Friday, September 30, 2005


Listening over the limbic jukebox: unreason as the root of the "conservative" movement

One striking thing about "conservative" (read "anarcho-Leninist") discourse is the complete lack of rationality. Some of this is a financially self-interested falling in behind the Party Line of the day, but a lot of it seems to be a broader incapacity to reason. This deficit (which exists in some degree among all human beings) goes beyond simple emotionalism, although that plays its role in shutting down dialogue. It's very hard to listen to someone else if "traitor!" or "thug!" is the tune playing on the limbic jukebox. Consider the following, Protox, posting at William Arkin's blog; the post is not clearly identifiable as left or right: "Why do you casually assert that the risk of a hurricane is more likely than the risk of a WMD or Terrorist attack? There is simply no genuine empirical evidence to support that assertion. " This is one of those statements, like "Of course this planet is Mars, dummy!" that could serve as a substitute for curare. It sounds intelligent. With one minor error in capitalization, the spelling, grammar and punctuation resemble English. But, for reasons that do not require explanation to the MercuryRising readership, it makes absolutely no sense. Arkin's blog has become magnet for such totally inane posts, including a number that are identifiably from the right. I've collated some of the things these guys say, traced them to a ring of websites that appear to * pretend to be moderates independent of the Republican machine * act as enforcers against Republicans and others who exhibit insufficient enthusiasm for anarcho-Leninism and * act as a far more polished conduit of the morning FAX than Mr. Oxycontin can deliver nowadays I'm no mindreader. But it smells like Astroturf to me. (continues in comments)
Stop one on the Ring of Republican Operatives is Strata-Sphere. Here are three entries from that blog:

"Ronnie Earle has got to be the dumbest partisan hack on the planet."

"FEMA response to Katrina was the best response in history."

"Tax Cuts Raise Tax Revenues" Hint: examine limit behavior.

"Why would anyone agree on establishing a separate government for one race in one state of the union?" Hint: examine status of Native Americans in American law.

There's certainly room in a rational world to debate whether Ronnie Earle's Democratic affiliation affects his judgment or whether there were mitigating factors in FEMA response to Katrina. But a world in which everything is black or white, there is no reason.

(More entries to come as time and interest permit).
Um, sorry. Four entries. There could have been hundreds.
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