May 21, 2010

Conservatives take pride in ignorance

Palin and the GOP Disguise Mock and Scorn as Public Policy

By Sarah JonesOur nation’s soul is at risk, as we watch 23 percent of the population go off the deep end from the misinformation being proffered as fair and balanced news. These folks have relegated themselves to the fringe of society to such an extent that they can no longer have a rational discussion or debate about the issues; they are too misinformed. Yet they approach each debate with the self-righteous certainty of the sneering Fox commentators, their misguided and often flat-out, empirically proven false comments dripping in ironic, humiliating (only to the self-aware) sarcastic derision.

They are then shamed and ostracized for being LIVs (low information voters) by “snobby liberals,” just as Fox tells them to expect, and so the cycle continues. The disgraced then run back to their comfort zone, sporting their wounded pride as impotent rage, desperately waiting for their next hit of victimization on the hamster wheel of self-fulfilling prophecies.

This is a case of epistemic closure, a debate that’s been raging recently within the (few) intellectual corners of the Conservative movement. Epistemic closure is the idea that people close themselves off to new info and only listen to sources they agree with, which creates a closed mind that will rejects outside information. In other words, intellectuals on the Right fear, for good reason, that the Right is so misinformed from being fed what they believe instead of what is true, that they are confining themselves to the lower outer limit of the public debate.

But this self-marginalization is catnip to the victim-identified right, who hold their status as white martyrs close to their hearts. It is, after all, all they have. If they aren’t sacrificial victims for the Cause, what are they? That’s a question they don’t want to have to answer. It involves taking responsibility for the W years, for the failed implementation of their ideology, and for the way conservatives bastardized their own ideology in a never-ending need to feed the immediate bottom line of their corporate masters.
Comment:  We see the same attitudes--ignorance, denial, not taking responsibility, acting like victims and martyrs--when we confront racists and stereotypers. How many times have we heard them say Indians really were savages, they're drunks and bums today, they get free handouts and don't pay taxes, etc.? These people are willfully ignorant; they want to keep their stereotypical views so they can dodge responsibility for the present problems. So they can maintain their white power free from restraints and encumbrances.

When Natives tell them their mascots, costumes, and jokes are offensive, how do they respond? "We were just being satirical/ironic/humorous. Stop being so politically correct. Don't you have anything better to do? Get over yourself." It's all about how persecuted they are, how "liberals" are forcing them to change, and how they'll keep their ignorant views forever.

Needless to say, these people can't "have a rational discussion or debate about the issues." They don't have any facts or evidence to make a case. All they have is their infantile emotions. "We thought such-and-such was funny or cool. We don't care what you think. You're not the boss of us. We'll pretend to be Indians if we want to."

In short, they're like five-year-olds trying to justify their misbehavior. They throw tantrums when you criticize them, stamp their feet, and bawl like babies. If you don't acknowledge their "right" to be racists, they take their marbles and go home.

For more on the subject, see No More Guilt for Racists?, Why Education Is Difficult, and Palin the Real American.

Below:  A well-known victim and martyr who complains and quits when she doesn't get her way.