Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pay attention to who we smear, not what we do

Karl Rove and Sean Hannity and Bill Kristol think Obama is a Marxist (and so does Glenn Beck). Brit Hume and Charles Krauthammer think so, too.

Why? Because Obama said that there are rural working class Americans who have grown bitter over an economy and a government that has left them behind; and that they have turned to religion or guns or scapegoating as an means of filling the vaccuum left by the lack of a meaningful and responsive civic realm.

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate, and they have not."

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations.
For this Obama is being smeared (with help from the Clinton campaign) with the prepackaged conservative movement memes that he's an elitist and a communist and what not.

The message that needs to be said over and over again is this: they are full of shit. Because you don't see those same folks being indignant and outraged over the Straussian view of religion

There is a certain irony in the fact that the chief guru of the neoconservatives is a thinker who regarded religion merely as a political tool intended for the masses but not for the superior few. Leo Strauss, the German Jewish √©migr√© who taught at the University of Chicago almost until his death in 1973, did not dissent from Marx’s view that religion is the opium of the people; but he believed that the people need their opium. He therefore taught that those in power must invent noble lies and pious frauds to keep the people in the stupor for which they are supremely fit.
So, unlike Obama - who did not say anything about religion being true or false but said citizens who feel left out by our political process will look insulate themselves with religion - neoconservatives disbelieve in religion but feel it is a valuable tool to manipulate the public with.

Why aren't Sean Hannity and Karl Rove and Brit Hume asking questions about the elitist views of Bill Kristol's dad

Kristol has acknowledged his intellectual debt to Strauss in a recent autobiographical essay. "What made him so controversial within the academic community was his disbelief in the Enlightenment dogma that `the truth will make men free.'" Kristol adds that "Strauss was an intellectual aristocrat who thought that the truth could make some [emphasis Kristol's] minds free, but he was convinced that there was an inherent conflict between philosophic truth and political order, and that the popularization and vulgarization of these truths might import unease, turmoil and the release of popular passions hitherto held in check by tradition and religion with utterly unpredictable, but mostly negative, consequences."

Kristol agrees with this view. "There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people," he says in an interview. "There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work."
I must cut Sean Hannity some slack, however. Hannity isn't an amoral Machiavellian such as Karl Rove who is perfectly happy to use religion and the evangelical leaders he reportedly called "the nuts" as a political tool. No, Hannity is just a witless authoritarian follower and partisan hack who attacks which ever Democrat is on the sheet of paper he's gotten from his producers; Hannity also has an ability which is key to his success as a Fox News pundit and radio personality - he has an unlimited capacity for self-blindness, double standard, and hypocrisy.

Glenn Greenwald's new book - Great American Hypocrites - couldn't be timed more perfectly.

1 comment:

C2H50H said...

On the basis of my long-term study of conservatives, I have to say that, from where I stand, Conservatism is:

a) a reflexive approach to politics that clings, often stubbornly and irrationally, to the traditional, and

b) a method by which clever and unscrupulous people who, by exploiting the fears of the authoritarian followers, obtain and keep political power.

In short, when you meet a conservative, it's always wise to identify which type you are dealing with. Contempt tinged with pity is how I feel about the first type, while disgust tinged with caution how I react to the second.

Liberals, on the other hand, also have their opportunists, who try and use their fellows to obtain and keep political power. The difference is that the conservatives never seem to object to their opportunists, only those they perceive (rightly or, more generally, wrongly) on the liberal side, but venerate and promote them, while liberals, when they discover they've been used, generally reject and mistrust the opportunists.