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It seems like attempts by progressives to engage Right Wing Nut Jobs are so frequently met with disproportionate anger and outright denial (avoidance of facts and reason) that the dynamic reflects a deep weakness within their camp that can be exploited to move the debate forward.  I think on some level they know there is a lack of consistency between what they actually believe and what they say they believe because they are paid to do so either directly or indirectly.  So when people calmly point out times when their supposed devotion to specific moral values comes and goes depending on who is paying them to say what, their sense of self as good and fair is replaced by a sense of moral compromise.  But rather than shore up their moral integrity by decreasing the hypocrisy, they attack the messenger.  Yet the cognitive dissonance remains, and builds, until eventually attitude change occurs among all but the most irredeemable.

I think their anger reflects some level of self-awareness that in pursuit of money they have become morally bankrupt tools for people who pursue selfish and antisocial goals for the most privileged among us with little regard to everybody else - that is, they're whoring their moral integrity for pay.  That knowledge must undermine their sense that they are good people, deep down, or they wouldn't be so upset when people merely point it out.  They may be able to justify some degree of moral compromise to provide for themselves and their families, but that defense isn't sufficient to protect them against the growing self-awareness of evidence that their behaviors and judgments are harmful to others and destructive to the fabric of society.  

Does fear of self-awareness fuel their outrage?  How can knowing this help us address their volatility, and increase their ability to engage the rest of us?  Can the recovery movement teach us anything here about confronting people in denial about their addiction to destructive ways of thinking and behaving?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest. - JG Holland

    by Liberal for Life on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 01:27:34 PM PDT

  •  There's a slight chance they're catching on to the (8+ / 0-)

    fact that the country is going to hell in a handcart. The problem is they continue to think it's because of brown people or gays or abortion or gun control or any of a host of reasons besides the actual cause -- the oligarchy. And given they get so much of their news from places they consider "safe" the oligarchs are free to keep feeding them the lines of bull that keep them angry but at the wrong things. Hell, these are people that are convinced Snopes is part of the liberal agenda to destroy America. Getting thru to them from our side is at best a one-at-a-time thing. Now having said that I see two stories here on DK about their bubble getting pierced from the inside. One was a pro-wrestling star support marriage equality the other a Christian rock band doing the same. That's going to cause some heads to explode, I'm sure.

    GOP 2014 strategy -- Hire clowns, elephants, and a ringmaster and say "a media circus" has emerged and blame Democrats for lack of progress. Have pundits agree that "both sides are to blame" and hope the public will stay home on election day.

    by ontheleftcoast on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 01:40:28 PM PDT

    •  Their leaders are false prophets. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This is not an empty statement. For the voters of the GOP "Base" there is no more important human being than Jesus Christ, Son of God. The elected GOP are His enemies.


      1 John 4:1 - Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

      Matthew 7:15 - Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

      And after the mad wars in Vietnam and Iraq:
      Luke 21:16 - And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and [some] of you shall they cause to be put to death.
      Simply enough, aimed to the Medicaid Expansion blockage:

      Argue emotionally with "Base" voters. Their commitment to RWNJ has nothing to do with logic and facts. They are hooked by Straight Line psychological sales pitches.

      Their Christianity is quieted, put to sleep. Out of connection to their lives. And their churches are bought by the false prophets.

      Reach their emotions and all that can change. Christianity is incompatible with the GOP's "Ayn Rand Jesus," full of sin.

      "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Ryan Paul von Koch

      by waterstreet2013 on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 05:56:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Self-awareness is not their strong suit (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NancyWH, a2nite, Stude Dude, Matt Z

    When they decide something on Monday, they'll still believe it on Wednesday, no matter what happened Tuesday.

    “Hardworking men and women who are busting their tails in full-time jobs shouldn't be left in poverty.” -- Elizabeth Warren

    by Positronicus on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 01:43:06 PM PDT

  •  If you were to engage my sister or her (7+ / 0-)

    boyfriend, both right wing nut jobs full of hate and fear, you would find that they truly believe what they are being told to believe, and they don't get paid.  They live in a bubble.  All those decades of money put into studying these folks has paid off well.  My guess is the millionaires and billionaires funded them,  because they're the ones receiving the benefit of such ignorant hateful propaganda.

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 01:44:59 PM PDT

  •  You're Probably Too Young to Remember (7+ / 0-)

    (I'm just playing the odds) but the rightwing rank and file were first appealed to in the middle 1960's by Goldwater's [not copycat Nixon's] Southern Strategy.

    From then onward they've been driven by the hyped threat of hedonistic greedy liberals taking their tax money to give to undeserving minorities and lazy poor people, alternating with promises that ultimate victory of the overwhelming majorities of Americans who are hard rightwing is just around the corner.

