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OPINION: Stockholm Idaho

by BRENT REGAN/Common Sense
| August 18, 2023 1:00 AM

Imagine an office size cage containing four monkeys. In the center of the cage is a stepladder and above that is a bunch of bananas suspended by a cord from the ceiling. Whenever a monkey tries to climb the ladder to get the bananas, water jets spray cold water on all the monkeys. After several aborted attempts, the monkeys now assiduously avoid the ladder despite the promise of tasty bananas.

Next imagine that one of the monkeys is removed and replaced with a new monkey with no knowledge of the water jets. After monkey introductions, Mr. Newmonkey proceeds to investigate the ladder with its promise of the aforementioned bananas. This activity causes him to be set upon by the other three with such violence and fervor that Mr. Newmonkey retreats to a corner in fear, forever cured of banana lust.

Then the next monkey is removed and his replacement makes a move toward the forbidden bananas, Mr. Newmonkey enthusiastically participates in the thrashing of the fresh arrival, sending the latest member to the corner of shame.

This process repeats two more times until all the original monkeys, the ones who were sprayed with water, have been replaced with monkeys that have no experience with the consequences of climbing the ladder. They avoid the bananas but they have no idea why. Negative reinforcement by their peers has brainwashed them into believing the ladder is bad.

The progressive left’s Cancel Culture is a powerful brainwashing tool that has been wielded to push an extreme social agenda. Nobody is immune. Recently, Congress was seriously debating a bill that would have allowed children as young as 7 to have their bodies surgically mutilated without parent notification or approval; something that would never have even been imagined a handful of years ago. This illustrates just how far left we have strayed by allowing a tiny but vocal and persistent minority to take advantage of an accommodating majority. Most Americans are simply too nice or too intimidated or too distracted or too busy to resist. The left has a goal but the right just wants to be left alone. To be successful the left only needs an occasional win.

Brainwashing does have limits and those limits are exceeded when the left goes after our children. Drag shows in parks, material harmful to minors in public libraries, gender mutilation, or chanting about coming for our kids are examples of going too far, crossing a line and causing some in the grassroots majority to go from acquiescence to action.

In response to any resistance to their narrative, the progressives do what progressives do: they attack with lies and accusations of racism or transphobia or fascism or you name it. Their oppression has the goal of suppression. The latest is to accuse someone of “platforming,” drawing attention to some miscreant, even though it is the accuser shining the spotlight. A sympathetic and complicit media, eager for eyeballs and clicks promotes these fallacies as fact. We are expected to believe ludicrous claims simply because the media regurgitates them in a chorus of believe us, not your own lying eyes.

In the midst of these attacks on conservatives we frequently find, either following or leading, people claiming to identify as “republican.” We see this clearly with the “Never Trumpers” where self-identifying Republicans supported Biden and attacked Trump in 2020 and now again in 2024. This effect is present at all levels of government. As we saw when Idaho Republican party members and elected officials supported a Democrat Attorney General nominee while attacking the nominated Republican, who went on to win in a landslide.

One wonders why the treachery?

We came to the cultural and political precipice because the Republican Party had allowed itself to be browbeaten and submissive to radical leftist demands to the point that we are expected to celebrate having a woman as vice-president but are forbidden from defining what being a “woman” means or that it is acceptable to surgically mutilate children for the sake of “expression.” These are not views held by a sane majority, but just a belligerent minority.

A reason for our success as a species is our adaptability. It seems humans can get used to and rationalize almost anything. Stockholm syndrome manifests when people are repeatedly exposed to trauma and they adapt over time and begin identifying with their abusers. The battered wife may come to falsely believe it is her fault. Even our simian cousins see the new monkey as the problem and not the guy controlling the water jets.

The progressive left has gone too far, causing the populist conservative base of the Republican Party to become energized and are engaging in record numbers. Their success sends chills down progressive spines.

It has been said that to truly test someone’s character, give them power and then see to what lengths they will go to keep it. Add to this a dash of Stockholm syndrome and you have a recipe for “establishment” Republicans allying with their progressive tormentors against the new arrivals. It sounds crazy at first but then you realize you can see examples almost every day. There are self-identifying Republicans proffering bizarre conspiracy theories of lurking white supremacist boogeymen or claiming that if Republicans act like actual Republicans, Idaho will turn blue.

These aren’t just individuals, they also huddle in cliques. During the last election the establishment North Idaho “Republicans’” list of endorsed candidates was identical to the Democrat’s list. The lust for power makes strange allies. It does sound crazy, but really….

It’s just common sense.

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Brent Regan is chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.