Can Brock See Yet?

Also published on Democratic Underground at

David Brock’s “Blinded By the Right” is an apolitical book, and while it denounces and apologizes for the “conservative movement” that replaced politics with sex scandals, it does not make a political apology.

Brock does not say he is sorry that people died and suffered in the richest country on the planet because they had no health insurance. He does not say he regrets seeing families booted off welfare and offered no assistance toward becoming self-supporting. He doesn’t apologize for the dwindling of labor rights, massive layoffs, loss of protections in hazardous workplaces, environmental destruction, or the radical increase in the inequality of wealth. He’s not sorry for the divestment of resources from positive efforts and the explosive growth of the prison industry. He doesn’t comment on the devastation of inner cities, the demolition of rights for criminal defendants, the routine bombing of civilians in foreign countries, the abandonment of public education and efforts to privatize schools for profit. He doesn’t seem concerned that corporations pay no taxes or that loan sharks pay no penalties. None of this sort of ungossipy, less-than-warlike stuff is of interest to him, at least not in this book. But then, neither was it of interest to Congress for over a year of all-Monica-all-the-time or during the past 7 months since September 11, 2001.

Brock is writing about an all-out struggle between two “teams.” He could have been a supporter of the pro-Israel rally held in DC yesterday (April 15, 2002) or of the pro-Palestinian one scheduled for Saturday (which I hope becomes, rather, pro-peace). He could be routing for the Catholics or the Protestants in Ireland. He chose a team, but his choice had nothing to do with any merits of that team. If you had nothing but Brock’s book to go by, you might believe that all conservatives found their positions as a result of some childhood trauma or Freudian drama plus a big dose of opportunism. And you might also believe that an honest and polite conservatism, in contrast to that described by Brock, would be a possibly good course to follow.

In reality, conservatism in all of its forms, and encompassing most of the Democrats’ team as well as the Republicans’, is largely motivated by greed, religion, timidity, antidemocratic abuse of power, and a big dose of opportunism. The New Republic doesn’t check its facts any more than the American Spectator did. The conservatism of George Bush the First condemned more Americans and Iraqis to death than the lunatic ravings of Grover Norquist, at least as the count stands now. There is no honest conservatism, and that should be the lesson of this book. Right wing arguments only win if they are massively funded.

It takes a vast conspiracy and millions of dollars to promote ideas that seek to harm the many for the profit of the few. Spinners and statisticians and muckrakers don’t come cheap, and those who can afford them are able to give life to ideas that deserve to die and in many cases will soon die anyway. On the “social issues” the conservative foot draggers denounced in this book already look out of date. On the “economic issues” the arguments of the conservatives have been proved disastrous once again

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