Rolling Back the 20th Century

I've been wondering for some time what the conservative agenda was all about. I figured there had to be some end state they were aiming for. Hatred is strong and certainly a factor in their decision making (hatred of the earth, of us, of their children, of themselves), but that can only take you so far. I believe this article may have broken the code for me.

Rolling Back the 20th Century
by William Greider

Bush's governing strength is anchored in the long, hard-driving movement of the right that now owns all three branches of the federal government. Its unified ranks allow him to govern aggressively, despite slender GOP majorities in the House and Senate and the public's general indifference to the right's domestic program.

The movement's grand ambition is to roll back the twentieth century, quite literally. That is, defenestrate the federal government and reduce its scale and powers to a level well below what it was before the New Deal's centralization. With that accomplished, movement conservatives envision a restored society in which the prevailing values and power relationships resemble the America that existed around 1900, when William McKinley was President. Governing authority and resources are dispersed from Washington, returned to local levels and also to individuals and private institutions, most notably corporations and religious organizations. The primacy of private property rights is re-established over the shared public priorities expressed in government regulation. Above all, private wealth--both enterprises and individuals with higher incomes--are permanently insulated from the progressive claims of the graduated income tax.

These broad objectives may sound reactionary and destructive, but hard-right conservatives see themselves as liberating reformers who are rescuing old American virtues of self-reliance and individual autonomy from the clutches of collective action and "statist" left-wingers. Right-wingers--who once seemed frothy and fratricidal--now understand that three steps forward, two steps back still adds up to forward progress. "It's a long march", they say. "Stick together, because we are winning."

If we oppose them, what do we then stand for? They have the power (the legitimacy of which is irrelevant), they have the money, they seem to have a game plan, and they plan to use their money, power, and influence to achieve their objectives.

We can not sit here festering and bemoaning the "phantoms of lost liberties". We have to stand up, we have to stand together, we have to stand FOR something, and we have to know what it is and defend it. Defeating Bush in 2004, while a worthy (lofty) goal, even if it's possible, will only last for a few moments, if it happens at all. I don't even think it will happen if we can't tell the world what we want. We've gotten good at saying what we DON'T want, but who's listening? And why would anyone? If we can't agree on and present valid alternatives (like progress, health, safety, defense of freedom, true democracy, a working society that actually cares for its members) we won't win anyway. And we shouldn't.