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Mar 08 2013

The Terrible Prophets of the Right

As the stock market soars past its previous records (Obama: worse socialist ever), ThinkProgress shows a whole bunch of conservative financial types during last year’s campaign declaring that if Obama won reelection, the markets would tank because of his terrible socialist policies. Here’s Stuart Varney of Fox Business:

But that’s just the usual crap about the Democrats being bad for business and Republicans being good for it (being good for the bottom line of some rich people and corporations is not the same as being good for business and the economy). The real fun comes with all the crazy predictions that will never turn out to be true from the serious wingnuts. I actually have in mind another book to do after I finish the one I’m working on, about the paranoid right’s terrible track record of predicting the future.

From the New Deal to the present day, the right is always making these terrible dystopic predictions that never, ever come true. Social Security was going to turn us into a Soviet-style communist state; joining the United Nations (and before that, the League of Nations) was going to lead to a tyrannical one-world government; the Chinese (or the United Nations, or both together) are perpetually, it seems, on the verge of invading America and taking over; the Muslims are going to take over the country and institute Sharia law; and so on, and so on, seemingly without end. It would be interesting to chronicle that entire history, as a sort of update to Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Because no matter how often their frightening predictions are wrong, it never occurs to them that maybe the new one are wrong too.

19 comments

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  1. 1
    John Pieret

    I think it is related to Xian millenarianism. If you’ve been predicting the end of the world for 2,000+ years but are unfazed by the fact it hasn’t happened, why be bothered by the lack of Chinese troops in downtown D.C.? It could happen tommorrow, after all.

  2. 2
    blf

    But none of those you cite are wrong! They all came to pass.

    Brainwashing is quite effective. Especially now that everyone has RFID-with-GPS chips implemented and can be remotely-controlled like drones. A few do manage to notice, which is why FEMA needs all those camps and bullets and the UN those black helicopters. As a final precaution, there’s a Navy SEALS base on the farside of The Moon, with those sooperduper invisible commando ninjas ready to be deployed with just seven seconds notice!

  3. 3
    TGAP Dad

    Stuart Varney… Stuart Varney… Oh yeah! He’s the guy who said that the release of the video of Romney’s 47% “…could be seen as a win for Romney.”

    Someone please tell me why he even still has cameras pointed at him.

  4. 4
    Pierce R. Butler

    At least they’re pretty good at profitizing!

  5. 5
    Trebuchet

    @blf: That would be the same FEMA with those plastic coffins I keep seeing in ads on FTB? Besides, we don’t all get our chips implanted for another week or so.

    To add to the list of things that were going to destroy America: Medicare. You know, that government program the Tea Partiers want the government to keep its hands off of.

  6. 6
    fifthdentist

    They’ll just keep using the math that makes them feel better as Republicans.

  7. 7
    DaveL

    That would be the same FEMA with those plastic coffins I keep seeing in ads on FTB?

    I had to laugh out loud at that one. I think I bought a similar “coffin” from the Home Depot to keep my Christmas decorations in.

  8. 8
    abb3w

    Of course, if you keep predicting an economic downturn, the cyclical nature of the economy (due to feedback loops) means you’re going to be right eventually.

    Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise has an fair bit of discussion on economic predictions. Short version: economists make political pundits look like time travelers.

  9. 9
    rabbitscribe

    Ed’s linked this before, but nothing will ever beat it:

    http://www.wnd.com/files/Focusletter.pdf

    Focus on the Family grimly prophesied dire consequences if Obama were elected in 2008. And sure enough: gay marriage has been imposed on the whole nation by SCOTUS. Public and private schools must explicitly affirm the morality of homosexuality. Any church will lose its tax-exempt status for refusing to perform any gay marriage. The military has an Affirmative Action program to target GLBT recruits, including cash bonuses upon enlistment. Students may not voluntarily pray together in public schools, even before or after class. The networks broadcast pornography (explicit portrayals of sexual acts) 24-7. Private gun ownership is entirely banned in eight States and counting. Parents may not privately instruct their children that Christianity is the only true religion or that homosexuality is wrong. Al-Qaida has taken over Iraq and murdered hundreds of thousands of those it considers American sympathizers. Russia has reoccupied Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. Iran nuked Israel and in response Israel ceded most of its territory to the Palestinians. We have single-payer health care. There’s a two-year waiting list for treatment of ovarian cancer, and euthanasia is commonplace. In dozens of cities, there is simply no hiring at all- none. Gas is seven bucks a gallon. Conservative talk radio has been shut down. Criminal charges have been filed against almost every official in the Bush Administration who had any input into the invasion of Iraq. Dozens have been jailed, including former Cabinet Members. It just goes to show that James Dobson is every bit the divinely-inspired prophet that the Old Testament figures were.

