Saturday, February 19, 2011

Republicans continually decry the "Nanny State", but what they really want is the "Daddy State."

It seems as if everything that the modern Republican Party does is streamed directly from their psyche. There isn't actually a lot of rational thought that goes into their actions or statements. For example, they absolutely detest anything that they believe hints at weakness, dependency on someone else, and anything less than 100% absolute certainty that they know everything and can always be counted on doing exactly the right thing. Always. To them, that's the "Nanny State", where someone else takes care of you. They hate that. That's about the only reason I can understand that explains their hatred toward things like Social Security. The very nature of the program offends them, so it must be attacked.

The flip side of this coin, of course, is what I called the "Daddy State." And this is referring to "Daddy" as they saw him in the 1940's and 1950's. I also think this is a bit of an extension of the world inhabited by the American White Male after WWII. We had just vanquished the greatest evil the world had ever seen, and the flip side of evil is something almost god-like. American White Males could do anything. And most of the American White Males were already Daddies or were going to become one when they got back on American soil. Daddy knew everything, was always in control and could always, always be counted upon to take care of every problem that the family ever encountered, both large and small.

But here is what I really think that translates to. They crave an authoritarian figure, someone in charge. (St. Ronnie comes to mind, but only after the fact that his presidency wasn't really all that popular when it was actually happening.) They want laws to come from that person, not from some legal "system" that may come up with answers that they don't like. And they most certainly do not want Mother or the children to ever question Daddy, to ever ask why he made the decision that he did and to offer suggestions that aren't rigidly in the Daddy State mode that might smack of self-introspection once in a while. Ha! Self-introspection is for weaklings! If you question the authority of a Daddy figure, you might get smacked upside the head, either literally or figuratively. At least you might be grounded for the next few days. You don't ever question the authority of Daddy. That path leads toward darkness and chaos.

That's the picture of the 40's and 50's that modern Republicans would like to remember. Of course, that is all a very false impression. Daddy, in good times, might look and act like the combination of Ward Cleaver and Winston Churchill. But in bad times, when things really start getting dicey, the Daddy facade can very easily start to crack. Daddy could very well turn out to be a surly alcoholic with a tendency to take out his anger on his wife and kids. They certainly deserve it, don't they? All these problems are their fault! Someone who is never wrong and always in control, by definition, cannot be wrong or not in control.

I don't think Republicans can really admit, even to themselves, that this is the "utopia" that they are looking for. Maybe they can, but you surely can't tell them this. That would lead to even more denial and an even stronger pushback. No one can tell ME that I am don't know the answers to these problems or that I don't know what I am doing! I'll show them!!

And unfortunately, I think that is exactly what is going on in today's society here in the Good Ol' United States of America. There are some psychic hot buttons being pushed in a big way, and we are getting the programmed reaction that is required when those buttons are pushed. As I said in the beginning, there is very, very little rational thought involved here. It's emotional, gut reaction time, and nothing, no matter how small, that questions the validity of the Daddy State or implies a need for what they think of as a Nanny State must always, without fail, no matter how trivial or insignificant it might seem from a distance, must be attacked. Because it is an attack on their programmed belief system.

The insanity of today's society in America might look like it is just that, insane. However, I think when you view if from this lens of the unspoken, perhaps unthought, wishes for a Daddy State, I think it makes some sort of logical sense, however twisted it might be.

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