I have taken a lot of grief over the years because on several occasions, I have used this website not to attack the left (something I do with great regularity and enjoyment) but because I also highlight some of the lunacy on the right we regularly get from talk show hosts, activists, and other prominent conservatives.
It is not an urge to purge that drives me to expose these clowns, charlatans, mountebanks, and just plain goofs. It is rather an effort, in my own very small and insignificant way, to stand up for what I know is right; that employing reason and rationality to fight Obama and the liberals is far superior to the utter stupidity found in the baseless, exaggerated, hyperbolic and ignorant critiques of the left and Obama that is passed off as “conservative” thought by those who haven’t a clue what conservatism means.
Yes, I usually find myself being almost as unhinged in my criticism of these kooks as they are in criticizing Obama. So be it. Trying to argue rationally with someone who believes Obama is a Nazi, or a Communist is akin to arguing with a stone wall. And at least the wall is smart enough not to keep opening its mouth and further proving how irrational it is.
I reject arguments that one shouldn’t criticize one’s own side and “do the left’s dirty work for them” (the silly and simple minded argument that I am somehow “jealous” of a talk show host’s or a pundit’s success are so laughable that I never bother to respond). I believe that one of conservatism’s major problems these last few years has been a failure of self-examination - and I include myself in committing that sin. Unless one constantly challenges one’s beliefs by examining the underlying assumptions of what we truly believe, testing them against what is happening in the real world, and using the logic and reason granted us by our humanity to determine if they still pass muster and are consistent with our principles, we fall into the trap of being inconsistent in the application of our philosophy.
You don’t have to be an “intellectual” to accomplish this. All it takes is to read and listen to opposing viewpoints once and a while. To close one’s mind to alternative points of view is, by definition, unconservative. And to take the position automatically that liberals have nothing of interest you want to hear is beyond illogical - it is ignorant.
And yet, this is the de facto position of most of my many detractors - that somehow, my mind has been polluted because I quote some liberal every once and a while or I agree with something a liberal says about conservatives. This is nuts. And if anyone would take 10 seconds to think about it, most rational people would agree.
Where does this close mindedness get us?
In the past weeks you’ve heard me talk about the How to Take Back America Conference being held in St. Louis this Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26, with speakers like: Gov. Mike Huckabee, “Joe the Plumber,” U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Steve King, R-Iowa, Tom McClintock, R-Calif., Dr. Tom Price, R-Ga., and Three-Star Gen. Jerry Boykin. But someone who’ll be there that you didn’t hear about is Kitty Werthmann. Kitty was 12 years old when Adolf Hitler took over Austria.
She is 83 with a “vivid memory” of what happened in her homeland next. She witnessed the government take over the banks and the auto industry. Sound familiar? In the last nine months, Obama and the Democrats in Congress have successfully orchestrated the government takeover of Chrysler and General Motors along with countless banks.
She witnessed the “compulsory youth” service and indoctrination. That sounds a little like Obama’s call for “mandatory volunteerism” for America’s youth.
The government takeover of the schools immediately replaced crucifixes with pictures of Hitler and Nazi flags. “All religious instruction was replaced with physical education,” said Werthmann. No prayer was allowed. That all happened here decades ago. It is interesting, however, that Obama’s speech to the captive audience in the government schools – complete with the essay assignment about how students could help him achieve his political goals – was replaced once the American people got wind of it. And speaking of government control of education, if the Senate agrees, all student loans will be government issued, according to a bill that passed the House last week.
Before commenting on the substance of what the author actually believes is solid evidence that Obama wants to set up a Fourth Reich, I want you to look at that list of Republicans who will be giving their imprimatur to a conference that features such idiocy. Those are not “fringe” players. They are all considered “mainstream” conservatives. Should they be taken to task for attending a conference that features such off the wall lunacy?
