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Revolt of the Rich
August 28, 2012 5:31 PM   Subscribe

The American Conservative and the Revolt of the Rich
posted by paper chromatographologist (62 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
Now that's what a real conservative sounds like.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:45 PM on August 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


the rich certainly are revolting
posted by the theory of revolution at 5:48 PM on August 28, 2012 [18 favorites]


So sad for the problems the rich face....
posted by BlueHorse at 5:49 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


the rich certainly are revolting

Just need a bit of Worcestershire Sauce.
posted by Talez at 5:57 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, even American Conservative magazine is beginning to notice.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 5:58 PM on August 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


So I'm assuming the author will be forced out and denounced as a RINO starting tomorrow? What? His book is called The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.

Fucking librul.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:05 PM on August 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


When Jesus was warning the rich two thousand years ago, their major concerns were things like moths, rust, and thieves, i.e., actual, physical perils to actual, physical stuff. Their wealth was the sort of thing that came from, was part of, and was difficult to remove from the local community. Inequity and avarice abounded, but you could only do so much with it, and if someone was rich, you could tell by looking.

Today, the wealthy have no such limitations on moving their wealth from place to place. Their wealth is mostly in bits of data in the global financial network. It does not originate in, is disconnected from, and trivially easy to remove from any and every community. Inequity and avarice are magnified, multiplied, unlimited, and wealth no longer even be visible.

Ironically, this makes the rich less secure, not more. A Roman patriarch had to worry about moths, rust, and thieves, true. But today's corporate potentates have to worry about those things and inflation, interest rates, and the price of tea in China. Literally, in some cases. In making wealth virtual, ephemeral, it has not become any less vulnerable to physical dangers but is now also exposed to virtual, ephemeral ones.

Which shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Warnings to the rich are never all that far removed from warnings about idolatry. Or, as it were: "Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?"
posted by valkyryn at 6:06 PM on August 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


remember when conservatism meant CONSERVING the institutions and functions of society? - now, it seems, many worship at the altar of "creative destruction" where "outdated" and "dysfunctional" things are done away with to make room for something better

the only problem being is that these people don't know how to build anything - they only know how to destroy - they would dismantle social programs, regulations and the government itself for some mythical america where people volunteer to help each other and pull themselves up by their bootstraps while the wealthy make their pile so the rest of us can have economic opportunity

the problem being that the world has never really worked like that and the rich eventually overextend themselves in folly, fantasy and wishful thinking until they go broke and everything goes to hell

so, it's no wonder that a real conservative finds himself greatly disturbed by this - neither the tea partiers or the romney "moderate" right understand what they are doing with their proposed dismantling of what we have, or that eventually they will have to construct something to replace it with - and corporatacricy will prove to be insufficient, as much of the business world can't even manage to guarantee prosperity and security for themselves, much less us

it is proposed that we let incompetent children with great muscles and small brains run our world

and those conservatives who actually think about things according to principle are becoming appalled

i miss the days when i could actually vote for a republican, splitting my ticket, knowing that a sane moderate, experienced stateman was getting my vote - but that was decades ago ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:10 PM on August 28, 2012 [23 favorites]


Oh my god, that was a breath of fresh air. More like this, please, and this.

Holy shit, even their comments section isn't half bad.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:16 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


The problems this country faces today will not be fixed by voting. They will be fixed when people revolt.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:20 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I guess stopped watch tells the time right twice a day and whatnot.

The truth of the matter is that the pendulum has shifted so far to the right that except for a label change old school Eisenhower Republicans might as well be Democrats. Hell they'd probably have more of a voice in the Democratic party than they do in the Republican party.

But tribal loyalties are deep and despite the Republican party firmly embracing the concepts of "big government" and adopting very intrusive social policies that are almost completely antithetical to supposed libertarian tenets these guys continue to hang out with a team that really only seems to value them for financial resources.
posted by vuron at 6:21 PM on August 28, 2012


vuron: "The truth of the matter is that the pendulum has shifted so far to the right that except for a label change old school Eisenhower Republicans might as well be Democrats."

