GOP worldview misdirects the fear

March 1, 2012


Bob Morris is scared of Girl Scouts.

If you are waiting for the punch line, sorry, but there isn’t one. Morris, an Indiana state legislator, recently attacked the Scouts in a letter to his colleagues urging them to vote down a nonbinding resolution honoring the group on its centennial. There has never been a safer, more plain vanilla measure in the history of American politics, but Morris felt the need to warn fellow legislators of the organization’s corrupting influence. The Girl Scouts, he wrote, is the “tactical arm” of Planned Parenthood. He called it a “radicalized” group with a homosexual agenda that promotes abortion while seeking “the destruction of traditional American values.”

That’s a lot to lay on little girls whose mission in life seems to be the selling of Thin Mints outside the supermarket. But Morris has what he considers sound reasons for believing them a threat. He says he did “a small amount” of online research that revealed to him the true nature of these terroristic cookie pimps.

And as everyone knows, if you read it on the web, it has to be true, right?


Thus does social conservatism skid through the last barriers of basic intellect, simple decency and common sense, hurtling breakneck off the deep end. Next stop: utter incoherence.

There is, in a sense, nothing new here. Fear has long been the sine qua non of social conservatism, the fundament of an “us against them” ethos that simultaneously binds social conservatives together in common cause and separates them from the rest of the world. Like the mental patient who is emperor of a self-created universe invisible to sane people, they believe themselves the guardians and defenders of a moral North Star from which the rest of the world has deviated — and to which they are determined to return us.

It might be easy enough to write Morris off as a Podunk legislator of no concern to anyone outside his district. But such sanguinity requires the belief that he is an anomaly. He is not. To the contrary, this brand of fraidy-cat politics where “they” are ever out to get you and the sky is forever falling, has become a staple of the Republican Party.

You could look to almost any of the GOP’s recent presidential aspirants as proof, or you could just use Rick Santorum as one-stop shopping. He is the state of the art.

In years past, he called birth control “harmful” and questioned whether it works — something that has been regarded as settled science for decades. Just days ago, he bashed college education a scheme of “indoctrination” and attacked 49-years-dead John F. Kennedy for a 1960 speech generally regarded as a landmark statement against religious bigotry. Somehow, in Santorum’s fevered mind, it became a statement in support of what it opposed.

But then, social conservatism is where logic fears to tread. It is a worldview driven by fear of the world beyond its racial, gender, religious, cultural and intellectual borders. Historically, it always has been.

Fear the Japs, they said. They are collaborating with our enemies.

Fear the Commies, they said. They are hiding behind every bush.

Fear the gays, they say. They want to recruit our children to their lifestyle.

And now? Fear the Girl Scouts. They are trying to conquer America one cookie at a time.

And you have to wonder: How narrow must a man’s worldview be, how paranoid his outlook, what a bunker his very life, when he is scared of Girl Scouts?

Some of us have argued that social conservatives use fear as a tactic. And there’s likely some truth to that. But one senses little of tactical planning in Morris’ missive. No, the fact is, he believes what he says. Many of them do.

If you want to be scared of something, be scared of that.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CST each Wednesday on www.MiamiHerald.com.


Maddy Griffin 6 years, 1 month ago

Amen! Thanks for another great piece Leonard.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

+1 "Have they no shame?" Apparently not.

Greg Cooper 6 years, 1 month ago

Look no further than the State of Kansas, mustrun, for a whole boatload of legislators jsut like him. Your name-calling and refusal to see what's being done by the "conservatives" is exactly why it goes on. I guess a list as long as your arm of the "crazy " things they've done or attempted to do would not change your mind, now, would it?

Right on, mustrun80.

clubber1 6 years, 1 month ago

Another self righteous liberal attributing all of life's woes to people who believe in equal rights instead of special rights.

The problem with Pitts' column is that you could just about swap Republican with Democrat and maintain the integrity of the subject matter. The democrats wouldn't be speaking of the Girl Scout, but the church or midwesterners that love their guns.

It's all a bunch of nonsense that divide people.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

"...Some of us have argued that social conservatives use fear as a tactic..." As if the Fearmonger in Chief doesn't do that.

kansanbygrace 6 years, 1 month ago

Who do you mean, no? Mitch? Eric? Ryan? Rush?

