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A Disturbing Thought

November 16th, 2009

Something just struck me. Conservatives, especially the wingnuts, have a long-established trend of projection: they vociferously accuse the Democrats of doing stuff that Republicans do, despite the fact that the Democrats are not doing it. I have documented a slew of examples of this on this blog. I have noted before that if the wingnuts accuse the Dems of something, it’s usually more of a confession of their own crimes and intentions than anything else.

This is nothing new. But then it hit me: the wingnuts are now accusing Democrats of trying to destroy America, turning the country into a fascist state based on their political and philosophical leanings, making enemies lists, and building concentration camps to fill with their political opponents, while they bankrupt the nation and use health care legislation to kill off old people.


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  1. Leszek Cyfer
    November 16th, 2009 at 04:41 | #1

    You’re right. It’s scary.

    As Hannity would say “U got me. I apologize…”

  2. Tim Kane
    November 16th, 2009 at 13:33 | #2

    “He who cares the least, controls the relationship”

    I think it is obvious that Republicans would be happy with destroying America and its agencies. Bush’s policies were obviously antithetical to fundamental sound civics.

    The republican party is a coalition of resenters and desenters: Southerners over the outcome of the civil war and the civil rights movement, Rich over the new deal, Nationalist over immigration and the outcome of Vietnam, Religious over the Civil liberties movement, and so on. They want to go back and reverse outcomes that have made the country what it is. Since they can’t have this country the way they want it, they are happy with destroying it. The old “we had to destroy the village in order to save the village thing.”

    This is why I don’t really understand Republicans. The first things out of both my brother’s mouths (and they are not on speaking terms nor even live in the same states) was Obama is going to ruin the country. This after Bush took America from an historical high and crashed it into an emergency economic melt down in only 7 years… all of it predictable (as to what, though not when, and obviously they were hoping the when would happen when a Dem was president).

    Paul Bagula (spell?) gets credit for this: “anything conservatives/republican accuse Democrats of doing, they either have already done or are currently doing.”

    Projection is a huge point.

    The big point is ideology. Democrats are not ideologues, they are pragmatist.

    Republicans are ideologues. They see ideology in everything. So they are constantly calling Democrats Fascist and Communist.

    Ideological based politics is inherently foreign import into American politics.

    I’ve probably said it before. America inherets its legal system from English Common law. In common law systems, judges make law. They make narrow decisions based upon narrow questions. They are free to choose from the market place of ideas in answering those narrow questions. Traditionally they have done so, very pragmatically. The result is Anglo-American (and all common law based) societies tend to have political systems that are inherently non-ideologically based. In fact, they are an ideological patchwork quilt.

    Because ideological questions are raised and answered in a narrow, merit based and pragmatic framework, politics in common law countries have been fairly non-ideological.

    Not so in Civil Code countries. Civil code descends from Napoleonic code. Two thirds of the world follows Civil Code.

    For some reason, in pre-revolutionary France, the Judiciary was an inherently unprogressive institution (just the opposite of England). As a result, Napoleonic code took law making ability away from the judiciary. All law had to be made in legislatures, judges could only interpret law, not make it.

    This had two profound impacts: It pushed ideological warfare into the legislatures AND made that warfare an existential question for an ideological view point. What ever idea controlled the legislatures had hegemony over all other ideologies. Thus politics in Civil Code countries increasingly took on ideological existential struggle characteristics.

    When the international liberal system broke down – first through WWI, then the Great Depression, then World War II) in the first half of the twentieth century, (mostly rogue) ideological dictatorships popped up everywhere, mostly conservative ideology: Italy (facist), Germany(Nazi), Spain(Falangist), Poland (conservative), Japan (militant nationlist) and Russia (communist)and China (first Nationalist, then Communist).

    (Not all Civil Code nations descended into Rogue rule. Neither Czechoslovakia nor France fell into rogue rule. But the case of France demonstrates that ideological divides weakened France’s resistence to Nazi Germany – many conservative French favoring Nazi rule over Leftist rule, including Marshal Petain, who settled with Germany and ruled Vichy France, etc…)

    Meanwhile the Anglo Common Law countries muddled through the crisis without becoming unhinged.

