Tag Archives | Conservatives

Margaret Thatcher’s Hearts And Souls

She failed in her dream of using economic policies to create a society of citizens who believed only in individualism. Via New Left Project, Tom Mills writes:

Much has been made of the ideological power of Thatcher’s political vision, but in reality she did not seek to persuade people that ‘there is no alternative’. Rather she forced people to accept as much by attacking the social bases of collective action and ideas, emasculating those institutional forms that could make building any alternative possible or even imaginable.

Like the Marxists she despised, Thatcher believed that ultimately it is the material conditions of life that determine political consciousness, and she sought therefore to bring about institutional changes which would carry with them an ideological reorientation. Hence why in an interview for the Sunday Times in May 1981 she made the chilling remark that, ‘Economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul.’

The policy innovations in the Thatcher years represented a profound shift towards a political economy based on rising asset values rather than income.

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Margaret Thatcher Dead

Margaret Thatcher cropped2Love her or loathe her – tell us your thoughts (in the comments section) on Margaret Thatcher, whose death was announced today. The BBC has the details:

Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher has died “peacefully” at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke, her family has announced.

David Cameron called her a “great Briton” and the Queen spoke of her sadness at the death.

Lady Thatcher was Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990. She was the first woman to hold the role.

She will not have a state funeral but will be accorded the same status as Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.

The ceremony, with full military honours, will take place at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.

The union jack above Number 10 Downing Street has been lowered to half-mast.

‘Force of nature’
Mr Cameron, who is in Madrid for meetings, has cancelled planned talks in Paris with French President Francois Hollande and will return to the UK later on Monday.

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Tea Party Activists Boycott Fox News for Being ‘Too Liberal’

Picture: CometStarMoon (CC)

What is this “liberal” people speak of? David Freelander writes at the Daily Beast:

“I am having withdrawal. I do like Fox News,” said Kevin Avard, a former state lawmaker in New Hampshire who is participating in the boycott. “I have been going to CNN, and to Headline News just to get some kind of fix. I usually probably only watch them once or twice a year.”

Hjerlied said that “If I want news, I go to Breitbart News and Drudge and I can find all the news I need, very quickly,” and after the first boycott, says he may have “kicked the habit” for good.

“I used to have it on all day long, and I probably watched maybe six hours last week,” he said. “The more I looked at it, I have come to the conclusion that Fox is not as fair and balanced as I thought.

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The Evangelical Political Movement’s Racist Origins

Religion Dispatches explains the actual galvanization of the modern evangelical conservative movement:

The right-wing evangelical movement was not an immediate backlash to Roe v. Wade. The evangelical community, unlike Roman Catholicism, showed little interest in combating abortion until almost 1980.

Although evangelicals were mostly silent on abortion after Roe v. Wade, they were not silent on other political issues. Paul Weyrich, one of the evangelical right’s most influential founders, recalls that the movement initially emerged to defend racially segregated Christian schools from government intrusion:

What galvanized the Christian community was not abortion, school prayer, or the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment]. I am living witness to that because I was trying to get those people interested in those issues and I utterly failed. What changed their minds was Jimmy Carter’s intervention against the Christian schools, trying to deny them tax-exempt status on the basis of so-called de facto segregation.

In other words, as Randall Balmer has succinctly put it: “the religious right of the late twentieth century organized to perpetuate racial discrimination.” Only after the movement was underway did it begin advocacy on abortion.

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Glenn Beck Planning $2 Billion Libertarian Commune In Texas

The planned community of Independence, USA is to be the living embodiment of the writings of Ayn Rand—specifically, the “Galt’s Gulch” described in Atlas Shrugged. Fingers crossed that this continues to unfold in fascinating fashion. Right Wing Watch explains:

On his program last night, Beck revealed grandiose plans to create an entirely self-sustaining community called Independence Park that will provide its own food and energy, produce television and film content, host research and development, serve as a marketplace for products and ideas, while also housing a theme park and serving as a residential community.

At the center, Beck (with the help of David Barton) will create a massive “national archive”/learning center where people can send their children to be “deprogrammed” and elected officials can come to learn “the truth.” All for a mere $2 billion.

