Monday, August 30, 2010

Overview of "Right Wing Forwards"

Am I nuts to see these right-wing anonymous emails as a major source of the insanity that permeates our politics today -- the labeling of anybody who'd consider a return to 40% tax brackets for multimillionaires as Marxists or at the least "dangerous ideologues" never mind the 90% rates still current in Eisenhower's day?

In the 1st Spring and Summer of the Obama administration, I started getting these things forwarded from my parents, who were always Republican, but never inclined to this sort of extremism, and my mother, at least seemed totally taken in by them, and this was exactly when "tea partiers" started going to congressman's "Town Hall" meetings to discuss the issues of health care, and drowning out any voice but their own.

My strong impression is that there is quite a consistency to a large number of these messages that indicates someone is churning them out regularly -- someone who absolutely knows he or they are spreading lies, and I am trying to come up with tactics for exposing it en masse, but nothing will happen unless first my intuition can be confirmed that this having a tremendous impact, and may well be a sine qua non of the Tea Party movement.

I think this tool is being wielded like one of those utterly brilliant on-the-cheap tactics, that when nobody suspects their existence can turn the world upside down -- like, say, getting suicidally inclined fanatics to learn how to pilot an airliner, taking over planes with a handful of men with boxknives -- too little metal to trip the old metal detectors, and you know the rest.

Yes, it's an extreme comparison, but frankly if Americans lose all ability to think clearly and govern this country sanely, the results can be (or have they already been?) far greater than the damage done by all the terrorists in the world.

I have a notion of how to test the hypothesis fairly cheaply (beyond my means, but cheap as polling studies go), which I've tried to share with various parties.

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