Here’s what I don’t get.
Conservatives are always so sure that any able-bodied person can just go out there and get a job if they really want to do it.
But that’s pure magical thinking, and it’s an evil magic to boot. There is no mechanism to insure that the number of jobs exceed the number of people in need of work. They have very little to do with one another.
Go ahead, ask conservatives why they think “you can always go work at McDonald’s”. They will have no real answer for you. They will mumble some bullshit about “common sense” or things “everybody knows”, but they can’t cite a single actual reason for believing this to be true other than their own moral laziness.
It supports their desire to avoid having to think about others, and therefore it must be true. It’s the laziest moral shortcut possible, and conservatives love those. They love them so much that they gleefully lower their intellectual and moral standards to the point where they basically don’t have it.
They believe it because they want to. It’s as simple as that.
As patient readers know, the place I come from, the Maritimes region of Canada, has a resource based economy and therefore suffers from chronic high unemployment, often double digit. For my entire childhood, my home town of Summerside, Prince Edward Island has been overflowing with unemployed young people who would be overjoyed to work at McD’s… assuming they haven’t given up trying because even McD’s gets a hundred applicants for every job and there is only so much rejection someone can take before the despair sets in and they retreat into a world of parties and liquor and drugs.
And yet, my father parroted that “there’s always McDonald’s!” line over and over. And here’s the thing : he knew better. Not “he should have known better” , he knew better because he worked for the government of Prince Edward Island and dealt directly with the numerous training programs the province funded specifically to deal with the high unemployment rate of the problem.
And yet, he never asked himself “why don’t all these people in my training programs just get jobs at McDonald’s”?
It’s like they think, in that hazy twilit world at the outer edge of their consciousness in which thought can be said to take place, that McD’s is some infinite font of employment, as opposed to a business that only has so much money for labour and ergo only so much capacity to provide employment.
And yet, these are the same people who consider themselves defenders of capitalism. Well, I guess it’s easier to love an economic system (or anything else) when you don’t actually understand it and therefore can imagine it to mean whatever you want it to mean at any moment.
The truth is, to them, “capitalism” is merely an arbitrary label for the status quo. It’s what they have been told the system is called, and therefore they worship it. To them, “capitalism”, like “democracy”, is a simple code word that means “not change”.
And therefore, “not think”.
Like I have said before, the biggest fear of conservatives is having to truly think for themselves. They can’t tolerate doubt, and so they need to have their existing beliefs reinforced with all the subtely of a sledgehammer to the brain in order to keep their evil and insidious higher brain functions too stunned to make them uncertain about things.
And this is not merely a fuction of IQ. My father is no dummy. He’s a college educated man who loves to read and watch the news. It’s not a question of native intelligence.
It’s a lot closer to being a matter of temperament. Whether it’s nature or nurture, somehow a choice is made within a person that determines whether or not they react to doubt with fear or with curiosity.
Conservatives are so frightened by doubt and uncertainty that they absolutely must get out of it or avoid it by any means possible. That is why they are not at all choosy about what they believe and are willing to embrace patently absurd beliefs, not to mention morally repregensible ones, if they are the nearest exit from their fear.
Intolerable fear has a way of lowering your standards really fast. Take it from a social anxiety sufferer. When the fear is strong. you will do whatever it takes to escape it as soon as possible and to hell with your best interests.
I think it very much behooves us liberals (and, by extension, also behooves civilization) to understand this. If we want to lead people towards the light, we have to be ready to quiet their fears and provide them with a comfortingly familiar and safe path from where they are to where we want them to go.
The fear in them is so strong that they will simply invent whatever information they need in order to keep that fear at bay. That’s why Fox News works how it does. Fox News can operate sans facts because their viewers are not looking for information, they are looking for reassurance.
These people crave the safety signals that Fox News provides them. Fox News provides that signal by giving their audiences whatever messages they need in order to subdue their doubting minds and leave them feeling secure.
Otherwise, it would be just them and their own minds against the big bad scary world full of fear signals, like people who are not like you, crime shows on TV, and everything else that is scary and uncertain.
And that, to them, would be Hell.
That’s why they fight so hard against the liberal intellectual attempts to enlighten them. To them, it’s a fight for their lives against people who want to drag them out of the warmth of certainty and toss them into their worst nightmare.
When looked at that way, it is no wonder they react so violently against us well intentioned liberal intellectual types.
After all, to them, we are trying to hurt them.
And we won’t make any progress until we embrace this fact and learn to reassure them rather than attack them.
I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.