Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Relentless Temptation

The fact that things like this keep happening is a major reason why I kept adding things to my book thereby postponing its completion. Not too long ago, conservatives demanded that Obama secure Bowe Bergdahl's release from the Taliban. But once Obama did it, they denounced him for it. Now, they send the freed POW's parents death threats. How could this possibly be patriotic?

Their behavior is sickening but predictable. As I wrote in the last chapter, "Like people who are in love with the idea of being in love, [conservatives] are in love with the idea of having deep beliefs." But these beliefs are shallow, arbitrary, and transitory. They use their beliefs as battle banners. They only want something to march and fight under. They need vehicles for their rage. Like in George Orwell's 1984, they just need to scream at the screen. Fox News delivers their "two minutes of hate" around the clock. And if there is some awkward hypocrisy or contradiction, well, "We've always been at war with Eastasia."

Seriously. Take, for example, their flip-flop on getting involved in Syria's civil war. This was not recent, but it is a classic example. Conservatives beat the war drums for months calling President Obama weak and demanding that we intervene on behalf of the rebels. Never mind the rebels' Al-Qaeda elements. But when the Syrian government used chemical weapons, Obama relented and said we should consider air strikes. Suddenly, his critics became doves and called him a power-mad militarist. But they resumed calling him a coward after her brokered a moratorium on the use of such weapons. 

Whatever Obama is for, they are against. And they will do spectacular reversals to be on the opposite side of every issue. As long as their tribal, binary, us-vs-them mindset is stirred, they are satisfied with whatever absurd explanations or conspiracy theories they are given.

Speaking of being Orwellian, conservative columnist George Will recently wrote that being a sexual assault victim is a coveted status on college campuses. That is is yet another recent example
of the relentless temptation to add things to the manuscript. One of the threads in my book is about how conservatives often cannot understand the difference between rights and privileges - rights are universal while privileges are special. My central example is their anti-gay marriage rhetoric in which they oxymoronically argue that gays want "a special right to marry," but this new example works almost as well. In both cases, conservatives are slow to recognize others' rights and quick to turn definitions on their ears.

These stories are almost too perfect to not shoehorn into the book after the fact.
Very many are. But at some point, you just have to stop adding things. I suppose that is what this blog is for.


Obama's chemical weapons moratorium seems to be a success.

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