Conservatism is a spheroid region, 705 meters in diameter.
Long ago and far away in smoke-filled dorm rooms and the bullpens of a couple of startup magazines, "Conservatism" may have referred to a principled school of thought based on the complexity of human nature and the difficulty of changing deeply-rooted human institutions.
But during my lifetime, in practice, American Conservatism has amounted to nothing more than an organized, radical political movement designed to promote the crackpot economic theories and foreign policy fantasies of plutocrats and neocons. The desires of this elite Inner Party were administered and enacted by a vast array of well-funded and interwoven Outer Party middle-managers -- think-tanks, magazines, teevee and radio networks, book publishers, etc. This caste extends from Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh to Michael Gerson and David Brooks.
The third leg of the stool is the GOP base voter. Good ol' Crazy Uncle Liberty. And the whole f*cking scheme from the top down has always depended on getting angry, stupid and often-racist Crazy Uncle Liberty so mesmerized by the propaganda the Outer Party gang generated that they not only willingly cut their own economic throats in order to benefit the Inner Party elite...but (and here's the evil genius part) they will lay the blame for the fact that they are bleeding to death on the people who are trying to get them to stop stabbing themselves in the neck.
Of course this scam only this works if the Pig People never clever-up sufficiently to notice that the con men who have been feeding them lie after lie after lie for the last 30 years are same con men running their economic abattoir.
No, that wouldn't do at all!
And so...Conservative media was born! A great, sprawling semi-permeable bubble of half-truths, flat-out lies, nostalgia-infused revisionist history , pseudo-intellectual doubletalk, economic bunkum and, most importantly, relentless hippie-punching. Because in order to maintain ideological cohesion against the relentless gravitational pull of facts and causality, the Conservative Disinformation Bubble quickly hardened into an Orwellian nightmare-come-to-life inside of which reality itself can be destroyed and remade with a wave of Rush Limbaugh's mighty hand --
OBrien silenced him by a movement of his hand. We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation — anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wish to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it. You must get rid of those nineteenth-century ideas about the laws of Nature. We make the laws of Nature.
But you do not! You are not even masters of this planet. What about Eurasia and Eastasia? You have not conquered them yet.
Unimportant. We shall conquer them when it suits us. And if we did not,what difference would it make? We can shut them out of existence. Oceania is the world.
-- and such a system cannot function without some terrible, crafty and nearly-indestructible External Villain on which the party can hang all the blame for the misery of its acolytes (From me, back in 2011, "Hating Goldstein")
Because the day-to-day ebb and flow of Conservative lies -- no matter how malevolent or jaw-droppingly ridiculous -- no longer matters to a Base that knows only two things: that Big Brother loves them and that Emmanuel Goldstein is to blame for all of their problems.
Which is why the entire system depends on Hating Goldstein. Because the whole filthy enterprise would fall apart if these God Fearing Patriots of the Right were ever forced to stop for even a moment and submit to an honest accounting of who has been right and who as has been wrong for the last generation or two.
Neither the Right nor the Center could survive such a Moment of Clarity, which is why so much of propaganda from both quarters is singularly devoted to Hating Liberals; why, especially in Conservative media outlets, such an enormous amount of energy is spent every single day ruthlessly and continuously marginalizing and demonizing opponents, using every name in the book from Commie to Terrorist-lover to Fifth Columnist.
Hating Goldstein has also proven to be an extraordinarily profitable business: a bottomless ATM machine for everyone from Andrew Sullivan and David Frum, to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, to a thousand other, lesser-lights who could never have made a living pulling an honest plow, but have managed to build very fine careers on punching hippies, pandering to swine and worshiping Reagan on cue...
Which brings us to death of Conservatism, which is what you and I are are really living through these days. Conservatism is dying because of the fatal miscalculation the Inner Party and the Outer Party made when they built the Conservative Disinformation Bubble. You see, in its early days, the Conservative Disinformation Bubble was big enough to accommodate, say, Andrew Sullivan palling around with Donald Rumsfeld:
The son of one of Rumsfeld's closest friends was a friend of mine, Sullivan says. We met in a gay bar. That's how I came to have dinner with Rummy and stay at his house in Taos. He liked to rag me about the blog: "You've done this for years and made no money. When will you make money?" And we fought about gays in the military. But when it came to war in Iraq, I was more bellicose than he was.
