Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Damned dirty apes

So I've been using this morning - since my work here in Medford is shut down by the Northwest Rainpocalypse (film at 11...) - to ponder what exactly it is that has me so grimly uneasy about this year in U.S. politics.

And, no, I don't think I have anything to add to the bleak assessment I have already so often written down here; this isn't really an essay about "U.S. politics".

Rather, it's a distillation of what I finally realized so worries me about U.S. politics, and it links back to a post over at the Penguin's place about Obama Derangement Syndrome. In it the Tuxedoed One notes that:
"I can’t think of any time in this nation’s history where the rhetoric surrounding the President is so divorced from reality...this hatred towards Obama is divorced from anything the man has actually done...It’s as if a significant portion of the white population of the United States has gone completely insane. And I don’t know if the nation is going to be able to survive that."
THAT's my concern.
When I look around at the looney-tunes Mirror Universe that the GOP has constructed, as typified by this Obama-derangement and the hysterical pants-pissing terror and range evoked by Obama's mildly rational speech the other day, what I see is the cumulative effect of thirty-five years of selective breeding and nurturing of a sort of subspecies of higher primate; let's call it homo wingnuttiens.

It sort of looks like homo sapiens with 100% less sapience.

It looks, in fact, a lot like the intelligent apes of the old Charleton Heston flick or, rather, the artifact in the plot of the film's source material, a novel titled La Planète des Singes. Same basic story; astronaut finds ape civilization and uncovers the history that humans effectively created their own downfall and the rise of their anthropoid masters. The moral of the story is that human intelligence is not a fixed quality and could atrophy if taken for granted.

Or if deliberately destroyed.

By, for instance, creating a race of demi-humans who have been carefully taught to believe only what they are told by certain sources, to automatically refuse to accept anything that doesn't fit what those sources tell them, that base their actions on automatic acceptance of certain ideas (war, strength/force, "Western culture", patriarchy/authoritarianism, "market economy"/rapacity, Christian theocracy/primacy, xenophobia) and rejection of others associated with what they see as despised and illegitimate enemies.

This isn't exactly new. I pretty much had the wingnuts figured out back in the Clinton years – the default position of the GOP has simply become complete rejection of the legitimacy of ANYthing Democratic, or, more precisely, anything not endorsed by their own echo chamber.

And this wasn't exactly an accident. The GOP mad scientists have created these creatures for their own power. But I think, like the researchers in La Planète they are being willfully blind to their own madness.

Several studies of the wingnut-third has established fairly thoroughly that the cumulative effect of the right-wing echo chamber, eliminationist rhetoric, and apocalyptic propaganda has developed a “country within a country” populated by people who see the world through wingnut beer goggles.

So, for them, the actual corporatist Eisenhower-Republican Obama isn’t an actual thing. It’s the secret-Muslim communist traitor welfare daddy Obama that exists.

The complexity of the modern Middle East isn't an actual thing; it's the seething cauldron populated by nothing but beheading Muslims who live to kill white men and rape white women that exists.

Or something.

And so on down the line. "Markets" aren't something established and run by societies and governments, they are magical fucking invisible-hand unicorns dancing on rainbows. Oligarchies aren't bad for the non-oligarchs, they're just how life is and if you aren't rich it's because you're a lazy loser. Taxes are theft. Peace is surrender. War is victory.

And my problem with all that is that I’m not sure that you can run a functioning representative democracy when about a quarter to a third of your “citizens” are effectively living in a fantasy world of their own devising.

The potential for a critical mass of these nutjobs blowing the doors off of the polity seems WAY too high not to happen at some point.

So while I'm not going to predict a Trump presidency or some sort of immediate disaster in the immediate future, my consistent low-grade concern is that my country is a long way to developing a strain of this homo wingnuttiens into a force that has the potential, if and when the plague that kills all the dogs and cats, to break down the country of my birth in such a way that it will be nearly impossible to rebuild.

I'm not really sure how much I fear this, or how realistic my fear of this is. But I can feel it like the hum of distant high-voltage wires that begins to crackle in the rain whenever I read of the latest trumpism and the wingnut baying that it produces.

