In case you haven’t noticed, Republicans have a problem. Believe it or not, it isn’t a problem with Democrats. It isn’t a problem with Republicans. We have a serious problem with Far Right conservatives. We have a serious problem with Far Left liberals. And – we have a problem with everyone and their uncle telling “us” what to do, even though they’re not Republicans.
The past few month here at Blogcritics, I’ve written a series of articles about politics that have rightly been criticized as being ‘over the top’. I’ve been accused of ‘bomb throwing’. Guess what? I freely admit my guilt. In my defense there was and is a method to my madness. I wrote those articles for a specific reason – to watch the comment process to see if my theory about liberals and conservatives was correct.
I’ve spent the past few years studying the conservative movement, how it has changed, for the worst, I think, and the negative impact it is having on GOP politics. Liberals are a problem for us, but I think their “attacks” are a result of previous conservative attacks and the conservative money sources. If we Republicans are to go back to our winning ways, we are going to need to be more than a little honest about the non-Republican, third party and independent forces at work against us. They are more damaging to the GOP than any far left attack ever will be.
There are very few differences between those entities who reside on the far right and on the far left.
Note that I am talking FAR right and FAR left.
They both have a tendency to be followers, rather than the leaders they think they are, having surrendered their critical thinking process to the rank veil of ideology that threatens to suffocate their remaining creativity. It is all about a greater “truth”. The only real difference is the Far Left will do what it takes to win, and the Far Right is more interested in being “pure”. It is a losing proposition for the Far Right, and will eventually be a losing proposition for the Far Left.
The difference between the two groups, other than ideology is the way they choose to comment and to “operate”.
Far left liberals (not your average run of the mill liberal) get very personal. They are nasty, cruel, vicious, and quite often threatening. They argue with passion, throwing facts and logic to the wind. On the other hand, the far right (not to be confused with your average run of the mill conservative) attempts to be “logical”. Evidently they think they are the Vulcans of the political world, attempting to use “logic” and “facts”. While the far right can be nasty, they usually do not get personal unless it is to call someone a “liberal”. They like to be quite patronizing and self-righteous.
The far left is much more creative with their commentary epitaphs. They could teach the far right a few things, but unfortunately the far right is catching up with them, rapidly.
Political discourse has always been brutal, vicious, nasty, personal, and relatively creative. The difference in years gone by was the fact that even given the brutality, viciousness, etc. etc., it was fun. Like good social drinkers, those involved in said discourse knew their limits. They knew when to stop, pull back, regroup, and wait for the next bout.
We’re talking highly eloquent, well read grown-ups (note the use of the term “grown-ups” as a contrast to the childish behavior we are experiencing today from voters, pundits, and elected officials) who knew how to turn a phrase, how to behave, and how to say nasty things in a most exquisite manner. The list of political writers and muckrakers is like a who’s who of great American writers. Political commentary is an American tradition. The political editorial was an art form, if those written by my great-grandfather Thomas Jefferson Moore are any example. A contractor by trade, and a life-long Democrat, “Poppy” could teach all of us a thing or two about how to write a great comment be insulting and never not be a gentleman about it.
I wish I knew where the degradation began. I wondered if it might be after the founding of the ACLU in the 1920s, but soon realized that is not the case. It is entirely possible the current trend began in the 1960s as a result of the anti-war movement and the perceived assault on “American” values by the left. Note that I said “Perceived”.
There was no great liberal movement at that time. There were liberals like Phil Donahue on television, but they were counterbalanced by the hard-drinking, rough living Rat Pack and the likes of John Wayne and Bob Hope, who were basically Republicans (but would be castigated today as being ‘country club Republicans’). When you stop and examine the history of non-profits and lobby groups, you realize there were only a few on the political scene, and those appear to be based on anti-war, civil rights, or anti-communist theologies.
Conservatives like to wax poetic about William F. Buckley being the lone voice in the wilderness, but nothing could be farther from the truth. It wasn’t about “liberal” and “conservative”. It was about Democrats and Republicans. You could be of either persuasion, liberal or conservative and were welcome in either party. It was a kinder, gentler age.
Johnson defeated Goldwater by painting him as a warmonger, feeding the fears of nuclear annihilation. Nixon barely defeated Humphrey in 1968 by vowing to end the war in Vietnam. Today we conservatives like to complain about media bias, but during that time frame we were winning the war until the casualties were flashed, night after night, on the news.
It is fascinating how the same generation who had the courage to be the “Greatest Generation” and defeat both Hitler and Tojo, could not finish the job in Vietnam. That topic is another discussion and simply noted here as an observation simply because the party in power who won WWII was Democratic. Many of the early voices against entering the war that was ‘none of our business’ were Republican. Times change and so do perceptions. Republicans were, contrary to revisionist history, the champions of desegregation and voting rights changes in both the United States House and the Senate. They were “liberal” – and I specifically note “LIBERAL” Republicans, those country club Republicans Rush Limbaugh detests, who kept pushing back against Southern conservatives (many Democrats) like Al Gore’s father, who refused to vote for the various Civil Rights initiatives.
Republicans were “progressive” to use that word FOX egomaniac Glenn Beck detests. Republicans were the ones promoting advances in ideas the more reactionary Democrats resisted.
Something changed in the 1960s. By 1970 there was a difference. Perhaps it was the alleged revolution of campus liberals and professors and the Hippie movement that caused it. Maybe it was Nixon. He was paranoid. He sowed the seeds of his own destruction, but he also had the foresight to pave the way for today’s relationship with China, and by his “detente” with the USSR sewed the seeds of their destruction.
One of the great mysteries and inalienable rights of the American Voter is to make a fool of him or her self. The easiest way to do this is with fringe, third, or independent political parties which have been a part of this nation since the 1800s when some of the earliest American conspiracy theorists formed the Anti-Masonic Party in 1826. Since that time, the fun has never ended.
Our current problems began, in the mind of this humble writer, in the 1950s with the birth of the anti-Communist John Birch Society. Much like the old KKK, the John Birch Society opposed civil rights because they saw “communists” behind every door. One of the founders also co-founded the “National Alliance” with its connections to the white nationalist (neo-Nazi) movement today. It should be noted that some Ron Paul Bots are John Birchers. One should also note that there are a few libertarians who fall under the same category.
Is it also possible that the current, almost rabid rhetoric coming from libertarians is due to a resurgence of Ayn Rand and her anything goes, selfish and atheistic mentality where basic human kindness and altruism is seen as a weakness. Contrary to popular revision, Rand once admired Ronald Reagan but then had no use for him after she realized he was not going to jettison his Christian values and that he had the audacity to associate with other Christians.
No one can ever accuse the far right of being kind or fair-minded. It is a dog eat dog world where survival and winning is a means to an end. The cruel, narcissistic philosophy of Ayn Rand does explain a few things, especially the intolerance of anyone who does not believe exactly as do you. Today, far right pundits like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh like to point out the work of Saul Alinsky as inspirational fodder for Barack Obama, but his philosophy can’t hold a candle to the cruelty of Rand.