tell me why-yi-yi-yi

5/23/04

Okay, I need to understand why Republicans and conservatives do the things they do. I think I kind of get it, but to stretch my mind that far, I have to put myself in the position of an 8-year-old on the playground, or, at the very least, a petulant teenager.

Let’s step back for a second and look at what conservatives stand for:

1. rolling back environmental protection so that businesses can operate less expensively

2. denying women the right to an abortion

3. stopping affirmative action and generally fighting laws that benefit African Americans

4. believing in a small government with as few laws as possible

5. believing in a strict fiscal budget with highly curtailed spending

6. teaching abstinence in schools and taking the offensive against literature, pictures and other art they see as “pornographic”

7. letting the Arts fund themselves

8. I forgot what eight was for, but

9. pre-emptive military strikes on sovereign nations

10. Machiavellian outlook on world politics, so as to put American needs over those of the entire Earth.

Did I get any of these wrong? Sure, you can quibble semantics, but basically, get a few gin & tonics into your average staunch conservative Republican, and they’d basically agree.

Now, the abortion question is really one of taste – either you can stomach the idea of a woman getting to choose whether their fetus lives or dies, or you can’t. There are other things at play here, such as most mens’ basic need to control women regardless of topic matter, but we’ll let that lie for now.

I can even slightly fathom the way Republicans go after affirmative action, if they truly believe the program was a failure, or that it is unfair in some basic principle. I don’t agree, but I get it. And the “fiscal responsibility” and “small government” beliefs turned out to be utter bullshit – any administration with a half-trillion deficit and a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage hasn’t got much ammo in that department.

mn_deficitgrf.jpg

And as much as it pains me, I can also understand the way conservatives want to de-fund the arts. They just don’t think it’s important. I can’t MAKE them. They just don’t get it.

But the rest of the list is truly stunning, un-fathomable, self-destructive, self-loathing and TOTALLY UNSUSTAINABLE. Conservatives in America remind me of cancer in human bodies – both are on a collision course to destroy the place where they flourish.

Assuming for a second that conservatives don’t have a death wish, what possible good can come of letting our environment fuck off? I mean, really? Don’t they live there too? If they’re smart – or even logical – they’ll also understand that any business that destroys the environment is a terrible long-term bet.

And what’s with the hubris and utter disrespect for other cultures on the planet? We are FOUR PERCENT of the world’s population. What GOOD does it do us to be such FUCKWADS? How do conservatives benefit from the arrogant dismissal of, say, Iraqi sovereignty, or the Kyoto Protocol? How is it good for Republicans to have vast stretches of the world despise America? I mean, I’m asking!

Here are a few possible answers:

They don’t care. Yep, they’ll be dead before anything REALLY BAD happens to the environment, and things seem fine right now, and the dividend checks keep coming, so why should they worry? Global warming? That’s for their grandkids. Trillions in debt? Hell, they won’t be around to pay that either.

If this is the way they think, then we can just go ahead and label them ASSHOLES.

They are Apocalyptic, End-of-Days Christians. We know John Ashcroft is a part of this sect. There have been speculations that Bush is one of them. As I’ve said before, I think W. is waaaay too comfy to get psyched about the Apocalypse, but they way some of these guys behave is so atrocious that, well, perhaps they really do believe that none of this shit matters because Christ is coming again.

If this is the way they think, then we can just go ahead and label them REALLY SCARY.

They are Inconsolable Control Freaks. Maybe conservatives really do think they can control the way the world works. Even after every test, every poll, every bit of research suggests otherwise, maybe they think they can actually convince teens to stop having sex, or that Muslims can be converted to Christianity, or that they can keep young men and women from growing up gay. It must be tiring to keep that up. If this is the way they think, I would call them “exhausted,” but mostly UTTERLY DELUDED.

Is there something I’m missing here? Is it all about the money? Is it about power? WHAT CONVINCES THESE PEOPLE to be SO DESTRUCTIVE if THEY WILL BE DESTROYED AS WELL?

