REACTIONARIES

I’ve written so much about this in comments at Tiny Cat Pants, Jesus’ General, and Nashville is Talking that I feel I’m plum tuckered out about it. Frankly, the whole thing has left me feeling a little more verklempt than usual.

I’ve always believed that the right wing has had an easier time organizing because of the behavioral tendencies of its target audience. (Bob Altemeyer explains those tendencies better than I ever could.) What passes for the left in this country, though often powerfully sincere, is usually hopelessly disunited and powerless for three main reasons: first, those who compose the left in the U.S. don’t share those easy-to-herd behavioral tendencies of the right wing, at least not strongly enough to be herded in a right-ward political direction. Second, self-described liberals and progressives in this country are dining at the same banquet of imperial exorbitance as the righties, and they don’t want to risk ending that banquet by seriously reforming the republic and doing away with the empire. Finally, our system of government (especially during election cycles) has been usurped by concentrated wealth, especially in the corporate guise; the gravy train of bribery we call campaign finance ensures that there will be no significant representation with a reformist bent.

That said, what I’ve seen in the Brittney Gilbert/NiT dustup makes me wonder if enough lefties in the U.S. even have the mental toughness, much less the funding to organize and seize power from the right wing. Goddamnit. Arthur Silber is right.

5 comments on “

  1. teh l4m3 says:

    It’s not an issue of “toughness.”I’ve always believed that the right wing has had an easier time organizing because of the behavioral tendencies of its target audience.Simple formula: Right wing success is one-third their fascistic tendencies, two-thirds their paychecks, all coming from AEI and the Heritage Foundation, et alia…The left doesn’t have an equivalent support structure.

  2. Thanks, teh. That is the big one that I left out in my haste to bang out a post.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Right wingers have one or two issues that they harp on relentlessly. The surest way to get them on your side is to bash sexual freedom (the abortion and gay rights issues are related) or racial equality.I have been on protest marches against wars that included every single protest group of the day loudly shouting about their own issues.Message to the left: Concentrate on one or two issues. The social ones are worked out after the matter of immediate survival is settled. I’m speaking as one of the affected parties–sexual freedom won’t be of much use if the planet is an irradiated, militaristic mess. Keep the gay marriage and abortion issues off the table for now and concentrate on fighting the increased militarization of this country.

  4. Anonymous says:

    By the way, Joe Bageant makes the same argument. Most of the ‘red staters’ would be anti war if the Left would keep the sexual issues out of its antiwar protests. You can’t do everything at once. Changing their minds about one thing will lead to change in other ways.

  5. Your comments, anonymous, imply that right wingers (or “red staters”) are well-meaning, simple-minded children who can be guided to philosophical safety if we leftists just tailor our message to suit their sensibilities.The situation is far more complex than that, while also being far simpler. (For one, if conservatives are supposed to be so gung-ho for ‘individual responsibility,’ why should we care-free leftists be expected to hold ourselves responsible for their political choices?) I will attempt to address my views on this matter in a post later today, if I can find the time.

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