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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dumbing it Down: The Conservative Strategy

I don’t know which is worse about America’s conservatives: the fact that they have torn the country apart and created a nation of serfs and aristocrats, or that they have had to make idiots of a good part of the American public so as to follow their ideas.  Conservatives and the religious right both have a lot to gain by keeping people ignorant of basic facts of modern life.  Most of these facts run contrary to their message, things like global warming, evolution, and modern socialism in Western Europe.

Ask any lower-middle class conservative their opinion of France and you will hear a 30 minute tirade about what a freedom-hating hellhole it is and how they will fight to the end to prevent America from adopting so much as one idea from this country. A casual visit to France will prove all of this wrong but so what? Conservatives have an endless supply of anecdotal evidence condemning France which is much better (for their purposes) than real evidence.

Conservatives have made “progressive” a bad word which is absolutely incredible if you think about it for more than five seconds. Progressive as in progress is somehow evil in their way of thinking, whatever their way of thinking is. As I said, they have made being stupid a virtue. 

I wish I had a nickel for every time I have heard a conservative say that Europe is bankrupt and headed for disaster. The countries that are having the most problems in Europe have suffered more from capitalism than socialism. Most of Europe is weathering this crisis—brought on mostly by out-of-control banking deregulation—better than the USA which looks like the Titanic with only the first class passengers making it into the lifeboats.  For all the problems they have in Spain with unemployment, no one is talking about dismantling their social welfare system or their total commitment to one of the most advanced public transit system in the world. But you would never hear an American conservative say anything but dire predictions for Europe’s future. From where I sit I would have to say that Europe has done a lot more to prepare for the exigencies of the coming years than the USA.

In fact, even mentioning that perhaps we should start rethinking our future is enough to draw fury from the Right. In a recent Newsweek article right-wing ass George Will actually mocked rail transit as a 200 year old technology. This is what I mean about making idiots of people in order to sell them a conservative product. A 200 year old technology? For one thing, roofs are a lot older technology but we still think they’re a pretty good idea.  Secondly, I’d like to see someone ride in a modern high-speed rail line and call it an antiquated technology. His main point was that trains take away our freedom, which is such a fucking moronic stance that it’s almost embarrassing to attack. Just what conservatives mean by “freedom” is a mystery to me.

A quick Google search shows that this half-witted attack against mass transit has practically gone viral among right-wing shitbags.  Will’s article was entitled “Why Liberals Love Trains.” I could answer that by saying that liberals may have actually ridden on good trains and anyone who has would immediately see how much sense trains make. But will is talking to people who have never left America and have been brainwashed into not trusting anything European, even if it could radically improve life in our country.  

As health care costs continue to skyrocket and millions more people are left without medical coverage, conservatives refuse to look objectively at socialized health care systems that are working much better. Even more diabolical is how the right has pitted the lower-middle classes against each other, as if unions are to blame for all of the country’s problems. This comes from the same people who declare that America’s alarming income inequality is of no concern. Forget about the fact that former Treasury Secretary Paulson made $500 million in one year, the problem, according to conservatives, is that school teachers in Wisconsin have health care coverage.

The vast propaganda/disinformation campaign waged by the Right has done an incredible job of repeating the same lies over and over until to refute them seems almost foolhardy. Of course Ronald Reagan was the greatest U.S. president. His hagiography was being carved in stone even before his death. Government is bad and robs citizens of their freedom. Just who is supposed to fill the power void when we have completely dismantled our democratic system is something the conservatives leave out of the discussion, although I’m quite sure they know who it will be. I suppose that less government regulation would have helped at the damaged nuclear reactor in Japan.

Stupidity and God and the Right skip merrily along the road to America’s dimming future in which a handful of our citizens will control practically all of the wealth. Look at some of the leaders on the Right: Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachman are just a few of the know-nothing screwballs whose every word is digested by their minions.  I watch Bill Maher’s show Real Time but I also think that he is a complete idiot on a number of topics. Conservatives seem to circle the wagons and defend everyone and everything they say. I won’t defend everything Paul Krugman writes (but I agree with him most of the time). The Right certainly doesn’t encourage dissent in the ranks. Their ideology is meant to be endlessly repeated, not questioned.  If evidence is needed to the irrational nature of American conservatives just look at their complete lack of doubt on any issue.

Voltaire said it best, “"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

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