Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Admiring Reagan

Paul Krugman is one of the best in the business when it comes to political snark. His put down today of Posner's epiphany that modern conservatism is intellectually bankrupt is both succinct and funny as hell.

But it is the middle two paragraphs of the post, where he goes after the actual ideology, should be required reading for anyone who would call themselves a liberal:

... And yet — why, exactly, should we listen to people who by their own admission completely missed the story? I mean, anyone who actually listened to what Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey were saying in 1994, let alone what passed for thought in the Bush administration, should have realized long ago that if there ever was an intellectual basis for modern conservatism, it was long gone.

And the truth is that the Reaganauts were a pretty grotesque bunch too. Look for the golden age of conservative intellectualism in America, and you keep going back, and back, and back — and eventually you run up against William Buckley in the 1950s declaring that blacks weren’t advanced enough to vote, and that Franco was the savior of Spanish civilization.

Krugman makes two crucial points here. The first is how could anyone with three functional brain cells have ever found anything compelling, let alone admirable, in the political ideology of the Movement Conservatives? They were as incoherent and intellectually compromised in 1994 as they were in 2004. There is nothing here that should be treated with anything except derision should it dare show its face in public.

The second point is the more telling. No matter how far you go back in the Movement Conservative history, you cannot find anything that is not poisonous. The founder of this ideological nightmare, William Buckley, used racism and fascism as foundations for his shining city on a hill. 1994, 1984, 1980 and the Gipper himself; it doesn't matter where you try to locate the golden era of this creed, Movement Conservatism has always already been allied with the worst impulses of the nation.

The third point he leaves as a lesson for the reader to draw - And just why does anyone on the Left feel a need to compromise with this most compromised intellectual agenda? How can anyone with the conscience of a liberal express any admiration for a faction that is rooted in socio-political commitments antagonistic to the rule of law and the fundamental premise of human equality?

Who indeed.



Bob Harrison said...

Another homer!

Unknown said...

When one looks into the approval rating of Gingrich and other far right politicians, one sees that these conservatives never had a broad based appeal. The only reason these people appear to have influence in the political dialogue is that the media gives them the microphone and the front page space to spill their views. To make my point, the media takes Cheney as a serious pundit and disregards the fact that only a small percentage of Americans regards Cheney's views as worthy of consideration.

lori said...

And Reagan had 28 staffers convicted on corruption charges - far more than any president in American history. Nixon has fewer than 20. No one else has more than 5. For the record, Clinton only had one conviction in his administration.

It can't be said often enough. Most people have long since forgotten the stink the filled up DC while Reagan was president.

cal1942 said...

For an admirer and one bringing conservatives and/or conservative elements to the table; look no further than the White House.

He said it all during the primaries and has played out that script in the White House.

Want to know what a politician will do if elected? Listen carefully to what they say during the campaign. The joke on his alleged intellectually superior, "creative class" supporters is that Obama couldn't have been more clear.