If it was the only such session that featured, they might be given a pass. But here are a few other sessions that many would see as extreme and many more would see as batsh*t crazy:
HOW TO DEFEAT ATTACKS ON SOVEREIGNTY BY U.N. TREATIES AND NORTH AMERICAN UNION (Just tell me where those black helicopters are)
HOW TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF SUPREMACIST JUDGES (um…elect more Republicans?)
HOW TO DEFEND AMERICA VS. MISSILE ATTACK
I would urge you to click on some of the links to other, more sedate sounding seminars like “How to Counter the Homosexual Extremist Movement” or “How to Understand Islam” to understand why I condemn any so-called “mainstream conservatives” who participated in this nuthouse of a conference.
A description of Mrs. Werthmann’s “seminar:”
At the How To Take Back America Conference last weekend, conservative speaker Kitty Werthmann led a workshop called “How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists.” Announcing the panel in a column preceding the conference, talk show host Janet Porter gushed how Werthmann’s description of Austria in the 1930s is a “mirror to America” today — noting “They had Joseph Goebbels; we have Mark Lloyd, the diversity czar.” The room was packed over capacity to hear Werthmann, who grew up as a Christian in Austria and serves as Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum South Dakota President.
During her session, Werthmann went through a litany of examples of how President Obama is like Adolf Hitler. She noted that Hitler, who acted “like an American politician,” was “elected in a 100% Christian nation.” Although she failed to once mention Antisemitism or militarism, Werthmann explained how universal healthcare, an Equal Rights Amendment, and increased taxes were telltale signs of Nazism. Werthmann also warned the audience:
If we had our guns, we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. [...] Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism.
And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism.
Is there any way to logically address Mrs. Werthmann’s points? The answer is no. And the reason is because she is living in a different reality than the rest of us. To 95% of the world, what Obama and the Democrats are doing you can agree or disagree with, but it is being done by the all-American way of Congress proposing, and the president disposing. Even Obama’s executive grabs like taking over private business finds precedent in American history among presidents. Obama is dead wrong. But he is not a Marxist, or Nazi, or even a socialist. He is a far left American liberal which, by the way, puts him considerably to the right of the Euro-left.
To casually toss about the terms “Marxist” and “Nazi” shows that those who do so are wildly exaggerating what the liberals are doing. Mrs. Werthmann may be a witness to history but her analogies are childlike in their logic. Exaggeration is not argument. It is emotionalism run rampant. And at its base is simple, unreasoning fear. Fear of change, fear that the powerlessness conservatives feel right now is a permanent feature of American politics, and, I am sorry to say, fear of Obama because he is a black man.
The emotional state of conservatism now coupled with the hyper partisan atmosphere in the country (and the already excessive ideological nature of the opposition to Obama) is a combination that afflicts the reason centers of the mind and is proving to be a block to thinking logically. What is there to “fear” about Obama and the Democrats? They are proposing the same liberal crap that the left has been promoting for more than 30 years. We have fought them before using reason and logic. What is so different now?
I agree with the left to a certain extent that the right - especially on the internet - has become something of an echo chamber (it’s true on the left too but their crazies have already been marginalized). This has resulted in what might be termed a “negative feedback loop” where the more exaggerated claims about dastardly Democrats go around and around, becoming ever more outrageous and illogical, until we get overflowing crowds at a seminar where the most fantastically stretched and mangled analogies to Nazis and Communists are taken seriously.
I don’t know how to say it any other way; those conservatives who don’t see a problem with this, or don’t think it “representative” of a significant portion of the conservative movement, or who don’t believe this sort of thing should be taken out, examined, and criticized as forcefully as possible are fooling themselves into believing this kind of thinking doesn’t matter. It is poison coursing through the body of conservatism and we either use reason and logic as an antidote or it will end up killing us.
To my mind, there is no alternative. Ignore it and it only gets bigger and more outrageously out of touch with reality. This is why I write about it. This is why you should join me in condemning and marginalizing these crazies, inoculating conservatism against contracting this plague on rational thought.