• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    r u reddy on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    Monster from the Id on How religious narcissism …
    Sweet Sue on How religious narcissism …
    Monster from the Id on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    Sweet Sue on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    riverdaughter on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    Monster from the Id on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    riverdaughter on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    Monster from the Id on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    Monster from the Id on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    riverdaughter on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    bellecat on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    riverdaughter on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    Monster from the Id on Lions, George Bush and Li…
    churl on Lions, George Bush and Li…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama big pharma Bill Clinton Chris Christie cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos debate Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean Joe Biden John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Keith Olbermann Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare occupy wall street OccupyWallStreet Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    July 2014
    S M T W T F S
    « Jun    
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

    • Ask a Slave Ep 4: New Leaf, Same Page
        It’s been a while since we have posted any of these… Ask A Slave is a comedy web series directed by Jordan Black based on the actress’ time working as a living history character at the popular historic site, George Washington’s Mount Vernon. All questions and interactions are based on true events.
  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • Top Posts

The trickle down effects of malignant morality

Two posts at the NYTimes illustrate the effects of what I like to call Malignant Christianity on the Republican base.

First up, Pat Robertson of 700 Club fame, recently said it was Ok for a man to divorce his wife if she had Alzheimer’s disease in order to get with a different woman.

From the Times article:

The Rev. Pat Robertson’s suggestion that a man whose wife was far “gone” with Alzheimer’s should divorce her if he felt a need for new companionship has provoked a storm of condemnation from other Christian leaders but a more mixed or even understanding response from some doctors and patient advocates.

On his television show, “The 700 Club,” on Tuesday, Mr. Robertson, a prominent evangelical who once ran for president, took a call from a man who asking how he should advise a friend whose wife was deep intodementia and no longer recognized him.

“His wife as he knows her is gone,” the caller said, and the friend is “bitter at God for allowing his wife to be in that condition, and now he’s started seeing another woman.”

“This is a terribly hard thing,” Mr. Robertson said, clearly struggling to think his way through a wrenching situation. “I hate Alzheimer’s. It is one of the most awful things, because here’s the loved one — this is the woman or man that you have loved for 20, 30, 40 years, and suddenly that person is gone “

“I know it sounds cruel,” he continued, “but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but to make sure she has custodial care, somebody looking after her.”

When Mr. Robertson’s co-anchor on the show wondered if that was consistent with marriage vows, Mr. Robertson noted the pledge of “’til death do us part,” but added, “This is a kind of death.”

He said the question presented an ethical dilemma beyond his ability to answer. “I certainly wouldn’t put a guilt trip on you if you decided that you had to have companionship, you’re lonely, you have to have companionship,” Mr. Robertson said.

You have to have companionship.  Unless you’re gay.

So, here’s the reasoning behind this: Robertson style “christians” don’t believe in pre-marital sex.  Oh, they believe it exists but they don’t think you should do it under any circumstances. It’s a very Tess of the d’Urbervilles world for these christians.  So, in order to no commit the sin of FORNICATION, you should commit a bigger sin by abandoning your sick wife.  Hmmm, what was Pat Robertson’s position on Terry Schiavo’s husband?  I mean, he stuck with her to the bitter end and never divorced her.  I suspect that a good deal of the craziness directed at Michael Schiavo was due to existence of his second family.  How dare he get on with his life and FORNICATE while his wife is hooked to a feeding tube for 15 years.  And Terry Schiavo was a young 26 year old when she went into a permanent vegetative state.  But Pat Robertson and his minions would not grant Terry and Michael mercy.  Nope, their very private decisions were the subject of a national mob frenzy.  But I digress.

Maybe we should get Sandra Day O’Connor’s opinion on this.  She left the Supreme Court, a permanent, important, powerful position, in order to take care of her ailing husband who had Alzheimer’s disease.  Now, THAT’s dedication and love for you.

I’m not judging the decisions of any particular case.  Alzheimer’s is very difficult on spouses.  But I do wonder if God wouldn’t cut you a break for the FORNICATION if you would just stay married to your spouse until the very end of a devastating disease.  What a terrible choice to foist upon the guy who asked for Robertson’s advice.

