PLOT SUMMARY: Conservative Ideology (THE BIG LIE)
- The World is fair – I got what I got because I earned it and deserve it.
- Blame the victim – You are poor, sick, or a burden to society because you are not disciplined and did not work hard and play by the rules.
- Tough Love – It is morally wrong for me to help you out because it would encourage more immoral behavior and reduce the goodness in the world (Good Stuff for Me)
- Ignoring Fate/Luck – I am one of God’s chosen and he guides the world, therefore what happens is his will and I should not question it.
- Conclusion: I am entitled. I got mine, screw you. Die you leech, die!
Well the mob is growing and soon they will start chanting for blood. Oh, they already did. Are we feeding Christians to lions again? I am talking about the Republican debates and the mob’s cheering reaction to Governor Perry’s execution of over 235 (now) persons on his watch. The fact that at least one was innocent and the state is doing everything it can to halt an investigation in prosecutorial misbehavior, forensic incompetence, and Governor Perry’s involvement in refusing to review the new evidence showing that the arson wasn’t arson, seems to have no impact on them.
Add to that the shouts of “yeah!” to CNN’s Wolfe Blitzer’s question about whether the system should let a 30 year old who doesn’t have medical insurance die because he chose not to buy it, and you have a lynch mob (anybody ever read the Ox-bow Incident?). For most of us we were disgusted by it. If you cannot see the same mentality between that behavior and the dehumanization of Jews in Hitler’s Germany and their resulting extermination, then you are truly blind. But that is who these new Republicans are and it is very important that most Americans understand how they think.
Allen Grayson was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night and he called them sadistic. Remember, he was the Congressman who was harshly criticized for describing the Republican Health Plan as, if you get sick, die. He was right about that, but he is wrong about them being sadistic. Their behavior appears sadistic, the enjoyment of inflicting pain, but that is not really it. I have written of this before, but I am sure many of you wrote it off as the ravings of a liberal tree hugger, but now with the evidence is right in front of you maybe you will now understand what I am trying to explain about their basic psychology. Republicans believe in justice plain and simple. Their justice in a world that doesn’t really exist.
From the Right’s viewpoint, what they have, they earned, plain and simple. What you don’t have, you deserve not to have because of some character flaw in you that did not allow you to earn what they earned through their hard work and discipline. Mitigating factors such as genes for intelligence, inheritance, good parents, good schools, social economic status, and luck simply don’t weigh into the equation. Add to that the religious factor, we Christians are God’s chosen people, and if bad things are happening to you, it is God’s will. It explains everything they do and justifies in their mind why bad things happen to other people and they have no empathy for it. Simply stated it is blame the victim. They brought it on themselves and helping them out encourages further bad behavior.
First think about the lack of empathy for the less fortunate. The famous “there for the grace of God go I” is not part of their psychological make up. Bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people, period. So if a person is found guilty of murder, the good state of Texas would never abuse its power for personal motives. If God did not think this person should die, he would not have let him die. He would have given me a sign. It is why Governor Perry is so “tough” and sure of himself, and they love him. No more pandering to those who don’t deserve it and that just suck up our resources. So you have a Governor Perry and the mob at the debate in California thinking they are setting the world straight again instead of being humbled by the fact that with a turn of fate, they could have been at the other end of that needle. They simply don’t believe that. It could never have happen to them. God watches over them.
Think about the way Wolfe Blitzer crafted his question about letting someone die. A thirty something who “chose” not to get insurance. The reality is most people who don’t have it, don’t “choose” not to have it. They either can’t get it or can’t afford it and eat at the same time. But the framing is important because it was the framing that goes into the whole conservative mentality: Those that find themselves in trouble knew the risks and chose their path. And conservatives are the ultimate social Darwinists (funny when it comes to biology they reject it). The balance and order of the world is upset if we do not have to live (and die) by our choices (assuming we had them to make). If we are allowed to be irresponsible and not suffer the consequences, then we will suck what you have out of you to pay for our sins, therefore, die sucker die. Conservatives don’t really enjoy someone else’s pain, but they cheer that in their mind, they got what they deserved for their choice and justice was preserved. That is why they hate government. It transfers their hard earned and deserved bounty to those that did not earn it and upsets the balance of nature.
Of course those of us who live in the real world, not some gated community where the harsh reality of the injustice in the world is carefully kept out and we only encounter those who reinforce our beliefs, know that life is not fair. We know that our good fortune may have come from hard work and discipline, but there was luck in there too. Conservatives feel the playing field is level and those that are not up to the game deserve their failures and rewarding them for their failures simply upsets the balance of nature and God’s will (the luck). The rest of us know the playing field is not level, God doesn’t choose winners and losers, and the more we can help others to achieve a level playing field, the better and stronger we will be as a people.
So when they were cheering executions or demanding care be withheld, they were, in their little minds, seeing that the good guy won. That justice was done and the scales were balanced. That the barbarians at the gate were held off once again. The natural order of things was set right. Ayn Rand wins out again. They don’t need to question their own good fortune because they earned it and deserve it. They don’t need to question what they are doing because God guides them. They don’t need to feel bad for others less fortunate because their justice says others are getting what they are due and anything else would upset the system. And they can tell you lots of anecdotal stores to support this system of belief I call the BIG LIE.
But it is this BIG LIE that leads to the dehumanization of those less fortunate and the ultimate justification of cruelty and selfishness we see in these people. It is the same BIG LIE if allowed to grow, resulted in what the Nazis did to the Jews. We think it was an aberration that could never happen again. Think again about the shouts of “die!” Any philosophy that allows us to dehumanize the suffering of others, is the road to our destruction. The fact that many of these conservatives are conservative Christians demonstrates how religion can be used to justify injustice. What we saw in the Republican debates was just how far down the road some of our fellow citizens have gone in justifying their dehumanization of those less fortunate.