Palin-genesis: Paradise Lost

For reasons passing understanding, the Alaskan Eagle Forum blog has purged its post highlighting Sarah Palin’s hilarious answers to inane wingnut questions. Fortunately, we have The Google. The cached text is below the fold.

Meanwhile, a diversion into the meaning of “palingenesis,” and my recent obsession with Palin-blogging.

Why Palin? Because she’s an hilariously bad choice. Unqualified for the Presidency, and therefore unqualified for the Presidency. A last minute choice by a peeved old man told he couldn’t have his apple sauce Lieberman, and who then seems to have randomly drawn a name from the bag of wingnuts presented to him by peeved evangelical advisors.

Why do I keep putting “Palin-genesis” in the titles of my Palin-posts? Because palingenesis plays a key
role in fascist mythologies of the sort that dominate Palin’s political world. The fascist tendencies of certain branches of political evangelical Christianity are well-documented, but suffice it to say that their call for rebirth is unquestionable. And while I don’t know enough about the Alaskan Independence Party to say whether it’s fascist, their whole secessionist ideology is rooted in both a palingenetic mythos, and in an extreme form of nationalism (for Alaska, and in opposition to the United States). Her political philosophy, then is a melding of palingenesis and ultranationalism, the definitional components of fascism.

Palingenesis is rebirth. In fascist movements, this rebirth is necessary for the revitalization of a state. This desire for a violent rebirth of a purer form of the nation is referred to as “palingenetic ultranationalism.”

For the Dominionists of the evangelical right wing, this rebirth comes through violent revolution (like the militia movement) and political changes at the ballot box. The goal is to recreate the United States in their image of a Christian nation. To drive towards this goal, they recruit dishonest writers to concoct phoney histories in which the Founding Fathers were all evangelical Christians and really meant for the Constitution to create a nation ruled by Biblical law. The beauty of the “Christian nation” myth is that believers do not have to think revolution is necessary. It is simply a matter of restoring what never was, by voting if possible, and by force if necessary.

Alaskan secessionists have a different mythos, but one which Palin clearly supports just as strongly (if not so vocally any more). In this myth, Alaska was denied its rightful choice on whether to become a state, or to become an independent nation. In true palingenetic style, they envision the US descending into “moral, educational, and economic decay,” and therefore “hold themselves to a higher standard,” and thus “might very well decide to at least maintain an arm’s length distance from a country in decline.” One can find similar rhetoric from the radical religious right. It is from this idea of moral decay that the impetus to rebirth springs. Historian Roger Griffin writes that fascistic movements all share a common core, this myth that “the nation needs to be, or is about to be, resurrected Phoenix-like from forces of decadence, which, without drastic intervention by the forces of healthy nationalism, threaten to extinguish it for ever

The ideology derived from this palingenetic ultranationalism (the sort of nationalistic rebirth implicit in secession, or remaking the Constitution in a ersatz Biblical framework) is, as Griffin writes:

a mythic force celebrating the unity and sovereignty of the whole people (except, of course, for those considered its internal enemies) in a specifically anti-liberal ? sense. It is also anti-conservative [in the classical sense], for, even when the mythic values of the nation’s history or prehistory are celebrated, as in German v÷lkisch thought, the stress is on living out ‘eternal’ values in a new society. The hallmark of the fascist mentality is the sense of living at the watershed between two ages and of being engaged in the frontline of the battle to overcome degeneration through the creation of a rejuvenated national community, an event presaged by the appearance of a new ‘man’ embodying the qualities of the redeemed nation.

The Griffin quotations are from his essay “Staging the Nation’s Rebirth,” available through Google Books. Palin’s answers to the Eagle Forum questionnaire are below.

2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire

The following questionnaire was sent to all candidates for Governor with their responses listed in the order we received them.
JB = John Binkley (R ) http://www.binkley06.com/
SP = Sarah Palin (R ) http://www.palinforgovernor.com/
FM = Frank Murkowski (R ) http://www.frankmurkowski.com/
MH = Merica Hlatcu (R )
GH = Gerald Heikes (R ) http://www.heikesontherock.com/
TK = Tony Knowles (D) http://tonyknowles.com/
EC = Eric Croft (D) http://www.ericcroft.com/
BL = Bruce Lemke (D)
EB = Eddie Burke (AIP) http://www.eddieburke.com/
DD = Daniel DeNardo (AIP)
DW = DonWright (AIP)

1. Complete the sentence by checking the applicable phrases (you can check more than one).
Abortion should be:
Banned throughout entire pregnancy.
Legal to save the life of the mother.
Legal in case of rape and incest.
Legal if the baby is handicapped.
Legal if the baby has a genetic defect.
Legal in the first trimester.
Legal in the second trimester.
Legal in the third trimester.
Other:__________________

JB: Banned throughout entire pregnancy.
Legal to save the life of the mother.
SP: I am pro-life. With the exception of a doctor?s determination that the mother?s life would end if the pregnancy continued. I believe that no matter what mistakes we make as a society, we cannot condone ending an innocent?s life.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

2. Will you support the right of parents to opt out their children from curricula, books, classes, or surveys, which parents consider privacy-invading or offensive to their religion or conscience?
JB: We should always encourage parents to participate in the curricula decisions of our school.
SP: Yes. Parents should have the ultimate control over what their children are taught.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

3. Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?
JB: We should not exclude abstinence-until-marriage education programs.
SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

4. Will you support efforts to raise or lower the mandatory age of education? Why or why not?
JB: No.
SP: No, again, parents know better than government what is best for their children.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

