Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Radical Right

Just got “Conservatives Without Conscience” by John Dean for my birthday. Dean, legal counsel to Richard Nixon, makes the same point I’ve been making for sometime - today’s so called “conservatives” are not conservative at all. They are radicals.

Dean summarizes the book in this Boston Globe op-ed piece:

Contemporary conservatism and its influence on the Republican Party was, until recently, a mystery to me. The practitioners' bludgeoning style of politics, their self-serving manipulation of the political processes, and their policies that focus narrowly on perceived self-interest -- none of this struck me as based on anything related to traditional conservatism. Rather, truth be told, today's so-called conservatives are quite radical....
I can find nothing conservative about the Bush/Cheney White House, which has created a Nixon ``imperial presidency" on steroids, while acting as if being tutored by the best and brightest of the Cosa Nostra.

I’ve just started reading the book and the opening chapter talks about how conservatives today are not even sure how to define conservatism. But even though people are not sure how to define it, they have a good reaction to the term and more people are willing to embrace that label than the villified term “liberal.”
I’ve noted many times how I tend to be “conservative” in my personal habits, but “liberal” in how I treat other people. How you treat other people is the key, in my opinion. I can forgive people for their own personal foibles, but I have a hard time when they are in turn intolerant of the foibles of others.
If being conservative means being prudent and efficient with government resources, then I am all for it. But if it means spending billions on military misadventures overseas while being tightfisted with spending here in our own country, then I have a big problem with it.
It grates me the way many conservatives today hyperventilate about patriotism and go on and on about how much they love their country, when in truth the only thing they really love is the symbolism (like the flag) while actually despising most of the people and the institutions that make up the country.

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