By Keith Preston
Because I am a frequent and often strident critic of the Left, I am often mistaken for a conservative. In fact, I have had right-wing readers of my books and essays express surprise that I am not nearly as far to the right as they thought. This is an essay I wrote for a paleocon compilation some years ago lambasting the American “conservative movement” (sometimes called “Conservatism, Inc.”).
Obviously, this critique doesn’t apply to serious intellectual conservatives who take the ideas of thinkers like Joseph de Maistre, Edmund Burke, or Carl Schmitt seriously. But it applies to 99.9% of what gets passed off as “conservatism” in the US today.
My view is that “movement conservatism” for which Reagan was the symbolic leader was nothing more than a scam whose purpose was to launch a capitalist class counterattack against unions and the social safety net, while cutting taxes for the rich and increasing corporate welfare exponentially, all the while engaging in global expansionism and empire-building.
The three pillars of what was called “fusionism” (the official ideology of “movement conservatism”) included “strong national defense” (military-corporate welfare and imperialist warmongering), “free enterprise” (welfare for the rich, market discipline for everyone else) and “traditional values” (appealing to the socially conservative lower middle class and assorted yahoos with pretend religious and patriotic piety). The Reaganites’ alliance with the neocons happened when the neocons realized they could leach off corporate donors and use American military power to advance Israeli expansionism and get even with Russia for the pogroms.
Reagan was the Joel Osteen of the supply-siders while Trump is the Joel Osteen of the neo-Know Nothings. The Trumper/Never Trumper rivalry in the GOP is like a rivalry between Moonies and Scientologists.
Categories: Left and Right