Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shutdown: The Republican Party is Possessed by a Hallucinatory Ideology. Those Outside of the Cult Cannot Understand Them.

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The United States government may will apparently not default on its financial obligations later this week. The Republican Party has continued to hold held the American people hostage by refusing to end their shutdown of the federal government. The power of the Tea Party over the Republicans, and the latter’s Stockholm-like surrender to them, heralds the end of “normal politics” for one of the country’s two main political parties.

Functional political systems are dependent upon compromise and horse-trading. Broken political systems can be exploited by political ideologues that are unwilling to compromise unless their demands are met. The United States, as a constitutional republic, is especially vulnerable to small factions who can infiltrate the government and then betray the standing bargains and norms which—to this point—made America a model for political stability and legitimacy around the world.

To those outside of the Right-wing echo chamber, the behavior of the Republican Party GOP is deranged and irrational. The Republican Party’s brand name has been tarnished among the American people. The majority of the public (correctly) blames them for the unnecessary harm that the shutdown is causing the American and global economy. The Republican Party, when they also forced a government shutdown during 1995 and 1996, will be likely punished by voters for its political recklessness and irresponsible behavior in upcoming elections.

Ultimately, the Tea Party GOP is proceeding from a political calculus in the present that threatens to bankrupt and ruin the Republican Party for many years into the future.

Outside observers are unable to grasp the Republican Party’s political logic because they are not among its true believers and faithful. The Republican Party is now a cult. Here, faith, as in religion, is a belief in that which cannot be proven by ordinary means. As such, how can we as a society resolve political disputes if one group of people is committed to magical thinking, and is therefore immune from appeals to empirical truth?

“It is true because we believe it to be so” is a logic that has brought down many societies and governments. Unfortunately, such a slogan is also the motto of the current Republican Party.

On matters ranging from global warming to tax policy and the severe consequences of defaulting on the United States’ obligations to pay its bills, conservatives have embraced positions which are factually incorrect and exist outside of empirical reality.

Because the Tea Party GOP is a cult, they have mated an obsession with purity and ideology within a framework that expels pragmatists and realists as “heretics”. America’s politics is broken because the Tea Party are political jihadists engaged in a war against “non-believers” and fighting an Inquisition within the broader Republican Party. 

Noted political scientist and historian Richard Hofstader is well-known for his observations about what he called “the paranoid style” in American politics. The Tea Party GOP most certainly fits such a description. Hofstader also had prescient insights about the dangers of political ideology when it becomes a type of religious fundamentalism as demonstrated by the Republican Party in the Age of Obama.

Contemporary conservatism is a hodgepodge of plutocrats, white nativists, overt racists, neo-Confederates, Christian Dominationists, John Birchers, and know-nothings. In theory, groups such as the Koch Brothers, Fox News, “the Religious Right”, and the Heritage Foundation have reign over this motley coalition.

While there are important differences among this Venn diagram of political interest groups, they are united by one overriding goal: all of them seek to limit, if not destroy, the United States government through an elimination of the standing norms and priors that have governed the country from the New Deal era to the near present.

To accomplish this radical goal, the Republican Party has created a propaganda and media apparatus of amazing power and reach that would impress even Joseph Goebbels.

The Political polarization which sustains the Tea Party GOP cult has been bred and nurtured by the Right-wing media. Those Americans who are not “saved” by the “true word” offered by the Fox News echo chamber are subsequently unable to comprehend the suicidal behavior of the Republican Party.

The true believers on the Right really do think that Barack Obama is a Socialist black African usurper in the White House who stole two elections and hates white people. The Christian Dominionists really believe that they can ruin the Earth and global warming is a myth because their God told them so. The idea that tax cuts for the rich will pay for themselves, and that “trickle down economics” produce growth for all, is a basic fact for Republicans in the Age of Fox News in the same way that gravity is accepted by physicists.

In all, the union of political belief as a type of religion, with a powerful media and propaganda machine on the Right, has created what is best described as a “hallucinatory ideology”.  

The United States is perilously close to defaulting will apparently not default on its financial obligations...this time. The shutdown was a function of how one political party--Republicans--is possessed by a very pernicious type of zealotry that has fundamentally altered its followers’ ability to understand the real consequences of their irresponsible political behavior.

