People mistake how things have “always” been, that is, in their lifetimes, or that of their parents and grandparents, as “values.” But racism, religious bigotry, and misogyny are not values. Neither is the habitually dishonesty we see from the likes of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin. Ethnic nationalism is not a value, unless you’re a fascist.
They are character flaws.
When we try to cope with conservatism’s devotion to the status quo, this is what we are dealing with: A group of people who believe that negatives are actually positives. The corollary to this is that they think positives are negatives. Thus, as we continue to grant rights to people, Republicans cry tyranny.
Just the other day, Rick Santorum claimed during an interview with the Christian Post, that we are becoming Nazi Germany. I can tell you right now, having studied Nazi Germany and read Nazi newspapers, the Nazis were not giving rights to anybody. For example, they weren’t expanding the voting franchise, as Democrats have been doing in this country for decades.
The Republicans want only white Christians to vote, and they’re pretty vocal about it. Similarly, the Nazis not only restricted the voting franchise to ethnic Germans, but they made elections meaningless through employment of the Führer Principle (Führerprinzip). This was a leadership hierarchy with Adolf Hitler at the top, once elected but never to be elected again, for the simple reason that people weren’t going to be allowed to vote again. You don’t get to vote against what God has ordained. Sound familiar?
In Nazi Germany, the Führer combined in his person executive, legislative, and judicial power.
We see nothing like that here, of course. We are all painfully aware that we have a legislative branch independent of the executive, thanks to six years of obstruction and nullification and refusal to earn their pay, and we have been made equally well aware of our judicial branch through such catastrophic rulings as the Hobby Lobby decision and Citizens United. On the other hand, we are aware of our executive branch too, not only through the incompetent and even criminal bumbling of the Bush administration, but the heroic efforts of the Obama administration to keep America a going concern.
Rick Santorum made another claim worth mentioning a few days ago, and that is that by silencing the Church (by which he means himself and other Religious Right figures – remember, he believes mainline Protestantism is lost to Satan), “secular statists” are winning the Culture War. Yes, if only he hadn’t been persecuted into silence, he could have convinced millennials to be hateful bigots like he and his buddies.
“The arguments are being won among young people. We are losing in this particular area among young people not because we’re out there and competing, it’s because they have effectively silenced the church on a lot of those issues and young people don’t even know what the opposing view is on these issues.
Do a search through PoliticusUSA’s archives. Tell me if YOU think Santorum has been silenced. I think you’ll find there has been nothing forcing him to keep his tongue behind his teeth. If only.
Thanks to Fox News, the opposite of what Santorum insists upon is true. Rather than silencing his view, his view has become pervasive thanks to Fox News’ 24/7 made-up news cycle.
Even Business Insider ran with the story: that watching Fox News makes you less informed than if you had watched no news at all. That pretty much says it all. And a lot of people watch Fox News. It is hard to make this sound like either an accomplishment or confirmation of Santorum’s persecution fantasies. On the contrary, record numbers of people are having their minds poisoned by Fox News.
Just not millennials, who have other means of interacting with the world. Like the free and open Internet Republicans have come so much to hate.
Most of us see this as freedom of speech, and free speech as a good thing. Santorum sees the free and open exchange of ideas as some sort of rat poison directed at the “righteous” like himself:
“I really believe in this subject matter at hand with the gay community that a Judeo-Christian worldview cannot survive with a worldview that is as rabidly secular as this movement is.”
Rabidly secular. As opposed to rabidly theocratic? It was Santorum’s god who said that we shall not have any other gods before him. To be equally rabid, would not gay rights activists, for example, have to insist, “There shall be no other marriages than gay marriages”?
But nobody is saying that, are they? Heterosexual marriages will be just fine if gay couples can get married.
Here’s the thing that Religious Right figures like Santorum refuse to admit. They can keep their beliefs if gay people can get married. Nobody is stopping Santorum from thinking this is wrong. He’s free to go to a church that refuses to perform same-sex marriages. But if Santorum had his way, ALL of us would have to live by his rules. In other words, there wouldn’t be any churches where gay people could get married.
Somehow, giving gay people rights that are equivalent (at least in some respects) to rights Santorum enjoys, is a form of tyranny, a form of persecution. Because we won’t all do what Santorum says we must do, he stomps his feet and cries we are persecuting him. This is not only NOT a mature response but it is a wildly inaccurate one.
The conservative plan seems to be, if Lie X is not believed, then tell Lie Y and then Lie Z. And they have the Kochs buying up the mainstream media and Fox News already propagating these lies like never before in history, and STILL millennials are seeing through their bullsh*t and embracing true religious freedom, not to be confused with Santorum’s “religious freedom,” which is only White Evangelical Privilege in disguise.
That’s why Santorum is angry right down to the fibers of his v-neck sweater.
He can’t get it through his thick head that millennials don’t think treating their friends like sh*t to satisfy some religious dogma is a value. Unlike all the white folks in small towns across America, where you don’t see ethnic or religious minorities, many millennials have gay friends, just like they have atheist Muslim friends, and Latino friends.
They know their friends are people, deserving of equal respect and treatment, and all the lies Fox News can tell isn’t going to convince them something they know is not true, to be true. As a group, they are much more in line with the Pope, and his “Who am I to judge” than with the GOP’s “you’re all going to hell if you disagree with me” line.
And not only an open mind a value, but having one has another benefit: it drives the Ted Cruzes and Sarah Palins and Rick Santorums of the world crazy.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.