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The other day I put up a paragraph from a blog post by Bill Maher up as my facebook status:

"We all read what Trump said about Obama's election, as well as Ted Nugent and Victoria Jackson. I'm just saying, it's the second term -- maybe it's time for those re-education camps. There are a lot of people in this country who are in need of some serious deprogramming."
--Bill Maher
Some acquaintances of mine on the Right were upset by this status. For example, one wrote he thought Maher was a "sicko." I told him I thought it was obviously a joke and he gave me his reasoning otherwise: sounds like a liberal throwing out an idea that harks to an approach of liberalism over the last 20 years, which is that anything that disagrees with them needs to be "educated". . It's just taking it to a new level. If it's a joke, great. But coming from Maher? Doesn't seem far off from his typical view.
It became clear to me that my acquaintances and I had fundamentally different epistemologies. I thought it obvious the paragraph I quoted was satirizing the FEMA camps conspiracy theory and making fun of wingnuts. Friends apparently thought Bill Maher (and I guess me too, since I publicized his quote on facebook) was actually advocating putting conservatives into re-education camps.

This isn't the first time I have seen my epistemology fundamentally differ from that of the Right. Everybody gets things wrong sometimes but I am thinking of examples of instances where the disagreement doesn't seem to me to come down to complex nuances or opinion, but where we clearly disagree on what the obvious facts are:

1) I was looking for some information on Pete Seeger and came across this post by Mark Steyn in National Review Online. Among other things Steyn says which aren't true (note to Steyn: Seeger repudiated Stalin before 2009, implicitly in 1982 by performing at a benefit concert for Poland's resistance movement, and explicitly in 1993), he maintains that Seeger has been "reliably wrong on every single issue for the last 70 years, starting with his opposition to the Second World War." It's true that Pete Seeger opposed World War II at first (as did, incidentally, a young Charles Lindbergh supporter by the name of William F. Buckley) although I think it should at least be noted that by 1942 he was singing in support of the war. But more importantly...I mean, c'mon, Pete Seeger was wrong about every single issue? Really? For the sake of argument, let's not even talk about Vietnam. One only has to read up to the third line of Seeger's Wikipedia article to learn he was a supporter of the civil rights movement (unlike, say, National Review). In feeling the need to write that Seeger was wrong about everything, Steyn reveals himself to be either an idiot (for not realizing Seeger supported the civil rights movement) or a racist (for thinking civil rights were a bad idea). Judging favorably, I'll assume the former, but what's scary is that the dittoheads who commented on his article didn't see fit to point out this glaring error.

2) The Right has long declared Obama's anti-Israel. Back in May 2011, Obama gave a speech where he referenced America's longstanding position that Israel will be divided along the 67 borders with mutually agreed land swaps and the Right went apoplectic. Facebook friends linked to Krauthammer wondering aloud whether Obama hated Israel. In response, I linked to moderate Will Saletan fisking that Krauthammer column. Now with the Iron Dome which Obama got funding for saving Israeli lives, Obama committing to get more funding for the Dome, telling the world Israel has the right to defend honest acquaintances on the Right are now either admitting they were wrong or claiming that Obama's defense of Israel in his second term represents a 'sea change' (for the record, Krauthammer's most recent column on the conflict in Israel doesn't mention the President. Charles, whatever happened to the our peoples' concept of hakoras hatov, expressing gratitude?). But it seems to me that for years now it's been clear where the President stands and they just invented a fictional narrative to put him in.

3) George Will declared that if Obama won, it was probably because despite him allegedly being an obviously failed president, America didn't want to get rid of its' first black president. Forget the obvious failures of the Romney campaign, forget the 47% comments and all the other gaffes, forget the sophisticated targeting used by the Obama campaign, forget the fact that Americans didn't relate to Romney, forget Romney's comments about self-deportation, forget the fact that congressional Republicans had made a mockery of the People's House (even more than usual), Will looked at all the facts, and basically said, "If Obama wins, must be affirmative action."

There are a myriad of other examples (I've documented elsewhere a bunch from Mediaite's profilic house conservative Noah Rothman alone). I seem to read differently from people on the Right. Satirists on the Left have referred to their epistemology as "Bullshit Mountain" or the "Republican Bubble", it seems so divorced from what we see as reality.

Some people will say that it's FOX News's fault, but I think going back to at least the 19th century, conservatives have been regressive. Buckley managed to kick out the elements which marginalized the right-wing and made the brand more acceptable, but the brand was and is still fundamentally flawed; I think the critiques David Ross Locke made of conservative values (on both economic and social issues, lest your more "libertarian" friends think it need not apply to them) in the 19th century can be applied today. FOX News can only exist in a country which wants it, and for reasons I fundamentally don't understand, people want to think Obama's the worst president in history (after the last one, even!), as they wanted to think Bill Clinton killed Vince Foster. Racism? There certainly is some racism (yes yes, Republicans will tell you there's no racism in the GOP because they all liked Herman Cain and got Clarence Thomas on the SCOTUS, but let's not forget some Republicans like Cain and Thomas because "they're not like the others"), but with an exception or two, I don't think my Republican friends are racist, nor do I think racism comes close to explaining how our worldviews differ so fully.

