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Posted by: Cold-Dodger ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 01:39AM

GNPE said in another thread that at least Rush Limbaugh's "opinions were a contribution to discussions of events even tho I disagreed 99%." That's a hell of a way to gloss over what Rush Limbaugh was.

Rush Limbaugh was a terminal disease for our country. He more or less started the infotainment talk show genre. Thirty years after he began his unholy work of injecting pure suspicion and conspiracy theory poison into the body politic, Fox has created a thriving cable news version of the same thing, AM radio in all fifty states is full of idiots just like him doing the same thing, and the ones who exist purely online have grown so batshit that the Republican Party is now the Q-anon party. The maniacs who attacked the capitol building were desperate people and idealists who had their minds cooked to mush by their media of choice, media that wouldn't exist but for Rush Limbaugh leading the way. They were about to murder their own Vice President for a crazy belief that he was colluding with the people who fixed the election against Trump who they believed won by a landslide. They felt betrayed when Newsmax, the network that gobbled up a lot of Fox's audience when they called the election for Biden, had to admit that Dominion was not run by Venezuelan communists and also that there was no evidence of anything near the scale that there would need to be for the democrats to have fixed the 2020 election. Fox, Newsmax, and One American News have to feed this insanity on some level or another now or their ratings tank. Their audiences have been so sold on the main thesis of Rush-Limbaugh-style infotainment -- namely that Soviet Marxist baby-eating Satanists have infiltrated America and the takeover is almost complete -- that any network who isn't moving the overton window further into crazytown and potential violence will die off.

Am I glad Rush is gone? No. God took him far too late for me to be convinced there is a God who gives a shit about what is best for his children. Rush already did his damage, and he became irrelevant a decade ago. Towards the end, he wasn't extreme enough for the mainstream conservative audience. But he was one of the first ones to start this mad rush the very bottom, so the Commander in Chief gave him the Medal of Freedom to thank him for exalting the discourse in this country.

Trump could not have happened if this infotainment cottage industry that churns out gross partisan pornography based on hatred of liberals and resentment of everything old timersfeel has been lost since the sixties didn't exist and thrive first. This industry has taken more than half of the parents of Millennials and turned them into complete idiots who think their Americanism is on the line if they don't vote for someone so stupid and impulsive and autocrat-leaning that the Doomsday Clock moved closer to midnight than it has ever been since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh all the time. I liked Michael Savage more. Their appeal was that I didn't want to admit that liberals were right about anything and they pumped reasons to be outraged and obstinate right into my veins. It felt good. They had me barking at Obama over every little thing he did. I knew Obamacare was socialism. I knew Obama was a Marxist. I was shocked when I found out that the ACA was based on an idea thought up by the Heritage Foundation back in the nineties as a free-market-based alternative to the single payer healthcare program that Mrs. Clinton was pushing in congress at the time. Rush and Michael never told me that. They either did not know that because their jobs do not require them to know anything accurately, or they did not care and they lied to me because the point was to get me angry enough to feel like I could do an American Revolution 2.0 on the liberal establishment. They used me, and they still have all my Mormon uncles and my father who listen to them every day, and through them most of their wives and children too.

The invasion of the capitol was the logical conclusion of thirty years of this vitriolic, poisonous "conservative" propaganda apparatus. The funny thing is that a lot of the ideas these jokers push as "conservatism" didn't exist fifty years ago. Christian conservative values, sure. But their ideas about government reduction and privatization of everything are new. Adam Smith was not an Ayn-Randian anarcho-capitalist. Also we were much further to the left on the role of government in the economy back when we fought the Soviet Union, and we didn't consider that communism. The conservative vision of government as painted by Limbaugh and friends is new, untried, and radical, not a restoration of classic tried and true American values. Obama was not all that different from Bush in the end, despite the liberal awakening he inspired in the Millennial generation and the social issues victories he subsequently gave them. Obama's approach to government was what Republicans were maybe thirty years ago, and Republicans today have gone off the rails and they're not slowing down. Bernie Sanders was simply a millennial attempt to return to FDRism or New Dealism, because since Bill Clinton declared the era of Big Government to be over in capitulation to the Gingrich Republicans, the mainstream of the Democratic Party has drifted to the right to occupy the space that the Republicans vacated to chase their free market fundamentalist and Christian nationalist ideology.

Rush's legacy is the mad partisan environment we now inhabit, and it's going to get worse.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2021 01:50AM by Cold-Dodger.

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Posted by: Susan I/S ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 02:18AM

Well said. He made his career on hate. I LMAO when the Republican party is called conservative. Since when are space lasers, and all the other wacky things conservative? It is now the Tinfoil Hat party.

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 03:14AM

I can't disagree with any of that, Cold-Dodger. In fact, it's one of the best analyses I've read anywhere (and I read A LOT!). Thanks.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 03:41AM

As usual, you write perceptively. I would, however, add a few wrinkles, as is my wont.

First, small government was a thing back back in the 1970s and even the 1960s. The GOP was the party of limited government for a very long time.

Second, as part of its commitment to small government the GOP originally believed in fiscal discipline. If you cut taxes, you must cut spending. And you should cut both. That, however, went away with the supply-side religion of the 1980s, when Republicans promised that they could cut spending and government revenues would increase. It was an absurd notion but electorally helpful inasmuch as Republicans could maintain huge spending programs while cutting tax rates, so the GOP transmogrified into the party of big government. For the best way to measure the size of government is its spending and its deficits, and on those dimensions the party is gargantuan.

Third, something even more important than fiscal rectitude has also gone missing: namely, respect for the constitution. The GOP was once the party of fidelity to the constitution and advocated judicial conservatism. But now the GOP is the party of constitutional abrogation both by a thousand cuts (all of Trump's serial violations as well as his packing the judiciary with judicial activists) and decapitation by overthrowing a constitutionally proper election and launching an armed invasion of Congress.

Fourth, I like how you brought in the Soviet Union. FDR moved to the left in order to save capitalism--the US fared far better in the 1930s and 1940s than Germany, Italy, France, even the UK when it comes to maintaining public support for the institutions of capitalism and stable government. Now that the threat from the left is gone, it is probably inevitable that countries would swing to the right; and the Republicans have done that in spades--though you are right that the Dems have moved towards the center too to fill the gap.

