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Op Ed: Irrational Response Denies, Delays, Can Defeat DemocracyHenry Clay Ruark Salem-News.com
Facts Reduced to Futile Fantasies by Revanchists.
(EUGENE, Ore.) - Surely symptomatic of this political age in our America, a favorite children's TV-show has become famed as “The Upside-Down Program”. There is no record of producer political-stance, but that title surely fits very tightly right onto GOPster revanchism.
The whole sorry story is reflected in the widely available public record--further illuminated by their own continuing self-praise for this naturally-negative “denialism” and for continued mindless “obstructionism”.
The striking fact--its impact impossible to overlook and just as impossible to deny--is openly acknowledged by these revanchist GOPsters themselves. What’s more, they delight in recounting it all!!
Writers have long ago drawn out the difference between the two primary parties in simple terms: “Liberals” work and believe in reaching consensus, while “movement conservatives” put their full strength behind orthodoxy. Garry Wills, writing in 1961 (he was 26!) in an historic essay titled “The Convenient State”, put it potently and very directly: “A consensus...is a meeting of several views on common ground; an ortodoxy is the reduction of all views to a single view. “Consensus implies compromise, establishing a minimal ground of agreement on which to base political organization.
“Orthodoxy goes to the roots of metaphysical and religious awareness and demands a ‘right view’ on these things, not merely a modus vivendi.” That is why “liberals place faith in the interrelated process of politics and governance”; and also why “conservatives subordinate governance to politics and ideological certitude”, Wills declares, leading only “to recta ratio, ‘right reason’”.
Wills was “the most prominent conservative thinker in America” at that time, we are told. His current reputation places him in a precisely similar position now; many will contend his clearly historic early statement, re-read now, clarifies and supports current understandings of what is driving GOPsterism and its mindless over-heavy reliance on “obstructionism” and “denialism”, reflecting sure and very destructive “revanchist” return to warfare after battles bloodily lost. (Pp.20-22. Tanenhaus excerpted, summarized.)
Certainly we now know that vision of orthodoxy is tantamount to “war by any means, at every level, now and forever.” Indeed, obstructionism and revanchism are but weapons for willing, rapid and ready use any time, anywhere. THAT, in and of itself, denies the very heart of democracy. Democratic principles pertaining to majority rule are clearly made entirely meaningless when that is allowed to occur and overwhelm rational, reasonable political judgment.
In any democracy, policy and decision for action must be based on facts. Functioning in due regard for “the scientific method” long ago proven of highest possible value for society in every area. Orthodoxy can become an intellectual prison when allowed to cut off over-eager participants from life’s always-painful realities, resulting in a kind of damaging intellectual masturbation repeatedly indulged in for its own isolating pleasure, according to one noted psychological authority.
Currently the dangerously damaging controversy convulsing the Catholic hierarchy (read: “orthodoxy”) makes this point more meaningful and entirely timely, too. This dialog in turn places entirely new-and-stronger light and adds significant new meaning to the E.E. Dionne quote closing our Part One. Here it is, again, for your current evaluation: "Extremism in defense of liberty may be no vice, but extremism in pursuit of the Americsan presidency is as dysfunctional as it is degrading." Dionne might well agree that extremism in pusuit of orthodoxy replacing political principles drawn from knowledge and experience down the ages might well force American democracy into disgusting--and surely dysfunctional--shape and application, too. (I’ll ask him via cc of this Op Ed--and report!)
Thus GOPster revanchism has beomce clearly--but surely NOT CLEANLY(!)--not only the key damaging impact causing the constantly recurring Congressional decline--and its now-dead-in-the-water current condition--but also the rapidly-rising rush of many more symptomatic near-rebellion “new movements” -- already causing some very serious concern within both primary political parties. These “boiling-surface symptoms” now are found to include not only “political” but also “paramilitary” groups, with some definitely, defiantly, preparing for potent possible power-seeking actions all too soon.
Invariably and consequentially, each and every one is driven by frustration and its resulting strong feeling of powerlessness, potently provided by that revanchism. Can ANYthing more clearly clang-the-bell, to warn us all of where we may be going, and what it will take to get us back out-of-there ?? WHO is steering the boat we are all on/afloat, and who is seeking out the solid-rock/reefs we are so sure, now, to strike?