As Richard Stallman said:

"In the 1970s we had a name for politicians with policies like Obama's: Republicans."
posted by dunkadunc at 6:24 PM on August 28, 2012 [22 favorites]


I mean, seriously:
If we want to have a serious conversation about wealth and income inequality in this country, let’s have that discussion. But if you start from the premise that the great equalizer is the federal tax code, you are just headed down the slippery slope of classist pandering, much like our sitting president. If you are going to use the tax code to impose income equality, then you have to figure out a way to keep the taxes from actually flowing into the coffers of the government. Higher taxes on the wealthy is not going to give us income equality; it’s going to give us unnecessary fighter jets and dozens more Solyndras, plus a few more entitlements that will just lead to more classist pandering from some socialist about needing to tax the rich more.
That is a conservative commenter on a conservative magazine's website saying that, yes, if you're hell-bent on using taxes to level the playing field it can work if that money finds its way back to the people (in some unspecified non-entitlement way). In this day and age, that's like seeing a unicorn. A unicorn I disagree with on some big points, but holy shit, unicorn! I want to talk politics with that unicorn!

---

The truth of the matter is that the pendulum has shifted so far to the right that except for a label change old school Eisenhower Republicans might as well be Democrats. Hell they'd probably have more of a voice in the Democratic party than they do in the Republican party.

I have to wonder if there's a whiteboard in a messy, empty-coffee-cup-strewn DNC office somewhere that says "REVERSE SOUTHERN STRATEGY???" in big, bold letters circled and underlined.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:27 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


The problems this country faces today will not be fixed by voting. They will be fixed when people revolt.

*Burns his bra*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 PM on August 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Brandon, I'm pretty sure that flaming padding is contributing to greenhouse gases.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 6:31 PM on August 28, 2012


My guess is that American Conservative is a paleocon institution and was never all that disagreeable with the average MeFi political orientation compared to, say, the Weekly Standard or National Review.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:31 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


My guess is that American Conservative is a paleocon institution

Among other things. It was founded in 2002, partly in response to the invasion of Iraq, which the editors opposed. It's a sort of (civil) libertarian/paleoconservative outfit.

Of course, one of its founders was Pat Buchanan, so the mileage on this...

was never all that disagreeable with the average MeFi political orientation

...is likely to vary somewhat widely. It's non-interventionist on both foreign and domestic fronts.
posted by valkyryn at 6:37 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, even American Conservative magazine is beginning to notice.

Not only is far right "paleoconservatism" mostly in opposition to neo-conservatism and libertarian tea-partyism, making it not infrequently closer to the Green party on a number of issues (e.g. war), but Pat Buchanan's successor, Ron Unz, is politically and intellectually idiosyncratic, turning the magazine into a kind of wild card.

Ralph Nader: Conservatively Speaking

His-Panic

Race, IQ, and Wealth

Buckley’s Unlikely Heir
posted by dgaicun at 6:38 PM on August 28, 2012


I get a very strong Gibson vibe from all this. In Mona Lisa Overdrive he posits that the sufficiently rich are no longer human.

The sky over the port was the colour of a television tuned to CNNMoney.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:39 PM on August 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


I've been reading American Conservative and particularly Daniel Larison for some time. They are in fact real conservatives, which means they aren't too fond of Republicans. Not a fan of Dreher tho.
posted by alex_reno at 6:40 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the thing about paleoconservatism is that there's a weird overlap between it and some modern "race realist" neo-racists. Pretty unfortunate.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:43 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


My guess is that American Conservative is a paleocon institution and was never all that disagreeable with the average MeFi political orientation compared to, say, the Weekly Standard or National Review.

Well, The American Conservative was founded by Pat Buchanan, so I expect the boilerplate complaints about racism, sexism, homophobia, , misogyny, transphobia, biphobia, xenophobia, antisemitism, ethnocentrism, neoconfederacy, clerical fascism, anti-choice activism, antifeminism, nationalism, support for Nazi war criminals, isolationism, the radical religious right, creationism, censorship, etc., etc., etc.
posted by Yakuman at 6:45 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the thing about paleoconservatism is that there's a weird overlap between it and some modern "race realist" neo-racists.

The linked "race" article challenges a lot of that, which is what makes it idiosyncratic and noteworthy.
posted by dgaicun at 6:49 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess Ron Unz might have less unsavory views than the actual founders of TAC.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:51 PM on August 28, 2012


I've been reading American Conservative and particularly Daniel Larison for some time.

