Friday, November 20, 2015

Morning Reading - The Party Of Fear And Loathing

As we note in the post below, the rhetoric on the right has surpassed ugly and has entered darkly dangerous territory.  Here are a few worthwhile takes on this phenomenon (more here).

Paul Krugman on Republicans fleeing into their panic rooms:
What explains the modern right’s propensity for panic? Part of it, no doubt, is the familiar point that many bullies are also cowards. But I think it’s also linked to the apocalyptic mind-set that has developed among Republicans during the Obama years.

Think about it. From the day Mr. Obama took office, his political foes have warned about imminent catastrophe. Fiscal crisis! Hyperinflation! Economic collapse, brought on by the scourge of health insurance! And nobody on the right dares point out the failure of the promised disasters to materialize, or suggest a more nuanced approach.  [snip]
The context also explains why Beltway insiders were so foolish when they imagined that the Paris attacks would deflate Donald Trump’s candidacy, that Republican voters would turn to establishment candidates who are serious about national security.
Who, exactly, are these serious candidates? And why would the establishment, which has spent years encouraging the base to indulge its fears and reject nuance, now expect that base to understand the difference between tough talk and actual effectiveness?  (our emphasis)
Since they're indulged in their fears and don't understand the difference between political posturing and effectiveness,  the Republican base's fear and loathing pleasure points will continue to be deep- massaged by the despicable charlatans running for president on their side.  Meanwhile, the Richmond Times-Dispatch tells those who would react in such a way to "get a grip:"
Americans like to think of themselves as brave and strong. But a good portion of them are acting very weak and frightened.
In response to the Paris attacks, many want to bar entry by Syrian refugees — all of them, including even (as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put it) orphans under 5. This despite the fact that refugees undergo exhaustive scrutiny before being permitted on U.S. soil.  [snip]
Never to be outdone in the lunacy Olympics, Donald Trump is leaving open the possibility of forcing Muslims — including not just refugees but U.S. citizens — to register with the government as such, and perhaps even carry special ID. (No word on whether that might be a yellow star or crescent.)
Instead of taking those suggestions, perhaps America should — oh, maybe stop the bed-wetting, for example. Then pull up its big-boy pants — and get a grip.  (our emphasis)
It's gotten so bad even a Christian right leader is shocked:
Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, told BuzzFeed News on Thursday that he was shocked by the “overheated” rhetoric being employed by high-profile politicians in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.
“Donald Trump is saber-rattling about shutting down mosques in this country, which, as somebody who works every day on religious liberty, I’m astounded that we could have a presidential candidate of either party speaking in such a way,” Moore said
“Evangelicals should recognize that any president who would call for shutting down houses of worship … is the sort of political power that can ultimately shut down evangelical churches."
Moore was also critical of candidates like Ted Cruz who are now arguing that the U.S. should only accept Christian refugees from Syria, not Muslims.

“I don’t think we ought to have a religious test for our refugee policy,” Moore said...
With the cooperation of attention- seeking, puerile media at all levels, Republicans are likely to continue to play to the fears of the public (it's guaranteed that, if you are watching even your local news, it's been featuring those "how safe are we?" pieces).  Irresponsible behavior is expected on the right;  for them, it's all about changing the narrative, driving down poll numbers for Democrats and fatuously adopting the mantle of the national security party (with dumbasses like Trump and Carson? "Tailgunner Ted?"  J.E.B.!?  please).  It's clear that indulging this fear mongering and intolerance is both factually and morally wrong.  Will they get away with it?  We'll see who has the courage to stand up and face them down.


Gerald Parks said...

It's clear that indulging this fear mongering and intolerance is both factually and morally wrong. Will they get away with it?

The Iraq invasion ...err aah ... War by the US after 9/11 comes to mind.

So the answer is a resounding YES!

AND ...It's clear that indulging this fear mongering and intolerance is both factually and morally wrong!

Anonymous said...

A critical examination of contemporary Islam is absent from legislative and executive pronouncements on the subject.

Since 9/11, Bernard Lewis, Bernard Henri-Levy, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali have contributed thoughtful, historically-informed books about Islamism.

Why terrorist attacks in New York, Paris, Beirut, Nairobi, Mumbai, Sinai, Peshawar, Marseilles, Mali, Boston, Moscow, Nigeria, Sudan, etc. ...?

"Piss Christ" got Jesse Helms in a snit. - But exploding Catholics didn't follow.

Rep. Steve King (The Cantaloupe Man) is crass. - But he's not beheading Mexicans.

Modernity is a beach - but we all have to live with it. (or do we?)

W. Hackwhacker said...

There's no question a group of psychopathic extremists has misinterpreted Islam (as Dumbya famously said after 9/11, "Islam is peace") for their own ends. They arguably have the same grasp on Islam as the KKK has on Christianity. I would remind you, however, that the killing of abortion providers in the past several decades were committed by extremists espousing "Christian values." I do believe your point re "modernity" is a good one and is a key to understanding this violent strain in an overall population of over a billion.

These extremists also have little support in the Muslim world. See:

Anonymous said...

"Christianity" has been and is subject to rigorous criticism (Voltaire, Nietzsche, Richard Dawkins come to mind for starters). If Christian apologists can rescue their faith from the grips of the KKK, or the abortion clinic bombers, or Cecil B. DeMille or Mel Gibson - well, good for them - but there's a hefty segment of the secular USA that really doesn't care about that debate - as long as there isn't a new inquisition making life miserable for all.

Somehow I doubt that W. has ever read the Koran or Hadith. Those who do will find many blood curdling passages therein. "Little support in the Muslim world" ? I do recommend Ayaan Hirsi Ali's works for those who think Islam is benign.

W. Hackwhacker said...

I'll look into Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

I also doubt Dumbya has read any of those texts; someone perhaps who had put those words in his mouth. "Blood curdling passages" in the Koran? Try the Bible (Old and New Testament)! Again, I think getting back to your point re adapting to modernism (or not) is the proper critique.

Check out the link above to see how ISIS is viewed by Muslims (ok, it's one poll). We're not saying there's no support for extremism, but it's really a stretch to conclude they have widespread following. And what's going on with the Islamophobia in this country and in parts of Europe is, as the President says, the best recruitment tool ISIS has.