I have authored a couple of posts on this blog, The End of Reason, and Of Birthers, Deathers, Drunks and Creationists, where I pointed out that the conservative right was becoming most religion-like in their distain for reason, logic and evidence. Others are now taking this position, and a new report issued Friday by the Democracy Corps (pdf) reveals the world that conservative Republicans have created for themselves and contrasts their world with reality.
“The self-identifying conservative Republicans who make up the base of the Republican Party stand a world apart from the rest of America, according to focus groups conducted by Democracy Corps. These base Republican voters dislike Barak Obama to be sure – which is not very surprising as base Democrats had few positive things to say about George Bush – but these voters identify themselves as part of a ‘mocked’ minority with a set of shared beliefs and knowledge, and commitment to oppose Obama that sets them apart from the majority in the country. They believe Obama is ruthlessly advancing a ‘secret agenda’ to bankrupt the United States and dramatically expand government control to an extent nothing short of socialism. They overwhelmingly view a successful Obama presidency as the destruction of this country’s founding principles and are committed to seeing the president fail.”
The religious aspect of the findings come when one considers the certitude with which the conservatives hold their beliefs, making them impervious to logic, evidence or reason. In place of religious fundamentalism, we have conservative fundamentalism with the latter exhibiting many of the worse traits of the former. Both rest on immutable truths that cannot be negotiated or compromised, and there is no mechanism for falsification or moderation of their beliefs. Another “religious” aspect is that the conservatives are absolutely convinced that they have “special knowledge,” which the rest of the country is either too lazy or too stupid to figure out for themselves. It’s this feeling of having special knowledge that lends credence to the certitude with which they hold their beliefs.
“They readily identify themselves as a minority in this country – a minority whose values are mocked and attacked by a liberal media and class of elites. They also believe they possess a level of knowledge and understanding when it comes to politics and current events, one gained from a rejection of the mainstream media and an embrace of conservative media and pundits such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, which sets them apart even more.”
Our founders wisely separated church and state, but how can we deal with a portion of the electorate that refuses to accept evidence contrary to their beliefs, and which bases decisions on emotion rather then fact. The bottom line is, there IS no way to deal with them, any more then there is to deal with, say, an ardent creationist. People who will not accept rational arguments are outside of normal social or political discourse, and that’s where these conservatives have chosen to place themselves.
Right now, the problems are mainly for the Republican party to deal with as an internal matter, but what happens if this radical new fundamentalism succeeds in nominating the Republican Presidential candidate in 2012, and they go down to crushing defeat, as they surely will? Where would they turn their rage and anger then?
There is only one place to lay the blame for the creation of this faction, and that’s at the doorstep of hate radio and FOX. The movement has only two genuine heroes: Glen Beck and Sarah Palin, both the creations of right-wing media. What they have created, they can take down, and if they had an ounce of concern for this country, they would. I guess money and ratings trumps all. Too bad!