The plutocrats and the agents of the 1 percent who own and run the Republican Party are not possessed of the same zealotry and magical thinking common to the rank and file Tea Party, Right-wing foot soldiers which elected said dysfunctional faction to Congress.

The Koch brothers and their allies simply want, to quote high archon and priest of the Republican Party Grover Norquist, to make government so weak that it can be drowned in a bathtub.

The base of the Republican Party, and its most ardent zealots in the Tea Party, can be made to assist in the plot—against their long term self-interest—by appeals to white racism and white racial resentment that are aimed at undermining Barack Obama, the United States’ first black President.

It is far easier to drown and kill the United States government in a bathtub if the metaphorical baby is black or brown.

Cults are validated by loss, pain, and opposition to their doomed cause. Their faith is made more pure by what they see as a “righteous” struggle. Those of not possessed by the hallucinatory ideology of contemporary conservatism cannot hear these trumpets of liberation and salvation: we are not among the "Elect" and the "saved".

We mock their beliefs. In doing so, we dismiss the Republican Party’s commitment and faith to their fictive world, and commitment to betraying the United States’ political health and economic prosperity as type of political Eucharist.

The Republican Party and its Tea Party vanguard are willing to engage in a pyrrhic political struggle because it is an act of faith, a type of collective political delusion, and mass psychosis. There is no easy solution for political zealotry through appeals to normal politics. For better or for worse, the American political system is especially vulnerable, at least in the short-term, to actors that proceed with such bad faith. 


Learning is Eternal said...

Let the congregation say amen. Preach, CDV, preach. This is the message that needs to be conveyed & pontificated from the highest points to the these lowly minions hustling ass-backwards.

Death of a Dynasty. First the Fat Boys break-up.

Any comment after this read would be a less successful variation on what's been said here.

Sometimes you can't expound on the truth.

Great post.

Sunkissed said...

CDV I don't know if you remember me mentioning an old Seventh Day Adventist prophecy concerning America but I think it's worth reposting in light of current events. For years we've tried to warn the world that the USA will become a theocracy according to the bible and will incur the wrath of God for forcing christianity, via Sunday observance, on all people. Before I am mocked just hear me out and read these quotes which I emphasize were written in the year 1911 and 1899:

"The prophecy of Revelation 13 declares that the power represented by the beast with lamblike horns shall cause “the earth and them which dwell therein” to worship the papacy—there symbolized by the beast “like unto a leopard”.... This prophecy will be fulfilled when the United States shall enforce Sunday observance, which Rome claims as the special acknowledgment of her supremacy....Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth, and even in free America rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance."—The Great Controversy, 578, 579, 592 (1911).

When Protestant churches shall unite with the secular power to sustain a false religion, for opposing which their ancestors endured the fiercest persecution...There will be national apostasy, which will only end in national ruin. Evangelism, 235, 1899

No one has to believe this. But, I believe we are step by step seeing the beginnings of the ruin of America and the end of the world.

Vic78 said...

I say we deal with them like the Cobra Kai dojo.

grumpy rumblings said...

My rational paranoid mind secretly thinks there's some sort of Gordon Gecko thing going on. Someone very rich and powerful is manipulating these short term swings in the stock market to profit illegally via insider trading.

Probably not what is happening, but it would make sense. And wouldn't it be lovely if it were true and the person got caught and went to jail. Hahhahaha. Sigh.

Bryan Ortez said...

A cult of personal responsibility. I think any and all of their beliefs and policies reflect themselves well in that identity they have laid on themselves.

They pat themselves on the back for doing such a great job of becoming successful. Taxes are stealing from the successful, the achievers. They couldn't possibly be the only recourse for the government to perform social services, they hinder progress.

My fear is how mythological their problem is with America. Unfortunately they will never stop. Meanwhile, the white supremacist crowd is becoming more active and more and more shying away from supremacy rhetoric and embracing a more 'pro white' stance. Stating things like, 'we don't want white people to lose their civil liberties,' hides the fact that they remain ignorant of how a society can deal with systemic inequalities in opportunities, while also maintaining that closeness to tea party rhetoric as 'government is the problem not the solution'.

chauncey devega said...

thank you. was plain on its face. a few follow ups to come including a prime and horrifying example of a "hallucinatory ideology" in practice.

chauncey devega said...