I feel distantly angry and at the same time bereft, as if I have already lost something that has not been taken from me yet.

In a strange way, I feel like I am already mourning the loss of my country.


Leon said...

Homo Delirus or Homo Cerritus ('having a crazed brain, frantic, mad') seems appropriate.

Cheer up chief, America had a good run of a several decades. Time to practice your Chinese. I'll put in a good word for you to the district regional sub-chief of lao-wai relations.

FDChief said...

Apropos of Il Douche it'd serve us right to be swallowed up by the Reconquista. Praise for our new Mexican overlords...

FDChief said...

And here's a perfect example of the sort of thing I'm talking about.

Fallows has a post up about the Obama post-San-Bernardino speech (

In it he quotes someone who says:

"I don't have any sympathy for Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, who are intuitive and calculated demagogues respectively. But I do have sympathy for a lot of their followers. People are scared. Should they be less scared? Perhaps. Should they accept that there is no solution to their fears, and that the over-reaction is the worst option? Again, perhaps.

But that is not realistic. Leaders need to deal with the world as it is, not as they wish it to be. When President Obama comes out, after a terrorist attack, and says, basically, "nothing to worry about, everything is going according to plan, just be patient," it is nothing short of an abdication of responsibility."

The guy then goes on to say that it's all good that "people are mad at Muslims" like we did this so well that time when everybody got all mad at the Japs.

The point is...what the hell was Obama supposed to say? That, gee, sorry, you pants-pissers are all scared at these horrible Allah-pesterers and I totally understand that so I'm going to fucking shoot this Syrian kid right here on live TV. Now. Feel better?

Here's what this guy should have written: People are scared. Should they be less scared? Yes. Should they accept that there is no solution to their fears, and that the over-reaction is the worst option? Yes." See? Fixed that for ya.

In a sane country in a sane world Obama would have said, simply, yes, these attacks are gonna happen again until this part of the world gets its shit together, and some of you are gonna die in those attacks, and if you think that randomly bombing and killing in Syria or Iraq is gonna change that for the better you're fucked in the head and you need to pull up your big-boy and big-girl panties, grow the fuck up, and stop fearing fear itself 'cause that's WHY they're gonna do this stuff."

But since he can' get people like this joker saying that what he really needs to do is somehow say something that somehow doesn't involve telling these cowards that we're going to re-invade Iraq and that somehow that will magically placate Cruz and Trump and every brain-dead nimrod over at Powerline and Breitbart and the gibbering and frothing flying monkeys who listen to Malkin and Beck and Limbaugh.

That ain't gonna happen. That's my point; they've created this gorilla army and it's already gotten to the point where no sense, no reason, no intellectual appeal is going to reach them.

We're just so, so, so, so so thoroughly and completely fucked.

Ael said...

The USA is reverting to the gilded age.
Mexican expulsions, Chinese exclusion act, etc. etc.

What is old is new again.

mike said...

We survived McCarthy and Father Coughlin. This too shall pass. My great great grandchildren will learn about Trumpism alongside the Know-Nothing Movement and other oddities of history.

Syrbal/Labrys said...

I hope MIke is right. But I do fear the nuclear grade burning stupid that seems to be tromping all over the slim supplies of common sense. The Earth itself might have trouble sustaining against this wave of idiocy!

FDChief said...

I think the difference this time, mike, is that the "center cannot hold"; the old coalition of labor, outright radicals, muckraking journalists, and noblesse oblige aristos has gone, fragmented where it was not deliberately destroyed.

And I get the sense that America itself has become more brittle, less robust. "We the People"...well, aren't nearly as much anymore. We're more divided, less inclined to give each other the benefit of the doubt. The Right has become, as Pierce called it the other day, a "carnivore without a conscience", and the Left has not surprisingly developed a healthy hate and fear for that monster. The "center", what there is of it, is full of slothful morons and poorly-informed layabouts.

I dread the possibility that the Cannibal Children fully get their hands on the levers of power. I fear that they really could break the nation beyond repair.