Shock Doctrine Troops

March 3rd, 2010at 07:11am Posted by Eli

Psychologist Michael Bader confesses his dislike for the teabaggers, but also advocates empathy as well:

People can’t tolerate feeling helpless and self-hating for very long. It’s too painful, too demoralizing and too frightening. They have to find an antidote. They have to make sense of it all in a way that restores their sense of meaning, their feeling of agency, their self-esteem, and their belief in the possibility of redemption. They have to. They have no choice. That’s just the way the mind works.

The paranoid strategy is to generate a narrative that finally “explains it all.” A narrative — a set of beliefs about the way the world is and is supposed to be — helps make sense of chaos. It reduces guilt and self-blame by projecting it onto someone else. And it restores a sense of agency by offering up an enemy to fight. Finally, it offers hope that if “they” — the enemy, the conspirators — can be avoided or destroyed, the paranoid person’s core feelings of helplessness and devaluation will go away.


For new Tea Party members… the drift toward paranoia is facilitated by the right-wing media machine that offers several ready-made narratives perfectly designed to help its consumers clear up their confusion, understand their helplessness, absolve them of any blame and offer a way out. The conspiratorial alliance of business and government, a growing tyranny intended to disenfranchise, disarm and exploit ordinary citizens, secret pacts to overthrow the Constitution, etc. all currently led by an un-American, godless, colored, elitist, contemptuous foreigner: Barack Hussein Obama. A grim and frightening picture of the world to be sure. Psychologically speaking, however, it offers relief from helplessness and a sense that things are falling apart. It offers a sense of cohesion and identity based on certainty, a commonality of interests, innocence, and even martyrdom. While the world of the Tea Partiers is filled with danger, it is a danger mitigated by moral certainty, clarity of purpose and a definable external enemy.

This is truly horrifying if you think about it.  The right is actively manufacturing and promoting extremist narratives to exploit these people’s sense of helplessness and fear – caused by their own destructive policies – and turn them into an army of fanatics.

Imagine this guy, we’ll call him Rob, secretly schemes to get his friend Tee fired from his job.  Tee then confides in Rob his sense of helplessness and despair.  But instead of helping him find a new job and get back on his feet like a real friend would do, Rob instead tells Tee that it’s all Rob’s bitter rival Dan’s fault and that Tee should show Dan that he’s on to him and teach him a lesson.  That, in a nutshell, is what the Republicans are doing, and it’s amoral and disgusting.

Republicans aren’t just obstructing meaningful economic stimulus and health care reform because they want Democrats to fail, but because every person who loses their job or their health insurance is another potential convert to Glenn Beck’s teabag gospel.

Entry Filed under: Economy,Politics,Wankers

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