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ROY EDROSO: Conservatism is a death cult. But don’t turn away from it.

Today on our look at the QAnon apocalypse, we have a special treat. Roy Edroso, our old colleague from the Village Voice, wrote a startling wake-up call about the state of this country this morning at his substack, which normally requires a subscription to read. He’s graciously given us permission to publish that essay here today so you can see the kind of work he’s been doing, day in and day out, for years. There are few writers who have a better track record for monitoring the conservative press, and we think you’ll find his newsletter an addictive daily read. You can sample it and subscribe at this link.

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Situation Normal: All Fucked Up. But there’s always a chance.


It is important to establish right off the bat that conservatives were never good for America. From their earliest incarnation as toadies of the resentful rich who paid them to reverse the New Deal, through Joe McCarthy and John Birch and Bill Buckley and Reagan and the Tea Party and Trump, whether they were popular or anathema, they’ve been a blight on this country that we’d have been better off without.

But at this moment they’re not just in our way — they are a clear and present danger to our way of life, indeed, to our lives.

Look at the January 6 coup. After months of Tubby, Rudy, and the mob dragging their stupid-ass lawsuits through the courts trying to overturn the election, they finally got a bunch of their goons to literally storm the Capitol to try and stop the results from being certified. Now conservatives are not only resisting the current Congressional hearings on the matter, they’re comforting the captured insurrectionists in jail and demanding vengeance for Ashli Babbitt, the Horst Wessel of January 6.

This isn’t a policy disagreement. This is literally siding with the enemies of democracy against America. Treason, for short.

Look at COVID. After we started to beat back the virus with vaccines, conservatives really went to work, demanding that citizens under their jurisdictions be exempted from vaccination and even masking — which they portrayed not as a public health necessity but as an intolerable trespass on their “freedoms.” The lurid apotheosis was Florida goon-governor DeSantis peddling “Don’t Fauci My Florida” gear. Now DeSantis is trying to distance himself from that (and getting credulous Politico writers to help), but still insisting that the few remaining non-insane counties in his state don’t have the right to require masks indoors, and other Republican-run states across the country are doing the same thing.

And conservatives keep upping the ante. Greg Abbott, the psycho in charge of Texas, has announced he’ll fine Texas businesses that require masks or vaccinations.

The predictable result of this insanity is an explosion of new COVID infections. Again, this isn’t a policy dispute. This is instigation of a death cult.

I could extend this judgment across all the areas where conservatism is a proven menace to the health and well-being of this country — its insistence on keeping us the only industrialized nation without universal health care, for example, and its opposition to every government program, from Social Security to child care to environmental protection, that helps keep the working class from slipping into poverty and the impoverished from slipping into homelessness and the homeless from slipping into death.

But you get the point.

So, what to do? I’m not suggesting you set fire to draft files or anything like that. All I really recommend is that keep your head on straight and, when appropriate, let people know how you feel.

I know — easy for me to say. I’m obnoxious and disliked, that cannot be denied. And given demographic trends, like me you’re probably surrounded by people who are pretty liberal anyway, but who probably find it a little jarring when someone refers to the loyal opposition as a death cult. And if you are not surrounded by such people, but by Republicans or people who are “apolitical” (i.e. just don’t want to hear about it), it can be even more awkward.

The papers and news shows are Chuck-Todding and both-siding this shit like crazy, because they think the cozy consensus of their grandparents who also worked in media will see us through. In such an environment it’s easy to wonder whether you’re making too much of things, and to decide it’s better to just ignore the whole thing and hope for the best. I know how it is; I was alive when Reagan was president.

I’m just saying, don’t turn away from what’s in front of your face, and own up to it when asked. I’m not saying you should be a dick — which is neither cool nor effective — but when invited, call it like you see it. If they then want to talk about something else, fine. (So would I!) But put that much of a bee in their bonnet at least.

If this seems silly and puny to you, like some sissy liberal wine-mom quietism, then by all means join a political action group or campaign or DSA chapter that you think will make a difference. But I say, first things first, if you want to beat the devil you have to tell the truth. Be the black light you want to see in the world.

All we have is what any underdog with the truth on their side has, if they’re going to have a chance at all: persistence. It may seem ridiculously self-evident, like telling a drowning man to keep trying to break the surface. But ours is an age of capitulation and we’ve seen plenty of people just let the waves close over them. With the surface world so full of howling bullshit, the temptation is understandable. But yet abide awhile. Keep your head up. You may find there’s a world to win. Plenty of time to go down later.

Have a good weekend.

— Roy Edroso

Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, the newsletter I send to my subscribers five days a week (yes, five different issues – what can I say, I’m a machine), is usually funny – I like to do little dramatic scenes from the White House, Mar-a-Lago, and the rectory where Bill Barr and Brett Kavanaugh get drunk. But sometimes I do historical perspectives – like one I did about the similarities between Anita Bryant’s old anti-gay campaign and QAnon. And sometimes I just pound the lectern about some new outrage. On occasion, I feel the need to sum up for my readers why I’m doing it and what I hope it may accomplish besides a few laughs in a grim world. That’s what this one is. Enjoy, and if you want to get aboard, the gangplank’s at


THE LOWDOWN is our blog for news, the QAnon phenomenon, and other subjects not related to our coverage of the Church of Scientology. If it’s our Scientology coverage you’re looking for, please use this bookmark for our latest stories.

Posted on July 30, 2021 at 08:08


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