Would appreciate your thoughts.

2:31 PM PT: Much obliged for Community Spotlight.

Originally posted to Mark Pelta on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 07:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I like Bill Maher, and think he's funny. However (8+ / 0-)

    he was clearly referring to re-education camps in the joke - he says "re-education camps".  No ambiguity there at all.  Nothing to me infers FEMA camps, although I did not see the whole bit, and perhaps this little piece is just out of context.  

    I do think it was a joke, though, as mostly everything Maher says is a joke - or at least was intended to have humorous undertones.  No one could believe that he was seriously advocating putting conservatives into a re-education camp.  But when it yields that strong of a reaction, well....  the truth hurts sometimes, or the guilty dog barks, or any number of other pithy sayings might apply here.

    "I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization." - United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (Republican) -8.12, -5.18

    by ncarolinagirl on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 07:46:46 AM PST

  •  Excellent Diary, and something I wonder (12+ / 0-)

    about too.  To borrow a tired metaphor,' Liberals are from Earth and Conservatives are from Venus'.  There is another excellent Diary here about conservative humor which also goes well with your diary and characterizes  the disconnect.  It worries me since compromise and problem solving must start with each side understanding each other.

    "Life is short, our work lasts longer" Rose Wilder Lane

    by HarpLady on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 08:09:24 AM PST

  •  I had a similar moment of angst (31+ / 0-)

    the other night when I friend of mine in Texas (a German ex-patriate and avowed liberal) posted something on her Facebook page and a number of her neighbors descended on it like harpies, condemning Obama and blaming him for the economy, the bankruptcy of Hostess, and a myriad of other things he couldn't possibly have contributed to.  Besides the underlying deep streak of racism (which at base, in my opinion, is a fear of other races as much as it is hatred, or hatred based upon fear) these people, who believe in fact-free litanies of conspiracy that are so convoluted that they make no sense - cannot be convinced by facts, and do not trust their own government.  The reason we can't understand them is because we do not live daily with that depth of xenophobia and suspicion.  This xenophobia is fed by a daily diet of fact-free paranoid conspiracy theories they get off Fox - however, they were there before Fox.  Fox is the result of the culture of xenophobia and suspicion, not a cause - but right-wing conspiracy media do help them right wing to maintain its insular culture.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 08:17:42 AM PST

  •  Your status message (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misslegalbeagle, alyosha

    Was obviously an affront.  You honestly think your "friends" on the right were'nt going to be offended by the Maher quote?

    What's to not understand?  You suggest a group of people be forced to go to "re-education camp" and you expect them to not respond?

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 08:28:42 AM PST

    •  Maybe those "friends" on the right deserve to (21+ / 0-)

      be slapped in the face with reality.

      Maybe they deserve to have their limited, narrow-minded thinking challenged.

      Maybe they need to grow up and start understanding humor, abstract thought, and new ideas.

      But then they'd be liberals, of course.

      I've given up trying to appease my religious/GOP friends. Now I challenge them every chance I get. I'm sick of their nonsensical, evil, damaging beliefs.

      "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." - Hubert Humphrey

      by Killer of Sacred Cows on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 09:58:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  and yet... (7+ / 0-)

      There is often an element of pain in humor don't you think?  In the context of the entire blogpost, Maher's remark might be paraphrased as a wistful, "Wish we had something as effective as Fox News to counter the vaporous swamp of paranoia and bigotry they have begotten."  Or a jab at liberals, "Hey, we're losing the war of ideas."

      Just to refresh myself on those celebrity twits.


      Well, back to the drawing board! | We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. | Our nation is totally divided! Let's fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us. | This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy! Our country is now in serious and unprecedented trouble. . .like never before.
      Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters hav a president to destroy America
      and Jackson
      I can't stop crying.America died. | America's dead but Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever. | Military Absentee Ballots Delivered One Day Late, Would Have Swung Election For Romney
      'Re-education camp' is humorous because, when you look at who is pushing for more prisons, who is funding 'think tanks' to propagate ideological agendas, and who is founding 'universities' that teach against accepted science, it ain't liberals.

      And doubly humorous when you consider how puny a response such a camp would be in the face of Fox news and right-wing talk radio.

  •  I often say that (16+ / 0-)

    "Irony is lost on these people." They simply don't get subtlety, irony, sarcasm, and other higher-level thought.

    My father is a Fox/Limbaugh fan who has lost his ability to get the joke. I was discussing something Paul O'Neal (former Bush Treasury Sec) said that was critical of Bush's policies. I used the phrase, "O'Neal is a big, fat Republican," to buttress my point that his criticism should have validity for my father. But all he could focus on was my use of the "big fat" phrase. "O'Neal isn't fat!" he said. Of course not, I replied. It's an expression!!

