Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Still Feeling the Effects of Materialist Anti-Communism

To the extent that many American conservatives have accepted these views, "fusionism" and the reliance on specifically libertarian justifications for deregulation and lower taxes are partly to blame among conservative pundits, but more generally it is a function of the mistaken strategy of defining opposition to socialism and welfarism primarily in terms of the individual vs. the state and in terms of the greater efficiency of capitalist production.

This inevitably reduced the more complex conservative conception that free exchange and the right to property were essential to a well-ordered, stable and healthy polity to talking points and slogans about capitalism "delivering the goods" and giving people what they want in a more efficient and effective way. It has been this leftover strain of classical liberalism in "conservative" rhetoric for the past 30 years that presumably convinced entire generations that the reason why capitalism was preferable to socialism was not because it potentially far better respected property rights and the dignity of the human person than a coercive, command economy but because capitalism better served the desires of the self and allowed for faster, cheaper and "better" indulgence by the self.

If Goldberg didn't want people to come en masse making demands, perhaps the "movement" of the last 25 years shouldn't have an ethic of self-satisfaction in the ways that conservative pundits and politicians increasingly encouraged habits of consumption and the rhetoric of individualism while distancing themselves from the language of restraint and discipline.
-Daniel Larison

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