Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Different Mindsets

I was reflecting this morning on how few locations there are in blogdom where thoughtful discussion takes place, when I made a note to myself that what mostly passes for chronicling the present madness, is -- in both tone and presentation -- largely an expression of hysteria. Facts without analysis.

Later, reading a blog post titled Duplicitous Agreements that asks the question, How can some perceive Bush as cold and toxic while others view him as warm and gentle?, I recalled a report written ten years ago about the fanaticism embedded in the militia movement of northwest Washington state where I lived at the time.

In A Not So Distant Mirror, Paul de Armond compared fourteenth century European religious hysteria -- written about by Barbara Tuchman in her classic work by a similar name -- to what he and I were witnessing in the Wise Use revivals where white supremacists, Christian fundamentalists, and property-rights activists found common ground in wild, apocalyptic predictions that justified their use of violence against their political opponents.

Reading this, and his tract Putting the Far Right into Perspective, I realized why it is that we had (and still have) such difficulty in helping our friends and neighbors comprehend what was taking place. It was, to put it succintly, entirely outside their experience and understanding -- completely foreign to their views of social reality.

I believe that despite the nightmare we are now immersed in as a result of the Cheney administration, this inability to get their minds around the mindset of their enemies, still -- forty years since the John Birch style Minutemen first appeared on the scene -- is what hamstrings the believers in the promise of democracy from isolating this social disease. And I am dismayed by the fact that arrogance and ignorance are not solely the domain of the Far Right in our country, but rather so widespread as to suggest that we have yet a long ways to fall before we can put things right.

But then, I think, self-indulgence in bewilderment is part of the problem -- not the solution.

[Read what some are doing about it today.]


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?