“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.” ~ Poe’s Law (2005)

HRH Queen Elizabeth II in Ascot Purple Net Hat

                    

“It is impossible for an act of Fundamentalism to be made that someone won’t mistake for a parody.” ~ Poe’s Corollary

Since I managed to raise a few hackles with yesterday’s posting of the article “What Republicans Really Want,” I decided to follow up with another brilliant editorial by Mickey Maurer in The Indiana Business Journal. I mean, I’m just about well enough to gather my own thoughts to create a real post, but I figured in the interim, what the hell?

And besides, who knew that I’d find so many great pictures of purple hats . . . I want a purple hat.

“In any fundamentalist group where Poe’s Law applies, a paradox exists where any new person (or idea) sufficiently fundamentalist to be accepted by the group is likely to be so ridiculous that they risk being rejected as a parodist (or parody).” ~ The Poe Paradox which results from an unhealthy level of paranoia

The Indiana We’ve Always Wanted

My fellow Tea Party Republicans, I have an idea. Let’s enact legislation requiring immigrants and homosexuals to wear purple hats. If we are going to treat them differently, we have to know who they are—on sight. Then we can confront someone wearing a purple hat and if he doesn’t speak English, boom, back to Mexico. Likewise homosexuals. We do not want them here, either.

There are no legal challenges to the current law banning same-sex marriages, but the law does not sufficiently set apart and condemn homosexuality. The proposed marriage rights amendment that passed the House and is before the Senate in committee goes a long way. It prohibits not only the union but the other incidences of marriage attached to any unmarried couple.

Under this legislation, homosexuals cannot receive violence protection against assault by their partner, cannot automatically make health care decisions for their partner in an emergency, cannot qualify for partner’s benefits for health insurance or life insurance, cannot share custody of their shared children, and cannot adopt. But the amendment does not go far enough. We need to compel gays to wear purple hats so we can identify them and encourage them to live in San Francisco or Key West, anywhere but our God-protected sacred land.

I confess—this idea is not original. Remember armbands? They have been used to identify the people who are not like us for hundreds of years — before even the Spanish Inquisition or the Aryan Society of Germany. This kind of designation and identification of the objects of righteous wrath has been seen many times before in many variations—and it works.

We cannot be derailed by the moderate Republicans and some Democrats who supported the election of a Republican majority in the Indiana Legislature with the encouragement of the governor in a good-faith effort to effect a sound fiscal policy. Pay no attention when those moderates claim that this well-intentioned effort has unleashed the serpent of prejudice and hatred that may send Indiana reeling economically, socially and morally.

The purple hat legislation will be no ordinary bill. It will go to the core, to the heart, of who we are as Hoosiers. Hoosiers are white, heterosexual, English-speaking, Christian men and women. The purple hat legislation will tell the world that we will not abide anybody that is not just like us. That seems fair. Anybody that does not meet our definition of Hoosier must be penalized and encouraged to leave. Live and let live—but not on the banks of the Wabash.

We have to carefully teach our children. They are not born with the same fine-tuned understanding that we have about what God wants. They are too pure and accepting of their fellow man. That is why you must continue your good work in suppressing attempts to enact school bullying legislation. Our children must be encouraged to harass their undesirable classmates, the kids wearing the little purple beanies.

We could take the time to overcome our ignorance and learn that those with the purple hats are more similar to us than we like to think. Though some have problems with our language or have a different sexual orientation, we may learn that they have ambitions, goals and ideals—that they are human beings who love our country and this state. But why bother? Better to treat them like toxic waste and ship them out.

Why stop with immigrants and homosexuals? With this good idea we can double back and pick up the gypsies and the Jews and the blacks and the Catholics. Well, not the blacks, they do not need a purple hat—after all, they are black.

What difference does it make if we precipitate an economic disaster? Who cares that we will lose opportunity for businesses that may have otherwise considered moving to Indiana and for conventioneers who will undoubtedly revel elsewhere? We may not be as economically viable, but at least Indiana will be ours.

Your legislative representatives are going to love this idea. Soon we will have the Indiana we have all been hoping and praying for.•

__________

Maurer is a shareholder in IBJ Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal.  His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to mmaurer@ibj.com.

More later. Peace.

Music by Ana Jonson, “We Are”

“A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” ~ Albert Einstein

                   

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I’ve had this article in my list of drafts for days now. I had planned to use part of this article with a rant on Wisconsin, union busting, and general conservative Republican lack of empathy on women’s issues.

Quite frankly, I’m just not in the mood to write the post any more, so I’ll just provide the text and link to George Lakoff’s article, “What Conservatives Really Want.”

— Dedicated to the peaceful protestors in Wisconsin, February 19, 2011.

The central issue in our political life is not being discussed. At stake is the moral basis of American democracy.

The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women’s rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting, and on and on.

Budget deficits are a ruse, as we’ve seen in Wisconsin, where the governor turned a surplus into a deficit by providing corporate tax breaks, and then used the deficit as a ploy to break the unions, not just in Wisconsin, but seeking to be the first domino in a nationwide conservative movement.

Deficits can be addressed by raising revenue, plugging tax loopholes, putting people to work, and developing the economy long-term in all the ways the president has discussed. But deficits are not what really matters to conservatives.

