Oh, Just Grow Up! Arrested Development And Republicans.

Sometimes, even the most liberal parent has to give a misbehaving child a smack, despite their squeamish dislike of such punishment. Which is why the Democrats should treat the conservative far-right like a petulant 6-year-old. Like children jumping up and down, red-faced and plump, the Republican right are annoyed that their toys and massive bag of chocolate coins are to be shared around the other less fortunate kids. But like children, they're using facile falsehoods to try and get rid of that horrible new sensible parent who just won't give and give and give, like that last slightly stupid Uncle did. "Look at that Stephen Hawking!" they squeal, "he'd be dead if he was in that horrible socialist United Kingdom and in that grimy hospital they call the NHS! We want shiny hospitals just for us, fuck the rest of those stupid kids". You can lie and lie till you're blue in the face, fat spoiled brats, it's not going to change the world just by you fibbing repeatedly. "He's not our real parent anyway - he's not even American. Look, see. He's Black. And his birth certificate proves he's not a Yank. We need a real American, like that Terminator-dude, to be in charge". We've been here before. We let the brats scream and bawl the last time a sensible parent tried to run the States. We heard them moan about non-existent conspiracies involving sneaky property deals and ridiculous romantic affairs. When the spoilt ringleader, Kenneth Starr, found that some random lady had sucked the surrogate parent's willy in the Oval Office, they jumped up and down in delight and argued that this just proved all the other fairy stories correct. And by doing so, they finally got what they wanted - they got a stupid Uncle adopting them, who would just let them run around remorselessly with impunity.

If you think I'm taking the American far-right as regressive minors parallel a touch too far, then think again. I can go all the way to the beginning of Piaget (and subsequent neo-Piagetian texts) to show that arrested development is responsible for a majority of this behaviour. Seriously, if you have the time, read the summary of Piagetian stages of child development. Even if there's debate as to when those stages occur, they're generally followed as a model for children growing up.  Whether it be the lack of perspective, empathy, abstract thought or recognition of reciprocal altruism, the American far-right might as well be spoilt kids. After the last time in the 1990s, of spending eight solid years in total self-delusion and denying Clinton was in the Whitehouse, they're now doing it again from the moment President Obama Hussein took power. This time, the only way to deal with the Republican brats is to actually treat them like children, because we saw what happened when Starr and his bunch of jockey pals chased Clinton all over the schoolyard. Fast-forward a few years and they're desperately trying to claw back being King of the Castle. Sarah Palin is behaving like a spoilt little princess from drama school, going on about healthcare plans being "evil", as well as claiming that the British NHS has "death panels". Meanwhile, the source of that embryo death panel idea, Betsy McCaughey, sat at The Daily Show desk, like a child showing her badly written homework, with Jon Stewart acting as the responsible adult trying to point out that certain words didn't exist in the proposed healthcare legislation. Most notably the words "mandatory" or "euthanasia".

During the last election campaign, John McCain had to apologise on many an occasion at the pack of feral fibbers behind him and notably was the only Republican who did try to behave like an adult. This was the reason why he had to be the only Republican presidential candidate, because the previous eight years of the U.S. had been governed by an occasionally Pretzel-choking teenage brain permanently hooked into the baseball coverage. If the conservative right are bereft of arguments and ideas, why not just be truthful instead of lying? "We don't like Obama's healthcare plan, because we have shares in Medicare and will lose money, plus we don't want to pay our taxes toward poor people" would actually go down a lot better with the right-wing electorate than making up stuff. Except maybe not. These conservatives are all at various early stages of arrested development and probably actually believe in death panels.On top of that, if all those shockingly barely-racist remarks that some leading Republican thinkers are choosing to come out with are perceived as allowable, then the most troglodyte-like followers are going to be led to do something stupid. The best example being Glenn Beck's hick town school jock act, which has finally bitten him back. Advertisers (including even Walmart) wanted nothing to do with a show where the main protagonist accused Obama of being racist against white people. Again, another childish lie. An egocentric passive-aggressive lie. He only learned his lesson in the way that all teenagers learn their lesson. By being punished and having his toys confiscated and told to do his homework, Glenn was effectively told to go to his room and not come back until he'd finished (he's on "forced vacation" at the moment). But then Glenn always struck me as the guy stuck in a regressed frat boy stage, wondering why the kids that he used to bully at school were suddenly earnestly engaging in adult debate and (currently) now running the country.

