Governing by Spite

I am so tired of seeing articles like this:

Or this:

Where our current administration just seems to make decisions based on hurting someone. It’s the only way any of this makes sense to me.

That’s, uh. . . that’s basically conservatism in a nutshell, bud.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it fills me with incredible loathing and rage, but it’s been the standard mode of operation for right wings worldwide for millennia. “Fuck you, I got mine” as policy.

I guess I just never noticed until recently. Sorry.

It’s also a bit of budget shuffling, but under the guise of what Armando just said. “Hey I’m gonna take this pile of money over there and use it over here.” And this of course without any notice of what that money pile was for in the first place.

It’s the exact same with his declaration of a border emergency and wall funds.

Think of it less as them deliberately hurting someone, though they are. To them it is just spending budget money on whatever the hell they want. It’s like at work when they kill budget assigned to your upcoming project so that they can instead fund some pop-up issue that their departmental hunting buddy at work ran into on their project. (Was that too specific?)

That’s exactly what it is, and the US isn’t the only one with governments like that nowadays. I know for a fact that Brazil has been just the same, if not even worse.

Cue the recent story of the Trump supporter, upon seeing their disappointing tax returns, lamenting that Trump was “hurting the wrong people”.

I honestly forgot about that, but yeah.

The cruelty is the point of conservative politics.

I think I’m naive, because for a while, it seemed to me the point was just enriching themselves. If other people got hurt, so be it. Now, however, it seems they’re deliberately targeting programs and such to actively hurt and target specific groups of people they don’t like.

At a minimum they used to hide it better or, more to the point, they didn’t used to be so damn proud of it.

It is outrage politics. Republican politicians want lower taxes and less oversight and regulation of business activities. That’s all they ever want. But, as always, most Americans either don’t want these things or don’t care about them. So Republicans have had to gather a coalition of useful idiots to check boxes in voting booths for them. And they’ve cultivated those idiots over decades to faithfully respond to dogwhistles, propaganda, and red meat. And the predictable result is that the GOP eats its own brain from the inside and catering to a self-created horde of drooling, hate filled morons becomes its modus operadi.

Depends on which “they” you mean.

The true longtime power behind the Republican exists for the purpose of maintaining the power and wealth of an elite few, and protecting it against the depredations of the majority which could, theoretically, use majority rule to spread the power and wealth around. A passive, careless sort of cruelty.

Trump, however, has incited a group of other Republicans to anger towards other Americans, such that active cruelty towards those other Americans seems attractive to them.

However, I am not willing to go along with the characterization of this Trumpite crowd as evil, as compared to the old Republican power center. Here’s why.

That old power center’s playbook relied on dividing the have-nots and turning them against each other. Collect groups of have-nots who have been hurt by history, and encourage them to take out their frustrations by blaming liberals. Then, central to this playbook, play to lose on all these peoples’ issues:

  1. We understand your frustration with immigration, environmental legislation, abortion, minority rights, etc.
  2. Listen to liberals hurling hate at us for our rhetoric on these subjects. So you gotta vote for us.
  3. We won, so you are entitled to get your way. But hey, the courts and the deep government are squishing the will of the majority, so you better hate on liberals and Washington even more.
  4. Lower taxes on the very rich and repeat.

This is an incredibly effective con game that liberal leaders have never found an effective way to defense. But from the perspective of the victims of this con (most of my neighbors), the fury is about to explode the pressure cooker. However, this is all on the tab of that original Republican power center, they are responsible for the resulting cruelty, even if that was not particularly their purpose.

This is a great explainer post, thank you!

Trump didn’t start the pwn teh libs as Governing talk. That incitement is what he took advantage of, not started.

He does do it far more openly than most other politicians in US history, AFAIK.

Lee Atwater 1981

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

Same as it always was.

You’re totally right in that now they are reveling in it and not trying to be abstract.

True, but “Fuck You” can translate into apathy or active cruelty. Under Trump, it’s more the latter.

I don’t draw much delineation. The Republican party has unquestionably dealt unfathomable harm to women, racial and religious minorities, the LGBTQ population, and the poor and middle class for the better part of 60 years. If your policies ‘accidentally’ fuck over hundreds of millions of people routinely, then you deserve the fucking guillotine, whether or not you’re gloating aboutit.

I may not have been clear, but that is exactly what I meant.

Trump kind of outbid his Republican competition in his willingness to champion the rage of these swindled groups, but the rage is on the inner circle’s tab.

In fact, I strongly suspect that the inner circle’s fantasy at the moment is to be able to ditch Trump, blame liberals for Trump’s fall, and thus double down on the con. While selling the likes of Cruz and Rubio as such responsible alternatives to Trump.

I could say the same thing about liberal politics being about lazy resentment. But I think that statement would be as accurate as yours.

Given that most liberals I know are too lazy to contribute at all toward bettering the world they resent so much, I’d say that’s nearly as accurate as all conservatives being horrifically terrible people who I hate and fear, yes!