Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Right and The Left

I’m a Democrat and from my “take” on reality, the Republicans are astonishingly wrong on every issue – on abortion, homosexuality, Planned Parenthood, on food stamps, student loans, capital punishment, on amnesty, Syria, gun control, in short, on most everything. Conversely, the Democrats are mostly right on every issue – on pro-choice, homosexuality, breast and cervical cancer screenings, on feeding children, low interest student loans, no death penalty, on a “pathway to citizenship,” keeping our powder dry in Syria, banning AK-47s, all obvious and sensible stuff.

Contrasting the Republican “take” on the world with that of the Democrats reveals an incredible fact: the mind relates to and interprets experience in two radically different ways. In politics, this bifurcation is identified as The Right and The Left, but recognized only since the French revolution of the 1790s. In his Rights of Man, Tom Paine, narrowly escaping the guillotine, – yes. our common sense Tom managed a front row seat on both the American and French revolutions – not only spelled out the politics of The Left but blasted Edmund Burke who brilliantly presented the politics of The Right. In every political group, 47% are with thundering Tom and 47% with brilliant Edmund.  Remarkably, every political group shows this split. In the US, 47% of citizens are on The Left, 47% on The Right, the remaining 6% up for grabs. More or less.

How to account for this mystery? I have a theory.

 

Metaphysical Marriage

All antiabortionists consign a bachelor sperm and a virgin egg to biology. That a single ejaculate unleashes 100 million suitors in hot pursuit of one egg, well, that’s biology. For all antiabortionists, however, if one of those wiggly sperm manages to marry that egg, the most amazing transformation takes place. A full-fledged human being, with all the rights and privileges thereto appertaining, pops into the story. This isn’t biology at work, one slow biochemical reaction at a time. This happens in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye.

In the animal kingdom, every specie is confined by biochemistry. Humans have escaped, the metaphysical magic happening at the moment a sperm marries an egg. That nuptial event throws biology out the window. Its rules no longer apply. Henceforth, a new creature, what those plodding biologists call a neomorph, will call the shots. Since metaphysics comes naturally to Republicans, they have taken the lead in putting together a catechism with the do’s and don’ts spelled out. Logically enough, their first commandment reads, “What the Lord hath joined together, let not abortion put asunder..”

It should be pointed out that some antiabortionists, such as the Catholic Church, thunder condemnation of anyone who interferes with a biologic couple bringing off their 100,000,000 to 1 shot marriage and living happily ever after. Contraception is a no-no.

As already noted, ideologic Republicans are big on metaphysics. Not surprisingly, the scholars among them have examined the microscopic couple and have decided that their escape from Nature represents an ontologic discontinuity. I won’t parse it for you, but I am sure you can Google it.

From my perspective, the antiabortionists have escaped from common sense into madness. What makes their descent into psychosis so terrifying is that they can force their catechism and its metaphysical foolishness into the legislatures of dozens of states.

 

Of Such is the Kingdom of Hell

The House of Representatives voted down the Farm Bill. The Democrats opposed it because it cut $20 billion from the Food Stamp program, 45% of which goes to feed children. 62 Republicans also voted against the bill because THE CUTS WEREN’T DEEP ENOUGH!

I assume most if not all of the 62 are religious, most if not all evangelicals. They all know Jesus loved children. What happened? What gives with these 62 Republicans? Not a simple problem.

Tom Paine said, “All religions are in their nature kind and benign, and united with principles of morality. They could not have made proselytes at first by professing anything that was vicious, cruel, persecuting, or immoral. Like everything else, they had their beginning, and they proceeded by persuasion, exhortation, and example. How then is it that they lose their native mildness, and become intolerant?”

Paine is looking at religion as a group phenomenon. In order to make some sense out of our 62 Republicans, I propose we join Paine, sparing ourselves a moral rant against taking food out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. We are all through and through group animals. During our long history as hunter-gatherers, our continued existence depended on cohesion and conformity, on predictable ways of doing things. Anyone arrogant enough to propose an idea not based on the received wisdom of the group faced the town sheriff, who was mean as hell.

When survival is at stake, a group closes ranks. Every member gets mobilized. The focus is entirely on the group, not the individual. There is no tolerance for dissent. All that matters is staying in one piece. Darwin claimed allegiance to the group, a product of the social instincts, “possesses greater strength than the instinct of self-preservation, hunger, lust, vengeance.”

Here’s my hypothesis on our 62 Republicans. Once a group becomes defined, such as after the beginning of a religious group, it unleashes group dynamics, and that includes first and foremost,

INTOLERANCE TO OTHER GROUPS!

For our Tea Party Republicans, it’s the government. They love children as much as anybody, but at stake is the liberty and freedom of the Party. Sorry, kids.

Republican Schizophrenia

Our five senses connect us with the world. Eyes see, ears listen, we touch and taste and feel. Our senses are organs of registration, forever alert to the messages flooding in. They anchor us in reality.

This is not true for schizophrenia, a catastrophic illness that afflicts 1% of the population worldwide. Rather than the senses “submitting” to the messages streaming in from “out there,” something terrible happens. The senses no longer first register passively the messages and then actively decode them, No, everything Is topsy-turvy. Eyes don’t see; they create visions, projecting hallucinations. Ears don’t hear; they project voices. Rather than paying attention to what reality is telling them, something has turned the senses around, deputizing them to create their own reality. In short, the place has gone crazy. Schizophrenics no longer have the tools to live in the real world. It’s an unsolved structural brain problem.