So generally, much agreement. The two elements of the story you may have gotten a bit wrong are the dating of the "small government" policy and the importance of the GOP's turning against the constitution. This ain't your grandmother's party anymore.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 07:59AM

One thing that bothers me about conservatives is that they brand everyone in the Democratic party as a liberal. There are plenty of moderates in the Democratic party, and I would argue that moderates are the majority of the party. There are also moderate Republicans, although lately they have been drowned out by the QAnon crowd.

The Republicans need the votes of the moderate Democrats to gain the Presidency, but were not able to pull this off in the last election due to the lunacy of the far right.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 08:39AM

One of the things that really bothers me is all of the false, dog-whistle information that is being passed around. A conservative acquaintance of mine just posted a photo of an illegal immigrant at the border. The immigrant is holding his shirt up to expose spots, which the caption claims is smallpox. Well, it isn't. A simple fact-check with Snopes says that it's very treatable scabies instead. She post ridiculous claims all the time.

I fact-check my Democrat friends as well when the posted claim seems dubious. But that doesn't happen nearly as often.

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Posted by: Deep Fact Check ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 10:03AM

Next time you want to "fact check" a medical condition, ask a doctor or a nurse. Smallpox is extinct AFAIK - but the two people at Snopes have no medical qualifications.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 10:28AM

Maybe one of the two people did what you so nobly suggested? Or were you expecting the person showing off the scabies to be transported to an interview/inspection with/by a doctor or nurse?

OMG, what if the nurse was not an RN, but an LVN!!! ...Oh, the horror!!!

But I do admire your pomposity, your rectitude ... gives me goose bumps -- or gander bumps!

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 12:16PM


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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 01:22PM

I think context would have a lot to do with it.

But I shan't say anything more.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 11:31AM

>>Smallpox is extinct AFAIK - but the two people at Snopes have no medical qualifications.

That apparently is not stopping QAnon types from spreading the false information that immigrants are bringing smallpox with them across the border. You are right that there are more places to fact check than Snopes. But it's a good place to start.

I'm tired of the far right spreading false information to advance their agenda. They do it all the time without checking anything.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 10:47AM

"The conservative vision of government as painted by Limbaugh and friends is new, untried, and radical, not a restoration of classic tried and true American values."

Um, no. It is fascist.

Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism[1][2] characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy[3]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

When conspiracy paranoia fuels sedition and freedom as a liberal notion changes to an enforcement of "traditional" values you have fearful people wanting to return to the safety of the past at the point of a gun and the profits of corporations.

The idea that human societies evolve to less restrictive utopias of corporations competing in more and more technological advancements is a pipe dream that fuels dead fuels like lifelines to line pockets of powerful people who could careless what political climate (or natural one) they were in as long as status quo lined their pockets and political parties did their bidding. All they need is executive powers to grease the gears when they need greasing.

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Posted by: Meme Guy ( )
Date: February 20, 2021 06:52AM

Well, that's Wikipedia so that must settle it. :D

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: February 23, 2021 10:53AM

LOL! Well if Wikipedia is good for anything in the accuracy department, then the definition of things communally seems its strength.

Words and their sources are legion and Wiki is not a legionnaire. Follow your legionnaires at your own peril.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 11:01AM

Great analysis. The situation will get worse. Our only hope is that when we hit rock bottom we are like the alcoholic who finally got sober instead of the one that ended up six feet under after a slow painful death of liver necrosis and befuddled brain.

Most of my family is like yours. Over the top republican. Covid has enabled me to not see them at all. There is an upside to everything I guess.

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Posted by: Just Saying ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 12:18PM

"Our only hope is that when we hit rock bottom we are like the alcoholic who finally got sober instead of the one that ended up six feet under after a slow painful death of liver necrosis and befuddled brain."

The problem is that there is no "rock bottom" from which to reflect, regret, and spring back from. We will just wake up and find that we are knee deep in a gradual muddy transformation from democracy to autocracy and there is no turning back. We may even be there already.

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Posted by: Dr. No ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 01:20PM

-- the cold-sore of herpes simplex type 1.

Cold-Dodger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> . . . unholy work of injecting pure suspicion and
> conspiracy theory poison into the body politic, . . .
> infotainment cottage industry that churns out
> gross partisan pornography based on hatred of liberals
> and resentment of everything . . .
===============================

When a life is meaningless, Righteous Indignation and Hatred feels pretty good.
Doesn't matter that it makes no sense and destroys everything in the end - including the hater.

It's just another drug.

When there is a want for drugs, the dealer appears

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Posted by: Cold-Dodger ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 02:40PM

The reason millennials are so liberal is, first, because they grew up watching Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. Jon Stewart dunked on Fox News and the AM radio hosts all the time, because it was easy to do because the whole thing is fundamentally based in dishonesty. It made Jon Stewart look like a fucking prophet with infinite wisdom and profound moral authority, but all he did was take the conservative talking points of the day, show how dishonest they were, and provide an alternative take based on basic human decency. The Daily Show changed the game on the left much like Rush Limbaugh had changed the game on the right. Jon was funny.

I slowly liberalized in a huge part by watching him. I educated myself about how liberals saw things just enough so I could laugh at his jokes and then I would offset it by going back to snorting Michael Savage and sharing tea party memes on Facebook in the evening and getting high off of grievance politics and clickbaity outrage bullshit about what the liberals were doing to my beloved country. At the very least, Jon opened my eyes to how silly and out of touch elected Republicans could be. But I thought the solution was to get actual conservatives elected, not these RINOs, or Republicans in Name Only, hence my tea party beliefs and affiliation.

Quick thought: maybe one of the reasons we’re so polarized is that we do hear mockery of our elected representatives coming form the other side, and we want to do better so we reach for ideologues and/or DC outsiders.

