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Hullabaloo


Monday, July 14, 2014

 
The cult of the absolutes

by digby

This piece in the Daily Beast makes the case that the Tea Party isn't a political group at all but rather a religion:
While a traditional political party may have a line that it won’t cross,the Tea Party has a stone-engraved set of principles, all of which are sacrosanct. This is not a political platform to be negotiated but a catechism with only a single answer. It is now a commonplace for Tea Party candidates to vow they won’t sacrifice an iota of their principles. In this light, shutting down the Government rather than bending on legislation becomes a moral imperative. While critics may decry such a tactic as “rule or ruin,” Tea Party brethren celebrate it, rather, as the act of a defiant Samson pulling down the pillars of the temple. For them, this is not demolition but reclamation, cleansing the sanctuary that has been profaned by liberals. They see themselves engaged in nothing less than a project of national salvation. The refusal to compromise is a watchword of their candidates who wear it as a badge of pride. This would seem disastrous in the give-and-take of politics but it is in keeping with sectarian religious doctrine. One doesn’t compromise on an article of faith.

This explains why the Tea Party faithful often appear to be so bellicose. You and I can have a reasonable disagreement about fiscal policy or foreign policy but if I attack your religious beliefs you will become understandably outraged. And if I challenge the credibility of your doctrine you will respond with righteous indignation. To question the validity of Moses parting the Red Sea or the Virgin Birth or Mohammed ascending to heaven on a flying horse is to confront the basis of a believer’s deepest values.

Consequently, on the issues of government, economics, race, and sex, the Tea Party promulgates a doctrine to which the faithful must subscribe. Democrats and independents who oppose their dogma are infidels. Republicans who don’t obey all the tenants are heretics, who are primaried rather than burned at the stake.
Just don't call them the Taliban ...

I do think the fact that so many of them are also members of the Christian Right may have something to do with this. It's a mode of thinking --- a belief in revealed truth (in this case by Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh ...)If you are the type to believe in the literal word of the Bible (at least to the extent that it reinforces your prejudices) it makes sense that you'd be attracted to a similarly absolutist political worldview as well.  Just like those other guys ...

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