Conservatism no more! A reflection on what we are up against – Part III
I appreciate that you mention the rising tide of Catholic forces. For far too long, we've seen the rise of the religious radicals as the doings of Protestant fundamentalists. If we in the U.S. do end up in a theocracy of some sort, it is the Catholic Church that has the structures and experience in place to bring about a theocracy and the Supreme Court is now loaded with more radical Catholics. Protestants in the U.S. are too divided. But I do see Protestant Christian wealthy elites as being a part of the same anti-democracy project that they will pass off as "Christian (capitalistic) democracy." I recommend the book The Power Worshippers by Katherine Stewart. She really deep dives into what's up with the Religious "Right" and their long game.
Thank you, Dr Zimmer. Looking forward to Part IV.
Not too long for me! Excellent work
I've chuckled at the end of at least two of these three pieces so far in this series, when you've apologized for the length and said you'll be writing more in another post to follow. These pieces are long, but in a good way. Keep 'em coming! You're very much onto something. Maybe what the length and number of these pieces is telling you is that you need to write a book :-)
Hi Prof. Zimmer. Great piece. I also listened to the excellent "Is this Democracy" podcast from last Friday about "Reactionary Centrism" and could not agree more.` A couple of points;
1. I don't think most policies are necessarily "zero-sum" and portraying them that way can be unnecessarily harmful politically. Talking about "taxpayer money" is a zero-sum frame, implying that there is a finite amount of money and if some of it is going to help poor non-white people, white people will get less. This "free stuff" frame has put Republicans in office since before Reagan (though he perfected it). Providing resources to the poor need not come at the expense of the middle and upper classes. If there are sufficient resources available, benefits can accrue to all income and demographic groups. The zero-sum/taxpayer money frame, divides groups unnecessarily. Even reparations will not necessarily raise taxes on whites or middle/upper classes. Even with affirmative action, Democrats should frame it as expanding opportunity, not keeping down one group at the expense of another.
2. On gerrymandering, even if it's "wrong" Democrats must do it until the entire system is reformed. Not balancing gerrymandered R states with D counterparts enables the R majorities elected by gerrymandering to perpetuate the inequity. The cynicism of this was laid bare by Roberts' decision in the case approving political gerrymandering. He acknowledged the results of state legislatures gerrymandering Congressional districts may be unfair, but the remedy, he wrote, lies in voting out those legislatures. Yet the legislatures themselves are gerrymandering and in many cases impossible to vote out. Until there is a Supreme Court or Congress to impose fairness, Democrats must use whatever tools to balance the scales. We saw in NY how the NY Courts' rejection of NY Dems attempt to redress the imbalance in other states led to loss of the House. Loss of the House kills any chance of anti-gerrymandering legislation (or other Voting rights measures).
Btw -- my daughter is a graduating senior at Georgetown majoring in French and Government, and has not taken any course with you. Sadly, I became acquainted with your work only after she confirmed her courses for the Spring semester, so I couldn't lobby for her to take your class.
My sense is that the reactionary right’s primary motivation is to protect the wealth, power of corporate elites. They use white workers for votes, but have no agenda to improve their lives. It is not politically viable to campaign on protecting wealthy elites, much better to mobilize on the basis of white Christian nationalism, the “real” Americans. Their virulent opposition to Democrats, who they consider synonymous with the “left” also allows them to attract conservative minorities who fail to grasp the larger picture. Their anti democratic project may well succeed, unless Democrats can actually put forward an economic and social agenda that unites workers and the middle class, across racial, ethnic lines, and exposes, isolates the handful of uber wealthy elitists who will protect their privileges at all costs, even if it takes fascism to do it.
I wish more people would clue in to the power and influence and determination of Christian nationalists in the U.S. in this way.
This helped my understand how Dennis Prager––a pseudo reactionary intellectual and a huge fan of Claremont––has become so radicalized over the last six or seven years. He never used to call the left evil. Now it's almost all he says. He think he was always this radical but the intellectuals you site have given him permission to let his radical self run wild. I'm a huge fan of your work Mr. Zimmer. I just downloaded the two episodes of the Know Your Enemy podcast.
The 'conservative' mission is global. It is found in ideas advocated by people like LePen, Orban, Meloni, LaFarge, and of course, Putin. It is a reactionary black hole and conservatism is at the event horizon. It has nowhere else to go but into the abyss - its economic ideas have all failed, its social ideas repudiated by majorities, its epistemology reduced to set of hysterical absurdities. And yet, its power remains. It is reacting viscerally, like a wounded animal. And the danger lies in centuries of imposed inequalities and captured governments that continue to power the mission. Professor Zimmer 3rd instalment is a must read for anyone who believes in democratic pluralism. It may be focused on mobilization of the right in America, but those forces are mobilizing everywhere where white privilege, colonial histories, and crony capital have ruled.