Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why Do They Lie With Such Abandon?

As I promised a couple of days ago, I am now going to attempt to account for a fact mentioned by Shaw Kenawee in a comment here:

"Many of us, righties and lefties, have documented the deliberate lies and misrepresentations of right-wing bloggers and pundits, but the facts we present seem not to discourage conservative followers from their allegiance to their liars."

Well, for good or ill, here goes my attempt to explain this:

After decades of following right wing rhetoric and actions, I have come to the following conclusion:  American conservatism, at least as it has existed in the last half century, is about one thing and one thing only: greed. Cut my taxes.  That's it.  Nothing else underlies Conservatism.  All they care about in the whole world is keeping their government services but having their taxes cut so someone else picks up the tab.  Everything else is just window dressing.  Even racism is nothing to them but a way to justify taking things away from others so they can have more.

In particular, I believe that their endless protestations of religiosity are utterly insincere.  How could anyone believe that their enabling of the rich, their hatred of other kinds of people, their love of violence, the self-absorption with which they fight to evade their fair share of the cost of a decent society, have anything at all to do with the Lord they claim to cherish?  In fact, it is my belief that their religious posturing is not intended to fool anyone  but themselves.  They need deeply to convince themselves, in the face of their barbarous, self serving behavior, that they are the morally superior ones.  In furtherance of that aim they have constructed a false religion, which has replaced the real values of Jesus, values which demand so much of them, with hatred of gays, denunciation of evolution, fighting against abortion, and a whole host of other issues never mentioned by Jesus, but which have the advantage of demanding absolutely no real sacrifice.

Their political claims are similarly bankrupt.  Who can take seriously people who bark endlessly about the constitution and about State's rights, yet who stood silent as Conservatives on the Supreme Court threw all of that out the window when they made George Bush President?  Where are these people to stand up to the notion of corporate personhood, something never mentioned in the constitution, and that would have seemed absurd to the founding fathers?  No, this too is just talk, designed to cover their only real interest: more money for themselves.

Now, how does this relate to Shaw's question?  I believe that, in the absence of moral compulsion of any kind, conservatives simply say whatever serves to advance their purpose at that particular moment, on that particular issue.  They will claim to believe anything which they can use to justify their behavior, and it means absolutely nothing to them that it has any consistency with what  they claimed to believe in the past or will claim to believe in the future.  All that matters to them is that their statements serve to deflect opposition.   In fact, they are not  presenting a viewpoint at all- language for them is simply a way to defeat opposition to the gratification of their desires.  Seen this way, there is absolutely no reason that their claims should show any consistency, or even rationality.  If their public statements serve to obscure the rational arguments of their opponents, that is enough;  it makes no difference to them if their positions are revealed to have no basis, long after they have gotten what they want.

I know that this is a harsh view.  I suggest that, when confronted with samples of Conservative irrationality, you try to understand them in this light.  I have done so for a number of years, and I have found that it invariably provides a simple and convincing explanation of Conservative doctrine.


Anonymous said...

not cut my taxes,you are twisting again. Just be responsible with them. Stop using them to pay for free services and votes to people who come here illegally for hand outs and the African American community who the democrats need to keep on the plantation.

yes keep our governmnet services for us the ones who pay into it.
Just like the unions were promised all their free crap and theirs is really free.

Anonymous said...

speaking of liars

Anonymous said...

I guess you missed this one too

Shaw Kenawe said...

Green Eagle,

A very thoughtful post that helped me to understand better why certain conservatives continue to believe in and propagate bald-faced lies.

The Jumbotron misrepresentation that went viral on the conservative net [and has since been discredited] is still infecting conservative blogs.

The photo of the Chinese and American flags is a deliberate photoshopped lie. There are no street lamps on the WH grounds.

And this is a deliberate misrepresentation prompted commenters to label two US presidents and the Secretary of State as "stooges," "subhuman," and "vermin."

One only had to google the subject of Holbrooke's memorial to read that the speakers' remembrances of him prompted more laughter than tears. And yet this blogger tried to present the photo of the Clintons and Obama as some sort of nefarious, anti-American behavior. And his readers, without bothering to verify his lies, ate it up.

And on and on and on it goes. To what end?

I can understand people's anger at a policy or how an administration conducts itself. But this unending parade of falsehoods and misrepresentations is destructive and serves no purpose except to eliminate those with whom the crazies on the right disagree.

I'm not sure the people who come to these conservative blogs are greedy, even if I do believe that is the overarching zeitgeist that informs the conservative movement.

I think these people are frightened at the changes this country is going through and don't know how to deal with them.

I also think they are not very well informed.

Green Eagle said...

And by the way, Anonymous, are you incapable of understanding anything that doesn't come at you by way of a You tube video?

Maybe you should try reading a book some time. I suggest starting with John Kenneth Galbraith's "The Great Crash of 1929." It's short, it's cheap and it's a great read.

You can get it here for $10.

Green Eagle said...

Shaw, thanks for the original comment that incited me to write this post, and your comment today. In particular, thanks for your link the the conservative site with the forged flag/white house picture. I added it to my list of right wing sites that I cull for my coverage of wingnut propaganda, and I am confident that it will provide us all with a few minutes of innocent amusement in the future.

mastercynic said...

They lie because they can. The lie becomes the truth when repeated often and loudly, just as The Social Network is now the truth of Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook no matter how much dramatic license was taken (a lot.) The sad truth is that most people don't want to think and would much rather just know.

Green Eagle said...

We all can lie, Mastercynic. Try this one on for size: The Dodgers are going to win the series this year.

Republicans lie because they have been getting away with it for a hundred years. It works great for them, so why should they stop now?

Anonymous said...

Dave Dubya said...

Greed and lust for power are the ultimate driving motivations behind the Reich Wing. The hate and anger they manipulate are the tools and fruits of the fascism they personify. Truth is their enemy.

The Heathen Republican said...

I think your argument is shallow if you think it all comes down to conservative greed. I can tell you the nine conservative principles that drive my ideology; I'd be curious to hear the principles that underly your beliefs (I'm new here, so I'll keep reading). And in my case, I'm a non-believer so religion has nothing to do with it.

When I contrast the differences between conservatives and progressives, I try to describe the progressive view in a way that a progressive would agree with. What conservative will stand up and say, "yep, it's 'cause I'm greedy"?

How can you explain conservative behavior when you make no attempt to see things from a conservative point of view?