Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Computer, What is the Nature of Conservatism?

Conservatism is a spheroid region, 705 meters in diameter.

Long ago and far away in smoke-filled dorm rooms and the bullpens of a couple of startup magazines, "Conservatism" may have referred to a principled school of thought based on the complexity of human nature and the difficulty of changing deeply-rooted human institutions.

But during my lifetime, in practice, American Conservatism has amounted to nothing more than an organized, radical political movement designed to promote the crackpot economic theories and foreign policy fantasies of plutocrats and neocons.  The desires of this elite Inner Party were administered and enacted by a vast array of well-funded and interwoven Outer Party middle-managers -- think-tanks, magazines, teevee and radio networks, book publishers, etc. This caste extends from Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh to Michael Gerson and David Brooks.

The third leg of the stool is the GOP base voter.  Good ol' Crazy Uncle Liberty.  And the whole fucking scheme from the top down has always depended on getting angry, stupid & often-racist Crazy Uncle Liberty so mesmerized by the propaganda the Outer Party gang generated that they not only willingly cut their own economic throats in order to benefit the Inner Party elite...but (and here's the evil genius part) they will lay the blame for the fact that they are bleeding to death on the people who are trying to get them to stop stabbing themselves in the neck.

Of course this scam only works if the Pig People never clever-up sufficiently to notice that the con men who have been feeding them lie after lie after lie for the last 30 years are same con men running their economic abattoir.

No, that wouldn't do at all!

And so...Conservative media was born!  A great, sprawling semi-permeable bubble of half-truths, flat-out lies, nostalgia-infused revisionist history, pseudo-intellectual doubletalk, economic bunkum and, most importantly, relentless hippie-punching.  Because in order to maintain ideological cohesion against the relentless gravitational pull of facts and causality, the Conservative Disinformation Bubble quickly hardened into an Orwellian nightmare-come-to-life inside of which reality itself can be destroyed and remade with a wave of Rush Limbaugh's mighty hand --
O’Brien silenced him by a movement of his hand. ’We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation — anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wish to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it. You must get rid of those nineteenth century ideas about the laws of Nature. We make the laws of Nature.’

’But you do not! You are not even masters of this planet. What about Eurasia and Eastasia? You have not conquered them yet.’

’Unimportant. We shall conquer them when it suits us. And if we did not,what difference would it make? We can shut them out of existence. Oceania is the world.’
-- and such a system cannot function without some terrible, crafty and nearly-indestructible External Villain on which the party can hang all the blame for the misery of its acolytes (From me, back in 2011, "Hating Goldstein")
Because the day-to-day ebb and flow of Conservative lies -- no matter how malevolent or jaw-droppingly ridiculous -- no longer matters to a Base that knows only two things: that Big Brother loves them and that Emmanuel Goldstein is to blame for all of their problems.

Which is why the entire system depends on Hating Goldstein. Because the whole filthy enterprise would fall apart if these God Fearing Patriots of the Right were ever forced to stop for even a moment and submit to an honest accounting of who has been right and who as has been wrong for the last generation or two.

Neither the Right nor the Center could not survive such a Moment of Clarity, which is why so much of propaganda from both quarters is singularly devoted to Hating Liberals; why, especially in Conservative media outlets, such an enormous amount of energy is spent every single day ruthlessly and continuously marginalizing and demonizing opponents, using every name in the book from Commie to Terrorist-lover to Fifth Columnist.

Hating Goldstein has also proven to be an extraordinarily profitable business: a bottomless ATM machine for everyone from Andrew Sullivan and David Frum, to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, to a thousand other, lesser-lights who could never have made a living pulling an honest plow, but have managed to build very fine careers on punching hippies, pandering to swine and worshiping Reagan on cue...
Which brings us to death of Conservatism, which is what you and I are are really living through these days.  Conservatism is dying because of the fatal miscalculation the Inner Party and the Outer Party made when they built the Conservative Disinformation Bubble.  You see, in its early days, the  Conservative Disinformation Bubble was big enough to accommodate, say, Andrew Sullivan palling around with Donald Rumsfeld:
“The son of one of Rumsfeld’s closest friends was a friend of mine,” Sullivan says. “We met in a gay bar. That’s how I came to have dinner with Rummy and stay at his house in Taos. He liked to rag me about the blog: ‘You’ve done this for years and made no money. When will you make money?’ And we fought about gays in the military. But when it came to war in Iraq, I was more bellicose than he was.”
But the since the Conservative Disinformation Bubble was built for the expressed purpose of keeping inconvenient realities the hell away from the beautiful minds of True Conservatives, it was inevitable that control over the contours of the Conservative Disinformation Bubble -- the power to decide who was a True Conservative and who was a dirty RINO traitor -- would eventually wind up in the hands of the loudest and most reckless assholes in America.

First, the filthy double-crossers who spoke ill of George W. Bush -- the Greatest President in American History!! -- were exiled.

And the boundaries of the Conservative Disinformation Bubble shrank.

