Categorized | Opinion, Politics

The Republican National Convention

 

Where Social Darwinism Meets Theocracy

 

Dr. Joseph A. Palermo

Joseph A. Palermo.com

 

At the 1988 Republican National Convention, Vice President George H.W. Bush talked about a “kinder and gentler” America. 

Four years later Patrick Buchanan scared the hell out of the country by declaring a “culture war.”  In 2000 George W. Bush gave us “compassionate conservatism.” 

The Bush stratagems were cunning responses to focus groups and public opinion polls that show beating up on the poor and the weakest among us can make people feel uncomfortable.  In 2012 we can expect more culture war rhetoric, but it will be clouded by the soothing sounds of reasonableness and moderation.

The trick thus far for the Romney-Ryan ticket has been to pretend to want to “save” Medicare even while putting forth Ryan’s “voucher” plan that would end Medicare, not only “as we know it,” but end Medicare PERIOD.  The lies and distortions about their schemes for privatizing Medicare (which have been swirling around Republican circles for decades) are the 2012 election’s equivalent of “kinder and gentler” and “compassionate conservatism”: empty slogans designed to beguile voters.

What we’ll hear all week at the RNC are expressions of an ideological witch’s brew, a fusion of Ayn Rand’s Social Darwinism with the Reverend Jerry Falwell’s vision of an American Theocracy.  Rand glorified sociopaths.  Falwell believed the Bible foretold a nuclear Armageddon.  They’ve got no choice but to pander to their Christian evangelical base as well as to their corporate overlords; a bone goes to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council while a juicier chunk of meat will go to the Koch brothers.

The Romney-Ryan Republicans are giving us Rand’s Social Darwinist economic prescriptions, which hold that if an individual lacks the wherewithal to thrive in a “free” capitalist society that person deserves to die in a gutter somewhere, merged with Falwell’s social diktats banning abortion (even in cases of rape and incest), gay bashing, a militarized foreign policy, and a continuation of the “War on Drugs.”

If they advocated only the Randian side of the equation there at least would be no restrictions on abortion, gays could go their merry way, and everybody could smoke weed.  Things like school prayer, the 10 Commandments in public buildings, abstinence-only sex “education” would be laughed out of court.  Conversely, if they gave us a truly “Christian” set of governing principles, (as opposed to the Falwell strain), omitting the Randian Social Darwinism, we’d at least get a government that cared a little bit about the poor, took care of the weak, and might not be so quick to go to war.

As it stands, we get the Social Darwinism without the libertarianism, and the religious strictures on individual behavior without the compassion for the poor and the valuing of peace. In other words, we get the worst of both ideologies.

This epistemological schizophrenia is secular yet religious, amoral yet moralizing.

And lo and behold!  The Republicans’ idée fixe just happens to serve perfectly the interests of the ruling corporate elite in American society!  It’s a menu of ideas that give the 1 percent everything it wants. (The Supreme Court’s ruling that money equals speech and corporations deserve stronger Constitutional safeguards than people codify this worldview.)

It’s as though with every minute of right-wing talk radio, every 24-hour news cycle at Fox, and every spittle of words strung together by Romney, Huckabee, Priebus, Ryan, and the rest of them at the convention, they have set out to prove to the world that power equals knowledge, and the ideas that are the most widely disseminated in any society are those that best serve the narrow class interests of its ruling elite.

It’s kind of funny that a tropical storm is heading toward Tampa right when the GOP is kicking off its lovefest.  Since about 1900 the American people have looked to the federal government for help when their locales are hit with natural disasters — you know, the government we’re all supposed to despise.

* * * * * * * * *

The Humboldt Sentinel appreciates Dr. Palermo kindly sharing his article with our readers.  Images were added by the Sentinel staff.

Before earning a Master’s degree and Doctorate in History from Cornell University, Professor Palermo completed Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master’s degree in History from San Jose State University.  He is an Associate Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento.

Professor Palermo’s most recent book is The Eighties (Pearson 2012).  He has also written two other books: In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy (Columbia, 2001); and Robert F. Kennedy and the Death of American Idealism (Pearson, 2008).
 
His expertise includes the 1980s; political history; presidential politics and war powers; social movements of the 20th century; the 1960s; and the history of American foreign policy. Professor Palermo has also written articles for anthologies on the life of Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J. in The Human Tradition in America Since 1945 (Scholarly Resources Press, 2003); and on the Watergate scandal in Watergate and the Resignation of Richard Nixon (CQ Press, 2004).
 
Dr. Palermo currently writes for the Huffington Post, LA Progressive, and other publications.  His previous column for the Humboldt Sentinel was Welcome to the New Normal.
 
If you’d like to see more articles by Joseph Palermo, please visit Dr. Palermo’s website.
 
