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Conservatives, Liberals, the Political Spectrum, Parties, and Primitive Impulses

Updated on February 11, 2013
Image credit: Krisdog / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: Krisdog / 123RF Stock Photo

dictatorship hidden in plain sight

Ever wonder what it is that conservatives, mostly Republican, really want? Granted, liberal Democrats are also hard to figure. A political party based on abortion, alternative sex, and higher taxes hardly has universal appeal. But neither does a party that espouses the dubious value of same-thinking. And endless repetition is what one begins to hear droned into the ear from the right side of the aisle. Why is this a danger? That much is not a mystery. It is because eventually, somewhere down the line, maybe not today but tomorrow, with unchecked conservatism, every juif can expect to be turned at whim into a Dreyfus. All it takes is to be on the wrong side of an equation, hold an opinion different from the majority, be victimized in an assortment of tricky ways, or hail from a lineage, especially in a genealogical conscious day and age, that people would feel free to go medieval on. In short, absolute conservatism puts American principles at risk.

Generally, conservatives never spell out where their arguments are leading. Think what life would be like if all liberal-based objections were silenced? It hardly takes a novelist or screenwriter to envision the truly harsh and unjust climate that would ensue. There would be unimaginable suffering and no recourse to fairness, justice, or even a modicum of compassion. Anyone who fell into a state of misery would be shown his or her error, thus getting an explanation instead of a helping hand. America's philanthropic impulse is laudable, not objectionable. Americans take care of Americans. And yet, conservatives object to what they consider freebies, regardless of the situation is or its complexity. To them, simplistic ready-made answers obviate the need for true thinking. That is the invariable outcome of over-defined, inflexible rights and wrongs. Probably much the same can be said of liberals if they were to acquire disproportionate power. Power corrupts. Not long ago vociferous complaints were commonly heard on how divisive things were. Sadly, oppositional forces have only become more contentious. But whatever the case in the 1860s, today's house divided is going to have to stand or else.

It is the preferred evil. The case against a liberal society and a welfare state is not without merit. Bureaucracies rarely compete with the private sector. The former are sloppy and wasteful. Taxes ratchet higher and returns on the money gradually lessen. We elect politicians; we should not have to pay to groom them for television. King George III in whatever guise is King George III. But a more efficient and businesslike substitute to achieve like-minded ends has not yet been devised. Conservative Republicans are right about lowering taxes and limiting government. That much about them needs to be properly credited. But this is only a fraction of the battle. About auxiliary and attendant matters, liberal-minded Democrats are at least as correct as those who favor an idealistic, faith-based culture. The latter would be nice. But legislated kindness, social programs, and entitlements or their equivalents are inevitable. How to effectively go about providing remedies for the manifold ills of a diverse, uneven, antagonistic, loosely unified country is utterly lacking in both parties or ideologies. One side criticizes the other; nothing else happens. As to why conservatives, however, should be watched more carefully than liberals, the answer is that historically conservatism is the proving ground of tyranny. Liberals are more visible, being more creative, not to add outrageous on occasion. The sinister left hand does not always hide behind a back. In any case, our forefathers gave us safeguards. It is just that they are not automatic without continual oversight.

On paper, or in the media, conservatives are not threatening. They talk the talk. But the independent can never purge the feeling of doubt and distrust. Is this because of internal, atavistic, primitive urges? Are the haloed conservatives really so sickened by graphic movies or skepticism over Christian fundamentalism? Must they obsess over what someone else eats, smokes, or drinks? Are they really unable to coexist with a humanitarian system that confers food stamps or welfare checks on the needy? Must the whole of life conform to an arbitrary set of rules and regulations to their liking? Will they ever stop talking about how angelic their mothers were or how magnificent their fathers? Or, are they in fact deceptively gearing up for a uniform, same-thinking, fully monitored society in which their hands only hold the lash? Hey, doling out punishments in the name of God is an old game. Usually, terrorists overseas are accused of this offense. But periodic reversions to primitivism have not yet been banished from the more enlightened and better educated. How about God wasting the Gays of Sodom and Gomorrah? What overripe conservative would not have wanted a ringside seat. In fact, is there a human being the religious conservative would not gladly pummel under the appropriate stimulus? The prophet Isaiah could not bear the sight of the adorned women of Jerusalem. What exactly was his problem? Today, the practice of condemnation for condemnation's sake continues unabated, serving no purpose.

The Democratic Party, not the GOP, guided the USA through the very worst of times. Now it is busily engaged in numerous arduous tasks. The downside is, however, lamentable. Sometimes interest rates are emphasized, sometimes mammograms, and sometimes eating disorders. Its latest gambit has to do with guns. Who knows what is next? This party has become increasingly opaque, as mysterious as a clandestine pagan cult. But at least it addresses issues that the opposition seems to think will take care of themselves. And although the country, nowadays, is probably better off with Republicans at the helm, who appear to know what they are doing, they cannot satisfactorily assuage incessant worries. They attract fringe groups just as Democrats do. The so-called righteous who partner with conservatives might start out innocently enough. But eventually, it becomes clear that they are not nearly as godly as they would have us believe. Their ethics and moralities are theoretically exemplary and realistically flawed. Ultimately, the so-called observant wind up in public squares drooling over executions. Liberals, too, hardly exempt, might also put in an appearance. Seriously, what is needed is a strong economic engine, that much all parties agree upon, together with plenty of assistance, established or innovative, available to anyone who falls through the cracks for whatever reason. But to send the Christian Right in to the rescue, like the night-riders in Birth of a Nation, was a miscalculation on the part of conservatives in this last campaign.

The marketplace is our chief focus of interest, not eschatology or exegesis or partisanship. This is the way to show the Russians, too. Threaten them with missiles and their response is sure to be at least as strong as it was at Stalingrad. They are tough enough, not that we must wilt or blanch at their military prowess. To date, neither conservative Republican nor liberal Democrat has plunged us into utter chaos. But there is always that chance. Today's politician, elephant or donkey, is predictable enough to be counted on, at one microphone or another, to chastise the Russian bear for being unmalleable. This tactic actually worked in Berlin, but it would be unsound to rely upon replays. Same-thinkers, birds of a feather, can be both Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal. It happens. It must be said, nonetheless, that few chapters in modern times have been as horrifying as the mercurial Democratic Party. What happened? Many anti-war baby-boomers who would never have entertained voting Republican did just that. And the ballot, for that matter, is no longer secret. No one believes it. Big Brother is watching. And this is hardly a right that is up for grabs. For leaders, who seem to care less and less about their constituents, from the left or right, control is now the holy grail. Democrats, moreover, (some not liberal at all, it is worth noting) who were once counted on to stand up for the little guy, are instead chasing the USD by means of tributes or, as they phrase it, taxes. How they glorify the hard-working tax-payer. Small wonder. And how they excoriate tax shelters and loopholes. Small wonder again. The party that great men and women were so often affiliated with has gradually become a boat without a rudder, simultaneously sailing off into an assortment of sunsets. Still, the American people are truly heroic, acting as life support to the two-party system in November, and thwarting, at least for the present, a potential entry into fascism.

This presidency has been under steady pressure since inception. When it is over, however, President Obama will enter the history books as a great American. There are always unpredictables, and the record, such as it is, might not reflect a spate of White House victories. Otherwise, almost nothing stands in the way. Moreover, his presence in D.C. alone stands for freedom against a cryptic form of alchemical conservatism, blending rightwing Christianity together with a rewritten, idolatrous version of American history. Its moral infantilism, harmless to the superficial eye and ear, could, if given a chance, develop into a European-style dictatorship. Yes, it could happen here.


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