October 14, 2013

The root of Republican insanity

On his excellent blog, Ed Brayton quotes Conor Friedersdorf, whom he describes as "one of the smartest conservatives (real conservative, not just an anti-liberal)". Here is Friedersdorf's quote. I'll have something to add at the end:
“Republicans can pretty much say whatever they want, no matter what the bizarre logic and no matter what connection it has to what they were saying five minutes ago, and Fox News will totally accept it and blast it for hours or days,” Jonathan Bernstein observes. “The result? Republicans have become incredibly lazy. After all, why bother constructing a coherent argument if you don’t need one.”
It’s true. In order to get good press from the conservative media, Republican politicians need not craft a brilliant political strategy or impress with policy substance or excel at persuading the public that conservative ideas are the way forward. They need only find themselves in conflict with President Obama and Democrats…
Watch Sean Hannity. Listen to Rush Limbaugh. With few exceptions, the focus is winning whatever fight happens to be dominating the current news cycle. Each one is treated as if it is as maximally significant as any other, and that is no coincidence. If you’re driven by partisan tribalism more than ideology, if getting in rhetorical digs at liberals thrills you more than persuading adversaries or achieving policy victories, it makes sense that you would fight substantively inconsequential battles with no more or less vigor than any other…
The amount of conservative hackery broadcast and published every day remains staggering. In private, that fact is widely acknowledged even among movement conservative pundits, who can hardly deny something so glaringly obvious. But I have long been in a tiny minority of observers who regard conservative media as something that must be reformed if the right is to recover. How can an ideological movement succeed if its leaders and its rank and file daily rely on bad information from sources that constantly peddle fiction as fact?
Undeniably true. But I think we must take this a step further back and ask, "What allows Republicans to accept 'glaringly obvious' lies?" There is only one answer: religion. Once you allow a pernicious, "glaringly obvious" lie such as "god is real" into your life, you're lost. This fault is what allows Republicans to believe in nonsense. They opened the floodgates by believing in gods, and anything rushed in (including Rush Limbaugh!). It would be funny if the consequences weren't so tragic for our country.

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