  10. 10
    suttkus

    How could a book about failed predictions of a group of people be defended from accusations of cherry picking? Is there some way you could make an unbiased sampling of predictions?

  11. 11
    Rip Steakface

    @9 I have an urge to look through this “warning”:

    Focus on the Family grimly prophesied dire consequences if Obama were elected in 2008.

    That’s what every political organization says about its opponents. It’s their job.

    And sure enough: gay marriage has been imposed on the whole nation by SCOTUS.

    Sweet! Now my gay friends in Indiana can get married. Wait, that’s not true? Curse you, Focus on the Family! Curse you and your poor predictions!

    Public and private schools must explicitly affirm the morality of homosexuality.

    I don’t even know what this means.

    Any church will lose its tax-exempt status for refusing to perform any gay marriage.

    Excellent! Tax exemption was always a bad idea anyway.

    The military has an Affirmative Action program to target GLBT recruits, including cash bonuses upon enlistment.

    If there’s anything the military needed, it’s more gay. Also – is WND/Focus on the Patriarchy actually using the GLBT initialism? That’s kind of surprising.

    Students may not voluntarily pray together in public schools, even before or after class.

    Okay, I can’t be satirical on this point. It’s not fucking true at all. I swear, I’m gonna have to start taking a daily/weekly picture of the before-school prayer group around the flag pole as evidence.

    The networks broadcast pornography (explicit portrayals of sexual acts) 24-7.

    Thanks for the reminder of what porn is!

    Private gun ownership is entirely banned in eight States and counting.

    This is in opposition to the plain ol’ states, where guns are not banned and are in fact encouraged.

    Parents may not privately instruct their children that Christianity is the only true religion or that homosexuality is wrong.

    The end of indoctrination has always led to good things.

    Al-Qaida has taken over Iraq and murdered hundreds of thousands of those it considers American sympathizers.

    Mostly through targeted drone strikes, of course.

    Russia has reoccupied Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

    Russia has occupied Poland, huh? Strange, I swear I was going on a high school band trip to Poland in April… guess not!

    Iran nuked Israel and in response Israel ceded most of its territory to the Palestinians.

    I’m sorry… what?

    We have single-payer health care.

    That’s great! Time to go take care of my dad’s cholesterol issues and get myself planned out on a dietitian-approved diet as well as map out a cholesterol management program for when I develop those problems. Oh wait, no.

    There’s a two-year waiting list for treatment of ovarian cancer, and euthanasia is commonplace.

    On the other hand, testicular and prostate cancer are treated within seconds of diagnosis. Go figure!

    In dozens of cities, there is simply no hiring at all- none.

    This is because employment is absolute, obviously.

    Pick your phrasing, fools.

    Gas is seven bucks a gallon.

    However, it costs less than $2000 to install solar panels on your roof, having been subsidized by heavy gas taxes.

    Conservative talk radio has been shut down.

    It has been entirely replaced by conservative television and web shows – that free market magic.

    Criminal charges have been filed against almost every official in the Bush Administration who had any input into the invasion of Iraq. Dozens have been jailed, including former Cabinet Members.

    Why hasn’t this actually happened?

    It just goes to show that James Dobson is every bit the divinely-inspired prophet that the Old Testament figures were.

    Well, of course.

  12. 12
    d.c.wilson

    Trebuchet:

    Saint Ron himself predicted that Medicare would cause us to “look back to the days when men were free.”

  13. 13
    D. C. Sessions

    It’s disaster porn, basically. They get their strokes fantasizing about horrible things happening “and then you’ll be sorry, just you wait and see!”

    It’s not being right that matters, it’s imagining all of those people who didn’t invite you to their tenth birthday parties suddenly getting what they deserve and the rest groveling apologetically for not believing you.

  14. 14
    d.c.wilson

    I remember a prediction during the 1992 election that Bill Clinton was going to order all bibles be confiscated. And you could probably devote an entire chapter just to Glenn Beck’s predictions.

    The amazing thing about the paranoid right has been their ability to mainstream even the most ridiculous, over the top predictions. The Senate killed a treaty last year because enough senators believed in a looney tunes prediction of a UN takeover in the name of forcing is to adopt standards for the disabled that we already have in place. These are people who managed to win a statewide election who are basing US policy on tinfoil hat nonsense.

  15. 15
    bachalon

    Reminds me of this.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    there’s a Navy SEALS base on the farside of The Moon

    LIAR! We’ve never been to the Moon, and you know it.

  18. 18
    Area Man

    I’m actually glad to see Stuart Varney constantly push the “makers vs. takers” meme. There’s no better refutation to that nonsense than to have it championed by one of the world’s most useless human beings.

  19. 19
    dingojack

    RE: The base on the far-side f the Moon:
    Here is a picture of some of the personnel.(Well, OK, yes it is 14 years out of date).
    :) Dingo

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