My How Things Have Changed

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

eisenhower saying

goldwater saying

One of the sad lessons one learns, if they live long enough, is that permanency is an illusion. There was a time when most Conservatives in the United States actually cared about the country and its’ people. It’s not that I’m wistful for some bygone era that exists only in my mind, because I’m well aware that the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s were tumultuous times for many including myself.  Nor do I have any great love for Dwight Eisenhower and/or Barry Goldwater who I did not vote for in 1964. Yet with all their conservative beliefs, these were men who actually understood something about the needs of people and the motives of some who would call themselves religious leaders. Many of us who have lived long lives remember when the public political discussion in this country contained actual, factual debate, containing depth of ideas, rather than the invective we hear today. The Republicans of the Eisenhower era understood that there was a social contract that existed in this country to ensure that there was a healthy, financially flourishing Middle Class, which is the engine that drives a prosperous modern society. Also  Barry Goldwater, who was known as “Mr. Conservative” understood the danger that the Religious hucksters had for his party and the necessity of politicians to compromise. He would ridicule those prominent politicians in his party who would reject the ideas of evolution and blind themselves to science. He also really did believe that government had no business prying into essentially private matters. I disagreed with him on most things, but I at least could respect him, which I can’t do for many prominent politicians of today.

What happened?  You know I’ve written about my theories in many of my guest blogs, what are yours?

70 thoughts on “My How Things Have Changed

  1. Gotta go to bed now while you have eaten time flies here.

    For now, we have ignored a lot of good advice along the way, as well aa seen predictions go unfulfilled.
    Dwight is not alone in his visions.

    As to why and what happened, I’ve been away for 44 years, so you tell me. Night all.

  2. The “control over” or power paradigm that emphasizes competition over cooperation gained an enormous amount of traction with those at the top of the pyramid. Until a spirit of non-violation becomes the operating paradigm, this is what we have.

  3. About 7 or so years ago HBO did a documentary on Barry Goldwater. There were numerous Dem operatives of our era waxing poetic of his philosophy and record. This was after he died. Around the same time, Pope John Paul died and the same folks were singing his praises. Being of no political party and a libertarian, it’s amusing and disturbing to me. Goldwater was a libertarian, always was and never changed. That means liberals loved his social stand and despised his fiscal stand. The Pope was..a Catholic. Liberals loved his stand on poverty, the death penalty, etc. They despised his stand on abortion, gay marriage, etc. When these men were alive, they were vilified by liberals for they’re stands on issues that didn’t comport w/ their pardigm. They ignored the stands on which they agreed..it’s politics of course. The other guys are evil, our guys are saints. I could throw in Sandra Day O’Connor, who was mentored by Goldwater as another example. Republicans could wax poetic about Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Sam Ervin, etc. What’s the common denominator, these were good people. No party or ideology has the market cornered on good or evil. It’s just so plain to me and the many independents. We tire of the myopic culture in which we are immersed. C’est la vie.

  4. Great article Mike….. Life is all about the illusion…. Just think Goldwater would be too liberal for the republicans even today….

  5. Party! We don’t need no stinkin’ party! And AY? Goldwater would be a Democrat today by Republican standards. Probably by Democratic standards as well. They sure aren’t the party of the left in action any more. The whole destructive partisan divide and the degeneration of both parties albeit in different ways can be directly traced back to the late 70’s and 80’s and the “work” of people like Lee Atwater and Newt Gingrich. Those guys and their cohorts are what made a toxic environment for reaching across the aisle because they made political discourse more about ideology and partisanship than about the best ideas and the best interests of all the constituents over the narrow needs of the monied special interests. Before that, you regularly saw bi-partisan cooperation. Eisenhower couldn’t have left the positive legacy he did without it. That the demagogue ascendancy coincided with the dismantling of the limits on campaign contributions in FECA was not simply coincidence.

    Good job, Mike.

  6. Gene,

    You are correct this is a great article….. You are also correct in that the parties have shifted priorities….. People are easily swayed…. Easy to manipulate….especially if they have no direction of their own…. Unless they are psychopaths….. But that’s another topic all in of itself….

    BTW… Thanks…..

  7. Rupert Murdock bears a great responsibility for the current political discourse.
    The rise of Multinational Corporations is another, they own the media, Multinationals like GE have a vested interest in what gets on the air. As a group, as well as individually, most of the Multinationals have more money than most nation states.

    And then the security state and the break down of the rule of law. Have they become related? Not going to speculate.

    Here is news from NYC today, activists trying to get a fair trial for Jeffery Hammond:

  8. A bit of trivia. Back in the 1950s and 60s, there were only two pilots who were checked out to fly every airplane in the USAF inventory at the time. Barry Goldwater and Jimmy Stewart (the actor). Both rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Air Force Reserves.

  9. AY
    John F. Kennedy would be too conservative for the democrat ticket Today. The democrats turned left under the great society and never stopped turning. Welcome to Greece

  10. It was during the Eisenhower administration with a democratically controlled congress that the government started using the social security funds. Clinton balanced the budget with the taxes from social security.

