Humans like to believe that they’re part of something bigger than themselves, whether that thing is God’s plan, or Hitler’s, or Barack Obama’s. The credo is never as important as the crusade. It’s why people become Communists or Muslims or Nazis or gangsters or girl scouts, or Democrats. People want to be on the road to somewhere. Doesn’t matter much where. And within the fractured interior of every pathetic human paradigm and every mortal vanity reside a certain number of True Believers, those righteous apostles who have crossed into the abyss to become the implacable enemies of anyone who resists assimilation — “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” — or maybe they just want to peddle cheap cookies and crackpot social welfare schemes.
Marx — Groucho, not Karl — displayed the sardonic wisdom of the madcap by refusing to join any club that would have him as a member. “Whatever it is,” sang the cynic with the greasepaint moustache, “I’m against it.” This is the strength of the conservative and his fundamental weakness. Not a joiner by nature, he is always outnumbered by those who wish him ill. It’s what makes him so cranky. Like LeBon, the conservative believes that crowds are a powerful force only for destruction, while the liberal True Believer is convinced that progress takes a village. Liberal faith disallows doubt and proscribes the skeptic. The liberal True Believer has achieved illumination; all others live in darkness. He wears his dogma like armor, convinced of its impenetrability even when it’s shot full of holes.
King Arthur [after Arthur’s cut off both of the Black Knight’s arms]: Look, you stupid bastard. You’ve got no arms left.
Black Knight: Yes I have.
King Arthur: Look!
Black Knight: It’s just a flesh wound … I’m invincible!
King Arthur: …You’re a loony.
(Monty Python and the Holy Grail / 1975)
For true believing Democrats, the nationalization of the American health care system is the Holy Grail, the mythical chalice of progressivism after which they have quested for half a century; it’s the Philosopher’s Stone they think will alchemically transmute the base metal of the Founding Fathers into the glittering bullion of socialism. Too bad for them ObamaCare is such a bag of rocks. A few cranks on the right suspect that the Affordable Care Act was designed that way by intent, a cumbersome bit of partisan legislation that’s both unaffordable and offers no care, in order to prod the citizenry into clamoring for federal salvation in the form of a single-payer system. But such a plot ascribes to the Obama Administration a certain degree of foresight and planning of which it has thus far shown itself utterly incapable. The more reasonable explanation, the simplest explanation, is that ObamaCare is proving disastrous because it’s authors are incompetent hacks. And as the days pass and more and more True Believers receive shut-off notices from their insurers or incur premium increases that would make a conscienceless usurer blush, they are beginning to question their faith.
The dark night of the progressive soul may be upon us.
- True Believers Won’t Turn on Obama (rushlimbaugh.com)
- When Cognitive Dissonance Strikes the True Believers (pjmedia.com)