Saturday, March 23, 2013

Who are the adults in the room?

One of the interesting tendencies of many on the far right is to portray themselves as the adults (read “patriarchs”) in the room, while liberals and progressives are the noisy children with their heads stuck forever in the clouds. Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly et. al and countless Republican politicians have all used this metaphor at one time or another as a way of framing themselves as (to use Krugman’s words) Serious People.

The problem is, when you look at the evidence, a thing Serious People don’t have the time or inclination to do, you find that the metaphor doesn’t really pan out. Surprise, surprise. No. In fact, when it comes to childlike behavior, well, you know where I’m going with this. Ask yourself who more often displays these traits, the Loony Left or our friends on the far right edge of the scale.

  • The schoolyard bully: Derides you if you don’t agree with him. If you prove him wrong, he becomes irrationally angry and hurls threats and insults. Likes to intimidate people. Believes violence is an acceptable way to settle disputes.
  • The kid who claims he’s going to hold his breath until he gets what he wants: Doesn’t listen to reason, he only wants what he wants when he wants it. Won’t accept any alternative to what he feels he deserves. Sees himself as the center of the universe and his desires as more important than anyone else’s.
  • The kid who laughs loudest when someone trips and hurts themselves: He lacks empathy and has a child’s sense of humor, which is broad slapstick that usually involves somebody getting hurt or embarrassed. Doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to appreciate subtlety or satire.
  • Teacher’s pet: Slavishly worships authority. Will do or say whatever it takes to ingratiate himself with the person in charge. Has no moral compass, and will side with authority figures almost without question.
  • The snotty rich kid: Feels those who are not rich are beneath him and deserve what they get. Refuses to believe that there are real-world obstacles that keep people poor and powerless. Only rarely says it out loud, but believes the majority of people are lazy and unmotivated and that he deserves what he as acquired because he is more gifted than most.

No comments: