In a future less distant than we might suppose, the many books that have been published by right-wing gasbags in recent years will molder on thrift-store shelves, gather dust at flea markets and garage sales, and disintegrate en masse underneath thousands of landfills. Their contents will be as thoroughly forgotten as the works of Louis Dodge. For indeed, there has rarely emerged a more breathtakingly empty genre of literature than the conservative whine.
Despite an apparent multiplicity of subjects, there is only a single guiding idea behind all these books: to point a finger of blame at liberals and leftists. Let us sample a few titles, shall we? (The names of the authors have been concealed to protect them from undeserved attention.)
The Terrible Truth About Liberals; Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild;, The Enemy Within: Saving America from the Liberal Assault on Our Churches, Schools, and Military; Liberal Racism: How Fixating on Race Subverts the American Dream; Liberal-itis: A Thinking Disorder Destroying America; The New Thought Police: Inside the Left's Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds; Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization; Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left; The Lethal Liberal Society in America: We Will Bury You!; Surrounded by Idiots: Fighting Liberal Lunacy in America; Liberalism is a Mental Disorder; Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton.
Then there are the “how” books—usually a snappy main title, followed by a “how” subtitle outlining the insidious threat. (I’m listing most of these books without the main heading, so as to highlight this aspect of the, um, mental disorder…)
How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers and Jeopardize our Security; How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First; How the Left Created the Outsourcing Crisis; How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity; How the Left Was Won: An In-Depth Analysis of the Tools and Methodologies Used by Liberals to Undermine Society and Disrupt the Social Order; How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help; How Liberals Brought Corruption Into the Catholic Church; How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports; How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought.
You must understand that there is no engagement with actual issues in these books. The problems in our country, in our world, are due to the presence of certain groups who are bent on destroying us—“us” being the right-minded citizens who buy these books and listen to talk radio. The liberals (or the Democrats, leftists, feminists, environmentalists, whatever—the terms are interchangeable) represent a malignant force of motiveless evil. They “assault” everything we hold dear, endanger our safety, undermine our culture. They even “plot” against Christmas. Why? Who knows? They’re just evil, folks, and they need to be stopped at all costs.
In the upcoming publishing cycle we may expect books that explain how liberals want to rape our children, make Satanism the national religion, put LSD in our food supply, force everyone into gay sex, and legalize cannibalism.
I’m trying to imagine the poor credulous reader who buys and eagerly reads these books. What does he get out of it? A confirmation of his status as a victim, perhaps. An echo of every secret, self-pitying complaint against whatever people or groups he hates, or who seem to threaten his imagined privilege. And every succeeding book helps him to snivel a little bit longer, and to get angrier and angrier.
The reader imagines an earlier time, a blissful American Eden that existed before the rise of the dreaded liberals. A time when you could buy almost anything for a nickel, when men were men and neighbors were friendly, when family was the most important thing. A time when black people were in their place, and if they got unruly you could lynch 'em. A time when women knew their role: raising babies at home, not working or voting. The golden age, when there was hardly any crime, no unions, no do-gooders, when you could safely piss into the lake without worrying about the EPA. The golden age, my friends, the American Arcadia.
So what is the solution to our problem? Clearly, if we just lined up all the liberals, feminists, loony leftists, gays, environmentalists, animal rights activists, and antiwar protesters against a wall and shot them—then everything would be ok, right?
I wonder what it will take for people to realize the infantile nature of this thinking, to realize that with all the talk of a “culture of complaint” and the weakness of liberal concern for the victim, that no movement has been more characterized by whining, complaining, and pointing the finger, by a complete and total victim mentality, than this pathetic right-wing movement in America. Why, they could take over all three branches of government (and they did), dominate the media discourse (which they also did), and reduce the Democrats to a cringing, ineffectual minority (it happened, and could happen again), but they are still somehow the victims of a powerful liberal enemy determined to corrupt everything good and decent. Now, imagine if the “enemy within” were finally crushed by the righteous power of the conservative state, what meaning would be left for the right-wing whiners? What on earth would they do?
Wouldn’t they have to find someone else to attack? Maybe the Jews—that’s always a good one. Or maybe they’d just end up eating each other. Because, you see, when you run screaming from your own shadow, there is ultimately no escape.