I haven’t been writing lately. I know. It’s not that I have been busy. I’m just really full of existential malaise. The current state of American politics is depressing. I have had general discussions with like minded individuals (mostly other academics that study politics). I have been wondering why things are in the state they are in and why it is so frustrating.
I have concluded that it is the culmination of several problems. One is the general shift to the Right that has been going on in America for the past 30 years. On top of this, the general tactic of the American Right is downright frustrating, seemingly on purpose.
First of all, I don’t know how many times I have to point out that Barack Obama is not “far Left” or a “Socialist” or anything extreme in any context. If one were to go to Political Compass, it’s pretty clear where Obama stands… pretty centered. He’s more conservative than the Labour Party and as authoritarian as the Conservatives in the UK. (Less authoritarian than any GOP candidate, aside from Ron Paul.) Obama has even moved farther right since 2008. Yet, the Conservatives continue to claim he is a “radical.” Yes, if Reagan was also a radical.
There is a constant distortion of the issues. This makes any semblance of a coherent ideology almost impossible. They claim to want a small government, but turn around and want the government to dictate which people can be married. They want freedom of religion, as long as everyone is a Christian. They want lower taxes but they want to decrease debt. They want to “take America back” to a period of unprecedented wealth, but they want to ignore all the tax rates and policies of that time period. They talk about fairness in tax code, but they don’t want to close loopholes that allow the wealthy to pay lower taxes.
Half of the claims made by the new Right are baseless. This whole Libertarian, Alex Jones conspiracy nonsense is dangerous… I see what the Libertarian newsletters say… it’s all hyperbole. The economy is going to collapse and we are going to be living in Mad Max world… so stockpile guns and food. If that is what you are anticipating, why should you be allowed to make any policy decisions?
My constant defense of President Obama is often taken to be support of President Obama. This is not the reality. I criticise this president all the time, but with valid criticisms. I want to talk about policy, not about if Barack Obama was born in Kenya or is a radical socialist… because that is just hyperbolic distortion. The only reason I tend to side with Democrats or President Obama is because they are the only legitimate counter to the current Right Wing extremists in America.
What resource has this president nationalised? The only thing close to socialism this president has done is the Affordable Care Act… which is the most business friendly health care act in the Western world.
A woman testifies that birth control can effectively be used to control uterine cysts… and she is called a “slut” for wanting her health insurance carrier to pay for treatment that some churches disagree with… really?
And then, when people question the president’s nationality, and we ask why… we are told that we are making distortions. I’m trying my best to find coherent ideology on the Right, and none of it is plain. None of it is open. Hidden under all these layers of hyperbolic subterfuge is this ideology of supply-side economics… a failed economic ideology… and moral legislation. Maybe they don’t want us to be able to see it plainly because it resembles fascism so much.
All I know is that when you put all these distortions together, you just get static. The American Conservative today runs on a platform of white noise. How do you debate that?