Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Life under the New Regime

Let's review:
  • Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House.

  • Conservatives control much of the judiciary.

  • Mainstream media is controlled by corporate interests and cowed by conservatives, and there is increasing conservative influence over once-liberal media sources like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

  • Schools and universities are under continual conservative assault to purge them of liberal influence.

  • Lobbyists are increasingly required to be Republican in order to keep their jobs.

  • The separation between religion and politics is breaking down, and increasingly one must be politically conservative in order to be a good Christian, and one must be a Christian to be a loyal American.
I really don't think that there is much paranoia or exaggeration in the above statements. I consider them a sober look at where America is headed, based on evidence that should be clear to anyone who follows the news. The questions that are raised are: (1) What do these trends mean? (2) What can/should we do about them?...Click permalink for the rest...

As to what the trends mean: (Here I'm not sure to what extent I'm exaggerating---I certainly hope I am!) Conservatives are working to acquire absolute power over all aspects of American life. They don't hold the view that diversity of opinion is a source of strength. They don't believe that good government comes about through the give-and-take of people with different interests. They don't agree that a country needs both "bleeding heart liberals" and "hard-nosed conservatives". Instead, they believe that there is only one set of correct opinions, correct political views, correct religious views, and that tolerating "wrong" opinions is foolish weakness.

It is certainly an exaggeration to say that we are heading towards something like Germany under Hitler, or the Soviet Union under Stalin, or Afghanistan under the Taliban. However, I don't think it is much of an exaggeration to say that we are starting to look more like Russia under Putin, or Pakistan under Musharraf, or Egypt under Mubarak, or Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew.

As to what to do about it: I see three broad strategies for life under the new regime. They aren't completely mutually exclusive, but I think that there are times when they work at cross-purposes. In those cases, you have to decide which strategy best fits the current situation:
  1. Work within the system. Find what common ground you can, and try to improve conditions for the environment, civil rights, the poor, minorities, and alternate sexual orientations, without making these issues into "liberal" issues. Appeal to conservatives' self-image as "good guys" on the side of Christ to try to get them to do the right thing.

  2. Work outside the system. Realize that conservative dominance of government is a fact for the near-to-medium-term future. Accept the truth of what conservatives said before they got into power (and libertarians still say): "Government is not the solution, government is the problem". If you want to make the world a better place, don't rely on government to help. Instead, look for ways that small groups of dedicated, concerned individuals can make things better in spite of a government that is indifferent, or even hostile, to your concerns.

  3. Work on regime change. Realize that nothing good will ever come out of the thugs, charlatans and incompetents that run the country, that it is foolish to cooperate with screwing the country, and that the only hope lies in getting rid of this scourge.


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