Conservatives really want to change the basis of American life, to make America run according to the conservative moral worldview in all areas of life.

In the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama accurately described the basis of American democracy: Empathycitizens caring for each other, both social and personal responsibilityacting on that care, and an ethic of excellence. From these, our freedoms and our way of life follow, as does the role of government: to protect and empower everyone equally. Protection includes safety, health, the environment, pensions and empowerment starts with education and infrastructure. No one can be free without these, and without a commitment to care and act on that care by one’s fellow citizens.

The conservative worldview rejects all of that.

Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don’t think government should help its citizens. That is, they don’t think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have 174 bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility.

But where does that view of individual responsibility alone come from?

The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. His job is to protect the family, to support the family (by winning competitions in the marketplace), and to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required. Only then will children develop the internal discipline to become moral beings. And only with such discipline will they be able to prosper. And what of people who are not prosperous? They don’t have discipline, and without discipline they cannot be moral, so they deserve their poverty. The good people are hence the prosperous people. Helping others takes away their discipline, and hence makes them both unable to prosper on their own and function morally.

The market itself is seen in this way. The slogan, “Let the market decide” assumes the market itself is The Decider. The market is seen as both natural (since it is assumed that people naturally seek their self-interest) and moral (if everyone seeks their own profit, the profit of all will be maximized by the invisible hand). As the ultimate moral authority, there should be no power higher than the market that might go against market values. Thus the government can spend money to protect the market and promote market values, but should not rule over it either through (1) regulation, (2) taxation, (3) unions and worker rights, (4) environmental protection or food safety laws, and (5) tort cases. Moreover, government should not do public service. The market has service industries for that. Thus, it would be wrong for the government to provide health care, education, public broadcasting, public parks, and so on. The very idea of these things is at odds with the conservative moral system. No one should be paying for anyone else. It is individual responsibility in all arenas. Taxation is thus seen as taking money away from those who have earned it and giving it to people who don’t deserve it. Taxation cannot be seen as providing the necessities of life, a civilized society, and as necessary for business to prosper.

In conservative family life, the strict father rules. Fathers and husbands should have control over reproduction; hence, parental and spousal notification laws and opposition to abortion. In conservative religion, God is seen as the strict father, the Lord, who rewards and punishes according to individual responsibility in following his Biblical word.

Above all, the authority of conservatism itself must be maintained. The country should be ruled by conservative values, and progressive values are seen as evil. Science should not have authority over the market, and so the science of global warming and evolution must be denied. Facts that are inconsistent with the authority of conservatism must be ignored or denied or explained away. To protect and extend conservative values themselves, the devil’s own means can be used again conservatism’s immoral enemies, whether lies, intimidation, torture, or even death, say, for women’s doctors.

Freedom is defined as being your own strict fatherwith individual not social responsibility, and without any government authority telling you what you can and cannot do. To defend that freedom as an individual, you will of course need a gun.

This is the America that conservatives really want. Budget deficits are convenient ruses for destroying American democracy and replacing it with conservative rule in all areas of life.

What is saddest of all is to see Democrats helping them.

Democrats help radical conservatives by accepting the deficit frame and arguing about what to cut. Even arguing against specific “cuts” is working within the conservative frame. What is the alternative? Pointing out what conservatives really want. Point out that there is plenty of money in America, and in Wisconsin. It is at the top. The disparity in financial assets is un-Americanthe top one percent has more financial assets than the bottom 95 percent. Middle class wages have been flat for 30 years, while the wealth has floated to the top. This fits the conservative way of life, but not the American way of life.

Democrats help conservatives by not shouting out loud over and over that it was conservative values that caused the global economic collapse: lack of regulation and a greed-is-good ethic.

Democrats also help conservatives by what a friend has called Democratic Communication Disorder. Republican conservatives have constructed a vast and effective communication system, with think tanks, framing experts, training institutes, a system of trained speakers, vast holdings of media, and booking agents. Eighty percent of the talking heads on TV are conservatives. Talk matters because language heard over and over changes brains. Democrats have not built the communication system they need, and many are relatively clueless about how to frame their deepest values and complex truths.

And Democrats help conservatives when they function as policy wonkstalking policy without communicating the moral values behind the policies. They help conservatives when they neglect to remind us that pensions are deferred payments for work done. “Benefits” are pay for work, not a handout. Pensions and benefits are arranged by contract. If there is not enough money for them, it is because the contracted funds have been taken by conservative officials and given to wealthy people and corporations instead of to the people who have earned them.

Democrats help conservatives when they use conservative words like “entitlements” instead of “earnings” and speak of government as providing “services” instead of “necessities.”

Is there hope?

I see it in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands citizens see through the conservative frames and are willing to flood the streets of their capital to stand up for their rights. They understand that democracy is about citizens uniting to take care of each other, about social responsibility as well as individual responsibility, and about work — not just for your own profit, but to help create a civilized society. They appreciate their teachers, nurses, firemen, police, and other public servants. They are flooding the streets to demand real democracythe democracy of caring, of social responsibility, and of excellence, where prosperity is to be shared by those who work and those who serve.

George Lakoff is the author of The Political Mind. His website is GeorgeLakoff.com.

More later. Peace.

Music by The Heartbeats, “The Knife”