Wednesday, March 07, 2012

On Becoming One With the Darkness

After decades of following the twisty course of Conservative arguments and debating  friends and colleagues, I know one thing to be true: the futilely trying to get Republicans to talk honestly in the 1990s about, say, Bill Clinton amounted to little more than a dress-rehearsal for futilely trying to get Republicans to talk honestly about Bush, Cheney, DeLay, Iraq, 9/11, deficit-exploding tax cuts, climate change, radical banking deregulation, radical environmental deregulation, the assassination of abortion providers, contraception, labor unions, mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds, and couple of dozen other topics I would reel off.

In other words, it doesn't work: to protect their egos (and, often, their incomes) instead of doing what we teach every child to do -- apologize when you are wrong -- the Right has collectively jumped past a spiritual event horizon and into a soul-darkness from which there is no return: a darkness in which imps and devils are always patiently waiting to take your hat and coat and make you extremely comfortable on the gentle, downward-sloping road to Hell.

This darkness comes with a promise and a catch: the promise is, that the Right will never, ever be called to account for the endless lies they have told and endless betrayals they have committed; the catch is that they can never leave, and no matter how repellent their neighbors become and no matter how humiliating and horrifying the lies become, they are obliged to shut up and go along with the program. With this promise comes the terrible, goosestepping power of a mob under harness, but with it also comes a grotesque fragility because to keep the darkness alive the Right has become a confederacy of Mrs. Havishams, rotting away in the gloom.

And to make matters much, much worse, their decaying mansion sits on top of such a massive, leaky stockpile of lie upon lie, betrayal upon betrayal, hypocrisy upon hypocrisy and treason upon treason that the danger of one, stray non-Fox Approved fact accidentally glancing off another non-Fox and sparking off a conflagration is omnipresent.

The entire Conservative enterprise is built on delusion and old dynamite, which is why every clock much forever remain stopped at one minute after Reagan's inauguration, every fact must be smothered under the stasis field of Rush Limbaugh roaring, rage-drunk bluster.  It is the sarcophagus of a dead ideology where the walls are now so densely postered and palimpsested with the detritus of Conservatism's lurid, lying history that its denizens cannot find the exit anymore, and its floors are so sticky and pitted with the grue of its savage, tribal, beat-in rituals that no one bothers to even look for the door.

Which is why  no deviation can be permitted, no error can be admitted and no apologies can be allowed.

As I wrote last year, this catastrophe all began as a headlong dive into the best fucking high the Right would ever have --

Shattered Like a Glass Reagan

Reagan was the opening coda of a long, wretched orgy of pure, barbaric, fuck-it-all that has roared along on adrenaline and borrowed money for more than 30 years now. Reagan was the first mountain of coke the Right piled onto the national coffee table; the first, chilly bottles of champagne bought with stolen credit cards being popped. Reagan was the promise that the peak moment of frenzied, stomping, tribal, rage-drunk Wingnut Worldfuck -- the moment when everything was beautiful, and everyone was gonna get laid -- could be made to last forever and ever if they all just clap-clap-clapped loud enough, hated hard enough, and all agreed to never under any circumstances look back at the ruin they were leaving in their wake. As I wrote three years ago: the Conservative Crack House of Many Doors, Ronald Reagan was that first cocktail. The first line of coke. The first needle. The first "Holy Mother of God!” WOWGASM that shotguns right through the blood/brain barrier, reformats your entire ethical hard drive, and scrimshaws a brand new Prime Directive on the inside of your skull. Listen to any aging wingnut sighing and jerking sadly off to a tattered photo of Saint Ronnie -- despite the fact that the catastrophes we are now reaping were sown by his ruinous ideology -- and you can hear every addict who ever lived pining for that first Perfect High. The one they spend the rest of their days chasing, regardless of the size of the debts they run up or the ruined lives they leave in their wake.

