Thursday, September 4, 2008


"The annual Pew Religion and Public Life Survey recently reported that after voters gauged how liberal McCain and Obama were, 'the average voter places themselves much closer to McCain than to Obama.'

"Forty-nine percent of Americans say their “moral values” are conservative, while only 20 percent say they are liberal. About half of voters, when asked to assess the moral values of the candidates, described Obama as liberal while nearly six in 10 said McCain was conservative."

[For the full article that deserves to be fully read, please see here.]

By selecting Palin to be one breath away from being President, McCain has cleverly chosen a stalking horse to attract and energize the fundamentalist, conservative base that held the Republican party in good stead during the last Presidential election. Rather than prevent "conservatives" from voting for Obama, something that would be unlikely to happen, he has made it possible for Palin to appeal to this not insignificant demographic, while he concentrates on hammering home issues of domestic and foreign policy.

Because of the tremendous influence of Social Darwinism in the U.S., a political and social theory developed by the sociologist Herbert Spencer in England, and largely institutionalized in the U.S. thanks to the sociologist William Graham Sumner, we still have a very strong "conservative" bent among most people, even among those who clearly do not profit from "conservatism" as it is currently defined.

Social Darwinism extols the virtues of capitalism, survival of the fittest, and laissez faire which are its major components. Social Darwinism has been so internalized within the American psyche that even many poor people blame themselves, and are blamed by others, for their plight, despite the fact that most poor people work very hard, frequently at two or more jobs, to barely eek out an existence.

Many of those who are "social conservatives," therefore, are those very people who are most abused by the system that has mainly elite segments of this society profiting from Social Darwinism, and yet even many poor people nevertheless feel more of a kinship with "conservatism," adherence and fealty to the status quo, than they do with any attempt to change the odds in their favor.

The issue of universal health care is merely one example, where in the U.S. health care, despite what rhetoric exists to the contrary, is viewed as a privilege rather than a right! In virtually every other developed country, there is some form of universal health care, some safety net, except in the U.S., and that fact can be seen to be directly traced to the internalizing of the Social Darwinist ethic within many, if not most Americans.

So, it is not all that surprising that "Forty-nine percent of Americans say their “moral values” are conservative, while only 20 percent say they are liberal." And McCain, by selecting Palin, has tapped into this "silent majority" and, again, is giving permission for Social Darwinism, with its war of all against all philosophy and assumptions, to rear its ugly head.

And along with the internalizing of the Social Darwinist ethic comes the unnecessary, undesirable, and specious coupling of LGBT rights with all sorts of other hot button issues and values such as abortion, stem cell research, Americanism, militarism, capitalism, greed, basic contempt for the poor and underprivileged, along with overt hostility to LGBT people who "threaten the basic fabric of our society" and "are attempting to destroy traditional family values" by seeking to marry.

By elevating Palin with her clearly "conservative" values, the Social Darwinist ethic can be seen to gain enormous traction, if she is able to gain and maintain credibility throughout the campaign process, and it will gain traction to the enormous detriment of "the have nots," particularly LGBT people who are one of the last remaining minority groups where people can feel free to publicly advocate depriving them full and equal civil and sacramental rights.

Palin's candidacy has energized Social Darwinism, much as did the "war on terror" in the last Presidential election, where the constructed "enemy" made possible the cementing of in-group solidarity so that Bush, by appealing to the Reptilian Brains of the electorate [In this connection, see an excellent article by Arianna Huffington.], managed to win that office, despite the incongruities of his explanations as to why we had to initiate the war in Iraq in the first place.

Rationality plays no part when our Reptilian Brains are engaged, and Social Darwinism is certainly conducive to engaging that most primal part of our brains, as it justifies and engages our most basic instincts of self-preservation, so that "the other," any "other," becomes a valuable "enemy" against which to discriminate and is viewed as ripe for oppresson.

That "other," that "constructed enemy," serves the basic interests of the Power Elite; Social Darwinism serves the basic interests of the Power Elite and those who carry its water; false consciousness among those who clearly don't directly profit from the status quo enables Social Darwinism to still be viewed as viable, despite its war of all against all assumptions and destructiveness.

In order to keep its power, its hegemony, within society, the Power elite encourages the engaging of the Social Darwinist ethos by the needed construction of enemies that are then reinforced as enemies by most of the mainstream media so that false consciousness is created in those who clearly don't profit from the status quo. And, the oppression of others, the poor and the LGBT communities, for example, is then given permission to rear its ugly head.

This phenomenon of "false consciousness" and the carrying of the water for one's oppressor can be acutely seen among the Log Cabin Republicans who have given their endorsement of the homophobic McCain/Palin candidacy, thus acting in traitorous opposition to the welfare of other LGBT people; by many African American clergy and others who see no relationship between their own oppression and that of their LGBT sisters and brothers.

Palin's candidacy has brought the culture wars to a critical mass that is again galvanizing the Religious Right and the Social Darwinist proclivities of others in the electorate as well.

And should the McCain-Palin ticket win the election, we can expect the long-term continuing second class citizenship of LGBT people, and even the removal of some of what civil rights that now exist, in an Administration that will give permission for the Reptilian Brain of the Power Elite and the falsely conscious to become elevated and, thereby, hold sway in both the social and political arenas over the next two decades.
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Bob said...

Your blog is a treasure as I am spiritual, not religous, despite being raised a Methodist. I love your comment that the Bible isn't God.
You have a regular reader now.

Jerry Maneker said...

God bless you for saying such a kind thing, Bob. I'm very grateful. Also, you have an excellent blog that I'm adding to my Links list.