To many on the Left, we on the Right are stupid, we are dupes, we are in denial, we refuse to think, we have severe psychological disturbances, we're desperate to prop up a worldview with fantasies, and we're uneducated.
Even though I'm just benighted, let's take a look-see so others can enlighten me:
Atrios: "The point is the wholesale embrace of manufactured horseshit to desperately prop up their collapsing worldview."
Crooks and Liars: "Bush followers are lucky. They have an outstanding capacity to create their own fantasy world where any facts which reflect negatively on the Leader are simply discarded and ignored. Just this last week alone provided numerous, glaring examples of how this disturbing fact-denial process works."
Glenn Greenwald: "They [Bush supporters] are not susceptible to challenge or reconsideration because they are the by-product of faith and desire and not a critical or rational assessment. They believe these things because they want to believe them, they have to believe them, because the whole world-view on which their identity and purpose has come to be based — the brave, heroic President leading the great conservative nation in glorious, epic war-triumph over the evil Muslim enemy — depends upon believing these myths. No facts can shake these beliefs because they aren't grounded in facts and aren't the by-product of rationality."
Atrios again: "History. Read some, morons."
My Left Wing: As the Senate gears up to bring up the immigration issue again and the Department of Homeland Security's recent round-ups, it is not hard to spot the private prison profiteers because they are the ones currently with dollar signs in their eyes as thousands of undocumented immigrants are being dumped into their torture chambers depriving them of all that makes a person human.
Commenter at My Left Wing: "Arizona has a draconian prison system that looks like a Gulag: forced labor camps that have resulted in the death of at least one young prisoner."
Daily Kos (Susan G.): The Republican Party seems riddled from top to bottom, from bench to pitcher's mound, with players more concerned with small-minded vengeance and limited information access than with actual governing, openly and competently."
Well. That was a lot to share. Is getting all this contempt and loathing out helping you in your daily lives? Does it make you feel better? Are you happy?
Maybe, just maybe, that all the strawmen you've created aren't real. Maybe there are smart people on the right and the left and maybe there are more things in the middle of the road than white lines and dead armadillos.
Of course, the Left is far from alone in this. There is a universal tendency to assume that those who disagree with us are stupid, uneducated, ignorant, mentally unbalanced, or wicked. Indeed, any attempt to argue any of these points successfully requires us as writers to take this universal tendency into account. So if I say to myself, "Democrats are evil," I have to think, well, am I just indulging in the same open contempt they are? If not, how do I know it?
Are Democrats wicked? No. Do the Democrats support wicked policies. Some. Can the Democrats support their policies with facts and argumentation? Yes. Does that make it right. Not necessarily. There may be other facts and other arguments.
I get frustrated on a couple of issues.
But I try to understand where people are coming from.
Why do women support abortion? Because they don't like or want anyone telling them what they can and can't do with their bodies. It's an emotional response, and more than a little deeply felt. There's also a couple of thousand years of non-choice and women being raped and exploited through their children and other fears beyond that, if you're a believer in things like a collective unconscious. It's not an irrational emotional response. It's the wrong conclusion, but I understand where it's coming from.
Why do men support abortion? For three main reasons. One, they want sex without consequences. Two, they're cowards. Three, they don't think a woman should be told what to do with her body. The first two reasons are contempible, but the third is rational. It's wrong, but rational.
Why do people think there's such a thing as same-sex marriage? Because they think marriage is a social construct, and the definition can be changed without consequences. Marriage means a loving commitment to them, nothing more, and so they are willing to abstract this one concept and abandon the rest of the definition. They're wrong, marriage flows from natural law, which cannot be violated without consequences. But to believe my point of view, you need to accept natural law. And very few people do.
Immigration. Israel. Taxes. School choice. Do we oppose the president during wartime? There are arguments for and against, and let's not pretend there's some easy answer that every rational person can agree with. If there was, we'd all agree on it. But where you come out depends a lot on who you believe will give you an accurate rendering of facts and how those facts fit into your predetermined worldview.
George W. Bush may be a heinous, corrupt president and the worst one in human history. Or he may be an upright man who's doing his best, and history may have a nuanced rendering.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not playing all nice here. I still hold that the Dems are wrong about more things than not — it's not so much the facts that are the problem, but how they assemble them and how they interpret them. As the old joke goes, if you accuse a Jesuit of killing two men and a dog, he will produce the dog alive to refute your argument. Anyone can take the most extreme views of their opponents, or catch them in error, and make broad generalizations about them. It's a little more difficult to actually think.
I switched political parties for a lot of reasons. Like most people in both parties, I have reservations about various aspects of the GOP. In my case, I'm not a rah-rah capitalist by any means. I distrust large organizations of almost any kind, but recognize that large organizations are often the only defense against the tyranny of petty local tyrants. I think long arguments about government miss the point, which is this: A virtuous people needs less government than a vice-ridden one. If people exercise self-restraint, understand cause and effect, are enterprising and hard-working, work to remove their own ignorance, take responsibility for their actions, and can be trusted to keep their word, you wouldn't need a lot of government. But if people are eager to exploit the commons, exploit their neighbor, and exploit themselves, you'll need more government.
The Constitution is not a suicide pact. But it's not a guarantee. It was an agreement among people to act according to certain rules. If we insist on over-reacting to every event by creating more rules instead of punishing wrongdoers, we'll be even more choked with them than we currently are. People think I'm kidding when I saw we should have hanged Ken Lay and Bernard Ebbers, but I'm not. Instead, everyone was punished with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Instead of having common-sense regulations against weapons in school, we get the mechanistic overreaction of "Zero Tolerance." And these kind of sentimental, emotional reactions are common in both parties.