Sartre, Baudelaire and Saddam in his underwear
by lawnorder (at kos)
Sun May 22nd, 2005 at 15:01:07 CDT
The people who managed to get this "Saddam in his underwear" debate in the media are nothing short of genius: From now on the Bush faithful have a strong picture to counterbalance 2004 pictures of Abu Ghraib.
Those pictures were embedded in the collective conscience: anyone who remembered the torture cases couldn't help but see those dreadful pictures in their mind and couldn't shake the feeling "something is dreadfully wrong here"
But now, Bushies can defuse the power of those dreadful pictures with the comic, joke-like pictures of Saddam. And we liberals are painted in a corner: We can't say those underwear pictures ARE a joke because they are taking away a prisoner's dignity. Yet even we can see that Saddam did much worse to others. And Bushies will use those undie pictures and our outrage at those to embed their own message in our country's collective conscience: "They deserved it" and liberals are being ridiculously PC about the whole thing.
Defusing a mental grenade
That brings me to Sartre and Baudelaire: Sartre despised Baudelaire because he did the same mental tricks to justify evil... (below)
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Bushies using excuses even THEY don't believe
The task to support Bush has been becoming more difficult with every passing year and scandal. So much so that Bushies have started resorting to lying to themselves sometimes unconsciously but lately fully consciously.
The dog ate my WMD proof
On my blog I had a post about this childish tendency:
A box of twinkies made me do it
In his Baudelaire, Sartre condemned the author of The Flowers of Evilfor having abdicated responsibility for his actions. Sartre was particularly repulsed by Baudelaire's recourse--which he viewed as a disavowal of responsibility--to 'the Devil' and 'Hysteria' as the causes for morally reprehensible deeds. With biting sarcasm, Sartre described Baudelaire's self-stylization as a perpetual victim of his circumstances ( kind of Bush who hit "the trifecta" and is sooo unlucky according to Bushoes - law:
[Baudelaire] is no more than a marionette whose strings are being manipulated... At bottom it matters very little whether he attributes his actions to the Devil .[or something else].; the essential [thing] is that he is not their cause but their victim. [Yet] he doesn't believe in [whatever he uses to assign blame to]
For the existentialist Sartre, Baudelaire's renunciation of responsibility for one's action was inexcusable. Make no mistake here, Sartre warns his readers, Baudelaire does not even believe in the existence of the "Devil" or the unadulterated evil on which he blames his deeds. Baudelaire's lack of faith in unadulterated evil puts his "Devil," as the cause of actions in which he has no investment..[i.e. HE IS NOT TO BLAME for his bad deeds] Sartre finds Baudelaire's evasiveness appalling. . Above all, Sartre attacked the way Baudelaire resigned himself to the external conditions of his life and then blamed these very conditions for his deeds
Cabinet Magazine Online - The De-Demonization of Evil: Banality, Arendt, Sartre
Bushies act like Baudelaire and evade responsibility for their leader's acts
In the fall of 2004 the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) conducted two polls of Bush and Kerry supporters. A September poll focused on foreign policy issues... An October poll compared public perceptions to reality on a range of questions.. With regard to foreign policy:
the PIPA study CONCLUDED
Bush supporters continue to hold onto their [good] image of Bush [regardless of facts] .. To do this it appears that many need to continue to screen out information that undermines this [good] image.
Supporting what you oppose ?
The blind support Bush is getting goes beyond misinformation. It is a willing suspension of doubt, and wilfull blocking of any information that would cause doubt in them AND ON OTHERS.. As Plutonium Page aptly blogged today on See no evil: photojournalism and the Iraq war Bush supporters are determined to avoid seeing pictures of the carnage in Iraq AND also determined to block the average American from viewing it. (Lest someone conclude Bush is wrong -- law). To see the pictures would force that conclusion, as even the right wingers agree The pictures, said a blog called Riding Sun, "portray the American invasion and occupation of Iraq as an unmitigated disaster.. Well, I second PP's words: I have some news for you, genius: the war is an unmitigated disaster
The Truth as an enemy of Bush
The Dubya Report - The Amazing Truth-Defying Bush Supporter
In the fall of 2004 the Program on International Policy Attitudes conducted two polls of Bush and Kerry supporters. A September poll focused on foreign policy issues... An October poll compared public perceptions to reality on a range of questions.. With regard to foreign policy, the PIPA study found that Bush supporters... have many incorrect assumptions about his foreign policy positions.
