Thursday, August 21, 2008

Conservative v. Rightwinger

Maybe it would help to define my terms.

I'm not sure everyone would agree, but my perception is that there's a continuum on the Right, just as there's a continuum on the Left. To wit, I see a huge difference between conservatives and Rightwingers. Because I see a fundamental regard for the Constitution on the part of genuine mainstream American conservatives, I generally respect them. I think of conservatives as Eisenhower, Bush 41, and Billy Graham--even Goldwater up to a point. We disagree, often profoundly, but we play by the rules and are more oriented to the common good than to any ideology. Compromise is possible, and one's religion is not to be imposed on anyone.

I think of Rightwingers, however, as Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, David Duke, Joe McCarthy, John Birch, Dick Cheney, Bush 43, Pat Robertson, and Karl Rove. Each without the slightest doubt openly disregards the Constitution and Bill of Rights and systematically seeks or sought to undermine them. The rules are Christianist-Corporatist Right uber alles, and all is fair in love and war. It's this crowd whose views and values are not consistent with our founding (defining) documents. And if they're not only consistent with, but also actively seek to dismantle the only things that make an American uniquely American, then how should I evaluate them politically?

This is the crux of the issue for me. I'm no more comfortable with Rightwing extremism than I am with Leftwing extremism, and for the same reasons. At some point that continuum makes a circle and joins ends. At that point, the mechanics and ends--justify-means fanaticism of Nazism and Maoism, of the Weather Underground and Timothy McVeigh really are indistinguishable even if the ideology and rhetoric differ.

5 comments:

Right Wing (Conservative) Reader said...

Most of the people you call conservatives, I would call Republicans, and add McCain to that list. I would call Cheney and Bush 43 conservatives, as I would Reagan, and which I call myself (despite my pseudonym).

David Duke is a delusional extremist. Not sure that was playing fair, as you guys have whacko’s as well. Robertson's a little weird too. Ralph Reed has a little more fundamentalist Christian bent, but he is still a conservative. Not all conservatives are staunch Christians though e.g. George Will.

As for the conclusions you draw about the labels, I disagree completely. I see Republicans as those who chase dollars and who are too willing to compromise on ideals, because they have few. Conservatives don't compromise their values, which makes us difficult to work with, I agree, but it's only because we believe strongly in our convictions. We don't chase dollars but have strong beliefes in the free market system.

We'll just have to agree to disagree on who undermines the constitution more. I certainly believe activist liberal judges who make up law out of whole cloth do far more damage than any Republican or conservative ever could. Roe v Wade being a wonderful example.

PICO said...

What do you make of Russel Kirk?

"Ronald Reagan called Russell Kirk the “prophet of American conservatism,” and the New York Times said that Kirk’s 1953 book, The Conservative Mind 'gave American conservatives an identity and a genealogy and catalyzed the postwar movement.'” See my post of June 17.

As to "conservatives" never compromising their values, that's a little self-serving, isn't it? It's also a common definition of "extremist."

As to my including David Duke, Rightwingers have always been racists. So have many conservatives--for instance, the Dixiecrats. I'm just calling a spade a "spade."

You seem to be much more comfortable in the realm of opinion than in the realm of fact.

Have fun, but come home before it gets dark.

Right Wing Reader said...

Right wingers are all racists? Which party was Lincoln in again? Which party aborts minority babies at the rate of 2.5 per minute in the US? Which party supports reverse racism? The southern conservatives you refer to are all in your party. Your party's ranking Senator, Byrd, is a former Klan Imperial Wizard. Who opposed freeing Iraqis because they weren't "our people?" Are you serious calling all right wingers racists? Talk about ignoring facts and being an extremist. Wow.

PICO said...

RWR, you don't read carefully, do you?

I already made distinctions between Rightwingers and conservatives. In no way is Lincoln a Rightwinger, although he did write much that reveals the racism of his time. Nor did I accuse all Republicans of racism. The reason I mentioned Dixiecrats is to acknowledge that racism doesn't hew to one party. It does hew to Rightwing ideology, though.
Again: fact. Not opinion.

Here, you equate Rightwingers and Republicans, This is the diametric opposite of what you said in the previous comment. Flip. Flop.

Right Wing Reader said...

Well, we have very different opinions of what is fact and what is fiction. And thus the everlasting rub between our two sides will endure, unfortunately. If we could get beyond name calling and personal attacks someday, we might actually make some progress and do what's right for America.

We started off in a nice relationship, albeit on different hemispheres, but finally lost each other with labels.