Carry On Occupying
The fringe left across the Western world are creating conditions conducive to conservatism - even the greatest strategist couldn't have dreamed up such a thing.
He recounts, "The America I loved was under assault from the baby boomer generation, as these newly minted leftists challenged the old order and tradition. I watched in disgust each evening as the news showed hippies attending rock concerts and radicals burning the American flag."
Today, we suffer what we at The Commentator have termed the 'third wave of neo-totalitarian revivalism since the Cold War'. It is in no uncertain terms, a conservative recruiter's dream. I'm reminded of Proust's petites madeleines, "Something that has been embedded like an anchor at a great depth; I do not know yet what it is, but I can feel it mounting slowly; I can measure the resistance, I can hear the echo of great spaces traversed."
Conservatism in the United Kingdom has become dilute. Although the Great Lady is scantly denied her position in history, Tories often shy away from the 'party of Thatcher' moniker so often lobbed at them as some kind of ideological incendiary device from which it is best to hide, or hurl back in case it blows up in one's face. In utilising the 'we're all Thatcherites now' assertion, we do a great disservice to one of our greatest ever leaders. This was also no less than a shrewd Mandelsonian tactic to quash the Tory 'get out the vote' attempts by convincing a conservative constituency that New Labour were 'just like them'. It worked.
This attack on neo-liberalism is no grenade from the left, but rather should be interpreted as an inherited accoutrement from a battle won decades ago. Conservatives should wear it with pride, invoking it every given chance.
The Republican Party of the United States may end up appointing Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate for 2012. This is a man who has held almost no firm or lasting positions on the crucial issues that grip the American people. Reaganomics, healthcare, anthropogenic global warming, crony capitalism and bailouts and the list goes on.
If a Gingrich presidency could be imagined by the term 'The Lobbyist's President', Mitt Romney would almost certainly be the 'Flip-Flopper-in-Chief'. He describes himself as 'a progressive', not that there's anything wrong with that, but it does make one wonder about the necessity of such statements i.e. playing on their terms. The late Senator Barry Goldwater noted, "[Progressive] is a strange label indeed: it implies that 'ordinary' Conservatism is opposed to progress."
Democrats and left wing strategists the world over have referred to the Occupy protests as a response to greed, neo-liberalism and often, a response to the Tea Party. Critical of the latter as I may be, there's no doubt that the Tea Party was in itself a response to the overreach of the state through regulation, taxation and the curtailment of many civil liberties.
Its hijack by the religious right was foreseeable in that these professional, well-funded campaigners have been able to take over the Republican Party proper - as Goldwater once warned against. It was as predictable as an 'anti-cuts' march being commandeered by the black bloc, or at least by Laurie Penny's Twitter feed.
In the US as well as here in the United Kingdom, it's time to clear the cache on conservatism, not necessarily attempting to expurgate the mistakes of the past few decades, but rather an ideological detox.
The reaction to the reaction will inevitably and irrevocably be a conservative revival. We're already seeing it across Europe, as the right take lead of many nations, most recently in Spain. Soon, Nicolas Sarkozy in France will face a strong challenge from Marine le Pen, described as the 'far-right candidate' inter-alia.
Make no mistake about it, this has little to do with a fascist renaissance, but rather this is a case of a Europe (and an America) crying out for a return to conservative and classical liberal values. In the absence of parties and leaders willing to wear conservatism as a badge of honour, many are mistakenly wending further into the political extremes.
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