Conservative Revanchism

"We want our country back!" is a cry often heard these days coming from the tea-party set and fringe conservatism. This past week, Bill Moyers interviewed Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review and author of the recently published The Death of Conservatism. In the interview , Mr. Tanenhaus says that far from signifying a resurgence of conservative ideals, the Tea Party protesters and shock jocks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh spell the doom of the conservative movement.

This exchange at the start of the interview is rather telling.

BILL MOYERS: So, if you're right about the decline and death of conservatism, who are all those people we see on television?

SAM TANENHAUS: I'm afraid they're radicals. Conservatism has been divided for a long time -- this is what my book describes narratively -- between two strains. What I call realism and revanchism. We're seeing the revanchist side.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean revanchism?

SAM TANENHAUS: I mean a politics that's based on the idea that America has been taken away from its true owners, and they have to restore and reclaim it. They have to conquer the territory that's been taken from them. Revanchism really comes from the French word for 'revenge.' It's a politics of vengeance.

And this is a strong strain in modern conservatism. Like the 19th Century nationalists who wanted to recover parts of their country that foreign nations had invaded and occupied, these radical people on the right, and they include intellectuals and the kinds of personalities we're seeing on television and radio, and also to some extent people marching in the streets, think America has gotten away from them. Theirs is a politics of reclamation and restoration. Give it back to us. What we sometimes forget is that the last five presidential elections Democrats won pluralities in four of them. The only time the Republicans have won, in recent memory, was when George Bush was re-elected by the narrowest margin in modern history, for a sitting president. So, what this means is that, yes, conservatism, what I think of, as a radical form of conservatism, is highly organized. We're seeing it now-- they are ideologically in lockstep. They agree about almost everything, and they have an orthodoxy that governs their worldview and their view of politics. So, they are able to make incursions. And at times when liberals, Democrats, and moderate Republicans are uncertain where to go, yes, this group will be out in front, very organized, and dominate our conversation.

Demographics are political destiny, especially in the near-term. There's no doubt that the country is undergoing a major demographic transition. To begin with, the country is simply less white by the day. According to the US Census Bureau, the dominance of non-Hispanic whites, who today account for two-thirds of Americans, will be whittled away, falling steadily to less than half in 2042 and just 46% by 2050. In the opposite trajectory, those who describe themselves as Hispanic, African-American, Asian and Native American will increase in proportion from about a third now to 54% by 2050.

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Sexism: The mother of all 'isms'.

Sexism is the 'gateway 'ism'', that makes all other 'isms' possible.  It precedes all other forms of discrimination, setting the example that there are some people that view others as inferior and they use brutality upon them.  What I mean by that is that because our family and society models are built around the model of inequality, injustice and brutality - we accept that behavior as normal.  So, too is racism, classism, speciesism and any other oppression by one group toward another.  The behaviors of sexism are the behaviors of bullying, injustice, intolerance and cruelty.

(Cross posted at The National Gadfly)

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A gift from two friends.

This is about my friends, how amazing they are to me.  

My new friend:

I recently posted about a community whose rights are routinely ignored, stripped and abused.  I took a risk in writing it because I know very little about the community.  I spoke about what I do know; about my belief that the law works for everyone or it works for no one.  I have no friends, no family, no coworkers in this group of people.  Yet, as a human being, a father and a citizen I have reached a point where I can no longer sit by while others are bullied simply because they are different and fewer in numbers.  So, I spoke out from my heart that how we the large groups treat the smaller, how the strong treat the weak yields a foul harvest for all of us. 

(Cross posted at The National Gadfly)

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Republicans Want More Conservative GOP

I'm sorry, the Republican Party deviated from its batshit crazy right-wing "roots"? When was this? I didn't get the memo. I thought they were the party of Lincoln--he wasn't remotely conservative. Teddy Roosevelt was outright liberal. Eisenhower's descendants endorsed Obama. The GOP's conservative "roots" are as fictitious as those myths about the 1950s; they never existed in the first place! I guess any Republican infighting is good though...

LOL!  If they do this, we'll just expand and cement our dominance of the nation!  They can become the party of some of the South and West.  I'm sure the reason they lost this year was their being too liberal.  

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What do Conservatives conserve?

con⋅serv⋅a⋅tive
kənˈsɜrvətɪv [kuhn-sur-vuh-tiv]
-adjective

  1.     disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
  2.     cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.
  3.     traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.
-noun
  1.     a person who is conservative in principles, actions, habits, etc.
  2.     a supporter of conservative political policies.
  3.     a preservative.

The dictionary definition above does not make it sound so bad.  I mean, it sounds like part of a spreadsheet on a CPA's laptop or maybe something out of home economics class.  How can anyone have any objection to conservative thinking if it's this benign?  Well the problem for me has always been the wide chasm of disparity between their simple sounding identity and the racism, corruption, bloodlust and tyranny that they promote.

They claim to be saving something, right?  So, what are they saving?  Well, I looked at their core beliefs:

(Cross posted at The National Gadfly)

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