Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Election night commentary: Conservatism...not dead yet?
Well, would you please hurry up and die?
There seems to be something of a semi-conservative Republican resurgence in the latest election, a very unfortunate development in several respects.
First, the Democrats haven't even had a chance to demonstrate that their big government approach to the economy doesn't work. Unpleasant as destruction is, we'd still be better off with a clean "experiment" on this. I would not say this if the alternative to the status quo were laissez faire, but it's not, because...
Second, the conservative Republicans do not have a better approach to offer than the Democrats. The primary values they promote include bigotry against gays, state religion, skepticism about environmental problems, everlasting war, the surveillance state, and strict fiscal responsibility...except when Republicans control the purse-strings, of course. Then it's "deficits don't matter" as Dick Cheney put it. Bigger government, while denying it's really bigger is today's Republican way. The GOP has become the party of overt, militant ignorance. (The Democrats at least pretend to believe in science and reason.)
I'm hoping that the apparent Democrat victory in New York's 23rd Congressional District is more illustrative of the strength and position of the GOP -- weak and in a shambles. America has a two party system, and so long as the Republicans are our alternative to Democrat-style fascism... well, what makes Republican fascism any better? Obama has largely followed the Bush line in most areas...he's just more articulate and soothing when he does it.
Meanwhile, one of the puppet-masters behind the Republicans, Rupert Murdoch, has spoken out against free speech (in Beijing, of all places). It appears that he's upset about "content kleptomaniacs," i.e. people who quote him and his news services. We'll pay, if he has his way.
Yikes! So much for conservative leaders' respect for free speech. (Listen to this maniac, and the rather sensible discussion from Google afterwards.)
I have quite a few friends who love freedom and are thus genuinely and very sensibly opposed to big government. Unfortunately, they tend to be drawn to the conservatives of the Republican Party, because the Democrats are fairly explicit that they are for big government. For reasons I still can't fathom,* my friends don't see through "soothing words" when spoken by conservative Republican leaders, even when these words are every bit as supportive of tyrannical government as those of Obama.
Friends, we'd be better off if conservatism would just die.
* Bruce Schneier has a very thoughtful post that goes a long way to explaining why politicians can systematically manipulate followers, without the followers seeming to ever catch on. Today's conservative leaders seem particularly adept at wielding fear.
(By hoping for the end of conservatism, I mean that I wish for a better replacement, of course.)