Friday, October 21, 2005

There are some bad people on the rise

Just finished The Right Nation. It provides a good overview of the composition, motivating factors and strategies of the modern conservative movement. This descriptive component is quite good, showing for example how the conservative think tanks and grass roots campaigns multiply conservative power and overwhelm Democratic efforts. The power, influence and scope of the social conservative element is made depressingly clear. I would recommend you read this section.

The second half argues that America is the Right Nation and left America will just have to deal. As John Holbo argues, the progressive force is oddly inert in their map of the American political world, and is in any case defined as somehow non-American. Not so much as un-American, but conservatism is defined as the historical American way, and progressivism as somehow alien. Clearly the two forces are in tension, but both are very American. Also, as he points out, much of the evidence for the inevitability of conservatism is anecdotal. Look how Katrina has wounded the Bush Administration. So you might want to read the Emerging Democratic Majority as a counterargument, although it probably has similar problems. The book was written in 2003-4 so there is constant reference to the then upcoming election. Maybe the paperback is edited.

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