  11. Bruce,

    As I’ve come to suspect you missed the point entirely. Both Eisenhower and Goldwater would have seen your politics as crazy. Actually, Reagan would also. Gene and AY have it right. Todays average Democrat is really yesterday’s Everett Dirksen. A Faux Conservative like you Bruce would be the equivalent of the average Klan member back in the 50’s, just like today’s tea bagger.

    Nick,

    Yes Barry was a Libertarian. He also was a believer in State’s rights and so opposed doing anything about Jim Crow. He wasn’t a bad person, but like many Libertarians, he got many things askew. The problem with Libertarians in general is that while they would seem to be fine on personal liberty, they ignore the fact that corporate power actually represses our liberty. Then too many support the bigoted Ron Paul and his defense of individual freedom as long as it doesn’t involves woman’s right over their own body.

  12. We would have more respect for the Tea Party in general if they had protested the Bush credit card charges. they sat on their hands for 8 years.

    So, now, in the worst depression since the 1930’s, they are concern trolling the deficit. Biggest bunch of hypocrites ever.

  13. Bruce,
    Ayn Rand was wrong. And she is dead. Taking care of the weakest members of society is being responsible stewards. Not to mention keeping up the infrastructure. It was Bill Clinton, a Democrat, who left office with the largest budget surplus in the history of the country. Then Dubya and Cheney spent the surplus and drove us into the deepest debt in the history of the country.

  14. OS,

    Ayn Rand was wrong before she was dead. I’m not sure how much if any her being wrong contributed to her death though. :mrgreen:

  15. good topic, Mike

    the way i see it is the religious right want a theocratic society, and the teapartiers want a charismatic strongman to take them back to a time that never existed.
    if a religious charismatic strongman emerges who can seem non-threatening to the 20-40% in the middle who don’t really stay informed. most especially if this happens during a crises. (major flooding, oil/energy shortage, drought/ food shortage). we may see the end of our republic.

    the extremely high percentage of GDP being spent on the military and on domestic surveillance plus the high rate of incarceration does not bode well for a free society.

  16. Gene,
    She was irrelevant when she was alive, no matter how much her fan base tried to make it not so. Is it hyperbole to say that she is MORE irrelevant now that she is dead and buried?

  17. Not at all, OS.

    I remember my first exposure to Ayn Rand. I was dating this gal in high school who had just read “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”. She was going on and on about them and asked me to read them. I did. She asked me what I thought about them and I laughed, pointing out that it was solipsistic selfish egotism that had no place in a civilized society. She got mad. Really mad.

    I started dating her soon to be ex-best friend the next week.

    She was more of a “Siddhartha” kind of gal. :mrgreen:

  18. Let’s not forget the influence of that Paul Weyrich–a founder of the Heritage Foundation and ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council)–had on the Republican party.

  19. What happened? You know I’ve written about my theories in many of my guest blogs, what are yours?

    The affects of propaganda jumped the linear tracks to thereafter follow bell curve acceleration towards madness.

    Alzheimers disease accelerated to dizzy heights, suicide accelerated to become the number one cause of injury death in both the civilian and in the military spheres.

    We were lied into wars following 9/11 panic, shock, fear-induced psychosis, and a GOP political coup (Mike S et al.) and a national policy coup (Clark, Reich).

    Paranoid invasions and occupations of foreign nations based on lies and propaganda sapped us of our economic strength as well as our favorable status among the nations.

    The damage that becoming unquestioning government followers brings then drowned us in an avalanche of retro policies until we were no longer recognized by the world as America any more.

  20. Bruce,

    There is a lot of wisdom on this site….. People who actually have the ability to think and are not afraid to cll bullsh&t or what it is…… The continuing deficit started under a republican… RMM and Carter got caught in the Wall Street paranoia…… Since then every president save Clinton has expanded the deficit….. I can only think of republicans that have occupied the office…..

    I think mike called it right about what he teabaggers rally want….. I think all of us want fiscal responsibility…. But we got continuing wars to wage…..the MIC needs its money…..

    Elaine’s post speaks volumes….

    And OS, thanks for the trivia….. Didn’t know that about…. Jimmy ….. I guess it’s a wonderful life….. After all…..

  21. Mike, Is that why the tea bag elected Allen West? You must think conservatives are raciest. Is that why you resorted to calling me equilavent to the klan? The thing that hurts poor people most is inflation caused by printing money we don’t have, pure and simple it raises the cost of living.

  22. The era Mike S alludes to was a time when American characteristics inspired a moderate form of government that operated like a tide that lifts all boats.

    The retro degeneration in our historically world-leading nation, expressed by bloggers up-thread, has unintended blow back consequences far away from home that will reach us negatively sooner or later.

    For example, consider disturbing events in India that indicate they are cloning the right-wing slide in our nation:

    Hated and mocked in much of the world, the Nazi leader has developed a strange following among schoolchildren and readers of Mein Kampf in India. Dilip D’Souza on how political leader Bal Thackeray influenced Indians to admire Hitler and despise Gandhi.

