August 10, 2009

You had to figure that the moment you saw that "concerned father" harassing John Dingell at the town-hall meeting on health care in Michigan, he'd be showing up eventually on Fox News. After all, it's what they do.

Sure enough, he was on Fox's America's Newsroom this morning with Megyn Kelly. He was a bit nervous, but he managed to still say some extraordinarily incendiary things -- not to mention reveal that he's a "deather":

Sola: The harm that is being done is being done by this administration and the Congress. They want to foist on us a health-care plan that they themselves will not take. I challenge Barack Obama, members of Congress -- of both parties -- if you believe so much in this plan, then you use it on your family before you put it on our families. What you are doing is sentencing our families to death.

We lose the right to life. Old people are discarded. Those who cannot fend for themselves are discarded. There is no liberty under your plan. And that's the problem -- the people have seen it, the people know it, you can't hide it from the American people anymore.

If I'm a thug, fine. Don't call my son a thug, and don't call those old ladies and old men that are senior citizens like I am, thugs, and a mob. We are not. We are American citizens who want one thing: To be heard before you put us down.

If you want a good example of why we are where we are on this health-care debate, this one is prime: It shows just how deeply a segment of the American population is willing to believe things that simply are not true, provably so.

These are people who believe it's objectively true that the Obama administration's health-care reforms will lead to a mass killing of the elderly and denial of treatment for Obama's opponents. If you want to know why teabaggers are so worked up, this is why: They really believe this stuff.

This kind of alienation from fact-based reality was a significant component of the dynamic behind the "Patriot"/militia movement of the 1990s. It's embodied by the selective "skepticism" of such folks: Anything the runs counter to their belief system is dismissed as "the official story" which is only believed by "gullible" folks (and indeed is more evidence of the ongoing conspiracy), while any kind of outrageous nonsense that supports their belief system is seized up on as "secret truth".

It was a decidedly unhealthy trait when manifested among a relatively small group of people like the Patriots, because these beliefs formed the foundation for a broad range of radical extremism, including violence and armed standoffs with federal authorities.

The prospects of it now becoming a common pathology among the general conservative-movement population -- thanks to its open support from folks like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich (not to mention Fox News) -- are very disturbing indeed.

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