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February 11, 2006

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» Not Conservatives. Authoritarians. from PSoTD
DHinMI has a great piece at The Next Hurrah. Give it a read. [Read More]

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Thanks DHinMI. I just wanted to add, the WH is very selective about when it "concentrates" executive power for Homeland security. New Orleans saw none of that "concentrated executive branch" when their levees broke.
Also, I don't think all the "whites" (european-Americans) on Wall Street are too pleased with Bush. When Clinton left office, oil was around $25 a barrel. Now it's around $68 and it's only going to rise as we get closer to Hurricane season in the Gulf. Add to Bush's scapegoating Iran; this isn't going to lessen the price of oil. If China were to start selling our T-Bills? That's a very, very serious problem. The Dems can pitch Wall Street hard for campaign contributions based on a less expensive and more realistic foreign policy in the Middle East. Wall Street knows, a contribution to a Dem will pull Rethugs away from Bush's doomed policies in the Middle East.

Thanks for writing this, DH.

I was struggling the other day on a half-finished post. This urge toward authoritarianism is usually called the Conservative Movement. But as I noted in my not-yet-posted-post, it is neither conseravtive nor does it aspire to the impermanence of a movement.

So can we think up a new name for it now?

Interesting thought, btw, at the risk of bringing up the F-word. Michael Ledeen, of course, is a great fan of fascism. Only, he believes the problem with it is that it stopped being a "movement."

You've tapped the philosophical roots of what I posted earlier. There are conservative republicans. They just aren't Republican leaders, nor are they leaders of the so called 'iterest groups', which really cater to the 'how do I stay in power' crowd. They've abandoned any pretense at ideology, which is why they get criticized by folks like Barr and Gingrich.

It'll be very interesting to see who sits out 2006 on the right. There are floating stories of the religious right having trouble coalescing around an alternative to McCain, whom they detest not because he's not conservative enough but 'because he's a maverick'. See DHinMI's post as to why that's bad for McCain to be labeled as such within the republican party.

The above post should indicate that both 2006 and 2008 will see problems keeping the coalition that voted for Bush together.

So, DH, where does this leave those of us without the power of Wall Street behind us? Letting Fascism run its course seems a poor choice, but the thirst for authoritarianism of the Christian Right places an enormous block of "wingnuts" at our current leadership's disposal. The seeds of fascism have rooted. We must find a way to mitigate the hold the authoritarians have on their flock, but as long as the leadership has the Big, Bad Wolf to evoke,our constitutional system is in jeopardy from simple fear.

The West is much less authoritarian and more libertarian than the South, certainly, probably the Midwest as well. The Religious Right makes up maybe 20%, 25% at most, of the electorate. The trick would seem to be developing the narrative that BushCo takes care of its own, and that leaves out the remaining 95%. Even if you add in most of the RR. that is a lot of potential voters left out.

Corruption distorts policy, so that everything costs more and works worse, if at all. (See Medicare Part D as exhibit A.) Concentrating everything on terrorism means everything else suffers. (See Katrina and, probably, bird flu.)

Bush will ask for a more favorable Congress in 2006, as if that would make government work. Doubt he gets it, and then he isn't on the ballot. No one else seems capable of inspiring the kind of blind loyalty that he inexplicably does. So 2008 would seem to be a difficult year for the GOP.

Great post. In reality, the Right fetishizes power, they have no commitment to democratic conservativism.

"This urge toward authoritarianism is usually called the Conservative Movement.... [I]t is neither conseravtive nor does it aspire to the impermanence of a movement.

So can we think up a new name for it now?"

I vote for "National Conservativism."

On the left, there are significant numbers of ideological-driven activists, thinkers and voters who put ideology before partisanship. ...But on the right, there are few who put principle above party.

Is that their strength or their weakness?

'pockets: I don't know if its a strength or a weakness for the individuals, but I think that in terms of putting volunteers to work in campaigns and avoiding intra-party conflagrations, it's an asset for the Republican party. But the willingness to go along with things has limits, and we may see those limits in the next presidential primary.

Just for fun I went looking for info on Richard Sorcinelli, Bob Barr heckler. Here's a LTE he (or his namesake) wrote in 2004. These are the people that Joe Lieberman wants to meet halfway.

"Before America became a nation, the world was essentially a dog-eat-dog world of survival of the fittest, full of wars, conquests, and torture chambers. Slavery was universal. For the very first time in the world history, a government was formed for the purpose of freeing the individual from his bondage and suffering under a tyrant's rule and for protecting our freedom.

What model did our founding fathers use for our freedom? They used the Bible, more specifically Christianity. Christianity brought to American citizens undreamed of political freedoms and such innumerable personal blessings that histories declared our declaration of independence and constitutional republic to be a miracle. No other nation produced a declaration that each individual is created in the image of God and has a divine right to be free. Our bible-based constitution has been recognized as the finest document for self-rule that has ever been put together. Its role is to limit the power of government and to let the people be free to rule themselves."

