Friday, April 28, 2006

Liberals in the Ninth Circle of Hell

Context is all, and when a guy going through a rough divorce, finding out his best friend is dating his soon to be ex-wife, turns on his pal and shouts, “Judas!” he’s perhaps being a tad more literary than most guys in his situation would be who’d reach for a bar stool to clobber their former friend with before they’d reach for a biblical allusion, but he’s still got a point.

No one who heard this would think he saw himself as Jesus on his way to Golgotha.

Everybody would know exactly what he meant and how he feels.

But when Right Wing bloggers call people who are critical of President Bush Judases, they are not being merely poetic. They are in earnest. They mean the comparisons to be taken literally. Dissent is treason, treason is sin, Bush is a Christian hero, and Liberals are as damnable as the worst of history’s traitors. They can try to adopt a reasonable if mournful tone, but there’s no disguising their meaning—criticize my hero and you deserve to spend eternity in the cold center of Hell with Satan chewing on your worthless hide for ever and ever, amen.

The Right Side of Blogtopia (copyright Skippy) long ago adopted a strategy of hate first and ask no questions later, and someday psychology professors, if they’re not doing it already, will use Right Wing blog posts in their classrooms as textbook examples of projection.

The Right Wingers are adept at what I’ve called here Orc Logic—a habit of thought that excuses themselves of everything they do as long as they think they’ve found Liberals doing the same thing.

The Anchoress, who links approvingly to the American Digest’s Judas post, demonstrates a classic example of Orc Logic. Did Michelle Malkin sic her rabid attack dogs on some unsuspecting college kids? Well, that’s their fault for publishing their contact information to begin with. Has this resulted in Malkin receiving hate mail and threats in return? That’s also those students’ fault and, by the way, typical of hateful Leftists. “Filthy elvish trick.”

The Anchoress, by the way, has adopted a supposedly “Christian” persona for her blog. Seems a bit hypocritical for a Christian to be approving of hate mail and death threats, but this is typical of the Right Wingers. They have a stubborn resistence to practicing what they preach or even seeing a contradiction. They’re also clever at giving themselves Get Out of Jail Free cards. The Anchoress’s introductory heading on her blog says that she believes that “decent people can disagree and still be decent people.” Which sounds almost fair-minded until you wonder who she thinks are decent people and what the rules are when people she doesn’t consider decent disagree with her.

You don’t have to wonder long. Just read her blog. There’s one rule. “Break out the kindling! It’s time for an auto de fe!”

Her persona may be that of medieval nun, but there’s no mistaking her for one of the Poor Clares.

The Anchoress’ post (link courtesy of Wolcott) is a masterpiece of projection and obsfucation. Lots of high-flying rhetoric, lots of phrases that sound like something a real philosopher or religious thinker might use, in service of linking to posts by her fellow Right Wingers accusing Liberals of all manner of nastiness and vice, and all designed to protect herself from evidence of her own anger and hate.

In the nicest, most pious, most reasonable, and even most regretful way she manages to suggest that Liberals are more damned than Judas.

The American Digest post has another kind of beauty. It’s a perfect demonstration of the way the Right has conflated love of country, support of the President, ideology, ego, and vanity.

Treason is defined as hatred for America and hatred for America is demonstrated by disagreeing with Bush and/or the blogger—it doesn’t matter which, Bush and the blogger are one, and both are America.

There’s almost no point in talking about the Right Wing side of the bandwidth as if any real individual points of view were being expressed over there. It’s an arm of the Republican propaganda machine and the bloggers themselves are manipulated as Karl Rove sees the need.

But they do share a very human—as opposed to a corporate—trait. From the beginning of the War on Terra they adopted George Bush as their hero-king. He’s not their Leader (and it’s almost funny, if it wasn’t so horrifying, the way they use that word without any seeming awareness of its connotations), he’s their Saviour.

People’s relationships with their Messiahs are intimate and very personal. It’s no wonder they feel “betrayals” so keenly.

The long and the short of it, though, is that the Right Wing bloggers have given in to a very human temptation—they’ve mixed up their ideas and political opinions with their egos. There are plenty of Liberals who are guilty of this too. And it’s not something that happens to people only when their politics are on the line. They do it with their sports teams, their favorite movies, the books they love, the kinds of pets they prefer—get into an argument with someone over which is better, cats or dogs, sometime, and watch how quickly it gets personal and ugly.

To a great degree we exist to ourselves only as what we think and what we love and what we feel.

To be told that what we think is wrong or that whom or what we love is undeserving is to, we can’t help feeling, a blow to the very core of our being.

The Right Wingers have tied themselves up with George Bush. They love him and they believe in him and he has turned out to be undeserving.

He has in fact betrayed them by failing. They should be furious at him. Some are, I hear.

But to get back to the guy at the bar who’s mourning his coming divorce.

Let’s say that his friend the Judas has left without a dent from a flying bar stool on him. Another friend sits down to console the guy.

“Forget her, Joe. She wasn’t worth it. She was a lying tramp from the get go. You’re better off without the slut.”

That friend is in even bigger trouble than the Judas.

That friend may in fact be the real Judas in the guy’s eyes. Because that friend’s betrayal is the more stinging. He may think he’s trying to help, but what he’s doing is calling the guy stupid for ever loving his wife in the first place. The first friend just broke a rule of friendship. The second friend is going after the guy’s whole sense of himself. The first friend’s betrayal is just proof that the marriage is over. But the second friend, by suggesting that the marriage was a sham from the beginning, has made the guy see his whole life as a worthless joke. He might as well have ceased to exist the moment he said “I do.”

If George Bush is wrong, if George Bush has failed, if George Bush is a liar and a puppet and an incompetent bumbler, a whole lot of Right Wing bloggers are going to have to face the fact that their devotion to him has been a worthless joke from the beginning. Their lives, or at least their blogging lives, will have had no meaning except for their having helped keep the failures coming.

It’s no wonder then they hate anyone who pushes them towards facing that fact.

It’s no wonder that rather than even consider the possibility they’ve been wrong, they insist that people who disagree with them are worse than wrong, they are evil.

For there is no greater “evil” that can be done to someone than to make him see the foolishness of his own vanity.

I suspect that many of them are beginning to see it. The betrayal, however, is coming from within. It’s self against self. Judas! they cry!

But like I said, they are very good at projecting.

Which brings me to this post by Laura Turner at Liberalism Without Cynicism.

Why, a lot of people have wondered, do conservatives have such a hard time facing up to the truth about global warning, besides the fact that to do something about it might cost them some money?

It’s vanity. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity and seeking after wind and solar power, saith the Preacher.

Or, as Laura puts it, less pompously, they just don’t want to admit they were wrong and Al Gore was right!


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