Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Adolescent Name-calling and Macho Posturing—What’s Obviously Wrong with the Right

It’s just too hard to think

Apparently many of those who support traditional right-wing causes are just too intellectually overwhelmed by complex issues to take any time to actually think about them. Just like the bullies on the playground or the hackneyed caricatures we see as movie mobsters, they resort to bluster and ad hominem attacks.

Let’s take a look at some of the favorite terms and phrases used by some famous (and not so famous) Republican blowhards and give them the credit they deserve for such careful reasoning and erudite analysis.

John Kerry and the “Liberal Elite”

This one is just too amusing to pass up. Apparently one of John Kerry’s hideous and unforgivable character flaws is that he is (secretly?) a member of some shadowy and dangerous anti-American group known as the “Liberal Elite”. This, of course, makes him “liberal”, “populist”, “tax and spend”, and “an elitist” all at the same time. As the proprietor of this blog has been know to do, let’s let the dictionary tell us just what “elitism” is:

1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.

2. __
a. The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
b. Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.

It’s painfully obvious that if that definition applies to anyone in US politics these days, it’s the Bush Administration. At no time in modern American history has a gang of ideologues and zealots practiced such heavy-handed control based upon their unquestioning faith in their own perceived superiority and social status. Could it be that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condi, Wolfie, and Pearle fit the definition of elitist perfectly? Oh, and is it possible that in spite of poor grades in school and his phony “Aw shucks” façade, George Walker Bush, son of a Congressman/CIA Director/Vice President/President who has lived his entire life in irresponsible luxury might just be an elitist, too?

"Populist" and "Soft on Defense"

As the conservative wags all tell us, a “liberal” is obviously a “tax and spend” type who will throw away all of the wealthy’s hard “unearned income” on irresponsible social welfare programs. Yes, there is no one quite like a member of the “Liberal Elite” to engage in heinous “redistribution of wealth”. And, although the US Army under SecDef Donald Rumsfeld can glibly justify abandoning a 21 year long weapons development program (the Comanche helicopter) as a “money saving” move, any vote against any weapons program over a 15 year period clearly represents misplaced priorities and a clear record of being “soft on defense”. The same “reasoning” applies to support of social programs. Clearly, voting in favor of programs designed to combat poverty or provide health care for uninsured children makes one a “populist” at the least and possibly even a (shudder) “socialist”!

You are either with us or against us

To prove how taking a position contrary to “conservative” ideology is met with calm, reasoned commentary—to show how the “right” uses superior reasoning, in-depth and detailed research, and carefully crafted arguments, we need only turn to the Mother Teresa of conservative America, Ann Coulter. In fact, to show just how this paragon of Family Values and American virtue sees the world, we need only use two words. In a refreshing economy of phrase, Ms Coulter manages to title not one, but two full-length works of fiction—excuse me, non-fiction—using just two words: “Slander” and “Treason”. Enough said.

Even more to come…

This only scratches the surface. In future offerings, we will continue to examine the fascinating world of right-wing hypocrisy. Long ago psychologists identified and studied the phenomenon of transference. The classic example of this neurotic behavior is the preacher who rails against the evils of alcohol because it’s the only way he can keep his hands off the bottle. Transference is mechanism by which millions of terrified macho American males denigrate and belittle homosexuals because they are deathly afraid that they might be a little gay themselves. Transference is also the mechanism by which—to use the earlier example—a paragon of logic and reasoned discourse like Ann Coulter can use terms like “hatred”, “betrayal”, “slander”, and “treason” to describe nearly everyone who has the lack of good judgment to agree with her. It seems reasonable that it takes a fair degree of hatred to write slander that accuses others of betrayal and treason. Et tu, Ann?
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