    My wife teaches French to tenth-grade students at a private school here in Mumbai. During one recent class, she asked these mostly upper-middle-class kids to complete the sentence “J’admire …” with the name of the historical figure they most admired.

    To say she was disturbed by the results would be to understate her reaction. Of 25 students in the class, 9 picked Adolf Hitler, making him easily the highest vote-getter in this particular exercise; a certain Mohandas Gandhi was the choice of precisely one student. Discussing the idea of courage with other students once, my wife was startled by the contempt they had for Gandhi. “He was a coward!” they said. And as far back as 2002, the Times of India reported a survey that found that 17 percent of students in elite Indian colleges “favored Adolf Hitler as the kind of leader India ought to have.”

    In a place where Gandhi becomes a coward, perhaps Hitler becomes a hero.

    Still, why Hitler? “He was a fantastic orator,” said the 10th-grade kids. “He loved his country; he was a great patriot. He gave back to Germany a sense of pride they had lost after the Treaty of Versailles,” they said.

    “And what about the millions he murdered?” asked my wife. “Oh, yes, that was bad,” said the kids. “But you know what, some of them were traitors.”

    Admiring Hitler for his oratorical skills? Surreal enough. Add to that the easy condemnation of his millions of victims as traitors. Add to that the characterization of this man as a patriot. I mean, in a short dozen years, Hitler led Germany through a scarcely believable orgy of blood to utter shame and wholesale destruction. Even the mere thought of calling such a man a patriot profoundly corrupts—is violently antithetical to—the idea of patriotism.

    But these are kids, you think, and kids say the darndest things. Except this is no easily written-off experience. The evidence is that Hitler has plenty of admirers in India, plenty of whom are by no means kids.

    (Hitler’s Strange Afterlife In India). Morphing into a wartocracy here in America affects the world in ways that are far from safe.

    A nuclear-weapon armed nation of 1,241,491,960 people, which succumbs to the ideology of warmongers, is one of the unintended consequences of the Bush I policy coup that led us down Hitler road.

    We are still travelling in the W direction and it will not end well for us or anyone else.

    A change in direction is the appropriate response.

  23. Dredd,

    Just pick number 1….. If you like that warm sensation running down your legs…… Number 2, if you can’t see and everything smells…..

  24. @Mike Spindell: Obviously I have to preface this with the statement that all of this is my thinking and my opinion, only, so I can avoid having to qualify every dang sentence.

    What happened to conservatism is technological successes. In communications in particular; the rising tide of information (Internet, hundreds of cable channels; cell phones with video and audio recorders in the hands of almost every American) lifted the boats of cynicism, doubt, and the disrespect of authority and rejection of patriarchy and organized religion. In particular, I am thinking of the enormous damage a video recording of an unaware public official (including cops and politicians) or a leak of their digital communications (including email, tweeted pictures, audio or video recordings of a meeting they thought was private) can do to their careers.

    Conservatism relies heavily upon hierarchical authority; liberalism much less so. This is why conservatives revere hierarchical authoritarian, patriarchal systems; the military, the church, large corporations, the “traditional” family with a man in charge and wife and children suitably deferent.

    Communications also produces a net rise in sophistication of understanding, and that too undermines hierarchical received wisdom. A significant percentage of American women that self-identify as believing Catholics frequently reject Vatican edicts on birth control and sexual practices. “Why” doesn’t matter, the point is that they are judging the validity of supposedly infallible, direct-line-to-God Papal decrees. Their respect for authority is eroding because their understanding is increasing.

    Liberalism is not immune to the same sword, but it cuts differentially. But liberals are more cooperative than hierarchical, we have more equal partners or band-of-friends and fewer generals and bosses. It is why you hear complaints in Congress that the Republicans can be whipped into lockstep (a military, hierarchical, obey-the-general metaphor) but getting Democrats to agree is like herding cats (an independence, go-your-own-way, think-for-yourself metaphor).

    The result is that Liberals already reject authoritarianism, so the rise of the independent-thinking voter doesn’t hurt us nearly as much as the Conservative.

    So finally, what happens to Conservatism is this: In desperation in a losing battle, they resort to extremes. Extremes of affiliation (corporatism) to gain funding, extremes of positions, extremes of religion, extremes of draconian threats and legislation that all smack of restoration of their 1940s dream of patriarchal authoritarianism in politics, religion, and business.

    Conservatives want people “in their place,” and that is only partially code for racial or gender discrimination. They want an ordered society where authority is respected and authority is attained by traditional means, coming up in the ranks, paying your dues, inheriting the throne, taking over as the man of the family when Dad dies. Their Party reflects those values; even their candidates dutifully wait in line to run.

    The Democrats are less prone to that; many thought it was Hillary’s ‘turn’ but we let newcomer Obama cut in line; and Bill Clinton cut in line before him. When we had a candidate whose ‘turn’ it was, he lost to Bush.

    So I will bookend by repeating my disclaimer; this is my thinking and my opinion. What has happened to Conservatism is the rise of technology eroding the very foundation of their inherently hierarchical philosophy.

