September 19, 2007
A few days ago I was diverted from working on my computer by an exchange on FOX between Bill O”Reilly and someone described as his “ombudswoman.” The lady in question pointed out to O”Reilly that he had been rude to Ron Paul, who had been on his show, and that he kept interrupting his dignified guest with a scowl. O”Reilly responded that “that’s the kind of thing you hear from Ron Paul fanatics,” who apparently are not to be taken seriously. Needless to say, Ron Paul and his admirers do not rate the adulation that O”Reilly, Sean Hannity, and the other talking heads on Murdoch Central bestow on those public figures they like, e.g., Rudolph Giuliani and Joe Lieberman.
Thinking about this response, it dawned on me that O”Reilly was correct in a certain sense about how political differences should be understood at the present time. There are those on the right, quite broadly understood, who revel in crusades for democracy and who identify “conservatism” with an aggressive, Jacobin or Trotskyist foreign policy; and then there are the rest of us, who are simply viewed as inconsequential “fanatics” by both neocons and the conventional Left. Because I think this division may continue to be the case for some time to come, I generally avoid fighting with those on my side of the divide. It does absolutely no good in terms of confronting the larger asymmetrical distribution of power. Moreover, I find that even when I do disagree with those in my lifeboat about certain issues, e.g., the timetable for withdrawing our troops from a country where they should never have been sent in the first place, those differences are rather minor compared to the veritable gulf between me and the other side.
For the record, I think we”ll be stuck with neocons running the Republican Party and conservative movement, no matter what happens in Iraq and regardless of who wins the next national election. Unless the RNC, movement conservative foundations, the moneybag sponsors of both, and the liberal media start talking to our side, which is not likely to occur, the usual types will stay in power and continue to script “conservative” newspeak. How the fiasco in Iraq and a possible Democratic landslide in 2008 will change any of this is something I really can”t fathom. What a Democratic victory will do is accelerate the left-ward slide of our politics and culture, a process that the neoconservatives have steadily aided by their reconstruction of the American Right-Center. This process will likely continue to unfold after 2008; and the only way it can benefit us is if the radicalization of our society caused by uncontrolled movements of populations across porous borders, heightened violent crime, and heavy-handed government social engineering would lead to the emergence of what Sam Francis used to call “a hard right electorate.” Without such an unsettling crisis, nothing will swing back in our direction.