Friday, December 21, 2012

All We Need is Hate

As any good amateur cultural anthropologist knows we are all tribalists. Given our heads we will divid ourselves into overlapping clans, groups, sub-groups and bands. It just our nature. We all want to fit in, to get along, have group protection etc. CW belongs to the "ex-Navy" clan, the "UVA" clan, the "owns an up-scale European car and you don't" clan and the "short guys who buys their suits at Joesph A. Bank" clan. Some groups are more cohesive than others. Some have a real, formal structure and some don't. Some offer tangible benefits some don't.  I doubt I could walk out of a cigar store and ask a fellow patron whom I had never met to loan me twenty bucks because we both like Cohibas, but if we were both Freemasons and I had good reason, maybe so.

But we can be defined by what we aren't (or don't want to be) as much as by what we are (or want to be). The Democrats have done an amazing job of bringing all sorts of groups into the "Against Hate" tribe. Of course there are all kinds of sets and subsets of this group, and they can be redefined, repositioned and re-prioritized at will. For example let's say the high priests of the clan "Against Hate" wants to promote gun confiscation. Now you may have members of "Against Hate" who aren't that keen on the idea, but do care about racism (a subset of "Against Hate"). So you redefine gun-control as racist: e.g. Chicago Police Commissioner Garry McCarthy "Federal laws...facilitate the flow of illegal firearms into our urban centers...that are killing our brown and black children." So, if you're against racism then you must be against guns. And the beauty of it is, this shell game can be played with just about any issue from taxes to abortion, you name it. The effect is if you oppose Democratic policies you are not a member of "Against Hate" therefore you must be a member of "For Hate", which is usually designated as "Republicans" with all their subsets like the Tea Party, the NRA, white males (subset rednecks), fatty foods, fossil fuels etc.

Now you may can see through all this nonsense, but this is the age of the "low information" voter. This is just marketing to and motivating consumers to buy, as any good advertiser would do with any product be it toothpaste or cars or erectile dysfunction drugs (not that I would know anything about those). They don't sell Budweiser as the beer of overweight lumps farting in their Lazy Boy, they sell it as the drink of choice for young guys chatting up hotties in a single's bar. They sell to our aspirations first, our prejudices second. Ronald Reagan positioned the Republican Party as the "Americans for the American Way" clan and the Democratic Party as the party of special interests against the "American Way".  Race-hustlers, radical feminists, appeasers and peaceniks were all subsets of the Democratic Party; and against "Americans for the American Way" whatever party you identified with.

Conservatives better get busy cracking this nut rather than bending over backwards individually with this "I'm a different kind of Republican" rubbish. If you're in the tribe you're in the tribe, so either redefine perceptions or the Democrats will be right when they say the Republican "brand" is dead.


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