LQCs: Sanctimony and Amorality

The Week, Steve Larkin, 23 April 22: Morality just isn’t Republicans’ thing anymore, subtitled, “Republicans have taken the low ground with ‘groomer’ accusations”

The party of “traditional values” seems to have lost track of what they are, and has decided to go about as low as you possibly can to retake the moral high ground. To make themselves feel better, Republicans have gone far beyond the traditional accusations of loose living and government sponging to calling Democrats pedophiles as well. At first the charge of pedophilia was limited to the more fetid swamps of QAnon, but recent, more mainstream, GOP talking points are all about “groomers” — predators who make nice to their young victims before striking.

But why this particular attack, and why now?

The answer to this question is readily apparent when you look at Republican leadership and the base itself. This is a party that sees itself as a moral majority, to steal the original Jerry Falwell’s phrase, and will force all the facts to fit that narrative.

Why do Republicans thrill to Trump and tolerate misbehavior which previous generations — maybe even the very same people, a few decades ago — would have viewed as immediately disqualifying? (A long time ago, Ronald Reagan being divorced and remarried was a serious problem for a small but noticeable group of voters.) Maybe it’s because, while Trump is an extreme (and rich) example, in many ways he’s not so different from his devotees.


NY Times, Jonathan Weisman, 23 Apr 2022: For Trump’s G.O.P., Crossing Lines Has Few Consequences, subtitled, “A dizzying week featured Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, caught lying and another lawmaker, Marjorie Taylor Greene, grilled under oath about her role in the Jan. 6 attack.”

There was a time in the nation’s capital when lines mattered, and when they were crossed, the consequences were swift and severe. …[[ many examples, Democrat and Republican ]] …Yet when the House Republican leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, was shown to have lied about his response to the deadliest assault on the Capitol in centuries and President Donald J. Trump’s culpability for it, there was little expectation that the consequences would be swift or severe — or that there would be any at all.

“It’s a tragic indictment of the political process these days — and the Republican Party of late — that truth doesn’t matter, words don’t matter, everybody can be elastic in areas that were once viewed as concrete,” said Mark Sanford, a former Republican governor of South Carolina who lied to the public about his whereabouts when he was pursuing an extramarital affair in South America and was censured by the State House of Representatives. “You cross lines now, and there are no longer consequences.”


Washington Post, Catherine Rampell, 4 April 2022 (via The Week): This Republican about-face is so much worse than ‘cancel culture’

The GOP no longer argues that free markets, rather than government, should choose “winners and losers.”

In today’s Republican Party, the primary economic role of the state is not to get out of the way. It is, instead, to reward friends and crush political enemies.

Examples from Laura Ingraham, Ron DeSantis, others, making threats against the big businesses Republicans traditionally supported, if they don’t toe the conservative morality line.

This is far scarier than the “cancel culture” phenomenon Republicans so often decry.

Cancel culture, however ill-defined, generally refers to the use of voluntary social pressure to punish those whose views are deemed somehow unacceptable — through public rebukes, boycotts, shunnings, firings or other refusals to engage with some persona non grata in the public square. Republicans (like Democrats) have of course engaged in all these behaviors and worse: Trump himself frequently called for boycotts and firings, including over the peaceful expression of political speech.

But now his party is attempting codify these responses into law, using the power and weapons of the state against those who disagree with them.


These trends are becoming more and more obvious. Why aren’t more ordinary Republicans bothered by this? My provisional conclusion about all this is that, like religious conservatives, political conservatives feel themselves both persecuted (by non-Christians, by the “mainstream media”) and yet superior, to the point where incidental things like lying are considered to be simply irrelevant — a means to an end, that end being the bigger “MAGA” priorities like applying “cancel culture” to racial and sexual minorities, toward a dream to return to TV-inspired dream of 1950s America, where only traditional White “nuclear” families existed. Ozzie and Harriet. Leave it to Beaver. The Andy Griffith Show. Seriously; I’ve seen Fb posts (from a town group where I grew up) lamenting the absence of such shows on modern TV. They are truly bothered by the mainstream acceptance of non-White races, of gays. Of course by this time, most of them have never experienced the 1950s; they know it only through idealized TV and movies.

So much for conservatives being paragons of moral authority and patriotism. But part of my provisional conclusion about all this is that, like the frog sitting in a pot of gradually warming water, most ordinary conservatives simply don’t notice. Their news sources omit transgressions among their tribe. And so they approve of their tribal leaders no matter what they do. Because otherwise it’s like, the horror of not being Republican.



A post by Fb friend Jesse Bering

Social media likely skews *true opinions massively, not because of posts themselves, but comments, reactions, and feedback on those posts. It’s the Asch effect of the internet age, and I don’t think people are aware the extent to which independent thinking is being compromised.

My bold. This is the idea that if everyone around you claims to believe something you perceive as obviously false… most people go along with the crowd, and deny their personal perception. I mentioned this recently as one of the promulgators, I think, of religion. I’ll connect the dots eventually.

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