Sunday, March 12, 2006

Free lunch, anyone?

I keep hearing conservative callers to Air America complain that liberals are not optimistic. I suppose that's because we're in the "reality-based community," unlike the president.

Bush in the WaPo last week, regarding his Oval Office rug:
"The interesting thing about this rug and why I like it in here is 'cause I told Laura one thing. I said, 'Look, I can't pick the colors and all that. But make it say 'optimistic person.' " ...

"It helps make this room an open and optimistic place," Bush tells viewers. ...

"If you walk in that Oval Office," Bush said in Sterling, "I think you're going to say, just like you know it, 'This guy's optimistic.' "
From an October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine article, “Without a Doubt,” by Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
It dawns on me that while traditional conservatives (George Will types) like to portray themselves as hard-nosed realists (unlike those starry-eyed liberals), Bush conservatives want to have it both ways. They want to have their cake and eat it too. This may explain why they so easily talk out of both sides of their mouths.

You can have invasions that are cakewalks.
You can have tax cuts that pay for themselves.
You can have corporations treat employees better through competition than through regulation.
You can defend freedom though torture.
You can promote democracy through domestic spying.
You can insist that government does nothing right, prove it with Katrina, and still believe you can successfully nation-build overseas.
You can eat anything you want, not exercise, and lose weight fast.

You can do that when you create your own reality. Conservative "optimists" believe in the free lunch. Like Fox Mulder, they want to believe.

Like Bill McKibben's Harpers article, “The Christian Paradox,” last August that took issue with shopping mall spirituality, this brand of belief won't deal with hard issues of faith:
"How nice it would be if Jesus had declared that our income was ours to keep, instead of insisting that we had to share. How satisfying it would be if we were supposed to hate our enemies. Religious conservatives will always have a comparatively easy sell."
They want to believe in Santa Claus. They really get ticked off when you tell them he doesn't exist. And they will vote for the guy who says he does. Be Happy Happy Happy All the Time

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