Republicans don’t live in the real world. Ideology fashions belief, not facts. Take the IRS scandal. Darrell Issa begins the investigation by projecting his conclusions, namely the White House ordered the targeting of conservative groups. Facts be damned. How ’bout George Will, the brightest brain in the Republican establishment? He denies Global Warming. How ’bout Senator Ayette? Cutting nuclear warheads from 1500 to 1000, enough of course to destroy the planet, compromises our readiness. How ’bout the all-out attack on Obamacare. Repeal it and deny 50 million Americans health insurance.  Republicans voted to do away with Acorn, two years after it had gone belly up.

By definition, an ideology is a projection. It overrides facts. (Astonishingly, Republican ideology is not constrained even by the facts of mathematics.) That the schizophrenic lives in a delusional world we know is a brain problem. That the Republicans do so is a mind problem. There is nothing wrong with their sense apparatus. However, making sense of their delusions is not an entirely unsolved problem.

An ideology that trumps reality is invariably supported by group madness.

A wonderful example is that of Republicans signing Grover Norquist’s pledge of no new taxes throughout eternity. Another –  Republicans voting for the 38th time to repeal Obamacare. In the Senate, Republicans have supported  unanimously some 200 filibusters cranked up by their leader. So it goes.

Heraclitus observed that you can’t step in the same river twice.  But you can vote against Obamacare 38 times and counting. It’s so much simpler to play Follow the Leader.

Fallible Commander-in-Chief

Suppose you’re president of the United States, and, like Obama, you are a political genius. Your powers include that of commander-in-chief.

“Oh my God! I’m bigger than a platoon of four-star generals. I just say Shock and Awe and the heavens explode. Hell, I make the face that launched 1000 ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium blush with modesty. There is a problem.The only battleground I know is a piece of gang turf in South Side Chicago.

I also know what Keith Alexander, head of NSA, testified to Congress under oath yesterday, namely that surveillance has thwarted “dozens of terrorist plots.” Maybe so. What is not in doubt is that the Republican warlords are breathing down my Democratic neck, plotting the ruin of my presidency.”

Whoa, Nellie! Because you are a genius, you don’t modify the surveillance overreach by Bush.  Were you to do so and a terrorist plot succeed, that would be the end of your presidency. So you wait. It’s a trade-off. Security versus privacy. A  judgment call. Only the people have the authority to spell out how much terror and how much surveillance.

Because you are a political genius, you turn to the people, the only force greater than that of a fallible commander-in-chief. “I welcome this debate,” said our President.

War vs. Crime

On 9/11, the Twin Towers came crashing down, and George W. Bush marched us off to war. Our first assignment was to go shopping. He protected our flank by two massive tax cuts. For good measure he made prescription drugs cheaper. And so it came to pass that 1% of our population fought the longest war in our history, while 99% of us did in fact go shopping, piled up our tax savings and took our medicines faithfully.

Two weeks ago, President Obama marched us off the battlefield and into a national crime lab. These Marching Orders came 12 years too late. Immediately after 9/11, it became apparent we were dealing with stateless criminals. As I watched the terrorists crashing into theTwin Towers, I said aloud, in real time, that Bush would make this egregious crime a casus belli. Some trillion dollars later and hundreds of thousands of deaths, we are turning the problem of  terrorism over to the police. Finally!

Terrorism is simply criminal activity gone global.

There has been a hue and a cry regarding NSA. Not surprising. Every group with the power to police needs careful monitoring. Eternal vigilance, in short. But here’s the problem: acts of terrorism will go on forever, so pick a card – 1), go to war forever or 2), go to the police forever. (By police I mean the international intelligence community.)

If we pick card two, considering terrorism a criminal activity, unlike Bush’s war and its free lunch structure, all of us Americans have to sacrifice, going along with surveillance, for example, which includes surveillance of NSA’S surveillance.So what is all the breathless hyperbole about? the rending of garments? the end of our liberties? True, President Obama is not rewarding us with a tax cut because we keep an eye on the cops. He does urge us to go shopping. Why not? Happy Days Are Here Again!

Amazing how much cheaper it is to fight crime than to wage war.

Obama the Jew

Richard Wagner, Hitler’s favorite genius, as reported by Daniel Barenboim, wrote, “The Jew – who, as everyone knows, has a God all to himself – in ordinary life strikes us primarily by his outward appearance, which, no matter to what European nationality we belong, has something disagreeably foreign to that nationality: instinctively we wish to have nothing in common with a man who looks like that.”

A man who looks like THAT! Are you kidding me!

“Now, don’t get carried away. Can’t you see that programmed in our 3 billion DNA base pairs we Republicans are offended by any man who looks like Obama? It’s possible that after a few Chinese ages Republicans will accept a world where  black men have some say. By the way, I love Wagner. I have done The Cycle twice.”

This then will interest you. Hitler’s darling Richard wrote to his wife, “I have nothing against the Jews. It is just that they descended on us Germans too soon, we were not yet ready enough to absorb them.”

“I like this Wagner fellow. For sure he’s a Republican.”

A characteristic of psychotic thinking is that it is one-dimensional. It denudes the world of complexity. Obama’s skin is black. Nothing else registers. Let him pull off the most brilliant standup comedy shtick, make thoughtful appointments, speak with the tongue of men and of angels, none of that makes the slightest difference. Facts evaporate into the ether. Improving jobs statistics are so much hieroglyphics. There is only one dimension. In the case of Obama, it is the color of his skin. What Wagner sees in the Jewish face is, well, Jewishness. Isn’t that obvious!

“Maybe sometime in future, maybe when time has softened our world a little, we Republicans will be able to put up with folks out of Africa. Obama pushed the envelope. Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!  Give us time and we’ll go along without holding our nose. Obama descended on us white folks too soon.”

The breathtaking hatred directed against Obama, as Wagner’s against the Jew, may be one-dimensional, but it is fueled by The Group, you know, the mob that gave us the Holocaust and destroys Obama’s power to govern. ( A lot more on that by and by.)