It's kind of ironic how the Chareidi RWNJs (Right Wing Nut Jobs) keep heaping on the chumras, be they about Tznius, making it seem more Taliban-like than Jewish, or about Pesach, always adding to the list of what's kitniyos (Pot?! Come on!!!), or about concerts, or any other slew of things that have been reported in the news and on other blogs. All this has been, in essence, an effort to close themselves off from the rest of the world, claiming they want nothing to do with the outside world and that they don't want the outside world to affect them.
Good. If that were the case. Here's the irony, though: By becoming more and more right wing, or, in their eyes at least, "frummer" than the rest of the Orthodox world, they are more and more reflecting the outside, non-Jewish world, especially fundamentalist Muslims and Christians. They are not closing themselves off from the outside world. They are making themselves more like some elements in the outside world.
Look at the Arab Fundamentalists - They scream and shout about their religion and how it's the only "emes." Sound familiar? They make their women dress literally from head to toe in shapeless clothes. Sound familiar? Ok, thankfully, the Jewish RWNJ aren't doing so yet, at least when it comes to covering up women's faces with burkhas. However, Rabbi Adlerstein, over at Cross-Currents, has inferred more than once that he won't mention who's who in the RWNJ world without upping his life insurance for fear of his life, the same way many "normal" "middle of the road" Arabs simply don't object to the fundamentalism because they like staying alive. On the other hand, Rabbi Natan Slifkin was put into Cherem simply because he mentioned theories of the age of the universe that, while mentioned by great Torah scholars of the past, are not as universally accepted or popular as say, the theory of Hakadosh Baruch Hu Bara Olam Yashan (God created an old [looking] world). Interesting to note about Rabbi Slifkin: Rav Elyashiv was apparently quite surprised Rabbi Slifkin's books are in Cherem, having pronounced them to be good books for Ba'alei Teshuva with questions about Judaism to read...
Look at the Christians - They espouse family values. That's all you hear from them, especially their politicians. But where do you hear about troubled families, messy divorces, and infidelity the most? The Chrisitian Right, especially their politicians.
Then there's Chareidi politics. Pretty much the same as that of the Christian Right. It's practically halacha to vote for the Republicans because they are so good for "family values" and for religion. Never mind the history of Christian hatred toward Jews. Never mind the Halacha that Eisav Soneh L'Yaakov - Eisav hates Yaakov. Never mind they believe the only way their "Savior" will come back will be if the Holy Land is not in the hands of infidels, and Jews don't happen to be infidels (we just need "Saving"). Never mind that that idiot Bush's White House policies and his illegal war in Iraq has caused the Arabs to hate Israel (which they see as the US's proxy in the Middle East) and Jews even more than they already did (not that they needed an excuse, but Bush gave them one anyway - is that how a "friend" of Israel acts?), making him pretty bad for Israel and the Jews, not as great as so many people, especially many in the RZ community, believe.
My wife and I are big fans of a show called Stargate-SG1, which, sadly, ended it's ten year run in June. The Episode titled "Line in the Sand" made a very poignant point about people in authority corrupting stories in religious texts to fit their own agendas. In this particular episode, one character, Tomin, had been reading from the "Book of Origin," a ficitional Bible of some very powerful beings trying to force their religion on the rest of the galaxy. In the story, the main character, Markon, did not want to accept the religion and left his village. However, he had second thoughts, accepted the Ori, and was accepted back.
The Prior, the equivalent of a priest or a rabbi, of the Ori (hence - Origin), skewed this story and instead decided that the story meant the village that took him back in was destroyed, thus using the story to achieve his own goal of destroying a village that would not accept the Ori in the Stargat episode:
"The village will be destroyed. They have been touched by evil. There is no salvation for them. Markon walked away from the Ori to satisfy his hunger. But no matter how much he ate, he did not feel full. Realizing his mistake, he ran back to the Ori. But they denied his pleas and struck down the village that welcomed him back, and the hands of the Ori enveloped all those who welcomed him back. The village was destroyed. All those who stand by and accept transgressions must be punished."
Said Tomin to the Prior, "Forgive me Prior, that is not the implication of the text. The Ori granted forgiveness when Markon realized his mistake and blessed the village with their light for showing him the way back to the Path."
The Prior roared back at him, "You DARE to question my judgement?!" "No," said Tomin. "It's just not how I was taught."
"There are many words, but only one TRUTH," retorted the Prior.
And this is what's been going on in the Chareidi RWNJ world. No longer is the precept of Shiv'im Panim LaTorah accepted. Texts are skewed or misrepresented when convenient. There can be only one way, their way, and how dare someone question them or say something not in line with what they and their gedolim decree? And if you go against them, it's Cherem! Which is pretty much the same as destroying the village. Let's desroy the person.
Oh, and by the way. Fedoras and suits are definitely the way goyim dress (well, dressed, in the case of hats). If one really wants to dress as Moshe Rabbeinu did, one should wear a Kafiyeh and robes, not a suit, tie, and gangster hat...