Anger is Always a Product of Threatened Security

“Anger seldom arises out of genuine commitment; it is always a product of threatened security.” – Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, in his newest book,  Eternal Life: A New Vision

Bishop Spong was not at all referencing the political landscape, but rather he was addressing both religious fundamentalism as well as assumed authority by the hierarchy of the church. There may be a discussion of that at some later date, but I am intrigued by the comment and I wonder if it can be applied to politics as well as religion.

Regular commenters Microdot and Engineer of Knowledge recently posted their thoughts about efforts by the right-wing to fan the flames of culture war into the political debate. Engineer posted this thread, Well Here We Go Once Again, detailing the new culture wars arising in the right-wing. Microdot commented, “This is deeper than one issue, this is the front line of the natural conservative resistance to progressive evolution that has occurred since man got up and started to “philosophize” and think for himself. ”

I, too,  see the smoke of the culture wars rising. Often on this blog I state the fact that I cannot understand the mindset of the conservative. And conversely, many conservatives do not understand me.  That said, I wish to move forward in an attempt to comprehend their “natural conservative resistance to progressive evolution,” as Microdot puts it. That mindset seems anathema to the natural, unfolding,  blossoming of ideas which has moved society forward throughout the ages. Imagine the so-called Dark Ages extended in perpetuity. I wonder how much resistance there was to the Renaissance- not by the authority figures, but by The People? Were the peasants happy in their filth, common ignorance and sunrise-to-sunset labor? Did they not long for a better, more rewarding life? Surely they did not embrace the status-quo, did they? Isn’t there a common meme in the human psyche to seek a better life? The commonly named eras, Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age denote progressive-ism. Mankind continually embraces newer technologies and associated ideas.

Yet, here in the 21st century, there seems to be a group of people who seem to have dropped an anchor and are happy to float in the waters of the past. Apparently they feel safe there. The now infamous quote of candidate Barack Obama said in rural Pennsylvania comes to mind:

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Then Senator Obama referred to, “…these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them.”

His sense was that this set of people, realizing that perhaps they never would be able to live a life of which they once dreamed, recoil into a more primitive state of existence- a defensive posture not unlike that taken by our primitive ancestors when threatened by real danger.

This brings me to Bishop Spong’s remark, “[anger] is always a product of threatened security.” I note the anger on the far-right end of the political spectrum. Did you listen to the speeches of those at the podium of the CPAC Conference yesterday? Former presidential hopeful Rick Perry appeared and sounded extremely angry when he denounced a second term for President Obama. His whole body seethed with anger. And the crowd cheered. Speaker after speaker fumed with anger as they denounced both the President and liberals in general. It was as if they had to de-humanize this set of people. As if they were not worthy of existence, let alone governance.

Why that level of anger? It was viscous. Dripping. And the audience applauded.

If Bishop Spong’s statement is true, then it would appear that this set of people sense that their security is threatened. Their security. Challenging thought. What is it that they fear losing? What is the foundation of their ‘security’ which seems in peril? Is it their whiteness? Is that what’s in jeopardy- the whiteness of their country?

Do they wish to return to those days of ‘pure race?’ The Jim Crow segregation laws? The ghettoizing of immigrants? Indian reservations? ‘Irish need not apply.’

Or is this a stretch? Do they really find security in purification? Isolation? With their guns as protection? With their Bibles for assurance of their  purity ideals?

As I said at the outset, this group of people and I are like water and oil. I cannot comprehend them at all.


15 thoughts on “Anger is Always a Product of Threatened Security

  1. Hello Muddy,
    It appears once again we are of the same mind as I too have posted a piece much like yours titled, ““Liberals” verses “Conservatives” and Our Current Contentious Culture.”

    It is an attempt to describe how we got here today, separated with such polarization, reducing any debate to nothing more than dehumanizing opponents. “We are the sum of our life’s experiences,” and I know what viewpoint was correct in the 1960’s, just as I know what viewpoints are correct today. Should it come to the worst, when the dust clears, I know what side I will be standing on. I could agree with the Conservative Republicans within my Party…..but then ALL OF US would be wrong. When it is all said and done, I will be satisfied to be the lone man standing to pick up the pieces.

  2. OK, I’m going to be bluntly honest here. When I was younger, it seemed the Republicans were of the “business” class. This translates to they were smarter and better educated (as a group). The Democrats were the “working” class and deemed less smart and not educated (as a group). It was the Republicans’ destiny to take care of the lesser than able Democrats. I know this really sounds rude, but that is honestly how I (and I wasn’t alone) viewed the two different parties. I know, the Kennedys were supposed to be the exception, but hey, they had be be Democrats because they were Catholic and started out low class.

