Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Know Your Enemy

With parts of the Democratic establishment predictably concluding that after Kerry's loss the Democrats need even more of the losing strategy of pandering to the Right, I'm happy to see on major pro-Democrat blogger, Steve Gilliard finally facing up with The Enemy in an uncompromising way. (With his usual brashness.)

This is stuff I was manically preaching about on the net for years.

...I'm an elitist snob, fuck you very much, you mouth-breathing bloodthirsty fucktard bigot. I work to educate myself. I spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and money to get a more or less accurate idea of what's going on around me.

But I've been wrong. I was wrong -- I believed that, given equal access to information and resources, people will work toward their own best interests. I was wrong. Right-wingers will happily cause themselves suffering, as long as it means they can cause someone else a little bit more suffering. They're happy to see their children mangled horribly in the immoral meatgrinder of the war on Iraq. It makes them happy. Because as long as Uncle Sam is slaughtering brown people somewhere, with lots of shock and awe, it's a good day.

As long as they can make those nasty, dirty war protesters with their silly papier-mache puppets feel scared and angry and powerless, it's a job well done.

And before you all start tut-tutting kindly and rushing to my side with cups of tea and handfuls of Prozac and loving advice about therapy, vitamins and exercise, hear me out. OK?

You're good people. You're educated. You don't watch Fox News. You don't listen to talk radio. You, simply put, haven't the faintest idea what we're up against.

....then he lists some of whom we're up against, with links. And:

Check 'em out! They want you dead. Don't you think you should be aware? Browse their sites and comment boards and then come back and tell me you can reach them, educate them, live in peace with them. Or that you want to.



At 11:18 AM, Blogger Meaders said...

Yeah! Blame the voters - why didn't they vote for Bush Lite, instead of the real Bush? Whine whine whine. Anything to avoid self-criticism, or even a glimmer of understanding about what went wrong.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger DoDo said...

Me? As you could have guessed from this or this or this, I would have voted for Nader (had I been a US citizen) - while maybe a fourth of my posts in the past were criticisms of Kerry and the Democrats.

If you meant Steve Gilliard, who is a Kerry-ite from the ABB crowd, the charge rings truer - would it not be the case that he is just learning a lesson about something they did wrong, namemly the unprincipled and losing strategy of pandering to the Right to get the Middle.

However, I think it is a progressive self-deception of different sorts to assume that a really large part of non-voters were progressives both fed up with the Democrats and not seeing the point in protest-voting for Cobbs or Nader. (Whether a large part of them could have been convinced to accept the issues, and their importance, and give a vote for a major party candidate with a clear progressive line, and a larger one than who could be convinced by the other side in that roundup, is another question, but see my third link above.)

It is deep down founded in the belief that people are fundamentally good, vs. the truth of them being fundamentally both. But industrialists' support for the Nazis (which played a role, but was neither decisive nor universal), the impotence of the Weimar political elite and the seductiveness of quasi-socialist elements in Nazi propaganda aren't enough to remove the, uhm, blame from the 1931-33 far-right voters.

At this point I take issue with your putting this issue on the framework of 'blame'. 'Blame' is about the past, so is simple punishment, but the issue at hand is about the future, how you deal with this fact. Fact is, a third or more of those Americans who care about politics are absolute loons(*), people whom many progressives as well as 'latte liberals' want to dismiss as fringe, which they do at their own doom. And the question is, will this group grow or shrink, and how your strategies influence that. A Clinton-Gore-Kerry-type pandering to the right will make it grow. A naive belief that these people will roll over if just they are presented with the facts ignored by Fox News will let it grow, because they already saw it, but as members of the faith-based community, dismiss it immediately.

(*) I observed and debated these people on USENET newsgroups for years before the 2000 elections. What I learned is that while you can't see much of them in the media, there aren't many at places visiting Europeans usually prefer, but they are a HUGE group - and they aren't living isolated, in the closets, but in communities where they often don't know of any people not sharing their worldview - and come to newsgroups debating science, religion or politics assuming their position is the default one. OTOH it is not true that all members of the faith-based community are hopeless. Some can be 'de-programmed', with sustained work - I saw it.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger DoDo said...

...but most can't. They cling to their delusions despite being presented with the facts, droning on with their phrases and denouncements and cursings, and using any argument or claim to maintain their beliefs. Oten it's not not logic, but reason that fails them. Instead of using Occam's Razor to select from worldviews, they heap as many pulled-from-the-air elements on the pile of their view of reality as is necessary to maintain the beliefs already held. Instead of justifying the acceptance of a modified theory if and only if it passes a (further) test, they justify the continued acceptance of a theory that failed a test with modifications, modifications not tested.


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