The Conservative Apologist

If one thing is clear from the Arizona shooting, it is the inability of those on the right side of the political spectrum in America to face the reality that their words have power. The barrage of excuses and finger pointing is the consistent reaction of a political ideology that dominates much of the air waves today. One would need to believe that Jared Loughner's anger materialized out of thin air and his selection of victim had nothing to do with the political climate in America. This is just another example of an inability of most on the right to face the real world with eyes open.

Today there is a bustling business in revising history, and there is conservative money to recreate the past in any number of ways. Examine only the conservative and corporate sponsored think tanks, bloggers, or the so called grass root movements that get lots of press but are corporate sponsored. To be clear, it is money that comes from ideologues who have done well under American capitalism, but haven't the insight to recognize it is Constitutional Democracy and not Laissez-Faire economics that creates the conditions for their success.

Any failure of American policies, any downturn in the economy, any change is always caused by the opponent. The right has an amazing ability to turn every issue into something else. Consider that they cannot even face the fact fascism is of the right and contains many of the core beliefs of the right even today. Their almost worshipful support of corporations is just one aspect. Corporations do no wrong in their world, it is rather the government that is the cause of all trouble. One sees in this belief the power of many years of corporate propaganda.

History is being rewritten as we live and breath and wonder. Coolidge and Hoover are not mentioned in any examination of the Great Depression, one would think Roosevelt created it on election. Eisenhower's warning are forgotten even by conservative republicans. Economic collapses and corruption under Reagan are forgotten, the right even forgets Reagan raised taxes many times. Given power, the right fails consistently as Bush Jr proved once more, but do you ever hear a conscious or critical examination of that failure. No, instead Bush is not one of the them. Today Bush is being revised and soon he will among the great presidents. Is there any wonder an ideology so un-insightful fails when in power? Out of power they are at their best.

So what is common here, what stands out, and why? Some right wing thought is easily understood as it coincides with corporate interests, regulation as anathema, global warming as fraud, corporate taxes as brakes on profit. These are easy, but what of the demonization of the opponent, is that necessary or did it grow out of power and the loss of power under democracy? Every time there is change in society, many resent that change, feel left out, or alienated. The 19th century transition from an agricultural base to a manufacturing base, and the subsequent immigration, brought a similar populist backlash. Are we always destined to witness this turmoil, add an economic downturn, terrorism, and you have the making of chaos, even evil, as history and Arizona prove.

For a view back, Albert O. Hirschman writes brilliantly about the conservative penchant for reaction rather than thought in "The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy." For a contemporary analysis of America today see, John Kenneth Galbraith's "The Culture of Contentment", and even more recent Tony Judt's "Ill Fares the Land." All excellent reads.


"Since Obama took office in January 2009, there have been seven separate cases of disturbed white men committing political murders after becoming hopped up on guns, right-wing media and anti-government and anti-Obama blather. And this doesn't even include Loughner’s attack or other incidents where the gunman was intent on killing but didn't succeed." Read article here.



"We first kill people with our minds, before we kill them with weapons. Whatever the conflict, the enemy is always the destroyer. We're on God's side; they're barbaric. We're good, they're evil. War gives us a feeling of moral clarity that we lack at other times." Sam Keen

Comments

  1. Your posting above contains:

    "Consider that they cannot even face the fact fascism is of the right and contains many of the core beliefs of the right even today. Their almost worshipful support of corporations is just one aspect. Corporations do no wrong in their world, it is rather the government that is the cause of all trouble. One sees in this belief the power of many years of corporate propaganda."

    I am a conservative, and the conservatism I seek to live and explain to others has nothing at all to do with fascism (or nazism for that matter). Fascism is at odds with true conservatism because fascism is a radical, authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists advocate the creation of a totalitarian single-party state that seeks the mass mobilization of a nation through indoctrination, physical education, and family policy including eugenics. Fascists exalt militarism as providing positive transformation in society, and view violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and vitality. Conservatism seeks a constitutionally limited government where all citizens are free to lawfully pursue endeavors in their own self-interest, including creating and operating businesses and corporations. Conservatives don't advocate for a one-party system, nor believe in authoritarian dictatorial rule. Conservatives believe in using military force as a means of defense against tyranny and oppression, and don't seek to use it to promote a nationalistic agenda. Conservatives don't believe in an ethnically pure state, but rather embrace many cultures and races coming together into one new nation, with secure borders and a common language (English), and a common culture (American). I agree that government and business have been in bed together for far too long, and I would like to abolish all government subsidies paid to business. Corporations should have minimal regulation, low taxes, and be allowed to conduct business relatively unhindered by government, so long as they're not engaging in clearly illegal conduct. Conservatives are all about personal liberty lived out responsibly, and we want the government out of our lives as much as possible. We want to keep more of the money we earn, and we want the right to make decisions for ouselves in the areas of the bill of rights where government is properly limited and told what it cannot do to infringe on our personal liberty and freedom. The mistake you are making is a classic mistake that most liberals or progressives make: you equate fascism and/or nazism with someone telling you what to do, or making social policy through law that you don't agree with, and for some reason you see conservatives as an oppressive force that will somehow make you do what you don't want to do. You are mistaken about what true conservatives believe. Read my posting "Conservatism Defined" on my blog.

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  2. If anyone wants to understand political conservatism, I suggest Albert O. Hirschman's brilliant 'The Rhetoric of Reaction.' "He argues that a triplet of 'rhetorical' criticisms--perversity, futility, and jeopardy--'has been unfailingly leveled' by 'reactionaries' at each major progressive reform of the past 300 years--those T. H. Marshall identified with the advancement of civil, political and social rights of citizenship...Charmingly written, this book can benefit a diverse readership." [url=http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/HIRRHE.html?show=reviews]The Rhetoric of Reaction - Albert O. Hirschman - Harvard University Press[/url].

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