I've hammered away at this again and again; outside of the tiny fraction of people in the U.S. making an assload of money for nothing (and I count things like "investment banking" as nothing; moving piles of money from spot A to spot B should be worth about what you make for pumping gas, especially given that its become pretty obvious to me, looking at the performance of my IRA mutual funds, that you could duplicate the "market wisdom" of my "financial advisers" pretty closely by going to the zoo and taking a random monkey off Monkey Island, setting him up in the middle of a big chessboard and letting him fling his poop, and then moving your investment money around based on which square the shit lands in. Jesus.) the tenets of movement conservatism are bad for Americans and America. Bad socially, bad politically, and especially bad economically.
And yet, there seems to be a steady hard nut of about one-third of the electorate that refuses to budge away from this obvious idiocy. And, infuriatingly, I can neither explain nor understand it.
But along comes one Mr. David Grover who, in his comment on one of Pierce's posts, seems to me to nail it square in the 10-ring:
"30% of every OECD country polls fascist. That's just always been the case, for 150 years. In most modern wealthy democracies those people are afraid to express their opinions, because its commonly understood that people who hold those opinions are generally detrimental to the common good. That was the political lesson of WWII.The nut graf is in the second-to-last paragraph: And while the rest of us would like to pay attention to the reality we've ignored since Reagan first pretended he was President, the media and the conversation is dominated by these 30%, who refuse to give up their fantasyland, just as we should have known they would.
In the US however they get their own news channels and one-half of the political power, because for some reason around 1980 we all started feeling sorry for the narcissistic fantasists and sentimentalists that call themselves "movement conservatives," who told us they felt bad because they were left out of what they called "the Liberal consensus."
The Liberal consensus was really just an agreement not to let the aforementioned narcissists do what they do best, which is to monopolize the conversation and claim its all about *me* and *my pain* and what about *my people*, which in general prevents us from confronting actual real live reality, like genuinely poor people and genuine disasters like climate change. And we let down our guard, forgetting that these 30% always feel bad, because they really have nothing more to their belief system than a heightened sense of persecution coupled to a heightened sense of their worth. Everything else - their politics, economics, religion, sociology - is an attempt to rationalize those two basic principles: "I oughta be in charge, but my inferiors won't let me."
30 years later people in the media think they're entertaining and sell eyeballs so they give them a seat at the table, and they don't realize the fascists want all the seats and have bad table manners besides. And while the rest of us would like to pay attention to the reality we've ignored since Reagan first pretended he was President, the media and the conversation is dominated by these 30%, who refuse to give up their fantasyland, just as we should have known they would.
I'm not normally reductive when it comes to people, but that these 30% would hallucinate that they're hard done by and at the same time threaten the rest of us over their perceived injury is as predictable as flowers blooming in spring."
The connection between "for some reason" and "1980", by the way, is no coincidence. The election of Reagan and the whole "Reagan Revolution" was fundamentally the backlash of white people of both parties against Civil Rights. It was the result of the fraying of the New Deal coalition because the uppity nigras, beaners, wimmens, and other assorted dusky- and non-penile-Americans pushed for a place at the table. The wealthy white oligarchs who had been aching to reclaim what they saw as their birthright were able to use the anger of the poor white working-class who felt threatened by this to turn the national story around into blaming the poor people, the unions, and the Negroes for all the troubles in the world. This hasn't changed much since then. Look at us; mired in the sixth year of the Lesser Depression and talking about...deficits? Cutting people off food stamps and Social Security? While the rich are richer than ever and the stock market soars? While we farkle around fighting phantom "terrorists" in Africa and Asia?
Are we fucking mad?
And here's the despair part; a notional democracy cannot function where a third of the public is fascist. Fascism - that is, the belief in the mashup of political authoritarianism and crony capitalism - is perhaps the most pernicious form of government outside of theocracy. It has a terrible facility for retaining the outward flourishes of popular sovereignty while gutting the workings. Having one third of the nation willing to be openly fascist, having a congeries of Right wingnut "news" media that feeds these fascists their own worldview...the resultant trainwreck should surprise no one.
And I honestly have no idea how we reverse this.
The last time it took a massive global depression and a world war brought on by some of the less sane fascists. Assisted by what at the time was a hugely more vital and aggressive Left, a Left that included actual communists and socialists that controlled entire countries and were powerful in many others. It included "mainstream" news organizations much more committed to the ideals of equality and community and much more skeptical of the oligarchies and fascists. It also included an industrialized world that was insular enough that, while the plutocrats were able to play the poorer sections of the U.S. against the better-off in a race to the bottom of the wage scale, at least the industrial workers were protected from the truly desperate poverty of the Third World. While that sucked for Venezuela and Ceylon it didn't for New Jersey and Liverpool.
None of that remains.
The free global movement of capital and trade means that corporations and their wealthy owners can use the poverty of Sri Lanka to destroy middle-class wealth in working-class Detroit and Oxnard. The acceptance of the wingnut pity party as a "valid narrative" means that the centuries of hardship visited on people with dark skin and no penis can be excused and avoided, that the notion that wealth means human value can be exalted once more. The confusion of unbalanced opinion with verifiable facts as a "he said-she said" disagreement means that anyone and anything can be ratfucked, and the ratfuckers are still the same ones that were sending around fliers for Helen Gahagan Douglas on pink fucking paper all the way back in 19-fucking-50.
But to reverse this trend, to beat back these bastards, would take a WW2-level effort. For someone like me it would mean abandoning my home and family and my work to spend the rest of my life fighting this massive heap of bastardy without anything like the support that the people fighting in 1919 or 1929 or 1939 had. It would be becoming my late friend Charles Gittings whose entire later life was consumed by his drive to right one simple wrong; the "prison" at Guantanamo Bay.
A prison that remains open today.
I don't have Charles' kind of courage, the kind of courage that accepts the suffering and woe of fighting the good fight knowing that it is almost certain that you will lose. And it's that kind of courage multiplied ten hundred thousand times over that would be needed to change the drift that I see taking my nation into a dark place that I do not want it to go, where I do not want my children to go. I can see the dangers, but I cannot see how - short of self-immolation - I can aver them, and not even then.
I desperately WANT to hope. I fiercely WANT to find a reason to believe that those tens of hundreds of thousands of people will find the courage to fight back.
But then I think of the massive indifference that Charles met with, on the simple and easily-understood crime of an America that was and is imprisoning people without trial or hope of trial.
And I cannot.