Clinton? Objectively, Clinton qualifies as the greatest Center/Right President in history, and with balanced budgets, GATT, welfare reform, NAFTA, DOMA, record surpluses, foreign and domestic terrorists brought to book, and an actual military victory, he arguably delivered to the wingnuts more of everything they ever said they wanted than anyone else.

And they hated him for it.


Because Clinton was mere addiction maintenance delivered in measured doses under adult supervision: all policy-wonk that wasn’t cut with that industrial-waste-grade bigoted, psychotic bloodlust that gives Conservatism its wild, freebasing edge. Clinton was methadone, and for the hardcore lifestyle junkie, that shit is for babies.

And Dubya? Dubya was meth with a ketamine chaser delivered hammer-and-anvil directly to the lizard brain.

Dubya was 40 million Pig People tired of the hard, fussy job of being a tolerant, powerful democracy finally once-and-for-all blowing America’s family inheritance on an eight-year, blood-drunk bender.

Dubya was the United States crawling through dumpsters at our national soul’s midnight, killing anything that moves, licking out the contents of random baggies, hoping the little white flakes clinging to the plastic is crank and not rat poison. ...

Reagan -- that perfect, luminous Cartoon Reagan of their Limbaugh-addled minds -- is the greatest high the Right ever had: the one they have been chasing down the rathole of Conservatism ever since. He represents a genuine, revolutionary moment in American history: the moment when the Base came to believe --really, viscerally believe -- that they were now the Masters of All Things. When their eyes began to sparkle with a special, crazy light of certainty that they had finally found the Christian Warrior who would sweep aside the whiny, nagging, shabby carpenter-God of caution and consequence and compassion for the least of these...and place on that righteous throne a New, Muscular, Almighty Yahweh of unlimited consumption, White American Privilege, and kicking the motherfucking shit of anyone who said otherwise.

Fuck solar power.

Fuck turning the fucking thermometer down.

Fuck fuel efficiency.

Fuck sweaters.

And while we're at it, fuck pushy women and uppity Negroes too!

Those things and all the others were for fags and tree-huggers and the French, and we were Americans God Damn It. And as Americans, Reagan told us that we had a divine right to an unlimited supply of everything we ever wanted.



Reagan promised the Right that those scary rules about of cause and effect and action and consequences they always been taught were primal and immutable were really just fictions invented by smarty-pants Nanny-state Liberals. That their souls were troubled and lives were being slowly pulverized not because they were being slow-roasted by Ronnie's corporate friends and backers, but because Imaginary Lefty Elites had been holding them back all these years.

And salvation was at hand! All they had to do was stop fearing Hunter Thompson's assay of the dark side of the American character --
...a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.
-- and instead wallow in it. Fling themselves into its arms like the embrace of the wildest, kinkiest lover they had ever dreamed of.


Reagan was the first, few vivid hours of the binge that is now shuddering to its squalid ending like something that crawled off the last page of Harlan Ellison's "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" 
Now the bender is over.

Outside, Reality's beating sun is stationed in the treetops, so bright and close to the Earth that it vaporizes shadows inside of pockets and purses, and through the sodden walls of their fragile fastness Conservatives they can feel its slippery photons circling their ideological clubhouse, sniffing the hinges and lintels like wolves, looking for a way in.

This time, there is no trick-or-treat scamper to safety for them in the kindly, Tea Party gloaming: no way to scuttle off to the next wingnut spider hole in a tri-corner hat and tights pretending they'd never even heard of George W. Bush. No, the rotting hulk of the Party of Lincoln has become their crypt, and inside of it there is nothing left for them but to sink forever deeper into the shadows until they become one with the darkness.

And from deep inside their narrow house, you can hear the terrified squeals of Conservtism's pasty, self-righteous, rigidly ignorant, sexually-terrified wingnut child-men trying frantically to spackle up the little holes through which modernity, complexity and reality continue to leak:

From one of Andrew Breitbart's media whelplings: 

 Sluts Without Shame! 
-By Don Boys, Ph.D.

