Class Warfare Blog

January 13, 2013

The Modern Conservative Movement and Social Darwinism

Regular readers of this blog will recognize my claim (and that of others) that American conservatives are hell bent on destroying the remnants of the New Deal and the safety social net so many look to as a god send. Currently conservatives are shouting about the national debt as a reason that social welfare programs need to be reined in. These same folks, of course, couldn’t have been bothered with anything like the national debt just four years ago. It is being used as a “reason” to do what they want even though it is not a cause of a problem per se.

So, why are they doing this, other than from hatred of the New Deal and social programs memes, why does the hatred exist? My claim is that modern conservatives and most Republicans are Social Darwinists. Again, this is ironic because these selfsame folks also are science deniers, especially with regard to the theory of evolution, brilliantly begun by Charles Darwin. Hence, if you would accuse one of these conservatives of being a “Darwinist,” they would most assuredly take umbrage.

The form of Social Darwinism is actually pseudo science equating to “social survival of the fittest.” They believe that if all of the props were to be pulled out from the “underclasses,” they would surely sink to the bottom of the social strata where they belong. Fueling this is their belief that the “fittest” are most assuredly white and that the black and brown members of our society have been artificially raised up where they do not belong. (We want our country back! is not something blacks or Hispanics say.) It is no accident that these people also oppose any form of “affirmative action” in education or employment.

Their beliefs not only extend to the supposed superiority of white Americans over African-Americans and Hispanics, but also with regard to the superiority of men over women. These conservatives (they do not deserve a capital C) are traditionalists who think women have gotten far too uppity, especially sexually. So, they not only oppose equal pay for women, they oppose structural support for the sexual independence of women (e.g. Planned Parenthood, availability of abortions, even the availability of contraception). It may be an overstatement but they would prefer modern women to be closer to “barefoot and pregnant” than to any example of a modern woman, but I expect not.

So, how is the class/gender war being waged? These people, who are often already wealthy, have conspired to make sure that the laws of this country expand their wealth at a much greater rate than anyone else’s. They did this by buying “think tanks” to create battle plans and hired lobbyists to execute them (just twenty years ago there were merely hundreds of registered lobbyists in Washington, D.C. where there are thousands now). With that wealth, an indicator of their economic superiority in their minds (imagine the arrogance and sense of entitlement of any Wall Street mogul here), they have been buying political influence in the GOP, in the Democratic Party, and in the court system all the way up to the Supreme Court. The deck is well and truly stacked against: blacks, whites, women, and anybody in the middle class for whom Social Security and Medicare are bulwarks against poverty.

The question I have is: when will we begin to fight back? So far we have pretty much just rolled over and spread the orifices between our legs with lubricant.

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7 Comments »

  1. It seems to me a great number of the problems in American politics stem directly from the system of representation itself. Perhaps it was a natural repulsion to the British and a desire to do politics differently (more out of spite than anything) but by not choosing a parliamentary system the founding fathers (some of whom i admire greatly) created a series of wholly unique problems; problems unknown to a parliament.

    Big question, but could you see the US ever accepting the system itself is flawed and a parliament should be adopted?

    Comment by john zande — January 14, 2013 @ 3:31 am | Reply

    • Many of the founders were deathly afraid of the development of political parties, which they foresaw as being problematical. Our problem now is not structural, per se, it is rooted in the other great fear of the founders and that was members of Congress being bought off (yes, they saw this, too). The parties as I came to know them really wield no power anymore. Campaigns are no longer under the control of the parties, they are run by their own staffs. (The parties ran things by distributing funds and they are mere pikers now.) Our current problems are the result of the influence of veritable oceans of political money being spent by people at the fringes of our society. The “ultrarich” used to feel a calling to public service (e.g. the Kennedy’s, the Rockerfellers, the Roosevelts, etc.) that wasn’t totally to serve the interests of the rich. Those folks tended to be of a liberal bent, wanting to do something for “the small people,” but the liberal movement in this country abandoned national politics and the arch conservatives having stayed the course now hold sway.

