This isn't anything new, but it bears repeating: Conservatism is a fantasy. The ideology is based entirely on fantasy. They buy-in to this myth about how the world works, and everything else is forced to fit into that fantasy. I don't say that as a partisan puke spewing out venom at my opponent. This is the straight-up truth and is completely undeniable. Conservatives aren't evil or stupid people (not most of them, anyway). They're simply misled by a pleasing fantasy that feels better than the reality they're faced with daily. It's self-contained and gives justification for them to do exactly what it is that they want to do...whatever that is.
They're like an overweight person who's fallen for a quickie diet which lets them eat all they want and still lose weight. We need to show them the pounds they've put on. We need to show them the reality.
And we all know what that fantasy entails. Things are worse now than they've ever been; and to make things better, all we need to do is undo the "unnatural" things that screwed everything up. Additionally, everything will work itself out by natural forces, if we let them, and that man is mucking everything up by trying to stop natural forces. Things are as they should be, and anything we're doing goes against what should be. And oddly enough, that goes for what man does too. Man is part of nature, they reason, and so pollution, man-made extinctions, war, etc., are all parts of nature which man should not interfere with. And if they'll admit that the globe is warming, they will insist that this too is a natural force, and that man needn't worry about it.
So basically, man can do anything he wants...except for stopping other men from doing what is "natural". Of course, none of this applies to low-brow criminal activities, which should be stopped; but white collar crime is ok as it's part of nature and is dealt with by the all-powerful market forces.
And this fantasy is a complete package. Each conservative tailor-makes it for their own specific beliefs, but the overall remedies are the same; like any get-quick-rich scheme or insta-diet. If you do "X", you'll look better, feel better, and receive more cash than you'll be able to spend. And if "X" happens to be the exact things that these people already wanted, all the better. The Ice-Cream Diet takes the form of a political belief, and it's ruining the figure of our great nation.
A Pleasing Fantasy
And it is a very pleasing fantasy. It dictates that all of the good things that you have in life are due to your own hardwork and diligence. As if we did something to deserve to be born a white person in America. It wasn't good fortune that made me well-fed and well-educated. That's just how things were supposed to turn out. And if you don't like it, then maybe you shouldn't have been born to lazy people who don't deserve good stuff. Or, if you weren't born to lazy people, you're just suffering from "white guilt" and need to stop blaming yourself and start blaming everyone else.
Because it also states that anything bad that happens to us is due to outside elements which aren't doing what they're supposed to do. Whatever happens, it's not our fault. If you can't get a job, blame the Mexicans or Blacks. And if your kids don't respect you and become drug users, that's Hollywood's fault. If your wife is unhappy with her lot in life, that's because of the feminists putting ideas into her head. And unwinnable wars? That could only be due to traitorous libs who undermine our troops and give aid to the enemy to damage conservatives politically. And so on. Everything bad is someone else's fault, and you can bet your bottom dollar that that "someone else" is a liberal.
In fact, to most conservatives, the term "liberal" just means anyone who does anything stupid, evil, or bad. If someone sues a business for their own personal mistake, they're a liberal. If a youth does something wicked or disgraceful, they were raised by liberals. And liberals are to be blamed for the radical Muslim hatred of the West and for sympathizing with radical Muslims and encouraging their radical behavior. To conservatives, liberals are America's bogeyman. An all-purpose nemesis whose only concern is perpetrating evil and ruining America, for reasons which never need to be identified. As one famous conservative stated, "No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."
And the last piece of that puzzle is that it gives justification for all the bad things they do. It's ok to ignore the poor, to pollute the air, to wage religious wars, and to deny basic human rights to "enemies"; because that is what it is natural for us to do. Conservatives and America are blameless for anything they do, and all behavior is justified. These people are truly the moral relativists of the day.
So who can deny such an awesome reality? One that gives you rationalization to fulfill all of your worst character traits, while blaming others for your problems...including the ones directly attributable to your behavior? It is extremely addictive, and once someone chooses to believe in this pleasing fantasy, it is difficult to wean them from it.
Self-Doubt As A Positive Force
And are conservatives the only ones who fall victim to this? Of course not. We all do it. We all believe stories which are convenient to our life-theories. We all are too prone to dismiss bad news stories, and automatically assume that there are extenuating circumstances which disprove "bad" stories. We all fall victim to that. That's why we shouldn't trust ourselves too much.
Man is a rational animal, but even more, we are a rationalizing animal. We put order where there is no order. That's how movies work. That's how magic works. That's how stories work. That's the source of conspiracy theories. Our mind finds connections and relationships, whether they exist or not.
And this is generally a good thing. It's good that we can "connect the dots", and bring order out of chaos. It's good that we can be discriminating in the information we use, and can distinguish real information from the background noise. But it's something that should be watched against. Doubt is a powerful thing, and it's something that we should never leave behind. It's good to act confident and secure, but it's also important to have our moments of doubt, when we double and triple check our beliefs and ways of thinking. No one is immune to sloppy thinking, and it is often difficult to know when you fall victim to it.
And that's what separates us from our conservative brethren. They have their complete fantasy, and it loathes self-doubt. For them, doubt is weakness. Doubt can destroy. And rightly so, because if they learned to doubt and double-check what they were told, they could no longer believe it. It can only be believed on faith, because it's not real. They can't pick and choose what facts to believe. It's a carefully structured dream. They have to have their facts filtered by Fox and Rush and the rest of them, and nothing else is admissible as evidence. Because one stray fact can bring the whole thing tumbling down.
Morning In America
And that's the thing. Because their ideology is based entirely on fantasy, there is no real structure holding it up. Anything can destroy it. If they start seeing Bush for the incompetent bullying coward he really is, it all falls apart. If they start seeing the war in Iraq as unwinnable and based upon fraud, it all falls apart. If they realize that taxcuts can be dangerous, or that our deficits are crippling, or that poor people deserve help and can become better citizens; it all falls apart. Because that's how fragile their fantasy is. It has no real foundation. It must be entirely self-contained.
And it will fall apart, if we operate carefully. If we stop giving them an opportunity to lash out at us, and stop attacking and insulting them. If we can get them to listen to us, it will fall apart. It won't happen immediately, but once there's a crack in the wall, it will all eventually fall. And the victim will soon be disillusioned and angered. But the main thing is that we can't allow ourselves to be baited by their defense mechanisms. Their fantasy is self-contained and has oodles of boobytraps which can cause us to lash out at them and allow them to ignore reality. We can't let that happen. A pageful of truths can be completely dismissed by one misplaced insult or misstatement.
And I believe that the best way to do that is to get these people to start doubting their information sources. To stop trusting Fox and Rush, and realize that they've been fooled. And they won't do that from open confrontation. If you confront people, they will defend anything. No. We need to be friends with them, and not allow bias or hatred to blind them to the truth. These people are sleepwalking through life, and we need to carefully wake them up without freaking them out. All we need to do is to let doubt creep in. Everything else will follow afterwards. These people are living in a dream. It is time for us to wake them from that dream. It's time for morning in America.