By Manifesto Joe
That's according to a newly released Harris Poll. That's right -- nearly one-fourth of Republicans in the sample think President Barack Obama may be the anti-Christ.
Where's the theme from The Twilight Zone when you need it?
Here's the story -- from The Raw Story.
Among the other responses: Two-thirds of Republicans think Obama is a socialist. Some 57 percent think he's a Muslim. And, 45 percent agree with Birthers that Obama wasn't born in the U.S. and therefore isn't qualified to be president.
I will concede that, during my years as a progressive/liberal blogger, I have seen examples of kookiness on the far left. But I've also noticed that it generally occurs in a very tiny "out-there" fringe group. Among Republicans, we're talking about 2 out of 3 who are so ignorant and/or psychotic that they told pollsters that they think Obama is a socialist. The genuine socialists out there have gotten good laughs out of that one. For those who might be reading this from a contrasting view, please pick up a Webster's dictionary and look up the definition of the word "socialism."
It's hard to gauge whether this is a product of ignorance or some sort of mass lunacy. I think it's some of both. John Avlon of The Daily Beast, who has written extensively about the Republican lunatic fringe, wrote about this survey:
The poll, which surveyed 2,230 people right at the height of the health-care reform debate, also clearly shows that education is a barrier to extremism. Respondents without a college education are vastly more likely to believe such claims, while Americans with college degrees or better are less easily duped. It's a reminder of what the 19th-century educator Horace Mann once too-loftily said: "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."
OK, so a hell of a lot of these people are simply old-fashioned dumbshits. It reflects the vintage John Stuart Mill thought: Not all conservatives are stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.
But there are some eerie parallels to other times and places where a sort of mass madness has occurred. I seldom watch Fox "News," because it's bad for my blood pressure. But when I've watched it, it looks a lot like a far-right version of what Soviet state TV must have looked like to the people of the former Soviet Union. It's a version of "facts" that's absolutely through the looking glass, and darkly. Yet, I've been in situations like in hospitals, convenience stores, etc., where the TV authorities had nothing but Fox "News" on, 24/7.
People are being indoctrinated in this manner each and every day. And not all of them are classically stupid, or bad people. Members of my wife's extended family are almost all Republicans. Many have good hearts. Where their heads are is another matter. Some do indeed believe that Obama is a Muslim, and that the Democratic Party has been dominated by "socialists" ever since the New Deal. And, if the poll results from Harris are a good indicator, they believe many other mentally disturbed propositions as well.
Mass stupidity, sadly, has always been with us. Mass madness comes and goes. I'm very worried that we're in one of those mass-madness periods. I really hope I'm wrong.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.