20 July 2007

Chicken Hawk Republicans

This is an interesting video about College Republicans in the US by Max Blumenthal. The thing that is frightening is that these people probably honestly believe what they are saying. They all expressed a totalitarian-foot-soldier mentality that mixed physical cowardice with a love of violence, hero worship, desire to censor, appeals to authority rather than reason, a tendency to censor, and homophobia with gay tendencies that seems to be the hallmarks of thugs and petty bureaucrats that made it possible for such tyrants as Hitler and Stalin to exist.
When asked if they supported fighting in Iraq, they all said, “it’s better to fight them over there than over here”. That was a Bush justification that made all the counter terrorism experts I know slowly drop their shaking heads into their hands while muttering, “what a fucking moron”. The thing is, there weren’t any Al Qaeda in Iraq before we invaded, except in a little enclave that we’d created that Saddam couldn’t get to. But none of these college students had learned enough to think this through with the available facts.
When their views are broken down one can see that they are all expressions of fear. The macho, gun loving, war mongering aspects are all ways of psychologically lashing out at the perceived agents of fear. It’s like a scared little boy playing with a toy gun and pretending to kill what he is afraid of. The only problem is that in real life, with a real military, the deaths and injuries are real.
The fear also leads to hero worship, because when people are afraid they want a strong leader that they feel will protect them. Similarly, fear leads to appeals to authority, such as religion or party dogma. It’s very frightening to not know what is the right thing to do. Real choices are fuzzy. It’s much easier to answer questions based on received wisdom, either from religious superstition or the words of the worshipped leader. Note, people will parrot political propaganda or religious dogma despite it being patently false, for instance, the Bible gives two different genealogies for Jesus, both going to Joseph, who, if the Bible account of virgin birth is to be believed, wasn’t actually related to Jesus. Simple logic, if the Good Book has an obvious flaw, it’s not infallible. Similarly, anyone paying any attention to Iraq will know that Osama had declared a jihad on Saddam. They only had a cease-fire when the US became a pressing common enemy. Now various tribes in the Sunni triangle, who were Saddam’s base, are negotiating cease-fire agreements with US forces so they can concentrate on killing Al Qaeda in Iraq. No matter how many times Bush and Cheney say that Saddam and Osama were working together, it still won’t be true.
I keep going on about fear for a reason. There was a study a couple of years ago of college students that correlated their dreams and their political views. What the study found was that Republican students had vastly more and bleaker nightmares compared to Democrat students. They study’s authors hypothesized that conservatism came more from an emotional fear response than from reason.
I think fear has propped up the Bush administration. Fear mongering has led to an expression of all of the conservative traits that Bush depends on. Compare Bush and Cheney’s constant reference to the enemy trying to destroy our way of life with FDR: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
I was looking for a particularly “be afraid” quote from Cheney, I found an ironic one instead. Cheney was talking about the Enemy in the Global War on Terror, what does it remind you of?
“They seek to impose a dictatorship of fear, under which every man, woman, and child lives in total obedience to a narrow and hateful ideology. This ideology rejects tolerance [and] denies freedom of conscience...”

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