Perry: “I keep saying, ‘The world is flat.'”
Don’t look to Barry Goldwater or Milton Friedman, even Ronald Reagan, to explain why addled fundamentalists, like zombies surfacing from the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, disparage learning, expertise, and reason. Every pitch-fork mob figures what it doesn’t know will hurt them — and the more foreign and un-American, the greater the threat to closed minds in diminished worlds.
After all, Tea Party gangs can’t intimidate the “despotic” Federal Reserve like it does Obama or Congress. Hear the whispers? What sort of alien name is Bernanke, anyway? When disturbed and confused by complex reality, authoritarian personalities just say no — then amp up the bullying mean-spiritedness.
Trust Groucho, the great philosopher of “Horse Feathers,” to nail today’s destructive negative feedback loop (singing):
Whatever it is, I’m against it. No matter what it is or who commenced it, I’m against it.
Your proposition may be good, But let’s have one thing understood, Whatever it is, I’m against it.
And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it, I’m against it.
While logicians posit “you can’t prove a negative,” don’t tell Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann — whose campaigns of fury are one long negative feedback loop. Can deranged “nattering nabobs of negativism” (per Spiro Agnew) actually win a national primary by having no ideas, just being “hysterical hypochondriacs of history”? Against this TP crusade to dismantle the last century, the White House Weakling comes across as pitchman for positivism, a Pollyanna stuck arguing “things can’t get worse” (as in, double-dip recession).
Yes, they can. And will, with our national leaders. Whatever — here’s the deck-clearing negation nutcases are selling, a heaven on earth for the braying Bachmann-Perry clan:
No tax increases, no regulations, no income tax, no Federal Reserve,
No abortions, nor labor, gay, minority, women’s nor civil rights.
No separation of church-state, no immigration,
No Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid,
No unemployment insurance or retraining funds,
No federal aid to education, research, or health care.
In short, the government roughly in effect soon after God — or was it Columbus, no, Vikings — discovered America, when nothing but native arrows could impede unregulated, predatory expansions. Beyond Bachmann, Perry makes clear exactly what his pious flock favors — America as exceptional Christian Nation, God’s imperial fortress armed to the teeth to battle incalculable enemies until the Rapture blasts secular liberalism, Muslims, Jews, evolution and climate change.
That means two years of fisticuffs between the most negative of rapture-bound Crusaders imaginable taking on the Incumbent Cheerleader-in-Chief of Hope. In this corner: fanatics who want to destroy the nation to save it — ready to upbraid a non-leader, with dismal public relations, whose mission is blending that illusive, magic concession with that pinch of pragmatism — as long as nothing systemic gets changed.
The Power of No
As a result, the righteous rogues practice rough and tumble politics that shames Democrats. When God’s your campaign manager (insisting you run), who needs to understand, even tolerate, obstacles to the promised land of theocracy? Since everything is about redemption, at polls or hereafter, brace for no-compassion conservatives, for sure, reloading bare-knuckle fire and brimstone. Perry the patriot just got started, framing he alone “loves America” — thus proving foes are “treacherous” and/or “treasonous.” The next step after W. on terrorism (you’re with us or against us), Perry pulls no punches re “ugly” Texas revenge (lynch mobs, anyone?).
Nothing random about Perry’s pandering to primitives in the GOP primaries. He doesn’t have a clue how old the earth is, but he knows damn well evolution is full of holes, climate change a hoax, and God put the right Christians in charge to dominate all of creation. How anyone with a brain dismisses science, a study in repeated verification, yet believes literally in the aggregated Holy Bible — full of hearsay reports and downright myths (tabulated centuries later) — well, that makes a mockery of what we outside fundamentalism call truth. Or what brains do. As David Frum, GOP strategist opines, with beguiling comic understatement:
Republicans do not take intelligence or expertise very seriously as qualifications for the presidency. Mitt Romney’s smarts do him surprisingly little good; Rick Perry’s non-smarts do him disturbingly little harm; and Michele Bachmann’s out-beyond-the-Orion-belt substitutions for familiarity with life here on Earth only intensify the admiration of her fan base.
Bring Guns — Goodbye, Filibuster
Apparently, beyond smarts, what stands out today is the righteous can do no serious wrong, never worthy of disqualification. What penalties did secessionist-friendly Perry pay for inciting violence against a high public official? What damage accrued when Sen. Tom Coburn threatened colleagues with this howler: “It’s just a good thing I can’t pack a gun on the Senate floor”? No, it’s a good thing moral nitwits are prohibited from acting out every infantile fantasy, like plugging colleagues. Great role model, Grandpa Coburn, for your grandchildren — regress from law and order to gunslinging.
Further, these moral midgets demoralize the basic civility mandatory to sustain what we have of civilization, let alone democracy. Enough barbarians like Perry at the gate will crush the gate, thus “might makes right,” turning street protests into chaotic “ugly” brawls. Enough irrational belligerence, let off Scot free, turns politics into dangerous, dark entertainment for sick personalities, the sort cheering for public hangings, whips and torture, or murdering abortion doctors at church.
Barbarian Inside the Gate
However vicious is Sarah Palin (yes, please run!), she’s almost cautious next to Perry, whose ploy is shoot first, don’t give a damn what happens, second. Toying with secession (wholly blamed on Washington) was the tip-off to derangement, then urging the end to Social Security, Medicare, and the income tax. Outdoing Palin plus W., here’s a certifiable ignoramus spouting violence WITH negation — and nothing yet disqualifies him as Tea Party candidate, if not hero. Who ever thought the next Texas governor would make W. look downright nearly normal? Is God so unfeeling He thinks America warrants a double dose, like Fed chief, a second “ugly” Texas whuppin’? We’re hardly over the first.
Back to reality: the no-brainer, real-world penalty for sustaining our national negative feedback loop, per one top finance wizard: “America has little time to waste if it wishes to avoid years of insufficient economic growth, devastating unemployment, rising income and wealth inequality, and eroding social cohesion.” The Tea Party loves to waste time (read: obstruct) with empty ideological barricades if that’s how to reset the train to go backwards, to the fantasy land where they’ve taken “back their country.”