Monday, September 1, 2014

Conservative Historical Myths

There are many conservative myths and they start at the Revolutionary War.

Pseudo-historians like Newt Gingrich will suggest the Revolutionary War was a conservative revolution and Americans should return to those days of yesteryear to recapture our spirit The founders were 10 feet tall and they wrote the Constitution in stone just like the 10 commandments.

First, the US revolution was a liberal revolution as was the French. The purpose of the revolution was to throw of the shackles of monarchy and replace it with a democratic republic. The early US democracy is hardly like the one we have today. Women and blacks could not vote and women could not own property.

Some Tories were tared and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. 

However, there were conservatives who were sympathetic to the crown and most emigrated to Canada. At that time conservatives were called Tories.

The US Constitution contains the manner in which our government was structured and some legal principals, most of which are in the Bill of Rights. A house, a senate and judiciary were created so that laws could be written, interpreted and executed. The strict constructionist or originalist theory of the US Constitution has no basis in fact. We would not need a legislative branch, an executive branch and a judiciary if everything was in stone.

Conservatives say the US is a Christian nation, but the First amendment makes it clear he US was established as a secular nation. Want more proof? Read the Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams and passed by unanimous voice vote in the US senate. The founders were aware of the religious wars in Europe and didn't want that mistake repeated in the US.

The next conservative myth is that the Civil War was about state rights. Jefferson Davis never talked about state rights until after the Civil war. The Civil War had a lot to do with slavery, but not as most Americans imagine it. Lincoln never talked about abolishing slavery when he first ran for president.

In the mid-19th century, the power of the Southern states were declining as new territories were incorporated into the US. The big concern of Southern representatives and senators was that slavery was not being expanded into the new states.

The Southern economic system was predicated upon slavery. The vice president of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens said this in his Cornerstone speech in 1861

"Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition."

Southern plantation owners did not want slavery abolished or contained because it was immensely profitable.

The next big myth is that the US never lost a war. Most historians will admit that the US lost the war of 1812, but our history books often gloss over the fact. The last war the US won was World War 2. The Korean War was a stalemate and the US performed a strategic withdrawal in Vietnam. We also occupied Iraq, but eventually withdrew.

Is it possible to have a military victory in a 10 year occupation? One Marine general thinks so.

Conservatives also like to gloss over the Great Depression. The only Democratic president who was elected in the period between 1900 and the start of the Great Depression was Woodrow Wilson. Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover all served prior to the Great Depression and all were Republican.

Segue to 2008 and another Republican, GW Bush heralded another economic meltdown. Bush's Ownership Society and deregulation of the 5 major investment banks led the US into to the Great Recession. The GOP myth is that the great recession was caused by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. Both organization worsened the economic situation in the great Recession, but neither organization caused it.

Another great conservative myth is supply side economics which has been around since the 1890s when it was called “horse and sparrow.”

The idea is that you give the affluent more society so the wealthy  can redistribute it to the middle class. Supply side economics also implies taxes should be cut for the affluent. 

Does anyone really know what the affluent do with their tax cuts? Suspect a lot of the cash ends up in the Cayman Islands or Switzerland.

In the early 80s, the influential and multi-partisan American Economics Association had 18,000 members. Only 12 called themselves supply-side economists in American universities, There is no major department that could be called "supply-side," and there is no supply-side economist at any major department.

This is significant, because academia in the 70s was dominated by conservative economic theory, and conservative economists normally welcome any ideas that make the case against government intervention. The fact that they scrutinized supply-side theory and rejected it wholesales gives eloquent testimony to the theory's bankruptcy.

When candidate George Bush called it “voodoo economics” in the 1980 presidential campaign, he was doing so with the full backing of America's economic community.

Today the conservatives are suggesting that America needs more tax cuts, privatization and deregulation, three things that failed during the GW bush presidency.

Rarely do Republicans offer any reputable proof that their theories about taxes, privatization or deregulation work. The best the GOP can do is provide highly partisan studies from the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and 

When you are a political party that I more faith-based than fact-based, ideology is more import that hard facts.

A good example occurred in FL. Without any factual basis, the FL legislature bought Gov. Rick Scott's assumption that people applying for welfare had a drug problem. People applying for welfare were forced to take drug tests at their own expense. The courts threw the law out when it was discovered that few welfare applicants had failed the drug test.

A similar law was recently passed in TN. Only ½ per cent of the welfare applicants failed the drug test there. It is hard to teach a conservative dog new tricks.

Why do Americans continue to elect legislators who are irrational because of their half-baked ideology? Most of these people cannot be confused with facts. 

Some even think that biblical values are more important than US constitutional values. Others think the US Constitution is based upon the bible. America needs to get these misfits like these of politics.

That would be people like Reps. Steven King, Blake Fahrenholt, Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachmann. Bachman is retiring, hopefully for good.


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