Yes, These Are Conservatives

Amazing piece over at Steve Gillard's place. I'm only quoting a small section, one that happens to fit my recent shrillness:
These are not Conservatives--this is not the Republican party we knew. This is the Movement funded by Richard Mellon Scaife, the Koch Brothers, and Joseph Coors, among others.

This is Ann "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building"Coulter, whose books are huge best-sellers. Read a few of her columns and then come back and tell me I'm over reacting.

This is Rush "Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream"Limbaugh, who has an adoring audience of many many millions, who intoned in his nice baritone about the US policy of torture at Abu Ghraib:

"I'm sorry, folks. I'm sorry. Somebody has to provide a little levity here. This is not as serious as everybody is making it out to be... This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation, and we're going to ruin people's lives over it, and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You [ever] heard of need to blow some steam off?"

How about Sean Hannity, on whose show a young woman caller, to much acclaim, pronounced that she was voting for Bush "because President Bush likes war. Kerry doesn't like war. So I'm voting for Bush."

Who said, apparently with a straight face:

"[After 9-11], liberal Democrats at first showed little interest in the investigation of the roots of this massive intelligence failure...[Bush and his team] made it clear that determining the causes of America's security failures and finding and remedying its weak points would be central to their mission."

Michael "Savage"Weiner, who, while voicing his contempt for San Francisco's homeless and the efforts to help them, Savage, a long time Bay Area radio personality, said that female students who come from a Marin County private school to feed and provide services to the homeless "can go in and get raped by them because they seem to like the excitement of it..." These and other comments suggesting sexual activity between homeless people and minor students were peppered throughout the three-hour broadcast.

These people

And these

This group

Check 'em out! They want you dead. Don't you think you should be aware? Browse their sites and comment boards and then come back and tell me you can reach them, educate them, live in peace with them. Or that you want to.

And don't forget this guy:

Who wrote, after the election:

"If anyone needs to work to 'bring the country together' it's those on the left who have divided it so badly. Those who sought to destroy this great man should get down upon their knees and beg the victors for mercy. And maybe, just maybe, we'll let a few of them linger on for the simple reason that they amuse us. My life's goal is to see the Democratic Party virtually obliterated and left as a rump of people like Stephanie Herseth who both mostly agree with us anyways and are easy on the eyes.

"That's the future of the Democratic Party: providing Republicans with a number of cute (but not that bright) comfort women.

"Let's face a hard truth: this was the bitterest Presidential campaign in living memory. The Democrats and their allies staked everything on the defeat of this President. All of the resources they had accumulated over a generation of struggle were thrown into this battle: and they have failed. Despite all of their tricks, despite all of their lies, the people have rejected them. They mean nothing. They are worth nothing. There's no point in trying to reach out to them because they won't be reached out to. We've got their teeth clutching the sidewalk and our boot above their head. Now's the time to curb-stomp the bastards."

All of whom are wildly popular, hugely influential, make tons of money, and who want us dead.

Who just voted for Bushco.

Yes, that was a small section. This is a rant of remarkable size and scope, unmatched by anything that I have ever seen on any blog anywhere. It does, however, suffer from the same fatal flaw that so many liberals have been suffering from when it comes to conservatives for a long time now. While we repeatedly, and accurately, accuse Bush voters of denying reality, we ourselves continue to deny reality when it comes to the definition of conservatives.

The section I quoted beings with the statement, "these are not Conservatives" It then goes on to absurdly note the following:

  • Apparently, the billonaries who fund the conservative monement are not conservatives.
  • Ann Coulter, a conservative, is a huge bestseller among self-proclaimed conservatives, but neither she nor her readers are conservatives.
  • Rush Limbaugh, a self-proclaimed conservative, has a huge audience numbering in the several millions. Almost all of his listeners are self-proclaimed conservatives, but supposedly none of them are consrevatives.
  • Sean Hannity is on one of the highest rated shows on cable, and millions of viewers who, like Hannity, are self-proclaimed conservatives. Yet none of these people are conservatives.
  • Michael Savage has a huge audience, none of whom apparently are conservatives.
  • Free Republic still has higher traffic than dailykos, although none of the people over there are conservative.
  • All of whom are wildly popular, hugely influential, make tons of money, and who want us dead. They all claim to be conservative, yet none of them are conservative, according to us.
So, we are to accept that all of these self-proclaimed conservatives are wildly popular among tens of millions of other self-proclaimed conservatives, yet none of them are actually conservatives? We are to accept this because we say so, and becuase they do not follow the textbook definition of conservatism?

