The intellectual godfather of the modern conservative movement was Russell Kirk, and Kirk's great hero was the political theorist Edmund Burke, who fervently supported King George and the other royalty of the late 1700s in their battle with the forces of democracy. Kirk, in his book The Conservative Mind, noted that Burke "was not ashamed to acknowledge the allegiance of humble men whose sureties are prejudice and prescription." No, indeed. In fact, the conservative movement has always been a happy mix of wealthy elites and angry bigots, working together to defend the status quo and the power of those elites. Today, this coalition rears its ugly head once again, as super-wealthy insurance executives supply angry right wingers the money to organize themselves to disrupt town hall meetings and physically intimidate Congresspeople.
Erudite elitist William Buckley was delighted to align himself with Southern segregationists, writing columns strongly defending them. Ronald Reagan raised most of his money from big business, but was pleased to go to the town in Mississippi where James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were murdered, and give a speech about states' rights. And John McCain said nothing while people in his crowds were yelling racial slurs and calling out in reference to Obama "Kill him."
Now insurance company execs are thrilled and excited to be sending money out to right wing groups to organize the Birthers and their ilk to shout down citizens coming to town hall meetings to discuss health care reform with their members of Congress.
It's time to take our democracy back from this combination of big money and their truly extreme allies. It's time to take this unholy alliance on, and beat it. If we let this coalition run our country, we are in deep trouble.
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