Quite frankly, what passes for Right-wing “Conservatism” has been in its death-throes for the last several decades.
Actually, the “Conservative” movement has been dead since 1964. Two pivotal events conclusively ended Right-wing “Conservatism” as a credible force in U.S. politics:
- The defeat of Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign
- The 1964 (Federal) Civil Rights legislation which finally curb-stomped the “Jim Crow” South.
Both of those points were conclusively debunked by the time Goldwater trotted them out:
- Gold does not have “intrinsic” value. At best, Gold’s status as a “precious” metal is a mix of superstition and scarcity. Aluminum was considered a “precious” metal — more “valuable” than gold — until technological advances corrected that state.
Am I saying that the same will (inevitably) happen with regard to gold? Not necessarily — but ultimately, that is irrelevant. As Ayn Rand (in one of her vanishingly-few intelligent moments) pointed out: the concept of “value” presupposes the question: “of value to whom, and for what?”
Quite frankly, gold is NOT (and cannot be) viewed as a “store of value”. Assume (for the sake of argument) a 75% drop in global population — say, a pandemic. This disrupts production and trade radically.
Now, let’s think about this: that “precious” Krugerand you’re holding as a hedge against “hyperinflation” or suchlike? UTTERLY DENUDED OF ANY “VALUE” WHATSOEVER. Quite frankly, in any genuine SHTF scenario, you goldbugs are going to be sucking some guy’s dick at gun-point (and rationalizing that act as a “free choice”, given that semen contains protein).
The (unstated and unexamined) notion behind “gold = store of value” is threefold:
- Goods/services are (still) being produced/rendered.
- Potential trading-partners will give enough of a shit about shiny metal to give you something of OBJECTIVE value — food/clothing/shelter/tools/knowledge etc. — in exchange for it.
- . Anybody gives enough of a shit about “property rights” to not simply put a bullet in your head and strip your corpse naked (leaving that supposedly “precious” metal behind, because nobody wants to trade anything of OBJECTIVE value for it.)
Goldbuggery is a superstition — nothing more, nothing else. The ironic thing about superstitions is: they can delude the gullible into doing stupid, otherwise-indefensible things. For example: India — although historically afflicted with chronic famine — had cows wandering around. Cattle were too “sacred” to serve as a source of food.
In the same vein, many Jews would be exceedingly reluctant to (for example) eat a pork-chop even if they were starving to death. (Ironically enough, Judaism is actually relatively sane in this regard, in that it has a principle known as “pikuach nefesh” which basically states that the myriad of “religious laws” (superstitions) associated with Judaism can — and should — be ignored if and when observing those superstitions poses a risk to human life. (If only other religions had that sort of sanity check/escape-clause). 🙂
So, yeah: most likely, somebody attempting to open a “pork barbecue” restaurant in Tel Aviv would end up going bankrupt, because that individual would be failing to pander to the local superstitions. Goldbuggery is really no different — except inasmuch as Jews are smart enough to be able to put even their most cherished superstitions aside, rather than ending up dead.
(Moreover, at least Jews who attempt to observe the 613 Mitzvot had an excuse: at least some of them genuinely believe that the attempt to do so represents a covenant with an entity which they regard as having created the entire Spacetime continuum.)
Goldbuggery is infinitely dumber: There is no (unexamined) “thou shalt” compulsion. Gold has merely been (mistakenly) held to be exempt from the basic principle at the root of “economics” as such: the relation of “supply” and “Demand”.
Europeans have a superstitious reverence for gold (far beyond anything justified on aesthetic or utilitarian grounds). Thus, their owners (the political/religious “elite”) could — and did — manipulate them into more or less systematically perpetrating genocide on (for example) the indigenous (Non-white) inhabitants of “The Americas”.
Is the above an “anti-gold” screed? Not at all: gold most definitely possesses characteristics which can be (rationally) valued for aesthetic, symbolic, or starkly utilitarian grounds (For example — the fact that gold is a good electrical conductor).