To accept that would clearly be denying reality on our part.

Political philosophies are not abstract, and are not fixed in time by immutable definitions. The textbook definition of conservatism is irrelevant, as are most textbook definitions. The way words are used in contemporary culture is the only true way to determine their meaning. The way a philosophy acts once it is in power is a far better way of determining its definition than reading the original political treatise on the subject.

Fellow liberals, all of the people mentioned in the above rant, including George Bush, is how modern conservatism functions in action, in power, and in contemporary usage. These people are conservatives. What they write, say and how they govern is how conservatism is currently defined. They are all conservatives. In fact, they are the very definition of conservatism.

This was the seventh consecutive Presidential election when we failed to achieve more than 20% of the conservative vote. How many more elections where we receive less than twenty percent of the conservative vote will we have to endure before we realize that we are not going to get much, if any more?

This is the fifth consecutive self-proclaimed conservative President who has run up an enormous debt. How many more conservative Republican Presidents will have to do this before we realize that massive overspending is a hallmark of, rather than antithetical to, fiscal conservatism?

Definitions are dynamic, and determined by usage. How many more Anne Coulters, Rush Limbaugh's and Sean Hannity's will have to become wildly popular among self-proclaimed conservatives before we wake up and realize that these people are actually conservative?

Receiving 85% of the liberal vote and 17% of the conservative vote currently requires us to receive 60% of the moderate vote in order to win a national majority in a Presidential election. How long will it take for us to realize how difficult and nearly impossible a task that is, no matter how centrist we try to become?

How long will it take us to realize that the only long-term way out of this mess is to grow liberalism and/or shrink conservatism?

They control everything, and still want us dead. They want to crush liberalism into the dust, and our politicians are too afraid to even call themselves liberal to fight this trend. They don't call themselves liberal, as though that somehow prevents them from being defined as liberal. We are getting our butts kicked, and we need to stop believing that we can either tell self-identifying conservatives what real conservatism is, or that we can use conservatism as some sort of wedge issue to split the Republican party. We have failed to do this for seven consecutive Presidential elections. We clearly have failed to teach them anything about reality.

We are in a lot of trouble, and denying reality will only make things worse. These people are modern conservatives. Let's at least face up to that.

Tags: Ideology (all tags)

Comments

31 Comments

We are the Fault !
Thanks for explaining that.  Yes, we have failed.

And when I realized that, I said, "Thank God for Fox!"

And Thank God for CNN, MSNBC, The Note, the NY Times and so many other media paragons.  And God bless Timmy Russert, Hannity, and Chris Matthews, one and all.

Because of them, as we wonder what went wrong in the election, we don't have to look past our own little noses.  Because our media behaved so well, exhibited such scrupulous fairness, we can only blame ourselves for our loss.  We failed.   We weren't sympathetic enough to the religious people.  We didn't use email effectively.  We were too nice.  The list of our inadequacies goes on and on.

So I say God bless our media for it's bright light of truth.  Its honest glare highlights all our faults so clearly.  

Imagine if the media had mocked Kerry!  If they had jumped on him for calling someone a lesbian on TV!  If they had pretended that the swift boat smears deserved even a moment of exposure in the solid mainstream media!  If they had repeatedly taken Kerry's words out of context and twisted them beyond recognition!  If they had treated Bush like a religious icon!

I know, it is hard to imagine.  

But just suppose the media had done all those things: We might have been tempted to lash out at them rather than searching within to uncover our own deep inadequacies.

So really God bless them.  We have no excuses.  It's all about us.  We should be so ashamed. It's time to start pointing fingers.  It's all the DNC's fault!  Or maybe it's all those gays demanding rights in an election year.  Or it could be those over-educated people who look down their noses at hard working religious folk.  

It's hard to know who really should bear most of the blame.  But we'll figure it out.  We've got four years to fight, point fingers, and argue among ourselves.

God bless our media.  

For more on this, go here: http://mathewgross.com/blog/archives/001041.html

by Alan S 2004-11-08 06:39PM | 0 recs
what a goddam mess....
I'm starting to think that the best approach in these circumstances is to do your best to make things right at the local level.  Work hard to get the best people you can on your local city council, the school board, the dogcatcher....

