Remember when?

Oh how I long for the days when the so-called Conservatives were giving then-President Obama unmitigated hell over his handling, or supposed mishandling, of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. You remember that? Those were the days! There were 11 total cases in the United States — ELEVEN — and 2 deaths. Yeah, those were the days.

Of course, I’m not back in those days, I’m stuck in these days, where our President didn’t even take the coronavirus threat as credible until March 13th, where our COVID-191 death toll has just this week surpassed the total U.S. deaths in the Vietnam War, where the Trump administration has convinced itself that the pandemic is “winding down,” and is preparing for and more than willing to accept daily death tolls in excess of 3000 American lives, and where so many of the so-called Conservatives in our great country have shown themselves to be anything but rugged individualists, but rather tender snowflakes who can’t even handle, much less manage, 6 weeks at home2. The whole fucking thing is so incredibly fucking sad. And the worst part is that it didn’t have to be that way.

Nope. It didn’t have to be this way. In fact, we could have been South Korea. Let me explain. South Korea confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on January 20th, the same day that the first case in the U.S. was confirmed. The difference is that South Korea had decisive leadership that fucking took action — decisive action — immediately. This is what the number of new cases by day in South Korea looks like over the last ~3 months:

The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic in South Korea has been all but over for over a month.

Conversely, here in the U.S. we didn’t, and in fact don’t, have decisive leadership, and our non-decisive leadership didn’t take action — any action — for almost two months. Consequently, this is what the number of new cases by day in the U.S. looks like over the last ~3 months:

NOTE: don’t compare numbers to numbers between the graphs — you can’t. The U.S. has almost 6.5 times the population of South Korea. But, what you can do is compare the magnitudes of the bars on the bar graph. Those translate perfectly.

The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic in the United States is not even close to over. Fuck, it’s not even close to past the peak! As anyone can plainly see, the numbers have been bouncing back and forth between ~22000 and ~36000 for nearly six weeks with no end in sight and no sign of meaningful trending downward, much less sustained decreases.

Despite the fact that our so-called Conservative (and lifetime Democrat) President desperately wants it to be over, it’s not. Not even close. Despite the fact that the “reopening” of America has been incredibly politicized and many of the so-called Conservatives are all too willing to trade the lives of their fellow Americans for their stock portfolios, the pandemic in the U.S. is anything but over.

Hell, we can’t even test the people who need to be tested plus the people who want to be tested. Everyone knows that testing is the key to reopening, primarilly because every immunologist and epidemeologist of national or international repute says so. Hell, even our governor here in Tennessee, the incredibly unintelligent3 and ineloquent Bill Lee, who hopefully was one hell of a great HVAC repairman — I’d hate to think he was as inept at HVAC repair as he clearly is at governance — knows the importance of testing to reopening. Of course, his tack is simply to lie about our testing capacity. (There’s one of those cornerstones of “modern” American so-called Conservatism, see below).

And while we’re on the subject of the President and his morally-bankrupt supporters being more than willing to accept over 3000 American deaths a day in exchange for “getting back to work”, a sacrifice to the gods of the economy, I for one better never hear another one of these immoral fucktards describe themselves as “pro-life” ever again. This is the immoral valuing of some American lives over others, and not just the older or more fragile among us — no. This is the wholesale categorizing of “essential” workers as “expendable” and that is immoral. Period.

Allow me a little rant here, if you will. Fuck, it’s my blog, I’ll goddamn rant whenever the fuck I want. Don’t like it? Don’t fucking care — go fuck yourself.

Goddamn, I remember when people who self-described as “Conservative” actually practiced Conservatism. They don’t, by and large, do that any longer. Since time immemorial, the cornerstones of American Conservatism have always been: limited government, financial responsibility, maximizing personal freedom, and free markets.

Does that sound like anything — anything — that the current administration has done or attempted? No. Big government, trillion dollar deficits (before the pandemic, no less), “personal freedom? what’s that?”, and continual and incessant trade wars.4

Today’s so-called Conservatives, however, have very different cornerstones: hypocrisy, lying (some call it “political spin”, I prefer to call it what it is), vast overspending, increasing the size and reach of the federal government, and “who cares what’s good for the country so long as I can stick it to the other side of the aisle.” If those sounds damn-near exactly like the cornerstones of American Liberalism, well, you’re not wrong. Talk about a sad state of affairs.