But as many media commentators have pointed out, it's not just the fact that the far-right Republican movement make up lies. It's that they're really bad lies. Rather like children saying things off-the-cuff, it's the sheer infantile nature of the fibs. They even behave like juveniles when they're caught and remonstrated. A figure of speech employed by extreme right-wingers is fears of a "Nanny state" or "big government". These words are spoken truly as the children who can't stand what sensible parents might say. I always remember one media commentator saying that the the George "Dubya" Bush administration pedaled "small lies" as well as "big lies", all the way down to the municipal level. A perfect example he drew from was a massive flag drawn up by Republican campaigners for an aircraft carrier that said "Mission Accomplished", where the embarrassing real-world disagreed with the statement. Later, the sailors on the battleship were blamed for the daubed banner. The commentator who pointed out the lies at all levels was Ron Reagan, son of Ronald Reagan. Admittedly, Ron Reagan Jnr is a well-known liberal, but it's notable that more forward-thinking Republican senators, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, have kept an embarrassed silence during the snarling vitriol aboutt an American national health insurance scheme idea. Maybe it's because Arnie realises that his Austrian countrymen enjoy a successful national health scheme and that one in the US might be quite a good idea?

But if the UK has felt under attack from childish insubstantiated claims, a particular part of the UK, Scotland, has just had another avalanche of lies to go with the double-order of Freedom lies it got with the NHS.The attack had been prompted by the Scottish Government freeing Al-Megrahi, due to his terminal cancer. First up,Scotland is apparently "a state where Church and government" are the same, while America is secular. Another brilliant example of the lie that is just plain awful and cringeworthy. Has the dog eaten your homework this time? They also claim that: "You have shown to the international community that your government and the United Kingdom as a whole will stop at nothing to pursue the neverending and relentless acquisition of oil revenues." This awful Boycott Scotland campaign wasrightly hijacked by Scots who used their well-used tools of mockery and out-and-out belligerence.To quote Charlie Brooker (admittedly about Jeremy Clarkson insulting Gordon Brown), rather like the pot calling the kettle black, this is a case of the cunt calling a cunt, a cunt.

Dana Gould talks about a "permanent anger class" and described these people as "conservative fundamentalists". "People who have stuff are enraged, while the people who have nothing live in hope". Now, the "people who have stuff are enraged" - what does that sound like? Disgruntled toddlers who have flung their toys out of the pram. Conclusion: let us not forget that a lot of conservative fundamentalists are at the earliest stage of Piagetian development They're trying to own the world around them using accomodation and assimilation, while having a complete egocentricity about anything needing to be shared out. "It's my stuff, you're not having any of it!". The only way to educate kids like this is the one that most liberal parents are uncomfortable with. And that's to just give them a smack when they behave unreasonably. There's absolutely no way the new liberal elite can go down the same path as last time. When Clinton was in power, the Neo-Conservatives played as dirtily and vehemently as possible to get rid of him from day one. They're doing the same again. If liberals think about these people no more than spoilt children, a use of mockery or force is only to be expected. Or even the old Victorian maxim that "the Republican right should be seen and not heard".

Update 06/09/2009

It's since taken the courage of the slightly unlikely figure of Dan Savage to point out that "unfortunately in the Republican Party, there are no adults left in the room", as well as the fact that the anti-Obama rhetoric trotted out by a lot of leading conservatives is tantamount to "trying to get the president killed". My own take on this is not only should the new Democrat administration treat these people as infantile, they should also treat them as children who have access to guns. Or, worse, as angry children armed with guns. That gives a whole new map direction to the way liberal politicians should behave toward these extreme views espoused by conservative Republicans.