Friday, July 18, 2008

Call Them "Radical Right", NOT "Conservative"

Most of the posts I have written here address the issues of why most of the people chronically labeled "conservative" by our main stream and corporate-owned media are utterly mislabeled by this term. I have suggested that they are more appropriately labeled "pseudo-conservative" following the original use of that term in the classic book "The Authoritarian Personality" and in Richard Hofstadter's writings from the 1950s and 1960s. However, there is another term that comes from the 1960s that is also a more accurate label for many on the American right and that is "Radical Right". I recommend that these two terms can be used largely interchangeably and that just as the Radical Right has used its powers of redefinition to turn the term "liberal" into practically a dirty word and refused even to honor the long chosen and essentially accurate name of "Democratic" Party, insisting on calling it the "Democrat" party, those of us on the libertarian left and right should stop unconsciously parroting right-wing propaganda by continuing to mislabel the pseudo-conservative radical right as "conservative".

Monday, July 14, 2008

Read Glenn Greenwald's "Great American Hypocrites"

Glenn Greenwald's new book "Great American Hypocrites" very effectively argues a number of the kinds of things I have proposed in earlier posts to this blog. While he is primarily focused on the Republican Party's hypocrisy this underlines how those who claim to be "conservative" are not. Here is how he puts it on p. 237:
There has been a long line of decidedly unconservative actions by the Bush administration that have been almost uniformly cheered on by the right wing--from exploding discretionary domestic spending to record deficits, to an emergency convening of the federal government to intervene in one woman's end-of-life decisions, to attempts to federalize marriage and medical laws--all of which could not be any more alien to what has been meant by conservatism for the past forty years.
Greenwald is very effective in providing evidence of how Republican ideologues are, in their actions and lives, precisely the opposite of what they say they are. Read Greenwald's book and let us put a stop to the mammoth hypocrisy they have been getting away with for at least the last 28 years. As he puts it on p. 2:
those who playact as powerful Tough Guys and anti-terrorist Warriors and Crusaders for the Values Voters have lives filled with weakness, fear, unbridled hedonism, unearned privilege, sheltered insulation, and none of the "Traditional Masculine Virtues" they endlessly tout.
In his Chapter 1 he shows how that model of Republican Tough and Patriotic American, John Wayne, actually lived his life. In Chapter 2 he describes how the establishment media enables Republican hypocrites to get away with their hypocrisy. Chapter 3 deals with the more general tendency of Republican males to swagger around pretending to be tough guys in their "Tough Guise" while in fact being the opposite. Chapter 4 concerns Republican shamming of being morally superior examples of family values.
Chapter Five examines what has perhaps become the most transparent Republican myth of all: that it is the party of small government, limited federal power, and individual liberty.
In his final chapter Greenwald focuses upon John McCain's hypocrisies. This is an excellent book.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

New and Not Improved: Barack Obama

Here is a New York Times editorial noting that Barack Obama’s shifts are striking because he was the candidate who proposed to change the face of politics. Yet now there seems to be a new Mr. Obama on the hustings. Unlike the radical right which believes that the New York Times is the "liberal" anti-Christ, I see the N Y Times is an essentially center-right paper most frequently found in the "patriotic" cheering section for most "tough" stands; thus, when Obama gets in trouble with the N Y Times editorial page that should be a sign he must be doing something wrong. The editorial cites Obama's change on FISA noting that he previously committed to supporting a filibuster against any law granting retroactive immunity. For some of the very best analysis of Obama's misleading statements about why he will now vote for the FISA "compromise you MUST read Glenn Greenwald's magnificently knowledgeable and carefully reasoned posts. There were several excellent posts before this one but Update III of the above post criticizes Obama's latest statement with a point by point analysis.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

A Big Obama Test: If Israel Attacks Iran

I have been a relatively enthusiastic backer of Barack Obama. There was news this morning that Israel carried out a military exercise that was a practice for bombing Iran. I was extremely disappointed to see Obama pander to AIPAC in a recent speech where he gratuitously promised that Jerusalem would remain the Israeli capital and must remain undivided. If Israel were to bomb Iran this would be a huge test for Obama's strength of character: if he were to support such an illegal, aggressive and unjustified attack he would go down in my estimation very considerably. This would constitute a "Profile in Pandering" rather than a profile in courage. Moreover, this would put Obama in the war camp very close to George W. Bush and would be an indicator that he is not so much the "change" candidate he would like us to believe he is.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jeffrey Feldman's "Frameshop" Blog Is Definitely Worth a Look

I just discovered Jeffrey Feldman's Frameshop blog. It is an excellent discussion of how the Right uses rhetoric to "frame" our political debate.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Here's an Easy and Rewarding Way to Help the Environment

I recently heard about a free service that will stop catalogs from coming in the mail to your home thus saving the mail person the trouble of carrying them, you the trouble of throwing them away, and trees that combat global warming from being cut down. Go to and sign up. They also have information about the values of doing so.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Another Good Book

I've just finished reading Italian political thinker Norbert Bobbio's Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction. Since Bobbio is a serious political philosopher the book starts slowly with many distinctions that may seem academic. Start on p. 38 for the good stuff. An excellent book by a careful thinker.