0 thoughts on “tell me why-yi-yi-yi

  1. Piglet

    Ian, I request permission to repost your entry on http://www.dailykos.com I guarantee you’ll get some interesting feedback.
    a few random thoughts: My belief is that ultimately, conservative Republican politicians (not the general conservative public) do not particularly have any beliefs, except perhaps in “Social Darwinism.” They are interested ONLY in maximizing power for themselves, and everything they say they believe is simply said
    as a means to that end, either to scam votes, or to make excuses for abominable behavior. They favor balanced budgets, or deficit spending based on whatever suits their power grabs. Same for Federalism or States Rights, isolationism or interventionism, free trade or government control, religious or secular “values.” To that extent, all of the issues you have raised are meaningless.
    As for the general public, some are fooled, some are motivated by self-interest, others really believe certain things but not others. Extreme libertarians would stand by some “conservative” principles and reject others; commited Christians might go for some others.
    On Affirmative Action: it seems to me that many in our generation sincerely wonder what the big deal is. Those of us too young to remember Selma or Birmingham, and who were raised with “Free to be you and me” values, came away with neither prejudice nor guilt by association, and are confused and hurt at the idea that they owe reparations to others for a hate they themselves never felt. To them, affirmative action contradicts the egalitarianism they learned as children.
    On Art: how many social conservatives have considered that the Farrelly brothers were inflicted on us by republican economic values. Republicans shut off public television funding, demand that art be “profitable’ and then complain that the results pander to the lowest common denominator.

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  2. Emily

    I nearly cried with joy while reading today’s entry, since I’ve just gotten home from my first day of community college summer classes in the good old Republican-Conservative-Bible Belt state of PA. After reading the Review & Opinion section of my local Sunday paper yesterday, I definitely needed a good dose of Liberal politics.
    I digress… it seems to me that most of the Republicans I know (including my immediate family), are either staunchly Christian “Bible thumpers” or simply very proud. Too proud to admit that they’re wrong, too proud to realize that their views are outdated, and too proud to consider anyone’s ideas but their own and their local priest’s.
    However, I feel that Republican congress-people have different motives. I think that most of them have been mentioned here; “money” springs to the front of my mind.
    As a side note, I think I may have mentioned this before on this blog, but I went through public high school and was educated in health class according to President Bush’s abstinence program. The curriculum was not focused on showing that not having sex was merely OK, but that you were a terrible person if you engaged in sexual acts before marriage. The ideas of protection and prevention were not presented – only total abstinence was taught. This may differ by state or school district, but my high school is still considered one of the more liberal schools in the area.

    Reply
  3. Ian

    Piglet- absolutely you can post this on Kos. Didn’t know you had those connections!
    I reserve the right to be not-terribly-well-thought-out, however. This blog is still just a driving range, and the balls occasionally slice very hard to the left.
    Caren – The thing about teaching abstinence is that it doesn’t work. The recitivism rate is 88%! Meanwhile, those teens AREN’T learning about safe sex, and their disease rates are higher. Having classes on abstinence will not allow your kids to “grow up at their own pace” either…

    Reply
  4. CL

    >>The recitivism rate is 88%!
    Who researched THAT?! ;)
    Yeah, teaching abstinence alone isn’t going to allow kids to grow up at their own pace — it has to go hand in hand with good parenting and television/pop culture not making them feel they have to dress like Britney Spears and other things. The more avenues of pressure there are, the more kids we’re going to see feeling like they have to fool around in order to fit in. If schools teach abstinence as an option, at least they know all the reasons why they shouldn’t have sex. Then they can make better decisions.
    But I do agree that it has to be taught as an OPTION, and that safe sex should be taught at the same time.
    I guess I had to argue with something to make up for the lack of Republican response.

