The Democrat may no longer believe in God, the Constitution or even motherhood and apple pie, but he devoutly believes with all the faith of a 9/11 Truther in the impermeability of steel and of a Neo-Nazi in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that somewhere out there Republicans are sitting in a sealed room and plotting to bring back the 50s.
And if not the 50s, then at least the early 60s.
The left accuses the right of being deeply paranoid. Meanwhile the left is convinced that every Republican sneeze is a racial putdown of America’s first black president since Bill Clinton.
Forget about looking for Communists under every bed. The proper progressive never lies down with his or her partner of choice and their government mandated birth control from the Catholic institution with no choice in the matter without first checking their privilege and checking for conservative bigotry.
Sometimes, somewhere in Kentucky or Alaska, a minor Republican functionary forwards an email depicting ObamaCare as the work of a voodoo witch doctor and the first lefty to discover it dines out on that triumphant accomplishment for a year before writing a book about it. The rest of the time, the McCarthyists of the left have to work hard to unpack the subtext of the overlay of the puzzle box of a random remark.
When Mitch McConnell complained that Obama plays too much golf, MSNBC’s chief late night lunatic, Lawrence O’Donnell, barked that “Well, we know exactly what he’s trying to do there. He is trying to align to Tiger Woods and surely, the lifestyle of Tiger Woods with Barack Obama.”
The famously Calibnasian Woods didn’t actually identify as black, but that was probably because of the way Republican racism stigmatizes black people. Will the right-wing bigotry never stop?
After its collapse under Reagan, the reinvented Democratic Party runs entirely on outdated conspiracy theories about Republican bigotry. It complains that Republicans secretly believe that they’re a secret Communist conspiracy to destroy America, while their entire platform is an accusation that the Republican Party is a secret conspiracy to enslave black people.
Or as the famous admirer of articulate, bright and clean-looking African-Americans, Joe Biden said, “He is going to put y’all back in chains.”
The chains would be redundant considering that he and his boss have run up the national debt to $17.6 trillion or a post-racial slavery of $55,234 by every American, regardless of race or creed, owed to China, Japan, Brazil and the Muslim world. And it’s easier to accuse Mitt Romney of wanting to bring back the 1850s (when Mormons were persecuted) than to have an honest discussion about the chains of debt already there.
The Democratic Party now runs on racial paranoia, on class paranoia, on gender paranoia; on an endless McCarthyism in which the Republican Party is savaged as a phantom Nazi cult dedicated to serving Southern racists, the Koch Brothers and Israel.
The sanest liberal of the 21st century makes the looniest member of the Birch Society in the 60s seem positively grounded in reality. Conspiracy theories aren’t a fringe element in the Democratic Party now; they’re the entire ticket.
The War on Women, the constant claims of racism (according to ex-MSNBC’er Martin Bashir IRS was the new “N Word”) and the invocation of class warfare by wealthy residents of entirely white bedroom communities is a litany of conspiracy theories. The frenzied search for new IRS and Tiger Woods “dog whistles” that prove the Republicans really are out to bring back the 50s is the psychological breakdown of an entire political party taking refuge in political paranoia.
The progressives are reactionaries who can’t run on their record and can’t even run on the record of their political opponents. So instead they run on the imaginary record of their political opponents derived from reading their minds, unpacking their subtext and then reading a few tea leaves.
The bible of the left’s conspiracy theory is a Lee Atwater interview from 1981 in which he described politics becoming post-racial. Since conspiracy theorists can always locate that one frame that proves that the plane heading for the World Trade Center was a hologram and the magic bullet that shot JFK was really fired by Jackie Kennedy, they carefully excerpted a part of the interview to make it look like Atwater was saying the exact opposite of what he was saying.
Based on that out of context quote, the left built its pyramid of racial paranoia, its obsession with a Republican “Southern Strategy” to prove that the real racists weren’t the Democrats who fought for segregation, but the Republicans who fought against it, and its claim that since then the Republicans who fought segregation (but were secretly segregationists), unlike Democrats like Al Gore’s father who fought for segregation (but was secretly against it), have hidden their racism even more deeply by calling for small government and lower taxes, which, if you own a special Noam Chomsky decoder ring, really means Supermegaracism.
The Atwater revelation, treated in progressive circles the way that a Rabbi admitting that the Jews really do run the world from a moldy Brooklyn basement would be by a Neo-Nazi group, became the basis for justifying a reverse Atwater.
If Republicans are covertly disguising their racism in low taxes and small government, anyone who believes in low taxes and small government is probably a racist. And since Republicans hide their racism in innocuous policies, any conservative policy must be another racist Trojan horse.
Everything is a conspiracy. Everyone is a conspirator. If a Republican supports X, it must be racist. If he says Y, it must be racist.
Understand that and you understand why MSNBC’s cast of lunatics insist that IRS is the new N Word and that the Republican Party keeps mentioning Obama’s golf game to suggest to its base of racist voters that he’s really off having affairs with a string of blonde women.
Progressive racial paranoia makes perfect sense if you assume that your opponents are part of a conspiracy whose defining feature is a paranoid projection of your own racism.
That’s why you can’t win an argument with a conspiracy theorist. He already knows that you’re going to deny everything because you’re in on it. Every argument is deeper proof that you’re a 749th degree racist Freemason who faked the moon landing while shooting JFK. (Sure the dates don’t match up, that’s what they want you to think.)
The racial Atwaterization of the Democratic Party, its Northeastern Strategy, is typical of conspiracy theorists, whether it’s the Muslim Brotherhood’s front groups or the LaRouche zombies, who engage in byzantine conspiracies and vicious underhanded attacks that are justified by their own worldview in which a vast conspiracy is being waged against them.
