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Beau Friedlander

Beau Friedlander is a freelance writer and media consultant

August 22nd, 2012 3:54 PM

Shut-Down Propaganda and Magical Thinking: Akin as Romney-Ryan Ticket

Akin's God Is the GOPs Hammer

While I was reading commentary about Rep. Todd Akin's overshare regarding abortion, the female body and the dark night of the GOP's soul, it occurred to me that the same attitude that allowed him to say what he said (call it ignorance, anti-intellectualism, magical thinking) has been at work in the GOP fight against Dodd-Frank, gay marriage, food and product safety, government spending and all the other GOP panic button social issues that have been causing a bottleneck in Congress since Obama took office.

Akin is today's GOP. The grease that moves things is magical thinking, whether we're talking about "self-regulating" businesses that can make or break the world economy or federal roads that build themselves or schools that somehow have everything they need to prepare kids for life without much in the way of tax revenue. What Akin thinks matters, because his thinking reveals a lot about the cultural conservative movement in the United States. It's the dunderheaded certainty of a religious person who believes God is not only concerned with individuals in a granular way, but that He will quite literally provide. This is a version of God that assures his followers there is no cause for alarm with regard to climate change (after all God knows what He's doing). This is a God that says, "Truly I say unto thee, shopping is beautiful in the eyes of the Lord. Nothing to see here. Get back to work."

Granted, I have not talked to Akin. But he said on NBC, "the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God." Akin, it would seem, believes only God can make you pregnant. Whether God chooses a rapist to plant the seed is irrelevant. His statements offer a window into the sort anti-intellectual cultural rift that is destroying the fabric of our nation. Maybe he got confused by the bright lights and went to a dark barroom place in his mind, but I doubt it. Whatever transpired, chalk one up for the warts and all truth.

Thanks to Akin, abortion emerged this week, not as a medical procedure, but as everything that is "wrong" and that has been going wrong with America since the '60s, from the Civil Rights movement to Stonewall to our black president. "Progress" emerged as an affront to the ascendency typified by the GOP abduction of the middle class white guy (the ultimate entitlement program). Progress is bad. It has to be shut down. And because Jesus is magic, it can be shut down. Dogma is obedient and likes a good master. The attempt to regulate various industries is an affront to God, because Government is not God. God will take care of it. If you're a Koch head and your oligarchical ideals are legitimately raped by popular protests demanding fairness and democracy, corporate America has a way of shutting that whole thing down, too (in Congress). But that shut down is not really the work of people; it's God's will made manifest -- much like that sacred life spawned by the rapist's seed.

Science, like religion, is part of culture, as is economics and the ability to reason. Akin's God exists in a vacuum. It is part of no culture. The Republicans are against culture. It interferes with mission. That's why this denatured God concept favored by the likes of Akin and the GOP are such a great fit for each other. God's will winnows the winners from the losers (the 1% versus the 99%). It becomes propaganda.

I say this neither as a sneering atheist -- I've got Christian bona fides you can read about right here on Huffington Post -- nor a feckless libertine, headstrong Occupier or anything else you can hang a misspelled sign on. I say it as an American.

There is simply no other way to explain Akin's crass opposition to life on life's terms and the exigencies that go along with being alive. He is all mission. And he is interchangeable with Paul Ryan. He is Mitt Romney unfiltered.

This was the week of Akin the magical thinker. The female body can shut down conception. Education will fund itself. Roads will magically never need to be resurfaced. Predatory lenders will self-regulate. Gays will become heterosexual.

Thank God I learned about compassion at church, because otherwise I would really hate this new brand of Republican. And thank God I learned about voting at school, which will still exist in the future so long as we drum these buffoons out of town.

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