Out With The Old, In With The New Old
I have had some interesting experiences interacting with the Good Orange County (CA) Republicans with whom I work, and I have drawn some conclusions about them that I think apply to 'conservatives' generally.
I was talking with one about the recent buzz over the candidates for 2008 (that's Hillary v McCain in case you've been too busy with Lost and American Idol). My GOC(CA)R friend chimed up with "I paid 10% of my gross income in taxes this year. If Hillary gets in, that will double."
You should have seen the look on his face when I told him that McCain is going to have to do that also.
"What do you mean?" he sputtered.
"It's like this. America owes over $8 trillion dollars to foreign lenders. Like any other lender, they have an expectation of repayment at some future date. Should they not believe that the repayment can be made when contracted, they can call in their debt for immediate repayment.
"What's going to happen if we can't pay when they demand that we do?"
You wouldn't believe how fast the discussion was turned to more innocuous topics.
I had a similar discussion with another GOC(CA)R, but when we got to "What's going to happen...", my friend had a ready answer:
"Send them to all those countries we loaned money to for repayment."
"Ah!" I said. "Who would be the bigger fool - he who borrows and can't repay, or he who borrows to lend to him who can't repay?"
I've got to stop injecting so much logic into my discussions with GOC(CA)Rs - they go into overload when I do.
I mentioned I had some observations, and this would be the time to raise them. There is nothing scientific to back them up, but they do seem consistent, and I welcome your observations for comparison.
What I notice is that GOC(CA)Rs like to live in a kind of happy world where all is good and no evil can intrude. They want to believe that life just a bowl of cherries, no matter what really goes on. They can make jokes about some poor slob found murdered and aflame in a dumpster as long as it isn't something that is going to touch them personally.
Could this be why George's fear tactics are so effective toward retaining power essentially unopposed?
It's almost like real life is just too big a topic for them to deal with, so they blow it off and trust that someone else will take care of it. Global warming? "Why is California experiencing one of the coolest Aprils in a long time?" George is bungling Afghanistan and Iraq, and now wants to take on Iran with nukes? "We got to fight them over there..."
They have been given ready excuses for everything courtesy of the SCLM programming them with the GOP talking points, and any other information just causes them to lock up.
I have also noted that the ones most likely to lock up when you talk to them about the problems facing this nation are religious, usually evangelical (though the first GOC(CA)R I presented above is 'merely Protestant'). It's as if their religious beliefs are the template for everything they do, whether or not it is appropriate to do so. This can be demonstrated through George's economic policy. Deficit too high? Cut taxes. War costs soaring? Cut taxes. Hurricanes are washing away the South and drowning the Teleban's followers? Cut taxes.
You get the idea.
The other day in the Open Thread, I pointed out a scene in Thank You For Smoking to watch for to those going to see it. (Has anyone seen it yet?) Those most susceptible to the sort of suasion used by lobbyists and others who manipulate the public for the benefit of a select few seem to me to resenble the GOC(CA)Rs I know. I would love to take a group of them to see this movie and hear what they might have to say about it afterwards.
I'm sure most of them would miss the point.
I don't yet know what we can do about this, nor do I know if any such effort would even work. But as Sun Tzu keeps telling us after all these centuries in The Art of War, one has to know one's opponent better than he knows himself - even if that enemy isn't a living, breathing organism, but is instead an ideology which takes every advantage of living, breathing organisms through exploitation of their human limitations.
The general who is better prepared shall win the battle.
What are your thoughts?