Friday, December 04, 2009


In response to a lot of stuff -- Sarah Palin's birtherism, theories that ACORN stole 9 million votes to tip the election to Obama -- Adam Serwer writes:

...some Republicans have show that they're completely willing to embrace nutty ideas absent any empirical evidence supporting them. Conservatives who embrace these ideas have become part of a kind of oppositional culture that denies certain facts as a matter of self-definition, an act of defiance against an oppressive wider culture -- not unlike the Nation of Islam in the '60s believing white people were created 6,000 years ago by a mad scientist named Yakub.

And what do you know, here's Jat Nordlinger of National Review Online arguing that "teabagger" is such a horrible word that, like the N-word, it should be banished from society except when used by members of the in-group. To that Adam adds:

The oppositional elements of black culture developed over centuries of slavery, racially oppressive violence, segregation, and a campaign of philosophy and pseudoscience designed to deny black humanity that has morphed into the more subtly essentialist messages we see today. Oppositional culture is kind of like an emotional reflex: A society says you're worthless, so you question, deny, or subvert the values of that society....

... elements of black oppositional culture that conservatives single out as pathological -- conspiracy theories about AIDS for example -- developed in part because of centuries of oppression.

All that happened to conservatives was that they lost an election.

That's where I disagree. The right has a list of grievances as long as your arm. To be sure, these have to do primarily with being snickered at by liberals for their tastes in food, music, and patriotic accountrements, and maybe not getting their books reviewed in The New York Times, so, no, the grievance list doesn't quite add up to the equivalent of the Middle Passage plus slavery plus Jim Crow plus lynching plus ongoing racism. So they'll throw in the Civil War and Reconstruction to try to get the ledger close to even; a lot of them still resent what happened then, even though Southerners managed to turn the tables completely in recent years and established near-total control of the government, as well as considerable economic strength, even while being disproportionate sucklers at the government teat. But they don't care if you don't think they're hard done by. They think they are, and every time you mock a Deep South accent, they regard it as the equivalent of thirty lashes with a bullwhip. And they are hell-bent on getting payback

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