Friday, October 2, 1998

Parallel realities

Liberals and conservatives don’t seem to have different world views. They seem to come from different worlds. Parallel realities based different laws of physics.

So, when I listen to WMNF, it’s a broadcast from the left-wing universe.

When I listen to Rush Limbaugh, he’s booming out from the Bizarro World earth in the right-wing universe.

In the tradition of Heinlein's "Waldo," I could assume that the subjectivity of left-wingers and right-wingers create different consensual realities. That liberals and conservatives really do live on different planets. Working out the laws of RightEarth and LeftEarth might be fun -- but save that for another day.

For now, let's stick with the assumption that there's just one Earth. And just one America. Liberals and conservatives are living on the same planet.

And that's a problem.

Left-wingers and right-wingers agree about next to nothing. Their one common assumption: the other side is responsible for all human problems. Your political opponents don't simply disagree. Their disagreement is a character flaw. It proves they're bad people. They're idiots. Or they're evil. They're so clearly wrong.

Let's say you have one model of the universe where the earth is round and revolves around the sun. There's another model, in which the earth is flat--and the sun revolves around the earth. You don't simply disagree with the other side. You're astonished that the other side even exists. The truth is just so fucking obvious!

And that's what you get when you listen to Rush Limbaugh. He's amazed that liberals exist at all. He's floored by their sheer stupidity, intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy. To Rush, leftists and liberals are the equivalent of flat-earthers. (Or con-artists tricking the boobs into thinking the earth is flat in order to steal their money.) It's unbelievable. He can't wrap his mind around it.

Noam Chomsky is the same -- a drier delivery perhaps. But the society we pretend is free is, obviously, the iron fist of Capitalist power. Anyone can see it.

This planet ain't big enough for the two of them.

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