Think of Hillary Clinton invoking a “vast right wing conspiracy” in public while justifying her husband’s adultery as being caused by Republican attacks in private, targeting women who complained about her husband’s sexual harassment in private, while claiming to be a role model for women in public.
That gap between ideals and actions, ends and means, is typical of the conspiracy theorist who projects every evil onto a single enemy, an Emmanuel Goldstein or Dick Cheney, and acts out every horrifying power fantasy in order to destroy him without ever acknowledging that he has become the thing he hates the most. He has become, not Dick Cheney, but Dick Cheney as he envisions him, an abuser of the Constitution who uses the IRS as a political weapon, invades countries unilaterally and destroys political enemies with lies, smears and innuendo.
The Dick Cheney of the left’s paranoid imagination sits in the White House. His abuses are justified by the paranoid belief in a vast right wing conspiracy of Dick Cheneys.
To the conspiracy theorist, law is only a tool of the conspiracy. There is no such thing as compromise, only the supreme entitlement of grievance. Anything you can do to your enemies is fair because they already did it to you… and worse.
Political paranoids are totalitarians… and totalitarians are political paranoids. The modern Democratic Party has become both. Its paranoid totalitarianism runs on conspiracy theories that justify its politics of personal destruction and its abuses of power. It has accepted the left’s classic formula of the conservative political opposition as a reactionary force that is the source of all evils in society.
If the Republican Party and the conservative opposition embody racism so thoroughly and covertly that there is nothing non-racist about them, then there is nothing left to do but to destroy them. Having reduced the right to a total evil with no redeeming qualities, destroying them seems downright benevolent.
If the right really is totally racist, if even their most benevolent programs and policies conceal a hidden racist agenda, then there’s nothing else to do but to destroy them.
There’s no way to leave behind racism, except through the destruction of the Republican Party.
Ordinarily intelligent adults would have trouble taking paranoid ravings seriously. Or so you would think. But it’s surprising how sensible even the looniest conspiracy theory can seem if you dress it up in a tuxedo and take it out for a night on Fifth Avenue.
9/11 Truthers, moon landing hoaxers and Holocaust deniers can sound polished and sensible even with low budgets. The JFK conspiracy theories have convinced millions because they were given unofficial support by a liberal establishment obsessed with redirecting blame away from the Communist who killed him and at the “right-wing culture of hate”, not to mention the Cuban mob and everyone who was the exact opposite of the radical Socialist ideology that actually pulled the trigger.
Imagine how polished 9/11 Truthers, moon landing hoaxers or Holocaust deniers could seem if they had the resources of the New York Times, CNN, Disney, Harvard and Random House at their disposal. Paranoid conspiracy theories only seem cheap and shoddy if they’re the refuge of a handful of mouth-breathers. Put them in the New York Times and on the teleprompter of every talking head in a ten thousand dollar suit, turn them into college courses and box office blockbuster movies and they begin to seem exclusive and intellectual.
Like treason, conspiracy theories never prosper. When they do prosper, no one calls them conspiracy theories anymore. Instead they are the pantless emperor, the big lie and the derangement of an entitled elite using lies and conspiracy theories to justify its abuses of power.
Totalitarian governments in Russia and Germany maintained a ruthless grip on power by circulating conspiracy theories so ridiculous that no intelligent adult should have believed in them. But that abstract optimism in human reason doesn’t hold up to 5 minutes of MSNBC. It’s entirely possible to be wealthy, well-educated and a MENSA member while believing poisonously stupid and malicious things that a child could disprove in 5 minutes.
It’s not because they’re stupid. Like Agent Mulder, they want to believe. They need to believe.
If the Democratic Party isn’t the progressive force standing against Republican bigotry, then what is it? An alliance of urban technocrats, corrupt community organizers and corporations? A Socialism Lite party that is despised by most European Socialists for its backwardness? A machine for printing money and moving it around to its special interests?
The average MSNBC viewer, New York Times reader and progressive suburbanite is not interested in a close look at his political movement or its track record. Instead of giving him something to believe in, his party’s media outlets give him someone to hate. His political identity is shaped not by what he stands for, teachers’ unions, unsustainable debt and an incoherent foreign policy of platitudes, but by his resistance to the Tea Party hordes who want to put black people back in chains, put women back in the kitchen and put homophobes back in the CEO’s office at the Mozilla Foundation.
The politics of paranoid hatred is the crutch of mental cripples who protect the source of their dysfunction by projecting it onto phantom enemies. It’s Hillary Clinton with her unfaithful husband, her list of enemies and her conviction that the Republicans made him cheat on her multiplied a million times over. It’s the frenzied MSNBC talking head who sees the N Word everywhere because it’s inside him. It’s an Attorney General who pursues racial grudges without ever admitting it while calling the country “a nation of cowards” on race.
The Democratic Party is broken. It’s broken spiritually, mentally and morally. But that doesn’t mean that it’s defeated. It’s often the dysfunctional and the deranged who temporarily succeed because they are driven by their own demons. The completely unfit are often the most determined to disprove what the voices in their heads are telling them. And they are exceptionally talented at convincing other people of the lies that they tell themselves.
The great tragedies of the last two centuries were brought about by men and women like these, obsessed, maniacal, filled with churning hatreds and fears, commanding crowds, spreading lies, manufacturing ridiculous philosophies out of thin air and spreading them like an infection on the wind.
The Democratic Party has been contaminated by the madness of the left through its alliance with the left. Its one night stand has developed into a syphilitic infection and it’s slowly going insane. You can see the derangement in Nancy Pelosi, staggering through aimless rhetoric, or Harry Reid, burning with inchoate anger, telling increasingly implausible lies, doing anything to hang on to power.
One of America’s two major parties has become deranged and the entire country is paying the price.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century. He blogs at Sultan Knish