Ronald Reagan is rolling over in his fucking grave, and so is his hero, Barry Goldwater, the father of American Conservatism. Goldwater wrote 60 years ago in his seminal book, The Conscience of a Conservative (Shepherdsville, KY: Victor Publishing, 1960), some things that apply at least as much today as they did 60 years ago:

Thus, for the American Conservative, there is no difficulty in identifying the day’s overriding political challenge: it is to preserve and extend freedom. As he surveys the various attitudes and institutions and laws that currently prevail in America, many questions will occur to him, but the Conservative’s first concern will always be: Are we maximizing freedom?

and:

Who will proclaim in a campaign speech: “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”

Now THAT is Conservatism5. If you haven’t read the book you should. The first 2/3 of the book are as applicable today and then. What so-called Conservative will stand up today and make these statements? None. Thus, they are not Conservatives, but so-called Conservatives.

yeah, in a minute…
1 COVID-19 = [CO]rona[VI]rus [D]isease of 20[19]. If you get your “news” from any souce where a host or guest has been allowed to state — unchallenged — anything as idiotic as the notion that COVID-19 is the 19th Coronavirus, like, for example, Rush Limbaugh, “Why do you think this is COVID-19?” he said. “This is the 19th coronavirus. They’re not uncommon” or Kellyanne Conway, “This is COVID-19, not COVID-1, folks. You would think that people charged with the World Health Organization facts and figures would be on top of that. This is just a pause right now”, well, then I’m honestly torn as to who the bigger fucking moron is: you or your “news” source. At this point I guess “bigger” is meaningless — you both are morons.

2 You know, I “get” the desperate demonstrators who simply can’t afford to not work — grave, and often deadly, health consequences be damned — we all do. Several of my family’s dearest friends are in that boat. But the astroturfed “demonstrators”? That’s another story.

Fuck! To think that many of these gun-toting, tender and precious daisies also have the fucking balls to call themselves “preppers”, well, that’s just about enough to make anyone want to puke. These sheeple, first, need to learn to think for themselves! Actual “rugged individualists” do just that — they not only think for themselves, they think critically. They don’t simply fall in line because their chosen source of “news” tells them to think this or feel that way. Second, how the fuck are you supposed preppers going to make it in your “bunker” for seventeen months when whatever shit you’re prepping for goes down, if you can’t even make it six weeks — SIX WEEKS — under a suggestion of “safer at home”? In my humble opinion, you might as well turn the “bunker” into a “man cave” because you don’t stand a fucking chance!

3 Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee was (1) 3 April 2020: “slow to end the legislative session and send members of the Tennessee General Assembly home to their districts, slow to close public schools, slow to suspend church services, slow to shutter restaurants and gyms.” see: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/opinion/coronavirus-Tennessee-southern-states.html; and (2) 17 Mar 2020: Telling the people of Tennessee that the number of negative tests don’t matter, that it was just junk data (I’d say that he is unable to understand the math, but in reality, he didn’t want to admit just how few tests had been administered — a form of lying (that corerstone of “modern” American so-called Conservatism)): “What Gov. Lee fails to understand is that with 74 cases in Tennessee, it makes a HUGE difference whether 100 or 100,000 people have been tested. Ugh! He just doesn’t want to admit how few people have actually been tested… #COVID19” see: https://twitter.com/paullandry/status/1240022790536933377

4 President Trump over two years ago in March 2018: “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” Two years later, how’s that turned out? Not very well, and clearly not very easy to win.

5 Actually, today we don’t call traditional American Conservatism “Conservatism”, we call it “Libertarianism”:

  • Unlike Democrats/liberals or Repubicans/so-called conservatives, Libertarians advocate a high degree of both personal and economic liberty.
  • Libertarians advocate freedom in economic matters, so we’re in favor of lowering and eliminating taxes, slashing bureaucratic regulation of business, and charitable — rather than government — welfare.
  • Libertarians are also socially inclusive. We think each person should be free to make their own choices so long as they do not infringe on others’ rights — in fact, that’s the classic definition of freedom: “My right to swing my arms in any direction ends where your nose begins.” We oppose laws that seek to control people’s personal choices.

Back when I identified as a Republican/Conservative as a younger man, Conservatism was much closer to what we now think of as Libertarianism. In the 80s, Conservatism became more corporate, and by the late 80s it started becoming more and more and more theocratic.

Ronald Reagan always said, in explaining why he switched parties, that he didn’t change, the Democratic Party changed. Well, the Republican party and Conservatism itself have changed — drastically — over the last 30 years.

The “center of gravity” has shifted. Think back to the views of Barry Goldwater—the father of American Conservatism (and Ronald Reagan’s political hero)—during his 1964 Presidential campaign and compare them with “modern” Conservative views: Goldwater was an environmentalist, he was pro gay rights, he was pro choice, he supported the Voting Rights Act, etc. Yet, Goldwater was—rightly—identified as the most extreme nominee of the Republican Party in the 20th Century (he voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, for example). However, his views—which were so extreme in 1964—are today significantly to the left of mainstream Republicans and far, far to the left of people who today self-identify as “Conservative” rather than “Republican”.

For all the lip service Conservatives have historically given, and continue to give, to individual freedom, what they really care about today is order—the only individual freedoms that Conservatives have any concern for today is the “freedom” to make a profit and the freedom to own a gun. And the Conservatives who are distressed by centralized state power never seem to feel the same distress over centralized corporate power.

Consider:

On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.”

— Senator Barry Goldwater, Five-Term U.S. Senator and Hero of American Conservatism, Speech in the U.S. Senate, 16 September 1981.

And:

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind, it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind swept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace—a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.

That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

— Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States of America, Farewell Address to the American People, 11 January 1989.

This entry was tagged: , , , , .   Bookmark the permalink.   Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.   Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:  <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>