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US: conservatism « Previous | |Next »
October 20, 2004

I'm sitting having a morning coffee and reading the New York Review of Books. I was catching up on the work of David Levine. This is one of my favourite political caricatures:

LevineDNixon1.jpg It is of ex-President Richard Nixon circa 1975.

I do not think Levine's caricatures of President George Bush have captured what so disconcerts us: a fundamentalist Christian warrior using the power of an imperial state to fight a holy war against another civilization.

So we turn to words from concerned Americans. The liberal philosopher Ronald Dworkin makes two points after describing what has happened under the Bush administration:

"We have been governed, for many decades, from somewhere in the broad center of opinion rather than through a winner-take-all contest of extremes. ....The Bush administration has replaced every part of that centrist philosophy with a strategy of ideological partisanship aimed at two groups. It subscribes to the principles and causes of the religious right .....It relies ....on the support it has bought from powerful mass media and business groups by sponsoring huge and economically perilous tax cuts, and by virtually abandoning past bipartisan initiatives to protect the environment and improve public safety."

The first point Dworkin makes concerns the role of the Supreme Court. He says that America is very lucky to have survived one Bush administration without a single new Supreme Court appointment, but a second term without more than one new appointment seems unlikely. Dworkin says:

" Even during the last few years, when the Court has been dominated by relatively conservative justices, it has done more than any other national institution to protect American principles of equal citizenship and individual fairness. It has refused to abandon affirmative action; it has insisted on rights for homosexuals; and it has held that even aliens whom the President declared to be enemies of the United States are entitled to the due process of law. But each of these important victories was won by one or two votes, and each was denounced by the fundamentalists Bush has assured of his support."

It is likely that Bush will appoint conservative judges who support the Christian fundamentalist agenda in his second term.

The other point that Dworkin makes is about the language President Bush uses to justify an imperial war:

"The administration defends its military actions in theological terms whenever it can—Bush once called the war on terrorism a crusade—and America sometimes treats its prisoners with the special humiliation and cruelty of the Spanish Inquisition. These policies are as divisive domestically as they are in the larger world. Bush has sacrificed shared pride in American values—a unity that was itself a source of protection in danger— for the militancy of fundamentalist religion."

Are we on the threshold of something similar happening in Australia?

Discussions can be found at John Quiggin's place, at Chris Shiel'sBack Pages and at Troppo Armadillo

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:43 AM | | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (1)

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There has been some discussion of the rise of religious conservatism in Australia has a result of the shift to the right in the Australian federal election. The discussions be found at John Quiggin's place, at Chris Shiel's Back Pages at Troppo Armadil... [Read More]



I enjoyed that round up too, with Mailer effortlessly the most readable, the funniest and sharpest. I'd like to see George, sans earpiece, debate Norman for an hour in an airless room.