Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Liar, liar, Pants on Fire! (Or, Joe Wilson Versus the Truth)

Maybe he believes it takes one to know one.  Seems like Joe Wilson himself may well be acquainted with shading the truth.

Wilson of course is the South Carolina Congressman who outrageously disrespected US President Obama in his recent health care speech to Congress.  Leaving aside the fact  he also disrespected the office of the President of the United States, Congress itself, and his own personal office, Wilson also disrespected the American people. Obama after all was elected to his office by a vote of the American people.
But,  Joe Wilson has his facts wrong on his claim the president lies.

But much worse, afterwards, in attempting to justify his outburst Wilson apparently told a whopper himself, claiming:  " I'm for immigration, legal immigration, I've been an immigration attorney."

'Not so!' claim those who took the time and trouble to check his statement.  Wilson and his office have declined further comment on this statement., although they have been quite vocal on everything else, if you'll pardon my sarcasm.

I don't know Joe Wilson, but I am quite familiar with his type.  His is the type who is utterly convinced of the 'rightness' of his own opinions and dogma.

Dogma is defined as 'the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization: it is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from. . . . . At the core of the dogma concept is absolutism, infallibility, irrefutability, unquestioned acceptance (among adherents) and anti-skepticism. These concepts typically invoke criticism from moderate and modulated conceptual approaches, and thus "dogma" is often colloquially used to indicate a doctrine which has the problem of claiming absolute truth, when other concepts may be superior.'

We should not be surprised by Joe Wilson.  We've seen all kinds of wildly accusatory statements coming from conservative true believers who have utterly convinced themselves of all sorts of bizarre 'facts', just a few, to wit:

"Barrack Obama is not a US citizen"
"Obama is a Muslim, socialist, communist, nazi" (take your pick)
"Health care reform includes 'Death Panels'"
"Obama plans to seize everyone's guns"
"Obama is setting up concentration camps for dissidents all over the US"
"The economic crisis in the US is all the fault of Obama"
"Our country was founded as a Christian nation."
"The earth is 6000 years old."
"Everything on earth was created in place, by God, just as we see it today."
"There is no such thing as evolution."
"Global warming is a liberal myth."
"No one could have predicted the levees would break in New Orleans."
"The best way to boost the economy is thru tax cuts for the rich."
""Deregulation of the financial sector will be beneficial for the economy."
"Fox News is an unbiased source of information"
And, my personal favorite:  "If you're not with us you're against us."

Here's a link to some other commonly passed around 'conservative' myths

In other words, if you don't follow the dogma 100% you are an enemy.  Implacably.   This is well illustrated by some Arizona Republicans who once wanted to take arch-conservative Barry Goldwater's name off a building named for him.  Why?  Because In 1989, Goldwater said the Republican Party had been taken over by a ''bunch of kooks,'' a reference to forces supporting TV evangelist Pat Robertson and Mecham.

''It's typical of those people. If you're not with them 100 percent, you're not with them. Therefore you're persona non grata. But that never kept Barry Goldwater from speaking his mind.''
    ~ Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz.

A huge problem with this approach is that such an inflexible dogma tends to further radicalize those who are already on the edge.  That's why we're seeing such an increase in violence and belligerency from the people commonly called 'Wingnuts' these days, giving rise to what is being called 'right wing terrorism' complete with guns at public meetings, in-your-face-screaming-and-shouting, threats and outright physical attacks.

"If you assert the opposite, that eliminates mountains of evidence demonstrating that what you are saying is false. That's what power means. And the way we assert the opposite is by just saying that the media are liberal."
     ~ Noam Chomsky

"It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society, it is belief."
     ~  George Bernard Shaw

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