This does not mean that in the event of a SHTF scenario, “harvesting” wedding-rings from corpses would be a sensible policy. Shoes, yes. Clothing, yes. Jewelry? Superstitions are exactly ONE GENERATION “deep”. I’m pretty sure that any even halfway-sane Jewish person wouldn’t hesitate to eat bacon during a famine.
Further — and more damning — is the issue of “costume jewelry”. Anyone who actually believes that post-apocalyptic semi-savages will still give a shit about differentiating between gold and other similar-looking metals merely because Europeans/their descendants have historically held that sort of superstition is delusional to the point of not deserving to survive the SHTF scenario for which they claim to be “preparing”.
As to the whole “States’ Rights” slogan: anybody who was actually paying attention had already noticed the (inconvenient and damning) fact that the notion of “States’ Rights” was at the heart of what was effectively an American version of “Apartheid”.
In a nation-state purportedly founded on”Unalienable Rights”, an ethnic caste-system is, quite simply indefensible.
Any sane and genuinely principled person in that era has no choice but to say — in effect — “FUCK the ‘Several States” — after which point, anyone continuing to mouth the slogan (such as Goldwater & Pals) was pretty much guaranteed to end up looking like a defender of “Jim Crow” — which, of course, they WERE (regardless of whatever mealy-mouthed rationalization they managed to vomit up to hide that fact.)
So yeah: the two planks of the post-1964 “Conservative” movement were: a superstitious reverence for gold, and a staggeringly-idiotic defense of the ‘Right” of the “several States” to enact — and enforce — what amounted to a “racial” caste-system — in “the Land of the Free” no less.
To the extent that “Conservatism” had anything else in terms of ideology, it consisted of racism, sexism, religious bigotry, xenophobia etc. The thing about that is: if you’re open about that sort of thing, sane/reasonable people will call you out for being a scumbag (for example: KKK members).
Realistically, the only way you can “get away with” the above-mentioned vices is by claiming to be for “traditional values”. 99% of women have enough self-respect to reject somebody who came right out and told them to STFU and get back in the kitchen (instead of doing “masculine” stuff like being doctors and lawyers and suchlike.
Why? Because the “traditional” role inflicted on those unlucky enough to have been born female is oppressive.
Likewise, no “non-white” person is going to succumb to “nostalgia” for the pre-1960s U.S., because there is literally nothing for them to be “nostalgic” about.
Here’s the deal: The “nostalgic” 1950s:
WHITES: sock-hops, drive-ins, etc.
BLACKS: sharecroppers, having to use the “colored” water-fountain/work as a maid/shoeshine “boy”, etc.
Now, the thing about Trump is: he refuses to be a mealy-mouthed, duplicitous dickhead (like pretty much every other “Conservative” politician.) HE doesn’t resort to euphemistic bullshit about “States’ Rights” or “Traditional values” or suchlike: The “best” thing you can say about Trump is: he’s willing to just “blurt” it out. No “dog-whistle” politics for him — just straight-out, naked assholity.
What other “Conservative” would have the balls to come out and openly advocate a border-wall — PAID FOR by the nation blamed for all the icky, brown-skinned “invaders”?
Likewise, what other “Conservative” would have the balls not to simply whine about the “threats to our Judeo-Christian heritage” — but to OPENLY advocate for the “total shutdown” of all immigrants who happen to profess a specific religion?
Think about that: Right-wing “Christians” typically have to play nicey-nice with Jews (primarily because many of them have read way too much Left Behind, and are totally hopey-changey about how the Jews will be the only ones left to shove Christianity down everybody’s throats after all the good little RepubliChristians have been “raptured”).
Right-wingers don’t have to give two liquidy shits about Muslims. Two reasons:
- Some of them are “Brown people” — and if there’s one thing Right-wingers have learned over the past 40+ years, it is that they totally suck at “outreach” to Non-Whites.
- Muslims cannot be “shoe-horned” into their particular denomination’s “End-Times” scenario (except maybe in terms of casting ISIL’s “Global caliphate” idea as prefiguring “The AntiChrist” — as pretext for bombing the shit out of the “Ragheads”, etc.)
So, Trump doesn’t need to give a shit. The few (token) Non-White Republicans (Ted Cruz/Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Dinesh D’sousa, etc.) — are irrelevant, except maybe as glorified “lawn-jockeys”.
