Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Women's Rights
“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Ronald Reagan
My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub. Grover Norquist
Disclaimer: I am neither a fan of Ronald Reagan, or Grover Norquist. Ironically, Saint Ronnie's almost prophetic regarding his current republican successor.
Where Johnson, Nixon, and Carter had expanded the Role of Government economically, Reagan wanted to shrink it by cutting:
1. The growth of government spending.
2. Both income taxes and capital gains taxes.
3. Regulations on businesses.
4. The expansion of the money supply.
In other words, Reagan is just laying down the groundwork for what would become Reaganomics (trickle down, supply-side - later disavowed by David Stockman) in this quote, he isn't saying government is the problem in general (and indeed his record shows he used government liberally at times despite his general small government message; in fact, his critical fans will tell you Reaganomics would have worked if it wasn't for all the other government spending!)
Today people often treat the quote as if it applied to any issue of government, but Reagan didn't say it that way, and Reagan didn't govern that way. Source: Fact/Myth dot com
Two poignant excerpts:
"It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant.
"Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Wiemar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself."
On the generic point: To be a modern conservative is to spend your life inside what amounts to a cult, barely exposed to outside ideas or even ways of speaking. Inside that cult, contempt for ordinary working Americans is widespread — remember Eric Cantor, the then-House majority leader, celebrating Labor Day by praising business owners. So is worship of wealth. And it can be hard for cult members to remember that you don’t talk that way to outsiders.
An article appeared on Huffington Post in 2011 during the Obama administration by Bryant Welch, Clinical Psychiatrist/Attorney/Author:
The danger Fox News poses to America is not that it is a biased or partisan arm of the Republican Party, as the Obama Administration contends. Fox is a danger because it is a cult and uses the same destabilizing psychological techniques cults use to undermine the independent functioning of minds they want to control.
Once unleashed, these cult-like techniques can ultimately take on a life of their own and become very dangerous, especially to the most important of all American freedoms, the freedom of thought. The most precise term for these techniques is mind control.
Unfortunately, by focusing on Fox News’ bias, the Administration diverts attention from the true problem. Fox is a powerful system of mind control that makes a mockery of the principles of self-reliance and individual responsibility for which Fox adherents ostensibly stand.
There were breathless pronouncements of "demographics is destiny" when the Census showed the United States becoming less White Anglo Saxon Protestant-Cisgenger (WASP-C) Male and more like the rest of the diverse planet. The backlash was most toxic and directed at the country's first (and so far only) African American president. He was mocked as Hitler, voodoo doctor (Obamacare) and hung or burnt in effigy. The Tea Party - now the Orwellian "Freedom Caucus" - were his racist, motivated opponents. "Where's the birth certificate?" Answered in short and long form, it didn't matter. Their minds were made up an alien occupied the White House. Jordan Davis, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin et al were simply sad proxies for hatred of him. His family was constantly insulted by bare arms, tan suits and Grey Poupon faux controversies as well as by the toxic misappropriation of Psalms 109:8 - 10. This is the foundation of continuous government shutdown as led by the Neo Confederate Christian Fascist Republican Party: Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and its titular head, Orange Caligula - essentially the head of less than one third of the nation. The dead ferret-topped head of the former Party of Lincoln apparently asked his former lawyer to lie to Congress about the Moscow tower project while in office. You cannot expect governance from those avowed to destroy it.
The above quotes from Reagan and Norquist have become a kind of scripture and orthodoxy. It is a faith that doesn't need to be verified by research, facts or reality. They are mantras to be repeated and memorized, not debated for their merits. They are reinforced nightly on it's cult insular networks, like Fox, all likely as 94% white. They specifically feed their audiences what they want them to believe and what they themselves want to hear in a perfected feedback loop. It is no coincidence they fear begetting oblivion. The suppression of their birthrates might have assignable causes like: the gun deaths in the US; the opioid epidemic, the impact of automation, free markets and globalization and jobs that used to be plentiful getting outsourced, increasing the incidents of depression, substance abuse and suicide. Assigning your woes to "brown people" is intellectually dishonest, lazy, myopic and doesn't solve your current circumstances. But nihilists have no solutions: they just do things.
The modern Republican Party sadly can't be reasoned with, or confronted directly. They listen to right wing talk radio and Internet icons more interested in bomb throwing than governance; biased, bigoted pastors that given time reveal their own breathtaking hypocrisy. They have an orange avatar that articulates their supremacist world view far better than their faux brand of "Christianity." As a group they deny facts, climate change, science, reason and rational discourse. Instead of killing them with zingers on social media, we had better think about how we're going to talk some of them out of the cult while voting in every SINGLE election from here to Kingdom Come. Like most cults (I'm thinking of the flat earth movement) some will stay and endure, build websites and blogs in their own insular reality. Hopefully they will do so at smaller, more manageable numbers that are insignificant in our daily domestic and international affairs.
No Star Wars Jedi will ride to our rescue. This factum and diligence towards our own civics from now on is "our only hope."