You are hereBuzzflash: Are Right-Wingers Simply Stuck in Adolescence?

Buzzflash: Are Right-Wingers Simply Stuck in Adolescence?

March 9, 2011- Not every modern conservative had a grandpa who made moonshine whiskey. With no family history of being pursued by federal revenuers, where does their extreme dislike of government come from?

The mentality is expressed succinctly in a reader's comment about a recent article I wrote:

Conservatives simply want the Federal government to back-off. We don't need any elitist Washingtonians telling us what to eat, what to drive, how to illuminate our homes or educate our children. Real oppression comes from a nanny-state Federal government. The Federal government should focus on its constitutional purpose of defending the nation and enabling interstate commerce.

We can all agree that elitist Washingtonians, whoever they are, are the devil's own brood. But we don't usually think of nannies that way. Yet we're just now discovering (thank you, Scott Walker) how nefarious our teachers are. Have we overlooked the nanny threat? As Glenn Beck has probably noted, the word does rhyme with canny.

Okay, for the moment let's concede that the federal government is a nanny, a mean mother-figure who pushes us around. What about corporations? They can get pushy, too. To paraphrase the reader's comment above, corporations determine what many of us eat (adulterated, genetically modified foods), produce what many of us drive (gas guzzlers), and sell what many of us use to illuminate our homes (inefficient light bulbs).

Corporations also determine whether we can borrow money, what interest we'll pay, whether we'll get health insurance (oops, federal government just saved us there), whether our democracy will survive, whether the middle class will survive, and whether the earth will survive.

So bullying is good when corporations do it, bad when government does it. Conservatives say they can tolerate little government-but not BIG government. Come now, this government Godzilla is just a right-winger's diversion. What conservatives hate is not big government but good government. Good government is the triumph of democracy and common humanity, which clashes with the conservative's worship of grandiose individualism and lust for power.

That's just one reason conservatives make government out to be the enemy. Another is the conservative propaganda machine, which on behalf of the elite spins the American dream as the story of personal and corporate wealth. This propaganda has been called "the most sophisticated, deeply funded and precisely orchestrated public relations system ever concocted," which means-to give credit where it's due-the Koch brothers are geniuses.

There may be a deeper reason yet for this anti-government feeling: Conservatives are, psychologically speaking, adolescents or teenagers going through stage five of the psychosocial stages of development. It's a stage of rebellion against parental authority.

Each human goes through eight stages of psychosocial development, according to noted psychoanalyst and developmental psychologist Erik Erickson (1902-1994). As I see it, humanity also goes through corresponding stages that reflect evolution and growing consciousness. As a psychosocial history of humanity, the stages outline a progression from primitive beasts to, in stage eight, the attainment of human destiny where our better nature is realized.



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