Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Why some capitalists aren't voting Republican: Too much 'me-too'ism

Writing in Capitalism magazine, John Lewis explains why he will not be voting Republican this mid-term election. The cartoon provides a short summary of his argument; the excerpts below a longer summary. (And if by some chance you missed them last week, I offer my own thoughts here on what I might do if I were voting in the mid-terms.)

In every area of domestic and foreign policy, the conservatives controlling the Republican Party have expropriated the central tenets of the left, while claiming to be an alternative. This has created a false alternative to the political left, posing as its opposite but supporting the same basic goals. This has sowed massive confusion in people's minds, and limited the American people to a choice of poisons. This confusion is undermining people's capacity to even conceive of a true alternative to the welfare state and military defeat...

Conservatives conserve. They see a nation's institutions, traditions and moral ideals as the anchor for its society—the glue that holds it all together—and they want to preserve them. For most of history, from the Greeks through Rome, the Middle Ages and into the 18th century, the glue was seen as the laws and customs of our ancestors, whether the simple virtues of pious farm life, the norms of the Senatorial aristocracy, the dogmas of the church, the prerogatives of the ancien regime, the traditional religious standards, or other established credos. Conservatives do not stand for any content; they stand for preserving that which anchors and stabilizes society—a claim to mystical insights into moral ideals that rise above the petty concerns of life on earth...

For a brief moment, however—for a few decades in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—people understood that what defined American life was individualism, the free market and limited government. Conservatives to some degree supported these ideals against progressives and Marxists. People began to think that defending these ideals was the essence of conservatism, and they forgot the more basic nature of conservatism: to conserve traditions qua traditions, to be taken on faith.

Consequently, when the welfare state supplanted limited government and freedom, and showed its resilience in the face of opposition, conservatives became the defenders of the new status quo. That is where we are today. Conservatives of the Bush tribe are now energetic advocates for the welfare state, connecting it to what they call traditional American virtues, meaning altruistic sacrifice, and defending it as the basis for American life.

Read on for more.
Why I will not vote for any Republican - Capitalism Magazine
US elections: A house divided? - Not PC (Oct 26)
Cartoon by Cox and Forkum
RELATED: Politics-US, Objectivism, Cartoons
Background Reading:
The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism by C. Bradley Thompson
Explains how the two factions of conservatism -- "compassionate conservatism" and the "neo-conservatism" -- both unite on their fundamental opposition to individual rights and capitalism in favour of forced sacrifice of a fascist redistributive welfare state -- in other words they have embraced the philosophy of the Left, while claiming to be defenders of capitalism.


  1. what you need is to get yr mad scientist friend who does cartoons to redo this cartoon with John Key.


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