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No Cognition Means No Dissonance

By Al Schumann on Wednesday May 9, 2007 08:51 AM

Operation Yellow Elephant focuses on the hypocrisy of the Republicans who advocate wars, but don't care to fight in them and don't care to have their kids join the military. I share their disdain for hypocrisy, which is why I urge the people who voted for pro-war Democratic senators and pro-war Democratic representatives and a pro-war Democratic presidential candidate to show their Republican brothers and sisters the path to righteousness. Nothing teaches like a strong, moral example. Any deaths or maimings of military age Democrats and their military age children are regrettable of course, but the comfort of an egalitarian effort should sustain them. It's the right thing to do. Be proud, dammit!

It should be obvious by now to even the dimmest Democrats that Republicans experience no dissonance in advocating wars and ducking service. They're not going to effect anything with their cries of "chickenhawk". In a pinch, backed into a rhetorical corner, the Republicans can point out that the current Democratic distaste for war is highly contingent as well as hypocritical. It might be smarter for them to focus on their own party problems and try to create an effective opposition. The foolish posturing and moral vanity of the Yellow Elephant campaign is not going to be helpful with that.

Comments (19)

Oh but don't you see, Mr. Scruggs? Don't you see that a vote for Hillary next year is an antiwar vote? After all, she promised to end the war when she's pres'dint by at least 2010! Well, 2012 maybe. Okay, 2014 at the very latest!

But institutions don't change themselves; that's why they're called institutions.


The "chickenhawk" attack is kind of funny for a bit, so I don't hate it, but it's tactically naive. By its logic, if someone HAD been in the military, and they supported an aggressive war, that would be morally okay because they understood the consequences. The Republicans are not wrong on Iraq because they are hypocrites, they're wrong on Iraq because they're wrong on Iraq.

Spartacus, that's a little too clever for me not to steal. Brilliant.

As our host and guest columnist have made clear, the partisan contest is a false dichotomy; the substantive conflict is between anti-democratic institutions and the pro-democratic networks that have yet to coalesce into a political movement.

The Democratic Party--as an institution--has always been pro-war and against liberation. While the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s were co-opted by this institution for political purposes, the institutional mission remains the maintenance of American economic and military global dominance.

...By its logic, if someone HAD been in the military, and they supported an aggressive war, that would be morally okay because they understood the consequences...

Well, Rowan, wasn't that why we were all supposed to cream our jeans over Kerry, and Rahm-bo's "Fightin' Dems ?"

Are they trying that strategy again this year, or did the drubbing they took over it last time actually teach them a lesson ? I don't suppose it matters. A sabre-rattling dick by any other name, etc etc...

So far it looks like Rhamses I has learned his lesson. Since the Fighting Dem Debacle of '04 he appears to have abandoned the wardem half of his strategery.

The title is funny 'cause it's true. Dem oriented sites like the one listed give rage junkies a daily fix of righteous indignation. It's not about activism or inculcating critical thought; it's about creating rage-addled zombies who'll open their checkbooks when da Dems call and who'll line up to pull the level for the Dem regardless of what they stand for. While the Rethugs have long created/harvested such 'bots with their street theatre Situationists (Limbaugh, Coulter, Savage, etc.), they're generally racists, sexists, scum; the people the Dems are lobotomizing with the blogs generally have incohate populist sentiments, and so what they're doing is yet more reprehensible.

I know that long term amphetamine use leads to brain lesions. I wonder what long term overstimulation of the rage centers does? Even if there's no permanent damage, the cycle of addiction has to be broken.

I'm pessimistic.


et alia, you're far too pessimistic. All we need to do is elect a Democratic president, and there will be no more NEED for rage. Sure, a few raving bloggers might forget that we need to get in line behind the our legitimate leader because of their outrage addiction, but by and large, we will - and should be! - docile and happy under our new Democratic overlords.

ms. xeno, I think it's slightly different in the case of Kerry and the fightin' Dems. The chickenhawk label seems to be tossed around more at those who want to START wars than those who want to continue them. So if Kerry wants to go into Iran, then the dissonance strikes. Maybe.


lots to chew here

rage for its own sake
as an adiction and frying lesionaire

mis labeled institutions as fossilized organizations
playing venerable obstacle to popular change

the coward taunt
as an unintended back ended way
to the warrior cult temple

buyer beware eh ???


this institutions vs the networks gig
makes me a trifle .....tim leery


About rage: There's an opposite argument, reasonable on the face of it, that the timid Dems aren't rageful enough, that they can't face off against the right because they believe too much in politesse. You hear this all the time at the Dem sites, and this is also true. And of course the same people who counsel more anger and less timidity for the Dems would (and do) dismiss this site and those like it as being havens for rage junkies.

It's not a question of quantity but of the structure and target of anger. Counseling Dems to leave their Queensbury rules at the door and start kicking ass doesn't work, not so much because rage is dysfunctional because they bring their triangulating subjectivity into the new uptick of rage. If they let go the good manners and start barking like a junkyard dog, it's always a Janus bark, once toward the right, and once again with equal viciousness back at the "left," the "left" being defined differently at each point on the spectrum all the way to the center-right.