Mixolydian 6 years, 1 month ago

Who is an obscure state representative from Indiana?

Rick Santorum is the republican's Howard Dean. A fringe player who got some traction in the primaries but won't go anywhere.

Fear the Japs? So, FDR (the enslaver of 100,000's of Japanese-Americans) was a social conservative?

Fear the commies was a bi-partisan effort.

Who fears gays? (except for me, a gay clown jumped out of a box and scared me when I was a small child, now I have true homo/coulrophobia)

Dang Pitts, you had a nice string of articles that made sense recently, but now you're back to your stir the pot for a buck mode.

kansanbygrace 6 years, 1 month ago

If you have something to say, why not say it? Your hyperbolic rants sound like you're reading the bumper sticker table at the Klan rally.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Why don't you provide the information you refer to?

Simply claiming some sort of PP influence on the Girl Scouts is unconvincing without evidence, at least to me.

Greg Cooper 6 years, 1 month ago

Great response. You started the dissing of this article, provided no evidence that it was incorrexct, sling mud, and then revert to "I know you are but what am " mentality when questioned.

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow, ignoring the fact that you just got exposed and bringing out the dog to chase in the other direction....guess what.,...the dog won't hunt,.,which is exactly what Mr. Pitts is saying. Hey genuises in oblivion....if it wasn't for fear you couldn't keep your minions of mental challenge in line. I hear the mental programing for these geniuses every Saturday I listen to 88.1 and 92.3 FM.....the godlican political stations... you better get them off the air...they're giving up your secrets of mind domination in the views of the rural and disconnected. No one stirs the pot better than denialists that change the subject when they're busted.

headdoctor 6 years, 1 month ago

Ah math, you are not even a good troll. Pretty ignorant actually. Your are no different than the national bunch of crazies. Funny how the socialists always get the blame. If memory serves me correctly the wealthy was the driving force behind what became the modern planned parenthood and they didn't get Federal funding until a Republican made that happen.

Armstrong 6 years, 1 month ago

This Pitts article is so dumb does it even require a response ?

headdoctor 6 years, 1 month ago

What took you so long to get here mustrun80? You have already missed out out on some trolling opportunities. You should get together with math so you can tag team your trolling efforts. I promise I wont tease you two about your new man crushes. What goes on in your moms basement stays in your moms basement.

I would rather be a proud converted Obama pimp than a Republican stooge any day.

headdoctor 6 years, 1 month ago

I do know who Margret Sanger is and the history. The wealthy right wing made it happen. They just didn't know that their screwed up selfish twisted reasons for wanting planned parent would be turned on them into a good thing. So much for their planned population control of the poor and ignorant.

headdoctor 6 years, 1 month ago

As usual your avoiding the point. PP is the brain child of the wealthy right wing. I see you are going to avoid that issue.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

Breitbart was a liar and a conman, so as gullible as you are, I can understand why you'll miss him.

Corey Williams 6 years, 1 month ago

Breitbart is a small fish. When the great flush slimeball dies, then there will be a party.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 1 month ago

The GOP are so far to the right and out of the mainstream that they do not stand a chance with independents. They just keep getting nuttier and farther out.

The GOP are ensuring that they will be a minority party for a long time. They have a rabid 25%, but they are ensuring that they will have no more than that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

He was a buffoon, but not even buffoons deserve to die so young.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

I didn't hate Breitbart. But I hated his lying demagoguery.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

Jeez, comparing Nader to Breitbart. That's downright delusional.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

This has nothing to do with "sides." It has to do with honesty, integrity, a sense of fairness and a functioning intellect. (not that I expect you to understand any of that.)

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

Only a complete moron would call Breitbart a buffoon. He made some dumb choices with the Shirley Sherrod mess and his comments after Kennedy passed, but he was one of the few inside to take on his party in support of homosexuals, strongly supported Drudge and everything that site stands for, constructed Huffington's site, wrote for numerous newspapers and magazines, and was asked to appear on countless political talk shows. He was anything but a buffoon.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"He made some dumb choices with the Shirley Sherrod mess and his comments after Kennedy passed,"

And don't forget the ACORN debacle-- all clear indications of his buffoonery.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

My how the zombies rant, daily demonstrating their never ending search for brains.

