Wetware/Society: The Right are not all Stooges
Michael Powell hails from Seattle, Washington from where he will soon bring us an update on what happened after Grunge in what was the Grunge capital of the world. Mstation doesn't endorse any particular way of political thinking. We endorse free speech.
The Right are not all stooges
By Michael Powell
I am an American conservative. When I was assigned this article, I was informed that a large part of the audience would be readers from Europe, where the opinion of conservatism of the American kind has been clouded by the intervention in Iraq and the unpopular President who led that charge. Taking all of that into account, I decided that it would be good to attempt to explain my political affiliation to an audience very different than myself.
My conservatism runs counter to my upbringing. When it comes to liberal and conservative regions of the United States, I grew up in one of the most liberal, Seattle, Washington, the home of grunge music, Starbucks Coffee and Bill Gates. If you drive down any given street within the city limits, chances are that you will see signs that read Impeach Bush! Signs for Massachusetts Senator John KerryÕs presidential campaign stayed up throughout the city for over a year after Senator Kerry conceded defeat.
I myself was raised as a vegetarian and was exposed from an early age to liberal ideas. Only a few blocks from where I grew up there is a Gay Pride Parade every year. I was shown Noam ChomskyÕs Manufacturing Consent in English class during high school. In order to even learn about conservative ideas took added effort where I came from.
Contrarianism and rebellion runs in my family, and I soon started reading the works of economist Thomas Sowell and humanist Christopher Hitchens when I was 19. SowellÕs ideas introduced me to free market capitalism. Running counter to many of the socialist ideas I had taken in before, Sowell demonstrated that once impoverished nations like Japan and South Korea had become entrepreneurial members of the community of nations when they allowed foreign investment. On the other hand, areas of the world that relied on welfare from other states, such as many parts of Africa, remain desperate and countries that have embraced communism, such as Cuba, Belarus and post-Soviet Russia, are not exactly beacons of modern civilization.
Counter to leftist thought, conservatism runs on results, not ideas. Throughout the Cold War, the most barbaric actions taken by Josef Stalin would be ignored and communism defended because the ideas of international socialism remained so sacred and important to the left.
Throughout the United States, policies of Affirmative Action and racial quotas that were developed to bring blacks out of the ghettoes of society are being overturned because they have proven to be harmful and even run counter to the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. These came out of a leftist tendency to push ideas over results.
The biggest mistake that conservatism may have taken is to toss away realism. Neoconservatives naively believed that democracy could flourish throughout the Middle East if despots like the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq were routed out. The end is far from over there, but it is not hard to come to the conclusion that President Bush was na•ve in thinking that the thirst for liberty was enough to push Muslims against radicalism.
Partisanship is not healthy, and the American right is filled with stooges. Conservatism to me isnÕt the face of a certain politician, but the idea that people can determine their own purpose in life without the assistance of a massive bureaucracy and that people of all origins are created equal and seek success, prosperity and liberty.
These values are more valuable than any political party. While the Bush Administration has demonstrated naivety, corruption and incompetence, people throughout the world, in countries such as France, Mexico and Canada, are still turning to free market economics and conservative politicians for leadership.
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