But they also could have been simply affirming libertarian writer and Dilbert cartoonist, Scott Adams' observation that "nothing inspires forgiveness quite like revenge."
In any event, for many, that open display of cold-hearted insouciance over a life and death issue became sort of a watershed moment that finally forced some Americans to face up to questions that have been increasingly raised about just how far off the rail American culture has staggered. It became for many, the initiator of an effort to apply more focus on the new oddities that have and which continue to shape American society as a means of understanding the kind of culture that describes the Tea Party conservative's version of Amaurote , a place considered in folklore to be the "chief city of Utopia."
What could be gleaned, based on both audience reactions and the multitude of stupendously impractical policy proposals floated by most candidates -- for example, Bachmann's proposal to eliminate all taxes; or Perry's promise of "inconsequential government" -- was an illustration of a Tea Party conservative's version of the utopian city of Amaurote that seems strangely familiar.
From this vantage point, it seems an emotionally frigid, bleakly intolerant, morally ambivalent, and philosophically unbending, "Freedom is Slavery" and "War is Peace" kind of a province whose Orwellian walls are defended -- against a perpetual onslaught by invaders representing speaking truth to power -- by a brigade on whose flag is inscribed the motto: "Ignorance Is Strength." The kind of place where rancid tycoons like Rupert Murdoch , Richard Mellon Scaife and the Koch brothers are benefactors to the patriotic forces for all that is benevolent and good, while George Soros , Warren Buffet , and Bill Gates form a sort of philanthropic axis of evil who are far too dangerous to possess so much of what Tea Party conservatives consider history's greatest weapon of mass destruction -- hard, cold cash.
Meanwhile, the morbid implications of the "death cheer" seem indicative of a culture attractive to those with little stomach for humane compassion in judgment leading to a society in which human rights for corporations triumph over collective bargaining rights for humans, and where civil disobedience in protest against the federal government by one group of Americans is viewed as the righteous endeavor of authentic patriots, while the demands for a halt to the "Girls Gone Wild" mentality of Wall Street banksters by another group of Americans is the manifestation of a socialist-inspired movement of free-market enemies.
It's where the "lame-stream" media is viewed as this vast aggregator of unspeakable liberal agitprop and hatred for America, and where, outside of perhaps the 700 Club, Fox is the only news organization where unbiased, objective reporting can be found. It comes across as a place where it's "no child left a dime" when it comes to educating so-called "anchor babies" -- the American-born children of undocumented immigrants -- and where beneath the surface of the general scorn for demands that the rich accept a more equitable share of the burden of restoring the nation's economy lies sense of resentment toward the poor for possessing necessities like refrigerators and air-conditioners.
Because it considers most science to be illogical, it logically denies the legitimacy of evidence-based scientific concepts; particularly those which challenge both its "faith-based" and Tea Party conservative ideologies. Central among these denials are global warming and, of course, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Indeed where evolution is embraced, it's only in cases where that concept is defined as: the natural progression of corporations to the status of human beings. Ultimately, it seems society marked by a culture of " God, Gold, and Guns " where the concept of American exceptionalism is as benign as the underlying assertions expressed in coffee table magazines like "Garden and Gun" : in other words, simply the essential building blocks of its basic social fabric.
What seems most troubling about all this is that if Tea Party conservatives' prevailing goal is to develop a society characterized by "rugged individualism" and unfettered free market capitalism as an experiment in social Darwinism, for all intents and purposes, that experiment is succeeding based on the success Tea Party conservatives have had in forcing its agenda on Congress -- initially through endless filibustering, thus affirming Shakespeare's notion that: "sweet are the uses of adversity" -- and even more so since passage of health care reform. Case in point: the entirely synthetic debt ceiling "crisis." Through their efforts in Washington, it seems clear that the legislative path laid out by Tea Party conservatives and followed by its minions in Congress seems headed more towards a place of "natural selection " than "intelligent design ."
In fact, anyone promoting that assertion may have found further supporting evidence of the heartless character of the conservative litmus in the form of audience reaction at yet another Republican debate after CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Texas congressman Ron Paul how society should treat the uninsured who've taken ill, in particular, a patient who prior to illness, chose not to obtain health insurance.
"That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everybody ..." responded Paul, who is a medical doctor, as the remainder of the exchange became drowned out by applause.
"are you saying, Congressman," Blitzer asked, "that society should just let (sick, uninsured patients) die?"
But, before Paul could reply "no" (which he did), someone from within the debate audience yelled out "Yeah!"
It's easy to interpret this reaction as an assertion that: "it is far more acceptable for the sick to die on their own than to potentially sustain their lives by forcing everyone else to accept any form of government intrusion in health care market."
But there's always, of course, the possibility of misinterpretation. It's just as likely that the audience had in mind, an idea floated by unsuccessful Nevada senate candidate Sue Lowden during her 2010 campaign. If you recall, Lowden, was the libertarian GOP candidate who advocated a return to the old-fashioned barter system between doctors and patients as a means of paying for healthcare; "chickens for checkups " is how it was described by critics.