    No nuance. All lost.

    It is sad.

    I wonder what Markos thought when he started this blog? Sure, come for the politics, but stay for the friendship and cat pics!

    by The Pollster on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 08:30:42 AM PST

    •  It was a way (5+ / 0-)

      of avoiding the facts.

      I have seen this tactic many times.  They realize they will not win on logic so they focus on minutiae that doesn't address the real issue.

      It is what Fox "news" and the other right wing sites teach them how to do.  Unfortunately I see it sometimes by the left, but nowhere near the extent that the right does it.

      Watching Mitt's strategy is what it looks like when you try to put an etch a sketch in a centrifuge.

      by AppleP on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 06:45:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is nothing to understand (32+ / 0-)

    "Conservative" is no longer a political philosophy.

    It is a religion.

    It is not just "Christian" either.  It is cult-style fundamentalist christian.

    My wife has a very good sense of what they are doing and thinking at any given time, and I take advantage of her insight on a regular basis -- she was raised in Abilene, Texas, in the Church of Christ.  For reference, these folk have for many, many decades considered Baptists to be much too liberal.

    As such, any time I ask her, "They aren't really going to respond to this loss by saying they need to be 'more pure' are they?" ... she inevitably answers "Yes."

    "Conservatives" will continue to defend their turf with cult-like fanaticism, because that is essentially what most of those in that movement have devolved towards.  

    Genuine philosophic "conservatives" are popping their heads up from time to time, but they are not getting airplay in the GOP or on Faux News.

    As for the lack of a sense of humor, it's my understanding there wasn't much in the way of sardonic wit at Jonestown, either.

    "Confunde et vince." Come visit our chickens at

    by Walden Ponderer on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 08:32:07 AM PST

    •  Exactly. (24+ / 0-)

      I don't think anyone could have said it better.

      Conservatism is no longer a Philosophy, it is a Religion. (I'm going to steal this). You either believe it or you don't. There is no middle ground. Those who find themselves caught in the middle are those who are trying to rationalize this with facts and science.

      Remember Marco Rubio on the question of how old the earth is? You either believe the Bible or you don't.
      Remember the question asked to Mourdoch in Indiana: "Rape is something God intended to happen". You either believe it or you don't.
      Remember what these people said during the campaign:
      They won't let facts get in the way of their campaign. Remember what Mitten said after the Elections: "We ran a campaign of grand Ideas, they were promising gifts to people". ... etc, etc ... there are plenty of examples to substantiate this.
      Conservatism ... is a Religion. That's now a fact.

      •  belief (7+ / 0-)

        is key.  It may be rather harsh to quote hitler in reference to what is called 'conservative'  rhetoric today but these quotes explain it pretty clearly:

        "As soon as by one's own propaganda even a glimpse of right on the other side is admitted, the cause for doubting one's own right is laid."

        "It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge."
        Adolf Hitler

        "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

        by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 01:57:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Believe or not? (0+ / 0-)

          The question is always believe or not believe.  That is a religious attitude toward a claim.  Too many Americans can't get past this.  

          The enlightenment attitude is to question the claim and learn about it.  Compare it to other claims, examine how general it is, how plausible, how it analogizes with other claims, how its implications blend with or jar our expectations.  

          A lack of facility with basic critical thinking makes the right wingers easy marks for all sorts of silly thinking, not just right wing nonsense.  thay also fall for religious nonsense, and pseudo-science.  Many combine a belief in a dead man who is really god, with a belief in ancient aliens and Mayan calendar fatalism.  

          The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

          by not2plato on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:09:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  . (0+ / 0-)

            I believe you are correct.  Pun intended.  To examine one's beliefs requires the willingness to experience personal discomfort and even some psychological/emotional pain, possibly grief, as mistaken beliefs are reconciled with reality and accepting that one had a false belief.  It is the only means to personal growth and to a gain a semblance of wisdom.  Most are unwilling (any political stripe) and those attracted to authoritarian personalities are the most easily misled to miserable ends.

            "By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise." - Adolf Hitler

            “It's not what you don't know that kills you, it's what you know for sure that ain't true.” -Mark Twain

            "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

            by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:56:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Not just religion, but mythology (9+ / 0-)

      OK, i am a rambler by nature, so this may follow my natural tendency. It is not just a religion, but for many evangelicals, "conservatism" is part and parcel of their religion. Almost all of my evangelical friends are conservative, if not quite so strongly correlated in the other direction.

      but they are also strongly mythological. They are not looking for effective versus ineffective, they are looking for good versus evil. If they are against it, it has to be, by definition, evil, because they define themselves as good. In reality, Pete Seeger is not always wrong, but in mythology, the enemy is always wrong, and the more evils and wrongdoing piled onto the villain, the more compelling the mythology. Examine the programming from evangelical televangelists for a clue about what is going on in the cosmology of the conservative christian spectrum. You will find an enormous emphasis on the ongoing battle between good and evil that will lead to the imminent end times when everyone will be held accountable for all those wrong decisions and actions they were warned against by their moral leaders.

