Alternet’s Paul Rosenberg is asking the question: “Why are conservatives such whiny crybabies?” In a remarkably lengthy piece, over 11 single-spaced pages when pasted into my word processor, he manages to do two things: 1) bore me to tears and 2) fail utterly to provide a compelling answer, I’m not sure he even tried. He does drag the Greek concepts of mythos and logos into the discussion but since I don’t know exactly what they are, and even a few moments spent trying to understand proved fruitless, this didn’t help.
In an effort to simplify matters, let me answer the question in many fewer words. There are two-interrelated reasons that conservatives are whiny cry-babies. 1) They project their own victimizing behavior on their political opponents such that they unironically perceive themselves as victims. 2) Playing the victim card is effective.
Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.
Conservative policies harm many. The poor, the middle-class, children, and the environment, are among their many victims. In order to inoculate themselves from the unpleasant impulses associated with the knowledge that they are hurting those least able to protect themselves, conservatives project their own sated impulse to victimize others on their victims.
For example, they blame the homeless for being in the street making life slightly less pleasant for affluent conservative shoppers and businesses. This is despite the fact that conservatives have largely created the homeless problem in American by: 1) making it easier and cheaper for corporations to offshore jobs, 2) rending the social safety net, and 3) defanging unions.
The other reason that conservatives are whiny crybabies is that playing the victim card works. A sizeable number of poor and working-class whites have fallen for right-wing lies. They vote based on emotion and race rather than intellect and class solidarity. And, to be fair, the Democratic party has largely abandoned the working-class. Nevertheless, recent victories for conservative politicians have been disastrous for their working-class supporters.
Many poor conservatives, or their parents, were once small business owners, well-paid union workers, or farm owners. Now, they’re lucky if they can cobble together, at 30% of their former earnings, 40-hours a week working part-time at Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, and 7-11.
In truth, their lives have not worked out well and they foresee a similar dead-end for their children. They whine and bitch and moan or are sympathetic to those who whine and bitch and moan because they rightly sense that they got a raw deal. How tragic that they have sworn allegiance to those dealing from the bottom of the deck.
Note: I thank Patrick Ferguson for bringing to my attention the question that this post attempts to answer.