"But even the failure of Obamaism will probably not be enough to win them back as long as splenetic conservatives feel they can dictate who can join their little club. Pro-Choice? Not in my house! Pro-Gay marriage? Surely, you joke. Immigration reform? Round ‘em up! War on Terror? Kill the Muslims!"
I know the people you've run into, most certainly online and at Republican organizations.
I think they need to be differentiated in some part from those cultural conservatives who are very deeply committed to the cause. I've gone to a university filled with former homeschoolers, and met parents who thought it was really healthy for their kids to spend their entire childhood and a good portion of their adult life only at home, listening only to their parents (I'm not putting homeschoolers down here. Notice that I'm critiquing something specific).
There are at least, then, two forms of idiocy in cultural conservatism: there's the active form, which you've rightly pointed out is aggressive and hateful, and then there's a passive form.
The passive form is interesting because the people who are into it will read things like "First Things" and "The New Criterion" - they're not dumb, not by a long shot. But they end up in conspiracy theories and all sorts of kookery "intellectually." They read more intelligent things, but they don't read them well, but rather dogmatically.
In terms of dealing with both of these groups, both of whom have a "we're more Catholic than the Pope"-type attitude, there's a simple solution: work around them, keep doing whatever you're doing but swell the ranks. You can put them in situations where they can't act like 10 year olds who didn't get their way.
For those of us who are right-wing bloggers, the major challenge is to get beyond the same-old audience. You can even see how the right-wing blogosphere creates this problem: we'll all post on the same thing, and the same commenter will post nearly the same comment on 3 or 4 different threads in order to see where he can get a response the fastest.
We're not DailyKos. We can't just hit a fever pitch of rage and maintain it. We need something else: i.e. if we're really dedicated to the free market, how about a crash course in economics by someone online, in blog entries? Anything that might get a more general sort of reader to go "hey, there's something to be learned, the world isn't just about me venting."
In terms of long term change irl for "splenetic conservatives," it's not going to happen. It always feels like it can because they articulate so much that's exactly right, but the truth is that we're at battle with another sort of fundamentalism, one that's more dangerous. The right to vote for the Left has become the right to be ignorant - "I feel Obama is good, so I have the right to exercise my uninformed opinion and oppress the rest of my country." We need a way of undermining that cheap populism, and I think we have it: inasmuch as we know things as individuals, we have much to share and give.Comment Posted By ashok On 25.01.2009 @ 09:02
It seems to me like we talk about the Left's meltdown every so often - they were a shell of themselves at Bill's impeachment, they were reduced to conspiracy theory at the 2000 election aftermath, they were reduced to ranting & screaming with the emergence of Howard Dean...
They haven't melted. This is how they play politics. If you want the really deep reason why this is, then you have to be prepared for the fact that those of us on the Right aren't free from blame. My latest discusses this in full, ironically enough.
btw - you have a very nice blog, and I hope to keep up with it. It's a fun read.Comment Posted By ashok On 29.01.2006 @ 04:06
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