Every position along the liberal spectrum forks its energies and aggressively tries to force demoralization and attrition for all positions to *its* left. So no real political energies can ever accumulate against the right even if all the Dems get really "angry." Everybody who is shrieking for punitive triangulation against some cadre of leftists who are spoiling the glorious mission are themselves triangulated against in turn by someone a little to their right. The new passion doesn't cause anything to flow; it just causes a thousand gravity wells to open under a thousand angry pairs of feet, everybody running in place.

Therapy for the Dem rageaholics wouldn't change anything either. The triangulating mindset is the problem; the imperatives of calm reason and passionate anger are just two positions on a spiralling double bind, and the projective accusations of "irrational rage" they pass on to their critics is a temporary safety valve that keeps the mess spinning.


I agree with T.V. Looking over the web presence of the big swinging progs, it's incident after incident of incrementally narrowing the Overton window, most often as a careerist move for the trend setters and eagerly enforced by their attack dogs. They'd slam it completely shut on their fingers before giving up triangulating. What philosophically liberal inclinations are left to them go mainly towards their fantasy plans for the Golden Day when they "take back the country", via trickle down democracy and representation.

It would be relatively easy to break out of it. There's no coercive process from the state forcing them to show up at the polls. Instead, the energy that might go into that gets spent on fighting their "leftist" chimeras with -- as Smithee mentioned recently -- ballot rigging and campaign law obstacles. They're panicked reactionaries.


i like the mind of T.V.
it produces models
with lots of moving parts


About rage: There's an opposite argument, reasonable on the face of it, that the timid Dems aren't rageful enough, that they can't face off against the right because they believe too much in politesse. You hear this all the time at the Dem sites, and this is also true.

Posted by T.V. | May 11, 2007 10:00 AM

They are very happy to vent that repressed anger upon the Green Party. I'm convinced that they hate us much more than the Republicans.

Yeah, VA. They don't want to have to battle more than one team for the spoils. Hence the ever-tightening noose (as Smithee put it) around Green or Indy candidates, at all levels.

Those who whined that the Greens should have kept it local in '00-- have they anything to say as the tightening affects local politics as well ? Not that I've seen.


Ms. Xeno,

In the latest issue of Green Pages (which is published by the national Green Party), I read about how the Democrats took down our only state legislator in Maine. John Eder won 66% of the vote in his original district in 2002. The Democrats tried to re-district him out of a job, but he moved to another district and won 50% in a three-way race in 2004. Last year, the Democrats made robocalls trying to tie him to Bush and Cheney. What a state legislative race has to do with the Presidency is beyond me, but it worked.

The only way that we can appease the Democrats is to completely disband our party. Even that won't be enough. If you try to push the Democrats further to the left than the All Knowing Kos is willing to go (even if you do it from within the party), you will be labelled a "purity troll". Besides, our votes for Nader in 2000 are the sin against the Holy Ghost. Even working for the Dems for the rest of our lives can't wash away the stain upon our souls.


VAGreen, I didn't know about they'd taken a page out of the wingnut playbook in Maine. But it makes sense that they would. They've got the same sense of enduring entitlement/victimhood as the wingnuts, with the same response of trying to heal their misery by attacking groups too small to fight back according to the current set of rules. Their calls for pluralism and proceduralism have a nasty, petty sadist's edge to them.


"They've got the same sense of enduring entitlement/victimhood as the wingnuts, with the same response of trying to heal their misery by attacking groups too small to fight back according to the current set of rules."

Exactly, Scruggs! I read a recent piece on Kos where Nader was (surprise, surprise)singled out as THE cause of the Supreme Court's recent decision on abortion.

Nothing, of course, about the Democrats who voted for the partial-birth abortion ban in 2003 (they could have filibustered it). Nothing about the Supreme Court's role in stealing the 2000 election. Nothing about Katherine Harris. Nothing about the faults of the Gore campaign. Nothing about Kerry's loss in 2004 (as if he were totally helpless). Nothing about the Senate Democrats who supported Thomas and Alito. Nothing about the Reagan Democrats who put Reagan and Bush I into power. Nothing about the moderates who voted for Bush II twice. Nothing about the Democrats who just stayed home on Election Day. I could have been off the hook in their eyes if I just stayed home and watched Simpsons reruns in 2000 instead of voting for Nader.

Then again, I don't understand the outrage anyway. Kos told us about two years ago that abortion rights were not part of "the important shit".

It's the DP applying the Fiction of Vietnam, VA:

"Our cause was just and our man was perfect," saith the DP Apologist Squad. "You are to blame for his loss and all subsequent losses, because you broke his heart with your contemptible lack of faith in his goodness and rightness. We were an eyelash-length away from victory until you capriciously ruined it. Any horrible thing we want to say about/do to you is justified from the day of defeat forward, and into eternity."

Actual evidence doesn't enter into the equation. It really is all about entitlement, as Scruggs says. Victory in both cases was bought and paid for fair and square by powerful, important people well-used to having their authority unquestioned. But while powerful they apparently were also so delicate and pitable that a mere breath or two from the peanut gallery was enough to destroy them.

True, the scenario is completely contradictory and utterly insane, but that's never stopped either a Rightwing armchair hawk or a Kozzie before now, has it ?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Wednesday May 9, 2007 08:51 AM.

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