Sympathy with the Devil

I’m still trying to find some reason to sympathize with Teabaggers and Obamacare Protestors, but I just haven’t found it yet.

During the George W. Bush years, I couldn’t wait for Republicans to be the opposition party again. That is where I think conservatives belong, as critics of the government, because I grew up reading R. Emmett Tyrrell and Thomas Sowell in The American Spectator. I listened to Rush Limbaugh every day on my AM radio when he first started. I watched Morton Downey Jr. skewer all the left-wingers and hippies. When I read Russell Kirk, J. Albert Nock, Michael Oakeshott, and the British political philosopher John Gray I got excited about “radical conservatives” who critiqued the mouldering, lock-step liberals. During the 1990s I was thrilled by all the anti-government literature and right-wing anarchist videos that were circulating.

Then, after GWB was elected, all of it sudden it shut down. The Federal government became everybody’s best friend. The Federal Reserve Bank was a good thing. Militias were bad. Federal regulation and oversight of public schools was good. Nation-building was good. Criticizing the president was bad. Federal deficits were good. Questioning the authority of the BATF was bad. The use of federal troops to arrest US citizens, which had been bad when Clinton did it, was  good when Bush did it. Arrest and detention of US citizens without trial had been bad when Reno did it, but were good when Ashcroft did it. I could see that executive power was a big problem for the new “conservatives,” because it made them act stupid.

Finally, I found some people on the radical right who were still honest, such as Alex Jones, Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, and the Liberty Dollar supporters. When I went to a Liberty Dollar seminar and saw all those “Tyranny Response Team” jackets, I was greatly relieved.

The election of a smooth-talking icon of twentieth-century liberal idealism promised a return of the old radical right-wing realist critique I had known in the 1970s and 1980s. However, since the election the right-wing opposition has degenerated into farce.

In a comical parody of the hopeless “Impeach Bush” campaign by Democrats, Republicans have been babbling on and on about Obama’s birth certificate. Whether the charges are true or not, I don’t care; did you really believe that the power brokers couldn’t install whoever they wanted as president? I think conservatives need to stop trying to find an excuse to love the federal government. Whether it is legitimate or not, somebody with bigger guns than you is in charge.

Right now they are all roused up about the possible demise of the health insurance industry, one of the most fraudulent enterprises since the Soviet Union. Seriously, if you want to completely destroy health care, you can build a Soviet-style bureaucracy around it; but if you want to destroy the rest of the economy, you can build a phony “private insurance system” that steals money from paychecks and kills people because of “pre-existing conditions” and “contract exclusions,” forcing them to stay in crummy jobs out of fear of punishment by the insurance protection racket. Purely from a public relations standpoint, it is preposterous to stand up and defend the honor of insurance salesmen, insurance executives, and claims adjusters. It is bound to fail, because they are not worth defending.

Running all through the right-wing opposition is the fear of socialism and higher taxes, as exemplified by the Teabaggers. I think that collectivism of all sorts is a really bad idea, but I am not afraid of it. The worst case of collectivist mentality I ever encountered was in a “capitalist” corporation. It was an endless spectacle of smarmy fawning, mindless groupthink, foolish idealism, immoral behavior, hypocritical self-justification, drooling leader-worship, oppressive conformity, thuggish security paranoia, censorship, backstabbing, envy, greed, and bureaucratic ineptitude, and all I wanted to do was blow it up. This is the way people are, I think, whenever they stop depending on their personal resourcefulness in a transactional sense and they give up all their integrity so that the collective will guarantee security and predictability for them. So when someone invokes “socialism,” I think of that corporation, not some glassy-eyed clerk in the welfare office. Government employees are frustrating and thickheaded, but they don’t have the same malicious collectivism as the typical corporate worker drone.

Thanks to George W. Bush, who helped to increase the Earned Income Credit (as well as exemptions and the standard deduction, I believe), I haven’t paid federal taxes in years. I don’t know exactly what income I would have to make in order to start paying federal taxes, but it seems like it would be quite a bit more. So, although I support tax protestors in spirit, I really can’t sympathize with them materially, since they must have more disposable income than I do.

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