If everyone does that, we'll own the roots.  Bush is still going do a whole lot of damage, but we will be in a much better position to survive and ultimately recover if we control government at the local level.

by global yokel 2004-11-08 07:08PM | 0 recs
Re: what a goddam mess....
I've had the very same thought myself, that only by working at a local level, under the radar of the right-dominated mass media, will we be able to correct the current horrific imbalance in our politics and culture.

Unfortunately (as the right well knows, since they began their roots campaign over 30 years ago), that's a long-term project which, once its started, won't bear fruit for many years.

by Ed Fitzgerald 2004-11-08 08:26PM | 0 recs
Re: what a goddam mess....
You are correct, sir!
Low level political infiltration has been the tactic of the right, especially the religious right, for decades.  Especially local government positions that feed regional offices, and school board post.

This not only provides their electoral farm system, but the machinations at the local school board aid in creating the type of future voter they hope for.

This strategy has been directly stated by their side many times.

by labradog 2004-11-09 05:07AM | 0 recs
Chris, I'm a conservative, these people are
Nazis.

When you understand the problem, you are that much closer to solving it.

by Paul Goodman 2004-11-08 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Chris, I'm a conservative, these people are
Good luck trying to take back the word. 30M+ voters who self-identify are using it in a way very different from you. I for one am not going to bother arguing with them anymore over what it means to be conservative. They have a firm control over the definition.
by Chris Bowers 2004-11-08 07:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Chris, I'm a conservative, these people are
Well your comrades are saying they are going to kill me.  

I take that seriously.

I have relatives who escaped from Germany one jump ahead of the Gestapa because they were Social Democrats.  They too had people telling them not to worry because "Der Führer erlaubt Gewalttätigkeit nicht gegen gute deutsche Völker.  Die Extremisten reined innen."  

Pardon me if I don't buy it.

by ATinNM 2004-11-09 12:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Chris, I'm a conservative, these people are
Well, you may not really be a conservative but I agree that these people are Nazis. They are extremely dangerous and they cannot be reasoned with. We liberals sometimes tend to project our own images into these people but we really need to understand what they are. There are some that are truly evil, who do not believe in democracy and will kill you when they ever get the chance; or destroy the world if that is their position.

It is always a very dangerous time when a single party controls all branches of government, in particular if that party is dominated by anti-democratic ideology. That is the reason why there is such a separation in the first place.

Some people say there is no way the U.S. can go into Iran, for example. The great dictator does not care what people say, he will follow his vision. We need to understand that this vision is not to bring democracy to the middle east and that he has no regard for human life. We also need to understand that he is just the nice face covering the forces behind him, which are anti-demoncratic, apocalytic and violent.

by metacosmos 2004-11-09 06:43AM | 0 recs
Orwellian
Chris, since I just created my account let me first thank you for your wonderful posts.

But the truth is I created an account just so I could object to your abuse of the word "conservative." You simply cannot attach pejoratives to a binary label like conservative! In any political equation all you have to pick from are conservatives and liberals -- that's it!

The Republicans are NOT conservatives. Well, actually, a lot of them are, but they're not running the party anymore. If they were, we wouldn't have all these problems.

I'm proud to be a liberal, but I don't mind friends who are conservatives. I do, however, refuse to associate with the asshole radical Republicans who are trashing our country at home and abroad.

Please stop denigrating conservatives. It's the Republicans you're mad at.

by Mark Gisleson 2004-11-08 07:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Orwellian
Sure, that'd be all nice if it got us anywhere.  What he's doing is what they've done to the word 'liberal'.  And I applaud him for it.  The majority of Americans are not like this, and the sooner people realize that these people who call themselvers "conservative" are the radicals, the better.  The best way to do that is to demonize the word 'conservative' so that those who use it as a badge are stuck with it in the end.  Then the true conservatives that you are talking about can realize that they aren't represented anymore, except by mayb e people like Kerry who are in favor of a balanced budget, etc.
by DreadPirateKing 2004-11-08 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Orwellian
Good luck.

Do you really believe there is any currency left in the older use the term?

Do you really believe we have any hope of convincing these people what conservative really means?

Do you really think that by priasing some different definition of conservatism than they are using, that we are not simultaneously praising the modern form of conservatism that a minority who use the term find to be a perversion of the term?

Personally, I answer no to all three questions.

by Chris Bowers 2004-11-08 07:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Orwellian
Excellent post. I can't add anything else to it except that just using the word "republican" rather than, "republican leadership", will get you into a lot of trouble (misconstrued, actually - read comments).

I am a conservative-liberal. I like to conserve lots of things - human life, money, peace, international relations, ....

