Sunday, 9 August 2009

a masterpiece from Kos,-Taxes,-Birth-Certificates,-and-Eugenics

But these are not three disparate movements with three different practitioners, three different conspiracy theories that simply happen to share the same summertime stage. In practice and organization they are one movement, a single collection of the same set of animated citizens and televised leaders, and their signs decrying fascism, Naziism, communism, taxes, euthanasia and outrage over 1960's-era Hawaiian government paperwork mingle freely at every protest. If you find a newly minted tax protestor, you are as likely as not to find a birther and a deather as well, all tucked neatly inside the same polo shirt. They are nearly exclusively white, predominantly middle aged and elderly, and unambiguously conservative. Many of those shouting against their government are already participants in the same "socialized medicine" they decry, but to a person will not consider their Medicare to be of that evil ilk.

It is, in short, a movement made up of the enfranchised and enabled; people who have gained every benefit from the politics of America and yet who feel in their very bones that they are the oppressed ones, the ones who have nothing left to lose, so rapidly is America falling away from them. It is rare to run across any movement so deeply angry -- or more to the point, a movement which explicitly celebrates anger as the primary mission of their activism. They are not willing to listen to any factual evidence that contradicts their own beliefs in whatever dark conspiracies have been peddled to them; they have in fact made it their publicly proclaimed mission to block any such explanations from even being attempted.

That seems the operative element of discourse, of late. It is angry beyond any objective rationale. It is actively hostile to fact. It finds the mere premise of debating a political argument to be deeply offensive.

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