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Evil And Stupid

For a long time, there was an aphorism about politics that struck me as fundamentally true:

"Liberals think conservatives are evil, conservatives think liberals are stupid."

It seemed to sum things up pretty well, and it worked for a while. But I think it might have run its course.

While I was reading the rantings of the Tucson shooter, and the attempts to tie him to the Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin and god knows who and what else, I was struck with how he focused on the stupid, illiterate people who didn't recognize his genius. And that is a common thread on the left; how their opponents are stupid, ignorant, uneducated, idiots who revel in their intellectual shortcomings. (The subtext is that they should just shut up and listen to their intellectual betters, who obviously are correct and should be heeded.)

On the other side, the right denounces its opponents as being fundamentally wrong. They are not stupid; if anything, they are over-educated; too fixated on theory and too separated from reality; all too eager to impose their ideas on a world that resolutely refuses to comply with their notions of how things ought to be. And, as always, too wrapped up in the good of "the people" that they cheerfully sacrifice individuals to achieve the collective "good" -- as they define it.

And both sides are all too quick to resort to the "evil" model, even if they don't come out and use the word. It's couched in lusts for power and control and money and other things, but it "evil" would cover it quite nicely -- if they felt comfortable using such primal language.

I admit, I fall victim to it myself on occasion. I find myself wanting to grab certain folks by the shoulders and shake them, shouting in their faces. I want to yell "you theories don't work! They never have, and they never will! That's been proven time and time again, each time with a huge cost in money, freedoms, and even lives! Stop saying that this time will be different if we just try a bit harder! Grow the hell up and learn how to deal with the world as it is! You're too goddamned smart to be this stupid!"

I dunno what it will take to break this new cycle. The elections of last November seemed pretty divisive, but the results -- a divided Congress -- started showing some signs of hope. Both Houses were making tentative steps towards finding ways of getting along, at least in some ways.

And I honestly don't know how the Tucson shooting will affect things -- if at all. The left is trying like hell to hang the shooter on to the right, and the right are fighting right back to keep that noose off their necks. It's my current suspicion that the nutjob had only slightly more clearly defined politics than John Hinckley or Lee Harvey Oswald, and he didn't draw much "inspiration" from anything outside his own diseased mind. But that won't keep him from being used as a political football. In that context, it's a kind of a relief that he was taken alive -- it's easier to put words in the mouth of a dead man.


It's an ugly state of affairs. And, sadly, I can see many ways it could be even worse.

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Comments (16)

the "trial" is over: the Te... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

the "trial" is over: the Tea Party did it! Palin, Beck and Limbaugh were co-conspirators...and ANYONE who ever opposed ANY part of the Progressive agenda is an accessory!!

The media held this trial all day yesterday...they'll repeat it today...and tomorrow...and...

The lefties can't help them... (Below threshold)
TWB:

The lefties can't help themselves. They were waiting for something like this to happen so that they could blame the Tea Party or Palin.

Olbermann is almost as insane as the wacko shooter. Honestly, who would conclude that someone who acknowledges that the Communist Manifesto, and Mein Kampf are two of his favorite books is a right wing nut job and a follower of Palin and Beck?

A Jackasss like Olbermann with an agenda, that's who.

http://pohdiaries.blogspot.com/2011/01/inevitable-is-already-taking-place.html

What in the world is wrong ... (Below threshold)
oldpuppymax:

What in the world is wrong with calling people who work to trample on your liberty, take away your rights and impose slavery on the general public....what is wrong with calling them EVIL!!! It is what they are!! Truth is never "primal." And those to "sensitive" to call a spade a spade are responsible for the rise of the left in the first place.

The rhetoric coming from th... (Below threshold)
yttik:

The rhetoric coming from the media is just atrocious. In about 8 minutes they managed to spin this atrocity into half a dozen pet projects, everything from gun control, to the need for mental health reform, from banning hate speech, immigration, racism, to questioning whether or not it is wise for women to be involved in the political process??! I am just appalled.

I've never really found a good definition for "evil." I don't think the left or the right is evil, but the media spreading false narratives and trying to sow discord at the moment is coming pretty close to defining the word evil for me.

The problem is that the lef... (Below threshold)
jim m:

The problem is that the left doesn't care what the political leanings of the shooter were. The fact that his politics were far left is a matter of "Bourgeois Truth", which concerns itself with facts.

