WTF is wrong with you, conservative America?!?

I know that current controversial political topics (the Tea Party, health care reform, birther-ism, toning down violent political speech, etc) have been argued o’er nearly to death on SDMB in the past few years, and been the subject of countless pittings. But I have to add my own. I’m just fucking fed up. :mad:

In just one day (today), in two completely unrelated contexts with completely different, mostly random (and intelligent!) people, I felt myself obliged to

a) point out that the President HAS a valid Hawaii birth certificate, has publicly released it, that said document is routinely accepted by the state of HI as proof of live birth therein, and that the director of the Hawaii State Department of Health has sworn to have personally seen the archived “long form” of said certificate; and

b) convince someone by using cites that Ann Coulter (one of this particular person’s right-wing heroes) really did in fact advocate for the forcible conversion of Muslims to Christianity, on at least one occasion.* And, once I proved to my interlocutor that Coulter really did say this, this person then went on to argue that I was arguing in bad faith and that Coulter’s comment wasn’t really that bad because–get this!–Coulter never actually used the actual word “forcible” in her conversion comment! :eek: So I guess by “convert them to Christianity”, Coulter really only meant something like, giving them Chick tracts and cookies and milk, and praying for them. :rolleyes: Are you fucking SHITTING ME?!? You have to resort to overreaching Biblical-style textual exegetical apologetics to prop up and defend your hatemongering fascist idols’ idiotic and bigoted comments?!? :mad:


[The source for this quote is easily found with six seconds of Googling.]

What I’m seeing these days, which I never really observed before on this sort of scale, is a massive and broad right-wing rejection of pretty much anything–including fucking FACTS, for Og’s sake!!!–that is inconvenient to the Most Holy Revealed Truth of Heroic Anti-Socialist American God-Blessed Conservatism.

These are intelligent people I was talking to. Intelligent. And one, I would even call “educated”. And they’re sweet, decent, hard-working Americans. But when the subject comes to Obama or left-right politics in general, they lose their fucking minds. Where in blue fuck did this popular insanity–this nationwide abandonment of reason among seemingly so much of the Right, and the consequent swallowing whole of great mounds of Beckian and Coulterian bigoted BULLSHIT–come from??

I swear things didn’t used to be like this. I really don’t recall there ever being this degree of irrationality and blind fanaticism in either the Right or the Left. At least not in my own lifetime.

It’s a sickness, and it’s deep. And I’m tired of having to stand up not for my own leftist viewpoints, but SIMPLY FOR FACTS AND FUCKING LOGIC. It’s very tiring. :mad::confused::frowning:

The Republicans have been pandering to the bigots in their ranks for decades and in recent years it reached a tipping point and the bigots have been able to take over the party completely. They’ve been helped by Fox news and the Republican Party’s cynical manipulation of 9/11 to pursue their own short term party goals over America’s national interest. All you can really do at this point is take notes for the history textbook chapter on the fall of America.

Conservatives (and I don’t mean all of them, especially not libertarian types who tend to be more intellectual) seem to crave being surrounded by an echo chamber much more than liberals, on average. They can set up their entire world view in these echo chambers - they can get all their news from fox, their political discussion from free republic, their radio from rush, etc. They react worse to facts that run counter to what they want the truth to be. I mean - this is documented and studied by sociologists, psychologists, and neurologists - there’s a correlation between conservatism (and again, not necesarily any particular belief about, say, the size of government, but the general sort of desperate clinging to the status quo and the idea of how you think the world works) and resistance to challenging your beliefs.

Now I know the knee-jerk right wing apologists will all say “yeah but liberals watch Olberman and John Stewart!”, which I think is actually a self defeating point. They think that as long as they can identify people who have political persuasians, they somehow offset and everything is equal, regardless of the content. And they ignore that liberals are more likely to seek out things that may challenge their views too. But if your counterpoint to Beck and Rush and Coulter is Olberman and Stewart, and you think that makes you even, then you’re only hurting yourself. You’re admitting the level of discourse on the other side is vastly higher.

The Republican party has done an excellent job not only creating, validating, and supporting this echo chamber, but moving the talking points further and further into extremism, because people who are highly motivated by constant outrage are more useful as voters/donators/prosetylzers. Seeing the extremes validated in the mainstream makes them emboldened to speak about it, and creates a cycle in which they whip each other up to continuously greater frenzies.

