Honestly, I never thought he had a chance — not with the viral “Islamic Manchurian Candidate” email forwards even some “smart” people were spreading around. Then came the specter of Liberation Theology — a not uncommon feature of the African American church (church being the only place black folk could get political). The Rev. Wright is still around people, playing prominently in Pennsylvania as I write. More playing into white fear. If you listen closely, you’ll hear the themes lying under the surface: an Obama presidency will destroy civilization as we know it, turning the White House into a demented rerun of “The Jeffersons” (*cue in strains of “… moving on up… ”*) and white women all over will want to screw Black men. You may think my characterization politically incorrect, but I will point out that it’s not such a reach.
People: what is at stake are two divergent visions of what kind of society we want… our vision…
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-=[ The Conservative Worldview ]=-
“Contempt is not a thing to be despised.”
— Edmund Burke (1729–1797) British statesman, “father” of conservatism
I call my blog [un]Common Sense partly in honor of Thomas Paine. Paine wrote a famous pamphlet titled Common Sense. It was wildly popular and helped influence the founders of this nation. If you want to understand Paine’s popularity and sway, imagine your favorite celebrity today. His work was that popular. He also donated the profits of the immensely popular Common Sense to the revolutionary cause.
He would be hailed a hero, but when he went against convention after the war, he was cast aside and he would eventually die a pauper.
Thomas Paine also wrote The Rights of Man as a response to a debate he was having with Sir Edmund Burke, a famous British nobleman who is revered by modern conservatives (Goldwater, William F. Buckley, Russell Kirk, et al.) as the father of modern conservative thought. In many ways, this debate is the same debate at the center of this election. At the core of this election is the debate between conservative and progressive worldviews. Paine represented the progressive side.
Modern conservatives (especially African American conservatives) like to say that they are for a conservatism that’s different from the neocons of today, but that’s bullshit. They get away with saying shit like that because people today don’t read, nor have the intellectual curiosity to investigate these claims. The funny thing is that these modern conservatives all love to look back in fondness to Goldwater and talk of a conservatism that’s so different from today. While in some tiny aspects this may be true, the conservative worldview is the same.
What is that worldview? Well, let’s look at burke why don’t we! LOL!
Burke stood for ideals that never threatened his lifestyle or that of his wealthy and powerful peers. He would eventually support the American Revolution, though he expressed extreme doubt of our survival without an aristocratic class. He supported the British takeover of India, but felt that that British rule should be “benevolent.” However, in his heart and soul, Burke supported the kind of class structure that Paine railed against.
Burke promoted the worldview that informs today’s conservatives: that people are essentially evil and need a strong external force to prevent them from acting out their evil nature. He asserted that such a force should come from those who have inherited or lawfully obtained wealth, religious power, or political power. He also believed that a permanent large underclass with little power and a permanent small overclass with great power would produce the greatest good because it will ensure social stability.
Burke, like his modern political heirs, strongly defended the rule by the rich, enforced by corporate and chartered state power. In short, Burke advocated for hereditary wealth and the rights of the aristocracy. Modern aristocracy is what we now call the corporatocracy. Why do you think McCain is so vehemently committed to continue the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy (90 percent of the Bush tax cuts went to 10 percent of the wealthiest).
And here is the fundamental question you are being asked to answer tomorrow: The question on the table is whether corporations have any role in government or if we still believe that government belongs to We the People.
The cornerstone of conservative belief is that control of government by a corporate elite and those with inherited wealth will ensure a stable society. It was the core of Reagan’s belief — the greed is good philosophy — that led republicans to stop enforcing antitrust laws and to lower taxes to the super rich. On this, Reagan was consistent with Burke. The fact is that Burke was against change because he lived a privileged life and wanted to “conserve” that privilege.
This is the conservative worldview. This is what McCain and the Bush people, and the conservatives believe.