Permanent War

Via Kevin at Catch, I see that Matt Taibbi infiltrated another campaign, this time the Republicans.

Here's an interesting observation:

The problem not only with fundamentalist Christians but with Republicans in general is not that they act on blind faith, without thinking. The problem is that they are incorrigible doubters with an insatiable appetite for Evidence. What they get off on is not Believing, but in having their beliefs tested. That's why their conversations and their media are so completely dominated by implacable bogeymen: marrying gays, liberals, the ACLU, Sean Penn, Europeans and so on. Their faith both in God and in their political convictions is too weak to survive without an unceasing string of real and imaginary confrontations with those people -- and for those confrontations, they are constantly assembling evidence and facts to make their case.

But here's the twist. They are not looking for facts with which to defeat opponents. They are looking for facts that ensure them an ever-expanding roster of opponents. They can be correct facts, incorrect facts, irrelevant facts, it doesn't matter. The point is not to win the argument, the point is to make sure the argument never stops. Permanent war isn't a policy imposed from above; it's an emotional imperative that rises from the bottom. In a way, it actually helps if the fact is dubious or untrue (like the Swift-boat business), because that guarantees an argument. You're arguing the particulars, where you're right, while they're arguing the underlying generalities, where they are.

Once you grasp this fact, you're a long way to understanding what the Hannitys and Limbaughs figured out long ago: These people will swallow anything you feed them, so long as it leaves them with a demon to wrestle with in their dreams.

This tracks with my pet theory, "The Action Is The Juice."

These people aren't really about politics, ideology, faith or winning. They are about fighting. Losing this election will not shut them up --- indeed, they will be invigorated by the loss, reassured in their view that they are a victimized minority.

This fight, sadly, will not end after we win on November 2nd. In many ways it will just be beginning. But at least the reins of power will no longer be exclusively theirs and we can begin to reverse the damage.

I actually think that lefty bloggers and their readers will be more important after the election than before. Unless the election is a complete landslide, in which case the other side will be knocked back on its heels for a short time, we will have to be prepared to continue the battle within days. Remember, the Republicans have had an entire machine in mothballs for the past four years that is in the exclusive business of destroying a Democratic presidency. They like being on the offensive and they make a tidy profit at it. Many of these people don't mind Junior losing one damn bit.

corrected for grammatical boo-boo