And then, as the Bush Administration went very publicly tits-up and support for Dubya stopped being a Soaring Eagle and became a Stinking Albatross, the entire Age of Dubya was shoveled into the Bush-Off Machine, never to be spoken of again.

And the perimeter of the Conservative Disinformation Bubble constricted radically once again.

At this point it is important to remember that anyone outside the Conservative Disinformation Bubble with an IQ above "flatworm" could clearly see who was running the Republican Party.  You might remember the time when then-chairman of the Republican National Committee Chairman, Michael Steele, set one foot over the line and Rush Limbaugh kicked his candy-ass around the block. Guess which one of them went groveling to whom to apologize?  (From Politico, 03/02/09)
Steele to Rush: I'm sorry

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an “entertainer” whose show can be “incendiary.”

“My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.”...
And Steele was not alone.  Those of us outside the Conservative Disinformation Bubble still remember the chilling sight of one Republican after another shamelessly queuing up to kiss Limbaugh's ass as the shibboleth of True Conservatism.  (from The Daily Beast, 02/04/09):
Consider the case of Phil Gingrey, a Republican representative from a safely conservative district in Georgia. After Limbaugh mocked Boehner and McConnell, Gingrey decided to take his stand, blasting Limbaugh (and Hannity and Newt Gingrich) for “throwing bricks” without paying the consequences. “You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing,” Gingrey told a reporter on January 27. “But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn’t be or wouldn’t be good leaders.”

What happened next provided a perfect example of Limbaugh’s dictatorial power. The next day, Gingrey, a former obstetrician, crawled on to The Rush Limbaugh Show to diagnose himself as suffering from foot-in-mouth disease. “I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments,” Gingrey pleaded, “and I just wanted to tell you, Rush—and all our conservative giants, who help us so much to maintain our base and grow it to get back this majority—that I regret those stupid comments.”
But of course for those still inside the Conservative Disinformation Bubble, everything was going great!

The disloyal had been purged.  A golden age of full employment for every wingnut-welfare halfwit with a word processor or a microphone had dawned.  Fox News and the Koch Brothers were backing the Tea Party Scam to the hilt.  And any Republican politician who didn't want to end up on the ash heap of history was now speaking in tongues about "death panels" and "birth certificates" and sprinting so far right they were only visible using special, infrared glasses:
The only thing they did not see -- could not see -- was that as the oppressive weight of reality kept growing, the batshit crazy inside the bubble had to keep getting batshit crazier to compensate.

Until one day we find that the same scumbag who led the ratfucking brigade against Max Cleland in 2002 and wondered aloud why Media Matters doesn't get curb-stomped while he was inside the Bubble --
-- is now a regular and respected guest on MSNBC and writer of such articles as this in The Hill
Trump and the cult of stupid
-- now that he has been squeezed out of the Bubble.

On and on.  Ad infinitum.  Ad nauseum.  

For those who have only recently been disgorged from the collapsing Conservative Disinformation Bubble, to suddenly find yourself the target of exactly the same kind of berserk, meathead rage you have been heaping on us dirty Liberals for 30 years must be very disorienting.  

But for those of us who have lived outside the Bubble our whole lives?  Who have raised every kind of alarm you can imagine for the last 30 years as the Bubble People wrecked the country we loved, while we were ignored and ostracized by the Beltway media and wildly outspent and out-bellowed by the Right?  

Well for us this is the funniest fucking thing we have ever seen.


David Maulding said...

Walk towards the light if you want to be saved from the collapse... Hahaha

Mark Gisleson said...

Sadly, more laughs to come.

dinthebeast said...

The conservative movement is in no way conservative, and as a liberal, I'm getting really tired of having to do their jobs ever since they stopped functioning as a governing party.

-Doug in Oakland

Neo Tuxedo said...

"A golden age of full employment for every wingnut-welfare halfwit with a word processor or a microphone had dawned."

The Doctor: What happens when [the mines] run out?
Kimus: Well, the Captain announces a New Golden Age of Prosperity. They just fill up again.
-- Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet, part two

bowtiejack said...

Brilliant stuff.
You may never get paid 1% of what expressing insight like this is worth, but for gawd's sake don't stop. It was never needed more.
Now that the Thousand Year Conservative Reich (like that other one) is drawing to a close somewhat early, many of the troops are burning or burying their uniforms. Don't let them get away with it.

Unknown said...

"Well for us this is the funniest fucking thing we have ever seen."

Once again, an LOL spit-take of fine brown on the keyboard. Damnit, DG. Nice punchline.

But on reflection, not so gdamn funny. As Herr Drumpf would say, "SAD!" Sad because we're doing our best to pop that bubble but the more it constricts, the thicker the bubble walls get, and thus harder for us to jam needles into it. And yet SOMEHOW they manage to still control the media message. It's almost enough to make us free-love liberal types want to go full fascisti and unilaterally declare "NO MORE TELEVISION FOR THE PIG PEOPLE!"

