This isn’t just because I believe conservatism will lead to a more prosperous and virtuous society, but also because — in the unlikely event either side were to obtain carte blanche authority — the Left scares me more than the Right.
There’s no shortage of examples. Melissa Harris-Perry, for instance, recently revealed a terrifying tenet of the Left, which says our children belong to the collective, not to parents or families. As I wrote, this sentiment was so feared by George Orwell that he included it in both 1984 and Animal Farm. I should have also mentioned Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
Look at extremists abroad: From Stalin to Castro to Chavez, some on the Left have consistently displayed not just a tolerance for heavy-handed authoritarian regimes (as the Right has admittedly sometimes also done) but also an admiration of them.
Great essay from Michael Tomasky about the issues in the GOP today.
One of my favorite segments:
They’re like a family in deep denial at the Thanksgiving table. Guys, debating the best way to cook brussels sprouts is of marginal utility. Whether Cousin Ruthie wears her hair this way or that way is not worth dwelling on. The overwhelming fact at hand is that Uncle Ralph is drunk again, and he’s being a belligerent racist homophobic ass again, and he is preventing any civility and progress from taking place, and it’s been this way for four Thanksgivings in a row, and you are intentionally choosing to say nothing about it.
I encourage to read the whole thing. Unsurprisingly, Tomasky is being savaged in some of the comments for being a “leftist”.
A fascinating article I discovered on New Republic about the history of the GOP and conservatism in America and how it lead to the current time.
The page title is a quote from Garry Wills, a protégé of William Buckley.
If you’re a regular reader of The Dish, you know that Sully has long been an outspoken critic of the Republican Party, and those who deign to call themselves “conservative.” Well the events of the past 24 hours have convinced him that it’s over for the GOP:
Those of us who have warned for years about this disturbing trend toward ever more extreme measures - backing torture, pre-emptive un-budgeted wars, out-of-control spending followed, like a frantic mood swing, by anti-spending absolutism of the most insane variety in a steep recession, vicious hostility to illegal immigrants, contempt for gay couples, hostility even to contraception, let alone a middle ground on abortion … well, you know it all by now.
But the current constitutional and economic vandalism removes any shred of doubt that this party and its lucrative media bubble is in any way conservative. They aren’t. They’re ideological zealots, indifferent to the consequences of their actions, contemptuous of the very to-and-fro essential for the American system to work, gerry-mandering to thwart the popular will, filibustering in a way that all but wrecks the core mechanics of American democracy, and now willing to acquiesce to the biggest tax increase imaginable because they cannot even accept Obama’s compromise from his clear campaign promise to raise rates for those earning over $250,000 to $400,000 a year.
Enough. This faction and its unhinged fanaticism has no place in any advanced democracy. They must be broken. But the current irony is that no one has managed to expose their extremism more clearly than their own Speaker. His career is over. As is the current Republican party. We need a new governing coalition in the House - Democrats and those few sane Republicans willing to put country before ideology. But even that may be impossible.
I’m not a fan of Joe Scarborough - who has a three hour show on “liberal” MSNBC five days a week - but he nails it in this clip.
The supposed endgame behind the whole “starve the beast” plan was to end up creating a crisis that would force the elimination of Social Security and Medicare.
Those two programs have long been a major thorn in the side of ideological conservatives because they refute basic conservative dogma by…
1. Being government programs designed to help the entire population.
2. Actually working.
3. Being tremendously popular.
These facts damage one of the primary tenets of conservatism, that government doesn’t work, period. Why do you think they have also tried so hard for a plan “B” by their repeated plans and attempts to privatize both programs? Luckily for us those plans have always failed, at least so far.
By purposefully being fiscally irresponsible by lowering taxes while increasing government spending over 30 years the GOP has sent both the debt and the deficit skyrocketing. Their problem is that now that they finally have the “crisis” they have been trying to engineer, they lack enough public support to follow through. The overwhelming majority of the population wants to keep SS and Medicare going, even exits polls in this election confirmed that.
Those same polls and others have also shown that most people understand that a combination of both spending cuts and increased revenues via higher taxes is necessary. Not only to try to shore up the viability of the social programs but to avoid more damage to our credit rating and ultimately a possible economic crash and default on our debt.
The funny part of all this is that by agreeing to sequestration the GOP has now painted itself into a corner where taxes will go up no matter what happens. I don’t see how they can spin this into a win politically even with their PR machine cranked up to 11. As I said elsewhere here, Obama simply outplayed them in the “long game.” The Dems planned for this at the last debt ceiling negotiations while the Republicans failed to think it all the way through.
Personally I am going to stock up on a lot of popcorn because we are about to see four weeks worth of crying, whining, and hand wringing by the GOP. Regardless of what happens during those weeks the deficit will eventually end up being reduced and the Republicans are not likely to get much of the credit for doing so. Who knows, maybe instead of simply using it as a slogan the Republicans will finally see the need to actually become a fiscally responsible party in the end?
