Eden Hill Journal
Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.
- Name: Bill
- Location: Maine, United States
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Briefly, conservatism is a more or less articulate sense of normality, whereas liberalism has been described (by G.K. Chesterton) as “the modern and morbid habit of always sacrificing the normal to the abnormal.” Conservatism can tolerate many abnormal things that can’t be eliminated from human society, but it doesn’t call them “rights” or confuse them with normal things. And, after all, few things are more abnormal than war.
There was a time in my life prior to 2002 when I might have penned that thought myself, but now I tend to think that nothing could be further from the truth. Basically the theory is that good people, normal people, agree with conservative Republican politics, or at least what conservative Republican politics used to be prior to the Bush influence. I grew up believing that and I'm sure a lot of others in America did as well.
Now I tend to believe differently. I tend not to believe the illusion that American politics boils down to the simplistic view of a confrontation between normalcy and the legitimacy of abnormality. Just how naive can we be?
Now I tend to believe that American politics is the age-old battle between those who favor empire and iron-fisted rule and those who believe a society should govern by democratic process. Unfortunately it isn't as simple as Republican verses Democrat, though. Both sides of the bi-polar political spectrum in America are struggling with this confrontation, this battle. There are elements of both political parties that want empire and there are elements of both political parties that want democracy. It can't be easily argued that Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, or Hillary Clinton favor democracy over empire. We delude ourselves if that is what we think.
Sobran mentions the illusion that in the Nazi era Democrats were for war and Republicans were isolationists. Somehow we have managed to imagine that the entire fascist movement after "The Great War" (World War I) revolved around racism and anti-Semitism. Somehow we have forgotten that Nazi Germany and fascist Italy derived their power from military industrialism. Somehow we have erased the fact that American military industrialists and financiers supported Germany's resurgence.
I wasn't around in the 1930s but from what I have gathered, two imperial views sought to dominate the American political spectrum. One was socialist with connections to the Communist cause. The other was corporate with connections to the fascists. Both sought empire. One cause found a home in the Democratic Party. The other found a home in the Republican Party. I don't mean to suggest that all Republicans were fascists. I mean to say that American fascist supporters tended seek influence as Republicans. In the same sense, I don't mean to suggest that all Democrats were Communist. I mean to say that Communists tended to seek influence as Democrats.
Fascist Europe was, more than anything else, anti-Communist. Yes there was the resentment against the dominance of Jewish financiers as Europe suffered both in post-war economics and in the Great Depression. But the real enemy to fascists was Communism. American "isolationism" in the 1930s wasn't passivism. It was sympathy to the anti-Communism of fascist Germany and Italy. It was pro-corporate militarism.
It can be convincingly argued that Communism as a political cause is dead. But pro-corporate militarism is alive and well and is flourishing in the United States. We no longer call it fascism, we no longer see it as anti-Semitism, but it survived Nazi Germany and it survived fascist Italy and it is thriving in America. Worse, it is at home both in the Republican Party and in the Democratic Party. The demise of neoconservative politics won't eliminate corporate militarism. The fall of the Republican Party might stop this neoconservative insanity in Washington, but it won't stop those who profit from war and from corrupt corporate domination of production around the world.
Let's not kid ourselves with oversimplifications.