Larry Young and his band Love Cry Want played a series of concerts around DC in '72, they were full on freak-jazz/rock in an electric Miles mode and brought the NOISE in a big way.
“Richard Nixon was President. There was a nasty war going on in Vietnam, good people were rioting in the streets and cities were aflame. During this series of concerts outside the White House, President Nixon ordered aide, J.R. Haldeman, to pull the plug on the concert fearing that this strange music would “levitate the White House.”

I think we need a healthy does of that outside of Fox, CNN, MSNBC, Limbaugh's Palm Beach studio, etc. Maybe even the NYT building. Threaten to levitate that shit. The White House this time around is not the problem, nor is it Secretary Clinton. It's the media, especially in this campaign, who are stoking the hate. An electric lysergic exorcism is needed. Drumpf would have no traction whatsoever without these pindickmonkeybutts playing Walmart ad time into full coverage to the demographic they would never sit next to at a table anywhere, anytime.

I'm a 1st Amendment absolutist, but fark me sideways. Come any inevitable post-Clinton/Clinton-inspired RWNJ AR15 2nd Amendment spree they'll just plead "WORDS. The 1st Amendment! They were only words! We were just reporting!"

Yeah. No TV or radio for the pig people. We're beaming in Bitches Brew for y'all 24/7 now. Bitches.

- lifeat45rpm

/caps the bottle, turns off the screen

Batocchio said...

If only the ol' "I put it to you that your logic is unsound!" gambit, which works so well against old TV sci-fi megalomaniac computers, also made the heads of Trump and his followers explode.

RUKidding said...

Sadly, as we witness the constricting conservative bubble shrinking & squeezing out some of the cheerleaders, I fully expect the bubble to expand again once Clinton is elected. Sykes & Ziegler & all those Never Trumpers will do an immediate about face; wipe the conserva-slate clean as if Trump never existed; and proceed apace to clobber Clinton with all their might. Never forget: conservatism never fails. It's just that Trump failed conservatism.

As you do astutely point out: there's way too much money to be made gulling & grifting the rubes to give it up now. And as Sykes & Ziegler have discovered, they are demanding more of the same liberal punching. These parasites have been priming the pump to go after Clinton's jugular for decades now. They ain't going to back down from that lucrative take down no matter how much Meg Whitman donates to HRC's campaign.

Hope I'm wrong, but I don't see these MoFos backing down now.

Susan of Texas said...

It works with people too, Batocchio, if you can get them to stop shrieking long enough to listen to you.

When you can do nothing, you can do anything.

This is very important.

If you don't have a career to lose-jobs, connections, reputation--you can do anything you want. I am a nobody so I can say anything that I want, as long as it's true. I can spend as much time as I want on one story, go into minute detail, be relentless and hard-hitting. I can be the Scourge of God. I'm free.

The other thing is, if we all decided to get together and concentrate on one person or one problem, I bet we could do a lot more than we do individually. Numbers can compensate for money.

We need a League Of Little-to-Medium Bloggers.

And a better name.

trgahan said...

The truth is it was never about building a strong political party called Republican or even notion of conservative governance. The people cutting the checks for this never needed either to get what they want. Their voters confirmed they don't need a functioning political party to control key choke points and force the political agenda on Democratic Presidents (which has the added bonus making the left waste time in "purity" fights)

It has always been about breaking the constitutional Republic that emerged from the New Deal and Second World War. And they were SOOOOO close under Bush until 2006. They have had to satisfy themselves with breaking individual states since then, but they have been very effective at it. They are setting themselves up nicely for the next time they get a stuffed suite with a R after his name in the White House.

So Skykes, Ziegler, Tyler, et al. were either stupid enough to think all of this shit was about competing philosophy's of democratic governance serious or, yet again, lying to continue the myth that it was.

Ellis Weiner said...

From CNN Money this morning (Thurs 9-1) re disputes between Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, etc.

"All of feel like we're trapped in a barn fire," Beck said. "So we don't know what to do."


Unknown said...

The question that is the headline of this post and the first two paragraphs remind me of the excellent essay What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It? by Philip E. Agre. Apologies if you are already familiar with it or it has been shared here before. Somewhat longish, but he really nails it and explains it completely.

Also 1984, as you quoted it and also the whole thing. Does anyone read it anymore? When the year 1984 came around, everybody was all, "It's 1984 and it hasn't happened; we're still freeeee! Orwell was wrong HURrrr HUR."

Conservatism may or many not be dead, but even if it is, I don't see the joy in that. It's pretty much dragged the rest of us to the very edge of the grave and it's hard to see how everything will keep from falling in. To continue your metaphor of the shrinking bubble, maybe it's like a collapsing star: it becomes infinitely dense, turning into a neutron star whose gravity pulls everybody else in.

Andrew Harris said...

To add to Unknown's point on 1984: I have the 1984 commemorative version with a preface by Cronkite and an afterword by Fromm.

Here's a relevant snippet from Cronkite:
"If not prophecy, what was 1984? It was, as many have noticed, a warning: a warning about the future of human freedom in a world where political organization and technology can manufacture power in dimensions that would have stunned the imagination of earlier ages."

Manufacture being the key word here and only 4 years later Herman and Chomsky would put the word to even better use.