5. Will you support an effort to expand hate-crime laws?
JB: No.
SP: No, as I believe all heinous crime is based on hate.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

6a. Do you support the expansion of gambling in Alaska?
JB: No.
SP: No, in so many cases, gambling has shown ill effects on families and as Governor I would not propose expansion legislation.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

6b Would you sign any bills that expand gaming in our state?
JB: No.
SP: No.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

7. Do you support statewide restrictions on the use of eminent domain to transfer property from one private owner to another?
JB: Yes.
SP: Yes.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

8. Do you support parental choice in the spending of state educational dollars?
JB: As it relates to home schooling, we should give parents options in program spending.
SP: Within Alaska law, I support parents deciding what is the best education venue for their child.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

9. Do you support legislation requiring labor unions to obtain permission from their members before using dues for political purposes?
JB: No Response
SP: Yes, unions represent their workers and as such, should be accountable to them
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

10. Do you support the Alaska Supreme Court?s ruling that spousal benefits for state employees should be given to same-sex couples? Why or why not?
JB: No. The constitutional amendment was clear to me.
SP: No, I believe spousal benefits are reserved for married citizens as defined in our constitution.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

11. Are you offended by the phrase ?Under God? in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?
JB: No.
SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I?ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

12. In relationship to families, what are your top three priorities if elected governor?
JB: I will always support and work to strengthen families.
SP: 1. Creating an atmosphere where parents feel welcome to choose the venues of education for their children.
2. Preserving the definition of ?marriage? as defined in our constitution.
3. Cracking down on the things that harm family life: gangs, drug use, and infringement of our liberties including attacks on our 2nd Amendment rights.
FM: No Response
MH: No Response
GH: No Response
TK: No Response
EC: No Response
BL: No Response
EB: No Response
DD: No Response
DW: No Response

Comments

  1. #1 chris
    September 3, 2008

    2. Preserving the definition of ´┐Żmarriage´┐Ż as defined in our constitution.

    Is she talking about something in the Alaska State Constitution? Because if she’s talking about the big one, I think I missed that part.

  2. #2 SLC
    September 3, 2008

    With a hat tip to PZ, attached is a Youtube video of a sermon given to her church by Governor Palin which will thrill the born agains but should scare the crap out of the rest of us.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG1vPYbRB7k&eurl=http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/09/palinanity.php

  3. #3 pough
    September 3, 2008

    Alaskans get “explicit sex-ed programs”? We just got a lot of talk. Boo!

  4. #4 mark
    September 3, 2008

    Oh. I’m a geologist, so I was thinking of palingenesis as “rebirth” of magma from melting of a magmatic rock. Will you be trying “palinspastic” next?

  5. #5 crf
    September 3, 2008

    Ah. So, according to Palin, Eisenhower and the congress of 1956 were “founding fathers”.
    They added the phrase “under god” to the pledge.

  6. #6 flo
    September 4, 2008

    God, i so hope you are right about her being a bad choice (in terms of probability to get elected) for McCain. I just think it’s kinda horrifying how many people (not here but on other (not exactly right wing) blogs actually defend her, it makes me sick.

  7. #7 Josh Rosenau
    September 5, 2008

    Mark, you’ve set me a challenge. I vow to refer to Palin as “Palin-spastic” before she loses in November, or before she is removed from the ticket.

  8. #8 Susan
    September 9, 2008

    I’m going to be honest, Palin makes me nervous. Not only is she a complete wing-nut, but she seems to be a popluar wing-nut. I’ve seen on the news that the Republicans are creeping ahead in the polls. I’m Canadian, but the politics of the U.S. have a very direct influence on Canadian voter attitudes. If the U.S. goes conservative so does Canada. We’re having our own election in Canada, called by our minority Conservative minority Prime Minister, in defiance of an election law that his own government created. The timing is no coincidence. He’s seen the way the wind is blowing in the U.S. and he’s hoping to squeak in a potential re-election before the new (possibly Democrat)leader is called across the border. (Our voting day occurs a couple of weeks before the U.S. one)It would be hard to topple his government, even if he is elected into another minority. (Canadian voters are getting annoied with being called to the polls too often)So his position would be secure and there would be a low probablity that his government would be pulled down by a non-confidence vote.
    What I’m afraid of is it is looking more and more likely that the Repubilcans will win…again! If McCain wins in the U.S. and Stephen Harper in Canada I’m going to be very, very upset.

  9. #9 ck1
    September 9, 2008

    [quote]12. In relationship to families, what are your top three priorities if elected governor?
    SP: 1. Creating an atmosphere where parents feel welcome to choose the venues of education for their children.
    2. Preserving the definition of ´┐Żmarriage´┐Ż as defined in our constitution.
    3. Cracking down on the things that harm family life: gangs, drug use, and infringement of our liberties including attacks on our 2nd Amendment rights.[/quote]

    Wow. So Palin’s 3-point plan to preserve families:

    -weaken public education
    -deny benefits to one segment of the population (gays)
    -tote guns

  10. #10 yogi-one
    September 10, 2008

    It’s funny the fundies should they they have to save the country. It’s clear they are the root of all corruption, war-mongering, and murdeous evil themselves. They themselves are the the amoral evil they fear so much. They are the ones bankrupting the country, they are the ones destroying the environment. They are the ones advocating violence, starting unnecessary wars, and spewing hate rhetoric. They country will need to be rescued from them, not the other way around.

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