En Tequila Es Verdad/progressive conservatism/post/2009/02/06/1857

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February 6, 2009 6:57 PM - Woozle

Woozle said...

Some thoughts during the intermission:

1. Every tradition was once an innovation. By what virtue does conservatism recommend current tradition over innovations which may eventually become traditions in their own right?

2. One core mechanism of the conservative machine appears to be a specific type of fearmongery, the recipe for which goes something like this:

a. Find things which make people uneasy or uncertain, and amplify those fears -- make them afraid, repelled, disgusted, ashamed -- by speaking about the subjects in question as if any decent, right-thinking person would be repelled and disgusted by them too. (A little Biblical quote-mining never hurts, for adding that little frisson of deiphobia.)
b. Convince them -- again, by speaking with the assumption that this is what any decent person already fervently believes to be true -- that this fear and disgust is what elevates them above others, what makes them worthwhile, what saves them from becoming homeless and left to die alone and unloved and 30 pounds overweight in a VAN down by the RIVER. (Actually, that's much more a liberal type of fear; conservatives are apparently much more afraid of going to a mythical place where they will be subjected to vaguely-described tortures which nobody has ever actually witnessed. And here I had gotten the idea that they suffered from a lack of imagination! I guess it helps if you have the same fiction pounded into your head week after week from a very young age; the details probably fill in and become pretty vivid over time -- almost like they were describing something real.)
c. Make sure they understand that you are one of the few who truly understand the sinister nature of the ghastly menace you have revealed to them, and that they have been abandoned by society at large. Convince them that, indeed, society at large does not share these core values by which they define their worth, and is in fact engaged in an active campaign (with the help of the dreaded X Agenda, where X = gay, liberal, pro-abortion, elitist, socialist, communist, Muslim, Darwinist, environmentalist, whatever...) to destroy and pillage their way of life.

It's a lot like that episode of Star Trek where an alien entity that lives on anger contrives to trap a group of Klingons on the Enterprise, and then arranges the situation (via various unexplained but presumably SFnal means) so as to maximize the amount of mayhem and prevent negotiation.

When I first saw that episode, I thought it was just an allegory -- but it seems to be literally true, except that we don't need to invoke any unknown technology. Conservative fearmongery has evolved into a technique which quite effectively exploits humanity's worst instincts using nothing more extraordinary than the power of words.