  25. “Mike, Is that why the tea bag elected Allen West?”

    Bruce,

    You’ve got Allen West, Herman Cain and little else. The truth is so plain, in so many statements by you “tea baggers”, that you are racists bigots. Look at the “birther” movement and understand that John McCain was born in Panama and Romney’s father was born in Mexico after his father fled bigamy laws in the U.S., with nary a protesting word from your cohort. You are really gutless hypocrites, who I could at least respect if you admitted your true racist feelings. As for West and Cain, there is no racial or ethnic group that does’t have its sell outs. There are even Jewish NAZI’s that have been outed. Just look at the faces at Tea Bag rallies, the RNC convention and Romney political rallies. You don’t see America as it is, but a bunch of White old farts who are upset that their racist/homophobic world is changing and that perhaps their power is waning.

  26. Bruce said, “Mike, the best thing liberals are good at is spending someone elses money.”

    Bruce does not seem to realize that once he pays his taxes it’s no longer his money. If Bruce doubts this claim, Bruce is free to file invoices with the IRS in an attempt to get “his” money back.

    The liberal slur is his inner 3rd grade playground talking.

  27. @Gene: I just get tired of writing “I think,” and “it is my opinion” in every paragraph. I thought I would try a more general prophylactic.

  28. “Conservatism relies heavily upon hierarchical authority; liberalism much less so. This is why conservatives revere hierarchical authoritarian, patriarchal systems; the military, the church, large corporations, the “traditional” family with a man in charge and wife and children suitably deferent.”

    Tony,

    The entire comment was brilliantly stated, but to me the above quote was the comment’s energizing kernel. Of course that is not the entire picture, but enough of it elegantly given, for the reader to fill in what remains.

  29. Then the problem becomes this: We start to believe that freedom consists of the “right” to choose our authoritarian masters. We are bamboozled beyond repair. No, make that: We are Bamboozled Beyhond Repair, and in the fond habit of the advertisers, we are “BamBor.” We are all BamBor so much that we think we can be free by voting for one of the two (or for 60 of the 120 or for 100 of the 200 or etc. etc.) authoritarian masters offered to us. Picture the 13th Amendment saying: “Each citizen who is above reproach shall be able to choose his master or to change masters if he can prove abuse.”

    And because we mistook something for liberalism, and never defined maternalism, which is the only thing that ever WOULD work, we have a little paper tiger to wave about while we get crushed. Yelling, “hey hey, ho ho” the whole time. I’m so tired.

    People will no doubt jump at the word “maternalism” because since it has never been defined and nobody has ever dared even THINK about it much less utter the word, it is mischaracterized.

    What do actual mothers in actual freedom do with their actual young?

    Keep them from harm’s way to the extent possible.
    Show them by example how to find food and drink.
    Show them by example how to go about a day’s life and a day’s work.
    Give them as much as they need in terms of resources while they develop.
    Then stand back and let them do what they need to do.

  30. TonyC, Socialize w/ a lot of conservative families, do ya’? You sound just like conservatives commenting on liberal families w/o knowing any.

  31. I forgot at the end of my comment,

    This is what government should do in order to keep things going.

    Defend the nation and its people.

    Put in place policies that allow its people to access necessities.

    Provide education to the extent that the people can take part in the economy and in the cultural life of the nation.

    Provide resources to the young, the old, the infirm and the injured to keep them afloat and to prevent a kind of carnivorous rageful greed from developing.

    And don’t interfere in ordinary activities to the extent possible.

    That would be maternalistic government. I have never seen it practiced.

  32. @Nick: Within the circle I have frequent contact with exist conservatives, liberals, Christians and atheists and people that literally believe in magic, soldiers and civilians, public servants, corporate servants, entrepreneurs (besides myself), drug addicts, felons, ACLU members, PETA members, staunch libertarians, deluded Aynish, environmentalists, gay men, gay women, homophobics, misogynists and alcoholics. I have not led a sheltered ivory tower life.

    I was asked what I thought, and these are my thoughts derived from my life experience. If you have issue with one of them, feel free to offer your own beliefs; do not be lazy and stand behind generalized sniping.

  33. “If you have issue with one of them, feel free to offer your own beliefs; do not be lazy and stand behind generalized sniping.”

    Nick,

    I think Tony’s answer to your comment was to the point. What do you think about this change in the Conservative movement as evinced by these two quotes? Inquiring minds would like to know.

    As for my own associates about half of the large group of relatives and friends I have are quite conservative, some Tea Party and think me very much a “Lefty Radical”. My own Brother is included in that group and I love him dearly. Fortunately, love and friendship trump politics.

  34. What Mike and Tony said. Unless someone is in a cult or engaging in cultish behavior, most people who have lived in any kind of urban environment know a wide range of people. Rural areas tend to be a little more homogeneous in clusters because of lower population density and distribution, but that’s a separate issue.

