Bongburgher, the veritable Burgher of Bong, writes in:
For the record, I do not belong to the government. My wife and children do not belong to the government. Neither do my friends, neighbors, acquaintances, nor my worst enemies….
Even in some weird twisted “I belong to XYZ church/organization/political party/whatnot” I don’t belong to the government since I can’t just rip up my membership card and quit paying my dues. Who do these people think they are? And why do we put up with them? Why don’t they have friends who slap them around and say, “Quit talking this way!”?
– The Bongburgher
No, you are not a mere subject to the government. But hang on a sec, because this is one of those excellent opportunities to explain liberal psychology.
When the Democrats made that claim, it was quite interesting to us. Clearly, the message was that Each of us participates in government whether we know it or not…so get out there and participate! Typical rah-rah convention-type of pablum. Republicans and libertarians, eager to leap on anything that smacks of liberal Democrat stupidity, found a lot to twist around in that. The Czar speaks truly: they never meant to say we are subjects of the Federal government. We should let that criticism pass because it makes us look as goofy as the hair-splitting accusations the liberals fired back about the GOP.
But here is where it gets interesting. In fact, two things can be teased out of that phrase.
First is the gnawing fear of low voter turnout. If you saw the CNN polls yesterday, Obama is up quite a bit among groups who have no intention of voting. In fact, the poll implies that 22% of Obama supporters will cast precisely no votes. And if you subtract them out of the mix (and subtract the small percentage of Romney supporters not intending to vote from the GOP side), you wind up with Romney winning by the same margin that other forecasts are calling fornot quite a landslide, but not all that close, either. A decisive Republican win.
The Democrats know this, which is why the all your vote belong to us message went out when it did: a reminder that Democrats cannot take a single vote for granted in 2012. Everyone (well, everyone who supports Barack Obama, that is) needs to participate in the 2012 election. Enough said.
Yeah, but no. There is one more thing we can tease outthe vocabulary of the message. Belong. Why that verb, exactly? Why not more exciting words like participate, has a part to play, shares? As you put it, Herr Burgher, why are they talking this way?
The answer is deeply rooted in identity politics, which in our opinion is more descriptive of liberal Democratic politics than any other factor. In our opinion, this explains nearly all liberal psychology: everyone has to belong somewhere.
Sure, it is reflective of a psychology of need; and that is as old as civilization itself. Heck, it may have helped found civilization. I need to belong! Conservatives, of course, are just as happy living out by themselves on a farm somewhere, but liberals like to belong to things. This is why they go to cities, and hang out in big crowds, and love parades, unions, and memberships, and starting movements and organizations (and lead quite a few to communism, Where Everyone BelongsTM) whereas conservatives just want to be left alone, dammit.
And it is why liberals see the world in terms of groups. And groups have leaders. Which explains not only the fawning over Barack Obama, but the weird (to a conservative) insistence that conservatives must be receiving their marching orders from someone. Rush Limbaugh? The Koch Brothers? Sarah Palin? This is one of the elements so confusing to liberals about a dweeb like Mitt Romney. How could he have become the conservative groupthink leader? Theres nothing to him!
The Democrats caught on to this, and this is why liberals pander (according to conservatives) to group identities. How could women vote for Mitt Romney? How could a hispanic vote Republican? Gays must vote for Barack Obama because he suddenly claims to support gay marriage. Look at how minorities are viewed at within the parties: Democrats have many women, blacks, gays, hispanics, union workers, elderly, students, and immigrants. Conversely, many women, blacks, gays, hispanics, union workers, elderly, students, and immigrants are Republicans. See the difference? Democrats celebrate belonging to things, whereas Republicans tend to ignore these differences and establish solidarity.
And this last point is not to be ignored: it explains, in an uncharged, non-partisan way, why Democrats continuously maintain social groupings rather than assimilate; liberal Democrats dont want blacks to become mainstreamthey want blacks to maintain and celebrate a black culture. Not because they want to hold them back or down or whatever, but because black Americans have a unique (although often artificial) culture. Why end that?
Further, it also explains why many conservatives are tired of the enforced divisions of culture. Conservatives dont want to keep talking about racism, and dont want bilingual directions on everything, and dont want to have separate but equal marriages for gays. Conservatives, to some degree, would prefer everyone to be a nice, quiet family living in a well-maintained home with a lush green lawn just down the road a short walk. Diversity, conservatives suggest, has never really contributed anything whereas the melting pot has.
Of course, one of the problems conservatives readily define with the liberal need to belong, and the extended need to belong to individualized groups, is that needs become demands, and soon groups have their hands out. If you want us to have our own unique culture, then you need to give us all this stuff. And while some cultures, like the Filipinos, bootstrap on their own and build their own community centers at no cost to others, many others demand someone else pay for it. And this is where the joys of liberalism become problematic for conservatives. Who pays for all this belonging you insist upon? We never even wanted it until you told us we needed to demand it.
Because every membership has its dues. And where things really got bad for Americans is when demands were transformed into rights in the 1960s. There are as many as a million Americans (more, perhaps, but let us not exaggerate) who honestly and ardently believe today that they were born with the right to have a home, a job, a college education, a larder of food, and a stipend of pocket money. Sometimes, Puter jokes that this will, in five years, devolve into I have a right to have an XBox 360, and I have a right to free beer, but he isnt joking. The quality of demands for new rights is becoming badly watered down to the latest material goods. Remember the Occupy whackjob that insisted his rights included a new iPhone? We have arrived at a bad place.
So when the DNC ad reminds us that we all belong to the government, they arent saying Thou Shalt Obey Your DNC. They are simply saying, in their own innocent way, Please please please dont stay home on election day, or the Republicans will make us live in wooden farm houses with three kids and stuff with no access to Thai food and free wifi.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.