Political Physics
by cgilbert01 2004-11-08 07:52PM | 0 recs
Elitists
I don't why Democrats feel the need to reach out to poeple who truly despise them. They need to look back into the soul of their party and get their balls back. The right can go fuck themselves if they think the left has to move over the line to "unite" the country. We'll be bitterly divided unless both sides meet by their own wills. Until then, it will be one elitist group clawing at the other with the media powerplaying the middle.
by matbiscan 2004-11-08 07:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Elitists
It's part of being a liberal.  We want to save everyone, even those who don't want to be saved.

Personally, I have moved beyond that.  I will not do anything to "unite" the country. I will not move.  If Bush & Co. want to destroy the country they can do it without my cooperation, without me compromising, without even civility from me.

Those people are fascist.  They are destroying everything that is good about the country.  I want to strengthen the rift that separates them from me, not bridge it.

I hope to see you all at the barricade.

by PonyFan 2004-11-08 10:05PM | 0 recs
Confession of a Conservative
I must confess that I am conservative.  I:

  • think a balanced budget is a good thing
  • think that we should rarely embark on nation building and should always build broad coalitions
  • think that a woman has a right to choose BUT am anti-abortion
  • think that this country should always have a strong national defense.
  • believe in God
  • think government should guarantee basic rights and a fair playing field, no matter what my ethnicity, sexual orientation, blood type, etc.
  • think everyone should pay their fair share in taxes and that the country should have a strong middle class, fostering upward mobility among its citizens

I am also a Democrat.  Am I welcome in this party?
by pkelly 2004-11-08 07:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Confession of a Conservative
Welcome to the democratic party pkelly. We're glad to have a patriot like you among us...
by cgilbert01 2004-11-08 07:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Confession of a Conservative
Of course. But you might want to consider chaning the definition of your political philosphy. The vast majority of people who self-identify as conservative find your views abhorrent.
by Chris Bowers 2004-11-08 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Confession of a Conservative
I must confess that I am conservative.  I:

    * think a balanced budget is a good thing

Keynsian (Liberal) economics is based on the idea of balancing the budget over the business cycle. You run deficits when faced with recession, build up surpluses during flush times.

    * think that we should rarely embark on nation building and should always build broad coalitions

This is liberal internationalism. Conservatives are isolationists or unilateralists.

    * think that a woman has a right to choose BUT am anti-abortion

Almost everyone who is pro-choice is anti-abortion, except for those who?ve had them.

    * think that this country should always have a strong national defense.

No one disputes this. The question is always what constitutes a strong defense.  Over the past half-century, Costa Rica has been the most secure country in Latin America. It has had no army. Can we do the same? Of course not. But we could learn a thing or two?and balance our budget better, too.

    * believe in God

Jesus was a liberal. "Blessed are the peacemakers" "Whatsoever you do to the least among ye" etc., etc., etc.

    * think government should guarantee basic rights and a fair playing field, no matter what my ethnicity, sexual orientation, blood type, etc.

This is economic and social liberalism, fought tooth and nail by conservatives since time immemorial.

    * think everyone should pay their fair share in taxes and that the country should have a strong middle class, fostering upward mobility among its citizens

Sorry, this last entry marks you as a Communist.

I am also a Democrat.  Am I welcome in this party?

Like I said, you?re a Commie. Get lost!

by Paul Rosenberg 2004-11-09 05:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Confession of a Conservative
Hi PKelly,

Unfortunately, you cannot be anti-abortion AND believe a woman has the right to choose. Not in this day and age. You either are against it or you're not. Not because I believe it so but because the debate over reproductive-rights has been thusly framed by religious zealots.

Is there a way out of this binary trap? I think so.

How about upholding the Consitution as a contract for freedom and equality for all, no matter a citizen's religious/moral beliefs?

I believe this would neutralize the religious zealotry involved in the framing of reproductive rights. It would take religion out of every woman's womb.

That's what the Constitution is there for --equal rights to choice, no matter what faith, what race, what gender, etc.

Best,
liza sabater

by liza 2004-11-10 07:29PM | 0 recs
conservative, no,
pkelly,
You are not a Conservative, or even a conservative.  You are in the mold of Tommy Douglas, the Canadian minister and politician who founded the CCF, the forerunner of the NDP, Canbada's most left-leaning party.  The guy who remade Saskatchewan and brought in rural electrification and improved sewers and other infrastructure, all the while bringing in 17 or so straight balanced budgets.  The guy who fought for and brought in Canada's national Medicare system.

