substantive issues

Wed Mar-1st-2006 // Filed under: Things Are Happening

I rarely link to blogs — hell, I rarely read blogs, except those written by my friends. I’m just not particularly interested in what random people in the world have to say.

There is the odd exception, though, and this is one of them. It’s fair to say that politically, I’m not awfully compatible with Glenn Greenwald; he’s a conservative American, and, well, I’m not. But he makes some very, very good and strong points about the lack of actual political ideology among those self-proclaimed conservatives who support president George W. Bush unquestioningly and foam at the mouth at the mere mention of liberals:

It used to be the case that in order to be considered a “liberal” or someone “of the Left,” one had to actually ascribe to liberal views on the important policy issues of the day – social spending, abortion, the death penalty, affirmative action, immigration, “judicial activism,” hate speech laws, gay rights, utopian foreign policies, etc. etc. These days, to be a “liberal,” such views are no longer necessary.

Now, in order to be considered a “liberal,” only one thing is required – a failure to pledge blind loyalty to George W. Bush. The minute one criticizes him is the minute that one becomes a “liberal,” regardless of the ground on which the criticism is based. And the more one criticizes him, by definition, the more “liberal” one is. Whether one is a “liberal” — or, for that matter, a “conservative” — is now no longer a function of one’s actual political views, but is a function purely of one’s personal loyalty to George Bush.

The entire entry is so full of quotable stuff that it’s very hard to just pick and choose a few choice bits that illustrate the points he is making, but what he’s saying is just so very, very true, and illustrates my own thoughts on the matter, though he puts it into words with admirable clarity.

He also discusses another thing that worries me more and more — the fear and hatred that seem to be driving so many vocal Bush supporters these days. This is a long quote, I’m afraid, but what can I say? Read on:

[The] core emotions driving the Bush extremists are not hard to see. It is a driving rage and hatred – for liberals, for Muslims, for anyone who opposes George Bush. The rage and desire to destroy is palpable.

[…]

The rhetoric of Bush followers is routinely comprised of […] sentiments dressed up in political language – accusations that domestic political opponents are subversives and traitors, that they ought to be imprisoned and hung, that we ought to drop nuclear bombs on countries which have committed the crime of housing large Muslim populations. These are not political sentiments, and they’re certainly not conservatives sentiments, but instead, are psychological desires finding a venting ground in a political movement.

[…]

The combination here of rage and fear is potent and toxic. One of the principal benefits of the blogosphere — with its daily posting and unedited expressions of thought — is that it reveals one’s genuine underlying views in a much more honest and unadorned fashion than other venues of expression. For that reason, the true sentiments of bloggers often stand revealed for all to see.

And what I hear, first and foremost, from these Bush following corners is this, in quite a shrieking tone: “Oh, my God – there are all of these evil people trying to kill us, George Bush is doing what he can to save us, and these liberals don’t even care!!! They’re on their side and they deserve the same fate!!!” It doesn’t even sound like political argument; it sounds like a form of highly emotional mass theater masquerading as political debate. It really sounds like a personality cult. It is impervious to reasoned argument and the only attribute is loyalty to the leader.

I have no doubt that there are many, many issues that Greenwald and I don’t see eye to eye on, but clearly, the man is no fool. He articulates the issue beautifully.

Personally, I didn’t read a single one of the 396 comments on that post, and I don’t recommend that anyone else does, either — I can anticipate perfectly well what kind of crap that section is filled with… but the post itself is great, and you should read it.


3 Comments

  1. Hmm, about the comments, I think your premonitions were a bit off. I read the first third or so and people tend to generally agree with the post.

    Comment by Janos — March 1, 2006 @ 1141215177

  2. You might also be interested in this: http://www.johannorberg.net/?page=displayblog&month=9&year=2005#1246

    Johan Norberg wonders, why whenever he critisizes Bush, he gets people asking him: Why do you always attack him? and whenever he tells that he did something good he gets people commenting: Why do you always defend Bush?

    People just can’t seem to put their minds around the fact that some people might have their own opinions regardless of what mr. Bush thinks of issues.

    Comment by Id — March 17, 2006 @ 1142560223

  3. Wow, there are still conservatives with brains in the states? I didn’t know that. LOL I’m not kidding around either. I really was unaware of it. If George (the Alfred E. Newman look alike) Bush isn’t the spitting image of Adolph (let me do the world a favor and exterminate all of the undesirables) Hitler then he’ll do until the real deal comes along. Thanks for this. Very interesting, sad, and hilarious all at once. Your site is a bloody goldmine. Really, I’m laughing until it hurts and hurting that I can’t help laughing. I guess it beats thinking about bending over George and his horrific Nazi clan and shoving grenades where the sun don’t shine. I hope a few hundred thousand of my fellow Americans are finding this site and reading carefully.

    Comment by P.B. Adams — November 29, 2006 @ 1164763975

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