“I can’t be a terrorist, I’m human!”

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…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
*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)

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7 comments on ““I can’t be a terrorist, I’m human!”

  1. David Marjanović says:

    You’re becoming even more similar to Darren Naish! Often he starts a series, promises to finish it, starts five other series on similarly fascinating topics, even completes some of them, and still doesn’t finish the first one (while periodically reminding us that he never forgets)! There’s one (on temnospondyls; of special interest to me) that we’ve been waiting for for several years now! :-)

    Keep up the good work ^_^

    everything fun (sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll)

    And SCIENCE!!!

    Hang on a second. Am I misunderstanding, or did you just seriously count sex among “the small things in life”?

    …But back to the point of that footnote. Is it that you think right-wingers basically want to ban everyone else from having human-like fun (great term!) to make them conform to the stereotype right-wingers have of them and stop messing up their worldview?

    terrorists have grandmothers* and pets and dayjobs**

    Often, yes. But lack of a job, and of a future in general, is a major recruiting factor for terrorism among Palestinians and Algerians, for instance. People sit around all day long, twiddling their thumbs, holding the walls*, feeling like shit for having accomplished nothing in life and being a financial drain on society and/or the rest of the clan and/or whatever, and suddenly they get a chance to become worshipped as heroes by fighting against a great evil, perhaps even the evil that they think caused their situation in the first place… and if you haven’t got a future on Earth, Pascal’s wager for a future in heaven suddenly sounds a lot more appealing, I suppose (though it cannot be overstressed that many of the 9/11 terrorists weren’t especially religious at all).

    * Once upon a time, Algeria accepted Soviet money, called itself socialist, and officially had full employment, which meant that the existence of unemployed people was simply denied. The unemployed joked that their job was to lean against the walls to prevent them from collapsing. Called themselves hittistes, from Arabic hit “wall”.

    posing with your octogenarian grandma and the golden retriever

    As long as it’s not a German shepherd… </Godwin>

    =======

    Now if only I’d remember that Pharyngula sidebar quote I wanted to use to comment some part of your post. I even forgot what part. Too little sleep.

  2. David Marjanović says:

    Ah yeah. pharyngula.org is down, so I can’t find the full original, but it’s something like “there are no excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot be replicated by an ordinary family man who comes in every day, […], and has a job to do”. It fits your whole post. :-)

  3. Jadehawk says:

    You’re becoming even more similar to Darren Naish! Often he starts a series

    eh? I have no idea what that has to do with me or this blog, I don’t have any “series” at all.

    Is it that you think right-wingers basically want to ban everyone else from having human-like fun (great term!) to make them conform to the stereotype right-wingers have of them and stop messing up their worldview?

    no, I’m talking about the “protestant work-ethic” aka the calvinist/puritan fear that someone, somewhere, might be having fun. They’re fully capable of it, but highly suspicious of such ungodly “hedonism”

  4. Dehumanizing the enemy has aways been a tactic of fascist groups. Actually, your post reminds me of a recent incident in Cambodia: There were nationalists who were criticizing the government, which they should. But in the process they called all Vietnamese vermins and plagues, dehumanizing them. The worst part is that they know that they are dehumanizing them, but chose to do it anyways.

  5. David Marjanović says:

    eh? I have no idea what that has to do with me or this blog, I don’t have any “series” at all.

    No, but you promise us one thing (Yes Means Yes) and give us three others first. :-)

    Makes waiting easier. :-)

    no, I’m talking about […]

    Oh, sorry. I had missed that the focus of that sentence was on what liberals think of conservatives rather than the other way around.

  6. Jadehawk says:

    No, but you promise us one thing (Yes Means Yes) and give us three others first. :-)

    ah, fuck, I completely forgot about that during the moving drama… and now I’m not even sure where I put the damn book :-/

  7. David Marjanović says:

    Ouch. Do take your time.

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