Conservatives are the people who fight for corporate rights and against the individual, who wreck havoc on budgets and economies in their haste to do corporations' bidding.

Trust me, you want to be a Tommy Douglas.

by QrazyQat 2004-11-08 07:58PM | 0 recs
Republican bad; Democrat good
It needs to get brought down to "Republican bad, Democrat good." Pissing off potential votes by name calling won`t work.
Perhaps we can borrow the "If you can read this, thank a teacher" meme. If you have your Social Security check, thank a Democrat & so on. Something bad, thank a Republican, then call a Democrat. We are going to have to start at the bottom and work up, and remembering who the Democrats were and what they did will be a good step in defining the future.
Forget liberal and conservative. Is the idea a good one?
And we need to keep it simple. People here can read and write, and are somewhat comfortable with spell checking. At a union meeting some years ago when explaining the options of going from the old pension plan to the new, the example was, if you had $10,000, and cashed out, you would lose 50% to taxes. Someone actually spoke up and said, "I don`t care about percents, if I have $10,000, and take the money, how much will I get." Bring it down and make it personal.
How much of every tax dollar does nothing but pay interest? Which corporations pay no taxes, and get refunds to boot? It`s going to have to be a long term low-intensity campaign. Make people comfortable to be Democrats, or at least vote that way. It looks like the issues and answers are on our side.
And we should keep the welcome mat out.
by toowaku 2004-11-08 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Republican bad; Democrat good
re: long term low intensity

 where is the liberal limbaugh

 where is the firebrand to rally to

by bluebudda 2004-11-09 06:17AM | 0 recs
You're on to something here
Anyone remember what "liberal" used to mean? New Deal, civil rights, New Frontier, and all that those things entail.

What does "liberal" mean today? Not to us, to those who don't see themselves as liberal. I'm not sure, but I know it isn't good. Something along the lines of: more taxes, wishy-washy, unpatriotic, welfare for the undeserving, coddling criminals, placing the global good above the national interest, supporting snail darters instead of jobs, elitist, intellectual, etc.

Who defined "liberal" this way? Not us. The right-wing did. And they did so with, yes, a kernel of truth, but with a whole lot more mendacity than what Chris is proposing now: the most visible self-proclaimed "conservatives" are the right-wing extremists. Fine, let them stew in their own juices. Since the alleged "true conservatives" are not attacking these zealots as not really conservative, they have in fact become the definition of conservative.

I think it makes good tactical sense to begin leading everyone to identify "convervative" with hate-mongering, anti-life (let's kill the liberals), anti-democratic (one party is enough, if it's ours), and anti-law and order (Rush's defense of Abu Graib) lunatic ravings that characterize the "conservate" media elite today.

I say let's go for it.

by Omark 2004-11-09 04:21AM | 0 recs
Re: You're on to something here
" the most visible self-proclaimed 'conservatives' are the right-wing extremists. Fine, let them stew in their own juices. Since the alleged 'true conservatives' are not attacking these zealots as not really conservative, they have in fact become the definition of conservative."

PRECISELY!!!

by Paul Rosenberg 2004-11-09 05:06AM | 0 recs
Re: You're on to something here
i agree!

its time... to vote... with our dollars... economic sanctions against right wing companies

by bluebudda 2004-11-09 06:05AM | 0 recs
The REAL Conservatives
Who are conservatives, really? A number of people are upset with Chris because they've bought conservative lies about who they are.  This is hardly unusual. Indeed, it's the essence of conservatism to mis-represent its essence.  Let me quote, rather than explain.

In the highly-recommended What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It? Phil Agre writes:

The tactics of conservatism vary widely by place and time. But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are. Modern-day liberals often theorize that conservatives use "social issues" as a way to mask economic objectives, but this is almost backward: the true goal of conservatism is to establish an aristocracy, which is a social and psychological condition of inequality. Economic inequality and regressive taxation, while certainly welcomed by the aristocracy, are best understood as a means to their actual goal, which is simply to be aristocrats. More generally, it is crucial to conservatism that the people must literally love the order that dominates them....

The defenders of aristocracy represent aristocracy as a natural phenomenon, but in reality it is the most artificial thing on earth. Although one of the goals of every aristocracy is to make its preferred social order seem permanent and timeless, in reality conservatism must be reinvented in every generation. This is true for many reasons, including internal conflicts among the aristocrats; institutional shifts due to climate, markets, or warfare; and ideological gains and losses in the perpetual struggle against democracy....