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  5. Just Andrew

    Tough to admit as a lifelong democrat, but I keep moving more to the right on several things.
    First – as long as the GOP embraces the religious right, it won’t be my party – the flaw with #4 (as few laws as possible) is that the laws they do want involve limiting personal choice and I can’t go with that (which covers 2, 4 and 7).
    However – and here’s where the Dems have lost me – as a small business owner I can’t stand the Dems – these days if I make an honest dollar, with all the crap I have to pay for, I only get to keep about $.50 and that isn’t right – unless I follow the unwritten rules and attempt to bilk the government and get a helping hand.
    I’ve never taken a single dollar in aid, never collected unemployment, etc and I work work damn hard for every dollar I’ve made and to lose so much of it isn’t right.
    I see this as the big fundamental problem – I do believe in social programs, however, when my competitior makes his wife ‘president’ of his company and he gets tons of government support, it puts me at a disadvantage, so do I remain honest and upstanding and lose my business, or do I compete (cheat). One of my biggest complaints in the world is how litigious (sp?) we are, and I pin that right of entitlement and total lack of personal responsibility 100% on the Dems back. This is killing our country – look at medical costs as just one example – doctors can’t even afford insurance these days. This clogs our legal system, increases taxes and pays lawyers and politicians – the ‘victims’ in all these suits get squat.
    What purpose does my government serve?
    1. Security/Protection
    everything else is way down the list, but…
    2. Roads
    3. Education (tho my kids will not be going to public school like I did, so you can kind of nix that one)
    4. Justice/Courts
    5. There is NO rule #5 (cite that reference)
    6. Medical – not happening, but I think it would be well served.
    that’s about it, everything else is negotiable.
    Oh, and to go ahead and back up the usual challenge to the first part of my arguement, yes, I get to keep only about $.50 on the dollar – take out Self Employment Tax, state sales tax (on things I sell), the amount not going into Social Security on my behalf, Unemployment tax, Employment and training tax, workman’s comp, property tax, and other taxes (Gas, food, sales tax on what I buy) – and yes the Government gets over half my money and what am I provided with?
    Excellent Security
    adequate roads, terrible justice, terrible educations, and no medical benefits.
    The math there says to me that the GOP desires are mostly met (Security and roads), while the others are Dem issues, none of which is handled in anything close to resembling an acceptable standard.
    Go back to your list and eliminate the issues brought on by the religious right and you end up with Howard Dean – no really – he’s a financial tightwad, who’s willing to help only those who are also willing to help themselves and he hates beaurocracy and stands for personal freedom. That being said, as much as I love the guy, he’d have been a lousy president.
    Here’s my point – my point is I’m lost and at a crossroads, I can’t vote for most Dems anymore and I can vote for Republicans on at least a state level, but not on a national level. The only way I can remain a supporter of the Dems and own a business is if I become unethical and take government money earmarked for others. So what the F am I supposed to do? Vote Libertarian – yeah, right, like that’s a realistic choice. Basically in order to survive, I have to reconcile with myself that cheating is just another way of getting a much deserved tax refund – and for what it’s worth, I’m about 80% there…”Hey, honey, I know you don’t like computers, but how’d you like to be president of my company?…”
    Oh and another thing as long as I’m ranting. I live in a very rural, depressed, working class area – the people that work for me and the people I hang out with at the local tavern don’t have college educations – many of them never finished high school, yet most of them have the strongest work ethic I’ve ever witnessed and ALL of them have been royally screwed over by existing social programs of one kind or another – it is my firm belief that the only people who benefit from the Dems social programs are the well educated government employees who have found a way to make a living by sponging off society believing they are making a difference.
    OK, gotta stop now while there’s probably at least one person I haven’t pissed off.

    Reply
  6. Annie

    Though I’m late in responding, I have to address a couple of things brought up by Andrew:
    If exorbitant medical costs and high taxes on SMALL business are your main complaints re: the Dems, you may as well save yourself some time and criticize the real culprits here, the Pubs. Who wants to avoid a single-payer health care system? The Pubs. And who, just who exactly, manipulates tax law to excuse the largest and most powerful companies from paying taxes out the ass (as they, and you’ll pardon my lefty candor, should)? The PUBS. Who keeps the small fry down and the rich cats rich? The Pubs. Don’t fool yourself.
    The Dems in taxing everybody are trying (ineffectually) to be ‘fair.’ Fariness is, if you pause to think about it, the underpinning of most lefty thought. The Pubs don’t care about fairness, they care about success, and that’s where we divide.
    I agree that as one gets older it becomes more possible to see more sides of issues, and therefore all opinion-holding becomes more complicated. But don’t give the Pubs your vote on the basis of taxes and health care. They do not deserve it.

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