Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Conservative Democrats and Radical Republicans: An Unconventional Take

My take on these questions is unconventional, but in today’s America I would say the Democrats are the “conservative” party, if we define conservatism as a defense of elite interests, the status quo, pragmatic reformism that avoids overstepping, not rocking the boat too heavily, etc. That’s the Burkean definition of conservatism and the definition that was more or less used by leading conservative philosophers like Oakeshott and Scruton. The Democrats are now the party of the majority of the capitalist class, nearly 100% of educated Brahmin elites, the dominant factions of the state security forces, the majority of upper-middle and upper-class people, and the majority of the professional-managerial class.
Most Democrats are pro-technocratic centrists, not leftists, not even milquetoast ones like the DSA. While Republicans portray AOC as the leader of the Dems, she is actually a very fringe figure in the party that is disliked by the mainstream Dems. Case in point: I have a friend who is an upper-middle-class professional woman who is a centrist to liberal Dem and prefer Dems like Abigail Spanberger. She thinks AOC is a bimbo and a Kardashian-wannabe. The way the Dems present themselves as the champions of the historically oppressed (which would be blacks, gays, etc in our society) is well within the tradition of aristocrats, royals, and clerics who at least pretended to be friends of the peasants or serfs, or Brahmins pretending to be friends of the Dalits, and allowing elite members of the historically outcast into their circles.
Nowadays, the Republicans are the radical party. First, if “left-wing” means poor or working class, anti-imperialist, and conflict with state security forces, then the GOP is now the party of a majority of lower to lower-middle-income voters. Republican politicians in Congress are more likely to vote against NATO expansion or aiding the Ukrainians against Russia. Republicans have obviously had quite a few run-ins with state security in recent times, including their present leader. They parallel the anarchist left in this regard. The MAGA types are comparable to the sans-culottes in many ways, i.e. richer than the peasants but not as rich as the aristocracy, and full of petite bourgeois types. Ideologically, the Republicans of the present time are similar to what the GOP was in the 1950s, a mixture of internationalists and isolationists, populists and libertarians, nativists and classical liberals, petite bourgeoisie and chamber of commerce types, unreconstructed New England liberals (like Susan Collins today) and Sunbelt capitalists, religious conservatives, Birchers, and semi-libertarian Calvin Coolidge types.
In fact, I would go even further and compare the Republicans to the old Communist parties of the West (and even the Eastern Communist or southern hemisphere parties that actually assumed state power or waged genuine guerilla warfare in many instances), especially those of the postwar period, in the sense that while their voting base may be poor or traditional working class, their leadership tended to be drawn from educated elites, dissident aristocrats, and petite bourgeois types. Historically, the leadership of the Communist parties tended to be drawn from these sectors. Many even had clerical backgrounds (e.g. Stalin, or the “liberation theology” movement in Latin America). Lenin and Castro were lawyers. Many like Trotsky, Mao, Pol Pot, and Guzman were school teachers or professors. Che was a physician. Some were actual capitalists or business people like the owners of the Arm and Hammer baking soda company or Armand Hammer’s father Julius who owned a drug store chain. The leaders of the Maoist insurgencies in India and Nepal like the Naxalites and PWG are Brahmins.
Republicans and old-guard Communists share the same basic value system: nationalism, economism, and social conservatism. They agree economic growth is a primary value, but they just disagree on how to achieve it (whether to use central planning or supply-side economics). There are perfectly legitimate historical, political, and ideological reasons why North American Marxists who take Communism seriously have become increasingly sympathetic to MAGA in recent times, including figures like Jackson Hinkle, “Infrared” Haz, Sameera Khan, and Caleb “Spanky” Maupin. Democrats are labeled as radicals because of the “defund the police” movement which is on the far, far, fringe of US politicsand most of its adherents are left-of-Democrats like actual social democrats, Trotskyites, Greens, and left-anarchists. And the androgynous and non-Augustinian sexual stuff the Democrats get into was traditionally dismissed by Communists as “aristocratic decadence” or “bourgeoise degeneracy.” Environmentalism has its roots on what today would be called the far right, like Malthus or racialists like Grant and Stoddard. Even socialism and welfarism have as many roots among the aristocratic, bourgeois, and clerical classes as they do among leftist revolutionaries, as even Marx and Engels pointed out.
American political parties have undergone realignments at various points in history. Initially, in post-revolutionary America, the Federalists of Alexander Hamilton and John Adams and their immediate descendants, the Whigs (basically, American Burkeans) were the conservative parties, and the Democratic-Republicans of Thomas Jefferson (ancestors of today’s Democrats and one of the oldest political parties in the world along with England’s Tories) and, later, Andrew Jackson’s Democrats, were the radical party.  During the Civil War, the newly formed Republicans became the radical classical liberal party and the Democrats were the conservative pro-slavery party, an alignment that continued until the era of Woodrow Wilson’s Democratic progressivism during World War One, which arguably continued for a century until the Trump Republicans came along. The progressives of today are mostly what they were 100 years ago, only they’ve done an about-face on race and sexuality (kinda sorta or least nominally). Most of the US elite are Wilsonian progressives with the Trotskyist-derived neocons being their fanatical wing and Trumpism being the opposition party. I’ve more or less come to the view that Trump vs the neocons is a repeat of the Stalin vs Trotsky rivalry.  Trump vs. neocons=American unilateralism in one country vs global revolution for the Washington Consensus.
Ultimately, I would have the same criticisms of Republicans as I would of Communists. While the Communists may pretend to be friends of the poor and working class, ultimately it’s about replacing the bourgeoisie with the Communist political elite as the new ruling class, as early critics of Marxism such as the anarchists Proudhon, Stirner, and Bakunin pointed out.  While the Republican “base” may be the working to middle classes (proletarians and petite bourgeoisie) at the leadership level the Republicans are a mixture of plutocrats, radical Zionists, and Wahhabist sympathizers. Like traditional Communists, today’s Republicans have their cult-like base of fanatical followers, armed insurgent wings, and maximum leader, along with various collections of periphery,  fellow travelers, stooges, and useful idiots.
The Republicans ultimately represent the values of the late casino magnate and Zionist billionaire Sheldon Adelson or petro-plutocrats like the Kochs or Saudi-connected interests like Trump and Kushner. On the ground level, the Republicans use evangelicalism, Christian Zionism, the pro-life cult, and know-nothing nativism the same way Communists use Marxism-Leninism, or the Gulf oil sheiks use Wahhabism, Salafism, Qutbism, Takfirism, and Ibadism, or the way the MEK uses Islamo-Marxism, or the way the Democrats use multiculturalism and “social justice.” All of these are smokescreens that are intended to provide a self-legitimating ideological superstructure for either an actually existing ruling class or an aspiring ruling class.

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