Summary: Cantor’s defeat to a Tea Party challenger marks Americans move one notch further to the Right. Rather than whine about it, we should consider how and why the Right has won for several decades. They’ve patiently planned and planted; now they reap.
“People, ideas and hardware, in that order!”
— the late John R. Boyd (Colonel, USAF), “A Discourse on Winning and Losing” (unpublished), August 1987. Good advice for all spheres of life. Conservatives have proven it works for politics.
“Fifty years is ample time in which to change a world and its people almost beyond recognition. All that is required for the task are a sound knowledge of social engineering, a clear sight of the intended goal – and power. These things the Overlords possessed.”
— Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End (1953)
- Patient, long-term investment
- It’s intelligent design of a society…
- For More Information
- Future historians will study these giants
(1) Patient, long-term investment
After 50 years of victories of the Right, slowly people on the Left see a source to their power. As Paul Krugman explains in “Fall of an Apparatchik“, in his blog at the NYT, 11 June 2014 — Krugman is a brilliant economist, Leftist ideologue and Democratic Party hack. Here he displays the last two aspects of his thinking while muting the first.
Movement conservatism — as distinct from just plain conservatism, which has always been a part of the landscape and always will be — is a distinct feature of modern American politics. It dates, more or less, back to the 1970s, when conservatives, with lots of money from the likes of Richard Mellon Scaife, set about building an institutional infrastructure of think tanks, pressure groups, captive media, etc.. At first this infrastructure mainly provided backing to right-thinking (in both senses) politicians. But eventually it provided a career path for up and coming conservatives.
In particular, being a movement conservative in good standing meant considerable career safety: even if you or the politician you worked for lost an election, there were jobs to be had at think tanks (e.g. Rick Santorum heading up the “America’s enemies” program at a Scaife-backed think tank), media gigs (two Bush speechwriters writing columns for the Washington Post, not to mention the gaggle at the WSJ and Fox News), and so on.
In other words, being a hard line conservative, which to be fair involved some career risks back in the 60s and into the 70s, became a safe choice; you could count on powerful backing, and if not favored by fortune, you could fall back on wingnut welfare.
“Wingnut welfare” is Krugman’s mocking description of one component to the conservative infrastructure built during the past 50 years. Someone less inclined to rebuttal by insult than Krugman (it’s his primary mode) would call it large scale, patient investment by the 1% in people .
To see the duration, scale, and depth of this program, see the bios of conservative activists at the SHAME project. Often recruited at college, carefully trained and nurtured through a succession of jobs, it’s a career path for conservative activists run quite differently than anything on the Left.
The 1% also invested in ideas, think-tanks to generate them and news media and conferences (e.g., the CPAC and the CLC) to disseminate them. Like David Brat, who leads banker John Allison’s “BB&T Moral Foundations of Capitalism Program” teaching libertarian thought at Randolph-Macon College (for more information see articles at VOX) and at AlterNet).
Conservatives now reap the well-deserved rewards to their time, effort, and money. They can laugh at Krugman’s mockery.
(2) It’s intelligent design of a society…
… an emergent program from a small number (thousands?) of wealthy people working loosely together, supported by their legions of courtiers and servants.
Its outlines appear in documents marking key points in the process. Since the Carter administration America they’ve reshaped America, moving it to the Right — with the exception of social policies of no interest to the 1% (e.g., they don’t care about the peons’ mating habits).
Steve M. explains the result in “The Powell Memo had a Baby, and his name was Dave Brat“:
The people who read the Powell memo in 1971 ultimately won — we’ve been living in their world ever since the Reagan presidency. But they’re still fighting. They’re still spreading Randianism far and wide. Dave Brat is one of their propagandists, and tonight he just toppled a giant from the last wave of Republican radicals, who’s now, clearly, not deemed radical — or Randian — enough.
The primary defeat of House Majority Leader Cantor by a libertarian Christian (not a logical combo) illustrates how this machine works today: “Friends of Dave Brat“, Charles Pierce, Esquire, 11 June 2014 — Excerpt:
A lot of the credit for his upset is going (rightly) to various radio hosts who took the payola from wingnut sugar daddies as described by Ken Vogel and MacKenzie Weinger. … Brat also seems to owe his job to Cato Institute president John Allison.
“The funding for the program came from John Allison, the former CEO of BB&T (a financial-services company) who now heads the Cato Institute. The two share an affinity for Ayn Rand: Allison is a major supporter of the Ayn Rand Institute, and Brat co-authored a paper titled “An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand.” Brat says that while he isn’t a Randian, he has been influenced by Atlas Shrugged and appreciates Rand’s case for human freedom and free markets.”
In brief, Brat’s job, and the support he got from the Raving-Loon Industrial Complex, all was financed in some way or another by the same vast lagoon of plutocratic payola with which we’ve all become sadly familiar. This is not going to be prominent in the mainstream analysis of what happened.
Krugman and his team has fun mocking conservatives while they win. “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.” Deservedly so by the harsh logic and justice of Mother Nature. It’s a circle of life kind of thing.
The usual concluding message: Collectively we have superior numbers and resources, but without organization we’re little more than sheep. Change becomes possible when we decide to no longer be sheep. It will happen one person at a time.
(3) For More Information
(a) Reference pages about American politics:
- Posts about politics in America
- How can we stop the quiet coup now in progress?
- Posts about reforming America
(b) Other posts exploring why the Left loses:
- Why liberals lose, 1 July 2012
- Important: Why the 1% is winning, and we are not, 26 July 2013
- Climate change sinks the Left, while scientists unravel mysteries we must solve, 24 January 2014
- Watch the Left burn away more of its credibility, then wonder why the Right wins, 29 January 2014
- Apocalyptic thinking on the Left about climate change risks burning their credibility, 4 February 2014
- Why the Left is losing: another example of incompetent marketing, 26 February 2014
- This is what defeat looks like for the Left, and perhaps also for environmentalists, 17 March 2014
- America swings to the Right. The Left loses. How has the Left dug itself into this hole?, 28 March 2014
(4) Future historians will study these leaders
Mocked now by the Left, unless trends reverse historians will study these leaders, there at the beginning of the Right’s triumph, and at its maturity. Those like Obama, who entrenched its key doctrines (e.g., wars, expanded domestic surveillance, government secrecy, assassination, low taxes) will get small mention.
Bush Jr brought the conservative movement to maturity. Eventually he’ll be recognized as one of the most influential in our history.