Friday, April 22, 2005

Two Posts To Underline

I've been a bit active on dailykos recently and i made a pair of posts that probably deserve to be separate entries on their own. First, from a thread on how the so-called "Ownership Society" plan intersects (or doesn't) with the Religious Right: i suggest both the Capitalists (though in retrospect i think "Corporatist" is a better word) and the Religious extremists think they other side is stupid and in their control. Below is a copy of that post:
The Religious Right thinks the Capitalists (I'm using "Big-C Capitalists" to differentiate them from the more generic variety as their philosophy, rather than economy, is "capitalism") will compliantly accept Biblical Law provided they can continue making a profit. They think they are in charge and the Capitalists are tolerated because they are percieved as subservient. In other words, they think they are the pillar of absolute strength and law and the Capitalists are merely allying with them--to be tossed aside or punished at the whims of the Religious Right.

The Capitalists think the Religious Right "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." As far as my personal assessment i think the Capitalists are right. But then again, the Nazis (they were 1930 Germany's equivalent to 2005 USA's Religious Right) took power under just those circumstances.

But really: the Religious Right is content to vote for Republicans while getting little to nothing in return. Anti-gay laws that hurt straight people more than gay people (relative to their situations prior to such laws, that is) are considered excellent policy by the same people such laws hurt. The Religious Right calls for anti-abortion bills and gets them--except they get anti-abortion bills that are full of holes and get promptly ruled unconstitutional due to legislative laziness. The Religious Right gets Terri Schiavo--which actually might destroy them (if we're lucky), which they had zero chance of "winning", and which they really had to sacrifice a number of their other beliefs for.

But that, perhaps, misses the point. The Religious Right cares very little for the effects of the anti-gay laws on gay people or straight people one way or another. They don't really care about stopping abortions, teenage pregnancy, or the spread of STDs--if they did they'd sure as hell throw their old "solutions". They care about being validated. Much like needy children who demand a series of increasingly improbable gifts from parents and others, throws fits if they don't get one, and are only sated as long as the warm, fuzzy, and hollow warmth of immediate satisfaction lasts. Except unlike children and parents: they are needed--or their votes and money is needed, at least--by those who would grant them their meaningless gifts.

What the Capitalists want and what the Religious Right wants are two different things. Certainly the Religious Right will either get booted (their growing demands eventually become too crazy for the people who will use them) or they will take over and it's down the rabbit hole of Theocracy we go. The Capitalists, on the other hand, don't play games with what they want--they come right out and say it. They don't want the government to let them dump mercury into rivers and lakes because that lets them make money easily.

Now that i've outlined that i'm going to go back on my earlier statement: the Religious Right does actually want something. They demand validation and if that validation ever stopped they would abandon the Republicans just as quickly as the Capitalists would if the money stopped. That's why i often say the Republican Party won't ever pass any serious anti-abortion policy (either in the "reducing abortions" or "illegalizing abortion" sense) as they have trained the Religious Right to gain the validation they are so addicted to from opposing legalized abortion on grounds of religion. It isn't, as many wrongly assume, that their religion cannot tolerate new ideas (after all: most Christians today think of Christianity as the force that ended racial segregation and not as the justification for the same segregation) but rather that this particular function of religion gives them validation.

I think that, somewhere deep down inside, most of them realize this. They know that they are being used and that they are addicted to the particular flavor of crack the Republican Party deals and that the positions they hold are truly abominable--but it is precisely that inner knowledge that allows them to gain feelings of validation when those positions are taken up by the Republican Party (or whoever else). It's like a particular Penny Arcade comic. "Cut yourself." "What?" "If you cut yourself I'll love you."

Except instead of "Cut yourself." they say "Pass totally batshit insane legislation". And instead of "I'll love you" they say "I'll vote for you". What do they get out of it? The thrill that comes with knowing someone did something obscene and moronic because they asked.