    Today it seems many more people have competed much more education and are exposed to much more information. And the traits of the parties of my youth seem to have switched. I mean, have you read some of “those” blogs? They seem to not understand the simplest economics and are only capable of accepting News aimed directly at the under-educated. This view has recently been reinforced for me while reading coverage of the CPAC going on now in Washington. (Seriously, if you want a good chuckle, check out CommonSense’s recent blog posts.) And most people who have completed higher education identify as Democrats. And for some obscene reason, I tolerate dishonesty by Republicans, but not Democrats. I can only guess I don’t tolerate bad behavior by Democrats because I think they should know better. I guess I still claim to be a Republican because I started out as one many decades ago.

    Bottom line, I think people fear the unknown so if you don’t understand the world around you, you go back to basics (aka – the past).

    1. NON-Your past or present voting record does not matter me; I seldom vote a straight ticket. I investigate the person and their prior voting record, if they have one. What I applaud in political rhetoric here on the blog is that a person actually engages their brain before entering the voting booth or, in the case of this blog, that they engage their brain here, too.

      Yesterday, I posed a question on a local right-winger’s blog [Sepp] asking him if he actually THINKS before he begins typing his hot rhetoric. It is clear to me that he and most of his ‘posse’ are victims- victims of professional propagandists on AM radio and Fox News. Rather than examining the ideas they hear, it appears that they blindly repeat what they hear, jazzing it up with a peppering of 4-letter epithets.

      Today I will be providing a link to this very concept from not a left-wing source, but from a conservative economist who spoke on Moyers and Friends on PBS.

      1. I think a lot while I’m in the shower (hey, I’m old and don’t do THAT anymore). I posted about my preconceptions when I first started reading Sepp’s and this blog. I honestly had never come across the type of “Republicans” I saw (I quoted because I still don’t consider them Republicans).

        So here’s my question. They post almost total half truths or untruths easily disproved with minimal research. Even if you use Fox News as a source, you’ll notice the inconsistencies there. Do you think they do that because:

        1. They honestly believe that stuff and won’t believe more than one source?

        2. They’re lazy and only accept what comes easy to them?

        3. They lack the knowledge to learn true fact?

        4. They are mentally challenged and don’t understand things?

        5. All of the above?

        And now most of them don’t allow comments* pointing out the error of their ways. Are they afraid of the truth or unwilling to admit they’re incorrect?

        * I’ve noticed one that goes by CommonSense as the worst offender of truth. And remember the fiasco with Sepp and his military record? Well I noticed some problems with the military history regarding CommonSense. After talking with a few former Navy and Marine men, my suspicions were confirmed. LOL – It’s always the little details that get them into trouble with the people who have actually been there. You said he was a “mamma’s boy”. Would a mamma’s boy lie about his rank and/or commission?

      2. Sepp has me blocked so here is a question I was going to ask him:

        OK Sepp, I’ve got a scapegoat question for you. I keep hearing how Obama ran the national debt up more than any President in history, even though (as you say) the Democrats blame President Bush. I don’t understand how this can be. Would you mind offering your take on this subject being somewhat specific?

        In all fairness, I must warn you, Mrs. Palin would say this is a “gotcha question”.

  3. Hello NON,
    Yea, I have to agree that we are about the same age and lived with the same experiences and mind thoughts. As I have said, my family has been Republicans for 150 years, strong Union Leaders, and well educated. Like you, I too cannot bring myself to leave the Republican Party because it was taken over by extreme elements and if it is not for people like you and me, it will destroy itself for sure.

    By the way I just had someone post a reply to the Mitt Romney’s Incorrect National Anthem Statistic topic and stated that Mitt Romney DID NOT say “Americans are the only people on Earth that put our hand over our heart during the playing of the National Anthem” and it was a lie. You should check it out.

    So I just went to The Fact Checker .com and embedded the video clip of the rally where he made the statement. Now I don’t blame the person making the reply because he is just repeating sources that he has developed trust in over the years. It is his sources who have failed him…..and along with many others I would imagine.

  4. I wish I had more time to spend on line these days. I feel as if the presidential race here in France is somehow a condensed, abridged much more direct version of what is happening in the long drawn out carnival sideshow of the American process.
    We watch the conservatives in America drift more and more into a fatal dalliance with White Nationalists, Racism, ignorant teabrain and misguided libertarian and extreme religious fanaticism in the attempt to coalesce and mobilize the entire extreme right into a single voting bloc.
    Yes, perhaps if they could do this, they might put up a real challenge to the rest of America. The progressive challenge is to mobilize everyone else to get up off of their asses and vote. Notice that I said, “Everyone Else”!
    The Republican Mitt Problem is the real crux of their dilemma. The establishment has deemed that it must be Mitt…they are banking on Mitt, no body likes, trusts or believes in Mitt….but, they have enough money behind Mittens to bank on the hope that they can buy the presidency in 2012. To them, that’s all they need…as Mitt said, “I can’t wait to get my hands on Washington.” He’s already proven that he will do anything, say anything, sleep with anything to get that power. He’s selling influence for $10,000 a shot at special dinners and events…the ultimate Rent Boy.

