Ok, it’s not just me.
Today I had the pleasure of enjoying a pair of thought provoking articles during my morning read.
Both ironically came from conservative columnists, which it’s been my experience, rarely produce anything that I would call even remotely thought provoking.
That is if you don’t call philosophizing about how someone can be so intelligent, yet wholly unquestioning, thought provoking.
Since I am not one to go out of my way to read many conservative writers, my exposure to them has pretty much been limited to the borderline fascist, reactionary, fear mongers arguing for the status quo that you would come to expect.
I am sure someone who regularly reads these writings would be able to point out more conservatives than I could who have something worth reading.
This is not to say that they are not good writers. I am simply saying that they don't appeal to your head they appeal to your emotion, and I don't consider that worth reading.
The first was a piece I read was on the American Spectator and it was about the way that civil discourse in this country has gone terribly awry. This particular columnist blamed it on the internet. His argument was that the use of e-mail, message boards, blogs and web sites has created a culture of eroding civil discourse that has begun to dominate political exchange among Americans.
He pointed out how people quit their jobs now by e-mail. They break up with their girlfriends or boyfriends with text messages sent over cell phones. Very little is done face to face anymore, if we can help it, and once you remove that face to face aspect, unfortunately so goes the civility. We’ve all seen the phenomenon in newsgroups. We call them newsgroup trolls.
They talk like their Suge Knight but in reality, they’re probably more like Kip Dynamite.
I don’t think it has escaped anyone’s notice that conservatives and liberals can’t even seem to hold a civil conversation these days.
I am not going to sit here and justify this, nor am I going to act like I don’t partially contribute to that in my own way with this site.
As many of you know I don’t write anything with the intention of riling anyone up. This is not shock for the sake of shock.
I don’t even write with the intention of offending.
Although judging by the amount of e-mail I get a week apparently, I am indirectly very good at doing both.
I don’t go after Jesus freaks because I am anti-Christian or that I am even an atheist with an agenda. I am neither and atheist or anti-Christian. I am pro-"use the common sense that God gave you".
At the top of the list of what I cannot stand, second to none, are people who are inconsistent, hypocritical, unprincipled or misrepresent themselves in their opinions, political or otherwise.
Don’t go on and on about how much you love this country and you are such a patriot because are willing to go out and risk your life to uphold the constitution and democracy and then come back stateside and do all you can to undermine the very rights you supposedly fought to protect.
Don’t call yourself a Christian, one who seeks to be Christ like and then call into a radio station or post messages on a message board and advocate nuclear holocaust.
Don’t call yourself a moderate, like you are opposed to radical or extreme views or measures, and then start talking about how you think intelligent design “theory” has as much merit as evolution and how you think the idea of separation of church and state has been misinterpreted by the liberal atheists and is now out of sync with our Christian founding father’s intended, or even worse, that it’s an archaic idea that we should move away from altogether.
Here were a couple of examples he had of conservative perspectives being propagated across the internet on conservative leaning sites. These quotes came from commentary Shawn Macomber, the columnist from The American Spectator quoted in a piece called “Perspective Calling. No Answer.” on his own site. These were not his words but just comments that he had read across the internet.
”After the shameful and humiliating klintoon years in the White House, it's so good to finally again be proud to be an American, and so proud and grateful to our beautiful, heroic and God-like President Bush.”
“Great start...the naysayers in this country are the same ones who are pro-evil and anti-American. The same commune thinkers of old.”
So what is the solution to regaining some semblance of civil discourse between the right and left the way we use to have in this country as recently as the Clinton years?
You can’t start a civil exchange with me about Bush after I have been labeled pro-evil or anti-American simply because I believe he, and the neo-conservative agenda he champions has put this country on a path that will take generations to recover from.
Likewise, they could just as easily say to me that I can’t they start a civil exchange with them when I start my article off by calling them an anti-intellectual, Jesus freak fascist.
Boy oh boy we have a long way to go don’t we?