However the left knows that the shooter was a hard right lunatic follower of Sarah Palin. They know that because that is a matter of "Revolutionary Truth", which concerns itself with those things that can advance their agenda.

"You're too goddamned smart... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"You're too goddamned smart to be this stupid!"

No, they are not that 'smart'. I've met people with PHD after their name, and they shouldn't be let out of the house without a keeper to watch over them.

The liberal elite are always concerned about the welfare of "the common man", yet do so with a feeling of superiority.

I am totally shocked that m... (Below threshold)
Stan:

I am totally shocked that more extreme elements of the left has not blamed any of these deaths and injuries on George W Bush and/or Dick Cheney. I suppose that they have not gotten around to that yet. Right now the main targets seem to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. It be interesting, to say the least, as to what new meme the loony tunes bring out in the ensuing days when they have beaten the Palin and Tea Party horses to death. Even Juan Williams deplores the vitriol that is being shotgunned out by the left.

What I've discovered is tha... (Below threshold)
John S:

What I've discovered is that advanced degrees make one more and more stupid. My experience in college was the higher my grade on exams, the less I learned. I simply learned how to predict the exam questions and learned how to keep that information (and no other) in my head for 6 hours. Someone who spends their life in academia is lucky to have enough common sense remaining to properly wipe their ass.

They are certainly unqualified to run a fryolator at McDonalds.

Nice try. Homeland Securit... (Below threshold)
Marco Polo:

Nice try. Homeland Security has tied him to the conservative group American Renaissance.

And, please, which party promotes America as an English only country?

Marijuana can bring out psy... (Below threshold)
epador:

Marijuana can bring out psychosis in susceptible individuals. I don't see that being played up much anywhere. Hey, lets blame the killer weed! Time to back pedal all the pseudo-legalization bullcrap, dontchathink?

Marco,The American... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Marco,

The American Renaissance group has already come out and said that they have never heard of this guy before. Seeing as he also claimed to be in the Army and was not I would suggest that he is a bit of a liar.

Seeing as he cites Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto as two of his favorite books I would not call him conservative.

Drug abuse is something that the left is fond of.

His classmates are all on record saying that his politics were always far left.

Now who should I believe? The people who knew him and the evidence of his own writings? or you, who have no direct knowledge of him and are scrupulously avoiding dealing with those facts.

Here's the quote from the f... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Here's the quote from the founder of American Renaissance:

“I had never heard of Loughner until yesterday. That is complete nonsense. I have absolutely no idea what DHS is talking about. We have never used the term “ZOG”. We have never thought in those terms… If this is the level of research we are getting from DHS then heaven help us.”

American Renaissance checked their records going back 20 years and found no indication that Loughner ever subscribed o any of their publications. All of American Renaissance's event have been held on the east coast so it is unlikely that Loughner ever attended any of them or ever belonged to the group.

But we do know that democrats have suggested that the president needs a mass murder to improve his ratings and we also know that dems are suggesting tying this event to the Tea Party. These suggestions came before any evidence of who Jared Loughner is and what he thinks came to light.

Hi Jay,"and god kn... (Below threshold)
Myronhalo:

Hi Jay,

"and god knows who and what else,"

Normally, those of us who believe in God, capitalize the first letter.

So, I can´t tell if you are a believer or just threw His Name in the pot. Why did you mention Him?

Because, Myron, I'm not a b... (Below threshold)

Because, Myron, I'm not a believer. I probably should have used a different stock phrase, but simply didn't capitalize the "g" because I'm not a believer. It was, oddly enough, a bit of respect -- to indicate that I am NOT a believer, and not pretending to be.

I think I was scarred by an idiot evangelical who insisted that anyone who used "God" or "Jesus" as an exclamation OBVIOUSLY really believed, or they wouldn't use those phrases. Years later, I told a lady I was dating that theory, who was fond of using "Jesus Christ!" as an explicative. She found that hilarious -- she used it BECAUSE she was a Jew, and didn't want to blaspheme against her own faith.

J.

The liberal left always low... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The liberal left always lowers itself to the lowest denominator. Making political hay on this tragedy even before the poor people are buried. That is lower then pond scum.

I used to hold a measure of faith that one day both sides of the aisle will return to a sense of dignity and common goals. I gave up that dream when Clinton and his followers starting the hyperbole in earnest. ww

Odd, I don't recall either ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Odd, I don't recall either the Ds or Rs having English as the national language as a plank in their platform...
I could be wrong, but I suspect that Marxist Sock Polo is talking out his ass again.




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