The second reason millennials are so scary liberal is because they were the masters of social media and digital technology before anyone else. In the brief time between the proliferation of digital tech especially social media and the powers-that-be’s ability to assert influence over the new mediums, millennials got America to flip its classic Christian opinions of gay people among other things like opinions on the War on Drugs. This was done through memes and argumentation on Facebook and Twitter at first, and then once the movement had enough power they could start shunning people or getting people fired for their alleged homophobic bigotry if they wouldn’t bend the knee, and that was how they dug out the people who were opposed to gay rights simply because of dogma. It transformed America, but not because foreign communist infiltrators suddenly had success where they’d had none for half a century. It was simply a new generation fighting for what they believed on a new medium whose power to change minds was poorly understood by older people at the time. That may scare people. It scared me, but I kinda like the new changes now. Who knew that integrating the gays with mainstream society would be so fulfilling? Now it’s just normal for your gay brother to come out of the closet and not immediately get a beat down. It’s ok if the people next door have two dads or two moms. Millennial liberal allies helped that to happen, and thank God for them.

The third reason millennials are so scary liberal is that we’ve lived through a Great Recession that happened under a Republican President because of the financial decisions of rich people that are too powerful and too well connected to be held accountable for any of it. Not a single banker responsible for frauds that fed the housing crisis in 2008 ever went to jail. They got off scot free. Millennials could vote for the first time, and they overwhelmingly voted for a black man with a Muslim name who at the time was speaking like Franklin Delanore Roosevelt because it has been a soft-spoken opinion by people like Jon Stewart, and the kinds of people who were our high school civics teachers, that this country needs to go back to the New Deal consensus. Millennials were intimately aware in their late teens how much college costs, how much debt they would accrue to go to college, and what their job prospects would be like even if they had the resume to stand out. They watched Bush privatize federal loans for college and tank the economy while fighting a wasteful war in the Middle East that we never should have been in, and Obama was the electorate’s answer. It was just a plus that he was black too.

Obama ended up “pivoting” to the center on many issues once he was in office, even though he harnessed the millennial excitement for social issues for his political gain. He was not a Marxist. He had an entire organization based on millennial energy ready to do whatever he asked them to do and he fired them and instead staffed his cabinet with people who appeared in a leaked email from Citigroup, which means of course that he sold out once he had the power. Sorry, he “pivoted.” He had a filibuster-proof Democratic congress that would have signed anything into law for him, and he chose to do Romneycare of all things and the banks got bigger and no one went to jail and the wars didn’t end and gitmo didn’t close and etc and etc. The Republicans did have a conniption and organize and fight like him with obstruction at an unprecedented level, true. But also, he did not fight like he said he would, he never put on a soft shoe to March with teacher’s unions in Wisconsin, which is why enthusiasm dropped off charts and by the end of his second term, Democrats were wiped out at every level of government. He sold out. He was not the communist goon that people like Rush Limbaugh constantly said he was. He wasn’t even an FDR-style Democrat. He was in his own words a moderate Republican from twenty years prior, and his millennial supporters were the ones whose heads were being cracked by police breaking up camps on Wall Street or having dogs sicked on them for standing with the Water Protectors in South Dakota in opposition to the Keystone Oil Pipeline.

And this is all what set the stage for Trump to happen, and it’s what set politics down its present course. On the left, especially among younger voters you have this extreme disenchantment with their party establishment. So when it leaked via Wikileaks that their champion of choice was basically screwed over by Mrs. Clinton’s people who had unethical influence inside of the party primary process, leftists just didn’t turn up to vote for her, despite Trump. Some of them even voted for Trump to spite the party. On the right, you had these masses of white people plugged into Rush Limbaugh and the rest of AM radio and Tea Party social media groups that fed off of their propaganda who were fighting with every fiber of their no-commie-is-gonna-take-my-country-from-me beings to oppose the Marxist revolution that wasn’t happening but that they thought was happening. That was what fed the stone wall opposition to everything Obama did even when it was their own shit. Conservative voters didn’t live on planet earth anymore at that point. They checked out. They gave themselves over to snake oil salesman, literally. Shows like INFO - WARS sell exotic oils for you to rub on your taint, the patch of skin between your privates, to supposedly boost testosterone and other bullshit cures and wares, and that is exactly the caliber of infotainment that former McCain voters and former Romney voters who started with Rush Limbaugh ended up falling for, because losing to Obama twice, watching the ACA get implemented, and watching the gays get equal rights among other things was traumatic and enraging because they never had rational conceptions of any of it because the media and social media through which they saw their world was not designed to tell them the truth and their starting point was a fundamentalist brand religious faith that wounded their ability to think objectively and critically about their world. They blamed Republicans as well as Democrats for the awful situation they imagined they were in, and it wasn’t all delusion but a lot of it was, so along comes Trump who is talking exactly like they think and enough them went YES that he became their guy.

But it’s not all delusions, because you also have people who voted for Obama twice and never saw the hope and change he promised, so they gambled on a guy who promised to bring the jobs back while the only alternative was the woman who was married to the man who did NAFTA. Mrs. Clinton happened to be the red devil of conservatalk radio for decade after decade because everyone knew she was gonna run for President, and when she did they wanted to make sure the maximum number of people who they could reach viewed it as an existential matter, and for people who experienced their towns being hollowed out by policies put in place by the Clinton Administration they were vulnerable to this argument despite having never been Republican voters and despite coming from the deeply blue unionist labor-rights background of a factory town. But was the Clinton version of the Democratic Party that kind of party anymore? Less and less, and so where do disenchanted voters go in a two party system? The other side.

The average life expectancy of a white male was falling even before COVID hit, and that’s because white people in all these rural places that never saw the Obama recovery are killing themselves with fentanyl out of desperation which they got hooked on because of perverse financial incentives for doctors to overprescribe pain killers, which is one scandal in a thousand others in recent years that has shaken the general faith in American institutions. Americans are right to distrust “the establishment,” because it has fucked them over in so many different ways and we’re finding out about new ways all the time. It’s not hard to see how someone could notice a few things that are real and in their anger imagine several things that aren’t real and weave it all together into a conspiracy narrative that finally makes a little sense of what is happening. The woman who was killed at the Capitol riot was a two-time Obama voter named Ashli Babbit who was in colosal amounts of debt, and this is probably what her radicalization process looked like. It would be a crime to focus on her Q-anon delusions at the expense of other legitimate pains in her life that drove her to conspiracy theorizing in the first place. She was blaming the correct institution for much of her pain, it’s just that violence is wrong and she was storming it for completely delusional reasons. The electoral college vote was legitimate as much as you hate who got elected or what you think of the media’s role in it.