The Christian Dominionists brought us a war in Iraq, and now this. When will the theocrats be called out?

chauncey devega said...

There is no pain in this dojo!

chauncey devega said...

As I said earlier, lots of money was made by a small number of parties from this debacle. Money is made by economic crises.

chauncey devega said...

Personal hypocrisy and herrenvolk politics together is the White Right of the present. Be forewarned they are encouraged by this chaos and small blood. The Right is going to continue their hostage taking.

Miles_Ellison said...

Sweep the leg.

Vic78 said...

Charles Hilton said...

Revelation doesn't say anything about Sunday, or the Pope. You fundies read those things into it. The book of Revelation was the apocalyptic fantasy of a religious fanatic, which barely made it into Biblical canon.. Even the reformer, Martin Luther hated the book and wanted to remove it from the protestant bible.
Not all protestants believe it, either. Many Bible scholars---Protestant, Catholic and non-sectarian---agree that the book was actually a quasi-cryptic reference to the Roman Empire of its day.
And the sooner our leaders stop using the Bible as their foreign policy textbook, the sooner the world will know peace.

chauncey devega said...

That is a great report which also details the white racial resentment and nativism of the Tea Party GOP.

kokanee said...

Republicans tend to be authoritarian of which tribalism is a significant part.
The book — Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics — examines newly available empirical evidence to contend that America’s political culture is more stratified than ever before. It makes the case that higher levels of authoritarian behavior — such as all-consuming tribalistic loyalties and rage over group blasphemy (i.e., criticism of the group and its leaders from within or without) — is the primary culprit, particularly (though not exclusively) among right-wing movements. ..
people with high authoritarianism, high degrees of authoritarianism tend to see the world in black and white, they have a greater need for order, that people with lower levels of authoritarianism are more comfortable with nuance and ambiguity, and can tolerate greater levels of disorder that high levels of authoritarianism correlate to clear dichotomies between in group and out group perspectives. ..
The first is to say that, on a social science level, there’s no question that there’s been a change in the relationship between one’s level of authoritarianism and their party affiliation, between, say, 20 years ago and today. So, 20 years ago, whether you were authoritarian had very little predictive value in determining whether you’re Democrat or Republican, and today it has very powerful predictive value...and now authoritarianism is essentially a better predictor of political identification than almost any other measure you can think of. ..If one scores high in authoritarianism, one is now much more likely to be a Republican, and if one is low in authoritarianism, one is much more likely to be a Democrat. —Salon Radio: Jonathan Weiler on authoritarianism in American politics
From the study:
Given authoritarians’ antipathy toward specific outgroups and more general ethnocentrism, it is not surprising that authoritarianism shapes a range of attitudes and issue preferences that touch on difference, such as race, religious differences, immigration, ethnicity, or sexual orientation (e.g. Adorno et al. 1950; Figuereido and Elkins 2003; Sniderman and Piazza 1993; Hurwitz and Peffley 1992). For authoritarianism to have broader political implications in the United States, however, these issues must be featured parts of the public agenda, and stark differences between, or at least starkly different perceptions of, the major parties or among differing political ideologies on issues that deal with strength, tradition, difference, and conformity must exist.
Measuring Authoritarianism & National Election Study (NES): pages 13 & 14
The NES be gins its four item battery with the following preamble: “Although there are a number of qualities that people feel that children should have, every person thinks that some are more important than others. I am going to read you pairs of desirable qualities. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have.” The pairs of attributes are the following:

Those who value “respect for elders”, “obedience”, “good manners”, and being “well behaved” score at the maximum of the authoritarianism scale. Those who value “independence”, “self-reliance”, “curiosity”, and “being considerate” score at the minimum. —
Don't Republicans make for interesting test subjects? Not that you could catch me voting for the two-party duopoly.

Bryan Ortez said...

I think a lot of their fear, and consequently the actions and results of that fear, are a dread of the Jeffersonian Nightmare. The American race war.

I could elaborate on what I think of it later.

Bryan Ortez said...

There's a man who runs a show called The Independent Muslim Show

He says that Jesus will return to rule a one world theocracy.

He also is adamant that some Muslims in the Middle East are actively fighting to secure a theocratic state for Muslims. I see this trend also in America and Europe through much of anti-immigrant publications. Several groups aligning themselves with Euro-Christian visions antagonize leaders who emphasize more multicultural cooperation and permit immigration throughout Europe.