Now this comes at a time in which we’ve just come out of the golden years of republican dominance - they controlled everything for 6 years and wrecked the country. So they can’t really market themselves on what they stood for. They can’t say “vote republican so things can go back to the awesome way they were!” - so because they can’t motivate people by what they stand for, they can try to motivate people by what they stand against. They can create boogeyman threats that are grave enough that it distracts them from the previous failures of their ideologies. If Obama is a secret muslim sleeper cell agent, it’s far more important that he be opposed before he institutes mandatory gay marriage than to stop and consider what it is you’re actually supporting.

Those things combined - a well-oiled media machine that creates a wide variety of sources that confirm what you want to believe, a conservative tendency to want to see their world views confirmed, a desire to unite by focusing on what you hate rather than what you support, and extremist views being accepted as mainstream leading up to emboldened craziness has resulted in our era of complete batshittery.

I just wish the intelligent conservatives, including those here on the boards, would acknowledge this, reject this, and start from there, instead of apologize for it because their tribal affiliations are stronger and more important than their sense of what is right.

Reality has turned viciously on American conservatism over past years and the signs are it’s doomed in it’s current form.

  • They are fighting tooth and nail against a public health insurance system that will work and do a lot of people a lot of good, as well as severing health insurance from the employer just like it does everywhere else.

  • The success of that system is a body blow to several key conservative beliefs.

  • They are still smarting from the last GOP administration - an all round disaster in circumstances where conservatism had free reign to implement its policies.

  • Similarly, they still cannot engage in debate outside their circle, because it must commence from : Conservative USA was completely wrong in every publicly stated particular about the American invasion of Iraq. Not because conservatives are less intelligent. But because conservatives have bad character.

  • Correspondingly, progressive USA has the runs on the board to speak with authority. They were right, with a sound analysis, where conservative USA fucked up in toto.

  • Information is more open and; all these moments will be frozen in time, like icicles in the snow. There is no corner of the country to escape them.

That’s what’s wrong with conservative USA.

One thing I’ve noticed of late is that Conservatives are unwilling or unable to concede even the most minor of arguments. My prediction? As soon as our resident Righties wake up and see this thread, we’ll start seeing a slew of “Oh, yeah? Well, what about X?” comments*. There won’t be a single acknowledgment of any wrongdoing or political excess on the part of a Conservative.

It’s like they don’t even bother trying to defend their party’s actions. If they can find something even remotely similar, then any political action or statement, no matter how extreme, is perfectly acceptable.

*Where “X” is *anything *bad *any *Liberal *anywhere *has done at *any *time in the past.

Why do you care what other people think about our chieftain’s birth location or the exact quote of a random media blonde? People have held irrational beliefs for millions of years. It’s been ever thus.

Then don’t. I’m sure everyone will soldier on, somehow.

People shouldn’t stand up for facts and logic? We should just let ignorance and insanity grow unchecked?

I can start out by pointing out that the Dope is all about fighting ignorance, but we’re one very small corner of the universe and there’s a bigger picture here.

We need to fight ignorance and disinformation in the real world for reasons that I would think are self-evident. If these things aren’t fought they start to take over public discourse and even governance. We’re already a good way down that path and it needs to be fought even if it’s just a matter of defending ourselves and our families.

Facts and logic are a necessary part of modern civilization and government. Without them you have a growth of fear and anger about things that are false or unimportant and a lack of concern and action about things that are true and are important.

You can’t address real problems if you don’t know what the real problems are. You can’t address real problems if your attention and anger are held by bogeymen.

Also, purposely misdirected fear and anger can be used by powerful interests to advance their own agendas regardless of how those agendas affect the populace at large. I would argue that that is a big part of what’s currently happening in this country.

This is a very good point. Many right wingers, including some that I know, seriously believe Olbermann and Stewart are just mirror images of Limbaugh and Hannity, so everything’s “even.” And that does miss the point entirely, in my mind, of right-wing media vs. left-wing media. They really aren’t that comparable - for one thing, Olbermann and Stewart will admit when they are wrong. For another, whatever opinion you have of MSNBC, there is nothing on the left even close to the right-wing agenda-pushing media empire that is Fox News.

Another thing that I find depressing recently, brought to the forefront by what’s happening in Wisconsin and DC, is the blatant ideological warfare being waged by conservatives under the excuse of “fiscal responsibility.” Funny that when the conservatives bring out their budget ideas, it’s almost always programs for the poor, the working class, or what’s viewed as part of the “liberal” agenda that find themselves cut. Usually after yet another big tax break for the well-off.

Look at Wisconsin. New GOP governor comes in, slashes state income taxes, then claims he has to balance the budget by ripping the heart out of public sector unions. Similarly here in Iowa, where our new/old GOP guv’s first move was to cut corporate income taxes, with his ***next ***move being a request to state employees to “renegotiate” their agreements with the previous governor.

