Conservatism's Bankrupt and Failed Ideology Must Be Stopped

I don't really want to stray into politics, but as the election draws near, please indulge me this once - at least until the next election season. I apologize for the ranty polemic.

Modern Conservatism is an utterly failed, worthless, bankrupt ideology whose policies have led to utter disaster and offers no solutions to any of the problems that confront the modern world. In place of solutions, modern conservatism has degenerated into an incohate mass of anger, rage, racism, nativism, xenophobia and homophobia. Modern Conservatism offers no path forward. None. Name one idea presented by a conservative to address global warming, to fix healthcare, to regulate financial institutions, to fix education, to fix infrastructure, to address income inequality. ... ... ... Instead of solutions, modern Conservatives merely repackage and re-brand policies and ideologies that have already been proven failures - sexed up versions of the same intellectually bankrupt ideas that have already proven so disastrous.

Conservatism has been on the wrong side of history on virtually every single important economic, social, and political question presented over the last three centuries.

Opposition to emancipation.

Opposition to racial equality.

Opposition to suffrage.

Opposition to gender equality.

Opposition to integration.

Opposition to evolution.

Opposition to science.

Opposition to social security.

Opposition to welfare.

Opposition to abortion.

Opposition to the United Nations.

Opposition to gay rights.

Opposition to healthcare.

Opposition to industrial, financial and environmental regulation.

Opposition to the clear science on global warming.

Conservatism has failed again and again and again. Indeed, the question is less why Conservatism continues to advocate for policies and practices and ideas that have clearly failed, but why anyone would possibly advocate Conservatism given its appalling and ongoing legacy of failure. Conservatism is and always has been the opponent of change, the opponent of progress. Why? Because at its heart, conservatism is and always has been a movement by the rich, for the rich. And if you are ridiculously wealthy, why on Earth would you want anything to change? Since the rich constitute only a tiny (albeit extraordinarily powerful) constituency, they utilize racism, nativism, homophobia, xenophobia, militarism, abortion and cultural and religious issues that the wealthy really couldn't care less about, to motivate foot soldiers for their self-aggrandizing cause.

The Bush years constituted one of the most disastrous periods in American history. Lest we forget, Bush and the Republican Party's unswerving and slavish devotion to doctrinal, social and religious conservatism and militant foreign adventurism led to the following:

Ongoing disaster in Afghanistan.

Ongoing disaster in Iraq.

Ongoing denial of global warming.

Ongoing denial of due process for detainees.

Ongoing warrantless surveillance of American Citizens.

Creation of 'Free Speech Zones'.

Clinton's 2000 Surplus of $256,000,000,000 IMMEDIATELY handed over to the rich leading to a $415,000,000,000 Deficit by 2004 and over $500,000,000,000 by 2008.

Deregulation of Financial Industry and attendant financial collapse leading to 8,200,000 lost jobs.


Unprecedented income inequality.

Crumbling infrastructure.

The list goes on and on and on. The failures of Conservatism are so manifest and so glaring that it is virtually inconceivable that anyone could possibly advocate for those same policies, let alone that anyone would listen. Yet that is exactly what is happening. Americans are scared. Terrified that the economy is not recovering fast enough. Horrified at the prospect of losing their homes. And in their fear, they have returned to the very ideology that has so horribly abused them in the past.

Conservatism is ultimately an ideology of fear. Fear on the part of the rich that they won't be able to endlessly aggrandize themselves, fear on the part of their poor foot soldiers that the world is changing, that their precious social and cultural expectations and prejudices might have to be reanalyzed, fear about our place in the world, fear about our place in the cosmos. Conservatism is all about fearing the future and looking backwards to the past.

We cannot afford to go back. We can't. The stakes have grown too high for the human species to look back for inspiration. We must look forward and Conservatism either cannot or will not do so. Conservatism must be stopped.

To be sure, Democrats are right to be demoralized. Our leadership has not delivered on all of the promises they made. They have advocated for many of the same lawless detention programs, surveillance programs, drone strikes and ongoing war as their more conservative predecessors. But the alternative? The Palins, the O'Donnells, the Angles, the Thunes and Boehners and DeMints... These psychotic mouth-breathers are simply too Conservative, too dangerous, too reactionary, too unhinged to allow anywhere near the levers of power. They MUST be stopped. So please, for the love of the God I don't believe in, Vote.

End Rant.