/Not holding my breath
Recently, there has been an increasing need for an outlet for the building political angst that has been culminating up to this election. Never in my life has the propaganda of the Right stretched so far and teetered so close with the brink of politically insane brainwashing. With this, there is an up rise spawning, of politically righteous, uninformed individuals that only know one thing: They don’t like conservatism. However, both sides are connected by one thing: A glaring lack of knowledge.
The American Dream is postmortem, so isn’t the thought of an honest campaign. I took it upon myself this year to become as well informed on the facts
Years after the passage of Romneycare, during a far tougher election cycle for Republicans, and before Romney moved right in his rhetoric and policy positions for the present contest, these conservative opinion-makers insisted that he could beat Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama, that he was in fact a true conservative, and that he could be trusted to safeguard the GOP’s soul.
Don’t take my word for it - look back at their words.
Rush Limbaugh deemed him an embodiment of every important aspect of conservatism.
“I think now, based on the way the campaign has shaken out, that there probably is a candidate on our side who does embody all three legs of the conservative stool, and that’s Romney,” he said. “The three stools or the three legs of the stool are national security/foreign policy, the social conservatives, and the fiscal conservatives. The social conservatives are the cultural people. The fiscal conservatives are the economic crowd: low taxes, smaller government.”
National Review endorsed him in an unsigned editorial.
A nice piece today on how in every aspect, Barack Obama is more conservative than Mitt Romney could ever dream of being, and how Romney will not make the GOP any less reckless than it’s been since it’s last administration was in power.
On issue after issue, Burke would be with Obama and against Rommey’s theo-political radicalism. The idea that Obama has somehow let down those conservatives who supported him over the McCain-Palin ticket therefore seems absurd to me. Obama has done all he said he intended to do, and almost all of it is a pragmatic response to America’s emergent and growing problems. On almost every question - a stimulus one-third tax cuts, a healthcare reform based on the Heritage Foundation model, cap-and-trade for carbon, and solid support for Israel while trying to nudge it away from self-destruction - Obama is in a right-of-center consensus as of a decade ago. It is his opponent who has twisted himself into a screaming radical dedicated to changing America much more profoundly - largely because Fox Nation is experiencing a cultural panic. As for temperament, the GOP is too consumed with cultural hatred to acknowledge the grace and calm of a man forced to grapple with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression with no help whatsoever from his opponents, a black man who has buried identity politics and remains a family man Republicans would fawn over if he were one of them.
Alas, the GOP is stuck in the 1984 of its own fetid imagination, incapable of acknowledging the real failures of the last Republican administration or the new, actual, vital questions we have to answer in this millennium: How do we make our healthcare system much more efficient? How do we best mitigate climate change? How do we tackle the problem of economic hyper-inequality? How do we advance US interests in a time of upheaval and revolution in the Arab world? How do we make government solvent?
The reason Romney’s campaign is vague on so many of these questions is that it has little to offer on these practical issues but ideological stridency. It is brain-dead. And zombie-conservatism is not conservatism. It is the violent twitching of a political corpse. This election is a chance to bury that corpse and start over. We should be grateful a de facto moderate Republican is president while conservatism has a chance to regroup.
Coercive persuasion is often used in gaining and keeping recruit in politically active Religious Right groups beyond the empire of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. We see cult practices at work in both Catholic and evangelical entities as well. My purpose in this post is not to delve deeply into the details of issues related to cults or to enumerate which groups use them. Rather, I want to surface this as an area of knowledge in which many of us, certainly myself, are deficient, even as the cultic aspects of politically oriented cults are serious. The zealotry we often see, is often less because of belief in particular doctrines so much as cultic control by leadership.
These things said, just because a group is religious and politically conservative, does not make them a cult. I do not believe that and I know that Steve does not either. He offers rigorous, scientifically founded characteristics cults. He also points out that cults are not limited to religious groups or to conservatism. There are business, political and psychotherapy cults as well. Indeed, anti-democratic cultic influences can disrupt the normal functioning of well established organizations, as Marshall Ganz ruefully revealed about the way the therapy cult Synanon essentially took over and largely destroyed United Farm Workers.
While his whole book is about the characteristics of cults and what people can do to help friends and loved ones come out from the totalist control of such groups, the short definition of a cult, he writes is: “an authoritarian group headed by a person or persons with near complete control.” He also discusses how groups use specific techniques to gain influence and control over people. Broadly speaking, he says this is accomplished by what he calls “destructive mind control.”
Cult influence is designed to disrupt a person’s authentic identity and replace it with a new identity. By immersing people in a tightly controlled, high-pressure social environment, destructive cults gain control of members’ behavior, thoughts, and emotions. They limit their access to outside information. They literally take control of their minds.