There's always that moment of total cognitive dissonance that happens when people who happen to live in the real world, and not that right-wing ideological bubble we sometime call Planet Bizarro, listen in on the conversation as conservative True Believers like Mitt Romney babble their Fox-brewed talking points among each other. That's the component that makes Mitt's revealed videos of his "47 percent" rant to fellow Republicans so special.
The dissonance is different for different people. For me, it lay in this: I pay federal taxes. Lots of them. I have every year of my adult life. Moreover, I have never taken a dime of government largesse and am not in any sense dependent on it. And I would never vote for Mitt Romney or the Republicans or their whole every-dog-for-himself philosophy. Nor am I alone. Like millions of other smart Americans, I want a strong and complete social safety net, because I'm smart enough to understand that making sure everyone is cared for appropriately makes the whole of society better for everyone, me included. I might add, for the privileged particularly -- even though they're too stupid and selfish to get that.
But that's only a small component of the bigger picture here, which is pretty stark when viewed in perspective, namely: The conservative worldview is increasingly built on a foundation of complete and utter falsehoods, laughably provable, and irredeemably vicious in nature.
The Foxheads and their right-wing enablers have now closed ranks to proclaim, once again, that "Romney was right!" Which is pretty funny, when you think about it: After all, it was clearly Romney regurgitating an oft-repeated Fox News falsehood, as Media Matters lays out in detail, that we saw on that video.
You can see the epistemological loop closing in on itself, so that they now are just talking among themselves on their own planet, believing only their own lies as a bizarre version of fabricated reality.
And it creates a quasi-eliminationist mentality among these True Believers. Romney and his fellow Republicans not only really believe that these people's views should be dismissed, but that their views should not count at all.
My favorite iteration came when Steve Doocy not only claimed that 47 percent of the American public pays no taxes at all, but suggested that this status might be reasonable cause for them to lose the right to vote.
I'm sure, however, that Doocy would make an exception for the 7,000 millionaires who paid no taxes at all.
The best part of all this, though, is that the whole "47 percent pay no taxes" meme is a lie. David Leonhardt at the New York Times demolished it two yeas ago:
The 47 percent number is not wrong. The stimulus programs of the last two years — the first one signed by President George W. Bush, the second and larger one by President Obama — have increased the number of households that receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.
But the modifiers here — federal and income — are important. Income taxes aren’t the only kind of federal taxes that people pay. There are also payroll taxes and investment taxes, among others. And, of course, people pay state and local taxes, too.
Even if the discussion is restricted to federal taxes (for which the statistics are better), a vast majority of households end up paying federal taxes. Congressional Budget Office data suggests that, at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes. The number 10 is obviously a lot smaller than 47.
Moreover, that doesn't even include the bigger picture, which includes a wide range of non-federal taxes: