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Richard Belzer Headshot

The Death of Conservatism

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The heartless, spiritually bankrupt intellectual frauds who openly court -- and are disturbingly non-judgmental of -- the most intolerant loathsome elements of the political landscape (who for some unconscionable reason have been consulted about virtually everything our government has been doing or undoing for the past six plus agonizing years) -- these are the fruits of a particular strain of conservative idealogues with a shared affinity for the Hobbesian view of humanity, which postulates that people are essentially evil and the role of the ruling class, the government, was to have a standing army and police presence and little else. Essentially that the "people" were totally on their own, frontier-style with no public services, healthcare, college grants, headstart, maintenance of roads and bridges, public defenders, job training programs, Medicare, Medicaid; you get the picture.

Also violently opposed to the Jeffersonian assertion that people were basically good and part of a government's function is to engender the conditions where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are possible through education, hard work and a sense of community, whereas conservatives have only contempt for the notion of a fair playing field.

Conservatism is in its last throes if you will, twisting in the wind, dying like communism did because neither philosophy works by definition -- they both operate from the fraudulent premise built around contempt for and control of the people.

In the coming months and years history will not absolve them. These multimillionaire radio and television personalities who stoke and taunt "Joe Sixpack" with cleverly and sometimes not-so hate speech, railing about the danger of gays taking over and turning everything and everyone gay; Hollywood liberals seem to be among the most evil people since Sodom and Gomorrah, African-Americans are attacked in veiled terms that are usually not as veiled as they think, playing on people's fear of losing their job, demonizing foreigners seemingly from everywhere, scoffing at the notion that there is no class system in this country. All the while looking down on rubes and suckers who vote against things that are in their self interest and very survival to help further a cynical, mean-spirited political movement that has become a dangerous parody of the most astoundingly inept, impotent bully wannabes who can count among them physical and intellectual cowards who knowingly and smugly perpetrate lies that have literally cost untold lives.
How did this legendarily generous and open nation become fearful, distrustful, anxious and worried about our families, our country, our future?

We must resist being manipulated into thinking that a so-called "war on terror" is "winnable"; this is as patently impossible as trying to empty a river with your hat. Terrorism is a tactic, not a country -- there always were terrorists and will always be. This is not a war that can be "won" in the conventional sense -- that is clearly an impossibility. Recent events have shown that good police work can do more than an ill-conceived war that has become a recruiting tool. The sooner it ends, the recruits diminish and the police, with the federal government's support, can do what they are trained to do.

The Department of Homeland Security was a totally unnecessary boondoggle that is redundant and sadly ludicrous because it is now known that prior to 9/11, all the information we needed to anticipate and probably prevent the attack was in existence but not shared by different agencies because of turf battles and rivalries for funding and boys with secrets out of control and not sharing because it's their secrets.

As we continue to watch conservatism devour itself we can all hope that in the end, Jefferson's dream of fair governance can be realized before it is too late.

To be continued

-- Richard Belzer