Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Something Something Whig Something Something Burke

[Keynesian economics at a time of special economic peril in which the general rules of economics don’t apply and are, in fact, counterproductive] is not an eternal ideology – determined as “on the left” and therefore impermissible on the right or center. It’s a specific analysis of a specific problem, which happens to be where we are now. A true conservative would throw ideology aside and look at the real world. Which is the difference between today’s GOP and a genuine conservative, like Bruce. I’m not a Keynesian for ever. But I am a Keynesian for now"

-- Andrew Sullivan, May 7, 2012
It is not that I disagree with Mr. Sullivan's defense of Keynesian economics, here-and-now or otherwise.  To the contrary, I agree with it, as far as it goes, just as I agree with Mr. Sullivan that pot should be legal, that marriage equality is a civil right, that our health care system is an abomination that is crushing the poor and middle class, that income inequality is a disaster for the health of our democracy, that immigration reform is long, long overdue, that we are drowning in well-funded monsters who sell guns and fear to rubes as if they were the Kiwanas slinging flapjacks on Pancake Day, that we are roasting our planet and maybe we should do something about that.  

I agree with Mr. Sullivan broadly on all of those subjects.

What I thoroughly disagree with is the transparently ridiculous dorm-room-bong-a-thon fig-leaf definition of "genuine" or "true" Conservatism that Movement exiles like he and David Frum and David Brooks began to applique over their Bush/Cheney tattoos once the wheels came definitively off of True Conservatism 1.0 during the Age of Dubya.  

What I vehemently object to is the fucking absurd idea that, having built their careers riding shotgun with the Conservative dregs of American culture, they now get to Moonwalk away from the burning wreckage that True Conservatism 1.0 left in its wake, pitch their carny tents beneath the sheltering branches of Something Something Whig Something Something Burke and whiiiiiiining about what a great big shame it is that the other 99.9999% of American Conservatives keep getting Conservatism so terribly, terribly wrong.

What I Loudly and Rudely oppose is the precedent that, having spent their adult lives making a buck punching hippies, America's Most Famous Professional Conservatives Public Intellectuals now get to quietly expropriate one long-standing Liberal idea after another without having to pay so much as lip service to the fact that the Hippies were right all along.

The seams and bolts and patches on the Southern Strategy exoskeleton binding together the Right's filthy coalition of plutocrats, racists, homophobes, anti-science goons, anti-woman slugs, gun-nuts and professional pundits have been clearly visible to the unjaundiced eye for a very, very long time.

The fact that it took America's Most Famous Professional Conservatives Public Intellectuals decades to bother to notice the Confederacy-size tumor which had long since eaten the soul out of the Party of Lincoln, shattered its bones and had burst through the Party's skin is hilarious.

The fact that America's Most Famous Professional Conservatives Public Intellectuals now point at that vast, crawly spawning ground which whelped them and gave them professional succor and swears by Almighty Something Something Whig Something Something Burke that none of it  is "genuine" Conservatism is even more hilarious.


mary said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You can choke on the opportunism and the hypocrisy (sp?)

Yastreblyansky said...

Resist this, don't agree with them. The "true conservatives" i.e. rich ones like illegal immigration because it's easier to steal their wages. The idea of being "a Keynesian for now" is idiotic, is Sullivan saying that when Keynes says to reduce deficits Sullivan may be against it? Sullivan favors gay marriage because of his own parochial interest, not on principle. Repeat after me: YOU DO NOT AGREE WITH THEM. You have similar positions on certain issues but your position has a reason behind it that you don't have to be ashamed to utter in public. Let's figure out ways to compromise instead with the poor and weak but misinformed.

Batocchio said...

I believe this is called The No True Gay Tory Scotsman fallacy.

(Or, as Digby often pegs this attitude, conservatism cannot fail; it can only be failed.)

El Cid said...

They likewise hate the notion of evolution because they can't stand the notion that they were ever associated with primitive organisms. It's all the same.

Anonymous said...

Just wow. You hit this one out of the park, thanks for that. Both Sullivan and the execrable Ferguson have skated by on their Oxford pronunciation and air of infallibility. C'mon people, stop listening to the way they speak, and listen to what they SAY.

Anonymous said...

I'm postjacking, but it's the quickest way to send you this by Krugman. You and BG should hammer this issue hard:

"So they just convincingly voted for Mark Sanford, a man who cheated on his wife, tried to cover his actions with an absurd story about hiking the Appalachian Trail, and trespassed on his ex-wife’s property, over an exemplary Democratic candidate. And you know what? Given their preferences, this was the right thing to do.

Look, we have an intensely polarized political system, and in Congress, at least, party affiliation is basically all that matters. When Massachusetts voters chose Scott Brown because he seemed like a nice guy, they were being idiots; his character (which I suspect they misjudged, but never mind) didn’t matter, while the loss of that 60th seat in the Senate almost killed health reform.

Maybe, just maybe, you can make a case for choosing the right person for governor, regardless of party. But when you’re sending someone to Congress, all that matters is the R or D after that person’s name. It seems that conservative voters understand that; liberals and moderates should, too.

Lawrence said...

Next time Ben & Jerry's has a new flavor contest we all must nominate "Sully's Pineapple".

Howard Banniser said...

"is Sullivan saying that when Keynes says to reduce deficits Sullivan may be against it?"

Well, yes. He was a Bushie, when you come right down to it, and he was all for squandering the surplus instead of paying down the debt when they could have.

The minute things are good they throw it all away, because that is the true face of conservatism.