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Political Pathology…

I recall a conversation with a couple of prisoners whom I regarded as evil profiteers with no empathy for others—one of them a general contractor in for defrauding federal money slated for Katrina victims, and the other a Goldman Sachs-style executive in for even greater theft.

Few such profiteers have been incarcerated; afterall, it is their system.

As with other prisoners, they quickly learn that most inmates are perfectly normal persons.  However, they rarely quite get the social connect…the consciousness that most people are not driven to plunder society for their personal wealth, privilege and power.

When I was a civil rights activist and served on a chain-gang in the South in the 1960s, the racist conservative reactionaries at that time were largely Democratic Dixiecrats.

Nixon’s southern strategy, after presidents Kennedy and Johnson and the Democratic Party shifted to greater civic participation of all citizens (including blacks, almost totally disenfranchised during 100 years of post-bellum Jim Crow rule), caused these racist conservatives to switch to the Republican Party, which then best served their interests.

Same people, same beliefs, only now instead of white robes, hoods and flaming crosses, they wear suits and ties, and attend Tea Parties.

Instead of night-riding and lynchings, they now address their racism and corporate reactionism in the language of “compassionate conservatism.”

They denounce welfare (except for corporations), oppose taxes (for the rich), sabotage public education, healthcare (except for themselves), Social Security (which they intend to loot), unions (and any working class solidarity), and all public services and “big Gov’t.” (except for prisons and the military, which they intend to privatize in any event).

It isn’t actually conservative ideology that drives their pathology.  Clearly, at some formative period of their youth—often thru gross parental authority and abuse—they became fixated at a pre-social developmental stage.

For them, individualism, private enterprise, and pathological opposition to all forms of social participation, is their casus belli in life.  They oppose social services, not only because it was once denied them at a time in youthful need, but for the simple reason that they have no social consciousness of what it is.

They have been taught to believe that such “free rides” are unearned expressions of a “nanny state,” or nurturant parent (which they were denied).  “Rights,” accordingly, are perceived as “liberal technicalities,” which they did not experience (and learn) as fundamental social constructs due all persons at birth.

Also, there are those persons who adapt to a conservative identification simply because they were so taught, like religion, etc.  Their parents, neighbors, peers, and/or mates are so identified, therefore they mimic these same beliefs.  At the extreme, they do so to avoid cognitive dissonance in a form of folie à deux, or even folie de beaucoup.

Of course, there are those who “freely” chose conservatism—assuming they have any definition at all—under the socio-psychological rubric of the mind following the body, or, as the street/prison vernacular goes, their belief following their ass; where their ass goes, so goes there thinking…  Felons are especially cognizant of this phenomenon; we have all kinds of rationalities for our actions.

Now I haven’t addressed so-called liberals, progressives, and revolutionists.  Liberals are simply the reverse of conservatives.  They didn’t fixate at an early stage of development, they generally had nurturant parents, or at least such was the dominant one, and matured into empathetic and socially conscious adults (identifying themselves as much as a part of a whole as vice versa).

Progressive persons are liberals who have a participatory sense of political identification and action.

“Moderates,” I agree with Professor George Lakoff, are simply persons who are conservative in one area and liberal in another.

Revolutionaries, are the expression of left liberal progressives who believe in and struggle for radical social change.  That radical change usually includes fundamental alteration of the socio-economic system itself.

Socialists, communists and anarchists are often, but not always, revolutionaries.

The extreme right of conservatives have on their radical wing, the Klan, militias, a number of the gov’t groups, such as the DEA, ATF, ICE, the Aryan Nations, etc.  To put it in street/prison terms—just plain, mentally deranged, sick f***s.

Lemme see, what else?  Oh yeah, almost forgot.  There are of course those with the real power.  The corporatist ruling elite—under 1/10th of 1% of the population.

Their political identification is the same as was their earliest class forbears:  Clan and tribal dictators, kings and princes, Popes and bishops, pirates and privateers, CEOs and their wannabee flunkies:  Themselves.

               Dr. Publico

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