Springtime for Grifters

As usual, Krugman writes responsibly and truthfully. And he’s on target when he points out that the conservatives don’t care that their leaders lie shamelessly. These folks call you and me, who think in an open way, “steeple” who unthinkingly follow the “lame stream” media.

Krugman points out correctly that no one can break through this infinite mental do-loop. How did this happen? What makes the mindset of these radical “conservatives” (how Robert Taft, Everett Dirksen, William Buckley and others would feel their skin crawl!) do impervious to logic and facts? Well, it’s not an accident.

The Tea Partiers and so-called “conservative Christians” inhabit an ideological world which is defined over-against the secular world of science and reason. They operate in two realms, each independent of the other, with a special set of rules and conventions which don’t interpenetrate. For them the rules that pertain to the religious domain, and the rules that pertain to the public/secular domain, are mutually exclusive and belong only in their proper domain. So logical thought, historical proof and scientific conclusions are understood to be irrelevant, even inimical to the truths of the religious domain.

Historically there has been a hermetical seal between the two realms. The far right of Christianity would describe itself as “in the world, but not of the world.” They were content to let us labor in our errors, as long as they could segregate themselves from those errors and remain unsullied by them.

But in the 1970s this convenient arrangement ended for two reasons. The emergence of the women’s movement, the advent of the sexual revolution supported by new methods of contraception and relaxed attitudes regarding abortion, and the increased sexualization of the media, particularly movies and television, seemed to the Christian right as a kind of onslaught that threatened to permeate and undermine the religious domain.

This led the Christian right to mount a counteroffensive, breaching the seal between the religious domain and the secular domain, a kind of war to neutralize the forces that seemed to be arrayed against religion. The counteroffensive proceeded on two levels. First, particular targets, such as abortion, were identified strategies devised to defeat them. Second, efforts to conquer and dominate the public square were mounted so that the values and institutions which had come to rule public life could be marginalized. Anyone remember Jerry Falwell? Or Dick Nixon and the “Silent Majority?” Or Key 73?

I’ll tell you what I think was the great mistake moderates and liberals made in their thus far futile response to this roiling pot of intellectual and spiritual confusion, and I’ll tell what I think may be a way out of this mess, in my next post/blog.

—Kerry Baker

Read the referenced article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/30/opinion/springtime-for-grifters.html

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