Friday, March 02, 2007

Socipathy as Public Policy

Poster Boy and Ideological Inspiration for Today's GOP

Sorry for the slow posting. It's been a surprisingly busy Friday over here; however I was able to take a break and read this disturbing piece by Matt Taibbi. Taibbi underscores what is for me a very troubling social condition:

a society whose economy is based on high-tech defense spending will first tend to gravitate inexorably toward high-tech defense solutions to policy problems, and then over time will raise whole generations instilled with an implicit belief in and enthusiasm for such lunacies as the "surgical strike."

This conclusion is reached after revealing and analyzing an equally troubling email he was sent by Chuck Spinney, a former Pentagon bureaucrat who blew the whistle on absurdities like $700 dollar ashtrays and whatnot. The email was allegedly written by a soldier expressing an astonishing level of glee when it comes to killing people.

Well...I don't know if the email is real or not. To be honest, I don't really care, because it's NOT the soldier I want to focus on...in general, I'd expect that some soldiers might well get a kick out of killing people (just like their C.O.'s), some might not.

What's definitely the case, however, is that a number of people, generally wingnuts and their fellow travelers, consistently manifest a degree of astounding sociopathic behavior, and take a (no pun intended) perverse pride in doing so. This starts at the top, by the way: I think most of us have heard about how Shrub treated small animals as a child (or how former Majority Leader Frist treated cats when he wasn't such a child). And it doesn't JUST end up supporting lunatic wars overseas. I don't doubt for a second that the vicious dismissal of New Orleans by the wingnut faction is part and parcel to what Taibbi describes, the flip side of the coin that treats human beings as so many statistics...or worse.

By the way, this sort of behavior is most definitely reinforced by the corporate media, who've relentlessly promoted professional assholes like Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, etc. This then feeds into GOP attack dog politics, which the media then reports on, resulting in a more or less perpetual cycle, the social and political equivalent of a trained-to-fight pit bull.

In a previous era, this would be described accurately as fascism, and one would hope be dismissed as fundamentally anti-American. These days, I'm forced to wonder whether or not anyone even cares that the GOP has adopted these un-American tactics as a central element of their political program...

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