Since the Fall of man, the earth has been cursed with women (and men) who used their bodies in illicit ways. They have been called loose women, prostitutes, whores, fallen women, and sluts; however, in earlier days, there was a sense of shame and disgrace in their activities. Even Hollywood lowlifes tried to be discrete. While “slut” is considered offensive, so is the lifestyle.

When I was young, if an unmarried woman got pregnant, she was sent to “visit her grandmother” for a few months. The family still loved her, wanted the best for her, forgave her, but there was a lasting sense of shame. But those days are long gone. Society calls it “reproductive freedom” but God calls it whoredom; and status, beauty, money, and education don’t change anything.
Sex outside of marriage is always wrong.

It is not illegal to be promiscuous, male or female; but a recent graduate law student has shocked the nation by her advocacy for slutism. Her audacity and lack of shame are appalling. While she did not admit to casual sex, she did plead the cause of sluts everywhere. Loose women and men who sleep together take the risk of walking away with more than they expected! With all the STDs out there I am amazed that prostitutes can stay in business. It shows that many men think below, not above the belt.

In congressional testimony to Congress and the world she appeared to have no shame, decency, self-respect, or morals as she advocated for casual sex. Some people will do anything for 15 minutes of fame. Or infamy. She wants me to pay for a girl’s roll in the hay! That is insanity. When you play, you pay. Not me.
Or maybe have parents finance their fornication. ... I wonder if her parents are hiding in a dark cave somewhere! Maybe, just maybe their permissive child-training contributed to and encouraged her sexual lunacy!

Moreover, if recreational sex for a female is a health issue that citizens should fund then how about paying me for recreational golf since that too is a health issue. ...

Feminists are trying to make this a birth control issue but no one is trying to limit birth control availability. Normal people simply insist that the promiscuous should provide their own. No birth control method is 100% accurate but female sluts could solve their problems by using the old American standby, the aspirin between the knees. That is a 100% sure way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. 

(Dr. Don's bio says that he " a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, author of 14 books, frequent guest on television and radio talk shows, and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years. His most recent book is ISLAM: America’s Trojan Horse! His new eBook, The God Haters is available for $9.99 from These columns go to over 11,000 newspapers, television, and radio stations. His other web sites are and")

Here is another angle from another one of Mr. Brietbart's special little people: 

For those unaware, a long-time liberal activist named Sandra Fluke was brought to a faux committee hearing in D.C. by former Speaker of the House Nancy “Sanfran” Pelosi to disgorge the left-wing, big government, liberal ideology about spending federal tax dollars to give free sex supplies to rich Georgetown coeds so that they can sleep around all they want without all those messy consequences.  
 After her White House planned “testimony” Rush Limbaugh, as is his wont, called this woman a slut. It’s hard to defeat his blustery logic with that. After all, what DO you call a woman that thinks everyone else should pay for both her education and her sex supplies? Anyway, Rush made such a splash with the comment that the inevitable, left-wing faux outrage was ginned up.

And another:

She’s No Fluke: Is the Word ‘Slut’ Still Relevant?

-By Selwyn Duke

A woman close to me once characterized the sea change in our society well. “Years ago you knew who the bad girls were,” said she. “Now you know who the good girls are.”

And the good boys get condemned for not pretending the bad girls are good.

I am, of course, speaking about the dust up involving law student Sandra Fluke and talk-show host Rush Limbaugh. Fluke had said in front of Congress that financing rolls in the hay can be so expensive that it can be a burden on women in law school. So she wants you, dear taxpayer, to foot the bill for her contraception. In response to this, Limbaugh called her a “slut” during his commentary on the matter. And now he’s being labeled a “sexist” and misogynistic for it (he has since apologized).

Of course, in Fluke’s testimony, she didn’t literally say that she was having $1000-worth of sex a year. What she said was, “Without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary.” Now, I’ll leave it to you to determine her implication, but I’ll say that if a female law student is engaging in so much sexual congress that she’s spending a mint on birth-control, I wouldn’t reflexively assume she’s a slut. Because I’d wonder how she was working her way through law school.

