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Friday, January 07, 2011

Conservatives are Politically Correct Robots

Over the years, conservatism has undergone a sort of metamorphosis. And it's a strange metamorphosis because, in true conservative fashion, it involves changing back into something it once was. Where it was once about conformity and "right-thinking," it briefly became about independent thought and the potential of the individual. Ronald Reagan appealed to what was called the "self-actualized person"; a sort of existentialist self-help idea popular at the time that held that your responsibility is to define yourself and concentrate on your own potential, rather than that of the group. In Reagan's world, society was holding you back, you needed freedom to pursue your own ideas, and the state was both that society holding you back and a check on freedom. Take that or leave it for what it was, but the core of Reaganism was a focus on individualism.

Now, here's conservatism today:

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Let's not concentrate on what an obvious fool Michael Steele is. Let's concentrate on how many "individuals" we see here. I'm counting zero. Grover Norquist's questions have the flavor of a pop quiz. He's not interested in any ideas they may have, he's interested in a litmus test, which Republican Party voters can then use to check a candidate for the RNC chair against a scale of ideological purity. For example, they're asked to make a case for "the defense of marriage between one man and one woman." The idea that there would be a dissenter who believes in marriage equality is unthinkable and obviously disallowed. Conservatives are back to mindless conformity and "right-thinking."

Personally, I think this reversal in philosophy came with the rise of talk radio -- specifically, Rush Limbaugh. During the Clinton years, Limbaugh's audience referred to themselves as "dittoheads" and greeted the radio host with "Mega-dittos!" The idea was that they all believed the same things, that those things that were the only right things to believe, and that subscription to this set of beliefs was mandatory. If you didn't agree with Rush Limbaugh -- on everything -- you weren't a real conservative.

And so, slowly, the Republican individualist died off. Pro-choice Republicans are an endangered species, as are environmentalist Republicans. Where Bob Dole once defined tragedy as a bus full of supply-siders going over a cliff with one empty seat, supply-side economics is now the only economic theory a true conservative is allowed to accept. On nearly every issue, there's a correct opinion and an incorrect opinion -- and those opinions make the difference between a "real" Republican and a RINO.

What this all boils down to is politically correctness. While conservatives have used the term to bludgeon liberals over the years, it's better applied to their own zombie horde. The "lock-step" Republican, with a slavish adherence to a party-approved set of opinions, has replaced Reagan's individualist. Those who once saw themselves as rugged individualists -- and, for the most part, still do -- have become a vast robot army with one central mind.

Of course, this makes them much more open to deception and much more prone to believe things that aren't true. Far from self-actualized individuals, they're all mindless sheep and gullible chumps.

Even plain facts can't dent their anti-reality, pro-hive mind shields. When the Congressional Budget Office scored Republicans' healthcare reform repeal bill yesterday, they found that it would add $230 billion to the deficit. Clearly, this was wrong, wrong, wrong, since it contradicted the edicts handed down from on high that it was a "government takeover" that would increase the deficit. Facts be damned, the CBO was wrong -- because Republicans say so.

New York Times:

The new House speaker, John A. Boehner, flatly rejected the report, saying it was based largely on chicanery by Democrats.

Mr. Boehner's dismissal of the report by the Congressional Budget Office, at his first formal news conference as speaker, was the latest salvo in the battle over the health care law. White House officials on Thursday said they were stepping up efforts to defend the law, with a new rapid-response operation to rebut Republican claims and to deploy supporters to talk about the benefits of the law.


But the analysis released by the budget office on Thursday was based on the health care repeal bill that House Republicans introduced on Wednesday. And it highlighted the difficult position that Republicans are in as they try to address what they insist are the top two priorities of voters who elected them in November: cutting the deficit and undoing the health care law.

According to the budget office, those goals are contradictory.

The CBO's findings aren't politically correct, so the CBO's numbers simply aren't correct period. I'm reminded of Gulley Jimson from Joyce Cary's The Horse's Mouth; "Numbers were invented by Arabs, who hate art." The GOP take is "Numbers were invented by Arabs, who hate America." If it doesn't fit rightwing PC, it must be rejected out of hand.


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