Thread: Meaning and loss in American conservatism

I've written a lot about how Christian supremacism (expressed and implicit) is the underlying objective of most Trump supporters but the psychology of American conservatism is very important in its descent into madness.
We're seeing it manifested heavily in the present moment as Trump and his followers are forced to contemplate the loss of the presidency but it's important to realize that losing is the psychic core of the U.S. right.
Trump's repugnant demeanor and prior history of political moderation is what made him so reviled by conservative activists and donors in 2015 but his angry victim complex so deeply resonated with the GOP base that this is why he won the primary.
American conservatism has been obsessed with death and loss since it emerged in the 1940s. The utter humiliation of Herbert Hoover and the rapid growth of federal spending and regulation under FDR was an existential moment for the corporate barons who started the U.S. right.
The rise of explicitly atheist Marxist-Leninism was also immensely triggering of long-time fundamentalist fantasies of persecution and death before the return of Christ. Most Christians don't see John's Apocalypse as a literal text but fundamentalists do.
The ethos of Revelations so utterly permeates modern conservatism even after the collapse of the USSR. The book's tale of two prophets called by God to witness for Christ in Jerusalem is foundational to evangelical support for Israel and for Christian nationalism in the US.
Outside the US, the idea of Christian witness is mostly personal but as successive presidents sought to ramp up public support for the Cold War, the idea that US was some sort of divinely created country became very widespread.
The religious concept of witness was merged into the identity politics of American conservatism from its very beginnings as in Buckley's first book "God and Man at Yale" and Whitaker Chambers's book "Witness."

Critical to both men's views was that they were on the losing side.
The founding slogan of National Review was that it would "stand athwart history, yelling Stop." It has been the mission and identity of conservatism in the country ever since.

Conservatives would witness against the godless wicked and die fighting for the truth.
I sat in many meetings of conservatives about various legislative tactics on budget bills or some regulatory policy and the phrase "well this is the hill that we'll die on" was uttered so often. There is this obsession with dying for Christ, even if only metaphorically.
This attitude is present at the very highest levels of American conservatism. And it keeps re-manifesting itself anew in different ways. This essay about Kayleigh McEnany is a great example of one person's view:…
Even non-religious conservatives are obsessed w/loss since the idea that "big government" is inevitable is actually true. Basically no one is going to vote to slash Medicare or to privatize Social Security.

Some of them, like billionaire Peter Thiel, blame this on women.
In 2009, he seemed to pin the growth of government on women having the right to vote. He also wrote that "the higher one’s IQ, the more pessimistic one became about free-market politics — capitalism simply is not that popular with the crowd"…
Trump promised an end to the losing. He told fundamentalist Christians that they would be in charge of society under his administration. But this was a lie, not only because he couldn't effect that but because fundamentalist Christianity has never been regnant in the U.S.
Realizing that their views were rejected by most Americans was something that started to happen among fundamentalist Christians after the Scopes trial in the 1920s. But the geopolitical struggle against the USSR resurrected the delusion that cultural victory was possible.
From the beginning, GOP electoral consultants knew that the public didn't support slashing the govt, but they figured out soon that you don't need a majority of the people if you can get a majority of the voters. And with the Electoral College, you don't even need that.
Elites have long known they didn't have majority. This is why McConnell won't kill the filibuster despite its medium-term benefits. It's also why Paul Ryan was obsessed with stopping society's "takers" and favoring its "makers."
The activists, however, really did believe that the struggle was winnable. That the public really did believe in Ronald Reagan in 1984.

The GOP's successive losses of the popular vote began shaking faith in the struggle. Trump's defeat in 2020 was the last straw.
Despite Trump's promises of "so much winning" & QAnon's exhortations to "trust the plan," it didn't work. And so now, all that remains is thanatos, the death drive.

This moment is the hill that pathological conservatism wants to die on. And they want to sacrifice America on it.
This is why "accelerationism" is becoming so popular in the far-right. Not only does it appeal to "black-pilled" nihilists who just want to die, it also works for apocalyptic Christian fundamentalists who believe that the world must burn before Jesus can return.
Most GOP elites only slightly realize what they have set in motion. But their insatiable desire for power is why they will not call off the droogs.