So the United States was formed to end slavery and the Constitution is based on the Bible. Any questions?

"[T]he Constitution is based on the Bible."

That will come as startling news to the people who, y'know, wrote the Constitution.

Casey, God wrote the Constitution. But it's the translations that you have to watch for.

DHinMI, mostly right. Republican partisan-over-policy fealty is a strength when campaigning and a weakness when governing.

The fact that the defining feature of a major political party makes it both adept at getting elected and inept at serving the electorate is the fundamental flaw of our democracy.

(not to be absolutist about it or anything..)

This government violates the Constition regularly, and worse, is violating our unalienable rights.

They govern only with our consent. Let's withdraw our consent. How about a general strike? Sounds crazy but it worked in eastern Europe.

When real Americans stand up, authoritarian phonies will have to stand down.

"Republicans are drunk with power and betray their own principles" -- I like the sound of that. It's a good caricature, because arrogance and hypocrisy are the kind of nasty personality traits that everyone can relate to.

certainly republicans are authoritarian. i have used the term widely in my comments on the web logs.

but they are not just "authoritarian".

they are also radical.

from the latin "radix" or "root" (i'm on very old and shaky ground here, but i loved latin and would welcome correction and suggestion - in latin, if necessary, horatio and cinncinatus).

the republicans in congress and the white house have no problem with changing our democracy (our representative government actually)

"ab sturpe" ,

as the romans had no compunction in destroying carthage

"ab sturpe".

and salted the ground to be absolutely sure that nothing would grow there again.

not unlike creating an enormous deficit

so that the tiny portion of the federal budget (less than 10%) that
goes for something other than defense and social security, "must" be cut even more (state dept, environmental protection agency, nation park service, fbi, national institutes of health, centers for disease control, support for police, medical, engineering, and physics research, etc, etc.)


the old fabric of our society has been deeply rent by the 1994 republican "revolution".

by limbaugh and gingrich,

by g. will and delay,

by the ignorant and inept george w. bush,

and by hundreds of ignorant, foolhardy, or cowardly republican representatives and senators.



an exaggeration you think?

-- impeach the president of the united states on trivial personal sexual grounds, under "rule of law" guise.

-- amend the constitution whenever a political group that provides you with support is unhappy with some aspect of the existing constitution. (you did know, din't you, that there are some 40 pending demands for amendment to the constitution.)

-- put as many radical (=republican) party functionaries on the supreme court as possible, e.g., scalia, thomas, alito, roberts.

-- redistrict two years after the customary census redistricting, if it suits your political needs (delay and texas).


-- defeat the will of congress

by spying electronically on american protesters, news reporters, and soldiers,

by doing bureaucratic end-runs around legislation enacted to protect the environment or ensure that prescribed medicine is safe and available,

-- destroying social security on an ideological whim with no basis whatsoever for anticpating the "new" private accounts will protect seniors.

-- corrupting public political discourse by creating, and supporting financially, centers of dishonest discourse such as cato institute, hudson institute, aei,

by lying publicly repeatedly and without compunction, and

by failing to exercis proper congressional oversight.


feel free to add to the list!


there is no one word that sums up the current republican leadership as well as

"radical",

in the most destructive sense of that term.

the political america we have known for centuries is being attacked by radicals with no respect for tradition, for process, for consensus, or for honest public discourse.


as for fascism,

which e'wheel mentions,

yes indeed.


but the model that george w. bush, karl christian rove, richard cheney, orrin harch, arlen spector, john mccain (bless his pointy little dunce-cap head), tom delay, rick santorum, et al are following is

that provided by the national socialist party of germany in the 1920's and 30's (feel free to correct my ignorance and expound)

during that time,

the national socialist party began destroying or co-opting opposing organizations and indivuduals.

legal, political, and physical intimidation were commonplace.

newspapers, churches, universities.


in my country,

i mark the beginning of this destruction of opposing organizations and indivuduals as, roughly,

alan simpsons's successful assault on the american assoc of retired persons some years ago. the issue , as i recall, was that the senator suggested the aarp should lose its tax status because it was politically active, i.e., opposed his politics.

like dick cheny, simpson was a political science professor from wyoming.

(feel free to amend or correct my history.)

so america is faced with a radical revolution financed by corporate, and inherited corporate, wealth, (wal-mart, the koch brothers, et al) featuring ignorant (george w. bush), devious (simpson, dick cheney), and fanatic (alito, scalia, rove)

radicals.

Mimikatz hit on an important point. It's the religious right that embodies the authoritarian strain in the modern Republican Party.

Even the Republican militarists -- Barry Goldwater for example -- were libertarians when it came to personal behavior like abortion rights.

What is it about these Abrahamic religions? All of them have reactionary authoritarian offshoots that poison politics. Is it patriarchy and fear of women? Or is it an obsession with a crude jealous and vengeful god who then becomes a model for how men should rule the secular plane?

