Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Shorter conservatives: Government bad unless somebody is getting hit or shot

Liberals romanticize government in every area other than law enforcement and defense, to which they apply a healthy skepticism. Conservatives suffer a mirror-image version of that myopia. They're incurable romantics when it comes to generals, policemen or spies - Gene Healy

I've never really met any liberals or leftists who 'romanticize' government - just ones who pragmatically understand that with public ownership comes more public control via the democratic choice of who will manage that public ownership and how.

Conservatives with their constant fear mongering about intrusive government reveal a lack of confidence in democracy and its institutions.

Or perhaps their fear is that democracy is too effective. That as the will of the public is in so many things and on so many subjects not what they would wish it were, a government that actually reflects that will is in fact their enemy. After all, its always conservatives who are trying to reduce the electoral franchise isn't it? You never hear right wingers complain that not enough people are allowed to vote but that too many - or at least too many of the wrong sorts are exercising their democratic rights. It's from right wingers in the US and Canada, through various vote suppression strategies like taking the franchise away from felons even after they serve their time or voter ID laws that disproportionately take the vote away from the poor or non-white that the franchise is restricted.

It's neo-liberals and neo-conservatives who in the last few decades have been democracy proofing the economy by treating trade agreements like 'corporate bills of rights' restricting the democratic rights of citizens from taking any action that big business doesn't like. For example, Canada had to water down our restrictions on toxic fuel additives and toxins on fruit and vegetables because they were a threat to the business of American producers of toxic fuel additives and toxin covered vegetables.

Rhetoric about 'big government' and 'state control' is about restricting the power of democracy and the rights of individuals in opposition to the rights of big business.

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