  35. Gee. Wow. And all that.

    I thought MikeS short comment on TonyC’s kernel was good. And although unsaid, I completed it with “why the phuck did you keep on going after that”?, which I would support.
    Most of Tony’s comment was self-evident and gave a synthesis of why conservatives are as they are. In my words they are tribal-minded descendants like-minded with Abraham, ready to sacrafice anybody if the (current) God requires it. And expect in turn that others respect their rights to sacrifice others too.

    The point that what I would have liked to see was that the technology thingy can be used by conservatives to their own advantage. And their propaganda consultants are very good at it, I mean conservatives are only tools of the corporations in ruling America.

    As are liberals to a degree that they are fools and believe in media as a real service to the public.
    Liberalism in America is peculiar in that it seems to be defined more by its enemies than by itself. In fact, one can wonder if there is a liberal self.

    TonyC thinks that technology has helped us be better informed now.
    Has it really? I doubt it, in spite of my dreams of internet’s development, which are partially rewarded.

    We still must go to minor blogs or relatively large ones to find the truth about our society. We did not have those possibilities pre-internet. But what effect do these scattered sunrays have in the continual monsoon from the major corporate controlled media. Quote one and folks look askance at you.

    What sensations have been revealed by our major organs?

    And we still must go to the Guardian to find what major shifts are taking place in our government policy, such as the speech made there by the chief legal counsel of DoD that we will crank down military pursuit of Al Qaeda soon. Didja know that? Rice confirms it. Checking Google for US reports gave zilch.

    Technology has only aided Big Brother in his tracking, surveillance and detection of non-conformist elements. Warm and cozy for you now?

  36. Someone says: New York Times—-Pentagon Papers, Wikileaks.
    To which I reply: position and misinformation pre and post 2003 on WMD and Iraq, and what have you done for us lately fighting NDAA, Patriot Act extension. and boycott of a steered news delivery from the WH, etc.
    So many causes neglected or simply avoided.

    Press! Before it was toilet paper. Not even good for that now. :-)

  37. Gentlemen, Conservatives and liberals want better lives for their kids. Both are generally good, and both are flawed. No one has all the answers but the righteous on both end of the spectrum seek the truth. “Respect those who seek the truth, doubt those who state they have found it.” The right and left have those who believe they have found it. I’ve been around too long to think anyone has.

  38. @Idealist: I think perhaps your disdain (and the general disdain) for mainstream press and media is actually a result of MORE information being available to you today than it was yesteryear.

    There was a time before television when all of our political news was delivered by radio and newspapers, media titans, that decided what was suitable for our consumption, and censored themselves. Even with TV, Jack Kennedy’s extramarital affairs were deemed too salacious for our eyes and ears, and were swept under the rug.

    We have disdain now mostly because we know when we are being lied to. We now understand the concept of “spin,” a word we never heard of in the 1950s, we now know politicians have lied their ass off in the past. We have heard the Nixon tapes and the ugly, criminal side of politics.

    Our naive, adolescent trust in the “adults” of the world has been shattered, we know too much, and what we don’t know we suspect is being purposely covered up. We have learned that power seekers are seldom noble, but usually preening egomaniacs using power to collect sex, money and adulation.

    We have learned the same thing about the press. We know too much, we have seen the leaked deals for “soft” coverage, kid glove handling of corrupt politicians to preserve their interview access and pump up profits, and outright lies promulgated by the press as favors to their political friends.

    Your disdain for the press is a reflection of your greater sophistication as a consumer of news; and that is a direct result of being bombarded with a thousand news sources instead of six or seven. It is a result of the information age.

  39. Tony C, Idealist, etc.: Guess what interesting thing happened in the press coverage of the killing of Trayvon Martin: The story started off with an inaccurate back-story.

    The common back-story to this event was the Miami Herald-printed story (March 17 and March 18, 2012) saying that the RTL neighborhood in Florida was experiencing a high crime rate, consisting of “eight burglaries, nine thefts and one other shooting in the year before Trayvon Martin was killed.” After a FOIA to the Sanford Police Department, it turns out that the real figures are:

    Seven burglaries, eight thefts and NO OTHER SHOOTING in the year before Trayvon Martin was killed.

    The “seven burglaries and eight thefts” were the combined reports of 12 total incidents. If, for instance, a computer game was stolen from a house, it would be listed as ONE BURGLARY and ONE THEFT. If, however, a bicycle was stolen from a back porch, it would be listed as a THEFT but not a BURGLARY.

    So really, the story should have started off, “A killing occurred in a low crime neighborhood” rather than “a killing occurred in a high crime neighborhood.”

    Not every story receives the kind of attention this story has received, obviously; witness the threads Professor Turley has put up on the event. But if you think about how often the press reports, is given, creates, slants, or spins the information and misinformation with which we are bombarded, you can really come to the conclusion that the effect is overwhelming and the “reality and knowledge” factor is simply not available. Demoralizing.

    Preferring not to know is sometimes a temporary option.

  40. TonyC.

    One thousand percent agreement. And it is access through the net which has been deciding for me, but for others???. For me, it is all new since two years back. I didn’t really care about it all until then.
    Polititics was crap, and that was enough to know. But looking for truth would have been difficult looking through the international paper newspapers at the library. So thanks for the net, yes.