    World War II, then, in my view (sometimes, anyway) was a struggle between Common Law Nations and Civil Code nations. However, within the Civil Code nations, there was one nation that flipped sides, Russia – as they were the only leftist rogue ideological country. Once conservative countries lost, the cold war became a similar struggle between the victors of WWII: Russia and Anglo-West.

    After WWII, most Civil Code countries adopted many aspects of Common Law systems, most especially, constitutional review – and then joined the Common Law side which we then called the Free World. China a conservative on our side, flipped, after the war.

    My big concern with all of this is that Republicans want to destroy the institutions of American well being. They want to rule by ideology. Ideology will allow them to create the conservative ‘rightist’ tyranny ideology created in civil code countries before World War II.

    That means destroying and warping the institutions of common law that have kept us peaceful, free and prosperous for all these long years.

    They want to take away common law pragmatism and replace it with civil code ideological system.

    Meanwhile, a study of East Asian renaissance shows that pragmatism has prevailed there and is lifting up that region.

    see: http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Samaritans-Secret-History-Capitalism/dp/1596913991

    see: http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Story-Asias-Quest-Wealth/dp/0061346683/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258345985&sr=8-3

  3. matthew
    November 17th, 2009 at 09:02 | #3

    Thanks Tim–always enjoy your insights.

  4. Troy
    November 17th, 2009 at 13:58 | #4


    that was one of the more intelligent comments I’ve read on the internet this year, if not decade.

    There are still /some/ semi-honest conservatives left…


    Republicans making noises in the media remind me of that Monty Python sketch . . .

    “Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.”

    The way I see it, 30% of the US has their head on relatively straight, 30% believe in magic fairy dust and other bullshit, and the rest can’t find their ass with a flashlight and are what we called the middle.

    I don’t have any answers, I don’t think we’ve got the national IQ to retain our present standing in the world. Our only angle is that every other nation is just as screwed up as we are.

    It’s a sad day that one can consider /China/, with its semi-functional quasi-Communist authoritarian-meritocratic arch-conservative system as a competitor to the greatness that was the United States of America. Yet they’ve acquired over two trillion of our IOUs now. How the hell did that happen???

  5. matthew
    November 17th, 2009 at 23:59 | #5

    To my mind China operates like this—we will give you economic opportunity–the chance to acquire money–but you get no say in government. They are developing a state where certain political elites run the show, and the rest are able to rise up economically (but not politically). Keep the middle classes happy and with enough money to buy the latest toys and keep a status quo that supports the ruling elite.

    As for the greatness that is /was the USA–I dont see it resurfacing under the current political system—i.e. money = speech. Get money out of USA politics (or at least get it back under the table where it belongs) and then we might see a righting of the listing ship.

    One can hope.

  6. Tim Kane
    November 18th, 2009 at 18:31 | #6


    One added point.

    The Republican/Conservative diatribe against Judicial Activism is consistent with my points above.

    Judicial activism is just negative spin terminology on Judge made law – the very essence of our system.

    Republicans, like Napoleon, don’t want Judges making law. But for the opposite reasons.

    Napoleon was against judge made law because Judges in France had consistently and persistently blocked progressive and liberalizing reforms — including many that the French King attempted to introduce.

    Republicans are against judge made law because Anglo Common Law system judges tend to be progressive with a bias towards liberalism, going back six to seven hundred years.

    By limiting judicial review through the terminology of “judicial activism” – the conservatives/republicans hoist upon us a Napoleonic Code system by default.

    Why would they do that?

    Because that turns politics into an ideological struggle.

    Reducing politics to ideological struggles, and then Rule by ideology is the only way they can succeed in imposing their tyranny.

    This process of ideologicalizing our politics, and then throwing the political system into a series of crisis (similar to the first half of the 20th century) is one way of radicalizing our politics and almost guaranteeing that at some point we will get a real Hitler, a real Stalin or a real Mao in our political system. If we are lucky, maybe we end up with only a Mussolini.

