Thursday, September 27, 2012

Polarization Watch: Inter-Party Marriage

People are increasingly against it, of a certain party.

I don't think this stuff is trivial. I think we are on a trajectory to become a truly divided country. I also believe that this is largely the work of Rush Limbaugh and his progeny, Fox "News" et. al.* Limbaugh stumbled onto the fact that he could get rich, be revered, and get to feel important by spewing vicious, hate-filled non-sequiturs. That shit is like crack to a certain type of person, and the market for it grew until you get what we now have: one deranged party, and the other increasingly fed up with and derisive of the other's derangement.

When I was a lad, Republicans used to say that one of America's virtues was that our political culture was more British than French--that is, more staid, mutually respectful, fond of compromise. (This was, in part, a way of dissing Democrats, who used to have an alarming habit of taking to the streets in protest.)

Yeah, that view is gone. Now the GOP pursues a scorched-earth policy...and, what's worse, a scorched-mind policy. They are willing to adopt the propaganda tactics of Limbaugh, polluting their followers' minds, in order to achieve their political goals. And, worse, they're not just feeding them false beliefs, they're cultivating irrationality in them, making them more inclined to act irrationally, less likely to reason responsibly.

Limbaugh and his heirs have created a monster. Everybody else seems to think that this monster will not destroy the nation. I worry, in my darker moments, that it will.

*Yes, yes. It's funny that I basically say "we're too polarized--it's their fault." I've written about that point before. But, in any country in which one party has gone nuts, the non-nutty parties will be put in the position of having to say things like that. Such things are not infrequently true. To harp on that point is to act like we're high schoolers in debate class.


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