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What The World Needs Now: Time for the Mad Tea Party to End

Publié le 4 mai, 2010 | Pas de commentaires

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« Our shared belief is that wealth must serve more than the wealthy, that prosperity must serve more than the simply prosperous, that good fortune must help more than those who are just fortunate…inequality should not be woven into the fabric of our lives, people of compassion and good will should never journey without hope, and no injustice should endure forever...I was taught that…life is about more than self-interest, work is about more than self-advancement, that service is about more than self-service, that happiness is about more than what you earn and own…the fundamental values of taking responsibility, doing your duty, being honest, looking out for others, and that is the right way. » — Prime Minister of the U.K. Gordon Brown, 3 May 2010

In the reality-based universe, what Brown is describing is what socialism was originally intended to produce: a fairer distribution of wealth, a respect for the laborer, a dedication to a mutually beneficial society. In the 19th century, this might have been called “Christian Socialism”, and before that, simply “Christian”. In that sense, there was a good deal of what was once known as the American Way, as in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, in Brown’s words, and he intended them, “as the son of a Church of Scotland minister”.

So why are these Tea Partiers, who insist that America’s Founding Fathers were devout followers of Jesus, so adamant that President Obama’s “socialist agenda” (when it is not being called “communist” or “facist”) is so alien to the true American spirit? Since when is the putrid greed of Goldman Sachs a defensible creed and rallying cry for “real” America? And now that “drill, baby, drill!” is shown to be a war cry against our own land and sea, an environmental catastrophe that caused even Professor Krugman to leave aside his premier role as America’s Economist to plead the environmentalist cause for preserving the protections the GOP and its lobbyists have largely revoked, (like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, things so basic one wonders why they ever needed Acts to begin with), why can’t they admit their error and repent, as the President himself must surely do, if only to retain liberal support?

The mean-spiritedness behind the Conservative right is more than a policy failure; it is a human failure, a failure to understand the nature of society itself, a failure to take human interest seriously, in favor of an anti-humanist agenda that destroys not only the fabric of society but the earth as well. It is not simply the politicians which need changing, it is our minds.

Recently, some tone-deaf Germans have been quoted suggesting that Greece “sell its gorgeous islands” to pay its debt. Leaving aside the 900-pound gorilla of irony of Germany playing a blame-game for a moment, one wonders what a “united Europe” would mean if only the four most prosperous members were included. It is a macrocosm of the Tea Party mentality: the rich are literally worth more and must be paid deference, the excess they already have should be added to, and the wretched poor should get about the business of dying (to paraphrase none other than that icon of misanthropy, Ebeneezer Scrooge). What other message can one take away from such insanity as opposing universal health care, or supporting the deportation of children who are U.S. citizens born to illegal aliens? This age of cruelty cannot harbinger progress; it is a regression to the worst of times, a return to feudalism and worse.

So why is this not cognizable to those supposed « freedom lovers » on the right? Is the conservative noise-machine (GOP “leaders”, FOX News, right-wing lunatics on talk radio, Evangelical fanatics, et al) so loud that the voice of reason is completely drowned out? Is it, as Frank Rich seems to think, plain old racism rearing its pointy-hooded head? Or is it the staggering ignorance that has arisen from decades of declining educational standards, especially in the teaching of modern science? All these things and more; a lotto-winner mentality that a windfall is the answer to all one’s problems – even if it solves no one else’s.

Other countries not so caught up in the pursuit of wealth at the cost of everything else that makes life worth living, are taking on the big questions: how to deal with climate change, how to develop and use new medical technologies and genetic discoveries, how to enrich human experience in all fields while preserving the splendours of our planet. But others, following the dog-shit smear on the heel of Ayn Rand’s disciples, can see nothing but a bottom line in matters of social programs, education, health care, infrastructure, labor, and human dignity itself. These people must not be allowed to hijack and squander any more of the world’s resources. The Halliburtons, the Goldman Sachs’, the Tea Partiers, and the Camerons, must become part of history. The visionaries are those who believe in a future for humanity – as a whole.


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