The Ungodly Godly…

The Big Weasel’s Weblog

[…] The huge advantage to religious demagoguery is that you can use the name of the Christ Jesus to persuade people to oppose their own best interests. You have to be careful, of course, because Jesus was a socialist and anti-authoritarian besides. There was that “eye of the needle” and “the least among you” stuff that had to be glossed over, and a right wing group has been busy writing a version of the New Testament that eliminates all the touchy-feely left-wing stuff and essentially creates the impression that Jesus was a supply sider and probably wanted to keep Jews out of his country club.

Neo-cons are still in disrepute, despite the ongoing efforts to gin up a war against Iran, and the Occupy movement has made appeals to peoples’ supply-side sensitivities a limited one. People aren’t as willing to give to billionaires so they can soar like eagles as they were a few years earlier. The only thing that comes from soaring eagles is predation and eagle shit, and people who are already struggling don’t find that in their own best interests.

That leaves religious demagoguery. Which is why you have a religious nut like Rick Santorum leading the race (for now) in the GOP, and why Newt Gingrich, of all people, has been trying to exploit this by mooing religious noises of his own.

The GOP have nothing to offer the American people. Nearly everything they stand for—tax cuts for the rich, slashing social services, increased military adventuring—all work against the public interest, and the public is beginning to realize that. It’s why Mitt Romney can never seem to rise above 35% support in his own party, no matter how loony and self-defeating his rivals have been. For all the jubilant cries that Occupy has been defeated, the fact is the entire public attitude toward class in American has undergone a sea change in the past six months.

David Brin has noted recently that 2012 was the year in Robert Heinlein’s “Future History” series in which the Prophet Nehemiah Scudder seized control of the United States, turning it into a bleak and repressive theocratic dictatorship. Heinlein saw the rise of Scudder on the back of the tent-revival crowd and fraternal organizations such as the Masons. Instead, the present wave of theocratic populism appears to be riding the back of corporations manipulating the tent-revival crowd. This dates back to the Reagan era, which was when the GOP first realized the evangelicals could be used as a cheap date at the voting booths.

But back then, they also represented “business interests” which were unfailingly seen as benign and all-American, and security, either in the form of law and order, or national defense. They still could count on those voting blocs, in a time when corporations and cops were nearly universally trusted, and national defense didn’t involve protracted occupations of countries in Central Asia. Support in those areas has eroded.

Which leaves appealing to the religious nuts. That’s always been a dangerous game, because they adhere to ‘truths’ that are inimical to a society of individual freedoms and plurality…

It’s far easier to avert a theocracy than it is to overthrow one. Just ask the people of Iran. And what Santorum and his lot have in mind for us isn’t much different from what we see in Iran and Saudi Arabia today…

Complete article here


See also 9 Santorum Speeches That Make Me Want to Throw Up