Belief in conspiracy theories can be comforting. If everything that goes wrong is the fault of a secret cabal, that relieves you of the tedious necessity of trying to understand how a complex world really works. And you can feel smug that you are smart enough to “see through” the official version of events. But widespread paranoia has drawbacks. For a start, it makes calm, rational debate rather tricky. How can you discuss the trade-offs of health-care reform, for example, with someone who thinks the government is plotting to kill grandma?
The answer is, of course, you can’t. Which is the same reason you can’t teach a creationist evolution, or a Holocaust-denier twentieth-century history. Either they don’t want to know, or they’re so far gone down that winding road to nowhere that they can no longer process contrary information.
So, for the record, the Obama-as-Hitler meme appears not to be the imagined rantings of the Obamaniks. Nobody is saying all conservatives are wingnuts, but the wingnuts are out there and they are carrying Nazi paraphernalia diguised as “patriotism.”
Here’s the meme in all its glory (I never get tired of watching Frank nail this bozo to her seat):