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1 aagcobb  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 10:36:22am

I would suggest the complete loss of perspective. If you surrender yourself to the wingularity, block out all non-wingnut perspective and accept every half-backed conspiracy theory as true, then you are lost in a sinister world of demonic forces bent on the destruction of everything you hold dear.

2 BARACK THE VOTE  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 10:39:36am

Other: butthurt. That's Jimmah's analysis. :)

I voted other too though. Sudden (bad) change in personal circumstances-- loss of a job, a wife--extreme anger combined with extreme pettiness, rage resulting when your view of the world doesn't meet the facts. So a background of rage and then some precipitating factor.

3 lawhawk  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 10:43:44am

Other: Trauma. Emotional trauma and taking convenient excuses/scapegoats to shape a worldview that conforms to a worldview that they think was somehow ideal.

They became relevant after 9/11 and that became their overriding interest/concern, and everything they do is now shaped by that experience.

4 watching you tiny alien kittens are  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 10:53:03am

A Straw?

5 Joanne  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 10:57:47am

They realize that 30 years of propaganda isn't working as well as they would have liked (not everyone is buying the bullshit, hate, demonization and everything else they're throwing at the wall), and, absence of any real ideas (other than lower taxes, kill the social safety net, and, wait, did I say lower taxes?), they realize that they need more than propaganda, but they simply don't have anything to offer. Watching Obama get elected by the margin he did drove them insane because it was the first wake-up call that their investment isn't giving them the return they had expected at this point.

That the economy is recovering slowly (thanks much to obstruction and outright sabotage by the elected GOPers and Teabaggers (whom at this point, whom are interchangeable) and people are hurting is in their favor because too few people actually pay attention to the who, what and why's that go on in Washington. Demonization, lies and obfuscation are easier to accept for those who don't know, understand or pay attention.

They'd do it against any Dem but that Obama is half-black and that Pelosi is a liburel woman (one who got a ton if shit done), well, welcome apoplexy.

6 wrenchwench  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 11:06:28am

I might have to argue with the premise.

If you think about people like Robert Spencer and Pam Geller, it’s not like they were always overtly evil; they have, in fact, made some good contributions in the past.

They're steeped in it. They've been toiling at it for a long time. They started getting attention, and then money got involved, so they accelerated their work.

7 wrenchwench  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 11:08:35am

I guess I should have picked "People start actually listening to them" instead of "other".

8 Obdicut  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 11:11:52am

I said that it was 'people actually start listening to them', because I really think that's one of the main parts. They get surrounded by yes-men, on their websites and elsewhere, and egged on. Then they hook up with each other and egg each other on. Eventually, actual conflict comes up, and they start turning on each other, but before then, it is a cycle of self-inflating ego and approval by people too cowardly to actually be figureheads of hate like they are.

9 Decatur Deb  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 11:31:57am

Other. A heavenly messenger appears to them and tells them to save France, or Omaha, or Oslo, or...

10 Charleston Chew  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 11:35:30am

In addition to the previous comments, I'd add a couple more possible explanations.

Professionalism - If you make something your profession, the show must go on, with or without reality. Reality is like the star football quarterback in the NFL who breaks his arm and is out for the season. Does the team forfeit all subsequent games? Not possible, they've got a business to run, so they call in back-up quarterback Bullshit. He 's not as good as Reality, and ultimately results in a losing season, but they still sold tickets.

It's sad when a once-sincere person has to transition to a bullshit-based career. One of the great dangers of a career in issue-based activism, regardless of the issue. Your entire skill set is based on fighting something you want to end, but ironically if you're successful at it you put yourself out of work.

Pride - Pride trumps all considerations. A smart person understands the value of humility. The short-term pain of admitting one is not infallible is rewarded with the long-term advantage of wisdom. A foolish person goes to their grave with the certainty that they never were wrong in all their years. "How dare reality make a fool out of me!" they think. "I'll show it!"

Righteousness - A specific kind of pride in which one decides one is the "good guy", the White Hat. And then logically anyone who opposes you are the baddies, the Black Hat. It can't possibly be that you're wrong about something. You can't be wrong and be righteous. It's a life built on the foundation that if you're a good person, anyone who disagrees with you must be a bad person. No other explanation.

Con artistry - It is possible to to make a career of pretending something's true that you know isn't. Not only con artists do it. Actors, whores, religious leaders, business-people, or anyone else who "knows the value of a dollar" and considers truth to be worthless trivia.

11 Gretchen G.Tiger  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 10:50:35pm

Inability to deal with change.

Need to control their world.

I notice that most of these Whacko's say (directly or indirectly) they are doing G-d's work, but don't seem to want G-d to do it himself/herself.

In other words, they want to be G-d. They can do it better.

12 CuriousLurker  Wed, Nov 2, 2011 11:44:22pm

I chose "people start actually listening to them", but would like to add a qualifier: opportunity.

Any combination of the many possible events & circumstances listed above could set the stage, but I think a door of opportunity opening for them is the first step. Once through the door they have an audience they can feed, and that audience in return feeds their egos, emboldens them, and helps them figure out what "works".

Once they've figured out what works, they escalate, drawing in more fans, making more money, and further feeding their egos, all of which reinforces the the "correctness" of their message (and the opinions of their fans).

In short, a custom built echo chamber created & financed by opportunists, and populated by people who are too lazy, fearful, or bigoted to step outside their comfort zones and think for themselves.

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