How the Wackos Think

Five kinds of political thinking that don't lead anywhere sane
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2010 12:04 PM CST
A tax protester holds a picture of President Barack Obama during the Atlanta Tea Party tax protest Wednesday, April 15, 2009 in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

(Newser) – Our political discourse hasn’t exactly seemed logical or intellectually sound lately, has it? Michael Weiss, writing for Reason Online, sees five lines of bad political thinking poisoning the water. They are:

  • Tragic Manicheanism: These see everything the government or society does as evil, everyone who opposes it as good.

  • Hysterical Conspiracism: It starts as healthy skepticism, and before long you’re arguing that a plane never hit the Pentagon. It’s a strategically savvy derangement: You never sound “naïve,” always couch your wild statements with disclaimers, and force your opponents to waste time debunking your non-theories.
  • Moral Equivalence: “Assumes that it is the height of dialectical brilliance” to liken a democratic government’s logic to that of a totalitarian enemy.
  • Triumphal Manicheanism: They assume everything the country’s ever done has been good, and that anyone who criticizes it is a radical communist.
  • Charismatic Authoritarianism: Here it’s the leader, not their ideas that matters; that’s how Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can somehow get along.

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