Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Repbublicans are for Freedom and the Constitution...right?

These are the most common tropes you hear from Republicans--from the politicians and the pundits and then from the rank and file: Freedom and the Constitution--followed quickly by them accusing Democrats of being for the Nanny State and thus against Freedom...and for ignoring the actual words and original intent of the Constitution.

This is funny.

In 1776 the conservatives of the day were loyal to the Crown, of course. Tories. If they participated in the fighting, it was on the side of the Redcoats. They considered the Articles of Confederation and its successor the Constitution to be rebel documents of no worth.

Yet now they deck themselves out in the Revolutionaries' military garb and rave about how wonderful the Constitution is. They're attaching themselves to the side of history that won, not the one they were on.

And the Freedom they talk about--when you look at how that noble talk plays out in legislative detail--is the freedom of the rich to do whatever they please with the rest of us, without the constraints of government regulation or oversight. Defined that way, freedom for the rich is slavery for the rest.

But conservatives see it as freedom for themselves because they think they are like the rich, just not yet, not quite. They think the rich share their culture and their values. This is self-flattering and kind of sad as well. But most of all, and this is truly odd, they define freedom as lack of responsibility: "Nobody tells me what to do." This is the way a five year old boy defines freedom.

Of course the rich don't need government protection. They're perfectly capable of protecting themselves in their gated, guarded enclaves, and in their business actions, buttressed by phalanxes of lawyers. But they won't have total freedom until our protections from them are removed--until we're naked and defenseless. And that's the Republican dream,which about half the country shares.

After all, what are police departments (and the FBI, and the SEC, and the IRS etc.) but creeping Socialism?

In the antebellum South, the house slaves would ape the manners and attitudes of Massa, and hold themselves superior to the field slaves out in their huts. And as slaves they were better treated...slaves.

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