But then this gets down to why so many people have fallen for the New York real estate version of a used car salesman with golden cuff links and a massive ego and the cult which it created. Democrats used to fight for the working man, and now they don’t. It’s honorable that they fight for LGBT rights and people of color, but by abandoning the issues important to the classic Democratic base, which is the workers unions in the factory towns, they taught so many people to hate them, and then it was easy for charlatans like Rush Limbaugh to swoop in and snatch these people up in the crazy worldview that they’ve spun out of pure propaganda made three parts of reheated Cold War propaganda, two parts of Christian fundamentalist grievance at having lost control of the collective American mind to the rising tide of secularism and its attendant shift in values, and one part pretend populism for the poor working people who have been forgotten. When you’re desperate, this cocktail is intoxicating, and I fell for it briefly after my mission because I was desperate. I was questioning my faith, blaming myself for my sins driving the Holy Ghost away, and wanting anything that could reconcile me to the only people I ever knew and the only culture that I ever loved. For so many people, their thought process might not be too far removed from that.

It scares me how I’m not so different from some of these people, and had things in my life gone a little differently, I might have been taken up by the same political cults too for all the same reasons. These people are our fathers and mothers, our grandparents, our aunts and uncles, our cousins and our brothers, and they just never understood the quick technological and cultural transformations we’ve seen in a mere decade or two. As we age, our brains become less plastic, which means less adaptable. It becomes harder to radically alter the way we think at a fast pace, and it’s easier to outsource your executive function to people who look like they have it figured out, and that goes double if you grew up in a cult that never gave you chance to see the world in another light. My paternal grandmother pounds the pulpit for Trump and swears that he was greatest President we ever had and that the Democrats swooped in and took it away in the greatest crime of the century. She’s also the sweetest woman you will ever meet. You wouldn’t know from her Facebook posts that one of her daughters married a black man back before it was cool and that she has three beautiful biracial grandchildren who now have their own children and she loves them all so fucking much. She’s not racist. She just never had a chance to get her bearings because of the media she listens to and the culture she comes from, and she doesn’t trust me to show her the way because the liberals and the socialists and the atheists got to me. I drank their kool aid and I cannot now be trusted, sweet young man though I am. I just want to help her and all of my relatives who think the election was stolen to understand the world they live in. I don’t hate them. I bleed inside for them, and I can’t take it sometimes. From their perspective, the world around them is crashing down in an end of days scenario and in some economic and institutional ways it is true but in other ways these cultural transformations can be beautiful and they’re nothing to be afraid of. They only go too far sometimes because the lifelong liberals on the other side of the aisle do not understand their culture and they’re scared that conservatives are martialing to come take away all of their new liberties away from them and impose Christianity again, which in some cases is exactly what Trump-cultists want to do.

We can still come back from this. Reconciliation is possible, but we have got to figure out how to reach the half of America that these charlatans have taken to coocoo land. The problem is not that Democrats don’t compromise. The problem is two fold, 1) the rightwing has been propagandized into their own little world separate from anybody else’s and it cannot be touched by fact or reason. 2) folks are desperate and there is no hope. I don’t know how we solve the first one. The second is easy: you have to get brave politicians who aren’t afraid to talk about redistributive New Deal-style policy or who are wise enough to dress it up as something patriotic and distinctly American. Obama was a moderate; in that regard he didn’t do anything wrong. The Republican base is not going to be grateful for offers of compromise, they’re going to spit on your efforts and call you a socialist anyway. So, the only reasonable path forward longterm in my book is to try and recover those former Obama voters with policy designed to improve their immediate material needs. Nothing less. Biden is not off to a good start. He promised $2000 checks to Georgian voters, and Georgia gave Democrats the senate, but then they walked it back to $1400 and now they’re dragging their feet getting it out and Biden is being all sorts of wishy-washy on minimum wage increases, debt relief, and everything that we need right now. Now is not the time for “moderate” approaches, which is why all of your grandchildren voted for Bernie.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2021 03:13PM by Cold-Dodger.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 06:44PM

Thank you very much for that, CD. I like your analysis which I found astute, and I like that I could actually read something that dense. Long sentences. Whoa!

I would like to comment on this

"As we age, our brains become less plastic, which means less adaptable. It becomes harder to radically alter the way we think at a fast pace, and it’s easier to outsource your executive function to people who look like they have it figured out, and that goes double if you grew up in a cult that never gave you chance to see the world in another light."

True enough . . . but, I have found the inability to be adaptable is for many not the rigidity of the brain, but the desire to hang onto what you have worked for all your life at any cost. "Throwing good money after bad," is an old saying making a very wise point.

I find the ability to change quickly to be intact for most. Having a good reason to change and adapt is another matter.

At a certain point, most people have a top three on their top ten list of what is the most important to them. They will overlook myriad other things that may be bad for them, as long as they get the top three or at least the top one. The election was an illustration of this for me. My family voted Trump because of one single issue.

The younger generation has different priorities. They seem to be a good thing for all of us. Where will they be in ten years? Makes me think of an old Lily Tomlin routine about hippies joining the establishment and when taken to task about that, the response was that they were going to "fight the fight from within," but the joke was, they really had joined the establishment. The bit ends with the ex-hippie telling her Latina maid to not buy any more grapes when she goes to do the shopping.


I wish your family would read this exactly as written-- all of it. Making it clear that it is not to convince them, not to have discussions about any of it or change their minds, but to understand you and how deeply you examine and process. They should know this side of you.

Some of it may sit in the back of their minds. Some of it may open them a crack. Hell, maybe I should send it to my family.

You explain very well what I have felt for a long time and why I cannot identify with either party nor even independent.

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Posted by: Cold-Dodger ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 07:52PM

They know. They know how analytical I am. But it would feel like physical pain if they saw it and fully understood it. I’m just not one of those top three things they are most important to them. Dismissing me at least to an extent is one of those things they’re willing to do to have the other things that are most important to them like a belief in Heavenly Father, hope of redemption through Christ, the safety blanket of the church, a belief in the celestial family.

