Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Atrios, Brad at Sadly, No!, and (most enjoyably) Roy at Alicublog are among the bloggers who've been having fun talking about the new Instapundit-endorsed novel by Orson Scott Card, in which "heroic red-state protagonists ... draw on their Special Ops training to take down ... extremist leftists" who've seized control of New York City after a terrorist attack.

Atrios writes:

... I've found it to be a fairly consistent them among many gun nut libertarians (who I call "might makes right" libertarians) that they fantasize about the breakdown of civil order and the rise of Road Warrior style society. It's weird. Especially since most of them are such losers.

Why would that be? Why would such people -- and many other conservatives as well -- actually fantasize about societal beakdown?

I think you can find part of the answer in an exchange between two of my favorite commenters, in response to a post of mine about a right-wing preacher who fantasizes about an attack on Iran that will lead to Armageddon centered on Israel:

Aimai said:

well, I think about this the way I think about the gay marriage issue. Here in MA its not that the anti gay bigots are worried that gay marriage means the end of civilization--they are afraid that it *doesn't* mean that. They've had two years of gay marriage and the world hasn't spun out of its orbit and none of the hideous things they've been ranting about to each other have come to pass. That makes their whole world view look pretty useless. Similarly, I think, whatever fantasy these religious nuts are entertaininga bout the world as it is, or sex, or israel, or whatever the most important thing is that their obsession be proved to *matter* in the world. I occasionally watched pat robertson or one of the other goons, back in the day, and what I noticed most was the insistence on the facticity of biblical prophecy. He lectured, on his show, like a dime store college professor. I thought at the time that the certainity and the almost tedious focus on maps/details/dates/numbers and sins was meant to help anchor his followers against a tide of random history and against the meaninglessness of their own lives.

D. Sidhe replied:

... It's apparently the conservative mindset--are they going to feel somehow cheated if the democrats *don't* try to impeach Bush or surrender to the terrorists? They always seemed so pissed off that Hillary never held Pride Day parties in the Rose Garden, or that Clinton actually kept giving them so much of what they wanted. On some level, I really do have to wonder if they want to feel oppressed because it means they're right enough that people are trying To Shut Them Up.

You hear it a lot from the creationists, where they explain that the only reason anyone is trying to keep them out of the schools is that we don't want the kids to know they're right, and hey, you know, they persecuted Jesus too, we'll be vindicated just like he was.

It's like drama queens, taken to the absolute extreme....

Why cataclysm porn? There's your answer, or at least part of it: These people need to believe that they're the ones who are staving off cataclysm, or who will stave it off if it approaches, or who'll put an end to it if it arrives. And they desperately need to believe cataclysm can come, because, as aimai says, "the most important thing is that their obsession" -- with guns, with opposing "Islamofascism," with opposing immigration, with denouncing secularism, et cetera -- "be proved to *matter* in the world." And they crave the feeling of being hated.

Their lives would be meaningless otherwise.

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