Hey Alex, if this is your idea of civil discourse, then congratulations.

headdoctor 6 years, 1 month ago

Awh. Did you get your feeling hurt. Might as well censor you. There are a hand full of clowns on here that add nothing to the discussion and there is no possibility that your comments will somehow convert anyone to the modern Republican crazy.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Didn't you read the rest of the post?

He also said that he didn't deserve to die so young.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Please stop responding to my posts, as I have previously requested.

You're violating the terms of service on this site by continuing to do so.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

That is okay ... um .... math ... you can be sick and tired all you want. I just feel it is obvious that letting people return after they have been "banned" makes for poor discourse. Alex said he was going to do something about it after the new year. I'm curious which year he was talking about.

And your repeating the same thing day after day since before Obama took office is both tired and sick.

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 1 month ago

Brilliant writing by Pitts. Truly brilliant.

Unfortunately for the Republican Party, we are not seeing any credible leadership.

I am starting to believe that "Cayman Islands" Romney is not the kind of person who is interested in common everyday Americans but he is a great candidate to represent the folks who do their banking offshore.

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 1 month ago

I would have to agree with your point about generalizing but it makes me laugh because generalizing is exactly the tactic that has been perfected by Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and so many others. That is their bread and butter and no one does it better than the Republican party.

That is not something I would lay on Pitts.

After listening to Limbaugh do this on the radio for about 15 years, I find that to be almost hilarious.

John Pearson 6 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps the Girl Scouts are selling tracking cookies?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

You mean like the ACORN "reports" that subsequent investigations revealed to be total frauds?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"that video of them helping a 'prostitute' get funding was definitely made up."

Yep, it was a complete fraud. Several investigations found little credible in any of these "exposes."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"I guess using my own eyes and ears isn't credible."

Apparently not-- you clearly have no idea about how fictions can be created with enough creative editing and staging.

Primarily, you just believe whatever confirms what you want to believe in the first place, regardless of the real facts.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

Oh, sorry, I posed that to the energizer bunny of believing whatever lie Fox News (and Breitbart) has to offer, no matter how thoroughly it gets debunked.

Silly me.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

Weiner caused Weiner's resignation, not Breitbart.

And nobody hit him harder over his idiotic behavior than Jon Stewart, a former college roommate and long-time friend.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

Keep slapping yourself on the fanny for doing nothing but vomit up the "racist" tag when there hasn't been a single racial comment yet. Pathetic.

somedude20 6 years, 1 month ago

Girl Scouts transform into women at some point and it seems that many republicans don't like or fear women. Ewwww, they have lady parts....that is so gross. What with trying to take away their rights and health, women should be happy the republicans still allow them to vote. Come on guys, don't you at least need women for a beard, are they not good for that?

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

I say fear the stupid, the weak, the hypocrites, you know...the GOP.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

I did notice that you didn't contest my point that GOPers are stupid and weak...

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

For me, a hypocrite is a person who tries to force their sense of morality on others while not following it themselves. The GOP demonstrates that time and time again. They say they are for limited government, but then they want to ban birth control. They say they are for cutting taxes, but then they borrow trillions forcing future generations to raise taxes to pay off the debt. They attack Clinton for an alleged extramarital affair, but then the ringleader Gingrich is having one as well. It's unbelievable. At least the democrats are honest about their faults.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

The only legitimate point you made was on Gingrich, Jay.

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month ago

you know.....as your crazies tank and run sane people away....the crazier and more desperate you will sound.....maybe at some point the racism just under the surface will finally show it's face like a vampire in the light....and you will sound the way I've always known you to be....oh and by the way....the acorn pimp was none other than that O'Keefe character who tried to jam up the Louisiana senator the watergate way by bugging and tampering with her office phones. He looked like the Mississippi grits I knew and saw as a kid with that indignant sneer of having lost the US Civil War and the segregation battle only to cloak his true intentions in attacking straw men like any failing denialists do. So pathetic.....

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

"It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments. We’ve seen throughout the campaign if you’re willing to say really outrageous things that are accusative, attacking of President Obama, that you’re going to jump up in the polls." -- Mitt Romney

Romney understands how easily excited the Republican base can be, how they love "incendiary comments" and are "willing to say really outrageous things." Many on this site prove Romney correct on a daily basis. Funny.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.