Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Comment on American conservatism

"If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature is made for their destruction" - Shelly

This is a comment from a blog on atheism -

I am totally overwhelmed by Mr. Pierce Butler's pithy intellect.

In the United States, a carefully-cultivated cultural schism includes not only the evangelical religious revival you speak of and a wider ideology with its own "reality" and agenda. This viewpoint, which with typical dishonesty calls itself "conservatism", is hard to delineate because of its frequent shifts and dishonesty: perhaps prototypical is an account in Time during the first Clinton administration, describing a daily talking-points fax series from the Republican National Committee to talk-radio hosts, which one day would describe Hillary Clinton as a nymphomaniac, the next day as frigid, and the next as a lesbian.

Now read this!!!

Incoherent intellectually

but well-organized politically,

this movement relies on

repetition and emotion.

I'm going to print this and pin it to my cubicle!!

Its components include a massive metanetwork of media outlets, numerous churches, think tanks and political organizations, and a followership with numerous legitimate grievances and no comprehension of how its anxieties are being manipulated for an elitist seizure of power. Essentially fascistic, this crusade is possibly unique among its kind for the absence of a central "strongman" leader: though GW Bush may seem to fill that role at present, even if he truly made White House policy decisions he would still be a figurehead, as this movement was quite powerful before anyone outside of Texas had heard of him and will be powerful after he's gone.The resurgence of religiosity in the US these days is only part of a surge of commitment to belief in the counterfactual: consider the high percentages of citizens who firmly believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks and was preparing to hit America with "weapons of mass destruction"; that "just say no" programs could end drug abuse, teen pregnancy, etc; that foreign aid and welfare are the major causes of the federal deficit; that blacks commit most of the crimes around the country; that all gays prey on children; that abortion causes breast cancer; that the people of Haiti, Nicaragua, Vietnam, the former Yugoslavia, etc, etc, even Iraq, are grateful to the US for having been liberated by our troops; that universities are monolithic citadels of anti-American indoctrination; and so on endlessly (I didn't even mention myths regarding the "liberal media", feminists, environmentalists, most racial minorities, lawyers, teachers, unions, global warming, and countless other targets of disinformation and scapegoating).This isn't a Great Swoon, it's a Great Delirium - and it's not the result of blind impersonal historical cycles.


pankajunk said...

very nice post. i saw a video on youtube with chris hedges (an eminent journalist) commenting on the growing fanatical christan movement in america. i discovered chris in a video in debate vs christopher hitchens. he comes across a man with very reasonable and rational views (chris)

this is the video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-fbcy1tRoA

this is the hedges vs hitchens video. he did offer a rational counterfoil to hitchen's rabid rheotoric ridden emotional applealing brand of atheisim



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subbu said...

dude...if only things were that simple and black-and-white...what you are talking about is the conservatist fringes, and the liberal extremists are as crazy, if not more...
For a good background of american conservatism, listen to any of William F Buckley's videos on youtube (hes supposed to be the father of conservatism), read any of the economist's articles (staunchly conservatist).
You (and your friends) seem to be overly into the Naom Chomsky view of the world. I was on the same side of the ideological divide for a long time, till I came here and saw some of the positive aspects of conservatism (which is not to say I am a conservative, I'm a libertarian).
D'Souza, Falwell, Coulter, Buchanan are part of the fringes of american conservatism, who are unfortunately gaining ground.
The conservatism of Reagan, Buckley, or even Alan Greenspan is much more logical and reasonable.
I'll try to put this in more detail in my blog...

subbu said...

try to watch the Buckley-Vidal, or Buckley-Chomsky exchanges...Fascinating