How the Republican Base Differs from the Taliban
by Philip Slater
The right-wing Republican base and the Taliban share many values. Both are fanatical, misogynistic, homophobic, intolerant, and religious. Both claim ancient volumes to be the word of God, although in fact they cherry-pick out of contradictory passages those they wish to espouse and ignore the rest. And what they choose to espouse is not the spiritual message of these books, but rather the oppressive, authoritarian, primitive cultures from which these books emerged, and against which they were sometimes directed.
Ironically, the affection that gentlemen of this persuasion hold for the written word seems to have dried up the moment they finished reading the volume of their choice, since they appear to be full of loathing for anything written since. They are fanatical censors and book-burners, and would probably have blacked out large chinks of their own religious texts had they ever read them carefully.
Both groups are implicitly anti-child as well as anti-woman. They favor beatings as the foundation of childrearing, and are profoundly mistrustful of the creativity and spontaneity of children.
But there are profound tactical differences between the two groups. While both have violent tendencies (those American states with the highest rates of violent crimes, for example, also have the highest concentrations of fundamentalists), the violence among the base Republicans is restricted to a few crazed homophobes, anti-abortionists, and misogynists. The Taliban, on the other hand, view slaughter as their default weapon against any doctrinal deviation. In other words, while in fundamentalist America only a deranged few carry out what the many would like to do, among the Taliban the many carry out what the deranged few order them to do.
Of all the values shared by the two groups, for example, the most profound is their loathing for education. Yet here's where the difference between them manifests itself most clearly. The Taliban deal with their hatred in a straightforward, primitive manner: they blow up schools, and murder young girls who attend them. The Republican base is subtler, more complex. They starve the educational system by refusing to pay taxes. They ban books from libraries that might get children thinking. They get on school boards to ensure that children learn only obedience and are never exposed to anything that might engender creativity, imagination or original thought. They pressure textbook publishers not to print facts they don't like. In some parts of the U.S. they've been as successful as the Taliban in fostering ignorance and blind conformity with much less expenditure of energy.
Violence has never been an effective long-range strategy.
Now that you're angry, channel that energy into doing something productive, like writing your Congressional representatives expressing your unconditional support for Israel or adding to your food storage. When the day comes and all society has fallen apart (which with our current President seems more likely every day), you can dangle an MRE and some bottled water in the face of someone like Mr. Slater and ask him what he thinks of people like you now.