If they make shallow snap judgements of me and why I left, they can keep these other things. They hurt me by so doing, but also they think I hurt them by saying I didn’t want to be a celestial family with them and also they think I said more or less that I wanna go my own way and I don’t value their input. Only I never said those things, and also they’re working from an imaginary discussion they had with an imaginary me — we never had that discussion. I wanted to explain what I’m all about, but from the instant they realized I had fallen, they threw their guard up.

In a normal family with healthy boundaries, it wouldn’t matter what anybody believed as long as they weren’t joining a cult, and our relationships wouldn’t hinge on things we like to talk about. But that’s not this family. This family kept me apart from the world and taught me to distrust it, and yet like Lot I couldn’t be happy to live outside the city with my family, I had to move in. They view themselves like Abraham who pitched his tent with the door facing away from the city. They don’t even allow themselves to be tempted.

I wonder if Abraham in that story was happy to cut ties with Lot just for moving into the city. They never saw each other again, I don’t think. Lot moved into the city, and Abraham prayed that God would spare the city of there were any righteous people in it, and only Lot and his family counted. So they fled while it was being destroyed, but Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Lot’s daughters took him to cave and got him drunk on three different occasions to rape him while he was passed out in order to save his lineage. But Genesis ends there. It never says whether Abraham and Lot ever saw each other again. Lot was in his prayers. My mother said she prays for me. Did Abraham not know that Lot had survived? That his prayers had saved Lot and his daughters? Was he curious?

Something Joseph Smith wrote in his 1838 history (JS-History1:28) has always stuck with me: “persecuted by those who ought to have been my afriends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me.” I used to use this verse in my inner dialogue when sectarians would write me off. They didn’t know that I really would have stood there and talked with them for hours, but they didn’t believe I was worth the time or something. Most people who said I was cultist would never take the time to explain what they meant or argue with me about what I believed. I had reasons. First, I thought it was biblical. Second, I thought Mormon history was an amazing modern New Testament story that proved that God was back with all of his gifts. Third, I thought I talked with him on a daily basis. I really thought this out from a very young age, and when what those who would engage me finally started to build up in my mind and make sense, I couldn’t stop analyzing it. I shared all this in letter home. I wrote my mother two or three times a week. I wrote a literal book — an epistle that turned into an elaborate doctrinal thesis — in an attempt to recover the one man I baptized from antimormon accusations and make him active again. He never looked at it. He told me I could keep it. It hurt just like that when my father said almost the same thing to me when I said I wanted to discuss the things I’d been learning. Maybe he was just overwhelmed and knew he couldn’t keep up with me, but he knows me. He just doesn’t want to go there. He still loves the church too much.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2021 07:56PM by Cold-Dodger.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: February 20, 2021 01:43AM

I have a friend like JS. He has two engineering degrees but can’t engineer to save his life. The knowledge didn’t stick. To him, everything is a story. He has lots of stories and a heart of gold, with too much humility to be a JS. But I can imagine JS seeing the world through a storyteller’s eyes. In storytelling, facts are secondary if you can keep them straight at all.

People like Rush tell a convincing story. He was charismatic and gave the people what they wanted while leading them down the Reaganomics path, which happened to be the “screw my listeners” path because it was the “kill the New Deal” path. There are plenty of parallels between late Conservatism and Mormonism, but the main one is the unsustainably. You can’t warp reality without it snapping back. If you try, you get an unstable society like we’re seeing now.

The anomie in America (see Chris Hedges https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HV0cS1TGve4) you see now is the tip of the iceberg. When people have nothing left to lose, they lose it. Those disaffected people you saw on January 6th were the nice ones. The mature ones who have it way better than the Millennials. The government’s response to the problem can only make it worse because their thinking hasn’t changed. They are like church leaders. As you saw in 2020, they did make it worse. It’s easy to blame the GOP, but maybe it’s just the way the world turns. The same thinking that drove the conquest of America’s native peoples is driving the conquest of its very own people. Something needs to change, but the change isn’t happening. The sphincter factor of that is on par with nuclear war because of the way money works and the rise of China. We’re going to be an authoritarian dictatorship in a few generations and the idea of America, the great experiment in individual liberty, will be dead. I dread that world. I dread it enough to reconsider religion. But since America was basically stolen from Asians maybe it’s proper that Asians should steal it back, so maybe I think too much.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: February 20, 2021 09:44AM

Your words make me remember when people feel hopeless, what they really want is not a solution but a scapegoat, someone to blame. I think this comes into so much. And often, everyone with a finger pointed at them is pointing the finger at someone else and them too and it becomes circular.

Even cavemen understood reciprocity.

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Posted by: Dr. No ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 06:45PM

or rather, had iPhone read it - much more fluent :-)

Interesting observations/perspective/hypotheses.
It seems this essay may be focused on the mountains where the plates clash.
Am additionally interested in the tectonics of those same plates. What's moving them.

Maslow's Hierarchy comes to mind and seems there are a bunch of people on those first two rungs, trying desperately to secure food, shelter, security. They don't have luxury to even stop and think because they are sprinting all the time. These are easy prey to any charlatan offering false easy propaganda, deliverance through hatred.

I have no hope of this circumstance being remedied as long as so many of our fellows are struggling on those lower two rungs.

--------------------------------------

Additionally, appreciate the account of escape from rage-right entrancement.
You are the only one I know of who has escaped. Most do not, and so that one has, is significant. These are people I know. It seems once entranced, there is no escape. It's like entering a flat spin: once established in a flat spin, there is nothing you can do. There is no recovery. The airplane is going to hit the earth.

Salute.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 19, 2021 08:12PM

Dr. No Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Maslow's Hierarchy comes to mind and seems there
> are a bunch of people on those first two rungs,
> trying desperately to secure food, shelter,
> security. They don't have luxury to even stop and
> think because they are sprinting all the time.
> These are easy prey to any charlatan offering
> false easy propaganda, deliverance through
> hatred.

And this is why things like economic stability and a reasonably equitable distribution of wealth are so important. If you look through history, one of the rules is that economic dislocation that locks people into the first two stages--or shoves them down from higher stages--entails political destabilization.

No Great Depression = no Hitler.

No 1920s rice shortages and Great Depression = no Japanese militarism.

No Great Recession and terrible remedial policies = no surge in nihilistic white supremacism.