      Layer over all this the way the conservative infotainment industry manipulates the same mythic story lines and elements in order to generate emotion and hysteria, and perhaps it will appear to you, as it does to me, that reality cannot intrude on the success of storytellers for a large portion of the conservative movement. It cannot intrude because it is a fact, to the believer, that there is a war in the spiritual realm that is more important than the "trivial" developments that many of us view as the whole of actual reality.

      •  Well said. n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc, Killer of Sacred Cows

        Watching Mitt's strategy is what it looks like when you try to put an etch a sketch in a centrifuge.

        by AppleP on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 06:51:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Funny you should say this... (4+ / 0-) 13 year old daughter just started reading Joseph Campbell this evening.  A "devout" atheist since kindergarten, she has found a strong interest in "metastories" reasoning that just because something is not "true" does not mean it does not hold "Truth" in some deeper capacity.  And understanding how people we deal with have allowed their "Truths" to override established "truth" requires understanding the language of symbols, best expressed in the history of myth.

        For the record, that is my paraphrasing of her words.  I'm too busy kvetching and moaning about the college football season to come up with anything deeper to say these days than, "Grraaaarrrrggghhh!"

        "Confunde et vince." Come visit our chickens at

        by Walden Ponderer on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 06:53:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The easiest way to undersand conservatives is (19+ / 0-)

    by the definition of the words conservative and liberal.

    A liberal person shares, and is of generous spirit in many ways and on many levels.

    A conservative is the exact opposite.

    Remember that Reagan ran against FDR and his policies, as well as LBJ and his policies, as did Nixon though he was less overt.

    Think about what that means. Today's Republicans are still running against FDR who died 68 years ago, and LBJ who left office 43 years ago.
    The first thing that is obvious is that these folks have a pathological problem.  Trying to get even with and destroy the legacy of people half a century and more dead is sick.  And they are very comfortable with it.

    The next problem is that they are buried deeply in past history and past grievances.  That makes it pointless to discuss contemporary issues on a rational basis.

    They are , by their own choice hopeless, and we have to work around them.  They will not change.
    It is hugely important for the Dims to reach out to high school and college age Americans and show them what the party stands for.

    •  Haha! I have said this for years (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Vincent, lurkyloo

      Mitt ran on restoring America?  But what part does he want to restore?  the 1980's?  Of course not.  He wants to go back to before the New Deal, to the age of the robber barons.  

      The righties swore they would undo the new deal when it was made, and they swore they would undo medicare when it passed, and they now swear they will undo ObamaCare when they get the chance.  They are truly a backward looking party.  

      I tell my foreign friends: We don't have high speed rail, we have a republican party.  We don'e have an energy policy; we have a republican party instead.  We don't have an industrial policy because we have a republican party.  We don't have peace, we have republicans.  

      The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

      by not2plato on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:00:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Repubs have NO sense of humor. They don't (18+ / 0-)

    understand snark.... I have conservative acquaintances who don't get that Stephen Colbert is not really on their side - duh.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 09:36:41 AM PST

  •  that's an easy one - they are afraid because (9+ / 0-)

    given the chance - that is EXACTLY what they would do to the rest of us.  So it's not a stretch for them to put that thinking on us at all.

    And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

    by Mortifyd on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 11:12:39 AM PST

  •  They make me tired (12+ / 0-)

    Seriously tired.  Bless their hearts but I've given up.  

  •  3 words (10+ / 0-)

    Hate. Eny. Fear.

    Especially hate. They do not want to make the world a better place; they want to hurt the "undeserving".

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 11:34:42 AM PST

  •  Hofstadter called them "pseudo-conservatives" (8+ / 0-)

    "The Paranoid Strain in American Politics", written a long time ago, and still timely.

  •  They're regressive alright (6+ / 0-)

    I think you nailed it that the right has always been regressive, but today the rightwing media machine has it on a Red Bull binge of craziness. Misinformation travels like wildfire and almost instantly infects already distorted views. Part of the problem is that they have no base of sanity/reality to touch on to discover if the latest gem circulating on the net is BS or the truth.

  •  Worth reading ... (4+ / 0-)

    This diary and accompanying profile of Patrick Henry College will go a long way toward explaining the worldview of conservative Christian political hopefuls.  

    Here it is in a single-page nutshell.  

    This is where they're coming from, and it's why they hate Bill Maher and the "liberal media" in general.  They look at the world and see something completely different than we do, which is why they are so difficult for many progressives to understand.

