Thursday, July 06, 2006

News From the Front...
Sorry for my extended absence, but there has been quite a lot happening these days and I've been up to my armpits in it. Most of it has nothing to do with the ebb and flow of events, the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the juggling of career and free time. It has more to do with my state of mind than anything else, and the occasional thought that, perhaps, I'm screaming into the teeth of an Atlantic gale here.

I originally started this screed because, for lack of a better term, I had no other forum in which the tortured ramblings of my (seemingly) diseased mind could be safely put to paper, so to speak, without hurting anyone. It's a safety valve, of sorts, intended to relieve the pressure we all manage to store up inside our skulls. Sometimes, you just have to scream or you'll just go mad.

In this regard, the cyberspace revolution has been a godsend for most of us. You now have a place where you can spew your most vile mental lava with (almost-) complete anonymity, and without the stigma that automatically follows the expression of some unpopular position in....ahem...polite society. I always thought that perhaps the rest of the world was crazy and that I was a minority of one; an island of sanity in an insane world. Perhaps that's arrogant, perhaps it's even nuts, but with every passing day it becomes ever more true. The battles being fought here are every bit as vicious, every bit as deadly, as those being fought in Iraq.

The most recent battlefield has been in the murky depths of political chatboards and blogs. I don't claim to be an expert on either, nor can I admit to knowing all the principle players in the whole cyber-reporting regime. All I can do is contrast and compare, and use my intelligence (such as it is) to sift the cyber wheat from the chaff. Once again, I have been delving into the "conservative" forums and pleading for moderation from some of the more ardent Nazis...errr...conservatives out there.

I say moderation for a reason --- because there's very little to be found. Anywhere.

Every issue these days is founded upon an extreme position, and this goes for both sides of the political spectrum. On the Left, the foundation is always some form of base politics or childish, shallow affectation that passes for intellectuality. Whatever the issue --- high gas prices, the War on Terror, Nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, illegal immigration, entitlement reform, etc --- the Left's basic position is always underpinned by two unarguable, incontrovertible pillars: George W. Bush is evil incarnate, a mere puppet of Big Oil and in thrall to the Christian Taliban in the United States, and, only democrats (small "d" intentional) can be trusted to get anything right. There is never any intellectual proof put forward to support these two premises; they are supposed to be self-evident and require nothing in the way of reason and logic to prop them up. We're supposed to swallow them whole and just believe in them as a matter of faith, unquestionable, undeniable. This is the closest thing to a Leftist Ten Commandments as we're every likely to come.

Eventually, the intellectual gives way to the emotional and when that happens, there is no way to counter anything, no means by which ideas based upon intellectual premises can be put forward. The Leftist, especially the American Left, which holds religion in such contempt, has found it's own religion (Bush Hating) and uses it as an excuse for a Scorched-Earth campaign of reflexive anti-Bushism, and ultimately, anti-Americanism, of the sort that our Airliner-hijacking-pizzeria-exploding-rocket-launching-into-daycare-center Middle eastern brothers would recognize easily. The Left has become that which it fears most ; fascist. And not just fascist, but fanatically so, with a passion that is usually reserved for religion.

On the Right, a similar dynamic is in play.

Check out any "conservative" website these days and there are, basically, only five themes on display: anti-Leftism, anti-Immigrant, anti-Arab, self-immolation, and the Conservative Trifecta of God, Guns and Gays (I lump them together because they always seem to go hand-in-hand). You cannot discuss any of these things with someone who believes themselves to be conservative (usually because the voted for Reagan at least once, but who have no idea of what that actually means) without the argument coming back, eventually, to God, Guns and Gays.

The Right is become that which it fears most; the Soviet Union. Thought control, uniformity of ideological outlook, a religious faith in the destiny of the United States as God's chosen agent for good on earth, are all on display. Dispute any of these basic premises and be prepared to get slimed by the usual epithets: Lefty-lover, Fag-lover, Rockefeller Republican, RINO. The list goes on. Disagree with someone who believes that the ability to recite Bible verse word for word makes you politically conservative and watch how quickly they descend upon you, like the villagers in Frankenstein, torch in one hand, pitchfork in the other.

I now know for certain what I hadn't realized before, or at least was afraid to admit to myself: I'm not crazy, everyone else is.