Monday, May 22, 2006

More Fractal Wingnuttery

I'm clearly in one of my darker moods today...

Via Art Brodsky, we find yet more proof of the "fractal self-similarity of the wingnut function" in the form of Senators Sensenbrenner and Brownback coming out against Internet Neutrality on the utterly specious grounds that common carrier regulations supposedly prevent the market from delivering parental control of Internet content filters.
In their letter, the senators write that “opposing the heavy hand of regulation that network neutrality represents is critical if we are to maintain the Internet as an open, evolving, and market-based tool, and to protect children and familites from the negative aspects of Internet content that exist today.”

The argument is that the telephone and cable companies are spending billions to deploy broadband and are investing in new technologies to improve the Internet experience. The senators write: “These technologies also hold the promise of providing parents with new tools to protect their children and families as they explore online.” Network Neutrality, they assert, would “be anything but neutral,” they write. It would “penalize broadband access providers for making major improvements to the Internet.” Net Neutrality, “to be enforced, presumbably by virtually unaccountable bureaucrats,” would “reward content providers who demand regulation in order to tip the scales of Internet competition in their favor.”

And the capper: “It also threatens to deprive parents of new technologies they may use to protect their families from online harm.”
As Art Brodsky more politely explains, this is just an inscrutable fornication of the truth. Senators Sensenbrenner and Brownback are just making shit up because if they stop talking nonsense their primitive nerve ganglia will seize up completely, and the careful simulations of personality they use to pass for functional humans will be permanently and irrevocably crashed.

Which leads me to a depressing thought— which can be encapsulated cleanly by the question, where the fsck do I start?

The problem with bullshit, of course, is that its purveyors don't care that it's something other than true. Producing an exhaustive refutation of bullshit is a fool's game, because bullshit isn't about making statements that can be evaluated for correctness— it's about making statements that can serve as the foundation for the purveying of more bullshit. This is why the Wingnut Function is a fractal. It continually recycles bullshit into increasingly complicated imagery, every bit of which is founded on the same primordial ur-Bullshit.

What is the ur-Bullshit, you ask? Think about it. It's not hard to spot.

The fundamental bullshit that seeds the Wingnut Function is that politics is magic. This is why, whenever you deconstruct the latest bullshit from some gaggle of wingnuts, you end up feeling like you're the one asshole in the audience who knows how the card trick is done, and you're so under-impressed when the magician pulls your card from his jacket pocket after everyone else "saw" it torn into shreds.

With politics, of course, the Wingnut Function is self-supportive. People seem to be naturally predisposed to magical thinking, and this leads them to prefer magicians for political leadership. Political magicians then use misdirection to maintain an illusion of effective and competent governance, with the net result that money flows from the populace to the magicians in exchange for nothing of any practical value.

We have a big problem. As long as people are unwilling to give up on magical thinking, it's going to be full employment for the purveyors of wingnut bullshit— potentially until the end of time itself. In the meantime, our political discourse is necessarily of a highly surrealistic nature. It bears a strong resemblance to reality, if you squint and you try not to notice the smoke and mirrors employed by the wingnuts, but it's really full of nonsensical absurdities designed to reinforce the magical thinking that keeps the wingnut circus performers in control of the show.

Now you know why we call it the "surreality-based" community on the masthead.

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