Dec 7, 2012

The Conservative Disposition Hurts Progress and Helps the Very Wealthy at the Expense of the Rest. Plus, a Word on "Traditional America!"

Traditional America: When women and blacks knew their place, 
homosexuals were locked in the closet, and the Government could ask, 
"do you know, or have you ever known a ...."
By looking at some states you'd think the country is certainly moving in the right direction regarding civil liberties and into a progressive way of life. Yet, there's still polarization and it's growing, though the regressives are losing ground overall. Some states are becoming decisively more liberal/progressive whereas others more conservative. 

Many of the modern conservatives [in the sense of post-American & French revolutions], especially the "economic conservatives" have accepted many of the basic principles of liberalism but they don't seem to get over the pace of social, economic, political change.

Since Edmund Burke, one of the early philosophers who talked about a conservative disposition, conservatives are concerned about the pace of change, human nature (we're all governed by "original sin"), and preservation of traditional culture, morality, and the status quo. This is the ..bargain conservative parties have offered the lower classes in exchange for their support. Maybe there's a conservative disposition in most humans, because the familiar can be more comforting than the unknown, the abstract, the experimental. Most people aren't exactly looking for anything that would challenge their preconceived biases. 

Click on it if you're a woman
In the US, there was rapid change after WW II. Blacks came back from fighting against Hitler's evil (and his notions of racial purity) to a racist country. The civil rights movement gathered steam. Women in the workplace were now common. The middle class was upwardly mobile [sadly, it hasn't since the 70s today], there was Rock & Roll, sexual revolution and women's choice, drugs, Hollywood, wars and political crises. Even the face of immigration changed from white Europeans to Latinos and Asians. All of this was very unnerving to the conservatives as "traditional America" was dissolving.

In the 1970s, there's a reaction and the religious conservatives begin to organize to "take back America"... Restore the moral fitness of the country, it was their aim, they said. Still is. This big pool of activists (not just voters), lobbyists, fundraisers, changed our politics beginning with Reagan's presidency. By 1990s, the transformation of the Republican party had been evident in its very conservative leaders and policies. The tea party of late added to this extremism.

The bargain's basic premises are still being used by the GOP. As Irving Kistol said, the fight shouldn't be about (or between) the haves and have-nots, but about morality and traditional values. Focus on economic growth, not as a class warfare, but as a ..rising tide that lifts all boats, and trickle-down economics. That's why we see the Republicans not wanting to increase taxes on the top rich, and keep saying more affluence at the very top creates jobs. 

Leadership matters. Elections have consequences. Obama does have a mandate so he should use it to bring the US more in line with the advanced liberal-social democracies, where:
  • higher social and economic mobility exists
  • more equitable wealth distribution
  • more educated public
  • more scientific and secular
  • longer life expectancy
  • healthier population
  • more leisure time
  • more productive workers (per hour)
  • less crime and violence
  • less stressed people

In case you're unhappy with his sudden departure and wondering what  Senator Jim DeMint's (R-SC) has been leading the Republicans into for many years, here as some of his ..lowlights:
  • Led the opposition to "Obama care". OK, no surprise. Supported Tom Akin (remember the "legitimate rape"?), even when the GOP distanced itself from this moron for a moment.
  • In 2010, DeMint “said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn’t be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who’s sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn’t be in the classroom.”
  •  Pushed a bill outlawing the discussion of abortion over the Internet. Last year, DeMint proposed an amendment to an unrelated bill that would have barred a woman and her doctor from discussing abortion over the internet, even if her health was at risk and tele-conferencing was the most feasible option to receive care.
  • He promised to use his new position at the Heritage Foundation to take back America from the throes of progress and into the Dark Ages. [well, he didn't quite put it this way, but this isn't far from the truth if he dared speak it!]