Is there an authoritarian misogynistic strain in Budhism?

Authoritarianism seems linked to religions based on fear. The ol' "vengeful God" deal. Folks also want to associate with power; Who would be more powerful than "God"? The amoral among us who seek control are more than willing to exploit this tendency among the weak-willed religious. Not to say most religious are weak-willed(!), but much kool-aide HAS been drunk. Seriously, the churched are inadvertently screwing the rest of us by giving up their worldly freedom for a promise of the hereafter. Why not have BOTH? Just a thought.

Still, the old [Clinton Impeachment] prosecutor managed to elicit a crucial concession from Dinh: that the administration's case for its program comes down to saying "Trust me."

"None of us can make a conclusive assessment as to the wisdom of that program and its legality," Dinh acknowledged, "without knowing the full operational details. I do trust the president when he asserts that he has reviewed it carefully and therefore is convinced that there is full legal authority."

OMFG. I finally understand Dihn's problem: He confuses his former attorney-client relationship with Bush, with that of supplicant-Diety.

This conflation seldom occurs outside of authoritarian/fascist regimes.

joejoejoe--
Athenian constitution, anyone? The Athenian democracy was formed out of a recent experience with tyranny with Peisistratus and his sons. I also wanted to post in the open thread that Aeschylus is having Prometheus say that he and his mother, Themis, counselled the Titans that brute force would not work in their struggle with Zeus, and that they must use dolos (trick). Although this is not a textbook tragedy in the sense that Oedipus is, they should have had Bush read it when he went to school. The parallels with Zeus might have stayed with him. (Part of the reason this play was assigned is that it is far easier in terms of vocabulary than anything else Aeschylus is supposed to have written).

I imagine that musing85 has read it.

Everyone needs a relaxing activity during the week. Some people go to the gym...

When I read Thucydices for a Western Culture class in college, it was suggested by our professor that we not only view it as one of the earlies works of history, but also as something that could be viewed as a variation on the form of the tragedy.

Kaleidescope, there are patriarchial strains in Buddhism, certainly. Women were devalued from the beginning (considred unclean, had more prohibitions, couldn't be full disciples), and when Buddhism got to Japan it became very patriarchial.

American Buddhists have tried to moderate this. But there is a much stronger pacifist or pacific strain in Buddhism than Christianity. Sri Lanka is one of the few places I know of (besides Japan) here Buddhist clergy have advocated violence.

I think misogyny is pretty universal and goes with any kind of fundamentalism.

I would agree on the tragic nature of Thucydides.

Thanks, DH. This needs to be repeated like a mantra until every man, woman and child - not to mention the robots in the MSM - learn it as god's truth: the GOP leadership and the gang of thugs in the White House are not conservative by any stretching and twisting of the word.

Everything they do is anathema to US conservatism. The Department of Homeland Security? A massive, bloated, wasteful and wholly ineffective big government program.

Staggering budget deficits and short-term borrowing? That violates the preamble of basic conservatism.

Invading other countries? Jesus tap-dancing christ, the nation's conservatives were isolationist and universally opposed to getting involved in WWI, and most of them opposed getting into WWII, too.

The word conservative should be banned from usage in connection with those people. Ever since Reagan, those people have been deficit-spending, government-expanding marauding adventurers on foreign soil and civil-liberties deniers at home.

TIme was, that's what the liberals did, and were excoriated for it. Republicans still hate FDR, but they are more like him than they (or anyone else) will ever admit.

And sure, there are some true conservatives out there, but they are guilty of treason - to their own principles, if not to the country as a whole. Anyone who is a conservative and either supports, or merely goes along with, the jack-boot thugs is a traitor to himself, to his family, and to me and you.

I cannot for the life of me understand why a real conservative would go along with this destruction of everything that his ideology supposedly holds dear.

Seems that everyone in the GOP is a flaming coward, each in his or her own fashion.

Words are important, and correct usage is one of the main building blocks of civilization, because you can't build one unless everyone can agree on the definitions of what the fuck they are talking about.

"Radicals" - that is the clearest word for those people and their policies. Pretty much the opposite of conservative.

Of course, blackguards, brownshirts, thugs, thieves, fascists, torturers, plunderers, death-squads, etc., are all quite fitting as well.

That is all.


I think cultural conservatives spent so many decades out of power that once they have attained it they fear giving it up for risk of never having it again. Ironically it is their iron grip on it that is most likely to cost them that power and the American people will be all the more reluctant to return it to them in the future.

Old fashioned fiscal conservatives distrust government, value transparency and prize Liberty and are appalled by the current administration's profligate spending and obsessive secrecy.

The F word is indeed appropriate and there is nothing Neo about it. You can call it what you like but A Rose By Any Other Name would smell as foul because Bush Is Not A Conservative of Any Kind.

Libertas

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