Gotterdammerung: The Right-Wing Politics of Paranoia and Persecution

by Pitt Griffin on July 5, 2015 · 0 comments

in Election 2016, Politics, Religion, The Tea Party

“Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution” – William Butler Yeats

Republicans see America as a monument underpinned by grand principles – the Constitution, the Bible, religious freedom, patriotism, family values, liberty and the like. To the GOP, these must be defended at all costs. Everything is a war – on Christians, capitalism, Easter, families, heterosexuals, profit. Enemies are everywhere – minorities, immigrants, gays, atheists, the ACLU, socialists, terrorists, feminazis, appeasers, radical environmentalists, et al.

It is all Gotterdammerung & Grand Guignol.

It isn’t that the Democrats do not tilt at windmills. And they certainly are not without their errors and misrepresentations. But the difference between the right-wing and left-wing, is that the right-wing hates whole rafts of people.

Sure the Left thinks the Tea Party is nuts, insane and swaddled in folly. And the Left does have an antipathy to plutocrats and conservative politicians. But they mostly view the foot soldiers of the Right as clueless morons – but they don’t doubt the Tea Party loves America.

The Right, on the other hand, thinks that the Left hates America. That the Left are shameless grifters, mewling and puking at that government’s teat. That they are cabalists who would splay Columbia over a table, defenseless against the depredations of Communists and Islamofascists.

Look at the language that conservative politicians and pundits use about the underprivileged. The “47 percent”. The “makers” vs. the “takers”. “Welfare queens”. “Moochers”. Blacks are “thugs”. Islam is a religion of violence. Gays have an “agenda”.

A corollary to this litany of loathing is a paranoid sense of persecution. Gun control is a gun grab. Gay marriage is an assault on religious freedom. The safety net is picking the pocket of hard working Americans. It’s a zero sum game. If someone gets something, then they must have stolen it from someone else.

Take evangelicals and gay marriage. Somehow, in this celebration of love, the message the religious right take away is that they are being persecuted for their ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’.  You would think that the Supreme Court had made gay marriage – not just legal – but mandatory.

The right-wing has a media arm devoted to fanning the flames of this persecution and paranoia. And conservative politicians know they can use it to whip voters to the polls.

Roger Ailes had the genius to see that there was money to be made. The Fox News network has consistently had the highest ratings of cable news shows. Pioneer CNN played it straight and lost their audience. Fox News was so good with propaganda that many Americans now believe that CNN is biased – instead of just boring.

Fox has never had a high regard for facts. Nuance is not a tool. If it doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker – then it is too complex a thought.

Liberal media, on the other hand, has no deep liberal core of hate and fear to exploit. Some liberals may have wrong ideas on vaccinations and gluten. But there isn’t a liberal media nor a left-wing political bloc suggesting there is some right-wing scheme afoot.

Both sides have their nuts. But only conservatives have adopted fear and loathing as an official plank in their platform.


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