(Selwyn Duke's bio says that he " a former tennis professional, entrepreneur and writer whose works appear widely on the Internet. He is a columnist at,, (Alan Keyes' site), as well as at many others, and a frequent contributor to the American Thinker. Selwyn has traveled extensively in his life, visiting exotic locales such as India, Morocco, Algeria and Taiwan, as well as quite a number of other countries.")

What remains wriggling around inside the Conservative Movement no decent person would touch without a barge pole and a HazNat suit.

The sounds they make are the howls of the damned.


Mister Roboto said...

Forgive me for commenting before reading the entire piece, but I could tell just from reading the first paragraph that what I came here to say in the comments for another post is probably very appropriate for this post.

In response to things I've posted on Facebook about the Limbaugh kerfuffle, the two reactionaries on my "Friends" list just keep sheep-bleating "Obama" and "liberal media elite" as if that means anything. And they do this even when it's in response to my pointing out just how tired and lame it is to just keep screaming "Obama" and "liberal media elite" at the top of their lungs when their side is being called out on something they really need to be called out on.

The sad thing is, this works amazingly often because a well-established fact of human psychology is that repitition works, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

A person could have made good money over the last 30 years, betting that the latest low the republicans exhibit, would be their: "At long last have you no decency......"moment.
Unfortunately the money to be made, would be in betting against it.
Because the answer to that question has been, and always will be, a resounding no....
As this most recent incident has proved yet again.. there is no bottom.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Will comment later after fully reading blog post but, for now I just wanted point out that The MAster of the 5 Magics by Lyndon Hardy was one of my favorite fantasy books in Jr High!!!

Anonymous said...

your use of "gloaming" and "george w. bush" in the same sentence reminded me of this song:

Anonymous said...

This is why I come here.

runst said...

Well, Miss Havisham was at least an innocent victim of cruel betrayal and humiliation. To me, Republicans are more like the people who celebrated the investor Mr. Merdle, "the Man of the Age":

For by that time it was known that the late Mr Merdle's complaint had been simply Forgery and Robbery. He, the uncouth object of such wide-spread adulation, the sitter at great men's feasts, the roc's egg of great ladies' assemblies, the subduer of exclusiveness, the leveller of pride, the patron of patrons, the bargain-driver with a Minister for Lordships of the Circumlocution Office, the recipient of more acknowledgment within some ten or fifteen years, at most, than had been bestowed in England upon all peaceful public benefactors, and upon all the leaders of all the Arts and Sciences, with all their works to testify for them, during two centuries at least—he, the shining wonder, the new constellation to be followed by the wise men bringing gifts, until it stopped over a certain carrion at the bottom of a bath and disappeared—was simply the greatest Forger and the greatest Thief that ever cheated the gallows.

Villagers will be shocked to learn this, while liberals will respond like Mr. Merdle's butler:

'Mr Merdle is dead.'

'I should wish,' said the Chief Butler, 'to give a month's notice.'

'Mr Merdle has destroyed himself.'

'Sir,' said the Chief Butler, 'that is very unpleasant to the feelings of one in my position, as calculated to awaken prejudice; and I should wish to leave immediately.'

'If you are not shocked, are you not surprised, man?' demanded the Physician, warmly.

The Chief Butler, erect and calm, replied in these memorable words.

'Sir, Mr Merdle never was the gentleman, and no ungentlemanly act on Mr Merdle's part would surprise me. Is there anybody else I can send to you, or any other directions I can give before I leave, respecting what you would wish to be done?'

In other news, David Brooks is still a lying and immoral hack:

Habitat Vic said...

The Republican party is painting themselves into a corner. The problem is that they know it and don't give a shit if they wind up stepping in paint or knocking over furniture when they get in trouble.

Yes, I hope the Conservative movement implodes, but Watergate in the mid-70s and Obama in '08 were not death blows. Even if they lose handily in 2012, then perhaps even in 2014, 2016, they have plans.

