A few months ago, I received an (apparently mistaken!) ban from DU. Berift of a good place to talk politics and go back and forth with people, I decided to poke into the forums and discussion areas of “the competition.” For several months, up until just a few days ago, I was engaging people on numerous right-wing websites. FreeRepublic,RightNation, Townhall and WND comment areas, even on the comments sections of various Youtube videos, and a few others besides.
I’ve reached the conclusion that we – that is, DU and the Left community at large – have made a pretty big error regarding these people. You think they’re bad? I’ve discovered that they’re much worse.
Go to any thread on DU (or your choice of left-leaning site) that talks about something a conservative is doing. You’ll find people divining what that conservative is doing. “He wants to increase corporate power,” or “they want to expand war in the middle east,” or “she wants to make Christianity compulsory in schools.” We take their actions and we examine them, and we assign motive. We approach those actions to try to figure them out, with the assumption that the people involved are behaving in some rational way.
Take for instance the frequently-wondered question, “why does the conservative ‘base’ consistently vote against their own self-interests?” It seems like a totally irrational thing to do, right, voting against your own interests? So we’ve come up with a narrative that helps us make sense of this phenomena; “the Republican party scares them with blacks / gays / muslims,” or “the fundies think Republicans will ‘save the babies’,” or, of course “they just aren’t educated about it.” We rationalize their actions, in other words.
We’re wrong. Dead wrong. Our assumption – that no matter how odd or self-destructive the behavior, conservatives have some rationale for it – is completely misbegotten. There is no “conservative plan.” There is no agenda. There’s no over-arching narrative from the right. if the Democrats are “playing chess,” as the phrase goes, then I am absolutely certain it’s a solo game, because there’s nobody home on the other side of the board.
Let me be blunt. The conservatives are driven exclusively by hatred. There’s nothing rational about it. Their only goal (if it can be called that) is to cause pain and distress, because they enjoy it. Even if it’s their own. Sometimes especially if it’s their own. Theirs is a worldview based around sadism. At every turn, they will with 100% certainly take the action that causes the most injury to the most people. They can always be counted on to say and do the things that will cause the deepest offense and pain. Not because they’re clueless. Not because they’re misguided. Not because they’re “trolls.” There is no “lol u mad bro?” at the end of what a conservative does. They’re perfectly sincere in their desire to inflict and enjoy suffering.
When I say there is no conservative plan, I mean that. It’s a sort of optical illusion. it’s all these people, some with power, most without, all trying to get their jollies off by causing harm. Some methods are more effective than others, and so there tends to be a gravitation towards such things that gives the appearance of an “agenda” – but in truth it’s a whole lot of random motherfuckers doing whatever it takes to get their “fix” for that moment.
The conservative voter voting against his best-interest isn’t behaving with any sort of rationale. He’s not ill-informed, he’s not deluded, he’s simply trying to get that fix; it’s junkie logic. “If I vote this way, a lot of people will suffer for it, and that makes me happy. I’ll suffer too, but that just gives me more fuel to hate with.”
And no mincing here. I really do mean all conservatives. There are no “good guys” left over there. No straggling holdouts. The conservative movement has spent nearly forty years purging its ranks of any sort of reason, intellectualism, or empathic individuals, and has been growing more shrill, more hateful, and more harmful the entire time. If someone says, “I am a conservative,” then they are simply hoping you will give them the benefit of the doubt that they ‘aren’t like those other guys’ in order to make it easier for them to find some way to stab you and laugh. It always comes out that way.
We need to reconsider our approach. There really is no educating conservatives at this point. There’s no way to engage in meaningful debate with a person who has defined their existence by expressing hatred. There’s no way to compromise with someone whose only goal is to hurt you. They’re lost causes, and we need to work around, rather than trying to engage.