Larison is one of the best foreign policy wonks to be found anywhere across the political spectrum. Many of the other columnists at TAC are hit and miss. Though Ron Unz has managed to surprise be quite a bit in the last year or two.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:06 PM on August 28, 2012


Hit post too soon. surprise me in a positive way, that is.

The American Conservative has been a somewhat refreshing presence. I don't agree with a lot of their content, but they are one of the few honest sources of conservative opinion out there. Most conservative content found elsewhere is always in larger service to the Party. They'll lie, flip flop, or roll over, as long as it serves to get the GOP more power.

Right or wrong, TAC seems more dedicated to ideas, and the likes of Larison don't seem interested in being anyone's bitch.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:18 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


TAC is a genuinely good magazine. It also happens to be pretty far from the mainstream, alas.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:29 PM on August 28, 2012


I want to talk politics with that unicorn!

We should chip in and buy him a mefi membership.
posted by sneebler at 7:30 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


For those of you surprised by the source, there has been a surprising amount of sense-making stuff that I've read in this magazine lately. Just sayin.


Or maybe its me
posted by C.A.S. at 7:33 PM on August 28, 2012


I cannot recommend this article enough.
A study by the Bertelsmann Foundation concluded that in measures of economic equality, social mobility, and poverty prevention, the United States ranks 27th out of the 31 advanced industrial nations belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Thank God we are still ahead of Turkey, Chile, and Mexico!
...
If a morally acceptable American conservatism is ever to extricate itself from a pseudo-scientific inverted Marxist economic theory, it must grasp that order, tradition, and stability are not coterminous with an uncritical worship of the Almighty Dollar, nor with obeisance to the demands of the wealthy. Conservatives need to think about the world they want: do they really desire a social Darwinist dystopia?
posted by deanklear at 7:35 PM on August 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


But perhaps the most notable 19th-century exponent of wealth as virtue and poverty as the mark of Cain was Russell Herman Conwell, a canny Baptist minister, founder of perhaps the first tabernacle large enough that it could later be called a megachurch, and author of the immensely famous “Acres of Diamonds” speech of 1890

Eponysterical.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:41 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


jason_steakums and brandon blatcher, you guys made me snort-laugh.

Which is a welcome change after this article, which leaves me not terribly optimistic for this country's prospects.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:46 PM on August 28, 2012


In terms of the american political conversation, this article is a breath of fresh air amid a choking hurricane of putrid shit. Thanks for posting!
posted by sarastro at 8:04 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Which is a welcome change after this article, which leaves me not terribly optimistic for this country's prospects.

Don't worry, The US will get married one day. Maybe to Israel, he's a nice Jewish boy AND your cousin England tells me he's got nuclear capabilities!
posted by sendai sleep master at 8:13 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Don't worry, The US will get married one day. Maybe to Israel, he's a nice Jewish boy AND your cousin England tells me he's got nuclear capabilities!
Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a mutually-beneficial hawkish alliance that dogwhistles loudly for American fundamentalists inclined towards end-times scripture...

...hmm. Needs work.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:31 PM on August 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


I suppose this is a good time as any to mention that I always thought that the butcher in Fiddler, Lazar Wolf, was actually called "Laser Wolf".....Which just sounds like something being cooked up in a dual project between DARPA and the Department of Animal Care and Control.
posted by sendai sleep master at 8:37 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jesus, haven't you recommended this article enough?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:41 PM on August 28, 2012


The truth of the matter is that the pendulum has shifted so far to the right that except for a label change old school Eisenhower Republicans might as well be Democrats.

Dude, we don't even have to go back to Eisenhower or Rockefeller Republicans. The current Republicans didn't even invite frickin' George H.W. Bush to the convention! The same Bush that served as Reagan's VP! I'd feel pretty cornered right now even as a Bush Republican.
posted by FJT at 9:03 PM on August 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Out at my weekly trivia night tonight, we (a group of mostly lawyers in DC) and as we've been doing for the past several months at these nights, we were discussing The Newsroom, a show we all think is deeply problematic but shows possibility for good things. For those who haven't seen it, Sunday night's season finale is centered around Will McAvoy anchoring a show that systematically destroys every Te Party position as opposed to the Republican ideology that McAvoy believes in.

