I’m not the kind who would prefer to think of Republican conservatives as enemies. Or anyone else, for that matter. Why would I want to have enemies of any kind? But Republicanism mystifies me, and I fear the Tea Party Republicans’ ignorant and corrosive mischief will cause irreparable damage to the country.
I’ve read books old and new that purport to explain why conservatives think their mode of government is the best. What I take away is that conservatism is first and foremost about protection of privilege, and anti-democratic to the core. I wrote about my conclusions and the reasons for them here and here. Nothing I’ve observed or read since has suggested I was wrong.
Conservatism is first and foremost
about protection of privilege.
The promotion of privilege is disguised as a belief in a natural hierarchy of abilities. It’s a circular argument: we can tell the natural leaders because they are rich, and they are rich because they are the natural leaders. The poor occupy their proper place because they have no abilities and they are lazy, especially if they aren’t white. The theory fails to explain how it could be that non-whites can be very rich, very talented, very smart, and very much leaders, which is the case. A lot of white people simply can’t abide the thought that they might not be the very best people there are simply because they’re white.
Various Republicans and Libertarians have proposed the dissolution of virtually every vitally important agency in Washington. They say we’ll all be better off, but they cannot explain how they personally will do without the vast array of benefits that come from pooling our money to meet mutual needs. They don’t explain how to get by without government services, since literally every national interest we have relies on the smooth functioning of these agencies. Without the Center for Disease Control, we couldn’t even order flu vaccine. Without Census we would have no idea of the population and makeup of the country. Wall Street was all at sea during the shutdown without the monthly jobs report.
They propose the dissolution of every
vitally important agency in Washington.
Minimal government guarantees that there will be fewer people employed, pay will be lower, and the economy will decline, while the wealth of the very rich continues to grow—at least for a while.
Conservatives have only to look around today at the mess they have wrought with their precipitation of budget sequestration, and shutting government operation down entirely by refusing to pass responsible budget laws. They hold the nation hostage in order to defund a health care law that was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law, and which shows every sign of being tremendously popular among us peasantry. These are idiotic actions that no sensible person could ever approve. All supposedly because they think minimal government is best.
Many among them want the country to default,
which would create worldwide havoc.
Hard on the heels of this malign economy-crushing, many among them want the country to default on its debts this month, and will refuse to raise the debt limit when it must be done, causing permanent damage. This would create worldwide havoc, and simply destroy faith in the US as a stable economic power, which in turn would irreparably damage our economy and political power for the indefinite future. They think it’s wise to create this mayhem despite the fact that most countries have no debt limit at all, and never need to argue about one.
And why do they want to do this? Because minimal government is best, which just happens to mesh nicely with arranging the government to make the rich ever richer. Oh, and they have this irrational hatred of a president who is calm and rational, even in the face of their rabid craziness.