Category Archive 'John Birch Society'

22 Feb 2011

According to the Left, Conservatives Are Always Astroturf

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The latest obsession of the political left, represented by a series of indignant New York Times stories and left-wing blog exposées about the Koch Brothers or other donors to conservative groups and think tanks, seems really to constitute a convenient denial mechanism for our friends on the progressive side.

It is not that the policies advocated by the progressive wing have had untoward effects or that a majority of American voters do not like the way Obamacare was rammed through Congress or that a genuine groundswell of opposition to progressive fiscal policy, redistributionism, and coercion has manifested itself across the country. All the opponents of the democrat party, Barack Obama, and the socialist left are really just corrupt hirelings of right-wing billionaires and corporate interests.

The fact that the democrat party is really, in truth, the party of the rich in the United States, the party representing the American establishment, the party with by far the best ties to Wall Street and corporate interests is entirely overlooked. The left cries out constantly in outrage at the existence of any opponents and dissent.

It is not enough that they possess a predominant share of all of the mainstream media. The existence of Rush Limbaugh and AM radio and Fox News drives them crazy. They have George Soros, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and a list of liberal donors as long as your arm, but the existence of a tiny number of wealthy donors providing funding to Republicans and to organizations on the right is deemed by them to be an absolute outrage.

John Hinderaker, at Power-Line, was moved to respond to one of the most recent left-wing rants which attempts to connect opposition to the power of unionized government employees in Madison, Wisconsin today to the John Birch Society and a fellow who passed away in 1965.

What is the sum and substance of Think Progress’s expose? Governor Walker’s position is endorsed by a majority of Wisconsin voters, as well as several conservative groups, some of which have gotten modest amounts of support from conservative philanthropists. In what world is that some kind of scandal?

Certainly not in the world of Think Progress, which is entirely a creature of the billionaire left. One curious feature of today’s left is its obsession with “astroturf.” There is a reason why lefties who work for billionaire-funded web sites like Think Progress constantly talk about astroturf: it is the world they live in. They are paid by rich liberals, and the demonstrators who are bused in to left-wing protests are generally union members who are paid to attend. No one on the left does much for free. So lefties find it hard to understand that ordinary citizens (“Tea Partiers”) will turn out at rallies without being paid, that conservative voters vote on principle, not financial self-interest, and that conservative activists act out of conviction, not because they are subsidized by a sugar daddy. Failing to understand that conservatism–unlike liberalism–is a movement of principle, not self-interest, they are constantly looking for the elusive, non-existent money trail.

28 Jun 2006

Some Interesting Comparisons

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Fellow old-time Movement Conservatives will be amused to read Josh Trevino‘s comparison of the impotent and unhappy state of today’s Left with that of post-New Deal American Conservativism, viewing Kos (Markos Moulitsas Zúniga) as those poor lefties’ Robert Welch.

There was once a movement, born of desperation and a sense of embattlement at being on the losing side of historical forces. This movement saw itself as the inheritor and the guarantor of true American tradition and identity, and it sought to restore those things to their rightful primacy in national life. But because the movement did feel embattled, and because it did view itself as the victim of powerful forces, it chose to not merely fight its foes, but emulate them. It saw the prime virtue of its enemies as their ability to win, and if they could just crack the code — if it could grasp the very methodology of victory — then they would turn the tables, and victory would be theirs.

The American left today is not quite in the position of the American right circa 1960. But it is suffering nonetheless, having been in slow decline for the past quarter-century. Even when it wins the Presidency, it loses the Congress: and even when the President is the inept, uncommunicative George W. Bush, it still cannot make a dent in the ascendancy of its enemies. The end result of this is a group of Americans, identifying as members of the left, that is strikingly similar to the conservative movement of a generation past: inchoate, angry, and prone to “irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.”..

Consider the average member of this group. He (or she) remembers the era of leftist dominance of American politics — and he remembers the beginning of its end, on election day 1980. He is around 50 years old. He is professional living in a coastal enclave, mostly on the Pacific coast or the northeast. His political consciousness was formed by the McGovern and Carter campaigns — and of course the American retreat from Vietnam. He may have grown up in Iowa, or Texas, or Missouri, or Utah — but he went to college elsewhere, and fell in love with the people in California, or New York, or Boston, who were so much more progressive and intellectual than the hayseeds back home. His initial concept of conservatives, which he’s never really abandoned, was formed by Nixonian malfeasance: they’re all crooks and corrupt, in his mind. The ascent of Reagan in 1980, and later the 1994 revolution, came as a profound shock — how could America forget so soon? He is well-off: and the bulk of his working career — and hence the font of his personal prosperity — was spent in the boom markets of the 1980s and 1990s, under Republican national governance in one form or another. He doesn’t think about the implications of that much.

But for all his generally good circumstances, he’s been on the political and cultural losing side all his adult life. He’s tired of it. And he’s found a website which, at last, makes him feel empowered. He is, in short, the typical member of the so-called netroots: the left-wing movement, organized around blogs, that seeks to “take back” this country from its usurpers. The netroots is a movement born of desperation and a sense of embattlement at being on the losing side of historical forces. It sees itself as the inheritor and the guarantor of true American tradition and identity, and it seeks to restore those things to their rightful primacy in national life. Critically, it choose to not merely fight its foes, but emulate them. It sees the prime virtue of its enemies as their ability to win, and if they can just crack the code — if it can grasp the very methodology of victory — then they will turn the tables, and victory will be theirs.

Sound familiar? It is — to us. To the left, it’s all very exciting, and all very new. And so we see the self-proclaimed netroots go through a trajectory very much like what the Birchers went through, albeit in highly compressed time. The elements are all there: the resentment, the conspiracy-mindedness, and especially the leaders with stupefyingly poor judgment married to Napoleon complexes. I’ve noted before that they are “frank proponents of outright mimicry of the mechanisms of GOP ascendacy.” Add to this the horrifying, alienating statements ranging from the mockery of dead Americans at war to the derision of political opponents’ personal sorrows. Add to this the demonization of the very people who should, in a sane world, be their friends — The New Republic chief among them — and the formula is complete. Messianism and paranoia marry to make this.

There’s already some evidence of pushback. The journalistic establishment won’t take the abuse forever. The purported agents of the Communist — sorry, the vast right-wing conspiracy won’t endure the smears indefinitely. And the left’s political establishment won’t kowtow endlessly — and certainly not so long as the netroots keep losing. For the sake of American civic life, one hopes this is true.

But for the sake of the enemy — we conservatives of all stripes — we need merely note that whereas they have a pint-sized Welch, they have no Buckley.

And, more importantly, no Rand.

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