The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names
Everybody has one, at least. The bellicose friend who is the personification of Moynihan’s Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts dictum. You can attempt a discussion, but it’s an exercise in frustration as they rebut anything you say with a pithy St. Ronnie quote. If you’re lucky you can salvage the friendship by sticking to discussions of something trivial such as football, but in today’s hyper-connected, social networked world, generally you end up with their ignorance billboarded in your face every time you log on, until finally you snap and delete them from your life.
fool don’t see…Tryin’ hard to recreate
What had yet to be created
The greatest accomplishment of the conservative movement is the creation of an alternate reality. It is what drives everything else they do. In this world tax cuts raise revenue, god-less heathens are fighting a war on Christmas, and homos want to bugger their kids. They listen to the skillfully presented propaganda of Wall Street and the military and steadfastly defend borrowing money to pay to millionaires while their own kids don’t have health care coverage, they champion the intelligence of Palin and the honor of Bush. And they watch crap like this, and take it seriously:
But what a fool believes he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away
Religion was created as an attempt by a terrified people to make order of a world they couldn’t understand or control. If a flood washed away the village, then it was the wrath of an angry god. When the crops don’t come in as expected, then next year we’ll kill a goat as an offering. Completely illogical, and utterly indefensible.
And you’d no more save that goat by reasoned debate than you will win an argument with a true believer- because deep down, they know what you’re saying is true, and they hate you for it.
Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
I recently lost a friend under these very circumstances. He was a “hoo-ah!” yarping supporter of our illegal wars – but had marched against Vietnam when it was his time to serve. He hasn’t earned enough money since I’ve known him to pay taxes (that’s his wife’s job, I guess), but he’ll argue the Laffer curve until you want to slap him. He sat on his hands during the reign of Bush the Tyrant, but elect a democrat and suddenly he cares about bailouts and civil liberties, when Obama is simply Bush on steroids. He lives in a Wonderland of lies without the incredulity of Alice. He lives literally on the ruined shores of the Gulf of Mexico, but its “crazed environmentalists who hate capitalism” that dumped all that oil in the water, not a greedy multinational corporation. He lives in a state gutted by big money Ponzi schemes but our current economic disaster can be traced to riff-raff getting home loans from ACORN. He considers the treasonous outing of Valerie Plame to be a “non issue” but wants the Wikileaks guy to hang.
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing
Deep down my former friend knows that what he believes is nonsense. But to admit it would mean facing truths about a world that scares and frustrates him- a world that operates not on mythology but on facts, not on the faith of Fox but the voice of millions who live with their eyes- and minds- open. And every time I would argue with him, I stepped foot into Wonderland.
It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.
Alice in Wonderland
Embrace reality. Foist off fantasy. Be here now, as the Buddhists say. I’ll miss my friend. I hope his delusions can sustain him.
Because they are killing the rest of us.