Conservatism Cannot Make America Great

by Pitt Griffin on November 27, 2017 · 0 comments

in Politics

Conservatism is not the future of America. It is instead a backward-looking philosophy – which dreams of recreating some imaginary Edenic past in today’s America. But thinking folk know that today’s America will never be yesterday’s. And besides yesterday’s America wasn’t so good for millions.

Things have changed. We’re not nearly as white as we used to be. And that is not a bad thing. America owes an inestimable debt to people who looked different and spoke differently. But conservatives’ stock in trade is scaring the bejeezus out of white people for no nobler purpose than getting their votes.

Trump’s support is strongest in the whitest suburbs and small towns – in other words, among white folks who haven’t run across minorities. People who live in mixed neighborhoods and big cities rapidly realize that Ramon, Rasheed, and Rayansh are no more or less threatening than Roger, Robert or Ruppert.

We also aren’t as Christian. ‘Nones’ are America’s fast-growing ‘denomination’. And even among self-professed churchgoers, you have to wonder how many are doing so out of habit, family pressure, and social mores.

Nevertheless, Christians still represent overwhelming majorities in government, and every President has been at least nominally Christian – except for Thomas Jefferson, a deist, and Abraham Lincoln, likely an atheist. But despite this, conservative white Christians consider themselves the most persecuted group in America. I suppose it is just another instance of believing something for which there is no evidence – the foundation of faith if you will.

And then there is the conservative belief in coal. The rest of the world is moving on. Even the ecologically callous Chinese think that burning stuff is a dead end. But in America, there is faith in something called ‘clean coal’ – the chemical symbol for which is a unicorn. Regardless, coal jobs are gone for good and the only thing being saved is coal profits.

Then there’s science. The only way you can give coal any credibility as a fuel of the future is to deny global warming. Which is to fly in the face of facts. Despite contrary claims, there is no scientific controversy om climate change. It exists. It’s man-made. And it isn’t going away unless we do something. But dyed-in-the-wool conservatives deny it? Why?

My best guess is that many Americans enjoy a streak of paranoia. There is a belief that someone somewhere is trying to ruin their lives. They believe scientists have an agenda, just like gays. Although it’s hard to imagine what it would be. If scientists were in it for the money, they would take the climate-denial lobby’s cash and sprint for the bank.

And let’s not talk about the intelligent design stupidity.

It’s worth noting that science got a lot more credit in yesterday’s America. There was a time when Albert Einstein was probably the world’s most admired man. The science of the space race led to enormous strides in consumer geegaws. And it would never have occurred to most Americans to think that scientists had a political agenda.

And talking about an agenda, while politicians of all stripes have had their complaints about their coverage conservatives never used to claim the media was fake. But our founders knew the value of an independent press to keep them honest. And that was in a time before journalistic ethics.

Conservatives love the past – even if they can’t be honest about it.

 

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