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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

US: the counter enlightenment « Previous | |Next »
November 5, 2004

The liberal citizens in the US are not feeling too good the morning after the US election. Nor should they.


We can forget the US doing anything about climate change. More forests will be depleted. Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be opened up to oil drilling. So why not revive nuclear power as well? And why not introduce liability shields for corporate polluters? And more subsidies for energy corporations. The whole package will be called an energy conservation bill?

This was an election about God and terror.

The evangelical base of the Bush Republicans sees a liberal (pinko) Kerry as unAmerican---as a cultural deviant, a cosmopolitan, flag-burning, and treason-coddling. So the 'people' have to fight and destroy the haughty liberal 'elites' and their evil ideology:

"The left bewitches with its potions and elixirs, served daily in its strongholds of academe, Hollywood and old media. It vomits upon the morals, values and traditions we hold sacred: God, family and country. As we learned Tuesday, it is clear the left holds the majority of Americans, the majority of us, in contempt."

That is the discourse of neo-conservative religious populism in the US.

The US is a nation divided with each side alienated from the other. For what changed from 2000? New Hampshire (four electoral votes) went from red to blue, whilst New Mexico (five electoral votes) went from blue to red. Apart from that the boundaries between blue (liberal) and red (conservative) America remain fixed. They deepened.

That means that America is two nations that loathe and fear each other. Their contempt and hate for each other means warfare, not forgiveness, reconciliation or unity. The fault line between the two halves of America is clear and the chasm between its two cultures so starkly unbridgeable. The Republican war strategy has been to tear the country apart, grab the bigger half and continue with the dismantling of public health and social security through privatisation.

Liberalism is the loser, as a culturally conservative Republicanism tightens its grip on Congress. The liberal separation of religion and state is under now attack from the Red America of the right-wing populist revolt.

Bush can now impose his conservative stamp on the third arm of the federal government, the supreme court, and use this most powerful federal weapon in America's continuing cultural war to attack the liberals. He has the opportunity to fill three or four vacancies in the court over the next four years could create a solid conservative majority which could lead to a ban on abortion, among other potentially dramatic changes.

That means the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and will soon have a majority of the supreme court. All the checks and balances that the founding fathers constructed to restrain a dictatorial presidential power are broken instruments.

Now for the terror bit.

In terms of international relations we can expect more wingnut sabre-rattling towards Iran. Fallujah will be flattened. More support for Israeli expansionism.

William Kristol is now quoting Danton!

Danton. That means a vigorous and concentrated exertion of national power. It means using the fury of popular passion as an instrument in the work of deliverance. It means the powers of the government should be those of a dictator. "In order to conquer, what we need is to dare, still to dare, and always to dare." It means a reign of terror, however moderated. This is no ordinary Burkean conservatism folks.

How should the Democrats respond?

This electoral map of the voting tempers the Repubklican triumphalism as it shows the city folk favouring the Dems and the rural folk favouring the Republicans:


This is even more revealing. It shows how the 'red v. blue' states graphic of the big networks is misleading, considering the slim margins that the candidates won some of those states by.

The Democrats should als stand firm against the moral crusaders now on the march. Conservative Christians and their 'values voters' (anti-abortion & fag hating) say they won the election for George W Bush and Republicans in congress. Godly America wants payback big time. What we have in the US is the resurgence of the counter-enlightenment.

The Democrat response should be clear. No surrender. After all, this is the counter-Enlightenment.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:03 PM | | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (3)

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