    So they've lived their lives like kelp in the tide, swaying from near apocalypse to one battle short of total triumph for most of a lifetime.

    I'm not sure I see any self awareness, and they're now more thoroughly immersed in well-staged reflections of their own reality than they've ever been, so I for one can't offer any suggestions for how to reach them.

    It's all the more frustrating because I have some experience changing community outlook. Unfortunately my solution required waiting out the old generation for new blood who were open to giving an open ear and honest trial of outside ideas.

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

    by Gooserock on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 01:49:47 PM PDT

    •  "If you work for a living, You're a Republican!" (0+ / 0-)

      That was a bumper sticker up in Michigan, back 2010.

      I don't know how widely it was sent around.

      It's the Joe the Plumber shtick. Expect to see a lot of it.

      "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Ryan Paul von Koch

      by waterstreet2013 on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 06:03:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd say you have a point. (7+ / 0-)

    A couple of weeks ago, at a gathering of my in-laws, the ACA was brought up by my winger brother-in-law. I pointed out that, while far from perfect, it's a step in the right direction. He started up with fox talking points and I calmly shot down each lie. Then my wife had to chime in and ask him, as a "good christian" how could he be against something helping the less fortunate. Well, the rest of the wingers piled in with loud voices trying to talk down my wife and I.
    I told my wife later that the reason they act the way they do is that we are their conscious. They know deep down that helping our fellow citizens is the right thing to do and there is a battle in their brains between the propaganda they are being fed and innate goodness that is somewhere in them....

    6% of scientists are republican. Scientists have no explanation why that number is so high.

    by fugwb on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 01:51:43 PM PDT

    •  A losing battle (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fugwb, buffie

      with would seem.

      "If you lose your sense of humor, it's just not funny anymore" Wavy Gravy

      by offgrid on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:08:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And, they only see (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ahumbleopinion, offgrid, Matt Z

        the good in government when THEY need it, not when you or I need it.  It's like my own mother - she lives off Social Security and a CALPers pension from her late husband.  She does NOT see that she lives entirely OFF OF government while advocating cuts to those same programs she currently benefits from.  

        I have tried yelling, pleading and logic (so many times on the logic can't even begin to count them) but nothing really gets through.  ONLY if it directly effected HER would it get through - like the Senator who's against gay marriage until his own son comes out of the closet.  THAT is how these people work, and they don't see their hypocrisy.  If the do see just a tiny, tiny bit of it - either full silence ensues or Faux "talking points".

        I have no advice really, but the ONLY one that seems to work with my mother is how a thing will personally effect her.  If it doesn't, she cares less and believes whatever El Rushbo tells her to believe.

        •  It's strange (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fugwb, ItsaMathJoke, waterstreet2013

          Take, for example, the Cliven Bundy show happening right now.

          Here's what he said about African-American citizens:

          “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do"

           “And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

          And here is what he said about Mexican people here in the US:
          "I understand that they come over here against our Constitution and cross our borders.

          But they’re here and they’re people. I worked side-by-side a lot of them. Don’t tell me they don’t work, and don’t tell me they don’t pay taxes. And don’t tell me they don’t have better family structures than most of us white people.

          When you see those Mexican families, they’re together. They picnic together. They’re spending their time together. I’ll tell you, in my way of thinking, they’re awful nice people. We need to have those people join us and be with us.”

          So what is the difference between these two statements?

          He has direct experience with Mexican workers and knows that they work hard and are good people.

          He does not have direct experience with African-Americans. Maybe he saw some once. Sitting on the porch. But he sure has heard about "those people".

          The very definition of prejudice. As in "pre-judged" without any real facts or experience.

          You're right, only if it directly effects them, or they have direct experience otherwise, they don't give a shit about other people or their problems.

          "If you lose your sense of humor, it's just not funny anymore" Wavy Gravy

          by offgrid on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:59:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  my response to this (4+ / 0-)

      I will preface thsi with the disclaimer: I attended church in the deep south as a child so I have a good idea of the phrasing and flow of sermons, and I am using that to frame this response in a  way they will "hear" right away:

      Ask, "Are you a Christian? (of course they will say yes). When they do, say some words of approval, to get them to repeat their declaration.

      then ask, "Is Christ your Lord and Savior?"

      Then, to be a Christian, you must do as Christ taught, for as Jesus said, "by their fruits ye shall know them (Christians)".
      So let me refer you to the Bible, the Book of Matthew, Chapter 25, beginning with verse 31. You do believe the Bible is the Word of God, don't you? Of course you do.