(Posted by Skippy Massey)

One Response to “The Republican National Convention”

  1. Clinton Delahoya says:

    May I just say what a relief to discover a person that really knows what they are talking about online. You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people really need to read this and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you aren’t more popular because you surely possess the gift.|

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • The Clinton-Obama- Alinsky myth
    From our overstocked archivesSam Smith, 2008 - Peter Slevin of the Washington Post deserves some sort of award in media mythmaking for his piece recreating Clinton and Obama as disciples of the great activist Saul Alinsky. They have in fact followed the teachings of Alinsky about as well as George Bush has followed those of Jesus Christ. To be sure, they bot […]
  • Furthermore. . .
    Vox - Google is escalating its fight with conventional broadband internet providers, announcing plans this week to expand its super-fast internet service to four new metropolitan areas in the American South. The Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, and Raleigh-Durham metro areas will soon join Kansas City, Austin, and Provo, Utah, in Google's high-speed inter […]
  • Dartmouth to enforce on campus hard liquor prohibition
    Gawker - In a speech at Dartmouth's campus , the college's president, Philip J. Hanlon, announced that there will be a campus-wide ban on hard liquor from March 30 onward. The New York Times reports that this decision is in response to a "spate of student misbehavior that has tarnished the reputation" of the school.Hanlon's speech re […]
  • Muslim murder rate lower than non-Muslim worrld
    M.Stanley Fish, Washington Post -  Predominantly, Muslim countries average 2.4 murders per annum per 100,000 people, compared to 7.5 in non-Muslim countries. The percentage of the society that is made up of Muslims is an extraordinarily good predictor of a country's murder rate. More authoritarianism in Muslim countries does not account for the differen […]
  • Morning Line
    With Romney out, Bush leads narrowly in our three poll moving average over Carson and Huckbee. They are the only Republicans in double digits. Huckabee leads in southern states such as AK, MD, NC, SC. Rand Paul leads in CO. Christie leads in NJ, NY. Walker leads in WI […]
  • Some media avoid propaganda words like 'terrorist" and "extremist"
    T. Becket Adams, Washington Examiner -  Al Jazeera English isn’t the only news group to avoid certain key words and phrases, including "terrorist" and "militants," when it reports on terrorist events — the Qatar-based news agency is joined by the likes of Reuters, the BBC and the Associated Press.“There is no BBC ban on the word ‘terroris […]
  • Americans support climate change action
    Washington Examiner - 78 percent of Americans backed federal action to limit emissions from businesses, including 60 percent of Republicans […]
  • Well, there go the laughs
    NY Times - Mitt Romney said Friday that he would not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016.Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, shared his decision on a conference call with a small group of advisers.In a second call to a larger group of supporters, Mr. Romney said, “After putting considerable thought into making another run for pres […]
  • Government privacy boad tells Obama to stop NSA mass spying
    Guardian - The US government’s privacy board is calling out President Barack Obama for continuing to collect Americans’ phone data in bulk, a year after it urged an end to the controversial National Security Agency program.The Obama administration could cease the mass acquisition of US phone records “at any time”, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Bo […]
  • A different cop story
    Al Kamen and Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post- There’s one issue, perhaps the only one, that Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on: reducing the population of the nation’s crowded and expensive prisons, partly through reducing sentences for low-level and nonviolent offenders. One person who would be expected to be at the table for high-level strategizing […]
  • Economy links
    NEWS The real economy Corporate America Housing & foreclosures Labor news Social Security Trans Pacific Partnership Wall Street news ESSAYS Some ways to occupy our future...and our economy Born again economics Short history of the economic American True cost of Reagan and extreme capitalism The other way to deal with the national debt The savings & l […]
  • Word
    Music washes away the dust of every day life - Art Blakey […]
  • The 9 Senate Democrats who voted for the Keystone pipeline
    National Journal1. Michael Bennet, Colo.2. Thomas Carper, Del.3. Robert Casey, Pa.4. Joe Donnelly, Ind.5. Heidi Heitkamp, N.D.6. Joe Manchin, W. Va.7. Claire McCaskill, Mo.8. Jon Tester, Mont.9. Mark Warner, Va. […]
  • NYPD to treat protestors like terrorists
    Vox - New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton unveiled a new militarized police unit that will be trained and armed with heavy protective gear, long rifles, and machine guns to restrain terrorists and social justice protesters.Bratton explained the purpose of the unit, which will consist of 350 officers, to CBS New York:It is designed for dealing with even […]
  • About Michelle Obama's lack of headscarve in Saudi Arabia
    VoxAmerican officials in Saudi Arabia typically do not wear headscarves, including at formal government functions. Michelle was following normal protocol.Former first ladies Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton did not wear headscarves on similar official visits to Saudi Arabia. Neither did former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.Saudi Arabia is officially ultr […]