Apart from the conclusion where McAvoy calls the Tea Party "The American Taliban" (which we lawyers all agreed was the proverbial "one question too many") my Republican friend loved it, saying that he agreed with everything McAvoy said up to that point, and that his party had been hijacked by beliefs he couldn't stand by. He still likes Romney, but is breaking from the new platform (and apparently responded to his dad's "Obama is making America less free" by asking his dad to read the bill of rights and point out even one instance where that is the case.)

I love this article, not just for being something I agree with, and not just for the "only Nixon could go to China" aspect, but for helping to give a voice to the people who won't be heard at the RNC this week, and for recognizing a very real problem without feeling duty-bound to pretend like everything is hunky-dory as long as the GOP elite have their coffers filled.

It inspires me to believe that an actual discussion and constructive debate might still, maybe, be found. That there are conservatives who see the current Republican party as what it is - divine-right-royalists under a corporate veil - and wish to correct that.

Progress comes via discussion. The Tea Party (and it does really go back to Gingrich or perhaps Atwater) has demonized discussion, and governance, and accountability for it's funders, etc. Even the comment section on this article, though coming from an obviously conservative worldview that I do not share, is, well, thoughtful.

And I'd be very happy to deal with a thoughtful conservative opposition party.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:07 PM on August 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


I guess this probably fits here.
posted by alex_reno at 10:22 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Even more astounding:
The Center will champion a balanced transportation system in which rail and highway travel complement each other. We recognize that some journeys will always be more convenient by car. However, Americans should have the choice to travel to and from any point in the country without relying on an automobile. By restoring this flexibility, which existed as recently as the 1950′s, we can lay the foundation for an America less dependent on oil and secure from threats from the Middle East and other oil-producing areas.
Yeah, definitely pony up some fivers for these guys.
posted by Seiten Taisei at 10:49 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, where's the grassroots organization where Liberals and Conservatives who long for better discourse set up their own local debates and discussions to show how it's done and push for changes in media and government discourse? Because I would be all over that, it gets at a basic, root problem that poisons everything else in politics. Some Get Out the Vote for decency, honesty and an end to the mainstreaming of anti-intellectualism, with the core ethos of the group being "we will call liars out together, Liberals and Conservatives, even when they're in our own parties" would absolutely float my boat. The National Organization of "Show Some Fucking Class for Once".
posted by jason_steakums at 11:22 PM on August 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Very interesting article. As an outsider, I'm as always struck by the reverence for the Founding Fathers found in American public discourse. It seems a bit odd to me, compared to my native Norway where we fiddle with our constitution from time to time without much ado. One of the reasons could be the rather infamous banning of Jews and Jesuits from the country in Norway's original constitution. This was eventually overturned, but is usually mentioned as a black mark in accounts from the constitutional process. I suspect this cemented a view of our "founding fathers" as "great, but flawed, men" in the national consciousness. Americans seems to have elevated theirs to the realm of prophets, whose words are only to be interpreted, not discounted.
posted by Harald74 at 1:27 AM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]



The article gives modern conservatives far, far too much credit. Strangely enough, the author seems to believe that something has changed recently within conservative culture, that there is something new and especially potent about these latest protectors of privilege. But this is not the case. Today's conservatives are a pale shadow, a kind of distorted echo of their ideological ancestors. Historically conservatives prized, above all else, their attachment to eternal, unchanging values. Tomorrow they're going to line up to vote for Mitt Romney.

The author also seems to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of conservatism. The defining principle of conservatism is not the advancement of capitalism. In fact originally it was just the opposite: it was conservatives who were the original skeptics of the miraculous market, who were vehemently against the capitalism's fantastic ability to destabilize and virtualize everything and everybody, and who fought literal wars and revolutions to prevent the rise of the industrial class.

Cultural critiques of conservatism like the one presented in this article are fundamentally useless. Naive thinkers like the author fall victim to the fundamental error: they look to culture for that which can be explained by class. But Marx understood that culture is nothing, it is an illusion, a historical accident that is "experienced again" after the fact once the immediate crisis is over. Culture is the mask that class wears to fool itself.

