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Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Narrative

A guest blog post from Adam Phillips



I want to try to put into words what I and people like me think it is that fuels the disdain that we feel about what's going on.

This is not about whose political philosophy is right, and it's not about some nice abstractions about the power of the state, the value of fostering a climate of individual responsibility, about resolving the deficit, about an active government, or a not-active government, or about gun rights.

What animates us so much...and gives us so much animus...is that in open sight, conservative politicians are joining with the wealthiest people and businesses on the planet to create a permanent plutocracy. A government ruled by business and whose principles are dictated solely by the desires of the wealthy... a government to whom business is not accountable, and, actually, which is accountable to business. They are not interested in the middle class and have no concern at all about its inexorable and continued atrophy, and no concern about the widening gap between the uber-wealthy and the poor, about the rate of unemployment, about racism and injustice, about the availability of health care for all Americans. None of this matters to them.

To enlist the enthusiastic support of the very groups they plan to victimize, they have to create an enemy for those groups to focus on--since it won't do for them to be seen as the actual enemy--and a cause or two for them to foam at the mouth over.

And so they've mined the latent fear and hostility of those groups and chosen to represent as the main threats to the well-being of our country a loosely-defined set of enemies of America: 1.Terrorists and foreigners, especially Muslims, and definitely immigrants. 2. Communists. Especially the ones in Cuba.  3. Secular humanists and all those who don't love Jesus, including a. liberals...that is, those in politics who think it is the government's responsibility to give voice and justice to the downtrodden and to keep wealth from overreaching; b. Women who want to have a say in their own reproductive and contraceptive decisions; c. those of alternative sexual orientation or gender configuration; d. non-Christians and non-fundamentalist Christians 4. Feminists; 5. Opponents of war; 6. "Environmental wackos." 7. Anyone who wants accountability and oversight regarding big business. 8. Government itself (the irony there just has to slay you, no?) 8. Opponents of total gun freedom.

And they engineer into being a reactionary "party" to generate a sense of Cause and a sense of Family, and to fan the flames of resentment lower-middle class Americans feel over what big business and government are already doing to them, teaching them that the problem is not wealth, but rather the elitist socialist wastefulness of liberal government. And that "party" becomes the most powerful faction of the Republican party, the faction before whom all more moderate Republicans must kneel.  This is not about vigorous discussion of the stronger ideas and right courses of action. This is about eliminating the idea of Nation that inspired our founders and replacing it with one in which the already-privileged become the only ones who matter.

With such a scattered and scary group of enemies, big business and government can then quietly strengthen their hegemony and decrease the average citizen's ability to do anything about it, or even find anything about it, its ultimate aim being that of silencing any other voice and serving no interests but its own.

It's a stroke of perverse genius that the Kochs and the Waltons and their ilk have managed to engineer rabid support from the very groups they intend to screw!

And yet nobody's scared about this. Nobody's out of their fucking mind with panic about this. Nah. It's the deficit. The Islamic wackos. The faggots. The immigrants. The terrorists.

What some of us feel is that there's a story to be read out there. There's a narrative. And it's not getting read, because there's active interest in it NOT being read.

I've tried to set down a raw version of it.


THIS is what bothers me about the state of our nation. Not whether or not Jeb Bush or Governor Goodhair runs for President.

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