    The ravages of World War II, Forced collectivization and the great leap forward, all causing the deaths of tens of millions of people, indicates just how truly reckless and dangerous the Republican/conservative political position is.

    Luis’ point, is thus, quite poignant. It’s not a small deal. It is THE BIG DEAL of our times.

  7. Tim Kane
    November 19th, 2009 at 14:02 | #7

    I just can’t leave this posting alone.

    Another indicator that the Republican’s want to destroy America:

    In “The Evolution of Cooperation” Univ. of Mich. Economist, Robert Axelrod lays out the conceptual framework behind game theory quite neatly and elegently.

    The question he asks is: When does it pay for two parties (or egoists) to cooperate (or exercise civility). The answer: when there is an on going interative (game) interaction of seemingly unpredictable end. In such a case it pays for two parties to cooperate.

    Q: What’s the 2nd best strategy?
    A: Tit-for-tat.
    I punch you in the nose,you punch me back. Since we are in an interative game of infinite length, eventually, if you don’t want your nose punched, you’ll quit punching mine and then we settle down into cooperation.

    Q3: (most important for Luis’ point)
    Q: At what point, if any, will it pay to quit being civil/cooperate?
    A: As soon as one foresees an end to the game – even if it is many moves from now, it pays to quit cooperating and being civil immediately.

    This dynamic is all around us. The grocery store I go to, if I forget my wallet, the grocer will give me credit and I can walk home with the goods because we both know I’ll be back and we need each other’s good will to thrive.

    In WWI, Axelrod points out that Germans and French stuck in opposing trenches for what seemed like it could be forever, started cooperating by not fighting with each other – so long as one party didn’t break faith, they shot to miss each other. Eventually the Generals figure this out and came down and started rousing the foot soldiers back into killing each other.

    Before WWII, after almost 1500 years of political fragmentation in European politics, and the resulting endless wars fought in conflict, by the 1930s everyone in European Diplomacy recognized the soundness of diplomacy over fighting. WWI was just too bloody. Everyone that is, but Hitler.

    Hitler wanted to overturn the diplomatic system. He therefore saw and end to the system. He immediately began to not cooperate in the system. For everyone else, not cooperating was insane. Chamberlain, thought, perhaps subconsciencely, that all he had to do was throw Hitler some consideration to demonstrate good faith dealings in diplomacy to get Hitler to act in the same sane manner as everyone else. Chamberlain couldn’t forsee that Hitler saw and end to the system because he wanted it destroyed.

    This brings us back to Luis’s point.

    The politics of the United States is an iterative two party game with seemingly no end. Therefore cooperation is rational and sane. Republicans have increasing excercised more and more incivility over the last 30 years, beggining with Reagan and the onset of movement conservativism. Things are at there worse now.

    All this indicates that they are like Hitler in the sense that they are not cooperating when it seems rational. therefore they must be foreseeing a day when the system is destroyed.

    This is a logic that can’t be undone and wholey supports Luis’ point.

  8. Troy
    November 19th, 2009 at 17:36 | #8

    Yup, Tim, that resonates with me.

    “A step-by-step approach to socialized medicine. And if they get there, of course, you’re going to have a very rough time having a two-party system in this country, because almost everybody’s going to say, ‘All we ever were, all we ever are, all we ever hope to be depends on the Democratic Party.'” — Orrin Hatch.

    Aw, conservatives. . . reliably wrong on the issues for the past 1500 years.

    It /is/ tough to point to any post-Nixon progress the Republican Party is responsible for. Bueller?

    Not increasing spending in the 90s to let the budget briefly come into balance is all I can think of, ‘course that was to Clinton’s credit, too.

    The Republicans frame popular government programs as “dependency”. They’re saying we can’t have good government, putting themselves and their party as part of the problem and not the solution. Like Taft & Hoover. It took liberal Rockefeller Republicans (and Nixon, who was willing to work within the liberalism of the times) to return. Similar to the LDP I guess. Don’t vote for us, we don’t know how to solve your problems so we’re not going to try.

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