It's clear now that at some point capitalism found a use for conservatives. At some point the market -- which had at first adored diversity and competition and been an enemy of the old guard -- saw a value opportunity in the vast fearful wonder that clouds the conservative mind. The conservative heart is a hard, bitter little thing, very cheap and and even more cruel, totally unlike the generous and "adventuresome" heart of Say's entrepreneur or the self-creating Consumer -- and yet it is in the deeply conservative heart that the market now looks for growth and for its own preservation. What's striking is not that the brave guardians of privilege and inequality -- and that's all conservatism is, it's a deeply shallow ideology like most other utopian ideologies -- were so easily co-opted by capitalism, that they were so easily made to serve the market, really, it's no surprise that slavish people want nothing more than to serve the most powerful Master. What's really striking is that capitalism so quickly reached a point where it needed the conservatives, where the entire system reached a point of such brokenness that it had to be saved by the advocates of apple pie.

The question then is not where did conservatism go wrong (ha ha) but rather where did capitalism go wrong? Where did inequality become the secret sauce?
posted by nixerman at 1:37 AM on August 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


While the idea of something so integrated seceding from the nation state is laughably maniacal, the actual attempt is nonetheless tragic. I think this is just an artifact of nation states becoming more globally connected and interdependent. Elites, bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and the have-nots from all corners of the world are increasingly visible and in contact with each other.

Really, this secession ideology is the ultimate slicing off the nose to spite the face—just adjust the metaphor to your preferred imbalance of power. I like to think of it as a festering scab that needs to be removed. People who grow up under this ideology might think the world is supposed to be a lot tougher, uglier, and nastier than it really is because they haven't seen the healthy version. It may be slightly painful, and the wound may need some attention, but this organism's skin needs to grow back. It won't be fresh as a newborn's, but at least it's the real deal.

It's been mentioned by a few others in this thread, but the conflation of inflexibility and conservatism has really done a number on US politics.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 2:45 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Race, IQ, and Wealth

Yes, that right there is a unicorn. I used to identify as conservative and I never, ever encountered such in-depth analysis of race and IQ that didn't conclude with some variation of "and so you see, brown people are just stupid". Whether it was genetics or culture, ultimately the problem was always located within some failing of the ethnic minority in question. It's definitely conservative but I didn't flinch once. This article actually reminded me of one of my favorite progressive books, "The Ethnic Myth" in the claim that culture does not sufficiently explain why some populations are more successful than others.
posted by Danila at 4:15 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I say that you ought to get rich, and it is your duty to get rich. … The men who get rich may be the most honest men you find in the community. Let me say here clearly … ninety-eight out of one hundred of the rich men of America are honest. That is why they are rich. That is why they are trusted with money. … I sympathize with the poor, but the number of poor who are to be sympathized with is very small. To sympathize with a man whom God has punished for his sins … is to do wrong … let us remember there is not a poor person in the United States who was not made poor by his own shortcomings.

It is so hard for me to believe that someone actually spoke these words out loud and not only were his words well received, he made a fortune off them, giving that speech over 6000 times. What a vile human being this Baptist Minister was but apparently he was saying something that people wanted to hear.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:40 AM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


> "One of the reasons could be the rather infamous banning of Jews and Jesuits from the country in Norway's original constitution. This was eventually overturned, but is usually mentioned as a black mark in accounts from the constitutional process."

The U.S. had similarly vile features in its Constitution which took a civil war to get rid of. Somehow this never seems to come up in the discourse of U.S. "Constitutional originalists".
posted by kyrademon at 5:48 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, that right there is a unicorn. I used to identify as conservative and I never, ever encountered such in-depth analysis of race and IQ that didn't conclude with some variation of "and so you see, brown people are just stupid".

What's especially good about that article is that its opening paragraphs don't suggest how much of a unicorn it's going to be. It's an article designed to sneak up on people with a certain set of preconceptions, later to surprise and challenge them.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:36 AM on August 29, 2012


I live amongst some of the most liberal liberals who ever... liberaled. And for a while I was receiving the paper version of the American Conservative. I felt like I had to hide it like a porno magazine.