When people are afraid they can't feed their kids, they throw up their hands and look for a savior. Anyone who esteems Western values must understand that.

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Posted by: Cold-Dodger ( )
Date: February 20, 2021 12:32AM

I need to do some exploration of the mindset I was in towards the end of my mission and right after. That was when I went full Tea party. I never read my mission journals again. It was so painful to go back to that mindset. I burned them a little while ago, too. I kept entries every day, and now they’re just gone because they were so full of memory and deep thoughts I couldn’t bear to dredge up. I was running away from those exact chains of thought when I dove headlong into evening AM radio on the long drive home from my day job. I just remember, I was struggling with doubt but I didn’t wanna doubt. I was desperate to make all of my experiences fighting for conservative Christian principles and the Mormon church mean some thing, because otherwise I was staring down the maw of both nihilism and the dissolution of all my human connections.

See, liberals don’t understand what they’re asking a conservative mind to do when they make an argument. A liberal ten years ago would say, “I think it’s time to fully integrate gay people in society,” and make an argument. They would show evidence. They would make an impassioned plea. They would post it on Facebook and expect that if it was a good enough argument, minds would have to change. But that isn’t how the minds of the people who “hate” gays work. I didn’t hate gays. I said that so many times to my liberal friends, and I meant it. I was bound by my belief in God to oppose something like gay marriage and to never allow gay rights to become something like black rights, because it would mean the church would have to change. At the time, imagining gay people marrying in the temple because of government tyranny was deep sacrilege and religious persecution. If it was actually fine, well then I would have question either church’s ability to divine the will of God, or the existence of God, or the validity of basing our lives on scripture. If the liberals making those arguments could have seen my thought process, they would watch me think those thoughts and comment, “yes, if your beliefs are oppressing other people, please question them.” But my whole worldview, my identity, my sense of purpose, my being, was tied to holding certain things sacred and sacrosanct, which is why it was so hard to accept that gay rights was exactly like black rights.

And that’s not the only issue. It’s all the issues. I resisted hearing that the climate was changing. I’ve thought hard about this one, and I think it’s because it’s closely related to having to accept how old the earth really is and that evolution of living things really happened. And that’s hard to do because it directly challenges the creation account. Liberals also came after what we were taught about gender roles. They challenged our scriptures. They wanted our God. Nothing was sacred to them and I found every part of their worldview and culture to be based in being offensive, being vulgar, delighting in sin, and destroying what others considered Holy.

So then, imagine how shook a mind like that gets *when the liberals start to make sense*. It feels like you’ve failed somehow at keeping the devil out. It like feeling something slither up against your foot while you stand in the water. It’s chilling. No, these disgusting people cannot be right, so you run to the sources you know for confirmation that they’re not right. Well, AM radio is right there in every car, and Rush Limbaugh went live every week night for years and years. He was always there. And of you couldn’t catch him there were others like Michael Savage. These old men who share many of the same concerns I just laid out would give you whatever you needed to hear to sooth your worries. No, there is a God. No, we can’t let gays integrate because “bla bla bla.” We’ve got to stop the liberals from corrupting X next.

It’s like what FAIRmormon does for Mormons, just way dumber and more below the belt. “The liberals” they talk about, I’ve never actually met someone who was as stupid and as shallow and as offensive as the liberals described in Rush Limbaugh’s show. But they exist. We who eat that shit up know they exist because these old men share anecdotes. It’s usually some story he heard from an old friend, a fellow retiree, about what the kids are doing these days and how they’re corrupting everything sacred and destroying this country and how the love of many maxes cold because they rejected God and old fashioned American values. You might mistake Rush’s show or Michael Savage’s show as a group therapy session for old men who have been traumatized but the kids who just son’t stay off their lawns — until you hear the people calling in on air. They’re young, many of them, like twenties and thirties and forties young.

Why are they leaning on shows like this you might wonder? Well, because these people are Christians mostly who were taught to distrust school and the government. Maybe they’ve thought about some of the things their liberal acquaintances have said, but they don’t have the tools or the education to understand what was said, or they lack the desire to undo their conditioning. Some of them never met a liberal in their lives but are horrified at what they hear is happening to the country. Because when you listen to this shit every day, you’re astounded at how busy the liberals are. They’re everywhere trying to dismantle everything that works just fine the way it is and they never stop trying to push their destructive, unholy, unAmerican agenda, because of Satan, basically, or communism which serves as the same basic plot device. This is how they choose to make sense of the world proposed to them by liberals. If you had a good education, had many friends who were also well educated, and didn’t have a lot of anti-intellectual beliefs that depended on you never getting a proper education, you’d never be taken by these shows. But, others without much education or who have lots of friends who don’t have a lot of education who share a lot of anti-intellectual beliefs together that depend on them never knowing any better would be taken by these shows.

These shows serve the purpose of making Democrats sound devilish, stupid, evil, cartoonish, etc and etc, in order to give the listeners an out. That great speech that Bill Clinton just gave, don’t worry about that. He’s a liberal. Listen to some of the stupid shit he’s tried to do. Can you believe this? They expect you to believe this. But we have principles and we know better.

It’s interesting that the Republican Party didn’t start going bananas until the nineties when Rush’s show took off and many copycats followed, including Fox News which is a cable news version of the same thing. There’s a holy regard for Ronald Reagan in this culture, and Reagan often made fun of New Deal Democrats. He famously said that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. He talked about welfare queens hogging up the welfare system. He talked about capitalism and America in a juxtaposition against the Soviet Union that made people feel special. And, to prove all his points, he presided over the fall of the Soviet Union. So, imagine scraping together all the poor and less-educated white people and watching them make a mystery cult out of the things Reagan said. It would over time become dumber in many ways. Reagan knew how to talk to liberals and be in their company: many of the people who flock to Rush and his buddies do not. Over time it would add more items to the canon of things we don’t let the liberals tell us are true or good. It would exaggerate its straw man of liberals more and more as time went by, especially as these people start to grow in number enough to be taken seriously and all it does is illicit disgust from everyone outside of this echo chamber. So then this little cult starts to become isolated and it drives them deeper into it, but it’s also growing and it’s an open secret that the Republicans are pandering to this massive group of people who we know are listening to Rush’s bullshit everyday but they’re ashamed to admit where they get their info when you encounter these people in everyday life.

It’s because of this conservatalk rage-radio phenomenon that everybody on the right hates Bill Clinton. Think of what Bill Clinton was. He the great triangulator. Sometimes he did liberals stuff. Sometimes he did conservative stuff. Sometimes he did centrist stuff. Just whatever was right for the moment he would do. That’s not extremist, and he gave the Gengrich Republicans many things they wanted. He signed the bills which deregulated the telecom industry and undid the New Deal regulations on Wall Street among other things. He signed the NAFTA trade deal with Canada and Mexico which was a win for free markets if that’s something you say you value. There was no reason to hate him as much as they did, but they were determined to find a reason because whether or not he knew it he starred in Rush Limbaugh’s version of reality every night as the great liberal Satan, despite his real record passing bills that principled Republicans should have been pleased with, principled in the sense that they actually care about the things they say they care about and aren’t just being a bunch of assholes addicted to their self-image of valiantly opposing their cartoonish imagination of the liberal agenda. It is the latter, though, and not the former. He was their red devil, and by God they would have something on him. So they investigated him endlessly and settled for impeaching him over a blow job that he lied about.

When the kinds of people come into public spaces, like school, they don’t take it seriously. There are liberals there. What you learn there is bullshit but the liberals control it so you have to go along with it. They throw up a facade and do necessary things because they have to to get good grades but they resent it and they wish for an idealized version of American school where they didn’t have to do this every day. They vainly imagine an America that used to be but never actually was where we pray in school, everyone fears God, and no one would think about letting socialism into our government policies. They get tired of the liberal tyranny over time, and they start pushing back against it, but most of the time all their liberal friends did was exist next to them. What it shows is that they’re LARPing (that’s live action role playing) when they’re around liberals, and a “liberal” over time has come to mean anyone who isn’t part of this conservative cult and actively opposes it.

You have to understand this psychology to understand why conservatives plugged into conservative media do things. You have to understand the insecurities and ignorances that feed their behavior. You have to understand what these people hold sacred and how they feel those sacred things are being trampled. Then you can understand why Rush Limbaugh was so appealing to many. Then you can understand how his copycats pushed the envelope even further. Then you can understand how someone like Bush got elected. Then you can understand why there was so much irrational and yet passionate opposition to Obama. The black man with a Muslim name was the event that caused this cottage industry to take off the like a rocket, because on the right it was like a 9/11. We were talking about Obama in the moments right before his inauguration like Hitler had just been elected. We were scared. Obama was a flex in the power of America’s growing vote of color. McCain would have won in previous years but he didn’t, and that sacred the shit out of everyone, and they blamed “the illegals” who they imagined Democrats were trucking up south of the border by the millions and helping to vote illegally just to take away America from real Americans in order to do the cartoonish version of the liberal agenda that they think liberals wanna do for all their cartoonish reasons. This is why the gang of eight in the senate was an utter failure — this cult was taking over the base, and everyone on the right was starting to think like this and the talking heads were getting diverse and competitive and the most extreme ones got the most attention. This was also happening in tandem with social media for the first time, which exploded the reach of the cult into the mainstream right. They called the elves the tea party in reference to one of the opening acts of rebellion in the original American Revolution against Great Britain. They imagined that they were the true patriots, quoting the prophets called the Founding Fathers chapter and verse as to why Obama doing basic Keynesian economics that everyone since FDR has done would destroy our country. And when that failed make enough headway into stopping the liberal agenda, they retreated to their tea party Facebook groups or tuned in to AM radio and mourned the death of America as they knew it. They never saw Obama’s compromises with them. They never saw that his compromises were preconpromised without being asked and further compromised after being asked, and their elected representatives still spat in Obama’s face, because they needed him to be the new red devil in this latest version of their culty conservatalk bullshit. They needed him to be Marxist. They needed him to be the most scummy thing that there ever was in the White House to justify their behavior, and they were so good at immersing themselves in their own bullshit and believing it that that’s exactly what they accomplished.

I jumped off the train in 2013 after Obama won the second time, so I don’t know exactly how the thinking of the conservatalk cult went on after that. I just kinda figured there was gonna be more brown people and our national values might alter slightly, but not that much because Latinos were overwhelmingly Catholic. I started being real with myself about who Obama really was. I was at BYUI, and that had a lot to do with it. I went to BYUI to be at that kind of idealized American school o talked about. I thought if there were no liberals around, I’d learn about accredited subjects without their bullshit in it. I hoped. Instead, I found the accredited BYUI curriculum to resemble much of what my public elementary, jr high, and high schools had tried to teach me, just with lots of institute classes sprinkled throughout the day and lots of prayer and devotional and testimony bearing that conveniently kept people learning real accredited knowledge from piecing anything together with other people from other majors in a way that challenged the dominant conservative beliefs on campus. It was disenchanting, not to my desire to learn true things but to the way I had clung to conservative beliefs like a big titty baby and trash talked Obama ignorantly just cuz I couldn’t deal with my own shit.

Do you remember the movie Inception? The protagonists in that movie dive into someone else’s dreams, and they remind themselves that the space around them isn’t real by keeping an item around that only they know what it really feels like and acts like because only they touch it in the real world. They call it a totem. Well, my totem was the experience of being treated like shit over my “porn addiction” and knowing that the instant I stopped wanting to be Mormon, I would be smeared and reviled as a porn addict and it wouldn’t matter if I’d been sober for X amount of years. I understood that Mormonism was unfair to its dissenters, because I’d realized this on my mission. I’d seen it. And I knew on some level that I was just being a bitch ass. Right after my mission, I went back to community college. I took two classes that I thought I would find interesting, Chicano studies and world religions. I took several years of Spanish in high. School thinking I was going to serve in a foreign-speaking mission. I didn’t. I liked Latinos. I knew about their culture, and I liked it. I wanted to know more. Chicano studies was one of those liberal classes where I had to grin and pretend to like it. The professor was, well, exactly how a conservative imagines in this case. He took every shot at “Anglos” that he could and at one point even pointed to the flag up the corner of the classroom and said that that was imperialism. He introduced to me an Inperial way of looking at the flag and at all that nonHispanic white people had done throughout American history. It was jarring. I was already in a vulnerable state, though, so I didn’t fight back. I was there for a grade, and I had to listen to my conservative “Anglo” Americanism get dismantled for a whole semester, which I didn’t realize was like a religion in so many ways. This was paired with a world religions teacher who assaulted Christianity in much the same way throughout the semester even when we were on Hinduism or Zoroastrianism. Actually Zoroastrianism was very interesting, because it filled in some blanks I had about why the New testament sounded so different from the Old Testament when the Book of Mormon insists that so many New Testament things were known back in the Old Testamnent days. Why didn’t the Torah ever talk about the afterlife much? These little things, well those were syncretisms from the Medes and the Persians when the Jews were captives in Babylon, and so was the idea that there was only one good God and an anti-God, or a devil. It was interesting, but also, a whole lot of things started to click, and the context was all wrong for me to realize these things. I was battling “porn addiction.” Oh God, the things people at church would say. I began to figure that my religion was bullshit, or at least not literally true (how that differs from straight up “bullshit” eludes me). I hoped that it was still possible to save my testimony, so I shelved those thoughts, dropped out of community college despite having a Presidential scholarship, and became a bug man who worked long days and listened to Michael Savage every night on my drive home in an attempt to undo what all these liberals everywhere were doing to my psyche and accept that my unbelief came because of my iniquity. But, after a year of this I decided it was time to go back to college. I was still doped up on conservatalk for the first year, and then I just let it go.

That was when so was listening to Jon Stewart more and more. I began listening to other views of who Obama really was and why he wasn’t all that radical. I thought maybe it was neato to be a centrist who wasn’t bent out of shape all the time. There was a moment right before the election in November 2012 when I was posting all sorts of stupid shit on my Facebook thinking I was being clever. It was during one of the debates. I said something about Obama getting a Nobel peace prize just because he was black, and a friend of mine, a liberal girl who went to Spanish class with me at that community college and who was friends with me on Facebook, was shocked that I would bring Obama’s race into it. She was so kind to me, and so long-suffering of my hateful nonsense directed at people exactly like her. But I liked her, and she like me. She viewed my thing as something I might outgrow instead of “canceling” me. I noticed that. When Obama won again, I was dazed and confused by I realized that it only meant a majority of other voters were not interested in our vision of America. I had been disabused of my most nonsensical tea party beliefs, because college does that. I stopped listening to Michael Savage, because he was raging something dark into his microphone and it was starting to get racial. He said something about self-hating whites committing ethnic and cultural suicide. I was done with him after that. My whole indignity against liberals was that we were not racist just for opposing Obama. Well, apparently some of us were, and I began to understand the racial undertones of much of the movement.

For example, the very first American who thought that liberals had used government to overstep government’s designed boundaries and infringe on our freedoms were probably those people who opposed integration and the civil rights movement. They had to shut up and accept it, though, because they lost the argument and the opposite became law, and that was when the first bitching and meaning about “political correctness” started. But then I thought, no this goes all the way back to the Civil War in some ways when Southerners were making the similar arguments about the federal government being designed to let the states do what wanted as to the slave question. And here I was thinking racism had actually ended recently, like it just dried up and vanished. I didn’t think I was racist even while I was lending my support to SB1070 here in Arizona which gave the local police the authority to basically enforce federal immigration law by badgering any Latino they rounded up for any offense for their papers proving they were here legally. I imagined that they were pawns incapable of seeing through liberal propaganda in an evil liberal plot to destroy my country, even though all the ones I’d ever met were decent people who didn’t want much except to work and live and be accepted as Americans and not have grandma deported. I just never made certain connections with my brain about what a colosal asshole I must look like to my nonMormon, not-as-conservative friends. I’d just spent so much time in my own head, which I tend to do.

I just let it all go. I started dealing with my shit instead of taking it out on everyone else. About a year and half later, I would discover the gospel topics essays starting with the Race and the Priesthood essay, which started my research of and slow exit from the church, including my discovery of this sub. It’s been a long time coming, I was just afraid to do it. By 2015, I was an atheist in the closet at BYUI trying to figure out what I was gonna do next, because I never imagined having control of my own life and it was at the time that Trump started to ascend. I was unplugged by then. I didn’t understand it.

But now that it’s over. If I had to imagine how the thinking went, at least in the early days as the conservatalk cult’s final mutation into Trumpism was happening, I imagine that most conservatives didn’t do what I did. They doubled down and accepted whatever bullshit they had to to explain why all their efforts had failed, something about George Soros and millions of illegal aliens voting and the complete or near complete corruption of our institutions by the liberal agenda. I was on the other side when SCOTUS ruled on gay marriage. I know they blamed Obama and imagined some grand master plan to destroy America, like there have to be gays feeling like it’s ok to be themselves in the streets before God can do unto America like he did unto Sodom and Gomorrah, which liberals want to happen for some reason. I don’t know how Q-anon happened, but it must have something to do with how invincible Trump felt to them, which would have been a big deal to that mindset after eight years of losing every issue to the liberals. It must have seemed like the whole liberal conspiracy and how far it reached revealed itself prematurely after almost every newspaper in the country endorsed Clinton and even some Republicans tried to deny the Trump. And it just spiraled from there.

In reality, people outside of conservative cult thinking were just having normal reactions to putting a man like Trump in power, and they were having this reaction all at once because we were all watching the same shit show, not because the liberal media was controlling everything we think as George Soros pulled all the strings.

My journey out was unique. There were parts of it I was never into. I’m surprised at all the fucked up things in the last five years that this worldview has been able to excuse or spin away or reinterpret as positives... or just ignore. It’s been mind bending. It’s its own reality at this point, and I have no fucking idea what it’s going to do next or how to reach someone who is stuck in it now.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: February 20, 2021 02:36AM

Gabor Mate has delved deeply into the causes of addiction. Basically, it’s caused by unresolved childhood trauma that your conscious mind has long since forgotten or suppressed. It’s not something that can be solved through willpower. So, the church’s approach to dealing with your porn addiction was both ineffective and cruel. Your childhood was not your fault. How could it be? And the fallout from that, how is that your fault? Whatever amount of blame is going around is accompanied by a greater amount of crazy.

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