Once again, as in Civil War pre-decades; early pre and- Real Depression “New Deal” times; in “the Sixties”, with burning cities and passionate pursuit of “civil rights”; and whatever else your own exacting life experience prompts YOU to add here-and-now!! Any casual student of American history will rapidly recall similar signals, and some even more crucial sure warning signs for looming catastrophes in our nation. For each and every one of those-times, the wit, wisdom and will of the American people brought a rapid “rally-round-the President” reaction--and saved the day.
“Patience, Perseverance and People-Power” then surely prevailed. We may still have time to respond, if we are wise and willing both to listen and then ACT ! Tea Party, Coffee Party, Mighty Man Militia, Home Defense Hustlers --call them what you will--these groups represent decades-long frustration and futility in finding full hearing for mending long-festering--and now massively-impacting--changed and still-changing economic, social and political conditions and necessities. Many such situations have been shaping and meanly distorting the lives of many millions, of all past possible party-leanings, for decades now, starting with these widespread failings and then the fires and furious city-confrontations of the Sixties, still further reflected and released by futilities demonstrated in depth over decades via the so-called Reagan Revolution.
Tax slashes favoring the rich, vast accumulation of national debt, vaster injection of funding for further futile military measures, and finally failed deregulation, privatization and distorted globalization--all came home again to roost and radicalize many pragmatic Americans now feeling their UNsubtle no-longer-hidden impacts, due to plainly depressive economic conditions worldwide, directly related.
“Movement conservatism” long cried out for full governing responsibility--and finally achieved it. The results, long understood by many, are now fully revealed to millions-more via further Bush-Cheney-Rove machinations for another eight-years--and with still further debacle and diversion and other consequences near-deadly for real democracy.
Those millions-more, making up their minds by the long-traditional famed “American-people” mental muscle in 2008, called a desperate halt to highly-touted but proven totally-untrue/in-action “conservatism”. The vote-then, with mandate masterfully managed for President Obama, potently proclaimed “movement conservatism” as wildly, improperly and inappropriately distorted; and then further developed into perversions, permitting improper and impure --not to write immoral and immensely damaging-- national directions and policy developments.
But GOPster-cabal gang-members --driven to desperate measures for simple self-interest power preservation-- turned to revanchism rather than permit any reform whatsoever. Their defeated Presidential candidate has recently declared: “There will be no cooperation.” Now they continue on this desperate, damaging, divisive and democracy-destroying political power-seeking projection of “obstructionism” and “denial”, ostensibly seeking only to uphold what has become an out-lived, out-moded, and outlandish attack on our 21st Century democracy.
Reader’s note: Part Three upcoming soon will explore, ecplain, define and adapt current new knowledge of Denialism to America’s emerging new realities of politics and profound changes in the 21st Century. The two trigger-point books furnishing the full and documented foundations for this Op Ed series are: DENIALISM: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives; Michael Specter; Penguin Press; 2009; ISBN: 978-1-59420-230-8. THE DEATH OF CONSERVATISM; Sam Tanenhaus; Random House, 2009; ISBN: 978-1-4000-6884-5.
At 21, Henry Clay Ruark was Aroostook Editor for the Bangor, Maine DAILY NEWS, covering the upper 1/4 of the state. In the ‘40s, he was Staff Correspondent, then New England Wires Editor at United Press-Boston; later Editor for the Burlington, Vermont 3-daily group owned by Wm. Loeb, later notorious at Manchester, New Hampshire UNION LEADER for attacks on Democratic Presidential candidates.
Hank returned to Oregon to complete M. Ed. degree at OSU, went on to Indiana University for Ed.D. (abd) and special other course-work; was selected as first Information Director for NAVA in Washington, D.C.; helped write sections of NDEA, first Act to supply math, science, foreign language consultants to state depts. of education; joined Oregon Dept. of Education, where he served as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for ten years.
He joined Dr. Amo DeBernardis at PCC, helping establish, extend programs, facilities, Oregon/national public relations; moved to Chicago as Editor/Publisher of oldest educational-AV journal, reformed as AV GUIDE Magazine; then established and operated Learning Media Associates as general communications consultant group. Due to wife’s illness, he returned to Oregon in 1981, semi-retired, and has continued writing intermittently ever since, joining S-N in 2004. His Op Eds now total over 560 written since then.
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