Demographics are on our side? Bullshit. Just isolate (or preferably eliminate/negate) the votes of the non-conservatives. Voter ID is just a small beginning. Think making a state's electoral votes get apportioned by congressional district, which they are trying to do in several states. Obama gets 55% of the Pennsylavania vote, but its heavily in urban Philly & Pittsburgh. He just barely loses the (gerrymandered) other CDs and gets beaten electorally speaking. Efforts to make Senators appointed by State legislatures and Governors - not popular vote. Among my Conservative friends have been two memes that trouble me. Limiting voting to those who either own property or contribute more in taxes than they receive in benefits (adios poor voters, students, etc). The other of late is that employers should have the right to fire employees based upon their non-work activities that are contrary to the employer's interests. Facebook says you're pro-environment, but your employer isn't? See ya. Extrapolate that to firing employees that contribute to "anti-business" causes - like the Democratic party. Even if employees secretly continue to vote Dem, you can keep them from contributing and thereby neuter the Dems.

I know some of those things seem out there, even tin-foil hat. But 30 years ago - when I was a Repub - I would have eloquently tore apart any liberal that told me Repubs were going to try to outlaw birth control. I would have called them fucking idiots and rolled my eyes.

The Conservatives may be in the beginning of their end. But even if that's true, I think they are going to make things much much worse than they are now and will not go quietly into that good night.

denny smith said...

Now, for the book...

Walmarton Friedman said...

Fitting that the city, Philadelphia, Ronnie chose to launch his 1980 campaign was located in Mississippi, whose residents would blanche if they ever heard it called the "city of brotherly love.

Bluesborn said...

Warner Todd Huston(3 names isn't the least bit pretentious)is apparently beside himself over the Carbonite decision to pull out of its business arrangement with Limbaugh.After all sniffs Warner Todd Huston the Third,he issued a formal apology for pity sake!Yes Doctor Warner Todd Huston the Third,that was some apology alright!You could almost sense the emotion in Rush's speech writers voice as he brow beat and lectured his way into a closing 3 word hint of regret involving something to do with choosing the wrong words- to presumably call someone a Slut and prostitute-when other words would have been more appropriate.Or whatever.I have to say as well Sir Doctor Warner Todd Huston the Third,that I was mighty impressed-what with you throwing around all that disgust over hypocrisy-that you still managed to slag Ed Schultz without once mentioning HIS apology which was like the "I Have a Dream" of Unequivocal Apologies compared to Limbaughs wet fart of a grudging so called apology.

Bluesborn said...

Warner Todd Huston(3 names-I'm impressed)is apparently beside himself over the Carbonite decision to pull out of its business arrangement with Limbaugh.After all sniffs Warner Todd Huston,he issued a formal apology for pity sake!Yes Warner Todd Huston,that was some apology alright!You could almost sense the emotion in Limbaugh's speech writer as he brow beat and lectured his way into a closing 3 word hint of regret involving something to do with choosing the wrong words-or whatever.I have to say as well Warner Todd Huston,that I was mighty impressed-damned impressed-what with you throwing around all that disgust over hypocrisy-that you still managed to slag Ed Schultz without once mentioning HIS apology which was like the "I Have a Dream" of Unequivocal Apologies compared to Limbaughs wet fart of a grudging so called apology.

Malogato said...

Brilliant writing. Inspiring, sobering, terrifying and inescapably accurate analysis. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis and peerless writing. God bless you, driftglass.

Jasper said...

"But, he thought, what does it mean, insane? A legal definition. What do I mean? I feel it, see it, but what is it?

He thought, It is something they do, something they are. It is their unconsciousness. Their lack of knowledge about others. Their not being aware of what they do to others, the destruction they have caused and are causing. No, he thought. That isn't it. I don't know; I sense it, intuit it. But—they are purposely cruel…is that it? No. God, he thought. I can't find it, make it clear. Do they ignore parts of reality? Yes. But it is more. It is their plans. Yes, their plans. The conquering of planets. Something frenzied and demented, as was their conquering of Africa, and before that, Europe and Asia.

