I just finished watching Fincher’s remake of the Swedish book/movie, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The movie works well for the first two hours and then devolves into a tedious Occupy Wall Street revenge fantasy. The subtext of the movie is that powerful capitalists are all corrupt; all men are monsters or feckless; women are more or less heroic victims of male monstrousness and/or fecklessness.
Lately, I’ve been thinking that the defining characteristic of the American liberal worldview is that the powerful and successful in free capitalist societies are actually secret monsters who maintain their privilege by dirty dealings and entertain themselves with perversion and horrific secret crimes. It’s pretty close to a blood libel against businessmen.
Dean Koontz, the horror thriller writer, wrote a terrific book called Twilight Eyes. A race of alien werewolves lives among human beings, looking just like the rest of us, except to a few humans who can see the beast underneath. The werewolves delight in causing human misery and tragedy: they make boilers explode in grade schools, cause train wrecks and so on. The typical liberal thinks he sees through the thin veneer of humanity painted on the capitalist monster. He can tell that capitalism is really about exploitation, not free trade between free adults. He knows that all the wealth created is really just a ruse to replace real human values. It’s Soylent Green all the way down.
What I haven’t been able to figure out is why liberals come to see the world this way.
I was raised by crackpots. My father was a political crackpot–a John Bircher conspiracy theory Christian fundamentalist. My mother was a medical crackpot–not just homeopathy and laetrile and anti-flouride and the medical establishment is out to drug us to death, but really crazy stuff like color therapy (wrap mylar film of various colors around bottles of water, leave them out in the sun for a day and the water would be transformed into medicine).
It’s too easy to say that liberals just have the crackpot gene. But the liberal conviction of the fundamental evil of every free market outcome is pretty crack-potty.
My daughter (yes, I am skipping around a lot in this post–I’m thinking by typing) was raised without religion. I was indoctrinated in Christian Reconstructionism, but had made a break for it by the time she was verbal. When she was 7 or 8, a couple of her little Christian friends, egged on without doubt by their parents, made my little heathen a pet project and started taking her to church. This lasted a few months before they gave up. Near the end, she came home and said something like, “Dad, they pretend they’re drinking the blood of Jesus. WTF?” She was shocked and revolted. Like only an 8 year old girl can be revolted by something unexpected and gross.
I started out immersed in Christian metaphorical ritual cannibalism. Seemed perfectly normal, perfectly healthy, to me. Even after I decided it was BS, I didn’t fully grok how fucked up and weird it was till I saw it through an innocent 8 year old’s eyes.
So here’s my theory the first, and it is the first theory that is mine, and it is the theory I am saying right now–
Liberalism is as crack-potty as the Eucharist. Liberal tropes have become so embedded in our culture that we don’t notice now weird they are. Lots of people who aren’t crackpots at heart just breathe this stupidity in.
Liberalism spreads too because it’s useful. It’s an excuse. Not just as an excuse for failure, but an excuse for hating. “The Man” is keeping you down. Really? In America? You can’t overcome Richard Nixon or George Bush or Monsanto? If “The Man” were Robert Mugabe or Vladimir Putin, I could sympathize with your plight. Liberals hate like teens hate their parents. Liberalism is Will Smith singing “Parents Just Don’t Understand” writ large. Liberal hate is even more petty and laughable than liberal life excuses.
Case in point: the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. Barack Obama behaved like a douchebag. Obama is to politics what Michael Jackson was to plastic surgery. He can’t be taught. You’d think after the Beer Summit debacle Barack would shut his stupid mouth about law enforcement issues before the facts are known. You’d be wrong. I have yet to hear liberals walking back the Trayvon Jesus Christ Who Died For Our Sins narrative. Like the sulky teens they are, liberals don’t apologize.
And they live in a dark world where their privilege and pampering is really just manipulation by people who do stuff they can’t understand. Like a Fincher movie.
I do feel sorry for liberals. Like other crackpots, they live 24 x 7 with a sense of impending doom.