Atlantis Alumni

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Debunking Conservativism

Fire Island, NY, 6:30 AM: Today I'm going to start debunking conservatism, which has way too much legitimacy thanks to years and years of right wing talking heads, like Rush Limbaugh, fat cat right wing pundits like George Will, and crackpot conservative "icons," like Bill Buckley.

Actually, conservatism, with its extreme hatred of government, ought to be relegated to the dustbin of history. It is a philosophy that has been tried before, and doesn't work. One need only look at U.S. history, taking note of the horrible excesses of greed and criminality (robber barons, child labor, etc.) that took place in the nineteenth century and which gave rise to movements which demanded proactive government involvement in order to curb political, economic, and social injustices. In the 20Th century, government intervened most effectively during the great depression to help ameliorate the suffering of millions, and during the latter half of the century with civil rights legislation addressing racial discrimination.

Conservatives say that they favor small or limited government. Actually, they hate government. They would like to shrink or eliminate government, except, of course, when they need government to help them further their sometimes nutty agenda. The most recent prime example of this was the Terry Schiavo case, when conservatives wanted the federal government to intervene in a private family medical matter. Conservatives need government to help them interfere with a woman's right to make decisions about her own body, and they need government to help them prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying and thereby obtaining the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexuals have. So, sometimes they need and may even like big government. They want it both ways.

The fact is, even though in recent decades we've seen the erosion of some of the socio-economic gains society has made under the onslaught of conservatives starting with Ronald Reagan, we are not going to roll back the clock to the mid-nineteenth century, and return to the excesses and injustices of those times. I believe that the tide may be turning. George Bush, with his melding of Christian conservatism and government, has actually removed the veil of legitimacy from conservatism. Everyone can now see what conservatives are really up to and it's not terribly popular, is it?

The photo dates from 1983 - Dan and Jim in Mexico (sorry about the image quality - it must have been a cheap camera!)

10:30 AM: Bradley (our dog) and I just got back from a 90 minute walk to the (Fire Island) Pines, the next town to the East. We walked down on the beach and back through the "meat rack." It's a beautiful day here on the island, although we may get some rain later. I picked up the replacement power supply for my non-functioning desktop computer earlier this morning. So now I'll try to install it and see if I can get the computer to work once more.


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