      There is no chance (zero, zip, zilch) of a sensible parlimentary system being adopted because that would mean a power shift away from those who have it now and I can’t see them inclined to do something so . . generous.

      We need to get control of the Supreme Court out of these folks hands, get control of political money, and remove the rest of the power of the political parties (redistricting in census years being the foremost). In this case “we”is as in “We, the people, . . .”

      So, what’s it like living in Brazil? (We have contemplated moving to a civilized country, Canada.)

      Steve

      Comment by stephenpruis — January 14, 2013 @ 7:34 am | Reply

      • One of the reasons i was rooting for Obama was so he could make the next 2 picks for SCOTUS. The alternative would have been truly terrible for the States. As it is there i’m constantly reminded of this quote “I have the Confederate forces ahead of me and the bankers behind me, and for America I fear the bankers most.” (Lincoln)

        Steve, Brazil is a love-hate relationship. You’re a politically sensitive soul, a thinking man…. Brazil will annihilate your being. We’re in the wealthy south where 8 states contribute to 78.1% of Brazil’s total GDP. Our state (Sao Paulo) alone accounts for 33.5% ($1 Trillion). The problem, the poor north outnumber us down here and they decide the elections. Seriously, democracy doesn’t work in this country. We need a gerrymander. A Paulista’s vote should be worth 4 to a Bahiano’s 0.5%. It sounds horrible but the majority of this country fall for popularist politics… and that only encourages the corruption.

        Comment by john zande — January 14, 2013 @ 11:36 am | Reply

        • The woman of my life’s ex-husband worked out of Sao Paulo in a corportist’s enclave with security guards, servants, whatever insulation from the hoi polloi that could be had. Any country that “needs” such “gated communies” is in trouble. They are springing up like mushrooms here.

          The core problem is a fear of/unconcern for the “masses” of people. If our governments were working assiduously for the betterment of all of the people and not just the wealthy, would there be fertile soil for populist seeds? I think not. Would people fear their government? I think not. The fear the wealthy have of the poor in this country is pumping the right-wing media machine which is encouraging the fear-driven to more and more extreme behavior and it is all an illusion. If these idiots truely believed in their own superiority, why whould they feel the need to rig the system at all, let along so severely. It is because they are in doubt. The South still fears a black uprising that will wreak vengeance upon them (in the absense of all evidense, rationality is not involved). This fear fuels a great deal of institutional racism.

          In this country the approach is “stop fearing or I will shoot you” I am afraid.

          Claudia and I are looking for a change of heart, but people don’t change spontaneously, there is usually some sort of external stimulus needed. I guess the old “Twilight Zone” episode in which a group tried to fake an alien encounter to bring humanity together still offers a possible scenario . . . or maybe people will just transfer their fears and want the government to build them a Death Star . . . Oh . . .My . . . God!

          Steve

          (PS I assume you heard of the petition for the US Governemnt to build a Death Star.)

          Comment by stephenpruis — January 14, 2013 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

          • I did indeed. The WH reply made me laugh.

            We’re not in a gated community but there’s one buffering our little (open) sanctuary. Sad to see, but they’re only increasing, as are the little private armies that come attached.

            If you’re looking for a sea change (and can handle the isolation) i’d suggest south island, New Zealand. Get a job at Dunedin Uni or one of the private (schools) colleges down there. Stunning scenery, and you can become a fan of my favourite sport, Rugby.

            Comment by john zande — January 14, 2013 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

            • The roughest sport I ever played was basketball (concussions, torn flesh, floor burns, bruises, etc.) but all it took was one bumper sticker to disuade me from trying rugby . . . “Donate Blood, Play Rugby”

              ;o)

              Comment by stephenpruis — January 14, 2013 @ 1:19 pm | Reply


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