    Here, in France, the Sarkozyist UMP Party is in real trouble. France is sick of Sarkozy as a person. He has been unable to get beyond a 30% approval rating for the last 2 years. The economy sucks. His own once supporters are joking about the control he has ceded to Angela Merkle who wants to come her to support him to the horror of his own party. She is in trouble as well in Germany and if France goes Socialist, then Germany will probably go there as well.
    So, in our truncated version of the political process…Sarkozy will officially declare his candidacy in 3 days, the election is a 2 tier process, the first tourn is the end of April…he has gone all out to consolidate the extreme right . He is mutating into a hyper religious, anti gay, ultra nationalist sort of Nikolas Romney, Rick Sarkozy…all he needs to do is start wearing ugly sweater vests…but he would never do that, let’s face it, this IS France and bad style carries a little more weight than it does in the USA. If he started wearing Santorum Sweater Vests, Cartla would have to divorce him….
    but in a nutshell, he can’t run on his record, the french hate him, if he doesn’t win, then he will probably be involved in some pretty heavy legal trouble…a sitting French president cannot be prosecuted and the vultures are on the fence and his one time buddies are all sharpening their knives, because if they go down, he goes down….
    So what does he do? he takes a page from the American Rovist playbook, his minister of the interior, Claude Gueant is a real disciple of Rove and he is concentrating on inflaming French class and racist sentiment to unite the all of the far right, deflect the debate from himself and his record…he is hypocritically embracing religion. Just like the Republicans in America….except, it ain’t gonna work.
    We don’t have the PACS, Super PACS, Robo calls…the media exposure for all the candidates is strictly monitored and they are beginning to count his pre candidacy Television time as campaigning….there are no posters…the only place there will be posters is outside of the little mayors offices outside all of the villages in France and they go up a few days before the election. All of the platforms and the campaign literature for the election is mailed to registered voters a week before the election and there are now 12 parties that will be in the election. The first election is of all the candidates, the second will be run off between the 2 winners of the first tour. We have a very engaged media and some very caustic and popular political humorists. There are real debates without distracting audiences with real experts asking real questions and demanding real answers. The ideas and truth seem to be winning.

    1. I think your posts depress me. Maybe you could visit your American home more often and teach political theory. Maybe I could do some French history and learn how France got to where it is today. It seems every election cycle here just gets worse than the one before.

    2. There are real debates without distracting audiences with real experts asking real questions and demanding real answers.

      This supports my hypothesis that Europe is mature and the U.S. remains in adolescence- perhaps, sadly, eternal adolescence.

      in our truncated version of the political process… Another great example.

  5. btw, inspite of his attempts to consolidate the racist and nationalist far right, they still hate and mistrust him….ain’t working. it is the shitfinger syndrome.

  6. I will say that I do not feel the same way mudrake describes his incomprehension of the conservative mind set. I think I understand it all to well and I see it from a biological and historical perspective. Perhaps oil and water do not mix…but properly agitated, with the right additives, they will form an emulsion. That’s how you make a good vinagrette.
    And I will say again, I do not feel hopeless about American politics. I see the rise of Santorum in the polls and the disarray of the right trying to coalesce into some kind of coherent opposition pretty positive for progressive American politics. Santorum’s seeming popularity encapsulates what Mudrake wrote about in this post, but this is only a small part of the real equation that will re elect Obama in November. I have to go and look at the music video , Mr. America” by the powdered zombies….it is a rap video made for the CPAC meeting this weekend and it defies description. It proves once and for all that the idea of Conservative Humor…or more importantly, irony is a silly myth and these pudgy white guys rap worse than Vanilla Ice…not to mention their moves…
    I suppose it could be used as a public service warning video for suburban white kids, “Kids, don’t drink an entire 40 oz malt liquor, followed by a few of the deadly flaming maalox shots if there isn’t an unlocked restroom nearby…”

    1. Good summary, MD, on your blog…Tried to comment but not very successful, as usual, lol…..I agree that if the economy in the US
      goes South in late summer or early Fall, it will be very difficult
      for Pres. Obama. The catalyst for an economic decline here will
      be failure in Europe.

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