How can Rush Limbaugh look at himself each morning in the mirror and not vomit?

Why is there no more painful sight in the world that a roomful of Republicans attempting to dance?

How can Lynn Cheney can refrain from strangling Dick while he sleeps?

Why are there no funny Republicans? Why does the little existing conservative humor consist in belittling others?

Is it conceivable that Ann Coulter actually enjoys her life?

Why are conservative Christian churches only marginally, if at all, informed by Christian charity?

(answers below the fold)


The answers all begin in the same place. Here it is:

All conservatives share one basic moral intuition: “The world is a very dangerous place. There are people out to get me and mine. My absolute duty is to protect myself and my people.” That fundamental intuition shapes everything conservatives say, everything they do.

The dominant conservative emotion is anxious fear. Whether they confess it or not; conservatives feel constantly threatened. Their outlook on world is paranoid defensiveness. No matter how much power they have, no matter how many victories they win, they see themselves as an embattled minority and act accordingly.

For conservatives, the wolves really are out there–not just the terrorists, but the thieves, the violent criminals, the sexual perverts, the illegal immigrants, the abortionists, immoral teachers, civil liberties lawyers, the federal government, the UN, most foreigners, and on and on.

Liberals do not understand that, to conservative eyes, they are not simply political competitors or people who hold different values. Liberals are, rather, part and parcel of the threat. They are, in conservative nightmares, the apologists for all those who would harm them and their people, and, as such, liberals are the worst of threats.  They make it possible for all the other predators in the night to roam freely.  

Liberals complain that conservatives don’t play fairly. But if politics is one of the means by which I defend myself and my people, and if I feel seriously threatened, my duty is to do whatever I can in the battle–lie, misrepresent, bend or break rules, reapportion at will, cut back on civil liberties. When conservatives fight dirty, they are simply being true to themselves.  

Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity never see themselves as liars; they are, in good conscience and good faith, telling the only truth that matters.  That truth is, of course, whatever serves to defend themselves and their people.  Theirs is the most pragmatic of epistemologies: whatever is useful to their cause in the way of belief must be true.  Divine communications tend to operate similarly: the Bible must say what it needs to say to validate my life.

For conservatives, my people are, first of all, my family, relatives, and friends. But one good way to protect myself and my people is to find allies, people who feel similarly threatened.  Republicans may celebrate individualism, but they are inveterate joiners.  They band together in suburbs and exurbs, in social groups, and in churches.  Nothing is more comforting to conservatives than feeling surrounded by like-minded others; they find strength and solace in numbers.  

But you can never be sure. Your allies might turn on you. So, you can’t let your guard down. You can’t relax. You should never trust the group to such an extent that you let yourself go. Hence, conservatives can’t dance. Hips tight, buttocks clenched, hair carefully coiffed, they cannot trust and relax enough to find the groove.

(There’s more, maybe three or four parts more, if you want more.)

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