One of the most consistent and disturbing aspects of the right wing is their demonization and dehumanization of their “enemies”. The poor are lazy leeches or other kind of vermin that needs to be kept from breeding, undocumented workers are illegals or aliens that need to be expelled or even euthanized, gays are abominations that need to be either turned “normal” or stoned, Muslims are terrorists that need to be bombed back to the stoneage, etc. For this reason, the most effective campaigns for civil rights are the many “Coming Out” campaigns that put human faces of neighbors, friends, family, etc. onto those vilified, up till then completely abstract and humanity-free groups. After all, even the most wingnutty wingnut, if he’s not a clinical sociopath, will find it harder to excuse the murder of an actual real human being.
What gets really interesting is when it’s the wingnuts that are accused of doing something bad. When the Homeland Security report on right wing domestic terrorists came out, a lot of teabaggers started carrying “I’m a domestic terrorist” signs to their rallies and protests, in a clear mimicry of the “Coming Out” campaigns. And similarly, on pandagon today there’s two threads about the fuckedup’d-ness and rottenness of libertarianism, and some troll decided to come by and talk about his personality, physical and personality attributes of some other libertarian he met at some libertarian conference, and how much human-like fun they had together (“he likes beer”, “there was free ice-cream”), and telling everybody who was criticising him and calling him an asshole that he’d buy them a beer, because then they’d maybe realize that he’s a sociable, nice guy.
And my reaction is, every time, “uh… ok… and that refutes the accusation, how?” The assumption by these right wingers that liberals don’t consider them human is pure projection, but more than that is going on. Because they themselves are convinced that terrorists and assholes and those they believe are working for the destruction of their civilization aren’t quite human, they assume that merely proving their humanity proves that they can’t be any of those things. Which just looks hilariously stupid, from this end of the problem, because liberals are usually quite aware of the fact that “terrorist” and “human” are not mutually exclusive. Liberals are quite aware of the fact that ruthless assholes have wives and children, and that terrorists have grandmothers* and pets and dayjobs**, and that both are, at least in principle, fully capable of “enjoying the small things in life”***. So putting a giant “domestic terrorist” banner on your bakesale stand, and posing with your octogenarian grandma and the golden retriever isn’t precisely any sort of argument; neither is saying that you enjoy having beers with people one. But they seem to really think that “I can’t be a terrorist, I’m human!” is some sort of valid argument.
Which is all sorts of fascinating, amusing, and really fucking scary, considering they don’t like atheists, liberals, feminists and foreigners much…
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*most blatantly presented whenever the fact that Hamas offers to provide for surviving family members of suicide bombers makes the news.
**some of them even become dusty old college professors
***which is why the apparent insistence of the right wing do destroy, forbid or punish everything fun (sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll) is often so baffling to liberals, that they willingly swallow the often strange excuses the right wing makes for it (most notably in the abortion debates; it’s rarely ever about babies, it’s about taking the fun out of sex. But many people accept the “precious babies” narrative, because the alternative just seems fucked up)