Ignorance. Fear. Blame.

The late Octavia Butler was an important sci-fi author and a favorite of mine. In re-reading her Parable of the Talents 15 years later, I came across this verse. It feels frighteningly relevant to the world we inhabit today. But she did leave out something I think is an essential part of today’s regressive right-wing narrative: Find someone to blame.


Ignorance protects itself. Promotes suspicion.

Suspicion engenders fear.

Fear quails, irrational and blind.

Or fear looms, defiant and closed.

Blind, closed, suspicious, afraid.

Ignorance Protects itself. And protected,  ignorance grows.

10 responses to “Ignorance. Fear. Blame.

  1. Blamecasting is the cornerstone of all political argument these days. Obama’s entire campaign for reelection is based upon it as has been the entirety of the Dems’ speeches about what they’ve tried to do to America.

    As for regressive – I can’t really speak for the rest, but I sure as Hell am regressive. When you’ve gone down the wrong road, you’ve got to stop, turn around, and go back and find the fork you should have taken in the first place.


    • Leaving Obama aside for the moment – over the last 35+ years, the GOP has pushed for social policies to exclude some people and to diminish freedoms (except where guns are concerned) . To cast them as ‘the other’ and subtly suggest they are ‘enemies of hte state’. When I was younger, among conservatives and the business class, there was tremendous resittance to women’s rights, voting rights (yeah, the Dixiecrats were Dems, but they defected en masse to GOP after ’64), and support of employment bias. Catholics and Jews were suspect. Today it’s gays, immigrants, various other minorities and increasingly the poor.

      I”m hard pressed to find a corresponding campaign of exclusion on the Democratic side? They’ve always fought to prevent plutocracy and to protect the working class. But of course, protection of rights doesn’t correspond with denial of rights. It’s the exact opposite.


  2. How about Christians, Gun Owners, White Men, Business Owners, Parents…the list goes on?

    Democrats are all about exclusion, othering, and taking away certain people’s rights – always with the justification that they have to do so to protect the rights of other groups of people.


    • What rights have been taken from Christians, gun owners, white men? (Parents a bit yes, and I”m not fully a board with all of that). Business owners? Really? They complain aboout taxes (what else is new) but having thier rights taken away? Do you mean things like the right to pollute?


      • I doubt that you could honestly deny the attempted othering of Christians by the Left, the attempts to remove all expressions of Christianity from the public sphere, or the attempts to drive most Christian charities out of business, Moe. You might approve of these things, but I don’t think you deny that they’re happening.

        You also can’t deny that there’s been a concerted effort by the Left to largely disarm the US population.

        I also doubt that you can honestly deny that the White Man is largely vilified as sexist and racist and great effort has been made to strip him of his “privileged” position. Affirmative Action – as practiced, not conceived – sexual harassment laws – again, s practiced, not conceived – the demand for diversity in the workplace, education, etc…

        And it’s the business owners who are expected to pay the tab for all of this and the enforcement bodies that control it. And they’re time and time again how to hire, when to fire, and what products and services they can market and to whom.


        • You’re reading much of this stuff the wrong way. White Men? For the first 2/3 of my life, the establishment was white men. The power resided with white men. It had always been that way in our society. And that establishment WAS sexist and racist. And the law was too. Always. That power had to be challenged if room was to be made for women and non-whites.

          You seem to read that as an attack on white men. As for practice vs intent on some of these newer laws – llike affirmative action – I agree with some of what you say. But I would add that the ‘demand for diversity’ is as legitimate to a healthy forward looking society as was the ‘demand for women’s vote’ and the ‘demand to end Jim Crow”. Yesterday’s norms drop away, as they should.

          Sexual harrasemnt, hiring bias, workers’ rights? Like anything, people will take them too far, but overall the society self corrects when that happens. It’s no differentt than any other kind of abuse – both ways.

          Marketing restrictions? Like health and safety regulations? Bet we agree totally on that. In this case, I think regulators go too far too often. In those cases, it’s more a poor interpretation of those laws.

          People are imperfect. But like I said. We self correct – eventually.


        • [the attempts to remove all expressions of Christianity from the public sphere]

          I’m sure you meant ‘all expressions of religion,’ not just Christianity.


        • No, Moe, I don’t see where I’m reading any of this the wrong way. Even your reply is more confirmation the refutation.

          It’s not about the bulk of the laws. It’s about the enforcement policies and regulations that made those laws reality instead of just paper – and Democrats have consistently used them to infringe upon the rights on “non-protected” groups, mostly under the rationale that you stated.

          Can you think of more than a handful of instances where Black-on-White crime or Gay-on-Straight crime was a cause celebre or acted upon under the Hate Crime statutes?

          One thing though – Diversity for the sake of diversity, which is what it devolved into, has no benefit. It is not forward looking to use race or gender criteria as the sole metric for advancement, especially when it is based upon equality of outcome.

          And finally – no, Moe; I meant Christianity. They’re the sole victims of the assault. My kind – Pagans is the easiest descriptor – aren’t touch; nobody goes after Jews; and active accommodations are made for Muslims.


          • [One thing though – Diversity for the sake of diversity, which is what it devolved into, has no benefit.] I think it has benefit, and I think there’s a moral imperative to try to acheive it, especially in situations where some have authority over others (like lawmakers). Actions to acheive it have been very successful and I think we should now begin to pull back. I think we may agree here.

            As for the ‘attacks on Christtianity’ – I think you are mistaking ‘fighting back’ for attacks. Many people, and not just seculars like me, resent terribly the efforts of Christians to encroach on our lives and to enshrine their religious tenets into civil law.


            • I see a moral imperative no not only not try to achieve it but to prevent anyone having any success in achieving it.

              All it is is race, creed, or color based criteria. That it advantages’ – in the short term and to a limited extent – protected classes of people is immaterial.

              As for “fighting back” – That never happens. There’s no such thing. People don’t just fight back; they take the attack to their enemy and try to gain a lasting victory over them. And then the other side retaliates in kind and things escalate further.


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