Fear and Loathing in Massachusetts

I’ve had politics on the brain for my NaNoEdMo novel. Seema spotted me a lovely link about Massachusetts liberals:

Boston College political scientist Alan Wolfe thinks the prototype of the M.L. stereotype was first identified around Concord in the 19th century. Back before San Francisco was even a gold rush village, Massachusetts was a hotbed of abolitionists. “The downside is that they made their criticisms in a pious and haughty manner with great contempt to anyone who disagreed,” says Wolfe.

I admit, the haughty manner and great contempt get annoying after a while, but what really bothers me is the fear and loathing. An example of the former is the prevalent and irrational fear that unnamed Republicans are about to turn the country into something out of The Handmaid’s Tale. An example of the latter is violent hatred of President Bush, though the most offensive thing about him as an individual is his inability to form sentences in his native tongue.

The only people I fear are people who fear people. You never know what someone with an irrational fear of you will do to you or your rights in order to assuage that fear. Far worse, though, is the way “they scare me” is used to squelch rational debate about issues or candidates. Scary is shorthand for so bad that I don’t have to explain why.

On the other hand, I don’t hate the haters. They usually hate public figures rather than entire classes of citizens into which I could easily fall, so they don’t pose a particular political danger to me. Also, their virulence is disarming - you can spot them foaming at the mouth from quite a distance and you know they’re not going to have anything new or challenging to say.

It’s fine if you want to be an irrational Bushophobe; it’s even intermittently entertaining for the rest of us. But it’s not debate - it’s piety. That’s par for the course here, just as other pieties are in vogue in other states.

One Response to “Fear and Loathing in Massachusetts”

  1. mike hollihan Says:

    Well said.