They Think We are Orcs

Political Cortex

There's a scene in the last of the three Lord of the Rings movies in which valiant hobbit Sam rescues his captive friend Frodo from a tower in the heart of an evil stronghold. In the process, he kills a good number of orcs. Did you cry for them? Did you worry about any orcish widows left waiting by the window? Little orclings wondering when papa was coming home? Of course not. You cheered Sam's courage and didn't give a second thought to the orcs. Why? Because... they're orcs. They're ugly, vile, evil. The very definition of 'other'.

Now, wherever I wrote the word "orc," imagine that it said "liberal."

For the last few days, people have been astounded at the fury with which the right wing blogs have gone after the New York Times reporters over the horrible crime of posting photos of vacation homes. Their agitation seems so over the top that it's difficult to make sense of why such an innocent story should generate such heat. But it's not really hard to understand -- they think we are orcs.

Conservatives are prone to tribal behavior -- it's practically the definition of the term. Conservatives like those who conform to a certain dress, a certain way of talking. Those who shout "ditto" at the proper moment. They like those who go to the right churches and belong to the right clubs. More than anything else, they like those who can hate.

The same hatred of others that makes right wing blogs the go-to spot for "we should just nuke the whole Middle East into glass" language, also primes the pump for assaults like that launched against the Times reporters and editors. You think these guys are upset about sending their followers scurrying after people's families and children? You forget, these are orc children. It's not like attacking real kids.

Just listen to the language from the right. Liberals are immoral supporters of sodomites. We're lawless thieves who want only to take what isn't ours. We're traitors. We're gutless. We're godless. We're ugly. We're orcs.

For liberals, whose nature is to empathize, this is a hard thing to understand. These are people, just like us, only with different political views. Sure they are. Only, they think you are, by definition, a monster.

No one worries about what they do to orcs. Anything they do to hurt an orc is a good thing. Just like the people of Iraq, we deserve anything we get. There are no limits when you are fighting orcs. They don't have to be fair. They don't have to tell the truth. They don't have to abide by agreements, honor commitments, or hold back at any limit. Anything goes when you are fighting for the light against the hordes of darkness.

Can't you understand that we shouldn't worry about killing thousands of orcs if it saves one real person? Hell, can't you understand that killing thousand of orcs is a good thing, even if no one is saved? This is what makes it okay to listen in on phone calls: they're orc calls. You can open orc mail, go over orc bank accounts, and break into orc houses without a warning. Of course you can. Even thinking that orcs might have some rights is so twisted as to be laughable.

This is what puts the smug grin on Alberto. This is what adds the swagger to the posters at Little Green Footballs.

An abortion doctor shot in Florida, Matthew Shepard left dangling from a fence, a fifteen year old girl raped and murdered in Iraq -- these aren't things to be regretted. They're moments to celebrate triumph over the orcs. Shock and Awe? Awesome. Anyone who speaks out too loudly against such events is likely to be seen as looking... hmm, a little orcish.

Anything we do in Iraq or Afghanistan is okay. All the people there are orcs. Africa? Full of orcs. The French? Cheese-eating orcs.

Everyone in the media (except for Rush, and Bill, and Sean, and Ann, and all the others who help us in spotting the orcs) are orcs. If you're reading this on some liberal -- um, make that orcish -- blog, you know you're an orc.

You may see the folks on the far right as people who wandered into a different political space, but they don't see you that way. They think you're an orc, and if they can hurt the monster, they will.

This article also has been published on The People's Voice


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