Scott McConnell of the American Conservative who wrote the second article that I read this morning said “I don’t think there are yet real fascists in the administration, but there is certainly now a constituency for them —hungry to bomb foreigners and smash those Americans who might object. And when there are constituencies, leaders may not be far behind. They could be propelled into power by a populace ever more frustrated that the imperialist war it has supported—generally for the most banal of patriotic reasons—cannot possibly end in victory. And so scapegoats are sought, and if we can’t bomb Arabs into submission, or the French, domestic critics of Bush will serve.”
Again, I agree with Mr. McConnell. I believe that politics is all about whether or not there are constituencies. There is a growing constituency for fascism here in America and that absolutely means that there will be, although I believe there already are, fascist leaders willing to accept their votes and take office and press their agenda.
There is no maybe about it.
Although the subject matter of these two articles I read were completely unrelated, they complemented each other very nicely in helping to clarify where exactly my problem lies with the current fervor of right wing extremism that has sprouted up in this country.
This new breed of neo-conservative, is fascism from where I sit. And I can’t help but to be bitterly disappointed by any American that is either ignorantly or intentionally embracing it.
And the most discouraging thing I hear when I talk to people is that what I personally see as the core American values that we should be not only protecting but projecting out to the world are not only under valued, but it seems in most cases to be met with irreverence by my Americans themselves.
What makes this so aggravating is that these fascist ideas are being held by anti-Americans foreigners but by people who consider themselves the model of patriotism and the true keepers of traditional American values.
Fascism isn’t an American value.
But they aren’t listening to me because they are too busy going around tearing John Kerry bumper stickers off parked cars in hotel parking lots in the middle of the night.
Justin Raimondo, a libertarian and editor of the popular Antiwar.com website, wrote a column headlined, “Today’s Conservatives are Fascists” where he pointed to the "justification of torture by conservative legal theorists, widespread support for a militaristic foreign policy, and a retrospective backing of Japanese internment during World War II, as “fascism with a democratic face.”
Lew Rockwell, a libertarian and president of the Mises Institute mentioned in an article he wrote “the most significant socio-political shift in our time has gone almost completely unremarked, and even unnoticed. It is the dramatic shift of the red-state bourgeoisie from leave-us-alone libertarianism, manifested in the Congressional elections of 1994, to almost totalitarian statist nationalism. Whereas the conservative middle class once cheered the circumscribing of the federal government, it now celebrates power and adores the central state, particularly its military wing.”
Lew Rockwell wrote a piece called “The Reality of Red State Fascism,” and in it he noted that a populist Right website that originally rallied for the impeachment of Bill Clinton as “hate-filled ... advocating nuclear holocaust and mass bloodshed for more than a year now.” He continued “One of the biggest right-wing talk-radio hosts regularly calls for the mass destruction of Arab cities. Letters that come to this magazine from the pro-war Right leave no doubt that their writers would welcome the jailing of dissidents. And of course it’s not just us. When USA Today founder Al Neuharth wrote a column suggesting that American troops be brought home sooner rather than later, he was blown away by letters comparing him to Tokyo Rose and demanding that he be tried as a traitor. Rockwell points out that this current version of neo-conservatism “celebrates the shedding of blood, and exhibits a maniacal love of the state. The new ideology of the red-state bourgeoisie seems to actually believe that the US is God marching on earth—not just godlike, but really serving as a proxy for God himself.”
Is it even possible to keep a civil dialog with people who hold these views?
What would be the purpose of the dialog anyway?
Who has ever heard of a fascist that was persuaded with sound, logical argument?
You don’t use sound logic to arrive at fascism why would you be persuaded away from it by logic?
I even had a reader write me a few weeks ago who demonstrated to me that she clearly understood the importance of free speech but had a hard time justifying that it should apply to the University of Colorado professor that basically said that we deserved what happened to us on 9-11.
How did we allow ourselves to get to the point where we feel we can keep our democracy while at the same time deciding when we are going to practice it?
”The invasion of Iraq has put the possibility of the end to American democracy on the table and has empowered groups on the Right that would acquiesce to and in some cases welcome the suppression of core American freedoms. That would be the titanic irony of course, the mother of them all—that a war initiated under the pretense of spreading democracy would lead to its destruction in one of its very birthplaces. But as historians know, history is full of ironies.” - Scott McConnell of the American Conservative.
I hope we survive this together.