1. Denial of scientific findings, norms of behavior, established facts and methodologies, false victimhood and perceived bias
2. Belief in outright impossibilities, a few examples being “Expansionary Austerity” or increasing government revenues by reducing taxation or thirty years of offering only tax cuts and reduced regulation as the preferred solution to every domestic political and economic problem faced by the US
3. Bitten-by-a-Bat, spittle - spewing paranoid schizophrenic sweating and trembling ought to be medicated mental illness.
We’ve been fortunate that the vast majority of the outbreak of insanity and delusion that has subsumed a significant portion of the American population in recent years has been mostly limited to the first two types. But political movements are a big tent, and there’s always a few who come by their crazy in the old fashioned way.
Yesterday we got two classic examples of that third level of crazed delusion. When these dark fantasies go this far over the edge of reason, it simply has to be assumed that they are not manipulative fear mongering, but an actual glimpse inside the mind of a madman (and, in this case, a madwoman too).
You’re probably familiar with Wayne LaPierre. He’s the obsessive extremist Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association. Under LaPierre, the NRA doesn’t merely support the 2nd Amendment right to firearms ownership, but espouses a particularly virulent kind of unrestricted right to own any weapon up to and including field artillery and tactical air power. But for people like Wayne LaPierre, and by that I mean people who probably should be institutionalized for their mental and emotional disorders, it’s not enough to affirmatively support those specific rights granted to Americans under the 2nd Amendment. Because he can see people all around, notably ‘liberals’, ‘leftists’ and ‘communists’, constantly plotting to abrogate those rights, confiscate the guns and put good American firearms owners and enthusiasts in concentration camps. Sometimes these plots are somewhat harder to see than others, but when that’s the case then Mr. LaPierre will help you see just exactly what you’re up against.
As you’ve probably noticed, even with a Democratic President, the gun lobby has been pretty much unchallenged, not just in the realm of effective, reasonable controls on the availability and accessibility of increasingly lethal firearms, even to the most vulnerable inner-city children, but in pushing the envelope of what might be deemed prudent handgun and concealed carry regulations to the point of absurdity. Do we really need to pass a law allowing handguns to be carried in BARS?
But where you and I see utter political capitulation, our steadfast Executive Vice President sees connivance afoot:
LAPIERRE: They’ll say gun owners — they’ll say they left them alone…In public, the president will remind us that he’s put off calls from his party to renew the old Clinton ban, that he hasn’t pushed for new gun control laws…The president will offer the Second Amendment lip service and hit the campaign trail saying he’s actually been good for the Second Amendment. But it’s a big fat stinking lie!…It’s all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment in our country…Before the president was even sworn into office, they met and they hatched a conspiracy of public deception to try to guarantee his re-election in 2012.
That’s right! By doing nothing other than mildly enabling the gun lobby, that socialist President has tipped his hand. His nefarious plan becomes clear, starkly defined in his apparent unwillingness to take even the minimal political risk of addressing the issue.
Besides the deeply paranoid quality of this kind of analysis, it can also be useful in virtually any other political argument. Because if the utter lack of political action on an issue is a sure sign of an extreme agenda, than there is virtually no limit to the things we can expect out of President Obama’s second term. We can certainly expect him to construct those concentration camps on the moon, because, as we have seen, he can go before the voters and say his administration has done nothing to advance the cause of further manned travel to the moon. QED.
Of course, there are also our regular standbys for blithering insanity, people we can count on to regularly spew something so bizarre and unexpected that we find ourselves transfixed in a kind of awe. Not just that there are some poor souls who have these kind of mental delusions, but at their ability to acquire an audience eager to accept their demented ramblings and, in most cases, tremble in fear at the risks contained in such hallucinatory threats.
And so, once again, I give you Congresswoman Michele Bachman (R-Some Other Planet), who apparently once read that there was another superpower that challenged the US for global hegemony. To the extent that she is aware that there is no more Soviet Union, she is certain that just about any other nation on earth could fill those godless shoes, and if you don’t have a sufficiently scary nation, there’s always small political parties halfway around the world.
BACHMANN: "There are reports that have come out that Cuba has been working with another terrorist organization called Hezbollah. And Hezbollah is looking at wanting to be part of missile sites in Iran and, of course, when you are 90 miles offshore from Florida, you don't want to entertain the prospect of hosting bases or sites where Hezbollah
could have training camps or perhaps have missile sites or weapons sites in Cuba. This would be foolish."
Well, in Congresswoman Bachmann’s defense, Hezbollah HAS been known to shoot missiles. Little bitty ones. From Lebanon. Where they are part of the coalition government. It always fascinates me when I see a lunatic construct like this and, inevitably, the issue of why Hezbollah would want to put missiles in Cuba is left unaddressed. Obviously, the underlying assumption is that they just hate us Americans so damn much they want to find a way to, you know, kill us. In this case, it requires the further logical leap that even now, in 2011, the Castro regime hates us Americans so much to allow a political party dedicated to armed resistance against Israel to threaten the US with missiles because, well, ok, it’s complicated.
If you wonder at the gross unfairness of it all, why they get the likes of Michele Bachmann and Wayne LaPierre and Ron Paul while the best we can do is Dennis Kucinich and the guy from New York now out of politics and spending quality time with his penis, I think it’s a very simple matter of looking at the question from the other side. In most cases, people like us, the well - known reality based community, would be deeply uncomfortable having an unhinged lunatic arguing for our political agenda on the basis of paranoid hallucinations. But across that aisle, there is that stubborn thirty-odd percent who actively seek out the mentally unstable and embrace them without hesitation.
Sure, under present circumstances it probably means an accelerated implosion for the grand American experiment, but at least we’re guaranteed a few laughs on our way down...