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View Diary: Daughter of a Southern 'Gentleman' (88 comments)

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  •  It may help to remember (7+ / 0-)

    that this is fear speaking.

    FDR nailed it in his first inaugural speech:

    This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
    Once I was walking down the street in the city and I was startled by an enormous gray animal about the size of a Saint Bernard waddling down the gutter toward me. I jumped about eight feet back, and after a few seconds of staring at the thing in horror I realized it was a fat but not particularly huge raccoon that was so filthy you couldn't see his mask.

    This is what fear does. It makes you focus on the perceived threat, it makes you exaggerate the perceived threat, it makes you slow to see anything that works against feeling threatened.

    This turns out to be a very handy group of effects for unscrupulous politicians operating on the right wing of the political spectrum.  There has been a a radical shift towards fear mongering and scapegoating by Republicans and their powerful supporters over the past fifteen years. That's why people who vote for Republicans never seem to notice the party is working against their interests.  

    And Osama bin Laden was a windfall for fear mongers.  With his help, the Republican Party has instilled the habit for fear and anger in their base, the personal result of which we can see in this diary.  

    Ironically, hair-trigger suspicion has made the Republican rank and file gullible. Take the fear that marriage equality will somehow threatens heterosexual marriage. This is unquestioningly believed despite any evidence of harm, or credible argument that harm might occur. In fact, no argument is needed because Republicans are so conditioned to fear that they instantly and unquestionably believe any kind of boogeyman story their masters feed them. It will take years before people who have swallowed the birther lie to come to their senses, if they ever do.

    Habitual fear cripples the ability to learn. It allows fear of the unknown to become self-sustaining, because it prevents gaining understanding of the unknown.  

    When I see a tea partier ranting I see sincere feelings fear, insecurity, anger and loss, and I pity them, despite the harm they are committing. I pit them the way I'd pity a schizophrenic ranting about his paranoid delusions.  Unlike a schizophrenic, gullible right-wingers bear responsibility for creating their paranoid fantasies; but while they are in the grip of those delusions they are no more able to see through them.

    You can't expect reason to work on these people, at least not in the large doses the diarist understandably but inadvisably attempted to apply. Small doses and patience are called for. Work on the habit of critical thinking, not overturning all their paranoid fantasies at once.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Fri May 18, 2012 at 03:12:45 PM PDT

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