Saturday, June 29, 2013

Conservatives' Proclivity for Working Against Their Own Self-Interests

I've long felt that conservatives, especially those with a libertarian bent, tend to work against what's best, in the long run, for their own kind, not to mention the U.S. in general. I don't recognize this tendency in liberals, at least nowhere near the extent that I have in conservatives.

A snap judgment, and one I'm prone to make, is that labels like "conservative," "libertarian," Christian," "free-market advocate," and "fiscally conservative" are just a cover-up for those that work the Big Grift, by which I mean the loosely organized machine that is actually motivated to get what they can while they can. That explains why their policies almost exclusively favor the rich at the expense of the middle and lower classes.

The rich then reward them handsomely, while not a few middle- and lower-class suckers are swept up around the margins of the grift. Yeah, fuck Socialist Obama! Here's $5!

Former House majority leader Dick Armey says he took an $8 million consulting deal
in return for leaving the conservative organization FreedomWorks because the group
was "dishonest" and because he "couldn't leave with empty pockets." The arrangement,
he says, will allow him to "never have to work again forever." (courtesy ABC News)

Dick Armey is a classic example of the Big Grift, only he ain't working against his own self-interests. None of the Big Grifters are, see Karl Rove, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Jim Demint, Dick Morris, etc., etc.

Looking away from the Grift and to the movement's true believers, or at least at the political actors that day in and day out maintain that the conservative/libertarian ideology is superior and good for the country, we first have to come to grips with why it is that any of them would think it's good for the country.

Before I go too far, I have to confess that even those Republicans not obviously on the Grift always appear to me to believe helping the rich will "trickle down" to them, and let's face it, it does. While direct party fundraising is surprisingly even, outside money, greatly increased by the Citizens United SCOTUS decision, redounds to the benefit of conservatives by about a 2-1 margin. Hence, the Big Grift being dominated by conservatives. But even those not actively participating in the money grab still depend greatly on it.

Giuliani and Robertson: Two conservatives who have perfected the Big Grift.

And don't think I don't notice that the Democrats play similar games, if not nearly so large or obvious. You only have to watch someone like New York senator Chuck Shumer -- who we can depend on as a consistent supporter of liberal causes -- when it comes to banking and Wall Street. Shumer will always play to his base, the banksters; he makes up for it by not cutting the crap out of welfare.

So there you are. Now, why would conservatives take the stands they do (money grubbing and grifting notwithstanding)? Here's what I think conservatives should be for:
  • The environment. It's not called "conservation" for nothing.
  • More efficient transportation, whether it be cars, trains, planes, and ships. If that leads to the shrinking of the fossil-fuel industry, great! Fossil fuels make us beholden to foreign influence. Conservatives don't like that.
  • Better oversight of banking and Wall Street. Demanding higher reserves, more cautious lending, and lower levels of leveraged investment would seem the more fiscally conservative approach.
  • More efficient, leaner armed forces. Wouldn't that trim the budget?
  • Food stamps. This money can only be spent by the economically disadvantaged on food. Who does that directly advantage? For the most part, American farmers, distributors, and retailers.
  • Free birth control. It would -- and, under Obamacare, will -- greatly reduce abortions.
  • Immigration reform will be GOOD for business. Seriously. Conservatives, own immigration reform before it owns you!
You get the drift. Fact is, though, conservatives are not for those things. Why?
  • Environmentalism is viewed as bad for business.
  • More efficient transportation smacks of socialism and runs against fierce individualism. Bubba must have his big-ass pickup! And there's not a lot of coal and oil/gas in blue states except maybe CA.
  • The prevailing belief among bankers and Wall Streeters is that free markets rule. Uh, they don't, but try telling that to the grifter class! I get that it's easier to make big money around the margins of financial chaos, i.e. bubbles are great! (Until they pop.)
  • The military-industrial complex makes piles of money and is wide open for corruption. Why shut that gravy train down just because it kills people?
  • Food stamps are for poor, hungry people and we hate them.
  • White Christian males want to control women, and it's easier when they're pregnant, so no pill for you, and sex on my timetable!
  • Can't support immigration because those immigrants, well, they're brown and eat too much corn.
And so on. I didn't even bring up income inequality, which in the long wrong will wreck the economy. Fact is, Christian conservatives should hate income inequality (What would Jesus do?), but they don't because it proves that winners are winners and losers go to Hell because God sez so.

Crystal Cathedral in Southern California has gone bankrupt.
What would Jesus do? Cut food stamps? Beg for double-tithing?
Rev. Schuller did. What would Dick Morris do? Donate his email
list for a cut of the take? Oh yeah.

Left in all this mess are the middle- and lower-class white Christian conservatives who think if they pray hard enough, their taxes will go down and their bank account will go up. It doesn't work that way, but don't hold your breath waiting for Fox News, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, or Reince Priebus to tell them.

Fun factoid: The Crystal Cathedral Ministries went broke anyway, despite Rev. Schuller's pleas for double-tithing. So, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange bought the Crystal Cathedral for over $57 million and gave the Ministries an old Catholic church, St. Callistus, that's about a zillionth the size. My only question is: Who has Christ's ear on this one?

The Crystal Cathedral Ministries' new home at the former St. Callistus
Catholic Church. The Ministries have decided to keep the "Hour of Power"
name from their old TV show. The dream never dies!

Sorry my storyline went off the rails a bit. Hey, it's Saturday, and anyway, Orange County, the home of this Christian drama, is as conservative as it gets. Well, at least until the Hispanics take over...

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