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Tom P's excellent diary on conservative yearning for stories of  kind masters summed up a lot of what I've observed in patriarchal families - ones where Father Knows Best.  

The kind, benevolent father works to provide for his family.  In turn, he expects respect and obedience.  He expects his wife to keep his house clean, his children fed.  He expects her to maintain her appearance and be a cheerful, co-operative helpmeet.  He expects his children to do well in school and excel in sports.  He expects them to be tidy and respectful. This what he's due as a benevolent provider.  Who can blame him for being angry when reality smacks him in the face?  Who can blame him for being afraid of those who don't obey?  I can, but he won't listen to me.

So much of the conservative wailing over the lack of cheerful stories about how well African Americans were cared for under slavery seems to stem from conservative expectations about their own families, and insecurities about their own role as masters of their households.

I put that last in italic because so much of conservative ideology stems from fear and insecurity.  This yearning to have their own rightful place validated is everywhere: they must be masters of their own homes, masters of their neighborhoods (Zimmerman), masters over brown people, masters over poorer people -- and yet, in the back of their minds there's the sneaky, horrible insinuation that maybe they're not the boss.  

I suspect Michael Dunn's rage and fear that ended in Jordan Davis's life had a lot to do with Dunn feeling he should be obeyed - and the fear that young black people might not feel obliged to do what he tells them to do.  Trayvon Martin, conservatives argue, should have been obedient and cheerfully compliant with Zimmerman's authority.  Why?  Because!  

Conservatives argue that compliance with a master's wishes (however rudely expressed), whether that master be a parent, a teacher, a police officer, or even (as in the Dunn and Zimmerman cases) a stranger should be a simple matter, one that should be a pleasant courtesy.  Lacking this this joy in service is the fault of the underling. The master is never at fault.

So police are justified in their brutal treatment of citizens who do not immediately and respectfully comply.  They are masters.  Obedience is their due.  So the citizen can't hear police demands?  So the citizen is mentally impaired?  Obedience is required.

Of course, conservatives have no wish to be joyful, obedient slaves.  That's not the natural order of things!  They are the masters.  They believe God has ordained this role, and it is their burden (and what a sad burden it is to support all the freeloaders!).  

Wishing to re-write history and re-shape the present and future according to false history will continue to be conservatives' downfall, and any challenge to the "natural order of things" will continue to inspire fear and rage.  

Because facing the truth that they are not our masters and we are not their slaves  is too frightening.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:13:56 AM PST

  •  Fathers tend to believe they're benevolent. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karmsy, RockyMtnLib, FindingMyVoice

    Wives and children, less so.

  •  Very Good Points (3+ / 0-)

    My father and an uncle both were fond of the maxim "The man's gotta be the boss in the family" but the reality neither ever were in their own from what I saw.  Coming from them it seemed to me more of a whine than a show of strength.  Their generations (Greatest Generation and Silent Generation) simply did not know how to respond to assertive women.  

    The gender gap of today is instructive.  However, I see plenty of young guys today who regard women as equals.  

    The John Wayne stereotype is dead, dead, dead and not lamented.  

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Kangaroo on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:24:10 AM PST

  •  no such thing as a kind master (0+ / 0-)

    Why would a powerful man need to be kind?  He can just go ahead and say, do, and take what he wants.

    We all keep dreaming, though.  We know that we as individuals are weak and vulnerable and so we keep looking outside ourselves for protection and provision, be it from a god, the state, the People, and/or a whole lot of guns.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:51:36 AM PST

    •  I call it the "cult of the college football (0+ / 0-)

      coach." Or any sports coach, or military leader. Hard men who make tough decisions. Because in their mind, that's them, even when it's demonstrably not.

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:08:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  even the ideal is erroneous (0+ / 0-)

        Plenty of people flock to charismatic figures of masculine authority - dictators, cult leaders, self-help gurus, etc. - looking for security and guidance.  They're desperate for a protector and provider but sadly that just makes them easier prey. Strong men are invariably predators; again, they can be, so why wouldn't they be?

        I really can't blame people for having these fantasies of power wedded to purity; it really does seem to them like the only solution.  When reality is so relentlessly ugly and stupid, where else can you look for gratification?  When the system just endlessly feeds back on itself - joyfully feasting and growing fat on its own bile and excrement: growing stronger as it sinks lower - it seems futile to try to negotiate with or reform something not simply fundamentally perverse, but solipsistically impervious to outside influence.  You reach a point where the only feeling you can justify is hatred, and the only action you can justify is violence; everything else is surrender.

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:25:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  As I've said before: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FindingMyVoice

    conservatism has one overriding message that informs everything else - know your place, and don't get uppity.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:51:47 AM PST

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