Conservatism in every place and time is founded on deception. The deceptions of conservatism today are especially sophisticated, simply because culture today is sufficiently democratic that the myths of earlier times will no longer suffice.

Before analyzing current-day conservatism's machinery of deception, let us outline the main arguments of conservatism. Although these arguments have changed little through history, they might seem unfamiliar to many people today, indeed even to people who claim to be conservatives. That unfamiliarity is a very recent phenomenon. Yet it is only through the classical arguments and their fallacies that we can begin to analyze how conservatism operates now.


Before you criticize Chris again, please read Agre's piece, and see if you really are or wish to defend conservatives as they have historically defined and defended themselves.  If your identification with or defense of conservatism is based on historically recent spin about what conservatives are, then you need to go through detox. And you can probably make an extremely valuable contribution derived from that process.  Many, many millions of people have been similarly fooled. We'd like to reach them all. (Universal salvation is one of those things that liberals believe in, which conservatives don't. "God don't make no junk," is the appropriate slogan.)
by Paul Rosenberg 2004-11-09 05:32AM | 0 recs
Phony Conservatism
For many many years the US government was dominated by Democrats, and so this one party became associated with the negative aspects of government, which are almost inevitable (deficits, welfare cheats, etc.).  And the Republicans were able to to appear righteous by claiming to support an end to all those bad things that Democrats supposedly were for.  This strategy worked so well that even Democrats starting referring to common sense government as "conservative" government.  And we even made some of it happen in our desire not to appear too liberal.  We balanced the budget, ended welfare as we knew it, and raised government revenue through economic growth.

But this liberal/conservative split is all smoke and mirrors.  There is nothing inherently conservative about balanced budgets, wise foreign policies, economic growth, and so forth.  These just happen to be very difficult things to do and so are not generally associated with the government in power.

True conservatism consists of believing that decisions should be made by a small group of people who know what's best for everyone else.  These people believe that government should be opaque, that the press should be neither free nor independent, and that too much education creates social instability.  Religion is encouraged because it keeps pressure off the government.  Militarism is encouraged because it blames foreign governments for social problems.  Xenophobia is encouraged.  

America was not founded on any of these values.

by Christopher 2004-11-09 05:44AM | 0 recs
You guys 'get it'.
Thanks, Chris, for hammering on the obvious.  Because there are still a lot of people it's not yet obvious to.

How the GOP got from 1964 to 2004 wasn't by trying to be centrist.  (Although GWB did dress up that way in 2000, but it was just a ploy.)  They sold their ideas, and tried to pass their program, over and over and over again.  And in doing so, they moved America's political center towards them, rather than the other way around.

Thanks for saying we need to do the same, right back at them.  We've got to express our principles and programs cogently, sell them and fight for them consistently, and move America's center leftward once again.

by RT 2004-11-09 07:56AM | 0 recs
Threats
It sounds as if the conservatives have made threats to obliterate liberals/Democrats, etc.  Should we be prepared to physically defend ourselves?
by sixfootpole 2004-11-09 01:13PM | 0 recs
call them radcons
We should demonize them as the radical conservatives or radcons.  That should be the name, because it also has the virtue of being true.  We need to split them off from moderates while promoting progressive liberalism as the democratic alternative to the radcons.
by aenglish 2004-11-10 05:21AM | 0 recs
°Bravo!
AWESOME POST CHRIS!

My background is in post-structuralist critical theory and one of the things that make me salivate most is how through every day speech we construct the myths we live by.

I just recently discovered that George Lakoff co-wrote "The Metaphors We Live By", a book about everyday myth making. I read it eons ago, way before I read Roland Barthes "Mythologies" or Umberto Eco's  "Essay on Hyperreality". It's one of those books that I can say was formative in my years before jumping into the academic fray.

Interestingly enough, it was my father who owned the book. He was an urban planner and political activist and I remember us discussing this book in the context of how people speak in order to create a context for their actions.

"Conservative" is the opposite of "Liberal". Whatever liberal is, conservative will be it's opposite. The meanings of both words will change by the actions of those who use them to define themselves. That's how the meanings of words change. So the meaning is not pre-determined. It just springs from the actions of those who use it to label themselves.

The exercise here would be to see how people who call themselves Liberals act and how that may or may not have changed the textbook meaning of the word. There could be a lot of insight in that kind of analysis.

Best,
liza sabater
http://www.culturekitchen.com

by liza 2004-11-10 07:16PM | 0 recs

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