      So let me quote to you the important part, the very words of Jesus:

      42 "For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me." 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

      Now here is Christ telling you that if you do not help the sick, if you refuse to help them get care, then you are condemning yourself to eternal hell. Or you are refusing Christ. No, sorry, there is no parsing the words of Christ. Jesus speaks very plainly here. You can't be a Christian when is it convenient for you. So why do you want sick people to go without health care, even though Christ himself commands you do help them? Now you can yell and argue with me all you want, but what you are foolishly doing is arguing with Jesus, trying to tell your Savior that He is wrong".

      The other point I'd like to mention is that a lot of wingers are waking up to the fact that they have been misled, lied to, and suckered, and this is a bitter pill for them to swallow. They have their pride. If you suspect that, then you can say something to the affect of, "we have all been lied to and taken advantage of in our lives, but it takes a big man (or woman) to admit that they have been fooled, and not let it happen again. And, for sure stop listening to those who lied to you, because you know they do it again"

      "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

      by azureblue on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:16:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's an interesting observation (0+ / 0-)

        that some are waking up to the fact that they've been suckered, manipulated, played for fools.  I certainly hope that is true.  I don't doubt for a second that that is a particularly difficult truth to acknowledge, that there will be a doubling down on the denial and the willful ignorance.  But, if there is some of that light breaking through, that would give me a lot of hope.  thx for posting this

      •  Medicaid Expansion is the 800-pound gorilla (0+ / 0-)

        for White low-income voters.

        We lose 30% to 40% of them every time and have to fight for another 12% to 13% of their voters every election.

        Democrats are well ahead for the under-$50,000 income groups. But no where near what happens with Black voters.

        Come Medicaid Expansion, every one of the low-income Whites gets to see who his enemies are. The GOPers.

        "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Ryan Paul von Koch

        by waterstreet2013 on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 06:11:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fits a pet theory of mine (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buffie, waterstreet2013

      That the RW propaganda is so appealing, because it gives people permission to be their worst selves.  Those whose identity includes "godly Christian" must find it a specially heavy lift to reconcile Bible teachings with the impulse toward selfishness and hate

  •  In the health field (5+ / 0-)

    the code words are"has no insight into their own behavior."  It basically means not to waste too much time trying to reason with them.  They lack something upstairs.  

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:07:43 PM PDT

  •  I don't care; we need to out breed them & vote (0+ / 0-)

    because stupid & evil are winning.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:10:51 PM PDT

  •  Living the right-wing Evangelical life-style is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buffie, waterstreet2013

    boring, boring, boring.

    One thing that can spice it up is the idea that R-W Christians are participants in a cosmic melodrama: "those humanists, liberals, etc." are tools or partners with Satan. We good people, on the other hand, are soldiers for a just and sure-to-be triumphant Deity."  This view permeates their politics.

    If you have a strong stomach or a really good sense of humor rent some DVDs of 1950s Biblical epics (there are lots of them because they were one sure way in the reactionary 50s to get some nudity and sex on the screen).

    I don't remember if it was "Quo Vadis" or some other picture where the undercover Christian in Roman times covertly draws the fish symbol in the sand to identify himself to a fellow believer and erases it before a soldier can see.  Our latter-day persecuted Christians think they are actors in that story.

    Feminism--the radical belief that women are human beings.

    by Mayfly on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:18:42 PM PDT

  •  It's also their mindset-- (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, a2nite, alx9090, buffie

    When a liberal is faced with reality, he changes his mind.

    When a conservative is faced with reality, he refuses to believe it.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:30:37 PM PDT

  •  They Want Their Country Back....And They're Scared (0+ / 0-)

    The changing demographics ensure they are not going to get their way.  We are not going back to the l950's or the days of the old south when the white master ran the show.

    In a generation or two, white people will be in the minority in this country whether they like it or not.  I suspect they don't like it, not at all.      

  •  No offense but when it comes to economics, (0+ / 0-)

    my fellow Kossacks all too often engage in ".....outright denial (avoidance of facts and reason)....."

    Just like Cons, most progressives believe that deficits are actually bad for the economy or that they lead to inflation. That the USA actually borrows its own money just like regular people do with a mortgage.

    Most progressives think that the Clinton surpluses were actually good for the economy and that Bush ran historically high deficits.

    Most progressives think that if we suspend FICA then we wont be able to afford SS and medicare. Then how do we spend $1 trillion a year on defense without some super regressive tax and a trust fund.

    Most progressives that unless we raise taxes on the wealthy then we wont be able to afford a 100% renewable energy economy and the progressive socioeconomic agenda.

    None of the above is true. All the evidence shows this, and yet far too many progressives have just as much denial about macroeconomics as Cons do.

    "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it. If we can afford full employment killing Germans, we can afford full employment during peace-time.

    by Auburn Parks on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 06:40:07 PM PDT

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