    So, mine came on its own, suddenly. So must assume you know more about it in general.. But I think my assessment of the media, which is less developed here than yours, is congruent with reality.

    Reading now HS Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing on the ’72 campaign trail”, which examines the press as much as it does the politicians and the campaign mechanisms. Each reading is a step deeper into the morass.

    And the book’s influence explains the jaundiced views I air.

  41. Malisha,

    Spot on.

    I saw an example happen yesterday, and even heard it from the “criminal’s” own mouth. James McArthur, Iraq vet, highly educated, once arrested on a put up offense and hidden by the Baltimore police for forty days, was in a standoff with a SWAT squad outside his own owned house in Baltimore.
    We got to hear him and the mediating police lieutenant discuss, for my part the last two hours. McArthur was broadcasting this live on the net, and at the same time was receiving tweets of abuse (mostly) and emails of praise.

    THE ROLE OF THE MSM MEDIA
    He could also note that it had come out on the local big MSM paper on-line., while he talked (5 hours) He was condemned with slanted spinned coverage, as expected.

    His “crimes”—he has been accused and took a probation plea to get rid of it quickly, were in fact only one. His “court-issued warrant”—for not receiving and thus not appearing at a civil divorce hearing, was also cited as proof of his criminal ways.

    America does not know when its citizens move and get a new address, even if you are so rich as to buy a house. And that includes all agencies including courts. We have one central register here and all report permanent moves.

    It is a familiar tale which emphasizes the continuous battle which we fight—at least some of us.

  42. @Nick: Conservatives and liberals want better lives for their kids.

    Sure, but telling us what they have in common doesn’t tell us anything about their differences. If I ask you the difference between apples and oranges, telling me they are both about the same size, they are both fruit that grows on trees, and they both have skins and seeds, I haven’t learned anything about the difference between apples and oranges.

    The topic of this post is what happened to Conservatives. The issue is how Conservatives and non-Conservatives approach life differently, not what they have in common.

  43. ID707,

    Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing…..” was a seminal book for me in understanding the political game. My original copy from back then is still with me though quite dog-eared.

    Tony,

    I fear Nick doesn’t want to comment on what the thread is about and I wonder why?

  44. “Goldwater would be a Democrat today by Republican standards. Probably by Democratic standards as well.”

    No. He’d be more a libertarian. Libertarians (small L) have factions that mirror the false dichotomy of “liberal-conservative” or “left-right”. Goldwater only skirted Buckley’s “Conservatism”. He doesn’t fall into easy categories, especially as he applied his principles over years.

  45. Nick S.,

    While you may be OT this post, this is one of the best I’ve seen across many posts:
    “Gentlemen, Conservatives and liberals want better lives for their kids. Both are generally good, and both are flawed. No one has all the answers but the righteous on both end of the spectrum seek the truth. “Respect those who seek the truth, doubt those who state they have found it.” The right and left have those who believe they have found it. I’ve been around too long to think anyone has.”

  46. Tony,
    “The issue is how Conservatives and non-Conservatives approach life differently, not what they have in common.”

    The problem of course is when we so magnify the differences that we forget the commonalities. Nick S. is just reminding us.

    M. S. could surely as easily write a column today on how different liberals, or Democrats, are now from Roosevelt, Truman, JFK, or LBJ.

    The Goldwater quote is spot on as to his fear of the far Religious Right hijacking the party. He was an Episcopal and granted land below his home to form “Christ Church of the Ascension” where my wife’s family rests (what a euphemism for ashes in an urn).

    Something I should have added to an early comment is that even conservatives fall into splits of fiscally conservative/socially liberal and fiscally conservative/socially conservative, the latter not just the province of the Religious Right.

  47. Malisha,

    ‘ If, for instance, a computer game was stolen from a house, it would be listed as ONE BURGLARY and ONE THEFT. If, however, a bicycle was stolen from a back porch, it would be listed as a THEFT but not a BURGLARY. ”

    Because the latter isn’t a burglary. It’s really that simple. Burglary is breaking and entering, or just entering, with the intent to commit a crime but not always theft. Theft is always theft.

    As far the resulting fear of that neighborhood, distinction without a difference.

  48. Ariel, BUT the newspaper article reported “eight burglaries, nine thefts and one other shooting.” That was echoed all over the web (and in print media) for two weeks and it was pointed out that the statistics showed that to be a “high crime neighborhood,” thus providing a less bizarre story for why George Zimmerman would be prowling around with a loaded gun looking for “suspects.” The truth of the report was that there was NO OTHER SHOOTING — and that is the most important piece of the real story — NO OTHER SHOOTING — and if you take ONLY the year before the event you end up with 7 burglaries, 8 thefts (one of them was out of someone’s handbag by her friend who went to the bank with her) and NO OTHER SHOOTING. So not only does that make the neighborhood drop down in the statistics from “high crime” to “low crime,” but the NO OTHER SHOOTING makes a significant difference in the way the story is understood by readers. And that is a distinction WITH a difference.