But the since the Conservative Disinformation Bubble was built for the expressed purpose of keeping inconvenient realities the hell away from the beautiful minds of True Conservatives, it was inevitable that control over the contours of the Conservative Disinformation Bubble -- the power to decide who was a True Conservative and who was a dirty RINO traitor -- would eventually wind up in the hands of the loudest and most reckless assholes in America.
First, the filthy double-crossers who spoke ill of George W. Bush -- the Greatest President in American History!! -- were exiled.
And the boundaries of the Conservative Disinformation Bubble shrank.
And then, as the Bush Administration went very publicly tits-up and support for Dubya stopped being a Soaring Eagle and became a Stinking Albatross, the entire Age of Dubya was shoveled into the Bush-Off Machine, never to be spoken of again.
And the perimeter of the Conservative Disinformation Bubble constricted radically once again.
At this point it is important to remember that anyone outside the Conservative Disinformation Bubble with an IQ above "flatworm" could clearly see who was running the Republican Party. You might remember the time when then-chairman of the Republican National Committee Chairman, Michael Steele, set one foot over the line and Rush Limbaugh kicked his candy-ass around the block. Guess which one of them went groveling to whom to apologize? (From Politico, 03/02/09)
Steele to Rush: I'm sorry
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an entertainer whose show can be incendiary.
My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh, Steele said in a telephone interview. I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership....
And Steele was not alone. Those of us outside the Conservative Disinformation Bubble still remember the chilling sight of one Republican after another shamelessly queuing up to kiss Limbaugh's ass as the shibboleth of True Conservatism. (from The Daily Beast, 02/04/09):
Consider the case of Phil Gingrey, a Republican representative from a safely conservative district in Georgia. After Limbaugh mocked Boehner and McConnell, Gingrey decided to take his stand, blasting Limbaugh (and Hannity and Newt Gingrich) for throwing bricks without paying the consequences. You know you're just on these talk shows and you're living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing, Gingrey told a reporter on January 27. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn't be or wouldn't be good leaders.
What happened next provided a perfect example of Limbaugh's dictatorial power. The next day, Gingrey, a former obstetrician, crawled on to The Rush Limbaugh Show to diagnose himself as suffering from foot-in-mouth disease. I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments, Gingrey pleaded, and I just wanted to tell you, Rush and all our conservative giants, who help us so much to maintain our base and grow it to get back this majority, that I regret those stupid comments.
But of course for those still inside the Conservative Disinformation Bubble, everything was going great!
The disloyal had been purged. A golden age of full employment for every wingnut-welfare halfwit with a word processor or a microphone had dawned. Fox News and the Koch Brothers were backing the Tea Party Scam to the hilt. And any Republican politician who didn't want to end up on the ash heap of history was now speaking in tongues about "death panels" and "birth certificates" and sprinting so far right they were only visible using special, infrared glasses:
The only thing they did not see -- could not see -- was that as the oppressive weight of reality kept growing, the batshit crazy inside the bubble had to keep getting batshit crazier to compensate.
Until one day we find that the same scumbag who led the ratf*cking brigade against Max Cleland in 2002 and wondered aloud why Media Matters doesn't get curb-stomped while he was inside the Bubble --
Aside from the fact a gentleman doesn't hit women, explain to me why the MMFA boys don't get curbstomped fortnightly?
-- is now a regular and respected guest on MSNBC and writer of such articles as this in The Hill
Trump and the cult of stupid
-- now that he has been squeezed out of the Bubble.
Ditto Rick Tyler.
On and on. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseum.
For those who have only recently been disgorged from the collapsing Conservative Disinformation Bubble, to suddenly find yourself the target of exactly the same kind of berserk, meathead rage you have been heaping on us dirty Liberals for 30 years must be very disorienting.
But for those of us who have lived outside the Bubble our whole lives? Who have raised every kind of alarm you can imagine for the last 30 years as the Bubble People wrecked the country we loved, while we were ignored and ostracized by the Beltway media and wildly outspent and out-bellowed by the Right?
Well for us this is the funniest f*cking thing we have ever seen.
crossposted from Driftglass