Monday, September 24, 2007

Authoritarianism From the Right

I have been wondering lately whether the Right Wing is more susceptible to modern Totalitarianism than the Left. Jonah Goldberg would likely disagree, but I wonder. To oversimplify, the Right Wing seems to be more open to Government control of moral values, and less open to Government control of economic systems; whereas the Left has the opposite leanings. In the modern world, dictatorships appear to be more likely to come from a moralist authority, and not an economic one. China is a womderful example of a moral dictatorship, with a lessening of economic control. Robert Reich eloquently points out the Capitalism of China combined with the authoritatianism of its Government. As he puts it, in the war between Communism and Capitalism, "Capitalism won hands down." Is it possible that the US is, through Right Wing control of the Executive - and complacency of the Legislative branch - in danger of reaching a simlar (although distinctly American) situation. The Right Wing is clearly much more concerned with the loss of economic rights than the loss of civil rights. See, for example,the terrified response of some conservatives to the Kelo v. New London decision, as opposed to their equally terrified response to the possibility of civil rights for gays. It seems to me that if the Right Wing had its way, we would have an unfettered market economy combined with what Andrew Sullivan might call a Christianist state.
I am led to this worrisome thought by the Right Wing's unthinking adherence to the "World According to Bush." Apparently, the Right Wing's capacity unquestioningly to accept authority is large. Consider Fred Barnes' hagiographic opinion regarding the President's place in history. The Right Wing is unabashedly fond of executive power in times of war - even an undeclared war against a tactic like "terror." Note Andrew McCarthy's statement:

In wartime, in response to threats against the body politic, all the might of government would be embodied in the president. This alone would ensure that if an adept enemy took unanticipated action, the nation could swiftly respond; or that if the enemy exhibited some sudden vulnerability, the nation could quickly capitalize. It was how wars would be won.
I don't know about you, but that scares the s*** out of me.
So here's what we have. A world-view accepting of Government control of morality but not government control of economics, and blindly accepting the authority of its "Dear Leader." Are we heading towards an autocratic theocracy? No. Are we in danger of giving up many basic human rights so that an economic elite can flourish? You bet.

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