It's fun though! Back in the Bush years I could use its material to attack Republicans from the left AND the right.
posted by charred husk at 7:02 AM on August 29, 2012


The problems this country faces today will not be fixed by voting. They will be fixed when people revolt.

Whenever I see this I think "Yeah, maybe; but there are no problems that this country faces right now that couldn't be made worse by adding an armed revolt to them."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:33 AM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


nixerman, you present a facile view of conservatism and Marx, and you are mistaken to think that Capitalism has any need of conservatism. What Capitalism has done is co-opt the Left. Thus we have the globalist progressivist world order where the Socialist leadership is interchangeable with the international banking establishment. The conservatives are out, as are the leftists who eschew this New World Order.
posted by No Robots at 8:09 AM on August 29, 2012


When Jesus was warning the rich two thousand years ago, their major concerns were things like moths, rust, and thieves, i.e., actual, physical perils to actual, physical stuff.

So he tipped over the water cisterns?
posted by clavdivs at 8:18 AM on August 29, 2012


No Robots, again, I find such cultural explanations to be deeply lacking. Any such explanation is based on a kind of fantasy where non-corporeal entities like the ”Left” battle it out with other magical entities like ”Corporations.” It makes for a nice bed time story perhaps but it completely misses the truth on the ground.

My own suspicion is that it was the explosive rise of debt and credit made possible by fiat dollars that is really driving the conservative expansion. The actual mechanism is complicated but it seems quite obvious that ultimately a society where debt is everything, where debt is the life blood that drives all other systems, would ultimately become a very conservative and unequal society. If this is the case than all such handwringing over conservatives is silly; the real problem lies elsewhere.
posted by nixerman at 9:19 AM on August 29, 2012


handwringing over conservatives is silly; the real problem lies elsewhere.

At least we agree on that.
posted by No Robots at 9:23 AM on August 29, 2012


I read this post on Digby's blog recently. She linked to an old article about how the main motivating ideology behind conservatives is to create an aristocracy. That might not be the case with the average rank and file, but I would think it almost certainly is with the elites in the republican party. And that's not too surprising given that you have people like George W. and Mitt, two people born into the elite. Maybe John McCain would have had more empathy with the middle class.

(And then you've got guys like Paul Ryan, grew up middle/working class, but red Ayn Rand and fell in love with that ideal)
posted by delmoi at 10:06 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, to be more specific, what I think is that "Conservatives" are really all about maintaining the status-quo, and therefore of course maintaining the incumbent power. It's even clear if you read stuff by guys like Andrew Sullivan, who claims to be a "Conservative Intellectual" and supports Obama because he thinks conservatives are crazy, and Obama is actually totally conservative enough for him.

On the other hand, the modern republican party is somewhat insane. But if you look at what Romney/Ryan and other conservative elites want in terms of economic policies, it's more wealth concentration and so on.

Ah well, who really knows what the "republicans" really belive. They seem totally inconsistent, and to a large part captive to the whims of a few crazy billionaires (like Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Bros. and now Donald Trump)
posted by delmoi at 10:20 AM on August 29, 2012


It took me a minute to remember where I recognized the name Mike Lofgren from:

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
posted by homunculus at 10:49 AM on August 29, 2012


Conservatism today is basically a populist protest movement that seeks to ensure that global capitalism is infused with religious, metaphysical and moralist values. Capitalism has no problem playing along with all this, just as it has no problem embracing broad social reformist values. As long as nothing interferes unduly with the base ideology of unfettered competition, anything goes.
posted by No Robots at 11:25 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"As long as nothing interferes unduly with the base ideology of unfettered competition, anything goes."

How does this square with regulatory capture, the military-industrial complex, farm subsidies, government bank bailouts, small business loans, copyright laws? Those all fetter competition and are supported by "capitalists"!
posted by GregorWill at 1:50 PM on August 29, 2012


It really isn't a question of actual policy, but of allegiance to the ideology. The ideology is that markets should be free. Of course that is a ridiculous conceit. But it puts all regulation on a tentative footing, making it all seem inherently illegitimate, and thereby easily swept away at the opportune moment.
posted by No Robots at 2:19 PM on August 29, 2012


It is weird. This article is a word for word expansion of Lofgren's January article on Alternet.
posted by caddis at 8:55 PM on September 2, 2012


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