Not so Noble Savages

As the effort to maim or cripple the moderate progress achieved by the Affordable Care Act goes before the Supreme Court today, it joins the broader national effort on the right to inflict a new primitivism upon the nation, the ongoing campaign to broadly infect us with barbarism dressed as homey ideological product: crudity, pettiness and self-defeating penuriousness in the form of faux originalism and immaculately illiterate nostalgia.  Leave it to the hard shilling hucksters on the American right to attempt to sell us Darwinism without the Darwin.

Republican audiences cheering the death of the hypothetical uninsured or hooting for record numbers of executions helpfully clarifies the squalid emotions behind the broad Republican agenda. Pulling the rug out from under health reform even before it is fully implemented, as health insurance and health care costs become so high ever smaller numbers of employers and individuals can afford coverage, and ever more Americans declare bankruptcy because of their medical bills, as Republicans stand customarily idle, observing the misery while the insurers and providers stuff their coffers apace is its own particularly venal savagery in a modern democracy.

One may be a zealot or simply a fool when advocating policy that returns the nation to former levels of senior poverty prior to Social Security and Medicare, but the new Visigoths cannot seem to help themselves from attempting to sack these civilizing advancements one way or the other. A regrettably juvenile affection for the neo-feudalism and de-facto aristocratism of Ayn Rand, along with magical economics known as supply-side are the basis for Republican economic ideology now, Republicans having convinced themselves with the aid of infantilizing and insulating rightist media that ours is a center-right nation yearning to be brutishly Dickensian, elites, liberal media, wooly-headed academics and Hollywood charlatans conspiring to deny us.

In the Stand Your Ground laws and permissive guns-on-demand approach to social order Republicans have convinced themselves theirs in an enlightened view of public safety, adopting what otherwise is the Archie Bunker panacea of arms for all with its Orwellian achieved peace through public gunfire and murder with a good excuse. A kinder and gentler vision for our daily lives this is not.

In lieu of, or perhaps, according to the plan, prior to the eventual abolition of our current humane and effective, if still inadequate, and by international standards subpar safety net the rightwing governments of red states afford themselves the frisson derived from the infliction of petty cruelty by requiring those in need of public assistance to undergo the humiliation of drug testing, the only segment of benefactors from the treasury or the tax code in such a way demonized and degraded. These same states likewise spend inordinate amounts of government time and money concocting obstacles and humiliations to thrust in the way of women seeking basic health care, contraception or legal abortions. These new bastions of Republican primitivism seeking to pay teachers less, and give corporations more in tax breaks have spared no effort whatsoever in their national campaign to re-restrict and severely delimit the voter franchise, an exercise in anti-democratic backwardness that would delight George Wallace perhaps, but cause Republican Everett Dirksen to weep.

The exact day and time when the Republican Party fully succumbed to its fringes and adopted its current unified theory of radical primitivism and emotional pettiness I am unable to pinpoint with complete precision. Now that it has happened, it is difficult to separate out the pettiness, resentment and prejudice from ideological fanaticism, indoctrination and ignorant conviction that believes some weirdly nostalgic better world lies ahead through this combination of harsh nostrums and crude practices, societal disconnection and feudal social structure, and determine which is the principal motivation or the broadest explanation. I continue to believe Republicans would not wish in a million years to actually live in the society they are seeking to create, simply so ignorantly or blindly following an ideological mission they cannot begin to glimpse, or momentarily consider the actual final result.

What a Wonderful World it would be? Not very.

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