But that’s okay, America. You hate taxes, I get it. Hopefully we’ll all enjoy the third-world infrastructure and working conditions we’ll be ending up with.

Note for clarity: I agree government spending is too high, but I do not agree the tax burden is overly oppressive. Furthermore, it’s entitlements eating budgets alive, not culture war items like Planned Parenthood or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Means testing for Social Security benefits and eliminating the cap on pay subject to FICA would go a long, long way towards fiscal sanity. Is that middle-ground enough for ya?

I predict this thread will produce a useful and productive dialogue, focusing on the underlying issues from all points of view, and end up making specific recommendations that lead to real change for the better.

Yeah, I know this board is based in America, but the only time I hear about ‘birthers’ is on this board.
Rather than worry about some crackpots, I’d be more worried that even when the ‘left’ manages to get a majority in your government, they are exceedingly ineffectual in getting any legislation passed that people gripe constantly about (at least on this board) as being necessary.


Yeah, good one! Made me LOL.

But really, **SenorBeef **makes excellent points, especially his 3rd paragraph. Today’s political climate really is different, not just in degree but in kind.

You know who else predicted that???

Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, right after they took everyones guns away!

Here in the states I hear about it constantly. A lot of Republican politicians, while not necessarily buying into it, refuse to categorically dismiss it for fear of alienating their base.

According to some polls a large number, maybe even a majority, of Republican voters are skeptical about Obama being a “natural born citizen”.

When a large percentage of one of the only two relevant political parties are living in la la land, and when many of they’re own representatives refuse to try to set them straight, that’s a problem and a symptom of other problems.

I think back in the sixties, some conservative was reading Plato and took the idea of the “noble lie” too much to heart. (They were probably still stung by Goldwater’s defeat. Goldwater had his faults but he never tried to conceal what he believed in and the price it would cost - and he was soundly defeated by Johnson, a man who was willing to lie about anything and everything.)

So some conservatives decided to split their agenda. They would maintain their real conservative agenda. But they would come up with a front agenda - something which might not really matter to them but which was a button issue to a lot of voters. They would use the front agenda to get elected and then once in power, they’d push forward their heart agenda.

Nixon and the Southern Strategy was the first manifestation of this. When that got old, conservatives formed an alliance with the New Christian Right. Nowadays it’s the Tea Party. But the strategy has remained the same - pander to them before the election and ignore them afterwards.

The problem is that we’ve now had almost fifty years of a movement that’s been based on lies. The cynicism towards the front agenda has leaked into the heart agenda. The conservative movement has lost its sense of what it really believes. They’ve become dedicated to winning elections but lost sight of what they won the elections for.

Ultimately any political movement needs a set of core principles - beliefs it holds so dearly that it would give up office rather than compromise those principles. I feel the contemporary conservative movement lacks those core principles.

Little Nemo,
Very well put. You’ve summarized the problem succinctly and correctly. I’d love to see a return of the small government, personal responsibility Republicans. I might not agree with them on everything but I could respect them.

The problem with conservatives is us, its the problem with America. Us. We don’t vote. By and large, we are passive observers to a drama we refuse to take a part in. Confronted with two competing whores, we refuse to make the choice, we refuse to ask ourselves which is the least repulsive, which has the least STDs and running sores. We won’t choose, we let somebody else choose, and then bitch.

Personally, I choose, and then bitch.

But you’re right that there isn’t enough civic engagement in this country. It’s largely the most motivated that bother to vote, and fear is the biggest motivator.

Republicans have discovered that and utilized it shamelessly. As Little Nemo said, they use a “front agenda” of social issues to get votes from people who otherwise would not vote for them.

If someone had told me a few years ago that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be considered the smarter of the new conservatives I would had pointed and laughed at him, nowadays I see that many conservatives are not only proud to maintain anti-scientific views, but that they also pass laws to cater to those positions, this is worse than just pandering to their base.

This Poe twit making laws has no relation to Poe’s law, :slight_smile: the core of Poe’s law is that a parody of something is by nature extreme. That makes it impossible to differentiate from sincere extremism. The fact that many Republican leaders are proud of taking us to the middle ages regarding science is not a parody but an ugly fact.

Just curious: Are you saying that if it doesn’t do those things, the thread is unjustified somehow? If that is what you’re obliquely saying, well…Forgive me. I didn’t realize pittings had to foster productive dialogue and proffer real-world solutions. :rolleyes: