Sunday, June 12, 2005

Clinical Insanity

There's a common theme in SF, where the human race evolves into Something Better; some type of Group Mind, where everyone's talents contribute to the Common Good. Naturally, the something tends to be some variation of the author's prejudices as to social and religious philosophy. I've had a theory for some time that this has already happened -- our larger institutions (corporate and governmental, and, in the case of the Catholic Church at least, religious) are behaving less like collections of individuals and more like independent entities. It seems like these organizations have their own agendas and proceed on their way, despite anything the people in them do to change it. These agendas do not seem to benefit the people that come up with them, nor the people who have to implement them. Individuals have no more effect on them than your body (or even brain) cells have on you.

This old idea came back the other day, thinking about the Democratic Party and its current woes. (The trigger was a post by twistedchick, who is far more knowledgeble on matters political than I am. Basically, the DCCC phone bank people were so rude that she ended up writing a nasty letter to the Democratic Powers that Be. Their behaviour was so out of line that some of the commenters on this post speculated that this was actually a Republican disinformation operation. Editorial comment — they're not that smart)

Thinking about the Democratic Party as a Higher Being, it looks like it's clinically insane. So, in a completely different way, is the Republican party.

The Republicans are easy. They are allow no criticism, insist on winning every tiny little battle (think of their renaming Washington National Airport to Reagan National Airport, ticking off just about everybody in the area just to prove they could do it.). Anything that doesn't go exactly their way is a Conspiracy; fact that they have absolute control of two of the three branches of the US Government and are working on the third. They whine about a hostile media; choosing to forget the way the media treated past Administrations.

Paranoid schizophrenia. Could serve as a textbook example. Heavy dissociation from reality.

The Dems are just about the opposite. Since FDR, they've been the banner carriers for the so- called Progressive Agenda, which says, roughly, that proper Government action can really improve the life of the average person. Now, this was just fine until about the mid 1970s. Progressivism was the order of the day. Richard Nixon (may he rot in a Fundie Hell) was more liberal than any serious Presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter or perhaps Walter Mondale.

But things have gone downhill. Reagan got elected, more out of disgust with Carter's ineptitude than approval of Reagan's policies. Since 1994, they've been going downhill at a pretty steady rate, to the point that in 2004, they lost the Presidency to an obvious moron and lost every Senate race that was competitive. What are the doing about it? Focus groups. Run to the Center. Bland Establishment don't rock the boat candidates. Response to outrageous actions like the mass disenfranchisement of poor black voters in Florida (2000 and 2004) and Ohio (2004) seems to be to sit back, contemplate their collective navel, and worry what am I doing wrong? Repeat the same formula that has failed for the last 12 years.

Clinical depression. Again, a textbook example. With a bit of obsessive- compulsive disorder thrown in.

So what to do about it? Neither the sensible Republicans (McCain) nor the fire- breathing Democrats (Dean) seem to have any effect at all on their respective parties.

What's lithium or Prozac for a political party? Neither will fit on the couch ....

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