Dysmey Post > Essays > Politics > The Illusion of Conservatism

The Illusion of Conservatism

One of the deceptions of the modern popular media is that it pretends — and wants us to pretend — that there is such things as conservatism and liberalism. But, without any real basis to either, the things are just words without meaning — or, worse, what the late Francis Schaeffer called god words, equivalent to mantrāḥ in Hinduism, whose connotations serve as banners around which the ignorant can be made to gather.

It might help you if you keep in mind that the modern United States is not like the one that a group of ex-British colonists founded more than two hundred years ago. That United States has sailed away into the sea of history a long time ago, having expired just after World War II after a decades-long decline. Our United States is related to the original only by historical accident. Our country uses the original's founding documents; but they no longer have the Judeo-Christian (JC), or even the Deistic, ethos as its base. And without that base, those documents are infinitely malleable, usually by the Supreme Court, but also more and more by the executive branch. This is why our country has suffered, for the past quarter century, from the loss of freedoms and growing autocracy in the names of peace and security, especially during our country's bootless wars.

This lack of a JC basis makes conservative an empty word. Supposedly the word means something like this Merriam-Webster's definition:

a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage).

Well enough: But in our current USA, there are no traditions, no stability, and no institutions except what has been passed over from the original. And these are dying out, no matter what the older conservatives do to preserve them. Remember, the current USA is over sixty years old; the JC basis, inherited from the original and never maintained, is now almost gone; and its institutions are mutating into pillars for an autocratic State.

Nowadays, in our society with its quasi-socialist government, the specific definition of conservative holds true, but with demented twists. Conservatism wants:

It is now clear that conservatism is, at worst, the political platform of the commercial corporations (which have been shown to exhibit a form of sociopathy, or psychopathy on a social scale) and finance capitalism; and at best, especially as espoused by its social wing, a wishful desire to return to the society of the original United States — a desire that is not just impossible, but (given how corrupt we are now) dangerous.

Given the folly of modern American conservatism, it is not a surprise that its little knee-jerks can be whipped into a mindless froth by the paid political spokesmen of such big communications concerns as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast. The little souls are ignorant of network neutrality, which means the freedom of TCP/IP data packets to travel from source to sink, unimpeded through any network that is part to the Internet. This was the normal state of the Internet until general public invaded the Internet in the 1990's, bringing the corporations and their sociopathic culture along with it.

The knee-jerks, however, are led to believe that network neutrality is some kind of Big Government Conspiracy, which is all it takes to make them weep and gnash their teeth. I admit that such behavior is good practice for their life in the world to come; since when are any of them true followers of Jesus? But, really, the knee-jerks should not waste their tears in support of those who would milk them of their hard-earned cash in their day-to-day lives. They should save their weeping for weddings and funerals and other events that matter to them most. Let AT&T, Verizon and Comcast — which do not give a ◊◊◊◊ for the little souls — look after themselves.

This hostile jab at modern American conservatism is in response to the following Slashdot entry, which I quote in full.

To understand the debate being waged in the United States over Net Neutrality, it's important to understand just how drastically one side has been misled. The leaders of the American Right are spreading the lie that Net Neutrality is a government takeover of the Internet, with the intention of silencing conservative voices. (Limbaugh: All you really have to know about Net Neutrality is that its biggest promoters are George Soros and Google.) This may be hard to believe to those of us who actually know what it's about — reinstating pre-2005 law that ensured Internet providers could discriminate on the basis of volume but not content. Since the opposing side is so badly misinformed, those of us who want the Internet to remain open to innovation and freedom of expression have to help educate them before the debate can really be held.

Most of the responses to the entry fall in the category of a combined case of blind partisanship (they support it, so we must oppose it because they're the other side), stupidity, and a free market isn't defined by the presence of competition or the ability for all parties to make free, informed choices, but rather whether large corporations have any restrictions on them or not. Stupidity is really willful ignorance, since the idea of stupidity is covered by blind partisanship, and anything other than the presence of competition or the ability for all parties to make free, informed choices is not a free market! Corporate culture is a private autocracy, hierarchically structured, driven by status and the threat of dismissal. Corporate culture is not free in any sense of the word, and supporting its will in the political arena makes one as much an autocrat as any executive.

Written by Andy West on 28 December 2010. Updated 10 March 2011.