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Escape from New York, or What Happens When The Good People Leave the USA?

Posted by spritzophrenia on September 7, 2011

Is the US Republican Party “becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe“?

These are the words of Mike Lofgren who retired on June 17 after 28 years as a Republican congressional staffer. It’s not often I come across an article on politics that I really want to share. This is one of them.

Here are a few more gems:

Both parties are rotten… But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP. To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. …

“…the “respectable” media have been terrified of any criticism for perceived bias. Hence, they hew to the practice of false evenhandedness. Paul Krugman has skewered this tactic as being the “centrist cop-out.” “I joked long ago,” he says, “that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read ‘Views Differ on Shape of Planet.’

escape from new york

[The] tactic of inducing public distrust of government is not only cynical, it is schizophrenic. For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document. This is not to say that there is not some theoretical limit to the size or intrusiveness of government; I would be the first to say there are such limits, both fiscal and Constitutional. But most Republican officeholders seem strangely uninterested in the effective repeal of Fourth Amendment protections by the Patriot Act, the weakening of habeas corpus and self-incrimination protections in the public hysteria following 9/11 or the unpalatable fact that the United States has the largest incarcerated population of any country on earth. If anything, they would probably opt for more incarcerated persons, as imprisonment is a profit center for the prison privatization industry, which is itself a growth center for political contributions to these same politicians. Instead, they prefer to rail against those government programs that actually help people. And when a program is too popular to attack directly, like Medicare or Social Security, they prefer to undermine it by feigning an agonized concern about the deficit. That concern, as we shall see, is largely fictitious. ”

As for what they really believe, the Republican Party of 2011 believes in three principal tenets I have laid out below. The rest of their platform one may safely dismiss as window dressing:
1. The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors. The party has built a whole catechism on the protection and further enrichment of America’s plutocracy. Their caterwauling about deficit and debt is so much eyewash to con the public…”

2. They worship at the altar of Mars. While the me-too Democrats have set a horrible example of keeping up with the Joneses with respect to waging wars, they can never match GOP stalwarts such as John McCain or Lindsey Graham in their sheer, libidinous enthusiasm for invading other countries. … To borrow Chris Hedges’ formulation, war is the force that gives meaning to their lives…”

3. Give me that old time religion. Pandering to fundamentalism is a full-time vocation in the GOP. Beginning in the 1970s, religious cranks ceased simply to be a minor public nuisance in this country and grew into the major element of the Republican rank and file… around us is a prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science; it is this group that defines “low-information voter” – or, perhaps, “misinformation voter.”

The GOP cult of Ayn Rand is both revealing and mystifying. On the one hand, Rand’s tough guy, every-man-for-himself posturing is a natural fit because it puts a philosophical gloss on the latent sociopathy so prevalent among the hard right. On the other, Rand exclaimed at every opportunity that she was a militant atheist who felt nothing but contempt for Christianity. Apparently, the ignorance of most fundamentalist “values voters” means that GOP candidates who enthuse over Rand at the same time they thump their Bibles never have to explain this stark contradiction. And I imagine a Democratic officeholder would have a harder time explaining why he named his offspring “Marx” than a GOP incumbent would in rationalizing naming his kid “Rand.”

For the rest, you’ll have to read the article .

Among other things, it got me thinking about the number of US people who have emigrated to places like New Zealand because “they were tired/scared/disgusted about the direction the USA was going in.” I can count at least eight that I know personally. These are nice, liberal people who couldn’t wait to leave George Dubya’s paradise. But even with Obama in power, they are still coming. I met another couple who arrived recently for the same reasons just last week.

What I’m wondering is, what will happen if all the nice highly educated and skilled people leave the USA. Who will be left? And what will happen?

My title is from a 1981 apocalyptic film. When do you think this might become reality?


? What do you think?
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REM | It’s The End of the World


9 Responses to “Escape from New York, or What Happens When The Good People Leave the USA?”

  1. […] Escape from New York, or What Happens When The Good People Leave the USA? (spritzophrenia.wordpress.com) Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInDiggEmailStumbleUponPrintRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Tags: AlterNet, America, attention, Barbara, behavior, Both, candidate, capitulation, colleagues, Confessions, Cult, Democrats, dialogue, drug, election, fact, Former, GOPer, health, infestation, interests, Left, Lunatic, MacMurray, Medicare, money, naiveté, negotiation, News, Operative, payer, Pharma, propaganda, Rand, Republican, Ryan, Social, standpoint, Stanwyck, system Comments RSS feed […]

  2. reikoeoh said

    Yes, it is sad how the corporate-backed GOP and nut case tea partyers are trying to take control of the U.S. Your blog, and the article is so true of the two political parties. There is only so much President Obama can do when his own party is a thorn in his side! Dems just don’t know how to play smart, or even play the game. Very disheartening.

  3. We are actually looking at leaving also but for two reasons…1. employment 2. health care issues

    • Interesting. Health care issues was definitely a reason why one couple I know emigrated to New Zealand.

      • our health care is astronomical. There is this idea that if you have insurance though your employer that you don’t have problems paying for it. However, the truth is that with the deductibles and co-pays and premium costs, so many people still go bankrupt when they are sick or injured. And the fact that the insurance companies work very hard to avoid paying claims in a whole new thread.

  4. Jual said


    […]Escape from New York, or What Happens When The Good People Leave the USA? « Spritzophrenia[…]…

  5. Sophie said

    My husband and I left the USA 5 years ago to come to NZ. I am a kiwi by birth but lived 25 years in California. The NZ I remember fondly is not the one that exists now.
    Yes, there is health care but it is being eroded by foolish people who have never lived in the USA, have bought the Koolaid and think that private = better. This gives the govt permission to cut funding and push for privatization.
    Many kiwis seem happy to be going in the direction of the USA: everything privatized. They have also elected their own version of W. Stupidity without borders is what we have come to call it.
    It’s not what it’s cracked up to be here, definitely not paradise, but the USA looks even scarier still.

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