Saturday, March 17, 2012

Return of Bircherism

The Tennessee General Assembly passes a delusionally paranoid, anti-UN resolution against Agenda 21. The fact that it's anti-environmental? Bonus!

WHEREAS, according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment which would be accomplished by socialist/communist redistribution of wealth
This sounds like the John Birch Society bullshit (h/t @Trace Sharp) I heard growing up in Tennessee 40 years ago, and sure enough it is. Don't any of them wonder how we're still free if fluoridation was a communist conspiracy to drug us all into sheep-like obedience?

Rick Perlstein (h/t Paul Krugman) notes that the crazy conservatives have been with us a long time - longer than we've called them wingnuts.
[A]longside the ordinary tacking of American political preference between Democrats and Republicans, conservatism continues to thrive. That's because power begets power: Democrats can be counted on to compromise with conservative nuttiness, and the media can be counted on to normalize it. And it's because there will always be millions of Americans who are terrified of social progress and of dispossession from whatever slight purchase on psychological security they've been able to maintain in a frightening world. And because there will always be powerful economic actors for whom exploiting such fear, uncertainty and doubt pays (and pays, and pays).

Conservatism is not getting crazier, and it's not going away, either. It's just getting more powerful. That's a fact that a reality-based liberal just has to accept – and, from it, draw strength for the fight.
What we had until Ronald Reagan and talk radio brought them out of the darkness was a social norm that scoffed at the fever swamp of ultra-conservative imagination. Well, nationally, not in the South. We no longer have that moderating national norm, which is really depressing, and the continuing reason wingnuts are so sensitive to any norm that limits their various and sundry bigotries.

Still, it's hopeful to look back with a gimlet eye and see that we liberals have overcome the wingnuts before. Now, to do it again.

Update: Lest I get too optimistic, more lunacy on Agenda 21.

No comments: