In response to The Guardian's curious project in reaching-out to US voters (which legally provided the contact details of voters in one small county in Ohio, the hope being that readers could get in touch with them and discuss the election), the message boards of Bush supporting websites have gone into overdrive, pouring out lashings of bile, wild claims and ill-considered arguments.
The best I've seen so far is Tim Blair's Operation Guardian, a huge page of diatribes and smug stupidity – albeit with a sprinkling of sensible questioning (e.g. what was the Guardian really expecting? and didn't they worry that this could damage either Kerry's chances of winning, or Americans' feelings about the UK?).
Yet again, it has been shown that when the right wing get angry, they get silly.
It's silly to say that the British shouldn't express any opinions about the US because Americans died in the second world war: they died in the defence of freedom, but so did the British and French soldiers. As did the thousands of European citizens who were murdered by Fascist bombs and gas. These criminal wars were started not by Europeans but by men: it is folly to pretend that given the right circumstances, thugs like Mussolini or Hitler could not be born Americans.
It's silly to say that just because some of the ancestors of Americans came from Britain, it must be an awful place: Britain has changed a lot in two hundred years, as has America. The Americans are no longer exterminating the native peoples of their continent… they pretty much completed that job. But we don't want to dwell on the past. Never mind that the land of the free – the home of democracy and free speech – only allowed blacks the vote in the 1960s. You see, in Europe, we are prepared to accept that you have moved on from such abominations. We don't continually draw attention to your previous failings because we feel that you learnt the lesson, and nothing would be gained for any reasonable argument by harping on about them. But this is the key: we don't think that we in Europe are essentially any different from you. Sadly, it seems that the bulk of correspondents on Tim Blair's site genuinely believe that they are different to – and immeasurably better than – European citizens. It's just not true.
It's silly to make wild claims like "If the president isn't re-elected, you and the rest of the eurotrash will be living under Islamic law within the decade". It would be easy to say that 'Erp' (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) was probably joking with this bizarre assertion. But honestly, I don't think he or she was. Clearly a stupid thing to say, but on closer inspection this is very revealing. Europe's recent history is one of increasing secularity. Not only have we succeeded in separating Church and State, but larger and larger numbers of Europeans no longer subscribe to the faiths which were previously institutional. The only western democracy actually drifting towards religious fundamentalism is the USA, where the electorate now demand unseemly evangelism from their commander-in-chief, not sober, consciencious, thought.
It's silly to say that all British people have bad teeth. Most British people I've met have benefited from years of open, free, public health – a system only now being ruined (in the American model!). Personally, I couldn't care less. If, as a response to a reasoned argument, you are faced with this:, "if you insist I could make fun of how only one out of ten britons has straight teeth. i could do that. i could make fun of how pasty and pale their skin tends to be to where i might actually be taken for a black man by mistake if i stood next to a guy from wales. i could make fun of how a briton got his head knocked around so bad at the last soccer game (that's football for my limey buddies our there) it gave him permanent brain damage and so he went to the pub and drank himself into more brain damage and then went on a twenty minute rant about how violent and idiotic americans are." – then what are you supposed to think?
This theme, which I have mentioned in these pages several times before, is present throughout the right-wing. It can be summed up thus:
Dissent is inherently illogical. IE any argument that disagrees with or attacks my system of values or my political standpoint is, by virtue of its opposition, wrong.
This rhetorical position is quite obviously untenable when faced with continued enquiry and logical argument. As we have seen, the natural progression from a viewpoint of blind ignorance is to insult and eventually physically attack the reasonable thinker. This is what happened to Miguel de Unamuno, one of Spain's most eminent thinkers, when he voiced his opposition to exactly the same viewpoint held by the current US administration:
"At times to be silent is to lie. You will win because you have enough brute force. But you will not convince. For to convince you need to persuade. And in order to persuade you would need what you lack: Reason and Right.".
Using the immaculate (and politically uninterested) tools of logic, it is not hard to show right-wing political ideas for what they really are: hate, anti-intelligence and physical aggression. But be careful: these guys are dangerous.