The audacity of democracy
April 25, 2013 10:08 PM | 1144 views | 6 6 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Conservatism is on the ropes in America, not because it lacks audacity, but because conservatism lacks veracity.

In his brilliant 2004 treatise, “What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It?” Dr. Philip Agre, an Internet pioneer and former UCLA professor, contends that conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy that can only be perpetuated through deception, especially in a democratic republic like the United States.

Conservatism, writes Agre, has been the hallmark of societies ruled by aristocracies, from ancient Egypt’s pharaohs through the kings and queens of the Middle Ages to the present day conservative movement. In each instance, Agre notes, there is, “a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are.”

That’s why conservatives demand we fawningly defer to the imaginary omnipotence of “job creators” while we afford these modern aristocrats all kinds of tax breaks and loopholes.

Further support for Agre’s argument is Mitt Romney. Born into wealth and privilege with an enormous sense of entitlement, Romney’s personality could be overlaid onto that of an 18th century European king, and you’d see nearly identical traits.

The king’s subjects groveled for scraps of his beneficence. Romney’s supplicants bowed and scraped before his purported greatness. The king regarded anyone not in his class as unworthy. So did Romney, as revealed by his “47 percent” remarks.

The king claimed a divine right to the throne. Romney also relied on deception. He proclaimed he was “resolute,” but switched positions on most all issues and even renounced his own signature achievement as Massachusetts governor, the individual mandate, because it was embraced by his political opponents.

Down through the ages, Agre explains, aristocrats have relied on the passivity and gullibility of their subjects, aided by the clergy and fellow aristocrats.

Rather than bishops, dukes and earls, Romney had wealthy conservatives promote his mythical wonderfulness; people like Roger Ailes, the former GOP operative and multimillionaire head of Fox News, and Rush Limbaugh, the multimillionaire radio comic.

Romney appeared almost exclusively on Ailes’ Fox programs or shows like Limbaugh’s, where he was seldom challenged or asked anything consequential. The idea was to deceive viewers and listeners into believing that Romney had everyone’s best interests at heart.

Meantime, other conservative media nobles breezily dismissed Romney’s prevaricating and his oddball and sometimes disastrous gaffs. Like sycophantic courtiers who once crowded around the throne seeking recognition and favors, they showered flattering praise on Willard the Great.

Thankfully, most voters weren’t fooled. They knew Romney cared not a whit about poor and middle class Americans, especially those who suffered through an economic collapse engineered by another conservative aristocrat.

Americans were hit hard by conservatism and they had the scars to prove it; staggering unemployment, children killed in an unnecessary war, poverty, a doubled deficit, stagnant pay checks, the worst terrorist attack in American history, and all the rest of the woeful Bush legacy.

More conservatism, skeptical voters rightly concluded, would deliver only more misery. Yet, there were enough would-be Romney subjects to make the election close — but only if you believed the conservative media, which maintained that particular deception right up until the last ballot was cast. Court jester Karl Rove frantically ran around the Fox News studio on election night declaring Ohio wasn’t decided when it was.

In the end, the wisdom of democracy-loving Americans won out. The would-be emperor had no clothes and he lost in an Electoral College landslide.

Still, some pine for a conservative resurgence without understanding why conservatism is completely antithetical to America’s “all men are created equal” democracy.

And that’s something else conservatism needs to survive: willful ignorance.

Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.
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Bob Johnson
April 27, 2013
Kevin you are at 7 bad columns in a row. The clock is ticking and you better come up with something good or you will be doing your PR job full time. With all of the stuff going on in the world and this is all you've got. Do another article like the Russia one and you will be in the Travel section.
Samuel Adams
April 26, 2013
Wow, Kev. You are four for four on this incredibly shallow, high school like bashing of conservatism.

Perhaps take some of the advice and read a little about conservatism. Perhaps think of some timely topics....unless you wrote this a year ago it's not relevant.

Perhaps move over and allow someone else the opportunity. Stick with film.
Steve Rhinehart
April 26, 2013
Thank you,Kevin for putting all your hatred of conservatives, small-mindedness and confirmation bias on display in one column.

The good readers of the MDJ now have clear evidence of just how little substance your ravings actually contain, and how much you can twist the facts to fit into your preconceived notions.

April 26, 2013
This is just beyond contempt, Foley. With the exception of your unreadable PR column about Russia last week (why was this published?), your columns get worse and worse.

You do not know enough about conservatism to make an intelligent comment. "Conservatism" to you is some Republican politicians. If you had one iota of integrity, you would separate partisan politics from philosophical conservatism,

What conservative writers have you read? Do you know who Russell Kirk is? Buckley? Edmund Burke? Alexander Hamilton? Do you read the columns along side yours--George Will, Thomas Sowell, etc?

Nothing but contempt and cheap shots, with an unrelenting avoidance of any of the foibles and dishonesty of the left.

It is you who are the "lost soul." Please stop embarrassing yourself.
April 26, 2013
Romney? That's your topic?

How's Obamacare working out for your small business and employees? As an Obama and Obamacare supporter, and a small businessman, I'm sure you could offer some insight into something important.



Substance, Mr. Foley. You can do better. Red [pun intended] meat issues, please.
April 26, 2013
So much wrong with this screed I can't even begin. You ignore the majority of conservatives who are not wealthy, who are of a minority background, who simply believe in freedom rather than statism?

And you quote some lib professor in California who's so famous (NOT) because he's just SO right (NOT) as if that alone supports your bogus argument?

Typical liberal talking points, nothing to back anyof it up. We all thought you'd be talking about the Muslim terrorists this week....what, that not a good topic for you libs right now?
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