     I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.     -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by SteelerGrrl on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 12:00:08 PM PST

  •'s just not particularly funny joke. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Batya the Toon

    I'm not sure about your friends, but joking about putting people into camps just isn't something most of my friends (or myself) would find very funny.  If someone I knew posted something like that, I'd probably say something.  

  •  I don't understand them either. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SherwoodB, Killer of Sacred Cows

    They appear to be normal in many ways but they really hate us and it got bad under Clinton.  Everything was peachy under Bush right?   There is something other than insanity pushing these scare tactics and it is detremental to the country.   Best way I know to lose those guns...Start talking about secession and tearing up the US of America.  I am glad Obama is president and not me..  I would not want an armed  bunch trying to tear up the country.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 12:01:32 PM PST

  •  Conservatives are against (9+ / 0-)

    That's all.  Just against.  Whatever they want, whatever they get to do their way, it isn't enough.  Not right.  They'll be against the way it's done.

    Conservatism = Selfishness

    Selfish with money.  Selfish with ideas.  My way or no way.

  •  Perhaps your friend also thinks Maher's GOP bubble (4+ / 0-)

    are real giant plastic spheres that he imagines all conservatives live in.

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 12:27:13 PM PST

  •  There's a vast variety of "Righties" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alyosha, Killer of Sacred Cows

    The only thing they all have in common is that to a person..

    They're all dumb-asses

    Maybe one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 12:45:07 PM PST

  •  On not understanding the Right (7+ / 0-)

    Because you know something about religion, there's the key to the problem.  Once the right started the long process of becoming virtually identical with the fundamentalist part of the religious spectrum in this country (the "Moral Majority" effort of the late '70s to early '80s), allied with the Republican Southern Strategy, the ensuing marriage promised to create a religio-political movement that was absolutely assured of its "truthiness."  The Confederacy prided itself on being the most Christian nation in the world at the time.  This had already followed the Southern intellectual rejection of an emerging rational academic practice.  So, today's conservatism is linked to a theologically fundamentalist view of the world, combined with the racist social attitudes of an insular South, and made all the more virulent by modern communications and political organizing.

    •  All this is interesting and I think if you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Killer of Sacred Cows

      integrate these cultural and/or historical factors you mention here with the biological factors I mentioned in my comment below, then you get a total picture of what drives conservatism and why it is more prevalent in certain areas of the country.

  •  Re? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    How about a decent education in the first place?

    Maybe if they had one that included evolution, reproductive biology, the history of who ran up the deficit, what happened the last time 'austerity' was tried, and a whole laundry list of facts that seem to have a liberal bias, we wouldn't hear so many boneheadedly stupid ideas out of them.

    •  Here's the thing, (4+ / 0-)

      My father, 77 years old, is a smart man. He grew up in New York City at the height of the 50s. College was paid for on the GI Bill. He used to be intellectually curious. My love of the space program came from him. He taught me the names of the Mercury astronauts (Shepard, Carpenter, Glenn, et. al.) when I was a little girl. He read voraciously. He expected his children to be curious and intellectual, too. College for us was expected, not hoped for.

      But for years now, he has been in that "bubble." He even doubts evolution. Seriously. Why? Because Coulter and the others doubt it.

      What do you do with that? Nothing, really. Nothing at all. I used to try. But it was a lost cause. Now we don't speak because, as a Democrat, I'm a traitor to this country. Sad.

      I wonder what Markos thought when he started this blog? Sure, come for the politics, but stay for the friendship and cat pics!

      by The Pollster on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 02:55:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't understand them either.... (7+ / 0-)

    and I have tried.  I have read books (just finished "What's the Matter with Kansas" by Thomas Frank).  I also read "As Texas Goes..."  I read the blogs.  I listen to the pundits trying to explain it.   And I talk with, listen to conservatives I know.  

    I DON'T GET THEM.   I don't get their the poor, at minorities (especially when a few the cousin conservatives  have biracial children in their family).  I understand their religious stuff a point.  But when one points out scriptures that undermine and contradict their biases, they simply deny, deny or say "I don't care" and angrily walk away. I have one acquaintance who went from someone who walked the picket line with me years and years ago to a religious zealot who listens to Hannity.  I have pointed out to him the nastiness, the lies, the hateful rhetoric that goes against the teachings of Jesus who he claims to follow and he just gets angry and walks away.  

    If anyone understand the conservative mind, please explain to me.  My conclusion (with those I know) is that they are using Christianity to simply justify, rationalize their greed and resentment.  

    “Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.”–Louis Dembitz Brandeis

    by Jjc2006 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 01:43:25 PM PST

    •  Christianity is a veneer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Killer of Sacred Cows

      Conservatives have very compartimentalized minds. They can sing in the church choir on Sunday, then lie, cheat, and steal on Monday, and not see any contradiction.

