Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Subject-Object Confusion


Anderson Cooper asked the Democratic candidates to name the enemies they have made.

Hillary Clinton said 'the Republicans' among others.

Anderson Cooper did not ask the candidates whom they thought were enemies. The question was really about who considered them, the candidates, as enemies.

It is undeniable that the Republicans have treated Hillary Clinton as an enemy since 1993 when she stepped out of the role of First Lady to work on health care reform. Long before ObamaCare, there was HillaryCare. And the Republicans have treated her as the personification of everything they hate and fear ever since. They invoke her first name to scare themselves.

Conservatives have a persistent subject/object confusion. It's some kind of cognitive problem. They think that what they do to others are, actually, being done to them.

Kim Davis thinks that she is being oppressed by gays, lesbians, and liberals because they protest her refusal to serve them. They think that subject (the one doing the discrimination) is the object (the victim of discrimination).

They think that the Movement for Black Lives wants to kill police officers, because the Movement protests police who wantonly kill black people. Subject/object confusion again.

And of course, their economic policies presume that the poor have too much money and the rich have too little.

So, is it any wonder that the rightwing now whines that mean ol' Hillary is demonizing them, violating the norms of civility and comity that they have always upheld?

I made this observation over a year ago.
I can't tell you the number of comments that thought
 I was saying that conservatives were demons.



1 comment:

Pete M said...

I'm a bit of history buff, and the feeling of (contrived) victimization and vitriol toward opponents has been a consistent pattern on right. FDR famously said about those who demonized him "I welcome their hatred." In 1960, LBJ and Lady Bird were attacked by a "mink coat mob" in a Dallas hotel lobby while posters around the city described JFK as a traitor. I remember that even during the George W. Bush years, when Republicans had control of all three branches of government, conservatives seemed more angry about any resistance to their goals than triumphant.

My own sense is that this trend has reached new heights in recent years. The attacks on Obama seem more intense than any I can recall. Whereas conservatives tended to be able to, somewhat, paper over their internal differences it now seems like anyone to the left of Ted Cruz is treated as an Obama surrogate. I think this is based on a sense that even while conservatives win a lot of elections at the state and congressional the demographic and social trends are moving against them.