Probing the Depths of Wingnuttia


Gavin at Sadly, No!, if you haven’t already read it:

What we learn today from the Washington Times is that medical records must not be digitized as the Obama plan proposes, but can only exist in paper form because YOU KNOW WHO LIKED EFFICIENCY HITLER THAT’S WHO. And certainly, such naïve, Godwin-unawareamuse-gueules of instaHitler are in the category of always-funny. I personally like tolaugh at things that are funny, and would imagine thatother people feel the same.

But it’s also the case that these tantrums represent something different to the wingnut mind than to the clinically normal one. To the wingnut mind, or according to the wingnut assessment of what would shock and upset liberals (a nearly identical consideration), the notion of the totalitarian dictator naturally refers to Barack Obama, and to a chain of previous images of Obama-as-cult-leader, Obama-as-false-prophet, Obama-as-Manchurian-Candidate, as usurper, as dictator, as “chosen one,” as false Christ. “Imagine,” the editorial is saying, “If Obama could access our medical records. What would stop him from euthanizing the weak, the so-called ‘unfit,’ or the ‘politically incorrect?'”

It’s not that wingnuts literally believe such things (or care what happens to the weak). They don’t really believe anything in the ordinary sense of the term, but rather make instrumental, conditional use of certain kinds of beliefs, much in the way that other kinds of people make use of thrill sports or porn.

The attraction of extremist politics is that it allows its devotees to indulge irrational, basically infantile impulses; and while the American conservative movement has in a sense chained itself to the devil in becoming a willful gratifier of such impulses, it’s also the case that the wingnut type has no fundamental affinity for conservatismper se, and will switch to any flavor of extremism that will cater to its needs. Wingnuts only care about the drama.

The elements of the wingnut drama are outrage, spite, self-pity, and gloating; and any irresistible fact or narrative will hold the possibility of at least two of these, together or in sequence. They mix to form emotions of other unique and familiar character. Wingnuts derive a similar catharsis from these things to the one that normal people find in laughter. Many enter into a characteristic wide-mouthed ecstatic state when telling a string of whoppers. If you tell them that something they’re doing is troublesome to you, an inner process results whose outcome is that they compulsively do it more. Many who are homosexual think that campaigning against homosexuality helps balance things out. Wingnuts rarely realize that they’re wingnuts, and instead suspect liberals of exactly the things they’re trying to get away with.

In other words, it’s less a matter of left versus right and more one of adult versus immature brat. I tell you, between the tantrums by day and what must’ve been some genuinely bizarro nightmares and panic attacks re: things under the bed or inside the closet, you wonder how wingnuts reached the age of majority.

Here’s another fine example.

3 thoughts on “Probing the Depths of Wingnuttia

  1. So everytime a conservative says that we need to make govt more efficient, we get to call them Hitler?

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