Among the misperceptions:
* 84% of Bush supporters incorrectly assumed that Bush favors including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements
* 69% believed Bush favors US participation in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
* 66% assumed Bush favors US participation in the International Criminal Court
* 72% believed Bush favors US joining in the international treaty banning land mines
* 51% assumed Bush supports the Kyoto Treaty on global warming
Moreover, majorities of Bush supporters themselves favored the positions they erroneously ascribed to Bush -- 93% in the case of including fair labor standards in trade agreements, 75% regarding participation in the International Criminal Court, etc
Lying to oneself ?
The PIPA October poll found that:
* 72% of Bush supporters continued to hold to the view that Iraq had actual WMD or a major program for developing them
* 56% of Bush supporters believed that most experts say that Iraq did have actual WMD
* 75% of Bush supporters believed Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda
* 63% of Bush supporters believed that clear evidence of Iraqi support for al Qaeda has been found
* 55% of Bush supporters said the 9/11 Commission had concluded that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda
The PIPA study made the striking observation that these opinions were held despite that fact that Duelfer's report, as well as those of Iraq survey group head David Kay, and the 9/11 commission concluded that before the war Iraq had neither weapons of mass destruction, nor a significant program to develop them. (As noted elsewhere in The Dubya Report, the 9/11 commission concluded "...to date we have seen no evidence that ... contacts [between Iraq and al Qaeda] ever developed in to a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States.")
The key reason that Bush supporters gave for holding onto their beliefs in the face of what the PIPA report called "repeated disconfirmations" was that they perceived the Bush administration was confirming those beliefs.
Faith or self delusion ?
As the PIPA report noted, "This tendency of Bush supporters to ignore dissonant information extends to other realms as well. One of these is world public opinion."
* Only 31% of Bush supporters recognized that the majority of people in the world oppose the US having gone to war with Iraq
* 57% of Bush supporters assumed that the majority of people in the world wanted Bush reelected
* 82% of Bush supporters believed that a world majority either feels better about the US due to its recent foreign policy
These beliefs are contrary to the findings of a number of international polls, most recently an independent project of 10 leading newspapers
the report concluded.
So why do Bush supporters show such a resistance to accepting dissonant information? While it is normal for people to show some resistance, the magnitude of the denial goes beyond the ordinary. Bush supporters have succeeded in suppressing awareness of the findings of a whole series of high- profile reports about prewar Iraq that have been blazoned across the headlines of newspapers and prompted extensive, high-profile and agonizing reflection. The fact that a large portion of Americans say they are unaware that the original reasons that the US took military action--and for which Americans continue to die on a daily basis--are not turning out to be valid, are probably not due to a simple failure to pay attention to the news.
... [W]hile others have peeled off, Bush supporters continue to hold onto their image of Bush as a capable protector. To do this it appears that many need to continue to screen out information that undermines this image...
Fear and Loathing in America
In their 2003 study, "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition," researchers John Jost, Jack Glaser, Arie Kruglanski and Frank Sulloway offered some insights from the field of social psychology as to why Bush supporters may hold the beliefs they do, and cling to them with such tenacity. They used the term "motivated social cognition" to describe relationship between people's beliefs and their "motivational underpinnings."In the post-Freudian world," they wrote, "the ancient dichotomy between reason and passion is blurred, and nearly everyone is aware of the possibility that people are capable of believing what they want to believe, at least within certain limits." Belief systems, they suggested, "are adopted in part because they satisfy some psychological needs." The authors took care to point out that they were not suggesting that "conservative beliefs are necessarily false, irrational, or unprincipled." They started from the assumption that most human beings are "subjectively rational" in that their attitudes are derived from a set of principles that the believer subscribes to, and are at least in part a response to external events and conditions, or "reality constraints."
See more on this amazing post: The Dubya Report - The Amazing Truth-Defying Bush Supporter
Daily Kos :: Sartre, Baudelaire and Saddam in his underwear
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Sartre, Baudelaire and Saddam in his underwear