Their view; it is cosmic. Not of a man here, a child there, but an abstraction: race, land. Volk. Land. Blut. Ehre. Not of honorable men but of Ehre itself, honor; the abstract is real, the actual is invisible to them. Die Güte, but not good men, this good man. It is their sense of space and time. They see through the here, the now, into the vast black deep beyond, the unchanging. And that is fatal to life. Because eventually there will be no life; there was once only the dust particles in space, the hot hydrogen gases, nothing more, and it will come again. This is an interval, ein Augenblick. The cosmic process is hurrying on, crushing life back into the granite and methane; the wheel turns for all life. It is all temporary. And they—these madmen—respond to the granite, the dust, the longing of the inanimate; they want to aid Natur.

And, he thought, I know why. They want to be the agents, not the victims, of history. They identify with God's power and believe they are godlike. That is their basic madness. They are overcome by some archetype; their egos have expanded psychotically so that they cannot tell where they begin and the godhead leaves off. It is not hubris, not pride; it is the inflation of the ego to its ultimate—confusion between him who worships and that which is worshipped. Man has not eaten God; God has eaten man.

What they do not comprehend is man's helplessness. I am weak, small, of no consequence to the universe. It does not notice me; I live on unseen. But why is that bad? Isn't it better that way? Whom the gods notice they destroy. Be small…and you will escape the jealousy of the great."

— Philip K. Dick, _The Man in the High Castle_

Bukko Canukko said...

When I think about what a Republikkkan is saying inside its tiny, twisted mind, Tom Tomorrow phrases it best: "Yargle, Bargle, BLAAAARGH!"

I should know. My mom is one. Whenever I want to know what a typical Repug is thinking, I talk to her on the phone. She swears she doesn't watch Fux any more, and I believe her, but she has SO inculcated the mindset that she anticipates or somehow osmotically absorbs the ideation even before it's out there.

Which is a shame, because she's lived her life like a liberal. Worked for charities, has lots of black and gay friends/acquaintances, is not prejudiced... She's also the core "R" demographic -- old, white, living in a Southern state -- the kind of person who will be dying off in the next decade.

Mom also exemplifies the contradictions of Republicons. She pulls in close to $6,000 a month from the federal government (my late dad's military and federal government pension survivors' benefits, her Social Security.) Her health is poor, so she's a big user of Medicare services. Yet she HATES the federal government, even though she's lived off its teat her whole life. I tell her she can always renounce the pensions, file the paperwork to have her Social Security stopped (those cheques didn't just mysteriously start appearing in her postbox without anyone applying, eh?). Drop Medicare -- pay for the MRIs out of pocket! But she always has a justification for keeping on with the benefits.

That's what kills kkkonservatives in their minds -- their own hypocrisy. Just like the Minnesota welfare state suck-ups in the NYT story last month. They are dependent on the government their ideology tells them to hate. They can't do without it. They feel weak because of it. But instead of accepting that they are getting help, which is what a civilized society does for its citizens, they direct their self-hatred outward toward others. Easier than hating their own contradictory existences.

Anonymous said...

Great read.

Hopium, of course, is the preferred crack of choice for strung out Democratic apologists supporting a president who has moved to the right of St. RayGun. It's not too difficult to be an equal opportunity hater these days.

Bob Hopeless said...

Can I just say what a pleasure it is to read your prose? It is a great pleasure to read your prose.

evodevo said...

Bukko canukko - Yes! My brother-in-law is career military, currently retired and working as a GS-? - hates Obama, hates libruls (which I am one), goes off on all that socialist stuff like OBAMACARE, and ...has been on the gubmit tit his entire life (dad was career military too). Now getting TriCare medical - paying $450/YEAR in fees - has no idea what private group health insurance premiums are... it's just mind-boggling. I don't confront him, or my sister, it would be too disruptive to the family relationship, but GEEZzz !

And Yes - this is a WONDERFUL rant, Driftglass.