Do you get this? Conservatives you know put you on their mailing list and send you out every ridiculous thing that comes along? Today I got, “Bernie Sanders, the Bum Who Wants Your Money” — by those bastions of elite thought, the editors at Investor’s Business Daily. It came with the headline, “MUST READ scoop on Bernie….” It’s not what you are probably thinking: an article about how his policies would result in more wealth redistribution. No. It’s an attack on Sanders’ character, talking about how he didn’t get a “steady paycheck” until he was 40 — and you know what that was: a government paycheck! (For the record: Sanders, like many people in the years after college, had many jobs; that’s what they mean by him not having a “steady paycheck.”)
But I’m not here to respond to the article. It is idiotic — that why I’m not even linking to it. But I got the link from someone I’m in business with — a once hippy, now Tea Party Republican who is addicted to hate radio. She is convinced (despite the fact that he has less than a year left in office) that Obama is going to start a race war. Blah, blah, blah. As I’ve said many times: I don’t mind if you disagree with me, but please don’t bore me to death by repeating the same talking points I hear everywhere.
It’s particularly bad because we have a professional relationship. She sends the email out through her business website address. It’s the same address she sends out announcements about conferences and other business related material. And given her business, I assume most of the people on the list are liberal like me. She certainly knows that I’m at least a liberal. Yet I constantly get my mail box filled with this kind of garbage — much of it conspiracy oriented.
Conservatives Are Attacking!
This is not the only such person in my life. It’s always the same: it’s always conservatives. I don’t have liberals constantly forwarding stuff to me. And you would think I would! After all, I write about it. But these conservatives are not sending stuff out to me; they are sending it out to everyone they know! That’s the main thing: liberals don’t seem to be in the habit of creating mailing lists and then thinking that their divisive opinions are something all the world needs to know about.
I think it shows the distinct immaturity of the conservative mind. I’ve especially run into this with libertarians, who believe that if I just read this one thing and had this one thought experiment, I would be a convert! What these people find, usually very starkly, is that I’ve thought about the issue in much greater depth than they have. Conservatives make the mistake of thinking that liberalism has no intellectual basis because most liberals aren’t intellectuals. That is, in fact, true. Most liberals I know have not thought through liberal policy very deeply. However, as Matt Bruenig has pointed out, just because most liberals are mistaken about why the minimum wage is a good idea, does not mean they are wrong about the fact that it is a good idea.
I believe the reason there are so many conservatives around forwarding all of this nonsense is because of hate radio and the related conservative infrastructure. People listen to Rush Limbaugh and think that they are getting educated. I’ve seen this especially with Fox News viewers who are convinced that since they watch a lot of political “news,” they are informed. This is like someone in Moscow in 1970 who read Pravda every day and thought they were well informed.
Interestingly enough, the word “pravda” (“Правда”) means “true” or “the truth.” And that is what the conservative media echo chamber has brought us: a bunch of propagandized ignoramuses who are certain that they know The Truth™. And so I get placed on email lists with links to really vile things rather than actually cool things like Henri: the Existential Cat.