Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fright Whigs

Demon Destinations
I shared a flight back from San Francisco on Sunday with a cheery cohort of continentals heading home to Europe after their bargain vacations in the States.
That seemingly innocuous statement of fact contain the names of two places that conservatives fear and loathe as dreadful and dangerous. They are Europe and San Francisco. The yahoos have internally demonized the old world--particularly the French part of it--as a socialist Sodom that forces people to use the wages they don’t have to spend on health care and college tuition to take month-long paid vacations in such subversive venues as our pinko Gommorah on the bay.
Somewhere high over America I read in the SF Chronicle that McCain had attacked Obama as a “European.” Earlier in the campaign, ado had been done because Obama uttered his comment about ordinary Americans being “bitter” while fundraising in San Francisco. And, of course, Bill O’Reilly, the St. Paul of the yahoos, has urged America to shun France and invited al Qaeda to nuke San Fran.
The core commandment of conservatism is clear enough. It holds that business and the rich should be free to do as they want and everyone else should as they’re told. That’s been right wing dogma since the first master and the first slave. But beyond that there are lots of things I will never understand about the peculiar run of reactionaries we spawn on this side of the Atlantic.
In particular, what have they got against Europe and San Francisco? I can understand their abhorence of the whilom Soviet empire. It was grim, gray and gritty, characteristics perfectly tolerable to right wingers were they not accompanied by disdain for private investment.
Bible thumping yahoos get up tight about irreverent San Franciscans having so much fun, such as the hunky Jesus contests sponsored by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. But the cons enjoy their jollies as well--with the added fillip of hypocrisy.
Don’t the righties know that their beloved capitalism was invented in Europe and that entrepreneurialism got its biggest boost in the Bay Area? Are they aware that the Scots gave us Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” the Italians banking and double entry bookkeeping, and the French the reactionary rambunction of the Pujadiste petit commercants that we see reflected in every Palin rally? Do they think that the world’s wealthy flock to France and Frisco for fun and finance because those places are socialist hell holes?
And finally how wacky is conservatism for scaring itself half to death with the spectre of two of the globe’s most popular and inviting tourist destinations?