Tag Archives: Fear of the Other

Paranoia runs deep in the minds of GOP creeps

A blog post by Jason Easley at politicususa.com, with links to a Boston Globe column, nicely illuminates the craziness level upon which too many Americans now reside.

As the rest of the nation looks on in disbelief at the level of crazy among some Republicans in Texas, it needs to be understood that the insanity over Jade Helm is not unique to Texas. The Republican Party has been gripped by paranoia. Republicans are paranoid, and they elect candidates who legitimize and indulge their taste for conspiracies.

This dynamic is why House Republicans investigated the IRS. It is also why the nation is suffering its eighth investigation into Benghazi. Republicans benefit by playing to the paranoia.

What Jade Helm teaches us all is that Republican fear of the nation’s first black president is getting stronger even though his time in office is winding down.

The question I have: How much of this paranoia, this increased crazification, is a result of propaganda? Lies emanating from right-wing think tanks and various media outlets – I’m thinking of you Roger Ailes


White Fragility

Reading thru my usual morning list of blogs and news sites, I came upon an interesting piece at Talking Points Memo which focused on the increasing number of Americans who refuse to acknowledge the racism which still exists in our society.

Biker Gangs, Tamir Rice, And The Rise Of White Fragility

Recently released records show that Cleveland Police would have wanted to charge 12-year-old Tamir Rice with inducing panic and being an “aggravated menace.” He was shot and killed by an officer in less than two seconds while playing in the park with a toy gun. This development is juxtaposed with the news that a violent biker gang in Waco, Texas shot up a restaurant parking lot. Nine biker gang members were killed. Police arrested 170 gang members, and confiscated countless weapons. Apparently those 170 weren’t an aggravated menace worthy of immediate death.
(. . .)
The most dangerous uprising that’s threatening America’s stability isn’t black protests in places like Ferguson or Baltimore. It’s taking place among an aging white majority that is losing its bearing on reality and destroying the gears of government, media and public welfare. At its center is an inexplicable, illogical and dangerous fear that some sociologists are now defining as white fragility.

White fragility is a term coined by Robin DiAngelo, an associate professor of education at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. In her 2011 academic pedagogical analysis titled “White Fragility,” DiAngelo goes into a detailed explanation of how white people in North America live in insulated social and media spaces that protect them from any race-based stress. This privileged fragility leaves them unable to tolerate any schism or challenge to a universally accepted belief system. Any shift away from that (like a biracial African-American president) triggers a deep and sustaining panic.

One might just begin to ask why “older, white folks” are so afraid of those ‘others’, that they create conspiracy theories and gather together with those who think as they do – actually, rational thinking is not involved. I mean, if there is no longer racism in America, if the ‘others’ are actually enjoying privileges which white folks can’t receive, why are the whities acting in such irrational manner?

True Believers(tm)

a quote from Hoffer’s, The True Believer

The readiness for self-sacrifice is contingent on an imperviousness to the realities of life. He who is free to draw conclusions from his individual experience and observation is not usually hospitable to the idea of martyrdom… All active mass movements strive, therefore, to interpose a fact-proof screen between the faithful and the realities of the world. They do this by claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is no truth or certitude outside it. The facts on which the true believer bases his conclusions must not be derived from his experience or observation but from holy writ.

my emphasis

The “holy writ” may be the Bible, the Quran, the Vedanta or the writings of Hayek and Friedman but they all share one characteristic; the ‘truth’ expounded in each text is the only ‘truth’, the facts be damned.

Other texts, which I’m sure will be thrown into the fray, such as Marx’s Das Kapital or Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals don’t have the same power of True Belief amongst those who advocate for some of the policies found in the two books.  As Simon Maloy put it, writing at MediaMatters

Do you know who Saul Alinsky is? If not, don’t fret. There’s an entire cottage industry of conservative writers working feverishly to reintroduce the storied community organizer to the world and document how he successfully overcame almost 40 years of being dead to pull the strings within the Obama White House.

The constant quoting and referral to Alinsky’s work by the right does seem to show that more on the right than on the left of the political spectrum are reading his book. This insistence by wingnut ‘pundits’ that the left must be following the dictates of a leftist radical from the Sixties is just one more indicator of the modern American conservative mindset – their own books are all true and show the right way to act therefore the left must thinks its holy texts are just as valid.

Various psychological studies have shown that those who call themselves liberal are more flexible in their thinking when compared to those who consider themselves conservative, which would seem to indicate that those who are considered ‘liberal’ are less likely to become True Believers.

The work grew out of decades of previous research suggesting that political orientation is linked to certain personality traits or styles of thinking. A review of that research published in 2003 found that conservatives tend to be more rigid and closed-minded, less tolerant of ambiguity and less open to new experiences.
It’s that whole, “libruls are so open-minded, their brains fall out” schtick, when what’s actually happening is progressive-minded folks are willing to listen to those who offer differing opinions, liberals understand nuance and are capable of seeing good points even in the midst of drivel.  The modern conservative, the True Believer, ‘knows’ the Truth, everything, and everyone, that disagrees with the Truth is simply nonsense = Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

There are some very frightened folks in America

or they are a in serious need of psychiatric help

New York Times now promoting Sharia law

I have no explanation for this other than the old standby – in times of economic crisis, many will blame the innocent for their own failures. And then there’s that whole “fear of the other” that seems to be an innate part of humanity’s genetic makeup.