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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Modern Conservatism’s Warped Values

Don’t read Battochio’s post, “Diagrams on Conservatism: Visualize the Insanity” at Vagabond Scholar (flagged by Digby), if you don’t want to be caught smirking, chuckling or laughing out loud at the office. What Battochio does is channel a little bit of The Rude Pundit‘s bluntness through an erudite filter, and comes up with a perceptive, sharp-tongued exploration of the values that undergird modern conservatism. Here’s a sample:

Modern conservatism can be summed up many ways, from “You’re on your own” to “Good luck” to “Screw you, I’ve got mine” to “Screw you, I don’t have mine, but you ain’t getting anything either.” It’s a twisted worldview, impractical and even unrealistic, generally self-serving, sometimes self-destructive, but almost always destructive to others. Rather than recognizing and trying to minimize unnecessary suffering, as an ideology it seeks to justify cruelty and callousness. Movement conservatives seldom feel responsible for their own actions or the horrible consequences of their policies. It’s unquestioned dogma for them that they represent the “natural” order, that unearned privilege within their group is proof of merit or God’s favor, and the real problem with America is the uppity heretics who question all that and don’t mind their place.

Battochio breaks Conservative movements down and offers this consideration of libertarians:

For “mistaken,” it’s hard for me not to think of libertarians, and all other conservatives who have nice-sounding, self-serving theories that aren’t fully thought out, are divorced from empirical data, and show little understanding of basic human nature…They epitomize confirmation bias, and tend to ignore data and major events disproving their ideas. Their crackpot theories can be harmless – as long as they’re not in power and acting on them. (I’d say the smartest libertarians realize their approach’s limitations, view libertarianism itself mostly as a cautionary check, and are “thoughtful.” Meanwhile, the full-blown Randians are typically callous, ignorant or worse.)

And this on “movement conservatism,”

…which is in authoritarian in nature and has been a major strain in America since at least Richard Nixon and Joe McCarthy. It got a major boost under Reagan, went into overdrive with his many myth-making acolytes, and achieved a perfect storm of belligerent idiocy and ruthless incompetence in the astonishingly arrogant George W. Bush administration. The base exemplifies its unreflective, displaced anger…the conservative base is a toxic mix of callousness, ignorance, spite and zealotry.

Battochio provides some amusing charts, with overlapping circles, diamonds and ovals featuring terms like “cloistered,” “devious,” “Spiteful, “ignorant” and “assholes.” He’s also got a funny, link-rich round-up of conservative pundits and how they fit into his schema. Battochio points out that the decline of rational conservatives has coarsened the debate between Americans across the political spectrum, and progressives would be better off being challenged by more thoughtful, articulate conservative adversaries now in increasingly short supply.

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