Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"The New Old Right"

E.J. Dionne, Jr., argues that President "Obama brought back to life" what he labels "a venerable if disturbing style of conservative thinking," and that "one of his presidency's major legacies may be a revolution on the American right in which older, more secular forms of politics displace religious activism" — How Obama changed the right.

The author argues that "the Tea Party movement is a throwback to an old form of libertarianism that sees most of the domestic policies that government has undertaken since the New Deal as unconstitutional" and "perceives the most dangerous threats to freedom as the design of well-educated elitists out of touch with 'American values.'" Mr. Dionne observes, "The language of the new anti-statists, like the language of the 1950s' right, regularly harks back to the U.S. Constitution and the Founders in calling attention to perceived threats to liberty."

The author seems to lament "the extent to which the Tea Party movement has displaced the religious right as the dominant voice of conservative militancy." He writes that their "issues have been overshadowed by the broader anti-government themes pushed by the New Old Right, and the 'compassionate conservatism' that inspires parts of the Christian political movement has no place in the right's current order of battle."

Good, I say! I wish I could believe what Mr. Dionne writes were true. I'm skeptical of the whole Tea Party phenomenon, but if it supplants the "religious right" and "compassionate conservatism" then that would be a good thing. The "battle" of recent decades between the Demoblican and Republicrat parties to impose their "values" on the rest of the country from Washington would be seen as very tyrannical by the Founders. Shrink the federal government to at least 95% of its current size and let churches and local communities worry about "compassion" and whatnot.

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4 Comments:

Blogger El Cid said...

I concur, what did the Moral Majority and Religious Right actually do to stem the tide of Godlessness? All they accomplished was a manifest increase in government power which is almost always used for evil.

3:21 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

I can think of three "accomplishments" of the Religious Right, all of them negative: (1) warning labels on rap and heavy metal albums, (2) the War on Drugs, and (3) increased American support of the State of Israel.

Thus the Religious Right has worked to: (1) usurp traditional parental responsibilities by the State, (2) militarize domestic law enforcement, and (3) increase American subservience to a foreign potentate.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Abdul Alhazred said...

I can't understand why Dionne thinks that advocating adherence to the core principles can be called "extremism".

What the hell is he talking about?

You want a taste of extreme? -- try looking at the National Debt, Dionne! It didn't get there by us strictly following the Constitution -- I'm fairly certain about that!

Or how about the size of the Federal Government compared to before WWII?

Or the growth of the military-industrial complex in the same period?

Especially since the New Deal, the national government has taken on duties, powers, and expenditures that would have been unthinkable if the Constitution had been obeyed.

Extremism? Give me a break, Dionne!

2:45 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Well said, Abdul. Again, it's the "vital center" that's extreme, and decentralists on the right and left who are sane, but derided as lunatics.

10:57 PM  

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