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Hullabaloo


Monday, May 10, 2010

 
Fundamentalist Destruction

by digby


As those who read this blog know, for some time I've been trying to wrap my mind around the psychology that leads so many people on the right to be so thoughtless about the future of the planet. The other day Amanda Marcotte offered up another intriguing insight:

It was hard for me to wrap my head around the arrogance and short-sightedness that led to this disaster, until last night, in the course of my bedtime reading, I was reminded of the Taliban destroying the Buddhas of Bamyan. The two incidents don’t necessarily seem to have much in common; the Taliban deliberately set out to wipe out these priceless artifacts because they offended their joy-killing, art-hating sensibilities. The oil spill, of course, is an accident. But I’d argue that there’s a common thread between the incidents that led up to both these acts of unfathomable destruction.

Whatever the ostensible excuse the Taliban had for destroying the Buddhas, outsiders can clearly see that they’re motivated mainly be a petulant unwillingness to engage or regard anything that makes them feel smaller or less important. Pleasure and beauty offend fundamentalists, because these things are out of their control and present a threat to their death grip on power. Art reminds people that there’s something more than the tightly controlled, colorless existence offered by fundamentalism, and so the fundamentalists are wary of it...

“Drill, baby, drill!” was a slogan that revealed that, for conservatives, the potential for environmental destruction is a reward unto itself. It excites. It makes you feel big and important, that mere nature will bend to your will. Only softies care about things like preserving the past or securing the future. Past and future are concepts that offend the narcissism of right wingers, since both concepts remind you that there’s more to this world than you and what you want. Preserving the environment for its own sake seems pointless, since that just means that it’ll survive you, which reminds you that you’re mortal and will one day be forgotten. And so just as the Taliban blew up those Buddhas that stood as stark reminders that there’s more to this universe than their petty little egos, so American conservatives yelled, “Drill, baby, drill!”



That egotism is part of a certain strain of fundamentalism to be sure.

Plus they just enjoy ruining things for other people. And animals:



I'll never forget sitting in a crowd of wingnuts at a family gathering watching some footage of the Exxon Valdez spill and watching them all laugh uproariously at dying, oil covered birds flopping around on the beach.

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