The other post is Paul Krugman’s Friday column,  Free to Die, where he writes with palpable disbelief of the cruelty and heartlessness of the new Republican right’s attitude towards taking care of their neighbors who have suffered misfortune or poverty.  In reference to the Wolf Blitzer-Ron Paul exchange at the last Republican presidential debate where Rep. Paul was pressed on healthcare for the uninsured emergency room patient, Krugman writes:

The incident highlighted something that I don’t think most political commentators have fully absorbed: at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions.

[...]

So the freedom to die extends, in practice, to children and the unlucky as well as the improvident. And the right’s embrace of that notion signals an important shift in the nature of American politics.

In the past, conservatives accepted the need for a government-provided safety net on humanitarian grounds. Don’t take it from me, take it from Friedrich Hayek, the conservative intellectual hero, who specifically declared in “The Road to Serfdom” his support for “a comprehensive system of social insurance” to protect citizens against “the common hazards of life,” and singled out health in particular.

Given the agreed-upon desirability of protecting citizens against the worst, the question then became one of costs and benefits — and health care was one of those areas where even conservatives used to be willing to accept government intervention in the name of compassion, given the clear evidence that covering the uninsured would not, in fact, cost very much money. As many observers have pointed out, the Obama health care plan was largely based on past Republican plans, and is virtually identical to Mitt Romney’s health reform in Massachusetts.

Now, however, compassion is out of fashion — indeed, lack of compassion has become a matter of principle, at least among the G.O.P.’s base.

And what this means is that modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations — that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the “common hazards of life” through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

Are voters ready to embrace such a radical rejection of the kind of America we’ve all grown up in? I guess we’ll find out next year.

I’ve seen this new morality up close and personally.  My guess is that the change in attitude has been gradual but so relentless nonetheless that the practitioners of this new morality have no idea how far they have strayed from their former selves.  The right side of the country is getting crueler, there’s no doubt about it.  Well, if the poor and children of the poor had lead more moral lives, bad things wouldn’t have happened to them.  If you’re sitting pretty and have a nice life, it’s because you’ve been good and followed the rules.  Judgementalism has trumped compassion because it is powerful.  It makes the wielder feel important and relevant and part of a bigger team.  And that power can be dangerous when directed at your fellow citizens.  To have the power of life and death over some other creature can be intoxicating.  And unless we deny the religious right the reverence they crave and hold them accountable for the pain and cost they thrust on others, expect the collective morality of the nation to continue to decline.

Tuesday: Jumping the Shark

Ok, I promised myself I wouldn’t go over this subject again but it seems we have lost perspective.

It pains me to point this out, but here goes.

In the past two decades, those of us on the left have watched with increasing alarm at the rise of the right wing noise machine.  I forgot who called it the Wurlitzer but it’s an accurate description.  The Wurlitzer is loud, rude and everywhere.  You can’t get away from it.  I don’t know how many times we have wrung our hands in frustration that we can’t trust the news, can’t find any reliable news and can’t seem to get on the airwaves.  When there is something important the left wants to say, the right puts us on mute.  When there’s an issue that deserves debate, the right rolls out slogans like “cut and run” and “weapons of mass destruction” and “congenital liar” (that last one was from William Safire to describe Hillary Clinton).

Two weeks ago, it seemed like the sentiment on most lefty blogs, including this one, was that the news was a waste of time, that cable news, in particular, was chock full of conservative voices.  Atrios frequently points out the number of conservatives vs liberal voices on the talking head programs and asks us to “document the atrocities”.  We all agreed that the right was abrasive, aggressive, dehumanizing, and was out to shut us down.  We despaired that if Obama got the nomination, the right would draw and quarter him in the general election campaign in 2008.  (They didn’t, which should have been a sign that they were up to something)

We think Glenn Beck is appalling, Rush Limbaugh an arrogant, bigoted, asshole with a suspected taste for sex tourism.  We couldn’t stand Fox News and its ubiquity in doctor’s waiting rooms and liquor stores.  We glommed onto any tiny slivver of hope of an alternative voice, includeing Keith Olbermann’s, at least for awhile.

