Saturday, January 07, 2012

The End Of Republican Fusionism? - The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast

The End Of Republican Fusionism? - The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast
What we're seeing, I think, is Romney as the last, dying gasp of Republican fusionism. The old alliance - free market capitalism, social conservatism and anti-Communism - has morphed into a new one - libertarianism, Christianism and anti-Jihadism. Each faction has become more extreme as they have marinated in their own media complex, and responded to their fantasies about president Obama. And there is therefore no fusion possible between them. Maybe a charismatic figure like Reagan could somehow bind them together again; but such a figure comes along rarely.
Interesting analysis. Ron Paul's followers are almost all young men who are obsessed with libertarianism's simplistic world view that justifies radical selfishness as some sort of higher morality. How they can make common cause with the religious right and the neocons I can't imagine. I mean, are we going to simultaneously punish and legalize prostitution, gay marriage, and abortion? Are we going to both invade and not invade Iran?


Anonymous said...

As a commenter on another internet forum said:

"You know [deleted]'s getting real when Ron Paul and Noam Chomsky are converging."

Anonymous said...

Four years ago, Robert Tracinski at Real Clear Politics wrote about "The End Of Republican 'Fusionism'?" (March 1, 2008).

Fusionism was the idea that the three wings of conservatism could not only find common cause but could cobble themselves together into a semi-integrated ideology. The theory was that the religionists would defend traditional American values, which would provide cultural support for the ideals of limited government and American patriotism.
. . .
Fusionism is unstable because its basic premise--that the moral foundation of free markets and Americanism can be left to the religious traditionalists--is false. For five decades, under Buckley's influence, conservatives have ceded to the religious right the job of providing the moral fire to sustain their movement. But they are discovering that the religionists do not have a strong moral commitment to free markets. In fact, the religious right seems to be working on its own version of "fusion"--with the religious left.
. . .
The reason for this shift toward the religious left is that religion cannot support the real basis for capitalism and a strong American national defense: a morality of rational self-interest.

Tracinski goes on to criticize the Left for failing to learn the lessons of history; specifically the "catastrophic failure of socialism."

But as regular readers of The Privatopia Papers and listeners of "On The Commons" are aware, the conservative and libertarian vision of utopia -- privatized corporate government by contract law -- has been an disaster in terms of both individual liberty and a failed business model that threatens to drag down millions of homeowners with it. Yet facts don't prevent them from writing baseless and idiotic statements such as "Since HOAs are very local and small, participants are often neighbors and hence have incentive to settle disagreements in a civil manner." But when 69% of residents have a negative view of HOAs, with 19% having been in "what they call a 'war' with their HOA," something is seriously wrong in the previous sentence. Blaming millions of homeowners, and telling them they agreed to be abused, is only going to work for so long before they start looking for their rights elsewhere. Any rational proponent of "free-markets" and/or "capitalism" should be trying like hell to distance themselves from HOAs, not embracing them.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Conservatives and libertarians are as ignorant of the real world consequences of their ideology as your typical college campus leftist wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt driving around in a Prius sporting a "Hope and Change" bumper sticker.

"The Road To Serfdom" and "The Privatized Toll Road To Serfdom" lead to the same place, but we are supposed to believe that one is somehow preferable and more virtuous than the other. Communism Inc. doesn't work any better than Communism; the only difference is who the useful idiots are.

Anonymous said...

The late science-fiction author James P. Hogan, a two time winner of the "Prometheus Award" to honor libertarian fiction (1983 and 1993), wrote later in his life that

I suppose I'm something of a lapsed capitalist/free-marketeer these days. The praises and mantras that we hear true believers repeating now give rise to reservations. Take the one, for instance, about the market operating via its price structure to service those with the greatest need as expressed by their willingness to pay. It doesn't. It caters to the whims of those with the ability to pay. A little reflection will show that there's a large and profound difference. If every shopping mall in the USA were nuked, I doubt if anyone would go without anything that they truly needed. (September 5, 2006)

A few years earlier, when writing about the ideology of "free-market capitalism" he said that

I get uncomfortable when one solution is pushed as the answer to everything, on principle, and with attempts to twist and contort it into fitting even when it doesn't seem to want to. The result becomes a quasi-church.
. . .
The disagreement is over whether it can best be achieved through state coercion or unrestricted private enterprise. I have a feeling that this isn't a realistic alternative, since any excess of one provokes a resurgence of the other. Such swinging back and forth is a characteristic of systems that offer only a choice between two opposites. (Pendulums are moving at their fastest and impossibly to stop just at the mid point where you'd want them.) The traditional answer, as seen in the structure of political systems that have lasted, has been the division of power among three "houses" (Representatives, Senate, Executive; Parliament, Lords, Crown; Army, KGB, Party) so that when any leg of the tripod grows too long, the other two will combine against it. (Interesting that the triangle is also an inherently stable mechanical structure.)
The only point on which I'd change from when I wrote VOYAGE [Voyage from Yesteryear, 1982], and it appears where take issue with Marx, is that I have more time for religion than was the case then. Perhaps that side to our being needs to form the basis of that third side to the triangle that seems to be lacking. (March 26, 1997)

As I've commented elsewhere on this blog, it is noteworthy that the two most influential authors among modern libertarians -- judged solely by how many references I see to them on various libertarian web sites -- are Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein. Yet Ms. Rand and Mr. Heinlein had very opposing ideas about an individual's moral obligations to others and to the society in which the individual lived in.

Anonymous said...

Schrödinger's cat lives in the political world.