It's been a fascinating progression to watch.
First, we saw Republicans upset that the President of the United States told school children to study hard and stay in school.
Then we saw them angrily deploring that the American President won the Nobel Prize for peace.
And now, we see conservatives topping even themselves, as they actually complain about the President calling for Americans to volunteer and do good acts for others.
If this keeps up, they are going to put The Onion out of business. We're reaching the point where it's becoming impossible to know whether a headline about the GOP is real or a parody.
Mind you, none of this even includes things like claiming the President is a secret Muslim, an actual terrorist, a socialist, fascist, a Nazi, was born in Kenya, wants to kill old people, and criticized the U.S. Constitution in his senior thesis. No, these get left out because they're merely crazed rumors from fevered minds. Child's play in the larger world of lunacy.
But these other pronouncements are in an impressive class by themselves. Not mere mind-numbing rumors but rather meticulously detailed positions. Presented by acknowledged conservative analysts attempting to make convincing points.
At times, it's hard to tell whether to laugh or cry. Cringing tends to win out.
Volunteerism? They're against volunteerism? I know that neocons have claimed that reality has no hold on them and that they are free to create their own reality. But when you've lost all sense of even your own fake reality, you've done something very special. In a hypocritical, disingenuous, mean-spirited sort of way.
Forget that both Barack Obama and Republican John McCain both campaigned on behalf of volunteering during the last election.
Forget that one of the most famous orations in American history is President John Kennedy calling out for volunteerism in his inaugural address, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
(Side note: he later created the Peace Corps.)
Forget that the first President George Bush promoted a concept for volunteerism he called "A Thousand Points of Light."
(Side note: he created a government program for it when he was in office.)
Bonus fun fact: here's what President George Bush said in his inaugural address:
I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies.
And then he added, "The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in."
Forget the Golden Rule, as well: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Forget even the Bible, Luke 6:35: "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great."
Forget, too, that --
Wait, no, don't forget all those. It's the very point. It's there in U.S. history. It's there in mankind's culture. It's there even for the far right Christian conservatives, in the Bible. Volunteer, it's a good thing for America. It's the word of the Lord.
And for good measure, that's that whole "Love your enemies" thingy, too.
This is all just pathetic. Conservatives coming out against volunteering, against world peace, against telling children to study hard in school.
Against health care.
You almost expect to hear that conservatives are protesting "Hug a Puppy Day."
But this is no accidental twist in the space-time continuum. This is the pattern of conservatives in American history. Railing against pretty much all things that are basic to human dignity and decency.
Against Social Security. Medicare. Civil Rights. Raising the minimum wage. A 40-hour work week.
When you look at this larger perspective, then suddenly their being against studying, helping others, peace, and good health for everyone no longer seems so surprising. It's just all part of a long, established pattern. Part of what "I've got mine, you're on your own, bucko" conservatism is, at heart. (If I can be so bold as to use the word, "heart.")
There are times it's appropriate to be conservative. There are conservative issues that have been beneficial. (Enterprise economic zones, for one.) As a personal standard, being conservative often offers important guideposts.
But as a core political philosophy for the benefit of mankind, it is a disaster.
Government exists for one reason: protecting the common good. Conservatism, however, as they show time and again, exists to protect those who have theirs.
When George W. Bush (the second one) ran for president, he hoodwinked a portion of the gullible public into believing that he was a "compassionate conservative." For all the proper things that a conservative outlook can bring, "compassion" is not one of them.
Compassionate conservative. The expression is one of life's great oxymorons.
With emphasis on the last two syllables.