December 08, 2009

Gutter Politics, with Tomatoes and Other Garbage

If you can't kill her, at least throw tomatoes at her -- or cheer on those who do. Thus speak today's progressives:
"what's wrong with throwing tomatoes at palin??"

"the guy that threw tomatoes at Sarah Palin. He is my hero now."

"Sarah Palin got tomatoes thrown at her! lol...tooo bad they missed though :(("

"I have no problem with his motives, just his aim. He just did what we all dream of doing."

Make no mistake: the ultimate motive and goal of this perspective, one that is deeply embedded in our culture, is to Kill that Woman! The foundational belief is that women are evil. See that essay for the details. And see this more recent article for another example of the same phenomenon. Cheering for tomato-throwing, cheering for a rape in progress ... it all comes from the identical mindset.

A comment to VastLeft's post is worth noting:
Sad to see a young "progressive" movement commit suicide like this isn't it?

It's really troubling how members of failed political movements begin to lash out against boogeymen/women in these kinds of sick ways.

Bush followers used to lash out at completely powerless liberals for conservative failures. Now Obama followers lash out at completely powerless conservatives for progressive failures.
I'm very sympathetic to this perspective, and I shared this view at one time.

But that time ended several years ago for me. I described the reasons for my changing view in, "The Plea of Helplessness, the Refusal of Responsibility, and Today's Progressives." You can consult that essay for the lengthier analysis. Here's the critical point:
In the event, [the progressives] didn't prove me wrong; to the contrary, they demonstrated the truth of what I had still hoped, however faintly, wasn't true. But what was demonstrated to be true was simply that virtually everything the Democrats and progressives claimed to be their fervent concern was merely instrumental: that is, they staked out the positions they did for their perceived political advantage, and for the assistance those positions would provide in regaining and consolidating power.

In the end, that was the only goal, the only purpose toward which everything else was directed: the achievement and maintenance of power.
As also discussed in that essay -- and in a post from a few days ago about "health care reform" -- the progressives' behavior since Obama took office and the Democrats consolidated their control over Congress has demonstrated the truth of these observations countless times, in increasingly sickening detail.

The commenter's last remark merits additional emphasis: "Now Obama followers lash out at completely powerless conservatives for progressive failures." This is certainly true, and it represents a typical method of denial and deflection: seeking to avoid accountability and responsibility for one's own failures by falsely attempting to lay blame on an external target.

But that's only part of the dynamic involved. In certain respects, the underlying purpose is more critical to those who repeatedly engage in this kind of behavior. That purpose is two-fold: to strengthen the internal identity and cohesiveness of one's own group, while simultaneously demonizing opposing groups.

I analyzed these dynamics at length in, "Learning to Hate 'The Other.'" I was going to set forth here only a couple of my "Observations About Tribal Beliefs and Behavior" offered at the beginning of that article, but I then realized that they are all of critical importance (as they almost always are when this sort of behavior is involved). So here they are again:
ONE: To the degree that membership in a particular tribe or tribes is important to a person's sense of identity, that person believes that his own tribe(s) is inherently and uniquely good. To the degree that tribal membership is a critical element of personal identity, all members of all tribes are convinced this is true of those tribes to which they belong.
TWO: Insofar as the tribe's centrally defining characteristic(s) (race, religion, political beliefs, etc.) are concerned, all other tribes that differ with regard to these characteristics are necessarily inferior and wrong. This has an especially critical implication: at first with regard to these centrally defining characteristics, and inevitably in a more general sense, the individual members of all other tribes are necessarily inferior to and less worthy than the members of one's own tribe(s).
THREE: The basic dynamics of all tribes are the same. This applies to all tribes in two different critical respects. It is true of dynamics within the tribe -- that is, of those particular mechanisms which create and maintain tribal identity and cohesiveness -- and it is also true of how one tribe views itself and behaves in relation to other tribes.
FOUR: The major mechanism by which any tribe creates and maintains tribal identity and cohesiveness is obedience: the requirement that each member of the tribe conform his thinking and behavior in accordance with the major elements of the tribe's belief system.
The earlier article has much more on the nature of obedience in this context, as well as examples of how these dynamics manifest themselves; the second part of that series has still further details about how these beliefs and behaviors are first taught to very young children by many parents.

I will soon be continuing that series. There is a great deal that remains to be said about this general subject.