The right owns just about every TV network in some capacity, makes all of the editorial decisions, floods talk radio and used to dominate the internet.  In fact, just about the ONLY outlet that the left has with a major presence is The Huffington Post.  That tells you how bad it is.

The right can make or break you.  Give you 15 minutes of fame or 15 years of infamy.  Put your relatives into a trance like state and ruin your Thanksgiving Dinner.  Turn your friends into walking, talking right wing zombies.  Make state legislatures into non functioning entities.

And yet, in spite of all of the intolerance, intimidation, screaming and yelling, lies, misleading nonsense we have had to put up with for almost 20 years, we have now come to the point where we are defending the right to say any stupid, dangerous thing it wants and we will applaud it.

We see Sarah Palin give an “in your face”, “go on and make me”, shameless, defiant video that pretty much is saying, “go on, make our day, we can say and do whatever the f^&* we want and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it” and we …

applaud it?

They have managed to make most of us here say, “don’t pick on the right wing noise machine.  That’s *Political* and it isn’t faaaairre.”

???

I’m not the least bit surprised that this has happened.  I suspected their guys were on it the minute I heard the term “politicize”.  Oh, man, Karl Rove couldn’t have crafted a better meme to shut the left blogosphere up.  The fact that the right is everywhere a contributing factor.  When that is the message that is broadcast for several days in a row non-stop, it starts to almost seem reasonable.  Before you know it, it’s unthinkable that anyone would ask the right to tone down their rhetoric.  It would be rude, unAmerican.  The right would NEVER politicize a tragedy.  NEVER.

Hello, Terry Schiavo.  Remember her?  Remember how the Republicans rushed back to Washington to pass a bill to override a court in Florida to prevent Terry Schiavo to die with dignity?

How about the Iraq War?  Wasn’t 9/11 invoked relentlessly by right wing media and Republicans to get us into a war we didn’t need?

We seem to have forgotten how ruthless and unsentimental the right can be about politicizing personal tragedies when their agenda can benefit from it.  No one here should be under any illusions about what the right is capable of when it comes to turning on the histronics to 11.

If it had been a Republican legislator gunned down, the right would be on the air right now screaming for the rescission of the first amendment from the Constitution and some Republican extremist in Congress would be drafting legislation to make sure that Fox was the official news channel and the Roberts’ court would be standing by, ready to not only invoke the amendment but retroactively remove all of the speeches it finds offensive in elementary school text books.  Goodbye, “I have a Dream”.

And now we are made to feel sorry for Sarah?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t BLAME her for the shootings.  But for being a careless, opportunistic, participant of the dehumanization of the left, yeah, I blame her for that.  It’s regrettable that the left has lost its moral authority to call her on it because they’ve gone batshit crazy on Sarah since August 2008.  But that doesn’t mean that Sarah is a nice guy.

So, here I sit, from my perch, unsullied by the media madness, watching as my friends and fellow bloggers jump the shark, abandon all sense of self preservation and defend the right’s right to inflame, shut up, and shout down the left.  We hand them the mallet and say, “Here you go.  We’re sorry we questioned your right to trample us without limitations.  Please beat us some more and do it harder this time.  Harder, Harder!”

Guys, I’m not into S&M.  If you want to beat yourselves up for failing to speak softly to the right and making them cry, go right ahead but I’m not going to do it.  I now expect that commenters will scream that I want to take away our right to free speech, and I have said nothing of the sort.  Or that I am connecting the shooter with the insane political atmosphere in Arizona.  I think the jury is still out on that one and anyone who says there is NO connection is just as wrong as anyone who says that there is.  Or that I am denying the misogyny directed towards Sarah Palin, to which I say that even a target of misogyny can turn out to be a person with questionable motives and no scruples.  Just because they’re picking on you, doesn’t make you innocent of everything you’ve ever done.  But I am not going to do the right’s work for them by blaming everything on the patriarchy.

When we start pulling our punches with the right and feel that we don’t have the right to question their virtual monopoly on the media or the way they have damaged discourse and debate in this country in the past 20 years, then we have truly jumped the shark.

Well, some of YOU have anyways.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 433 other followers