Monday, November 21, 2011

The Rise of a New Confederacy or Peering Into the Soul of Stephen Harper

Do you ever have trouble figuring out just what makes an authoritarian git like Stephen Harper tick?  An article from In These Times entitled "New Confederacy Rising" offers some helpful insights into why the radical, fundamentalist Right seem so bizarre.  They don't just act nuts, they are nuts.

What has recently come to the fore within the Republican Party, but has been building within it for decades as the religious right’s influence has grown, is a new Confederacy: a nation within a nation, certain of the degeneracy of the usurper “United States,” hostile toward its institutions of education and government, and possessing a keen sense of its own identity as a victimized, righteous remnant engaged in spiritual warfare. As Michele Bachmann put it when explaining her position as a tax accountant for the IRS, she took a government job because she wanted to infiltrate “the enemy.”

 ...For the pragmatic and progressive America that grew out of secularized higher education, truth has a provisional, this-worldly orientation. It’s more evolutionary than eternal in character—a fluid body of knowledge and interpretation, subject to revision and expansion.

For the Confederacy that now dominates the GOP, truth is solid and fixed and divinely embedded in the structure of the universe. Humanity’s responsibility is to accept and believe the truth rather than test ideas against actual experience. The Confederacy’s obsession with “originalist” interpretations of the Constitution—a twin of biblical literalism—is the classic example: truth must be eternal, universal.

Pragmatists and progressives defer to experts and professionals. They expect truth claims to be supported by evidence that emerges from research and testing. They put their faith in this process, and in the communities of inquiry—the disciplines—legitimized by secular institutions of higher education.

The new Confederacy rejects that process wholesale. Its leaders and authorities are the spiritual descendants of the conservative Christians and charismatic radio preachers who broke away from religious modernism in the 1920s and 1930s. For these leaders and their followers, faith justifies—and verifies—itself. You don’t believe an idea because it’s true. It’s true because you believe it.


Anyong said...

Have you watched the movie "The Ides of March? Hmmmm!

The Mound of Sound said...

No, but I am planning to see it.

Owen Gray said...

The right has moved from program to dogma -- and dogma is unassailable.

Beijing York said...

The negating of facts and learned opinion is operating in full force with the Harper government.

Vic Toews dismissed his own department's research that indicated that the gun registry saves lives. He and Stockwell Day pooh-poohed Stats Canada research, supported by other expert opinion, that crime has been on a steady decline for more than 2 decades. Their response was the ludicrous statement of unreported crime being on the rise.

The Mound of Sound said...

I wonder to what extent Harper 'believes' his god controls the climate? That would certainly explain his hostile approach to environmentalism, even within the country's own environmental agency, EnviroCan. It's like a man jumping behind the wheel blindfolded and believing his god will keep him from running the car over a cliff.