The politics of Fear & Hate

Lease anyone think radical Islamists have a monopoly on stupidity and senseless violence, the Tea “party’s” activities have claimed what could be their first victims in shooting in Tucson Arizona, 6 dead (including a federal judge), and a Democratic Congresswoman critically injured.

The only thing that surprises me is that this didn’t happen before, and unfortunately you can be sure there will be more incidents like this. Since Obama has been elected the Tea Party and its principal supporters on Fox news and right-wing talk radio hosts have been creating a climate of fear, deliberately encouraging the spread of vicious rumours and absurd conspiracy theories, for example that Obama isn’t a US citizen (nor a Christian) that his health care bill will mean “death panels” (which already exist in Texas by the way, brought in by Governor Bush! they can turn off you’re life support if you run out of cash or HMO coverage even against the wishes of you or your family), that Obama is a Socialists (they won’t even let him in the labour party and he doesn’t fight enough with his own supporters to join the socialists), that he plans to change the gun laws (we’ll after yesterday’s events, that actually might happen!), etc. Sarah Palin even put out a poster with several democratic congress members “in her crosshairs” – including Mrs Gifford. Ironically she was on the fiscally conservative wing of the democratic party, the real reason Palin targeted her seat was because it was one in a conservative state that the Tea Party stood a half chance of winning (in the end the Tea party all but ensured the defeat of the Republican challenger).

For months, the media in the US has been warning of a potentially dangerous undercurrent within the Tea “party”, with many talking of “Revolution” or “launching guerrilla war”. They’ve been many cases of Tea party supporters showing up to rival political events with guns (supposedly to reinforce their right to bear arms, though those effected suspect its more an act of political intimidation). Rather than try to rein in the forces they’d unleashed, those at the top of the tea party have been upping the rhetoric and now it’s had the inevitable results. Well I hope Mrs Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Ron Paul (the shooter was apparently a particular fan of his policies), and Glenn Beck are happy now.

This is the insidious danger of what they were under taking, using the politics of fear and hate is a dangerous game as invariably it leads to matters running out of control. Like Victor Frankenstein the Republicans and those at the head of the Tea “party” have now created a monster than they can’t control. And it’s a monster that could well destroy America, literally tearing the country into two pieces (a liberal leaning progressive nation on the East & West coasts with “Jesusland” in between).

A good example of the idiocy of the Glenn Beck/Palin/Limbaugh is they’re Nazi Tourette’s syndrome (i.e they accuse everyone on the left of being like the nazi’s….I don’t think they’re familiar with Godwin’s law).

Well okay guys, if you want to play that game, lets do a quick fact check and see who is more like the nazi’s (Democrat or Republican or Tea “party”). The nazi’s believed in the following things, I’ll leave it to the reader to tick the party boxes:

