The Benefits of Extremism

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There’s a lot that progressives don’t understand about conservatives.

Why the screaming rage? Why the celebration of ignorance? Why the disdain for all non-fetal life? Why the virulent racism, misogyny, and homophobia? Why the hypocrisy, corruption, and… OK, this list is getting way too long.

In contrast, conservatives seem to have just one aspect of liberalism that perplexes them.

Why don’t progressives wave huge Biden flags and paint their trucks with images of the president’s face?

After all, if you don’t fly a massive MAGA banner and drive a pick-up adorned with images of Trump and Jesus playing golf, are you really a Republican?

Well, this apparent quirk of politics is not as trivial a difference as it appears. The tendency of conservatives to be loud and boisterous illustrates deeper truths. 

First, the right-wing love of authoritarianism often manifests itself as over-the-top hero worship. Republicans have such an innate need for a strongman to rule over them—and by extension, the entire country—that they venerate their bullying daddy figures to the point of lunacy.

Yes, plenty of liberals indulge in hero worship. But for every progressive with an RBG tattoo, there are a dozen conservatives in red hats chanting “Lock her up!” or “Stop the steal!” or whatever empty slogan they have been commanded to believe. The cult of personality is far more of a right-wing phenomenon.

Second, conservative self-identity is strongly connected to group identity. When your whole schtick is “us versus them,” you demand clear indications of which tribe people belong to. As such, right-wingers focus on visual symbols that display loyalty (which is another conservative value). These symbols include American flags with blue lines, Trump t-shirts, and Confederate statues.

There is no equivalent level of symbolism for progressives, except maybe those cringy “coexist” bumper stickers.

Finally, there is the fact that the Republican Party has essentially become a white Christian political movement. So if you believe that you are a member of the master race, or that God is on your side in a holy war, then you want everyone to know it.

Hey, subtlety is for loser liberals.

OK, all that helps explain why conservatives adorn themselves head-to-toe in Trumpian regalia and plaster their property with jarring right-wing imagery, while progressives might, at best, put up a Bernie lawn sign.

But here’s the truly disturbing aspect of their behavior: That shit works.

You see, the intensity, the bellowing, the outright fanaticism—all of it binds conservatives to the Republican Party. 

Look at the recent CPAC gathering, which the media covered with breathless giddiness. This annual freak show masquerades as a political convention, but everyone knows that CPAC is just an excuse for right-wingers to haul out their most demented orators to spew bellicose invectives, with no intention of offering realistic ideas about improving America. But the right-wing crowd fucking loves it, and you heard all about it.

You saw the bizarre spectacle of a GOP congresswoman praying with a weeping actor in a cage. You know how the attendees bragged about being domestic terrorists. You witnessed enthusiastic applause for a wannabe dictator of a struggling country who preached against race mixing.

And you understand that there is no progressive gathering that gets nearly as much press coverage as this fascistic carnival.

In fact, you may not even know that the liberal equivalent of CPAC is Netroots Nation, a progressive convention where attendees discuss policy initiatives and political goals. It is not a mosh pit of wild-eyed zealots who idolize loud-mouthed individuals over coherent ideas—that’s how you can tell that it’s a liberal convention.

In any case, conservatives are not content to swarm together once a year to scream about public schools “sexualizing children.” There is now a GOP movement to create “a first-of-its-kind convention to rewrite the Constitution.” 

In theory, this constitutional convention would overhaul the document that Republicans claim to revere, creating “sweeping changes” that would fundamentally alter the American government.

So much for originalism and the founders’ intent.

If they succeed in organizing a constitutional convention, right-wingers will cement their ideas into irrevocable law, ensuring that America becomes the repressive theocracy of their dreams.

And then CPAC wouldn’t be an annual assembly of deranged hucksters, conspiracy nuts, and virulent bigots.

It would be the United States itself.

 

Featured image by spunkinator/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

So who is Daniel Cubias, a.k.a. the 'Hispanic Fanatic'? Simply put, he has an IQ of 380, the strength of 12 men, and can change the seasons just by waving his hand. Despite these powers, however, he remains a struggling writer. For the demographically interested, the Hispanic Fanatic is a Latino male who lives in California, where he works as a business writer. He was raised in the Midwest, but he has also lived in New York. He is the author of the novels 'Barrio Imbroglio' and 'Zombie President.' He blogs because he must.

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