digby at Hullabaloo contemplates the psychology of the right, and recalls a family experience: "I'll never forget sitting in a crowd of wingnuts at a family gathering watching some footage of the Exxon Valdez spill and watching them all laugh uproariously at dying, oil covered birds flopping around on the beach."
Consider the previous post and this one together.
Politics -- at least the part of politics, which is ideas and rhetoric, as opposed to interest and personal ambition -- is a product of human ambivalence combined with the need to reach collective decisions.
Assemble any small group, and you will see the process in operation. To get along in a group, each person has to choose what they will say, and when, while choosing also when to allow others to speak. Automatically, almost, we choose our identities, we choose what ideas to specialize in expressing.
I would allow that laughing at a dying bird is one of several responses any human has available, not unique to someone with a peculiar pathology. The pathology lies in not caring to self-govern in a way that suppresses that impulse, in favor of a higher rank order for empathy.
In other words, it is a social choice.
As American politics has simplified and become a single continuum of worldviews, what divides our politics is more and more this kind of choice. And, one side of our politics is choosing greed and destruction and torture and corruption and cheating and waste.