Apparently my recent commentary, Socialism vs. Sociopathism has struck a nerve over at right-wing blog Newsbusters (thanks to exterris for pointing that out). Normally I don't read much overt right-wing opinion, since I have to wade through enough of that shit being crammed down America's throat in the guise of mass media "news" coverage already, but there is enough simulated thought in the Newsbusters piece that it's worth responding - at least for entertainment purposes, and to build on my own previous comments.
The author, Jack Coleman, starts off with an appropriately silly non sequitur, babbling about how MSNBC consists of "left-wing bedwetters" - which is ironic, since it only became a "left-wing" (read: Clintonian centrist) network when the overwhelmingly conservative executives at GE figured out that News Corp had already cornered the market on Stupid and Evil around 2005. Before that point, they were trying to sell pretty much the same deranged crap as Der Murdochsprechen (conservatives know it as Fox Jesus), and only then - grudgingly - decided they might try to make their money producing a liberal-flavored Information Substitute rather than directly churning out Republican agitprop.
And boy did they kick and scream every step of the way toward serving that demographic in the mid-2000s, trying to cling to the Bushian party line at the same time they were gaining market share through Keith Olbermann's novel commentary (i.e., telling the truth). Watching the transitional period was both disturbing and funny at the same time, like the guy in Fight Club beating himself up. But I suppose it's unrealistic to expect someone writing for Newsbusters to remember that, since Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
Of course, the dig at MSNBC was just a bit of mindless chum thrown to work up the audience, so I've already given it more attention than it deserves, but it is just one example of how the real world is so casually pissed on in openly right-wing media content, and a prime example of why I generally ignore it. Usually the only times I peek under the rock is when I have no other choice - e.g., when Republicans hold the US economy hostage to give billionaires another platinum toilet seat, or interpret a mass-shooting as evidence there aren't enough guns around. In other words, I prefer to let conservatives stew in their own insane bullshit for as long as possible until they start deciding to include me or other innocent people in their right-wing paradise of poverty and violence.
This is how Coleman then goes on to summarize Daily Kos content:
All seem to follow the same outline: conservatives as sick and/or evil and solely responsible for leftists not creating their inevitable utopia on earth.The problem with this comment isn't that it's completely untrue - I myself sometimes feel compelled to criticize the way we here obsess on what Republicans are doing to obstruct our agenda to the exclusion of deciding how to advance it ourselves - but it has nothing to do with what I said, implicitly or explicitly. With apologies to Winston Churchill, it's an "evasion wrapped in a delusion inside a non sequitur." The problems of society are everyone's problems, which every single person alive contributes to in some way, but there is only one of the two major political parties in America - and one side of the left-right divide - that has elevated the deliberate worsening of those problems to a moral imperative in the 21st century. Caricatures of the destructive "radical leftist" have never, ever been a relevant threat to social order and economic progress in this country, and are less so today than ever - it's pretty much all conservative politics that is driving the politically-created problems in America in this day and age.
And the reason is not that every conservative or even a majority of conservatives are 100% Sociopathic - it's that, acting in concert, the net result of their attitudes, behaviors, and policies is the moralization of social destruction, cruelty, poverty, lawlessness, and murder. Have a conversation with one conservative, and you may very well find some common ground, sane opinions, and the capacity for human compassion, but put them together and they are something FAR LESS than the sum of their individual parts - a giant moral vacuum that has not only already destroyed huge swaths of the global economy, but threatens to use its own destructive behavior as a pretext for further crimes.
Your people, Mr. Coleman, turned America's national debt in the 1980s from a small problem into a massive multi-trillion-dollar mountain while pontificating on fiscal responsibility, then reprised their performance in the 2000s by evaporating a huge budget surplus into the biggest budget hole in generations. Your people cut taxes while insisting on starting a war in Iraq, resulting in generalized chaos in that nation that has claimed somewhere in the ballpark of a million lives, swallowed up over a trillion dollars of our national wealth, destroyed our international standing for nearly a decade, and cost this nation thousands of lives while patriotic conservatives like those who insisted it was necessary sat at home counting their dividends and refusing to even put their money let alone lives on the line.