      For them, it's all about survival - their own specifically - and anything (and I mean anything) can be justified toward that end. They particularly enjoy seeing others suffer, probably because they did at one time. Their Christianity is really tribalism - we vs them - a survival tactic - and they view the world as being arrayed against them.

      I encourage you to read Bob Altemeyer's The Authoritarians (it's free). He's a social psychologist who wrote the definitive text on a major aspect of the conservative mentality.

  •  Oh, don't knock yourself out trying to figure out (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndyinDelaware, wlkx, Mark Mywurtz

    the right.  You are making it too complicated.  They are simply a bunch of a- holes.  You said it correctly - "the brand was and is still fundamentally flawed"  But seriously, I think what you are dealing with people who are fearful of many things - fear of change, fear of death, fear of uncertainty(hence they prefer religion vs. science), fear of losing their resources (to freeloaders), fear of the other (as in people who are of different race or religion), fear of aggressors (hence they are always pro-military).  And in referring to these traits I am referring to them as measured vs. progressives. Many of these traits have been determined in psychological studies.
       Recent brain imaging studies have also shown that progressives and conservatives exhibit activation of different brain regions when processing information provided to them.   It seems to me their response (conservatives) to life's experience is more emotionally than intellectually or cognitively based.
         As far as the tendency of conservatives to  create fiction to support their worldview, I'm not sure about that but it may have to do with their excessive pride.  Did you ever note how proud they are and criticize Obama for apologizing for America or not supporting the concept of American exceptionalism. I think they make up stuff because they are too proud to consider they might be wrong about things.  Hence they construct a bubble to validate their worldview, which they take great pride in. I don't think they will take criticism well.    
       My take on all of this is that conservatives are a revolting bunch, aren't they ?  lolololololololololo

  •  A joke can create a pathway... (6+ / 0-)

    to serious criticism, as we all know.  Undoubtedly Maher was joking but that doesn't mean he didn't have a point.  The kinds of disinformation, low-information, and plain ignorance that has been in evidence over the past campaign is nothing less than astonishing.  What is more interesting is that I think the Right begins with a different epistemology, not just bad sources.  They are more literal-minded, eager to confirm their already held opinions, and disinclined to doubt as method of learning: after all, we are talking about plenty of folks who subscribe to magical religious thinking and other forms of fundamentalist literalism.  Put these elements together and even if this statement were not known to be from Maher, the Righties will use their literalist epistemology.  Progressives prefer nuance, grey or in-between, compromise with principles intact, and particularly the use of falsifiability as part of the learning process.  When was the last time a Rightie even thought he could be wrong?

  •  My new tactic is to ask conservatives what their.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Mywurtz, Hamtree

    "modern conservatism" has accomplished for our country??Then i run down a list such as FDR(soc sec, WW2 victory), JFK(moon landings,began civil rights,Cuban missle crisis), LBJ(great society, Medicare) and that is just a short list of Big Liberal ideas by liberal Presidents..Also for the most part satire, sarcasm is completely lost to them so when Bill Maher references education camps he is refering to something Michelle (cRazy) Bachmann said... Derp and more Derp!!!

    America, We blow stuff up!!

    by IndyinDelaware on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 02:25:36 PM PST

  •  I see a byproduct of consumer advertising culture (5+ / 0-)

    To me, what is going on is at a psychoanalytic depth and is not explained in terms of Bible verses, despite their constant use.

    We are in a world that is undergoing changes that are both subtle and pervasive.  

    If you really think about it, there being 7 billion people on the planet is a shock to us all, and the prospect of another billion or two coming along shortly is hard to wrap one's mind around.

    Than many humans drawing on the earth's resource base is likely to produce unending complexities resulting from the ways in which the economics are warping and twisting.

    They you have the science of large scale conditions like climate change and deforestation and pollution.

    But mainly, we are a consumer culture.

    This was the creation of a time, just after WWII, when there was a desperate need to create a departure from the way the economy worked before the war.  

    Advertising and public relations came into being in order to create an environment conducive to getting people in the mood to buy lots of stuff.  It became a full bore mind trip for an entire culture involved in the whole news as entertainment as shopping mall of the mind as atmosphere of the universe.  

    It has a narcotic effect and is an entire worldview and a way of being in the world.  It is visceral and emotional and not something very many people are given to analyzing.  

    What has people upset is that this environment that we all live in has sprung leaks and reality is visible through the cracks in the walls.  Some want to deal with it through the use of critical thinking and seeking correct science about the true nature of reality.

    A lot of people would rather be lied to than be forced into looking at the illusion as an illusion.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 02:50:01 PM PST

  •  You don't understand them enough (0+ / 0-)

    because you aren't thinking evil enough. In order to understand the right, one must put on one's most evil, paraoid, plutocratic, and vile hat. Then comprehension will come. Just don't visit too long.

    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

    by shigeru on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 02:50:27 PM PST

  •  Just one correction (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Pollster, JosephK74, jan4insight

    None of the conservatives I know think Bill Clinton killed Vince Foster. They all think Hillary Clinton killed Vince Foster.

