Saturday, February 28, 2015

What's The Matter W/ Kansas?

Bullshit morality, that's what:
But Tea Party conservatives proceed from a radically different set of assumptions. Their view of the economy is not pragmatic but deeply moralistic. They do not see it as primarily a system within which actors pursue their personal ends; they see it as a stage on which selves confront the worldly consequences of their fallen nature. Work is not a matter of self-expression or self-fulfillment; it is an ordeal, a trial. It tests our ability to accept the burdens of struggle and privation imposed on us by original sin. For the Tea Party, economic life is merely another instance of spiritual judgment. Attempts to ameliorate hardship are not simply inefficient or ineffective: they are attempts to evade the divine will, to make easy what God has made hard. And as we all arrive at the moment of judgment alone, they also tempt us into another error — that of believing that others will take our part and intercede on our behalf. They will not, because they cannot. God comes to each of us singly, in isolation. Human efforts to pretend otherwise — the safety net, the welfare state — are always destructive of character and doomed to failure. They may fill our stomachs and lighten our labors, but in doing so they endanger and pervert our souls. (Neglect of the deeply moralistic nature of right-wing economic thought lurks behind many of Thomas Frank’s perplexities about the (allegedly) paradoxical behavior of voters out in the Heartland. Frank thinks they vote against their own self-interest, and is puzzled. But they take a very different view of the selves whose interests Frank wants them to promote. The short answer to “What’s the matter with Kansas?” is: Kansans.)


mikey said...

As Joseph Heller asked so eloquently all those years ago, now that I know that what should I do?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

It's never too soon to panic, mikey.

M. Bouffant said...

Good Question Editor:
Uh, reëducation camps? (Or just an education?) Wait for them to die?

Running around screaming is probably as good (& effective) a response as anything.