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Tea Party Organization FreedomWorks’ Internal Documents Leaked

Mother Jones has a revealing look inside the leading tea party group’s internal memos. Included is the revelation that the supposed “grassroots” organization is funded almost entirely by a small number of ultra-rich donors, as well as their mission to make austerity and corporate tax breaks “cool” and youth-friendly:

In 2013, FreedomWorks plans to spend between $25 million and $30 million, according to the board book. Favored causes projects include the annual Blog-Con convention, the right’s answer to Netroots Nation; fly-ins for activists to lobby members of Congress; briefings with lawmakers; and the recently launched FreedomWorks University. FreedomWorks also plans to continue its financial support for Glenn Beck’s media enterprise.

The board book is chock full of strategy talk by the FreedomWorks’ brass. CEO Kibbe acknowledged that his group’s plan to help flip control of the US Senate to the GOP failed miserably (“We take our lumps with humility”), and he insisted that it’s time to replace the aging image of the conservative movement with “younger, more diverse, more substantive voices for freedom in America.” Kibbe asked: “Can liberty, personal responsibility, and doing things for yourself be the new ‘cool’?”

Such a makeover, Kibbe wrote, can begin if FreedomWorks courts so-called “Ron Paul Millennials,” the loud, loyal twentysomethings who in 2008 and 2012 followed the GOP libertarian presidential candidate from one stump speech to the next.

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On Fox News, Mike Huckabee Says The Sandy Hook Massacre Was Caused By Lack Of School Prayer

For U.S. conservatives, it’s time for lawmakers to stop beating around the bush and finally put a halt to the epidemic of mass shootings — by mandating the Bible in public school. Via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 Republican presidential candidate who is now a pundit and host on Fox News did not mention guns, gun culture, or assault rifles in talking about the country’s latest mass killing, but said, “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be surprised that schools would become places of carnage?”

Huckabee seemed to see church-state separation as responsible for the horrors Friday at an elementary school, where 20 pupils died: “We’ve made it (school) a place where we don’t talk about eternity, life — that one day we stand before, you know holy God in judgment,” said Huckabee.

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How Can Liberals and Conservatives Communicate?

Picture: "Purple America" by Robert J. Vanderbei, Princeton.edu (CC)

There was a great article a couple weeks ago by Lynn Stuart Parramore, an AlterNet senior editor, titled What if Liberals and Progressives Could Learn to Talk to White Southern Men? in which she reminds us that for Southerners, being polite and reasonable are directly signs of their sense of honor and self-respect. Most of them, despite our political disagreements, don’t want to be seen as rash, close-minded and unreasonable. Lynn Parramore, also Director of AlterNet’s New Economic Dialogue Project, recounts stories of relating to these individuals on certain issues:

What liberals and progressives don’t seem to understand is that you don’t counter a myth with a pile of facts and statistics. You have to counter it with a more powerful story. And that’s what Obama and the Democrats have repeatedly failed to do. White Southern men want a story that makes them feel proud of America and what it can accomplish.

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Did The Republican Party’s Vilification Of Muslim Americans Just Cost It The Presidency?

You reap what you sow. It seems hard to believe in the wake of the invasion of Iraq and widespread conservative hostility towards Muslims in the United States, but prior to 9/11, American Muslims were a solidly Republican voter demographic. Via Ray on the Royals, baseball blogger Rany Jazayerli pointed out yesterday that, fascinatingly, ex-Republican Muslim voters would have won the election for Mitt Romney:

In the 2000 election, approximately 70% of Muslims in America voted for Bush; among non-African-American Muslims, the ratio was over 80%. Four years later, Bush’s share of the vote among Muslims was 4%.

There is simply no way that I can justify voting for a party that denies the very legitimacy of my identity as an American. Nor can most other members of the American Muslim community, who just happen to be clustered in swing states like Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. If Nate Silver is right, not only will Romney lose the election, but it can be safely said that if the Muslim community had voted the same way they had in 2000, he would have won.

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