• They believed that their country was a unique nation in the history of the world with a special and important destiny
• They believed in a strong military and in using that military to solve their countries problems
• They believed in unilateral military intervention in other nations affairs
• They cared little what other nations thought of their policies, were less willing to negotiate solutions, and more likely to renege on treaties
• They were against the UN (then called the league of nations), and eventually withdrew from it
• They felt it was okay for their nation to invade another and take another nations resources “because they’re not using it properly”
• They liked playing with guns
• They liked taking their guns into the woods & running around shooting at stuff
• They thought it was okay to use violence to promote their politics, or the threat of violence at least
• They liked having big group meetings with lots of flag waving and patriotic displays.
• They’re political leaders were prone to stirring up the supporters to fear their political enemies, who they claimed were involved in many conspiracies against the party and those on the right
• They didn’t like gays, liberals, or ethnic minorities
• They wanted to exclude these groups above from certain jobs & take away their rights. They eventually hoped to throw all ethnic minorities out of the country
• They were morally conservative, feeling that a family (stay at home mom, dad goes to work) unit was the best environment in which to raise kids
• They banned abortion, and clamped down on family planning (in order to increase the population of they’re “master races”). Although this one is slightly neutralised by their policy of sterilisation aimed at disabled people and ethnic minorities (i.e they were to some degree neutral on the issue of abortion seeing it as a means to an end, but they did actually pass laws certain American conservatives would not disagree with)
• They felt it was okay to lie to kids in science class, German children were told to believe that their German blood somehow made them superior to those with other types of blood, even thought there was obviously no scientific evidence to support this (creationists anyone…..)
• The leadership of most Fascists regimes tended to be naturally suspicious of academics and scientists. While happy to exploit them for their own ends they disliked being talked down to by experts (For example, it seems one of the key reasons the Nazi atom bomb project failed is that the nazi leadership couldn’t get they’re head around the concept and never seriously funded the project to the degree necessary)
• They were pro-business (many wealthy German businessmen basically bankrolled the party) and very much in favour of large companies being left well alone by government….so long as the “right people” i.e. their political allies, were running them of course!
• They felt the media should self censor and only report stories positive to the government, especially at a time of war
• They were decidedly anti-union. They believed that businesses should exploit workers all they liked, if the worker felt he was underpaid/badly treated – quit! (well until they banned that too!)
• The nazi view of evolution is often distorted. What they believed in was a warped version of evolution that encouraged people to compete against each other like animals in nature, with the strongest triumphing and the weak vanquished. So it would be more correct to say that they believed that the strong in society should take what they want from the weak
• They were against state hand outs to the poor & unemployed
• While neither strongly for, nor against religion, Fascists groups generally saw the benefits of paying lip services to christian groups that supported their cause, although only as a political move (the “opium of the masses” as religion was once called at the time I believe). For example, Mussolini is most famous for the Lateran treaty he signed with the pope. Compared to socialist groups at the time however, you’d have to Fascists in the “for Christianity” box, as many Christian churches at the time strongly supported fascists regimes
• They were also in favour of the death penalty, including for crimes such as abortion, and generally favoured harsh penalties on crminals
• They saw certain situations in which torture of they’re enemy’s was considered justified

So, what was your score? Now, in the spirit of Godwin’s law, I’m not suggesting the Tea Party (or Republican party) are like the Nazi’s (….yet!), but there is an element of the pot calling the kettle black here, and they need to stop making irresponsible comparisons between idologies that they don’t understand. Obama might well favour a women’s right to choose, but that doesn’t mean he wants to push people into gas chambers! No more than Sarah Palin’s opposition to abortion means she wants to do the same (….yet!). US conservatives need to take on board yesterday’s events and have a good long hard look at themselves, because they are heading down a very dangerous road. History has a nasty habit of repeating itself when people forget its lessons, and as I’ve shown above, I don’t think most US conservatives are clueless about history.

And I have advice for any US conservatives reading this, from now on I suggest you keep a large kitchen rolling pin next to your computer. Next time you feel the urge to call someone a nazi, apply firm pressure with said item to the top of you’re head! Repeat until the urge goes away.

All that said, there are some practical steps to reduce the tensions in US politics. Making the words of political commentators legally binding & liable. i.e. A commentator on a major news network incites someone through lies and half truths to shoot another person, they (the station and the commentator) can be subject to criminal conviction, and are libel to be sued by the aggrieved party.

Another option could be a law banning privately held firearms from within a 1 mile radius of any political rally or event.

Alternatively, how about a law of reversal, in the event of a political assassination the government immediately passes a law they produces the complete opposite effect to what the assassin wanted. So if say, someone in the future assassinates (or tries to) a congressman because of his support for gay marriage, this law would make it a legal requirement that the government then legalise gay marriage (and make it compulsory for all members of the Republican party!) This shooter in the US seemed to be partial to Ron Paul’s policy regarding the use of precious metals as mediums of currency. I would suggest therefore, as a deterrence to future assassinations attempts, that the US government now pass a law forbidding private individuals from possessing more than, say $35,000 in gold or precious metals. No particular reason, other than to deter future assassins and piss off Ron Paul. Similarly the assassination in Punjab recently would require the immediate scrapping of all blasphemy laws in Pakistan.


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