Robert Parry sees Regan's influence as the tipping point toward US political dysfunction, in which a faith-based world replaces reality.
The real struggle confronting the United States is ... between those who believe in reality and those who are entranced by unreality.
... key elements of the American Right have set up permanent residence in the world of make-believe, making any commonsense approach to the real-world challenges nearly politically impossible.
The American Right’s collective departure from reality can be traced back decades, but clearly accelerated with the emergence of former actor Ronald Reagan on the national stage.
The Reagan administration ... built around the President a propaganda infrastructure that systematically punished politicians, citizens, journalists or anyone who dared challenge the fantasies. This private-public collaboration – coordinating right-wing media with government disinformationists – brought home to America the CIA’s strategy of “perception management” normally aimed at hostile populations.
The remarkable success of Reagan’s propaganda was a lesson not lost on a young generation of Republican operatives and the emerging neoconservatives who held key jobs in Reagan’s Central American and public-diplomacy operations, the likes of Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan. The neocons’ devotion to imperialism abroad seemed to motivate their growing disdain for empiricism at home. Facts didn’t matter; results did.
The Republican political pros manipulated the racial resentments of neo-Confederates, the religious zeal of fundamentalist Christians, and the free-market hero worship of Ayn Rand acolytes.
That these techniques succeeded in a political system that guaranteed freedom of speech and the press was not only a testament to the skills of Republican operatives... It was an indictment ... the Right fought harder for its fantasyland than the rest of America did for the real world.
Sometimes, the Right’s contempt for reality was expressed openly. When author Ron Suskind interviewed members of the Bush administration in 2004, he encountered a withering contempt for people who refused to adjust to the new faith-based world.
Citing an unnamed senior aide to George W. Bush, Suskind wrote: “The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ …
“‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’” [emphasis mine]
The success of perception management making a commonsense approach to real challenges politically impossible, is likely to spell our doom in the coming decades.
Problem is: when you drink your own Kool-Aid, like the GOP did in the last election, there is a distinct possibility that you might choke on it ... which is precisely what happened.
“You have a right to your own opinions, but you do not have a right to your own facts.”
-- Daniel Patrick Moynahan
Maybe this telling quote still applies today?
That these techniques succeeded [...] was an indictment ... the Right fought harder for its fantasyland than the rest of America did for the real world.
... in particular, to climate deniers who profit from business-as-usual.
It is posited that the GOP lost the election.
No, they didn't defeat the President for re-election.
Yes, they control the House of Representatives.
The House's seat apportionments are skewed toward little rural states like this one, so that conservatives always get an extra helping of representatives. (Every state gets two seats for being a state in addition to the seats it gets for population, thus this state - Nebraska - gets five instead of three.)
Since there are more red states than blue states (communists), overturning the House majority of GOP is a difficult fight at best.
And while the Senate is currently made up of more Democrats, nothing gets through unless it also gets through the house. More of the same gridlock . . . which is exactly what the GOP wants. They mightn't be able to enact its own agenda, but the Dems can't enact theirs either.