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Comment by Jeffrey A. Myers on October 22, 2010 at 11:02am
The Tea Party represent all of America's worst tendencies rolled into one. Extreme religiosity coupled with extreme ignorance and arrogance. Listening to Christine O'Donnell openly display her ignorance of the separation of church and state was... There are no words for it.
Comment by Jason Spicer on October 22, 2010 at 12:03am
PRG, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt were progressives by today's standards, though I'm not sure how they would have characterized themselves. The GOP has completely traded places with the Democratic Party at this point. It's astonishing that the Party of Lincoln is now in favor of states' rights, slavery, and racism, which he fought a war against. Same for TR's campaign against the robber barons. What modern Republican would go against the titans of industry?
Comment by Grace Fitzpatrick on October 21, 2010 at 11:03pm
I early voted because I am about to move to another state and I did not want to loose my vote. I always vote, but I find the conservatives (aka the tea baggers) very scary. I voted even earlier than I usually do for that reason. I really wanted to make double sure I got my vote in. It may be only one vote, but it's one vote against insanity.
Comment by Prog Rock Girl on October 21, 2010 at 7:52pm
Well, Lincoln was a Republican, but I'm not sure what the parties meant back then:

I don't know if conservativism was originally as extremist as it is now (the word "conservative" would seem to contrast "extreme"). I think it came about during the revolutionary period and conservativism favored slow, gradual change instead of bloody revolutions.

Today what passes as conservative is nothing like this, it isn't very consistent (against big government, but for wiretapping? love fetuses, but screw the poor people who have already been born?) and it seems like it's people going by their gut feelings without putting any thought to it. I've heard it described as wanting government to be involved with people's personal lives but not with their economies. The far right and far left both annoy me.
Comment by Jason Spicer on October 21, 2010 at 7:04pm
Oh, and Jeffrey, I agree with your rant. Conservatism has never done humanity a lick of good, and its vast intellectual and moral poverty threatens all our progress.
Comment by Jason Spicer on October 21, 2010 at 7:02pm
Glen, Jeffrey and Steve are correct. Up until about three hundred years ago, no part of the world had anything approaching personal freedom except perhaps for the remaining hunter-gatherers and a handful of monarchs. Now, at least a sixth of humanity basically lives their lives as they see fit, within the constraints of their resources, which have improved dramatically from the subsistence level of everybody except, again, a handful of monarchs and their close relatives. In percentage terms, we have gone from less than 1% of the world's population living the good life to something more like 15% - 25%. In only a couple of centuries, while the global population was increasing dramatically. That's not nothing. If we don't get a handle on overpopulation, global warming, and severe resource inequality, we are in a heap of trouble, but it's wrong to simply discount the progress we have made.
Comment by Jeffrey A. Myers on October 21, 2010 at 6:49pm
So do I. Thanks for your input though and I hope you enjoyed the post. Take care.
Comment by Frankie Dapper on October 21, 2010 at 6:44pm
Jeffrey, I could counter your view but have a feeling it would be like the typical dispute between believer and nonbeliever-neither has much of a shot of persuading the other. Hope you are correct.
Comment by Jeffrey A. Myers on October 21, 2010 at 6:36pm
While it is undeniable that there are large parts of the world that suffer, I still find it hard to argue that in the aggregate we have not dramatically improved the well being of our global civilization. We have the largest number of human beings that have ever lived on this planet, yet strangely the overwhelming majority live lives free of the kind of strife you described. To be sure, there will ALWAYS be work to do, but we HAVE made life better - and we've done it without any divine intervention. In fact, we've done it in spite of God's followers.

We have achieved a nearly universal consensus that slavery is inherently wrong - a proposition that would have been utterly unthinkable in ancient times and would have been highly controversial even 200 years ago. We take it as a GIVEN that human beings ought to be free of tyranny, ought to have a say in their governance, ought to be allowed to prusue life as they see fit. Such a proposition would have been just as unthinkable. We are rightfully disgusted at torture. We no longer tolerate the kind of vicious brutality, torture, murder, death, mayhem that passed for entertainment through much of the 1st millennia CE. We seek racial, gender, orientational equality. Even in our conduct of warfare, we seek to avoid civilian casualties and set up camps to provide food, water and medicine for the citizens of our enemies. These are GOOD. They are progress, even when it is imperfect, it is still a HUGE step from where we were as a species. Even 300 years ago it would have been unthinkable for other countries to send millions of dollars and tons of aid to countries where they have no strategic or geopolitical interest, yet we do so all the time.

And ironically, it is the least religious countries that give the most.

To be sure, the situation in Africa is dire, but we no longer view genocide with a shrug. We may lack the resources to act in every instance, indeed, we should be wary of conducting occupations even with allegedly noble goals, but we still condemn it, still find it horrific and even THAT attitude is far better than anything in the ancient world.

I am just amazed at what we have accomplished and hopeful for our future.
Comment by Frankie Dapper on October 21, 2010 at 6:24pm
Jeffrey and Steve, your optimism is misplaced and reminds me of religious wish thinking. No good will come of humanity. I see overidentification with nation, race and religion, stone age morals and dangers lurking at every turn.
So enjoy the ride.



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