  49. @Ariel: Nick S. is just reminding us.

    No, Nick was insinuating I was characterizing Conservatives without knowing any or socializing with any. Which is simply untrue.

    I am sure there are fiscally conservative and socially liberal voters out there; but they aren’t part of the Conservative movement; because social issues trump fiscal issues every time. Nobody is out there saying, “I am pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-gay military, I believe in good public education, student loans, welfare and health care for the poor, but I will throw all those people under the bus to give millionaires a 3% tax cut.”

    Conservatives in America are primarily social Conservatives; to the extent they are involved in fiscal matters it is about cutting what they perceive to be social programs. They don’t want to touch the military. Just look at Romney’s secretly-taped speech: They want to stop the moochers: That means the social programs that benefit the poor.

    @Ariel: this is one of the best I’ve seen across many posts: …
    “Respect those who seek the truth, doubt those who state they have found it.”

    Really? When I see somebody engaged in an activity where I do not think they can succeed, and indeed would doubt any results they produced, my first instinct is not “respect” but “pity” that they waste their time in a pointless pursuit.

    The point of including that line is to cast aspersions on my characterization of Conservatives as reverent of hierarchy; which I gather has irked Nick.

    Yet that is the distinguishing feature of Conservatism in the USA. Conservatives really do like these ordered pyramidal organizations, they like the idea of the steely-eyed man-in-charge making the hard decisions. The evidence for that is everywhere; I did not pull that rabbit out of a top hat, I gather that from innumerable conversations with them.

    They like the hierarchy, they like “leadership.” They like the metaphorical steely-eyed wise man at the top making the brave hard decisions after praying to the ultimate CEO of tough decisions for sacred guidance. They like the certainty that implies, so they can follow orders without question. Our infallible General knows what we must do to save America, and we follow his (or His) orders no matter what the personal consequences.

    If you do not think that is true, tell us what you think defines Conservative belief that makes it distinct from Liberal belief. I suppose I could make a case for greed and selfishness, but I think those spring from this reverence for hierarchy, ironclad rules and order.

  50. Malisha has a point; a burglary that results in a theft may be charged as two crimes, but that sounds like two incidents when it is really a single incident, and incidents are what matter to most people. The average person assumes a report of a burglary is an implicit report of a theft. So reporting two or more crimes for a single incident (breaking and entering, theft, vandalism, destruction of private property!) is misleading and inflates the perception of crime in a neighborhood.

    Also, of course, if the media reported prior potentially lethal violent crime where there was none that is extremely misleading.

  51. “I am sure there are fiscally conservative and socially liberal voters out there; but they aren’t part of the Conservative movement”

    Tony,

    Quite correct, these days such people are considered libertarian, which is how Nick and Ariel appear to characterize themselves. The argument that Nick was
    using against you was “subtle” in that it implies something like “all sides have their good and bad so we must’t categorize and label”. This is actually a variant of the chief conservative answer to exposure of corruption in their own ranks which is “everybody” does it. The truth is that there are definable characteristics of those on all parts of the political spectrum. To bleach those distinctions out via a seeming call to “bonhomie” is to ignore a reality that is the problem in the first instance.

    “The point of including that line is to cast aspersions on my characterization of Conservatives as reverent of hierarchy; which I gather has irked Nick.”

    I agree that this was Nicks’ aim and that it characterizes Nick’s approach to many
    threads in argumentation. Nick is into the use of argument by connotation, rather than directly contesting any issue. The problem is that he isn’t quite subtle enough in his style, so it is plain where he is really taking his argument. None of his comments on this thread, thus far, have really dealt with the question I raised in the post which is specifically has’t there been a radical change to the Right in mainstream “Conservative” thinking? Ariel too begs the question when he writes:

    “The problem of course is when we so magnify the differences that we forget the commonalities. Nick S. is just reminding us.
    M. S. could surely as easily write a column today on how different liberals, or Democrats, are now from Roosevelt, Truman, JFK, or LBJ.”

    I agree that I could just as easily note the difference twixt FDR, etc. and Democrats/Liberals today. However, that is endemic in my column above and also in too many columns and comments in the past to delineate here. That this country has been shifted radically “rightward” has been an ongoing theme of all my political writing. Moreover, it is an indisputable fact that can be proven. This article exists in that continuum to starkly show how these changes have affected the American conservative movement, which has been in the vanguard of this
    “Rightward Shift”.

    As to the “commonalities” of which Nick and Ariel so blithely state, yes we are all oxygen breathing human beings, some good, some bad, irrespective of our political beliefs. However, to put it into these terms serve not to enlighten, but to cover up serious differences that put this country into its’ current precarious position. As you put it so well”

    “Yet that is the distinguishing feature of Conservatism in the USA. Conservatives really do like these ordered pyramidal organizations, they like the idea of the steely-eyed man-in-charge making the hard decisions. The evidence for that is everywhere”

    “They like the hierarchy, they like “leadership.” They like the metaphorical steely-eyed wise man at the top making the brave hard decisions after praying to the ultimate CEO of tough decisions for sacred guidance. They like the certainty that implies, so they can follow orders without question.”

