In my last post I highlighted the transition from greed to fear in those who seek to retain the status quo. My point was that since greed has stopped working, fear has become the next stop; the status quo needs you to be afraid in order to sustain itself.
There are very active supporters of the status quo, and they are fear-mongering regularly. Are there things "out there" that might be worrysome? Of course. Are they the ones the fear-mongers are pointing to? Mostly not.
How do we know this? Well, the old fashioned way - by picking apart their arguments and examining their basis.
Fortunately, we don't have to work too hard to accomplish this task. We have folks who will do this for us. Pre-eminent among them is Stephen Colbert. In case you haven't discovered him, Colbert has a 30-minute television show on Comedy Central that is a frightfully funny parody of the "Right Wing Agenda". It's especially useful in scrutinizing the tactics of the Right because it unapologetically and enthusiastically reiterates the talking points of the Right, under the spotlight. What emerges is a (painfully, tragically) funny illumination of the role of fear in the storyline of the the Right. (And if you watch it long enough, you'll see the waning influence of greed in that canon as well.)
Colbert takes the talking points (at 10:00 or so for a simple example, and again at 13:00) and extends them into absurdity. Unfortunately, he doesn't have to work very hard to get there. Often times he just needs to say them verbatim, back-to-back, and with an undisguised "patriotic" arrogance. He exposes the talking points as the worst form of propaganda, and shows how ordinary, less-educated Americans are hoodwinked into accepting this foul wind as Truth. Fear is easier to instill in those who haven't lived among diversity, those who haven't experienced a big slice of the breadth of human experience. Arrogance is the insulator that enables us to avoid looking carefully at our own perspectives, prejudices, and foibles.
If you look honestly at the agenda of the Right, it's heavy on Arrogance, a champion of Ignorance, and funded by the wealthy. Suddenly, the source of "The Ugly American" becomes clear: Ignorance and Arrogance, combined with wealth.
Colbert exposes both Ignorance and Arrogance as tools of the Right, and while at times I feel sick to my stomach by the revelation, I laugh. Hopefully, laughter is the best medicine.