should make. There is plenty to go around without depriving anyone.

      I think the diarist's "needs and wants" means Maslow's hierarchy and such: food, clothing, shelter -- not a boat and a big screen TV.

      When there is so much poverty in this country and so much money concentrated in the hands of the few, you should want a more equal society. Otherwise, you should probably start to fear for your life.

      The problem with higher taxes not lifting the less fortunate is that the taxes aren't being applied equitably. There should be a minimum income -- not a minimum wage -- and public housing available so that nobody sleeps on the street or in a homeless shelter for more than one night.

      Otherwise, why are you a Democrat?

      "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

      by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 11:53:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's correct (0+ / 0-)

        You paid 40K in taxes & don't think you're rich?

        We're not struggling, but with a child on the way, a dog, a mortgage, car payment, student loans, and every day expenses, we're not able to save a lot, and when we have to start paying for day care, it's unlikely we'll be able to save much of anything. What is a high salary in middle America is not as high in a major metropolitan area.

        And millions of us didn't make anything last year, because we don't have jobs and don't qualify for the benefits that we should.

        So because you failed to procure employment, you just dig deeper into my pocket? Clearly there ought to be a social safety net, but when does it stop? Do we eventually find ourselves at a point of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"?

        Yes, people who make as much money as you and your wife need to pay more in taxes. It may sound socialistic because it is. That's the price of life in a civilized society.

        As you might imagine, I disagree. We don't live in a socialist country, we live in a capitalist country. The price of living in a civilized society is not necessarily socialism.

        When there is so much poverty in this country and so much money concentrated in the hands of the few, you should want a more equal society. Otherwise, you should probably start to fear for your life.

        But where does it say that an "equal society" requires socialism? And who gets to decide what point is "equal enough"? When everyone has a government-paid home? When everyone is guaranteed an income regardless of how or what they do?

        Otherwise, why are you a Democrat?

        A lot of reasons. I believe in a woman's right to choose, marriage equality, spending on education, science trumping religious fears, and an economic system somewhere between your socialist ideal and the Republicans' ideal of "fuck the poor."

        "And, the rational version of me? You probably wont ever see him again" - borkitekt

        by Red Sox on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 12:15:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with most of the premise (5+ / 0-)

    There is a fundamental concept here.  With Republicans everything is a zero sum game.  To get something, someone else must lose it.  They don't seem to understand that sometimes, in giving something up, the benefits of that loss grow in almost astounding ways. For instance, money injected into the economy isn't a 1 for 1 benefit, it is a 10 for 1 benefit as it circulates around and creates opportunies all over the place.

    I am a pragmatist, but I don't believe in a straight zero sum game, I believe that in giving a portion of my earnings for roads, bridges, infrastructure, unemployment, social security, etc. I am creating a framework that not only enriches other people's lives, but enriches my life in a multitude of ways.

    In short, many Republicans are penny wise and pound foolish.

    Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

    by Sychotic1 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 11:49:42 AM PST

  •  You are a naive optimist - (0+ / 0-)

    that doesn't mean I think we should agree with them, become like them, or fulfill their fears by not providing for them in their need, I don't.  I think we should keep on finding solutions and implementing them BUT even as we provide the wingnuts/needy/fear-based folks with food, energy, education, healthcare, whatever they fear we're going to take away from them, we have to find some way of protecting ourselves.  These folks are like the guys who found the goose that laid the golden eggs.  Sooner rather than later they will try to get all the eggs at one time by killing the goose.  So keep laying golden eggs for the good of all, but do it in full body armor.

  •  Silly diary. (0+ / 0-)

    If this really mattered to you, you would not try to dehumanize the people that are on the opposite side by saying things like your brain has evolved more than theirs.  

  •  Thanks for your feedback! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics

    Yes, I am an optimist and I tend towards what looks socialistic.  

    But if you took all the wealth in the world and divided it up - not equally, but in a range that doesn't leave anyone way behind the highest, there WILL be enough to go around.  There WILL be enough for the high tech toy and TV.

    There is so much wealth locked up in a few bank accounts.  This wealth is not being used for anything but status.  The richest persons can only own so many houses, so many yahts, take so many trips, etc.  Then they have a bunch left over that they leave as an inheritance.

    It's a total wish-dream of mine to actually get equality.  But my point is that if we do not fear that we won't have enough, and we spread wealth to all, no one will be feeling a scarcity and they should be happy. Greed, of course will keep many still unhappy.  But if the commenter above with the 40k in taxes would have "enough" to keep him and his family happy, healthy and enough spending money to play with, I doubt he would be grousing about his taxes.

    Truth is subjective, Insanity is relative

    by denimari56 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 12:59:21 PM PST

    •  I share your "wish-dream" (0+ / 0-)

      That's why I'm working to revive the basic income guarantee as a serious policy alternative. Check out IncomeSecurityForAll.org and RiseUpEconomics.org and USBIG.net to find out more about the basic income. In short, we can tax wealth and carbon and provide income directly to lower and middle income people. A basic income of about $10,000 a year tax-free would provide working people with the kind of economic freedom and security that only the wealthy have now. It would transform work from an all or nothing proposition that dominates American life to something that we do to supplement our basic income. We could work less and live more if we choose to. We could eliminate poverty and stimulate the economy in a way that could prevent future recessions like the one we are struggling in now.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 01:09:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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