    To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut: Pure joy is waking up one morning to realize that your high school class will NOT be running the country for the next four years.

    by ebrann on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:02:55 PM PST

  •  someone said they are stuck in (4+ / 0-)

    the Concrete Operational Stage and for me this is it, the pre-ironic brain.

    The other component -- in particular with the expressly religious ones or those who oppose any "liberal" idea based primarily on what might be termed religious grounds -- is the idea that the human brain is undesirable and dangerous in their mythology because humans are "fallen" and thus incapable of thinking and doing in accordance with what "God" wants, and thus humans can only go astray and nowhere else.

    Basically they want an end to human autonomy by any means necessary, and "government" to them is the primary mechanism by which humans autonomically attempt to organize and regulate society and civilization. "God" is their only qualified regulator and they take any human gesture at this as an offense, that people would dare assume the responsibilities "God" is alleged to be there to take care of.

    Unfortunately there is no "re-education" for this other than the need for them to turn off Fox News, stop THEORIZING what it's all about and go outside the bunker to start EXPERIENCING what the world is really about or what it might be about. But they never will, because real people and situations are complex, nuanced, and often incomprehensible and they don't do uncertainty, they are Certainty-Only even if what they are certain of is completely irrational and destructive.

    They are eight, and built to stay that way even if we all -- conservatives and liberals -- die because of it.

    "Some of you are going to die... martyrs, of course, to the Freedom that I will provide!"

    by emperor nobody on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 04:43:29 PM PST

  •  A person's ideology will influence what they (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    accept as facts. There is actually nothing particularly unusual about this. We all know it from everyday experience. There are millions of people all around us who take everything written in the Bible or some other sacred text as literal truth - including stuff that isn't even inherently consistent. It just so happens that this fact that different ideologies have their own canonized sets of accepted facts freaks us folks who like to believe in the enlightenment and in the persuasive power of rational discourse utterly out. And it just so happens that the Republican mainstream has divorced its accepted set of facts much more from ours over the last half century and has shut out many of the sources of evidence that we accept and replaced them with their own.

  •  I dont blame them for being angry. (0+ / 0-)

    They are suppose to be you friends and you're sort of suggesting that they're deranged,  You don't say stuff like that to your friends. I think they were offended moreso than they actually believed the quote literally.

    And there are these classes you go to if you've said something racist, sexist, homophobic etc... in companies and in schools that are kinda creepy and do seem a little like reeducation camps. I forget what they're called, but they are real.

    •  My friends and acquaintances (0+ / 0-)

      are very active in political conversations on facebook; they certainly are not hesitant to express their views. Liberals are anti-Semites, we hate free speech, we act in bad faith, we want to spend until this country is destroyed by the deficit, we're the Real Crypto-Fascists, we're immature, we classify everybody into groups while refusing to accept nuance...yes, all of those assertions are from people who responded to my quote from Maher.

      Compared to all of that, I don't think the Maher quote ought to be considered so controversial. (And incidentally, they did believe the quote literally.)

      •  That's been my experience too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark Pelta

        They love to dish it out but as soon as they get a little of their own medicine, they whine about its unfairness.  Nevermind that they're complaining about being hit with truthful responses to their smears, lies and half-truths.

  •  I don't know any non-racist Republicans. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    Granted, I'm a young guy in New York state, so most of my peers are pretty liberal. But this is a rural region, and there are a number of Republicans around, including family members and neighbors of mine. Out of those I know well enough to say whether or not they're racist, they're all racists who would really feel better if there was a white guy in the White House. They won't say so in public, but put them in a situation where they feel comfortable speaking their mind and they will do so in no uncertain terms.

    "Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." -Ralph Waldo Emerson "YEAAAAAAARGH!" -Howard Dean

    by AtomikNY on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 08:02:06 PM PST

  •  why do you bother? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    The right have no cognitive thinking abilities.  They are anti-intellectual, and anti-thinking.  Complexities are evil, and simple is good, even though life and the world are extraordinary complex.  Their belief system is based on doctrine, not facts and statistics.  

    My idiot-brother-in-law is just like that.  Instead of reason with him, I have fun with him by feeding his fear.  I just love watching the veins in his head pop out.  

    If you think that's mean - look, I fucking hate the holidays and having to deal with my extended family.  It's the only fun I get to have.

  •  re education camps (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawgrass727, jan4insight

    Conservatives have been in re education camps run by Birchers, Billionaires, Rascists, and Sexists for years. The camps are run by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and Wall Street pundits.

  •  It's an outgrowth of their political philosophy. (0+ / 0-)

    It comes from an understanding of the nature of political power and dominance.

    Critique of your enemies no matter what they do weakens them.

    Praising your allies no matter what they do strengthens them.