That's what conservatives did, Mr. Coleman - no one is making it up. Facts are not opinions, and history is not your bitch to screw with as you please. It is a virtual certainty that this nation would be trillions of dollars richer, millions of jobs greater, thousands of lives more numerous, and incalculably more admired if conservatives had not been making the decisions at key moments in the past 30 years. That's not a "utopian fantasy" either - that was the reality of America when it had a robust manufacturing sector with powerful labor unions, 25 different federal income tax brackets with the highest being 90%, massive "Big Gubmint" spending on just about everything, and conservatives who cared more about this country and the future of their children than themselves. And now we don't have those things, because the United States of America has become inconvenient to conservatives. Well, excuse me, but it's not a utopian fantasy to claim that life is probably better for people in general when you're not starving and imprisoning their children.
If we ever get to a point in this country where "leftism" is a real problem as it has occasionally been in other countries, then we can talk about that. If there is ever a genuine left-wing threat in this country like Baader-Meinhof was in 1970s Germany, and it has more people and more guns than the wingnut militias and white supremacist organizations the Republican Party uses as terrorist auxiliaries, then I will sympathize with your concerns. But while the extent of conservative whining is that their taxes are not zero; that people who work for a living are allowed to breathe air without permission from their corporate masters; and that there is somewhere on Earth the American flag is not being drenched in blood, the problems I'm going to talk about are the ones real people are having to deal with every day, not the ones troubling the psychotic dreams of coddled billionaires who see themselves as victims while they pick at the flesh of the country that made their wealth possible.
Every single time conservatives have gotten what they want, America suffers some semi-apocalyptic calamity that everyone with a triple-digit IQ saw coming miles away, and every time you just shake the Etch-A-Sketch again and pretend like history began five seconds ago. And rather than believe in people who are capable of being that insane while still tying their own shoes, I'm going to go by Occam's Razor and simply say that you folks just don't give a shit what consequences your actions have for this country. Well, I'm not interested in that game, so you'll just have to play it by yourself: An elected government is not the enemy. Taxes fund things that mutually benefit society. Profit at all cost to society is not moral, and not productive.
Furthermore, markets are not fucking magical, and will not give you paradise just because you blindly allow them to dictate everything. Markets are tools that have to be used in a certain way in order to have beneficial outcomes, and you wouldn't treat them as objects of unquestioning worship anymore than you would try to build a house by using a hammer as a dildo (or maybe you would - who am I to judge?). But just as they are not magical or divine, neither are the outcomes they produce a basis for moral judgment - rich people are not gods, and most of them are not even more talented or harder workers than others; most are just lucky. It sucks that conservatives are prone to being such arrogant, clueless, self-involved pricks that they practically take credit for giving themselves birth and think the Sun shines just for them (and, conversely, think everyone else who has access to it is stealing it from them). That's a character flaw on their part, not on the part of other people who get tired of having to deal with the consequences of their stupidity and selfishness.
Left wingers want to "address the entire spectrum of viewpoint and philosophy"? That they do -- providing it does not include the views of roughly 40 percent of Americans who consider themselves conservative, nor those centrist Democrats who come across as apostates to the pure-hearted jihadists at Daily Kos.The problem with this claim is that the motivation for Mr. Coleman's post is precisely that I did address the 40% of Americans who consider themselves conservative - he just doesn't like what I see, and can't argue with it because it's the awful truth. The degree of a person's affiliation with right-wing politics is pretty much a direct correlation with their inability to relate to other human beings or reflect rationally on how their actions affect others. That's not a denial of the existence of left-wing villains, but they sure as hell have to work harder to hide what they are: Republican politicians get up on stage in their Party primaries and brag about being pro-torture, wanting to start wars, belittle sick children and gay soldiers to the cheers of their comically Satanic audiences, and basically follow exactly the formula I described as Sociopathism: All human connection and the emotions that promote it are weak and wrong, and all things that promote the destruction of human civilization are good and desirable.