None of the folks over at Stormfront were ever going to vote for any of ’em. More to the point, “Traditional values” anti-feminist types were never going to vote for Carly Fiorina. So….the “GOP” is in an insoluable bind:
- Pander to their “base” (xenophobic, reactionary weirdos) and see the entire “Movement” become a laughing-stock.
- Pretend to embrace “diversity” (by trotting out a few token Non-Whites/women) and be rendered irrelevant, as the rest of the culture calls BS on all of the post-2012 “Me-to”-ing.
Either way, they’re screwed. The “Culture wars” ended with the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality whether “Conservative” Christians like it, or not. Shit, there’s even a whole “Gay Christian” scene.
Moreover, there’s been too much corporate scandal, naked cronyism etc., for anybody to continue to seriously believe that businessfolks actually support “Laissez-faire”. ESPECIALLY given “soft-target” shit like the RIAA agitating for ever-longer copy”right” terms.
Corporate cronyism is too blatantly obvious even for Libertarians and Objectivists to ignore. The bigger the business, the more likely that it will run by the real-world equivalent of Orren Boyle/James Taggart.
So, the would-be theocrats have been losing the “culture war” for decades (which is useful to them from a religious perspective, what with the whole “be in the world, but not of the world” gimmick that many religions use to keep their members/victims firmly inside the “box”.)
The Cronyism is too blatant for even “Laissez-faire” utopians to ignore.
The few (incredibly clumsy) attempts to “rebrand” the Republican party by pandering to “diversity”, “Tolerance” & other hippie-drippy notions has utterly failed.
Result? the “GOP Establishment” essentially had to lose control of their own “base”:
Trump is what you pretty much had to end up with, given the last 40+ years of “Conservative” strategy:
Trump exemplifies the total bottoming-out of the “Conservative” movement.
Now, don’t get me wrong: this is a horrible thing. Bernie Sanders (incoherent) platitudes might be enough to gin up the OWS crowd, but — even assuming he manages to get in — the “Sanders administration” is guaranteed to be a total flop.
Assuming any Republicans at all in Congress during that administration, the most that “President Bernie” will be able to accomplish is to spend 99% of his presidency reflexively vetoing anything Congress dumps on his desk.
Furthermore, the Republicans tend to throw tantrums every time the “debt ceiling” comes up during the Obama administration (more as a “symbolic” move than anything else). Expect more of that shit under a Sanders presidency.
Same deal with a Hillary Clinton administration.
Actually, same deal under “President Trump”: the Republican party hates trump, primarily because he refuses to engage in “dog-whistle” politics, and instead blurts racist, xenophobic idiocy outright. The Republican “strategy” post-1964 consisted of dog-whistles.
The “base” no longer feels the need for dog-whistles and euphemisms. Anybody who could be bothered to actually read the (usually misspelled) signs at Teabagger rallies “got” that point.
The “evolution” is as follows:
- 1960s: JBS (John Birch society)
- 1990s: “Militia” movement
- 2010s: Teabaggers
- 2016: Trump
As I said, I find that horrible. If either Hillary or Bernie are elected, the result will — at best — be four (or eight?) years of partisan pants-shitting and grid-lock. If Trump gets elected, we’re basically going to have four (or eight?) years of the male equivalent of Sarah Palin. The GOP establishment hates Trump with the kind of white-hot passion reserved for someone who is willing to do openly what others only do covertly — Trump is the political equivalent of those stage magicians who piss off other magicians by explaining how the tricks work.
Result? 4 (or 8?) years of Trump being a dick, while the Republicans in congress attempt to (ideologically) “distance” themselves from him — even though he is basically the inbred offspring of the Tea Party and Citizens United.
The only good thing is: Trump isn’t gong to get his magical border-wall, but he is going to make it impossible for the Republican party to ever do “outreach” to the Hispanic/latino population.
(This is a good thing long-term, because latino/hispanic folks are going to make up a larger proportion of the p0pulation in subsequent decades — which is going to basically neuter the existing GOP “base”.