Fear and Loathing

I’ll get back to Burning Man plans tomorrow.  Today I want to toss out a couple of links that have been sitting around waiting for me to share them.

People, there are crazies among us.  Lots of them.  Many, if not most, of them completely conservative wackadoodles.

Do not mistake me: I don’t like name-calling, and there are plenty of ways to be conservative/Republican and still make a valuable contribution to society. How and also ever, because of the internets we are now able to see into the deepest recesses of the fearful, unhappy lizard brains of the far right.  Worse, they’re able to put it out there where we cannot help but see it.  It’s really squicky.

I suppose we’ve always had these people around, but mostly they kept to themselves (and for reasons that will become clear in a moment).  If they published anything, it was apt to be typed and mimeographed and handed out at the lodge meeting.  Now, they have the magic of 21st century technology at their fingertips, and they use it.

Check out these links, and then we’ll chat.

These next two are, scarily, not fringe lunacy:

I had another link, to a roundup of conservative religious reaction to Russell Crowe’s Noah movie, but I can’t find it.  And I could have clogged this post with dozens/scores/hundreds of similar websites.

So why do I find this display of human frailty endlessly fascinating?  I think it’s the absolute fearfulness with which these people view the world. It’s like they’re literally zombies, infected with some virus to which the rest of us are immune but which reduces them to paranoid automatons.  The first two links are just amusing crazytalk, but the last two are worth noting because of the twin responses to this virus, rage and fear.  The prepper is consumed with anger at the world; the endtimers retreat into fearful incantations and shibboleths.

Here’s the most important point: their fear is not occasioned by their worldview—they’re not scared because they see things to be scared of.  It’s the reverse: their brains seem to be hardwired to be fearful, and so they see things to fear.  And if they don’t really see things to fear, their brains organize the randomness of reality into some really scary shit.  Where you and I would see some domestic and international political problems that require our attention and teamwork to be resolved, these people see vast machines that are out of their control, and their main response is to run away.

It’s exactly like our little dog Mia.  Whenever the doorbell rings, she barks and barks and barks. Even when we invite the people into our home and talk amiably with them, she barks.  Even when it’s the cleaners who have come every week for years, she barks.  Is there a threat?  Not even, but she barks: her brain is so fearful that she has no choice.  (She flinches even when my lovely first wife, whom she adores, reaches to pet her.)

Why do their brains work this way?  Pleasure, pure and simple.  Just like most of us go see 3 Days to Kill or Captain Phillips or Non-Stop for the frisson of adrenalin we get from the fake fear, these peoples’ brains provide them with an emotional rush every time they think of black helicopters or the Anti-Christ.

All I can say is, bless their hearts.  It’s a hell of a way to live.  And there is no cure.

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