To tell them the truth that Trump lost fair and square would be to rupture the GOP and permanently end their minoritarian scheme.
And so they will not. Instead, like they have always done, GOP elites will lie to their marks. They will coddle them from the truth and from reality to keep their votes.

But as the Big Lie comes to its inevitable end, the explosions are only beginning.

Be safe.

PS: This video of Ali Alexander, of "Stop the Steal" is pure thanatos.

"I pray that I am the tool to stab these motherfuckers... They can go to hell, I'm going to heaven...You are not gonna rule over us ... you & Lucifer & Alinsky & all the fat people"
PPS: Thinking about how to solve these problems should obviously be America's top priority. I discussed some ideas in a recent thread that might be of use:

I'll be having much more to say on possible solutions so please follow and share. Thanks!
Last addition: Jenna Ellis, one of Trump's election theft lawyers is a Christian supremacist who has the following tweet pinned to her profile. She wants to die for Jesus and she wants you to know that she does.

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More from @mattsheffield

13 Jan
White nationalist and radical militia types are interspersed throughout America's police forces. This is the sleeper story that shouldn't get lost amidst the Trump drama.
This has been something that black community activists have tried to warn about for decades but no one listened. America must pay attention as each of these officers are exposed.
Great piece I accidentally put on my main TL instead of as a reply
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As I've watched the impeachment rants of Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Andy Biggs, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, LBJ's 1964 "Daisy" ad warning about the far right has been playing non-stop in my mind.

It was a prophecy that Republicans made come true:
The line "we must either love each other or we must die" is the epigraph of this moment. Millions of people have been sucked into a mental prison by greedy ideologues desperate for power.

Some can never escape, others can. Community and accountability is what we need.
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Some excerpts from the masterpiece are attached. ImageImageImage
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12 Jan
Birds of a feather: Parler is migrating its web hosting platform to the same company that's hosting Gab.

Will they fix their horrible security?…
And btw, it's not widely known but Gab has been able to evade app store bans by re-basing its software on the open source social media software Mastodon. Very clever trick and it makes you wonder if Parler would do the same.

I'm guessing they will merge together somehow.
On the other hand, conservative elites all hate each other so working together is often not something they like doing. Gab's management is Christianist whereas Parler seems to just want right-wing donor cash.

So I guess we'll see.
Read 5 tweets
11 Jan
Ali Alexander, lead organizer of the "Stop the Steal" coup 3 GOP congressmen worked w/him: @RepGosar,
@RepMoBrooks, and @RepAndyBiggsAZ

"We four schemed up putting maximum pressure on congress while they were voting..."


All three of these Republican members of Congress are close allies of WH chief of staff Mark Meadows, their former leader in the extremist Freedom Caucus.

America must know: What did Meadows and others in the Trump WH know about the insurrection beforehand?
Check out what Alexander said later: "I don't disavow this, I do not denounce this. This is completely peaceful, looks like so far, and there are a couple of agitators that I obviously don't endorse...This is we the people and this will only grow"
Read 8 tweets
11 Jan
This Parler user explains it quite well here. Because of yet more security flaws at Parler, it's now possible for all that "free speech" to be shared and archived with the world, even if the posters tried to erase their not-at-all innocent videos and GPS data.
In slightly more technical terms, it seems as though Parler never closed some of their developer-friendly security holes (sort of the programming equivalent of game cheat codes made by devs) and as a result, their anyone with the right knowledge could have admin access.
Parler never actually deleted anything its users posted. And, stupidly, they also kept it accessible to admin users.

This meant that anyone with admin access could still download it.
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9 Jan
As they sought to break into the inner rooms of the Capitol building Jan. 6, Trump terrorists were recorded screaming "Hang Mike Pence."

This video appears to be a validation of @jimbourg's earlier report.
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Meanwhile, inside the White House, Trump is privately regretting condemning the violence he had incited against Vice President Pence.

As per usual, teleprompter Trump said the right thing while the real Trump was busy looking out for "very fine people."…
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