    It's rule #1 for all authoritarian political communities.  Beyond that, it's an attempt to use the convincing nature of certitude to convince other people of outrageous things.

    If someone appears absolutely certain of a thing, their conviction alone can make their position seem reasonable.  Conservatives are (mostly) fighting in what is a cultural war for absolute dominance.

    For instance, a friend of mine living in a deep red area called me after the election asking me if the fiscal cliff was a real thing.  He thought it sounded like bullshit, but he heard it so often, from people who sounded absolutely sure, that he started to worry if his initial thinking was reasonable.  This was before they really started talking about the fiscal cliff in the non-Fox portion of the media.  The certitude made him think that it might have been a real issue.

    Back to Maher, conservatives want to marginalize Maher.  They want to convince moderates that he is the left's version of Limbaugh, Beck or any of those right-wing nutjob hacks.  Appearing to be absolutely certain of it is a tactic that their strategic thinkers want to encourage in their political followers in order to marginalize Maher's legitimacy as a cultural figure.

  •  Bill Maher can be funny (0+ / 0-)

    but he is also blatantly political most of the time.  Anything he says is thus seen as politically motivated and will be used as such by his political adversaries.  

  •  Look, I've got this idea. (0+ / 0-)

    From what I can tell, conservatives really like hyper-real stuff.  You know, TGI Friday's, Red Lobster, and a splurge at Cheesecake Factory.  They like malls, houses that all sorta look the same, warm weather, and golf - Jesus don't forget the golf.  That's why places like the Villages down in Florida are about 98% wingnut.  

    So I say let's pick some warm, golf-prone geography in a wasteland - I mean red state - like Arizona and build some REALLY posh, hyper real neighborhoods.  We'll put everything in there: Great Wolf Lodge, Dave and Busters, a couple of malls, some movie theaters that only show up to PG-13 films, etc.  You won't need a car - you'll just drive around in your golf cart.  We'll build a wall around it and post security at the front to keep out undesirables like the readers of this blog and anyone whose skin tends toward any shade of auburn.  

    And we'll just move all the conservatives in there.  We'll "concentrate" them, if you will, into "reserved" lands.  I'm pretty sure no one has ever tried anything like that before.  

    No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

    by CrazyHorse on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:47:46 AM PST

  •  Re-education camps would be a great idea (0+ / 0-)

    What do you think public schools are for? When the RWers want to defund public schools, teach creationism, home school to "shield" kids from liberal thought, well isn't that the RW wanting to re-educate us?

    And racism is a big big part of the current that runs through the RW.

    the Republican brand is totally bankrupt.

    by vlyons on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:02:54 AM PST

  •  Free Market Fundamentalism (0+ / 0-)

    First, on Maher, I thought it was a very clever way to poke fun of how far from reality the right has gone, using their own fear of and propensity for camps/prisons etc.

    From the day we are born. We are all taught to believe in a religion.  We are taught that these things are simply true and are never to be questioned.  
    Many people start at such an early age to think that "truth" is derived from belief.   Others, maybe it's a genetic difference, brain makeup but certainly, experiences and teaching plays a role... others take the scientific method of determining truth.   If evidence finds a hypothesis to be shaky,  it will never be a theory.  

    Republicans however,  have a very loose definition of what "truth" is.   To them, you can shape truth with belief.
    Once you go down that rabbit hole,  you start piling on all of your mental calculatioins on falacies so buried and so unquestioned that truth becomes a religion.
    Who was it who referred to "Lies upon lies that are the chirldren of lies..."  

    Palin was good at listing "Free Market Fundamentalist" fundamental beliefs.

    Government is the problem.
    Let the rich "keep their money" and the economy will improve.

    etc.  and add to that tied together like "In God We Trust"
    is to our currency,  is a fundamentalist belief in Christianity and you have the fundamentalist mind.

    Without a common frame of reference you cannot have an effective conversation.    

    I think we understand them well.  I think that when they look at us, they project.  That projection combined with the definition proveded by Rush and Hannity leads them to see us as something very different from what we truly are.

    I marvel at their thoughts.  I try to ask them,  if they think simply allowing wealth to concentrate to the wealthy, is there any point of diminishing returns.  What if we take it to it's extreme...   They always take any effort to reverse it to the extreem.  Who hasn't heard them say "you want everyone to make exactly the same no matter what job they have or don't have".  
    So I ask them, what happens when the wealthiest 1% have ALL of the money.. What then?  
    It's an absurd question in fact, since wealth is actually the representation of goods and services provided by labor.   What we would have then is essentially neo-feudalism.  

    Honestly..  we are in a delimma.   They do need  deprogramming.   We couldn't/can't provide it.  We'd be evil/wrong if we could.    All we can do is support the new liberal media voices like Maddow and such and keep trying to break through the monumental wall of deliberate ignorance.


    Prove me wrong and I'll change my mind.

    by willbjett on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:55:10 AM PST

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