So, yes, Mr. Coleman - voting for those kind of people is evil. And the fact that the only reason so many conservatives are willing to support such psychopaths is in exchange for a tax cut or because they dislike racial minorities is really just the poisoned icing on the shitcake of conservative sickness: They literally sell their country for a dime and a handshake, and meanwhile they're railing against working people voting for Democrats so their children have healthcare as if it's some kind of vile corruption. But psychotic rich people buying legislation to make themselves richer at the expense of everyone else in America just to stroke their egos is "rational self-interest," right, Mr. Coleman?
Let's just be honest: Being conservative in America today at best means not giving a fuck about other people, and at worst means actively working to harm every other human being alive so you can feel powerful and special. It's not a new phenomenon in history - it's just usually people like that are waging war on America from some other country, not under its own flag. Maybe that's why conservatives are so comfortable with the Stars and Bars? Harking back to former glories?
Got that? Mass murder as the "most honest way possible" of expressing frustration.Yes, when you're a psychopath - and conservatives are, in aggregate, one great big nutjob with murder in mind. This too is nothing new in history. Genocidal murder sprees and wars of extermination don't follow from sociopaths feeling secure in their positions - it starts when the consequences of their actions begin to catch up with them: The Glorious War for Vindication against your neighbors isn't going so well, or the fantasies of ideologically pure utopia aren't panning out, so take the rage out on some powerless minority. Massacring random innocent people in some community in America is just the same thing in microcosm, and the tendency of the pepetrators to be fascinated with right-wing talk radio, Fox News, and gun culture - and to hate and despise the same groups you people do - isn't lost on anybody. But hey, at least they're not shooting fetuses, so the conscience of conservatives is clean.
Troubadour, perpetually stuck in the '60s, man, then blames conservatives for the school massacre in Newtown and other murderous rampagesYeah, I'm perpetually stuck a generation before my birth. I know conservatives are experts at psychological time travel, seeing as how their ideas all seem to come from the Spanish Inquisition, the Confederacy, or Italian Fascism, but I haven't quite got the hang of it. Sure, I like much of what came out of the '60s - the Apollo program, the strong emphasis on education and democracy, etc. - but I'm realistic about the past, and I don't envy anyone who had to deal with the Vietnam War and the rise of Richard Nixon (another beautiful human being America can thank conservatives for). But see, in the incoherent, delirious stew that is the conservative imagination, the 1960s is some kind of totem of left-wing radicalism even though most of the violence taking place in the decade was on the part of established authorities reacting against the left. But then my version of history comes from things that actually happened, not something made up from Bullshit Mountain where conservatives dwell in a haze of myth and omni-directional malice.
Get the feeling that someone, somewhere described the oh so sensitive Troubadour as a socialist one too many times?Get the feeling that Jack Coleman has completely given up on arguing with anything I said at this point, and is now just ruminating on irrelevant minutiae to make the reader not notice that he has nothing to say? The fact is it's conservatives who fetishize this word "socialist," no one else - you get the sense that they invest it with such magical menace that they would glare in suspicion at hearing that their community is hosting an "ice cream social." The whole idea of people coming together on an official basis for something more benign than a lynching or a Mafia sit-down must seem really sinister, in their morally-inverted world.
This is why they shriek "tyranny!" at the thought of universal healthcare, but have never met a draconian prison sentence for petty crimes they didn't like - they understand and respect violence and oppression, but compassion and mutual cooperation are so alien that they can't help but see a monstrous conspiracy behind every possible manifestation of it. That's why it's more acceptable in conservative states to beat children than to teach them about evolution and contraception; why it's more acceptable to summarily execute a burglar than to reduce the motivation for crime with social services, drug rehab, and community support programs. Violence is simple and cheap in the short-term, and conservatives are dumb and selfish, so it's not really rocket science why the two are so often found in each other's company.
Most noteworthy about this toxic screed is that it was written after liberal Democrats made significant gains in the 2012 election. Imagine how much more virulent such rants will become if politicians backed by Kossacks gain more power.And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what passes for an urgent national problem in a gated community - the horror of imagining that someone might say something you don't want to hear. Mr. Coleman, indulging your complete and utter obliviousness to the issues facing America has been fun, but the citizenry has work to do. Toodles.