Political Fundamentalism

  • metta

    Posts: 44757

    Oct 10, 2009 6:53 AM GMT

    How can a country improve and move forward when you have so many people that are focused on political belief systems than reality?

    Please view the short article here:




    Ted Kennedy biographer Neal Gabler wrote that the conservative movement's ideological rigidity of late bears all the trappings of religion. An excerpt:

    Perhaps the single most profound change in our political culture over the last 30 years has been the transformation of conservatism from a political movement, with all the limitations, hedges and forbearances of politics, into a kind of fundamentalist religious movement, with the absolute certainty of religious belief.

    I don't mean "religious belief" literally. This transformation is less a function of the alliance between Protestant evangelicals, their fellow travelers and the right (though that alliance has had its effect) than it is a function of a belief in one's own rightness so unshakable that it is not subject to political caveats. In short, what we have in America today is a political fundamentalism, with all the characteristics of religious fundamentalism and very few of the characteristics of politics.
  • rdberg1957

    Posts: 667

    Oct 10, 2009 4:02 PM GMT
    We've always had a fundamentalist strain in our politics, both on the left and the right. I think it is weaker on the left. Very few dogmatic Marxists around and many more free-market true believers, "don't confuse me with the facts" conservatives. We can't move forward much because those with money have disproportionate power to their numbers. One man, one vote becomes irrelevant if those with money have unlimited access to Congress and the White House. Those with the most power talk about free markets, but really believe in socialism for themselves and no one else. The Wall Street Bankers (JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Goldman-Sachs) have things rigged in their favor. 1) We take imprudent risks; 2) We rake in the profits; 3) the American people take any losses.

    The social conservatives who believe their values and beliefs should become law believe in the rule of law, the Constitution, and the validity of elections only when it benefits them. There are principled individuals in Congress, but their voices are rarely heard, because the most powerful in Congress are beholding to the those wielding the most financial clout.

    I had a lot of hope for Obama, but realize that his administration's financial team is made up of those who created the financial meltdown in the first place. Rubin, Geitner, Sommers were involved with deregulation, excessive leveraging, bad mortgages. The thesis of the OP was about how fundamentalism ruins politics. I'm changing it to how the very wealthy power wielders use fundamentalists to stymie political change and advantage themselves. I don't think the fundamentalism alone is the problem--it's how the power brokers stoke polarizing fires to create stalemate in the system so they can move in and line their pockets at taxpayer expense.
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    Oct 10, 2009 4:26 PM GMT
    It should come as no shock to anyone that modern conservatism resembles religious fundamentalism. The two are barely distinguishable. We have James Dobson vetting Republican judicial nominees and Tony Perkins organizing "Justice Sunday" rallies for favored nominees.

    Gary Bauer, former president of the anti-gay and ultraconservative Family Research Council, ran for president in 2000. Tony Perkins, current president of FRC ran for the senate in 2002. Evangelist Pat Robertson ran for president in 1988.

    Many religious Republicans openly affiliate with groups like the Council for National Policy (founded by evangelist Tim LaHaye) and Council of Conservative Citizens.

    Conservative politics and religious fundamentalism are one and the same, and it's been this way since Ronald Reagan.
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    Oct 10, 2009 5:20 PM GMT
    There have been studies on this sort of thing. One caused an uproar among conservatives was taken by some to compare a certain brand of conservatism to mental illness:
    http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/conservative-values-claimed-to-be-a-mental-illness/blog-29112/A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".
    As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.

    All of them "preached a return to an idealised past and condoned inequality".
    The authors, presumably aware of the outrage they were likely to trigger, added a disclaimer that their study "does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false".

    I think there certainly has been as of late a significant number of conservatives that reject science when it comes into conflict with religious dogma which also gives the new conservatism a fundamentalist religion feel.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism#PsychologyA meta-analysis of research literature by Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, and Sulloway in 2003 claimed that many factors, such as intolerance of ambiguity and need for cognitive closure, contribute to the degree of one's political conservatism. The study also stated that these traits "might be associated with such generally valued characteristics as personal commitment and unwavering loyalty," and that while both liberals and conservatives are resistant to change; liberals have a higher tolerance.

    Here is a link to the study Conservatism As Motivated Social Cognition
    From what I have read over the past few years, it seems that some people's beliefs drives them into that modern Conservative tent and basically changed the face of conservatism of the past.
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    Oct 10, 2009 5:26 PM GMT
    Here was another scalding article about the topic ..
    Conservatism a Sympton of Mental IllnessWhats Really Behind Conservative Politics?
    Conservatives continually adhere to several themes when talking about their political beliefs. You really don't even have to read closely to pick up on it. At times they even sound like broken records.

    It's apparent in the recent discourse on health care reform, how they continually adhere to misinformation and lies that don't even make sense. Even when confronted with the truth, they deny it.
    The same happens with subjects like the death penalty. They continually believe, ideas different from theirs are causing America to deteriorate, even though history shows us that the most Liberal period of our history was filled with growth and advancement and prosperity on a far larger scale than seen since that time.

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    Oct 10, 2009 7:25 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidActually I think things are pretty balanced among the two parties. The looney religious Christian nuts have exerted an undue amount of influence in the Republican party over the past 20 or 30 years.... And the Socialist / Marxists at the moment appear to be the force behind the Democrat party.

    Or course, most of you on here won't agree with the latter.

    I agree with your former statement. The republican party seems to be well in bed with all the nutcases of the right winged agenda:no matter how virulent their philosophy.

    What is your definition of a Socialist/Marxists as it applies to the Democrats that you have identified in the latter part of your post?