Of nut jobs and nut jobbery, American-style.


I see that another of our born-and-bred American nut jobs has wreaked havoc with bullets. It’s like an assembly line that never stops running.

Before the verbal shelling begins, this is not to suggest that rhetoric alone, whether left, right or middle, is responsible for nut jobbery, only that American soil is an eternally fertile incubator for nut jobs.

Worse, like Lear’s lifeline of a Fool, we seem to crave the presence of nut jobs among us in ways that do not bode well for the future of public safety, or personal sanity.

Permit me to explain my viewpoint.

In other Western countries, nut jobs are just as prevalent as here, but lacking freely available ballistics – and more importantly, denied an accessible soapbox owing to societal indifference – they soon become reabsorbed into the hinterlands from whence they came.

Indigenous nut jobs hang out at (for instance) Norwegian or Maltese dive bars, pulling their beards, waving their arms and muttering a lot, and if particularly entertaining, they find that bored patrons will buy them drinks, treating their conspiratorial gibberish and nonsensical ramblings as part of the nightly floor show, and nothing more.

In America, nut jobs are oddly venerated, somehow emerging as role models in the strangest and highest places, ranging from the televangelist’s pulpit (Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker) to the vice-presidency (Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle), and excluding neither major league sportsmen (Dennis Rodman, Al Davis) nor captains of industry (Charles and David Koch).

Existing below this somewhat rarified level of tabloid nut job notoriety are the garden variety, localized nut jobs, who at one time in the nation’s innocent, Mayberry RFD period of post-war stolidity, may actually have been as harmless as Otis and today’s Euro-cranks, but now increasingly are feared (and rightly so) due to the easy availability of weapons of significant, if not mass, destruction.

Even more bizarre, only in America do we deign to speak to this nut job fringe of miscreants as though they mattered, and in vaguely political terms, rather than consigning nut jobs to their rightful place on the ends of bars where the spittoons used to stand, forcing me to conclude that our degraded political parties – one in particular – actively desires their votes.

In fact, America’s twisted history offers dozens of examples of pre-emptive nut job cajolery, almost always emanating from those of its kissing cousins on the right, and generally meant to counter the widespread assumption among conservative elements that unless they take the initiative to blatantly lie first, unacceptable numbers of ordinary, aimless nut jobs just might fall into the dreaded hands of leftists, socialists, miscegenationists, feminists and homosexualists, and stage a second coming of the Bolshevik fury, with Red Massacres, rapes, art exhibits and the like.

Even worst: If not properly frightened into a state of amok anti-liberalism, nut jobs might take to committing crimes against property, not people – and then what?

That’s why the historical record of armed, frothing, left-wing nut jobs takes up vastly less space in the nation’s Big Chief Tablet of a hate crime ledger than the population of heavily armed survivalists in a single Idaho county (pick one, doesn’t matter which, and the ratio surely will hold true).

One of them may already have been elected Senator out there.

Verily, we just don’t do left-wing nut jobbery very well in America, and at this exact moment, I’m finding no consolation whatsoever in grasping this truth. Like violence and extremism, nut jobbery is a trait that baffles me. Too bad we can’t do something about it. I’ve often though it must be constitutionally protected.

Do we ever learn?

Wait – don’t answer that question.