Bombarding Reason, the Conservative Strategy for Winning the War of Ideas


    When I take a step back, give myself a chance to breathe, and take a deep look at our current political environment, the contours of certain political groups become even more ghastly in their utter disregard for compassion, understanding, respect, and the like. Many of these groups, or at least the individuals who comprise these groups, assembled at what has been crowned “CPAC,” otherwise known as “Careless People Attacking Coloreds.” Okay, you got me, that’s not really what CPAC stands for. CPAC stands for “Conservative Political Action Conference” (no, I won’t hyperlink to their website!).

    But in a sense, that is really what CPAC stands for, attacking people of color, attacking established science, attacking society’s disadvantaged. America has seen this before, though. America has always had political groups and individuals who just can’t get enough of ‘the way things were’, of an imaginary and ideal past that America has unmoored itself from.

    What’s so disturbing about CPAC and its faithful adherers in our own time is the sheer toxicity and hatred that is infused in so many of the speeches, statements, comments, and one-liners AND the amount of mainstream support that is either passively or actively given by Americans.  

    Former Attorney General for George Bush, Michael Mukasey, had the following to say while seated at a CPAC panel:

    “You may not be interested in Islamism, but Islamism is interested in you… The vast majority of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims adhere to a view of their religion that agrees on the need to impose Sharia, or Islamic law, on the world.”

    Aside from where Mr. Mukasey got his statistics from, the mere fact that most of America seems to shrug its shoulders or even nod its head in agreement at such comments is a rather disturbing phenomenon.

    Now, I myself have no statistics to say this or that many Americans agree with this or that CPAC statement. I’m basing my conclusions off of the discussions I’ve had and overheard with many folks from many walks of life and it’s staggering just how little opposition statements like Mukasey’s arouse in many of these interactions. It’s staggering just how much many of these biases exemplified by Mukasey’s statement above have appeared to seep into the minds of even some of the most fair-minded Americans.

    If conservatives are not winning overwhelmingly at the polls, they seem to be winning on the ideas front by the sheer loudness and quantity of their hair-brained messages. Their ideas appear to be tainting the judgments of even the most intelligent people in our country through their sheer repetition and the crusading severity with which they are espoused by their proponents.  

    • AndySchmooklerforCongress

      Standing up and denouncing such statements, as you’re doing here, is important. We need a lot more of it.

      Part of what’s disgraceful is the bigotry. But perhaps still more telling, in relation to “just how little opposition statements like Mukasey’s arouse,” is the apparent incapacity to recognize nonsense.

      The absurdity of the idea that a tiny minority, regarded hostilely by many Americans, might somehow impose their religious laws on this country boggles the mind. Yet this idea continues to be used, presumably with good propagandistic effect, to arouse fear and hatred in a non-trivial part of the American population.  

      That there’s no way it could happen should be obvious to anyone whose picture of how the world (and specifically America) works should be immediately apparent. Yet there it is– again.

      Al Gore’s book THE ASSAULT ON REASON comes to mind. (Too bad he had not found his stronger voice back in the campaign of 2000.)

      The capacity for thought on the part of citizens is indispensable to a well-functioning democracy. The force on the right has worked for a generation or more now to degrade that capacity.  We need every voice to be raised, at every opportunity, to re-instill rational thought, critical thought, evidence-based thought, into our public discourse.

      Otherwise, we get half the country disregarding and disagreeing with the climate scientists, and we get a political discourse dominated by a discussion of a “debt crisis” and “spending crisis” that do not exist.

      We should let no nonsense pass unchallenged.