The whole health care fiasco has certainly revealed the nastiness of a segment of the American society. And yes, they may be bought and bussed to town hall meetings by big industry groups, but that does not change the fact of the existence of infantile Randoids and just plain ignoramuses who think they own nothing to the government and should not pay taxes. Basically, these are people who do not see a need for the social contract and do not have a sense of being part of society. The only community these people seem to recognize is their family or religious / political in-group. As much as they bandy copies of the Constitution around, they lack a sense of collectivity and keep themselves busy defining themselves narrowly as the only “real” Americans and everyone else as anti-American.
It also seems that most of the behavior seen on TV (I know, I know) is (pardon me the pop Freud) id-driven: rage that can hardly contain itself, absent logic and contradictory stances, mob behavior.
What I see in this is the absolute triumph of neo-liberal philosophy boiled down to infantile elements (and I would argue that the extreme religiosity of the American society fosters such infantilism of thinking in black and white) to be shouted out at public events. Politicians on that side of the political spectrum have played on, when not actively promoted, such mob behavior. It has all come at the expense of knowledge of political ideas (be they conservative or liberal or else) and have filled that void with a combination of extreme individualism (slightly extended to family) and religious fundamentalism which leads to a form of sociopathy that is toxic to civil society.
When these two elements are combined, they replace political ideas with a moralizing and punitive outlook on policy: public policy should sanction and punish deviant behavior: don’t let the sluts get away with their sluttitude through contraception or abortion, don’t let the gays be gay, no health care for fatties and other people with disgusting behavior and so on and so forth. No government assistance for all these freaks, only for the “good” people, and even them can be taken care of by their neighbors or Christian charity.
The reference to charity has the neat benefit of not only pretending to be kind but hides the fact that in a charitable relationship, the donor can set criteria as to whom to help and make demands on recipients (stop smoking, give up your child for adoption, etc). In this view then, truth does not matter. Reality does not matter. What replaces it is a thoroughly moralized view of the world where everything and anything is assessed based on its acceptability to the moral standards based on a nonexistent substance and simple binary oppositions and a catastrophic view of the world (not surprising from people who believe in the Rapture and anxiously await it).
No one should be surprised by this in a society awash in childish religiosity (has anyone forgotten such TV gems as Touched By an Angel and pretty much everything made-for-TV movie on the Hallmarks channel?), refusal of the most basic scientific tenets. If you don’t believe in evolution but believe in black helicopters, it is not a big leap to believe in death panels. Childish religiosity fosters not just ignorance of internal matters but also of other realities of the world, such as the well-functioning health care systems that other developed nations enjoy and how social democracy produces healthy societies without fear of God.
In combination with extreme individualism, this produces a very structurally violent society leading to high levels of interpersonal violence and punitive policies targeted as undesirable categories. Indeed, what is often deplored by such mobs is the fact that some people are NO LONGER being punished for their deviance, or at least less stigmatized (such as single mothers and LGBTs). The laments of political correctness simply mean the frustration of no longer being able to stigmatize perceived deviants through discourse and action.
The aforementioned ignorance is also on display by the lack of awareness of what the government does, exactly. Anyone stating that the government does nothing because they are self-sufficient should be told that they can no longer do the following:
- Turn on the tap to get water… buy all your water (drinking, washing, showering) in plastic bottles
- Flush… find another “individual” mechanism to get rid of your waste
- Flick the switch to get electricity… buy your own private generator
- Use the roads
- Use the US dollar… use IOUs with merchants, see how that works out
- Enjoy public parks
- Use only private systems for education and health care (and even those should get their own water, power, etc…)
Better yet, get to a state and secede as Governor Perry suggested a while back, as a remedy against the evils of federal monies. Once you’ve seceded, then the US government should do the following:
- Cut that state off the power grid
- Cut that state off the water mains
- Destroy of the interstate highways that criss-cross the state along with rail tracks
- Destroy all other infrastructure such as bridges, power plants, water sanitation plants, etc.
- Impose taxes and tariffs on trade with the state, if that state wishes to acquire foreign currencies (such as the US $$) and see if any non-state company will do business with the state
- Require visas from state denizens if they wish to come to the US and make sure these bastards don’t come illegally
- Remove all public schools, colleges and universities and public health care facilities
- Close all government offices
And when the state’s population is plagued by dysentery and lives in the dark and the cold with no Internet access or cable or satellite (but guns!), they can smoke signal the UN to receive humanitarian aid, to which the UN should reply “F!@#$ you!”.