American Christians also advance this attitude, the idea that Muslims are seeking to take over politics in the US and liberals are allowing it through multicultural education. Some guy even wrote a fantasy novel of the United States becoming a theocratic Islamic Empire.

chauncey devega said...

That is a very important book and one I mention frequently. The finding that Hillary supporters and "Independents" were also more primed by authoritarian cues and racial dog whistles during 2008 is also a very important finding. There is some great stuff out there on cognitive psyche and political attitudes and values that is very very compelling. Now the question becomes how is the media and modern stimuli actually impacting brain structure to produce more (or fewer) authoritarian thinkers.

kokanee said...

Now the question becomes how is the media and modern stimuli actually impacting brain structure to produce more (or fewer) authoritarian thinkers.

That's an excellent question worthy of discussion and/or investigation.

I do know that our education system is striving to pump out authoritarian thinkers –especially in the African-American community. We need our arts programs that foster creativity and critical thinking. Standardized tests and the race to the top bottom aren't helping.

From Black History Month: Overcoming the lingering effects in education:
In the inner-city schools, even where funding is improved, the curriculums are often different. In many places, inner-city children are taught orderliness, punctuality, and obedience. Conversely,
children in suburban schools are taught to use their creativity and
imagination; to think outside the proverbial box.

What this translates to is that suburban children are learning
leadership skills and skills that are basic to excelling and advancing.
Meanwhile, the skills derived from many inner-city schools are those
geared towards the service sector. In other words, children learn how
best to behave to please a boss.

chauncey devega said...

And then overlay that with how military schools are stepping in with privatization and the matters are even more dire.

kokanee said...

And then overlay that with how military schools are stepping in with privatization and the matters are even more dire.



Regarding the media, how about CNN cutting away from McConnell's speech in the Senate that a deal has been reached on the debt ceiling to go to Ted Cruz?

Lakewolf Whitecrow said...

Thank you so much from this White woman who is FAR more terrified of Whites than any other racial minority. This may be because I've been close to American Indians over my lifetime (I'm 55) than any other group. I've also been physically victimised exclusively byWhites, beginning in grade school.

My question is this: given my distrust of Whites, how do I open a dialogue between them and me?

Is this even the right question to ask?

Lakewolf Whitecrow said...

TV programming, which places the viewer in a light trance state, is the Authortarian's greatest weapon. Teaching a child the love of reading will go a long way to disconnecting the brainwashing tool known as the television.

Children are smarter than we adults give them credit for. Get them a library card early in life, teach them that there's FAR MORE in that building than in that black box, & authoritarian values, based on brain entrainment, will dissolve.

That's why TPTB indoctrinate, not educate. They realise that the ability to read, tied to critical thinking, is their greatest threat.

kokanee said...

Great comments - all of them!

Especially, "TV programming, which places the viewer in a light trance state, is the Authoritarian's greatest weapon."
So true.

Lakewolf Whitecrow said...

As soon as I can finish the book I;'ve been researching for 5 yrs...if anyone listens.

chauncey devega said...

We are listening here for sure. Would love to hear about the book project.

Lakewolf Whitecrow said...

I'm researching the fall of the Republic, & the rise of the Fourth Reich.

Because I don't believe anyone else's analysis of documents (which is why the book is taking so long, I looked up the document "Protocols{...}of Zion.

What I read there shocked, sickened, ...and amazed me.

I am a Jew by birth...and these are NOT my people.

Read the Protocols carefully, & look at historical events.

If what you find there doesn't scare the p*$$ out of you, you're either brainwashed or brain dead.

Don't believe the hype. ALWAYS do your own research if possible.

Lakewolf Whitecrow said...

Check out the international banking scandal that's going on now.

If it causes an international banking collapse, so much the better. Find them and kill them for the same reason you'd kill a rabid animal.

I say find their gold, restore the dollar by linking it to that gold, and have Congress return the words "Payable to the Bearer on demand".

Lakewolf Whitecrow said...

Yep, researched this. Sunday worship is, in their own words, "...the Mark of the Roman Catholic church".

Lakewolf Whitecrow said...

First Beast=Roman Catholic Church

Second Beast=USA