Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

A close view of the American right

Tim Wise has reminded me of a metaphor that arises rather often in my family’s life in Tea Party City: Several times a day, our peace is rent by the sound of some attention-famished dolt driving his jacked-up, 20-foot, monster-wheeled, diesel-fueled truck or SUV so that it ROOOOOOOOARS past, squeeeeeeeeeeals to a near-stop, screeeeeches back into motion, and then snarls, growls, grumbles off into the distance.

Fearsome but doomed: The American right is a dinosaur on its way to extinction

Fearsome but doomed: The American right is a flesh-rending nightmareosaur on its way to extinction.
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Each time this happens, a mental image forms: Outside is not a vehicle, but a menacing predatory saurian filled with inarticulate fury; it knows not why it rages, but it suspects at some level too profound for its comprehension that something is very wrong in its world. What this dinosaur doesn’t realize is that it’s on its way to inevitable extinction, for the conditions that made and sustained its kind cannot last.

Like the driversaurus, the American right wing is slouching to the tar pits to die, roaring defiance all the way. It doesn’t fully understand the changes in its world, and it imagines that it should be able to go on living as it has always done: by taking what it wants from smaller or less armed and armored creatures and turning most of it to fetid waste, then leaving the waste behind for less aggressive beings to suffer while it moves on in search of new prey.

But to live like this requires certain conditions: Only in a relatively clear field and in times of plenty can such a model persist. Deep within, the dinosaurs feel this: They know anger and fear and a growing sense of doom, but they cannot understand why. To them, the changing world looks as it always has, and they can imagine no reason why anything should ever not be the same.

Nemesis comes for those who cannot adapt

Nemesis comes for those who cannot adapt.
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What the dinosaurs cannot see, and cannot begin to apprehend even when warned of it, is the doom hurtling resistlessly toward them: the pervasive systemic change the world is about to undergo, which will leave them no way to make a living without making adaptations for which they are not equipped. Our shared fate will bring catastrophic suffering to all, but in the end we will adapt and survive, and the dinosaurs who thunder and snarl and roar among us will not.

Originally published as a review of a timwise.org article on the American right wing.

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