The Socialist Conspiracy of Debbie, Emmanuel, and Deep Throat

Image © Austin Cline

If there was ever any doubt that conservatives are pathologically obsessed with homosexuality, those doubts should have been put to rest in the wake of the recent "Values Voters" summit. No sane person could ever imagine that heterosexual pornography would "cause" homosexuality, but for the Christian Right that connection is just as natural as connecting homosexuality with murder, shoplifting, and bestiality.

You don't have to be insane or mentally deranged in order to be part of an extremist political or religious movement, but the Christian Right seems to be working hard to weld them together permanently. This is a large part of why they act like they are trying to move beyond the boundaries of satire or parody — no matter how bizarre of an idea you come up with to ridicule them, chances are someone now or in the near future will propose it in all seriousness.

Read more: Socialist Conspiracy of Debbie, Emmanuel, and Deep Throat

Forbidden Fruit: Obsessing Over What You Hate

Image © Austin Cline

Sex sells, but sex seems to sell best to those who claim to hate sex the most. In a culture that is comfortable with sexuality and doesn't try to treat sex as something forbidden, there isn't as much value in trying to associate cars, beer, or anything else with scantily clad women (except maybe lingerie?). Sex becomes most valuable as a commodity when it's kept taboo on various levels. Is that why sexually explicit adult entertainment is such a big hit among conservatives and especially conservative Christians — or is it instead the case that they work so hard to ban it because they know they are more tempted by it than others?

Perhaps both are true, but I'll doubt we'll ever know for sure. All I can say with some confidence is that people generally, and I think conservatives in particular, seem far more obsessed over that which they claim to hate than is psychologically healthy. The connection here is so strong that it might be possible to predict what they hate the most by what they spend the most time fussing over and what they spend the most fussing over by what they claim to hate most. Or, if you don't think that's much of a prediction, we may be able to predict what they'll soon be spending more time fussing over by any increases in their protests about what they hate.

Let's look at some of the examples of his phenomenon...

Read more: Forbidden Fruit: Obsessing Over What You Hate

Schooling Americans in Being Looney

Image © Austin Cline

Given the speed at which America's looney right creates new silliness to be outraged over, the manufactured controversy over Barack Obama's speech to school children is already old news after just a few days. I think it's worth returning to, though, because certain aspects of it are illustrative of problems in the right-wing generally. It's not surprising that any one issue would express deeper, systemic issues, but the school "indoctrination" issue may do this a bit better than most.

It's counter-productive for ulterior motives and deeper agendas to be so readily visible, but this particular outrage was also hastily contrived. Most "culture war" issues that the far right has pushed were developed over the course of many years, so any early missteps could be easily covered over by consistently using the correct framing later on. Complaints about Barack Obama's speech to school students had to be mobilized very quickly, and there wasn't enough time to coordinate the best excuses that didn't make them look ridiculous.

As a result, more of their true feelings may ultimately be revealed than is typical.

Read more: Schooling Americans in Being Loony

Contemporary Conservatism: Have Gun, Will Tea Bag

Image © Austin Cline

People bringing guns to town hall meetings and presidential events has received a fair amount of attention, but I think it deserves quite a bit more. Although the people carrying weapons to political events probably seem like little more than fringe elements of an already a lunatic fringe, they may be better described as an early warning of far deeper and systemic problems in America. If we don't sit up and take notice now, we may be forced to do so when it's too late.

America has benefited from a relative lack of purely domestic violence over the past decades; we may not have been violence-free, but it's also not been a daily concern for most people. Carrying weapons to political events threatens to turn all that around because weapons are inherently violent — even when they remain unused in a holster, they communicate an unmistakable message of potential violence. Indeed, that's clearly part of the point of carrying them: to communicate a message of violence for the purpose of intimidation.

Read more: Contemporary Conservatism: Have Gun, Will Tea Bag

The Boy Who Cried Fascist

Image © Austin Cline

Complaints from conservatives that health care reform would introduce fascism to America are curious, to say the least. The accusations of fascism against Jewish politicians and even an Israeli who spoke approvingly of her country's national health care system should reveal the complaints as farce to any mentally competent adult, but even more interesting to me is how these protesters seem to be gifted with an almost complete absence of self-awareness.

If they did possess even a modicum of self-awareness, they might start to realize that their behavior is far closer to that of the vanguards of fascist movements in the past than anything their opponents have done.

Read more: The Boy Who Cried Fascist

Today's Major Events

IRS: Jerry Falwell's Old Time Gospel Hour Program Broke Tax Laws
Teutonic Knights Defeat Pagan Lithuanians at Battle of Rudau
Edward Gibbon Publishes 1st Volume of Decline & Fall of Roman Empire
Giordano Bruno Burned at the Stake for Heresy
Evangelist Billy Sunday Holds First Public Crusade in Chicago

February History Calendar