Anger is a wind which blows out the light of the mind. –Robert Green Ingersoll
For decades, now, certain entities in this country—pundits, conservative “think tanks,” major corporations, GOP politicians—have been spending a lot of money and energy trying to make you mad. Mad-making is a very lucrative business. How else would a know-nothing blowhard like Rush Limbaugh get rich enough to be thinking about buying a football team?
Why would people pour billions of dollars into enterprises—from cable TV and nationally syndicated radio shows to allegedly “grass roots” web sites and “tea parties”—that are designed to do nothing but stir up anger by whatever means?
Why make up idiotic lies about everything from the president’s birthplace to “death panels”? Why keep dragging emotionally charged non-issues, like abortion and gun control, into every so-called “debate”?
Simple: you can’t be really angry and think at the same time. And these people don’t want you to think. People who are thinking are hard to lead around by the nose.
Anger is often a secondary emotion. Frighten people badly, and as soon as the perceived danger passes, they’re likely to be pissed off. Take something away from them and they’ll feel grief, shortly followed by anger.
In America, the political right has elevated mad-making to an art and practiced it ruthlessly in pursuit of their goals. I’m not saying the left has never been guilty of manipulating people through anger—and it’s a despicable, dishonest practice, whoever does it—but in this country, “conservative” and “pissed off” have come to be practically synonymous. That’s no accident.
When people are angry, they look for a cause of their anger. In this country, there’s a huge, well-funded industry of mad-makers continually standing by to point out who we should be mad at: the president and Congress, of course. Look no further.
Habitual anger isn’t good for people. It raises blood pressure, causes ulcers, and makes us vulnerable to all sorts of stress-related illnesses. But in case anyone’s missed the point in recent months, the “right” doesn’t care about your health. And like a lot of other things that aren’t good for us—from cigarettes to sugar—anger, like any emotion, can be habit forming or even addictive. The people devoted to keeping the right people on the right rich—they know this. They dish out anger like cigarette companies used to give away free cigarettes, and for the same reason—to get you hooked.
Sadly, millions of people are still buying.
Stay tuned for more on this subject in the days to come.