Is There Any Hope For US Rightwing Nuts?

The US Right has been extreme since Reagan and they’ve only gotten nuttier and nuttier. What I’m wondering is, Is there recovery? You know, like with drug addicts? Can they ever get better?

I’ve known some people who went far off the deep end in radical Right politics (once you start loving Rush Limbaugh, the local rightwing talk hosts and Fox News, I figure you’re hopeless). They all invested quite a bit in this insane ideology, and they invested in it for many years. It became very much a part of their self-image. All of these people are middle aged White males. One of them know votes Democrat sometimes and another one even voted for Clinton, even though he listened to Rush nonstop.

What I’m worrying about though, is I can’t see any White person who has gone that far insane into lunatic US rightwing politics to ever come out of it and renounce it. Are they ever going to become liberals in any way, shape or form? How is that possible? People move from left to right, from youth to aging, all the time. It happens so much it’s almost a joke. But when do you ever hear of someone going from insane rightwing kook to anything resembling sane politics? When do you ever hear about anyone going from Right to Left? Does it even happen?

The real problem here is personal investment in their ideology. For some reason, it seems to be no problem for people to abandon liberalism no matter how much they sunk into it. They just laugh and say I used to be Commie liberal before I got some sense. But these US rightwingers have so much emotional investment in this craziness. Can you imagine any of them saying, “Yes, I used to be a deranged reactionary dittohead freak, but then I got some sense, and now I’m a liberal?” I can’t imagine it. Have you ever met anyone who changed like that?

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0 thoughts on “Is There Any Hope For US Rightwing Nuts?”

  1. David Brock saw the light and went from right wing conservative to left wing liberal. There is hope but only for the really intelligent ones.

  2. In American society there are social rewards and reinforcement for being a right wing nut, especially in the demographic you mention. Plus there’s so much of the propaganda around… I don’t even know where you would find a liberal talk show on the radio dial, and I live on one of the coasts. The reason people stop being liberal is because it’s basically unacceptable among regular white American adults. Short answer to your question: No. Never.

  3. I’m in my fifties and I’m more radical now than I was when I was in my twenties. I also honestly I am much wiser now than when I was young. When you get old, you tend to have too many obligations, and your critical thought typically suffers as a result.

  4. Well, Ariana Huffington. And Ed Schultz. But I think you’re talking about regular folks, not media types. Regular people tend to become more conservative over time because a lot of liberal rhetoric that sounded good when they were young has turned out not to match reality very well. And a lot of people aren’t conservative so much as they’re anti-Democrat. Most talking-head and upper-class liberals don’t come across very well.

    1. I think most of us here are either hostile or indifferent to nutty cultural radicalism here, Rex. I’m probably the least hostile in that I admit there’s no way I’d want to go back to the “Mad Men” era, but even then, I wish they’d leave this stuff alone for just an hour or so. And I think “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was a brilliant policy. Don’t burden other people with the details of your sex life, and don’t have witch hunts for secret deviants! What a concept!

    2. I’ve seen some folks change and go from right to left in social issues. I know some old people who always opposed gay marriage, miscegenation and marijuana legalization, but they evolved on all of these questions.

      But people don’t seem to go from right to left on economics very much. From left to right? Damn right they do. Especially if they start making a lot of money.

      1. I have no problem with the left position on most of these issues (w/ exception of multiculturalism and immigration) but it just shouldn’t be the main thing. They’re called wedge issues for a reason. In practical reality, normal Americans are becoming a lot more liberal on all these issues. They just don’t want it shoved in their faces. I say let the gradual and natural cultural evolution that’s been taking place for 40 years or longer continue. How many normal Americans would throw out a son for being gay in 2011 for example, even if they attend a far right megachurch? Some, to be sure. But they would be the outliers, and many of their fellow believers wouldn’t approve. But in 1960? This would be the normal course of action.

        Like it or not (and I’m fine with it, mostly), liberals have basically won the cultural war. It’s time to stop doing the touchdown dance. I knew this when I went back home to the great flyover a few years ago. The local paper had a piece on the local girl’s basketball team, with profiles of the players.
        “Will and Grace” was the most popular show among them. TV is not reality, but when these kids have kids of their own, they aren’t going to be kicking them out for being gay, no matter what church they go to.

  5. Yesterday’s radical liberalism is today’s quiet cultural norm. I don’t think parents and families of all stripes would be as ready to accept gay kids today if people hadn’t shoved such issues in society’s collective face in years gone by. Remember, going to the pols to vote for a President was an absolutely insane notion back in the days of Monarchy, after all.

    In addition, the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Issue isn’t merely about a person’s sex life. That trivializes it and misses the point. It’s about a person’s ability to function authentically and freely in the world, as other’s (straight people) get to do. It’s fundamental, the right to be who you are and live as you need to live to be true to yourself without telling lies or hiding.

  6. Regular people tend to become more conservative over time because a lot of liberal rhetoric that sounded good when they were young has turned out not to match reality very well.

    While “Free Trade benefits Americans” has turned out to be in complete agreement with reality.

    That’s what we mean by insane.

    Oh, and hows that Financial Deregulation of the banks going? Going great?

  7. i may be one example of righty-gone-left, on economics at least. the bank bailouts, the military-industrial complex, all the funny-money which the government prints, it’s definitely softened me to the point where i feel like it is okay if we as a nation provide a solid safety net, one which goes beyond what we have now with food-stamps/medicaid. those programs fail to accomplish what they set out to do.

    i used to listen to Limbaugh every day. for about five or six years. i was a co-founder of the Libertarian Club at my college. i now fantasize about a Mao-style purge where we take the landlords and the bankers, march them through the streets, chained, and execute them. death by one-thousand cuts would not be too cruel for those bastards.

    on the other hand, i am tired of ghetto blacks, and all the baby-shitters in general. i don’t like swarthy, lazy, malcontents, but i recognize that times have changed and some folks just aren’t equipped to take on the new kind of jobs, in this economy with barely any available jobs of any kind. an egalitarian society is a happy society, and that’s a tangible moral good which we should strive for, probably.

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