Has American-Style Conservatism Become a Religion?

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/story/152434/has_american-style_conservatism_become_a_religion_/

Fundamentalist religion plays a big role in today’s Republican party–but has it gone even further, spreading dangerous beliefs as articles of faith?

By  Joshua Holland
September 15, 2011

As the American right lurches from traditional conservatism – a go-slow approach to governing that stresses the importance of continuity and social stability – to a far more reactionary brand typified by acolytes of Ayn Rand and Tea Party extremists waving misspelled signs decrying Democrats’ “socialism,” the time has come to ask whether modern “backlash” conservatism has become a religious faith rather than a pedestrian political ideology.

Ideology is grounded in the real world. It offers us a philosophical lens through which we can efficiently process what’s happening in the world around us. Religion is different. It’s a fixed belief system, based on faith, and it is immune to – or at least highly resistant to – challenges mounted by objective reality. Which better describes the belief system of a typical Rush Limbaugh fan or Tea Party activist?

Like religious faiths, the hard-right reveres an original text – the Constitution – and, like all religious fundamentalists, conservatives claim to adhere to a literalist interpretation of it while actually picking and choosing from among its tenets. Just as the vast majority of Christian fundamentalists don’t actually stone their daughters to death when they’re obnoxious to their fathers, the Tea Partiers conveniently ignore more or less the entirety of Article 3. Also like other fundamentalist sects, most conservatives actually have a poor understanding of what the text they revere actually means.

Like the Manicheans – adherents of one of the world’s great religions at one point in history – they tend to see a world defined by a conflict between the forces of light and darkness. The forces of good are decent, conservative, “real” Americans – mostly white, married Christians, but with exceptions made for others who keep the faith. They stand opposed to a wide array of diabolical figures: liberals, gays and lesbians, Muslims, Mexicans, socialists and other foreigners, especially the French.

Continue reading at: http://www.alternet.org/story/152434/has_american-style_conservatism_become_a_religion_/

2 Responses to “Has American-Style Conservatism Become a Religion?”

  1. Andrea B. Says:

    The Tea Party / Neo-Liberal section of the republican party is slowly starting to become a religion. There is no doubt about that. It appears to be based on a form of pre-catcheism reactionary catholicism, which was greed based with a hatred of new technology, the weak and dispossed.

    Watch any economist who follows Ayn Rands teachings in any interview and listen as the direct quotes from Ayn Rand are spewed in the same manner as quotes from any religious nutcase trying to convert you.

    Neo-Liberalism or the Tea Party as it is known in the USA is a religion of hate, no empathy, self hatred, reactionaryism, blatant sexism, dismissal of all concerns, bigotry, racism, hatred of consent, imposition of ideas without consent, misogny, dismissal of the weak, dismissal of the impoverished, etc.

    Most people have not yet realised that Neo-Liberalism is not capitalism, although secret and open defenders of Neo-Liberalism will try to convince people that Neo-Liberalism is capitalism.

    You have to have wealth creation to have capitalism. Under the present Neo-Liberalism that has become entrenched in the western world, wealth has been centralised, while destroying true wealth creation in the larger society.

    Those on the left, center, right, single issue or religious politics have still not realised that they are in fact not argueing about a modern political or financial movement. They have become so blinkered by there refusal to see outside there own particular box, that they can not see the larger picture and therefore can not see that Neo-Liberalism is in fact the old oppressive system of Feudalism, dressed up in modern terms to cover what it really is.

    During the financial crisis of 2008 to present, the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the human race. This transfer of wealth actually exceeds every single transfer of wealth in the history combined. Even the transfers of wealth to pay for oil over the last 100 years, all western welfare state systems since there inception combined, the Roman invasion and extermination of Dacia in 106AD and the seizure of all wealth and industry by the Leninists under Lenin at the founding of the Soviet Union come no way near the extent of this transfer of wealth, even combined.

    To make matters worse the transfer of wealth from the poorest, weakest, pensions, welfare, healthcare, infrastructure investment, dispossed, working class, middle class and self employed to the bankers, billionaires, hedge funds and those on corporate welfare, is actually still occuring, with no real end in sight.

    Neo-Liberalism is about the centralisation of wealth into an ever decreasing number of people, while removing wealth creation for the majority of the population. Neo-Liberalism today is basically a modern version of Feudalism of the type enacted by Pope Leo in 450AD, which was based in pure hate of those not rich or powerful. The appropiate name for the Tea Party and Neo-Liberalism today should be Neo-Feudalism.

    The religion of Neo-Liberalism is starting to form. When Neo-Liberalism crystallises into a formal movement, I would expect it to contain the majority of Ayn Rand and Milton Freidman’s works with a sprinkling of some of the worst verses from the Bible. A new Overclass rulling over 99% of an underclass, will definately be formed as part of that process, just as under Stalinism in the former Soviet Union.

    • Suzan Says:

      Neo-liberalism is capitalism. Capitalism taken to its logical extreme is an oligarchy run by and for the rich with the enslavement of the workers.

      The sole means of “wealth creation” under capitalism comes through the theft of labor, Marx calls it surplus value and it is the difference between the cost of materials plus the labor and the price the product sells for.

      But in case it has gone over your head we live in end stage capitalism where products are some what irrelevant and money is made by buying businesses and destroying them by gutting them out while transferring the labor to the least expensive place possible.

      The profit then goes in to the pockets of the rich who loan it out at usurious rates in the form of credit cards with which the under paid workers make purchases of items which appear to cost much less than they actually cost once the interest is added.

      Cyber trading had turned capitalism in to a form of high stakes casino gambling. When so many of these banks had lost their shirts and then expect their nations to bail them out it hasn’t been due to actions of the people at the bottom but due to their having made the inevitable bad bets.

      My opinion. When banks fail, let them fail and then Nationalize them. The private sector is always more expensive at doing anything than the government because while the government may pay the people at the bottom better the private sector pays the people at the top several hundred time what they pay the people at the bottom and still have to give the investors a profit. The government has merely to provide a service and break even.

      As for the future. End stage capitalism with its constant demands for growth has brought us to the brink of ecological Armageddon. There are some 7 times the number of people on the planet than the planet can support and we are on the down side of oil.

      Population will shrink one way or an other and there isn’t going to be some sort of techno miracle that will save us. The world is about to get a whole lot more nationalistic and borders will close as those in the Goldilocks locations struggle to feed their own and hang on to what they have.

      Over the summer we have had 70 days of plus 100 degree F weather here in Dallas. This makes it the hottest year on record. We are in the midst of a drought that has left the lakes cracked and dried. Other places over the past five years have experienced such things as having during that period a 50 year flood, two 100 year floods and a 500 year flood.

      What happens when food and say bullets become more valuable than gold? I’d bet on the countries with those commodities using the bullets to keep their food and telling the people with the gold ie electronic money to go fuck themselves.

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