    To paper over this distinctive feature of the conservative movement in America is like flying blind in discourse. There are numerous studies of a scientific nature that have proven this time and again. Indeed I wrote about just such a study and offered a link to the free publication of it, last January in “The Authoritarians, A book Review and a Book”: http://jonathanturley.org/2012/01/21/the-authoritarians-a-book-review-and-book/

    To discuss the American political scene today, without understanding that the mindset of people of differing political views, shapes the ability to both debate and compromise would be a foolish endeavor. I think though that both nick and Ariel labor under the delusion that both of us, JT and many others here are partisans on the political spectrum. This is the mistake commonly made by both conservatives and libertarians in confronting people who disagree with them. They have a tendency to project upon them labels that have the timeworn use of besmirching political iconoclasm, by affirming it in the Left of the political spectrum. Personally, I abjure and distrust any “ism” and have explained my reasons on many occasions. Since both of them are relatively new to this blog, they also are unaware of the many arguments you and I engaged in because you preferred Ron Paul to Barack Obama. Neither of us represents a the standard partisan outlook, yet I think that this is how both Nick and Ariel would like to characterize us and thus ignore refuting the merits of our varied arguments.

  52. Something else that I must mention regarding partisanship. For the most part I loathe Marxists/Communists, for much the same reason that I loathe the extremists of the Conservative and Tea Bag movements. They too are just as doctrinaire and authoritarian as their opponents on the Right. My life experience is such that I actually did battle with them in the union movement in the late 60’s and was called at the time “A running dog of capitalism”. Yes many Marxists are easily distinguished by the same rigidity of thought exhibited by Right Wing Authoritarians and we even have one writing here known as Karl Friederich. If you think the problem is one of doctrine, then to me you’re part of the problem.

  53. @Mike: To be clear, my support of Ron Paul was strictly as the only chance left to avoid the establishment of an Imperial Presidency, which I believe became inevitable the moment Romney became the Republican Party candidate. (i.e. it would not matter who won.)

    At this point, I do not believe any of our Constitutional rights are safe, or even exist. All of the civil rights violations of Bush/Cheney and now Obama are now bi-partisan established modus operandi for the rest of our lives, and I predict they will be escalated further. Whatever “good” Obama may now do while in office comes at the expense of freedom of speech, our rights to privacy, our rights to private communications, our rights to be free from unwarranted search or eavesdropping by the government, our rights to due process, even our right to life itself.

  54. Tony C, thanks for your comment about this issue with the Zimmerman case. It makes me want to point out why I am so focused in on this particular “story versus story” issue with respect to that case.

    The first thing most people read when the story went national was that a Neighborhood Watch “Captain” had killed an unarmed Black youth in a gated community where there had been a lot of crime recently. Then the police were not suspected of being bad guys when they stood up for the shooter, saying he acted in self-defense. The entire perception of the case rested on the phrase “eight burglaries, nine thefts and ONE OTHER SHOOTING in the year before Trayvon Martin was killed.” The ONE OTHER SHOOTING was the most important piece of data in that story.

    Naturally the guy was on guard for trouble; there had been a shooting!

    There was no other shooting.

    And now, the journalist who wrote that story, cited and quoted over a thousand times on the web, does not answer my calls or e-mails when I provide absolutely undeniable information that there had not been ANY OTHER SHOOTING in RTL in the year before Trayvon Martin was killed.

    We are constantly being sold a bill of goods.
    We can never tease out REAL INFORMATION from the crap we read.
    We are treated like little kindergarten kids who need to be manipulated and controlled or we’ll mess up and get run over by a car.

    This one piece of wrong data has had me in quite a tizz for about three weeks; before I get this covered in the meanstream press I’m sure I’ll spend 100 hours and $1,000 and even IF THEN it gets covered, not very well. Yet to me, it is a big big story. It is the story of our own misunderstanding of our own situation. Which could not be more dangerous, could not be more problematic, could not be more important.

  55. A Greek friend of mine observed in 1991 that the American “Left” was to the right of the European “Right.” HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

  56. @Mike: The same mindset is in the Christian conservative religion; which encourages people to turn their entire life over to Christ to manage for them as He sees fit. It seems to me they do not want autonomy; they want to be told what to do, how to act, and what to believe, replete with the justification they are just following orders and doing what they’ve been told to do by the man in charge. If you don’t like it, go talk to him.

    I am not sure why people want that, or if there is even a reason people want that. Perhaps it is just an emotional predisposition to prefer that role.

  57. Of course liberals are also Christian, but I think Conservatives embrace that fundamentalist “turn it over to Christ” mindset more enthusiastically.

  58. “The same mindset is in the Christian conservative religion; which encourages people to turn their entire life over to Christ to manage for them as He sees fit.”

    Tony,

    This is why almost all fundamentalists are conservative in political outlook. Also I understood your Ron Paul position and its nuances.

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