Monday, October 15, 2007

Ron Paul rises on conservatism's downfall

By Libby

Ron Paul beat Romney in a Nevada straw poll conducted by organizers at the Conservative Leadership Conference this weekend.
Paul won with 33 percent, Romney came in second with 16 percent and Duncan Hunter was just behind with 15 percent. "Undecided" was fourth with 11 percent, and Thompson and Giuliani were next and ahead of the rest of the pack -- all in single digits. ...
Meanwhile, Mick at Comments from Left Field checks up on the NH primary. It appears the RP supporters are pulling out the stops to stage an upset and who knows, they may well succeed in such a small state, but Mick puts his finger on what bothers me about Ron Paul. Much as I like his anti-war stance and his commitment to personal liberty, his overall domestic agenda is not so far from Bush. I urge you to read Mick's post in full but here's the money quote from the end.
What Bush has done has been to bring long-standing, unexamined conservative mythology into the real world unchecked by govt oversight or regulatory restraints. In the process, he has proven beyond all doubt that these conservative “ideas” born of greed, misinformation, and wishful thinking, DON’T WORK. That they are, in fact, antithetical to a rational economy, a sane quality of life, and a healthy democracy, and that what they actually encourage - as opposed to what conservatives have chosen to believe they encourage - is authoritarianism, unfettered economic oligarchy, and a vision of America as an Imperial force that treats the rest of the world as client-states.

Paul’s base - and the source of most libertarians, I suspect - would seem to be coming from dead-ender conservatives unwilling or unable to face the reality that their prescriptions are all wrong and their ideas bereft of real-world effectiveness. Conservatism has always been a sort of blind religion whose adherents believe what they believe in the face of all evidence to the contrary, a matter of faith rather than knowledge. There are only two ways of handling denial: either you continue to insist you’re right no matter how obvious it is that you aren’t, or you decide that those in charge who pushed your ideas “did it wrong”.

We’re seeing both these forms in stark relief as the illusory magnificence of conservative ideologies made manifest outside their protected bubbles where flaws are unexamined or ignored and critics are derided as flakes and “Bush-haters” begins to tear apart the fragile fabric that has held the American Dream together for so long. Conservative/Beltway pundits and 27%-ers present the hostility of the former, Paul supporters and libertarians the disgust and disaffection of the latter. Neither is willing to face the flaws in their faith.
I think that just about nails it. The conservatives are fooling themselves if they think the only problem with the whole ideology is that Bush just executed it badly. In fact, putting aside the evangelical's pet issues, and other than immigration, Bush has delivered exactly what they claim the government needs and it's been an unmitigated disaster. Until they accept that a civilized society, particularly of our wealth, needs to provide a social safety net via government services and regulations that exercise oversight over corporations, our country will continue to decline and ultimately fail.

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