From the very first post on this blog ( Moral Politics In The Context Of History Of Marriage), and several times since ( e.g.,: Lakoff In Space And Time), I have bemoaned the lack of comparative studies of ideological and political poles. While I can watch what is happening in the USA, and so can George Lakoff, without comparative analysis it is difficult to know if Lakoff's model is correct, where it comes from historically, and in what important ways it differs from political/ideological environments in other countries today and historically. It may also require an objective "outside observer" to see the picture more clearly (I am half-objective and half-outside, though I think I am an observer). The same applies also when one mixes in Ducat, Parenti, Graff and others with Lakoff's core scheme.
My recent post Regressives, for instance, originated in the comments section of this post on Pharyngula (and continued on some more recent threads there). The main point of the post is that the Right is unified in many ways: politically, financially and emotionally, and that fighting it in piecemeal fashion is a dangerous strategy. Creationists, anti-abortionists, neocons, Horrowitz, white supremacists, mainstream media, CEOs of big business, etc. are all integral pieces of a unified and very well-coordinated movement. I sure wish it could all be traced to Rove, but a limited number of second-tier GOP operatives are probably most responsible for the coordination.
I grew up in a wonderful country, an environmental (and tourist) paradise, with a long democratic tradition, with by far the lowest crime rate in Europe, etc., etc. I watched it, in a matter of less than two years, fall apart into several small economically unviable (thus quickly colonized by Western megacompanies) mini-countries, each falling into a fascist dictatorship, going through a series of civil wars, a huge economic crisis, and frankly, an emotional/existential/moral crisis.
Unlike the USA, that country has a deep intellectual history. If you go to a dim smoky bar and sit next to a local drunk, he is likely to have a book with him, and though his political (and other) ideas may be nutty, he is happy to argue and LISTEN to you. If you are discussing evolution, nobody mentions Creationism - you are more likely trying to explain to him why Desmond Morris' "The Naked Ape" (the book he is reading) is bad science. When a Christian person in power tried to kick evolution out of schools last year, she was forced to resign by POPULAR outrage (for a day-by-day blogging on that, check my "Creationism" Archives By Category). If a quick slide into fascism and civil war could happen in such a country, it can happen even more quickly in an anti-intellectual and grandly miseducated country like the USA.
Born and raised Americans do not want to believe this. They go to Orcinus blog and cannot believe it. They read my posts and think I am panicking and exaggerating. They cannot make themselves open their eyes and see that yes, this kind of stuff can happen in America, and long history of democracy is not a sufficient guard against it. They refuse to see that exactly the same steps that Yugoslavia went through (with the same outward symptoms) 15 years ago are now happening here. I am watching it, step-by-step, scene-by-scene, go through the same scenario. More than a year ago I wrote a post entitled Bush Is Milosevic. Now I think that Bush (and Co.) is worse - much worse.
Interestingly, some people in other countries (thus the non-myopic "outside observers") can see it better, and have liked my post. For instance, there was one in England and one in Croatia. It is interesting that they are drawing parallels between the political poles in the USA and the political poles in their countries and notice some similarities and some differences. I really hope that they will both continue writing LONG DETAILED THOUGHTFUL posts about the ways conservatives and liberals differ between the USA and other countries. This will provide material for comparative studies that we so sorely need.t