This is why a Clinton's blowjob was more important than Clinton's non-response to Rwanda. This is why Feingold's presidential aspirations might be destroyed by his divorce. This is why there has never been a black, gay, or female President of the United States of America. This is why the Democratic Party will never beat the Republican Party in the groups the DLC wants to appeal to unless it is willing to go espouse the Religious Right's lunacy even louder than the Republicans. Not issues, not real-world effects of the law, not Judges, not equality, not freedom: the shaky strangulation of a crack-addicted murderer trying to get just one more high before everything implodes.

This is not a new phenomenon, either, despite the fact it has gotten pretty extreme in the last five to fifty years.

Not to say the Capitalists are necessarily the lesser of the two evils. With the mercury semi-deregulation legislation they've convinced the government to, almost literally, turn human lives into gold for them to collect. It's a sort of inhuman perversity that manages to survive today primarily because it's so difficult to comprehend--a sort of Lovecraftian horror, if you will, that manages to evade notice because none who notice survive unchanged.

Second, i have a post on Salazar's rebuke of Dobson in which i respond to a comment on how the Freepers seem to be turning on the Republican Party. It, too, is pasted below:
One thing i wonder is how long their defection will last.

They might talk a good talk about not supporting the Republican Party anymore but in reality the whole Bolton thing is not a big deal. They might think they're dropping out but once they get into the voting booth (and we can say what we like about them, but they are at least politically active even if for all the wrong reasons) i think they're going to have a real hard time voting for anyone other than those with an (R) after their names.

When we should start having real hope is if and when a major Republican figure drops out of the Party (or if not previously "independent for political reasons", see: Bill Oh Really) and runs as a third party candidate, and only then if said hypothetical candidate can draw support of the underlying Republican political aparatus away from Republicans a bit.

We really want a super-Right party that takes the 5-10% of the really extreme "base" away from the Republicans. With a viable alternative the extremists can put actual pressure on the Republican Party ("Give us theocracy or we will commit seppuku via third party campaign") which will then have a splitting effect on the bizarre coalition that makes up the Republican Party.

It's not so much that they'll split when they've been reamed--they're getting reamed constantly. Corporatism is destroying their rural towns, their culture and religion is being co-opted by the political elites (i'm thinking Dobson and friends, rather than someone on the Democratic side), and their children are being left behind (yes, Mister President, even after your bill) by a government that increasingly doesn't understand the problems facing said kids and doesn't care to find out.

Neither, i would say, does the delay on the vote for Bolton constitute "reaming" the freeper crowd (their fantasies of laying the UN low have been pushed back and put in more danger than previously but they are no worse off now than they were before) and yet that is what they, purportedly, are splitting with the party on. This is why i think they won't turn on the Republican Party: their ill will is not the result of genuine disagreements but rather the fanaticism that has been bred into them. The only way that could turn into them betraying their party, i suspect, is if another group willing to pander to their basest urges (judges, Bolton, gays, the border, and all the other far-Right straw-men).

As far as when the moderate Republicans will speak out? I don't think they will, really, unless they are forced to somehow. And i don't mean that i think the Democrats can force them to. They have obedience to the centralized authority of the Republican Party bred into them as well--and that goes back generations. Perhaps i'm doing them a disservice. Some have obviously switched party affiliations and i think that's perfectly respectable, others (notably for this discussion: Voinovich) have begun to challenge the more extreme positions being put forth by the Party.

Christians, likewise, seem to have a bit of a problem with authority. They'll wake up eventually, but for now they seem content.

I think part of the problem is that they're ignorant of how their faith is being used. When Dobson or whoever stand up and say "XYZ is UNCHRISTIAN!" i'm guessing your average Christian just silently nods, not knowing any better. They need to wake up, but once they do i think they'll probably be pretty fierce.

I had hoped that Pope John Paul II or one of those similar leaders would start pushing by making the economic justice and anti-war stance more prominent, but then Ratzinger took over. I haven't really seen anyone else. There has been some push on those fronts recently, but not much. I'm hopeful they will eventually come to realize how dangerous the current Republican Party is, but i'm not going to wait for the Christians to get their collective butts in gear.

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