Republican mythology

June 26, 2011 | By | 7 Replies More

I have often written that Democrats have been thoroughly corrupted by our campaign finance system, which encourages bribes and graft.   Equally so, have the Republicans been corrupted, but Republican politicians carry the weight of a long litany of absurd beliefs that they espouse with religious zeal.  This St. Louis Post-Dispatch opinion piece lists eight of the big ones, including:

• They must believe, despite the evidence of the 2008 financial collapse, that unregulated — or at most, lightly regulated — financial markets are good for America and the world.

• GOP candidates must scoff at scientific consensus about global warming. Blame it on human activity? Bad. Cite Noah’s Ark as evidence? Good. They must express at least some doubt about the science of evolution.

• They must insist, statistics and evidence to the contrary, that most of the nation’s energy needs can be met safely with more domestic oil drilling, “clean-coal” technology and greater reliance on perfectly safe nuclear power plants.

• They must believe that the Founding Fathers wanted to guarantee individuals the absolute right to own high-capacity, rapid-fire weapons that did not exist in the late 18th century.

Stunningly, none of these beliefs is founded on facts or self-critical thinking.   As Eric Hoffer pointed out long ago, this lack of objective evidence presents no problem for true believers.

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Category: Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. None of this makes sense if you look at it from the standpoint that we are all the same and "in it together." But if you shift your perspective and see it from the view that only certain people are, in fact, worthy, then it all makes perfect sense.

    Unregulated markets are wonderful for those with the wealth and expertise to play them for their own benefit. Bad for The People, but who gives a shit about them? Peasants.

    Economic advantage always comes to those most adept at dancing with a changing landscape—climate change will provide ample opportunities for the top 3% to make lots of money. It's not scientific evidence they oppose, but the public acceptance of valid evidence. As long as the unwashed believe Noah's Ark to be true, the True Citizens of the planet can benefit from real information.

    Since these people can live wherever they wish, proximity to dangerous energy plants is not an issue.

    If those peasants, The People, have access to all the firearms they want, then they'll keep middle management happily occupied with rising crime rates, us vs them ideologies, and squalid moral landscape that isolates them from the kind of scrutiny that would reveal all the former.

    And the politicians are convinced that they will inherit the plush accoutrements of this wonderful world of wealth sitting atop the crust of a humanity subjugated by its own ignorance.

    You gotta think a bit more sinister, Erich. This all makes perfect sense.

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Mark,

    We are not all the same. Evolution is a continual process, and we are diverging in our evolution.

    Long ago, on the African savannahs, hominids may have subsisted only by eating roots, berrys and grubs and insects. Survival depended on social cooperations, being particularly aware and observant to changes in the immediate environment so as to be able to cut and run to a defensible location of relative safety when threatened by a predator. Gathering requires the intelegence to identify the best place to find food.

    Eventually proto humans started using simple tools, and after that, became hunter- gatherers, and a divergence began. Hunting requires a different intellectual skill set, one involving stealth and deception thart would allow the hunter to get close enough to the prey for the crude weapons to be effective.

    Agriculture marked the beginning of mankind's ability to control nature. Over the centuries, our increasing managed environment has become the our natural selector and the driving force behind human evolution.

    What if the main differences between progressives and conservatives is influenced by genetic ties to our hunter gatherer ancestors, with the conservatives having more of the hunter traits and progressives having more of the gatherer attributes?

  3. Niklaus,

    My initial reaction is that this is a nature vs nurture question and more a matter of education than genetic determinism. We're talking proclivities here and as far as I can tell there's no barrier between the two mindsets—if, in fact, there are two distinct mindsets—that prevents "crossover" behavior. The Yale or Harvard or Princeton-educated scion of wealth learns that he or she is superior to the unwashed who only get to attend a community college and their hunter status is as much a result of the network of associations sharing that background as it is innate ability. Besides, I don't see the movement on the part of the uber-rich reflective so much of hunter mentality as of shepherding mentality—they're trying to turn the rest of us into herds to be domesticated and used as they see fit, which is much more consistent with agriculture.

  4. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Mark, you kind of missed my point. Some of the Freudian nature argument is ludicrous. What I am addressing is that certain behaviors are determined partially by brain development which in turn is influenced by genetics. This puts a bias on the person's perceptions and interpretation of the world around them.

    Nurture is equally important, I am not considering this a barrier, What I'm advancing is the idea that genetic factors may create an individual affinity to certain world views.

  5. Niklaus

    Some variety of that was au courant among the Robber Barons to justify predatory capitalism. While on a certain level I agree with you, those expensive educations they all get should teach them to moderate their worst impulses.

    But I have serious doubts that you could track it that closely within large groups. I suspect you would find just as many natural hunters living on the streets, unable to rise to the top because the system is rigged on behalf of the scions of the uber-rich.

    My original point was that the ways in which we are alike outweigh those, mostly artificial, ways in which we are different that underlay the kind of elitist view I described. They don't have what they do because they're special, they think they're special because of what they have.

  6. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Mark wrpte

    "I suspect you would find just as many natural hunters living on the streets, unable to rise to the top because the system is rigged on behalf of the scions of the uber-rich. "

    This is part of the point I am trying to express.The majority of the hunters are not wealthy, and yet they succumb to the siren call of the super rich, that promises them a better chance at the good life if they support an agenda which benefits the super wealthy at everyone else's expense. The hunter mentality favors the predators, and promotes self-interest. The conservative movements in this nation are like magnets for the hunter mentality, and many of the psychopathic hunters have risen to the leader ship positions simply because they value winning at any cost, and their minions fail to understan this because hunter mindset feels an imperative to act swiftly instead of considering the after effects.

    Mark wrote:

    "They don’t have what they do because they’re special, they think they’re special because of what they have."

    I partially agree because their followers think them special for what they have as well, but I am not looking at wealth as a defining factor, but at attitudes concerning the importance of the individual versus the inportance of society. At best there should be a symbios between the two extremes, but what were are seeing is the elevation of the most self-destructive of the hunter mentality to the status of parasites.

  7. grumpypilgrim says:

    That's a great list. I cannot help but think:

    – The same people (heads of financial institutions, mostly) who wanted less financial regulation before the 2008 collapse are the same ones calling for it again today.

    – Shimkus says the god-of-the-Bible won't wreck the planet with global warming. Oh, good, I feel so much better now.

    – I've said it before and I see I need to keep saying it: more domestic oil production merely accelerates the date upon which the U.S. becomes entirely dependent upon foreign sources.

    – There would be far less problem with the right to keep and bear arms if the arms were the same kind that existed in 1776: single-shot muzzle-loaders with smooth (non-rifled) barrels.

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