The Rise and Fall of The Conservative True Believers

by Merl Moore (

         Conservatives made a Faustian Deal whose “chickens” have come home to roost in the form of Donald Trump. Obviously, that's the end of the story, the “moral of the story” so to speak. The story itself actually begins 53 years ago when Conservatives opposed LBJ's Civil Rights Act of 1964. True Conservatives weren't particularly against civil rights, per se, they weren't particularly racist; they were, in fact, against the federal government imposing civil rights laws on individuals and businesses.    
  They would argue that if Joe's drugstore/soda-fountain/hardware-store/whatever-business wants to segregate then it's Joe's business that is the ultimate loser. An African-American person's money is just as good and green and spends just as well as anybody else's money. Their opposition to civil rights laws, was, to their thinking, a principled stand for individual liberty and not particularly racist in any way.    
  Of course, in actual practice this “principled stand” is racist in every which way imaginable. But like most “true believers” of any fantastic “ideal,” the true Ayn Randian Conservatives were incredibly naive about the potential negative consequences of the actualized execution of their ideal (read: they were “brainwashed” and in total denial). It's an old movie that's been remade & replayed again and again and again: The characters start out believing in the so-called Prince of Peace and the next thing you know they're burning innocent people at the stake – literally as well as figuratively.    
  If that was their only “sin” they wouldn't find themselves in the bind they find themselves in today. Sure, Conservatives would be forever known as the group who opposed very popular civil rights legislation, which they are to this day, but they could and would have argued endlessly that theirs was in fact a “principled stand” for freedom and that they opposed racism – if nothing else, as a practical business matter – in all of it's forms. Would they have won this argument? Not very likely, but they might have established a little reasonable doubt in some people where there is none now.    
  A further result of this “principled stand”: as Johnson was a Democrat, henceforth the Conservative Movement would became forever attached at the hip to the Republican Party, a blood-pact which would almost immediately have repercussions far beyond a simple disagreement about the federal government imposing laws on individuals and businesses. Specifically, in 1968 along came Republican Presidential Candidate Richard Milhous “Tricky Dick” Nixon, one of the most cynical politicians ever to take in breath and his “Southern Strategy;” defined as: “...(T)he plan in which the Republican Party gained political support in the Southern United States by using a strategy appealing to racism against African Americans.”    
  I should take a moment to address the “Elephant on the Sofa:” The Conservatives that I'm talking about in 1968 were in many ways the same conservatives who opposed FDR's liberal reforms (i.e.: Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, etc.) of the Great Depression era, and for much the same reasons (i.e.: they didn't want the federal government or anyone else to tell businesses/them what to do), they are certainly cut from the same cloth. But there was a distinct difference. Those against Roosevelt's reforms in the 1930's and 40's were pretty much just straight-up greedy mother-f—kers, whereas the '68 version of Conservatism had the patina of an egalitarian philosophy behind their greed; what they believed in was supposed to actually be good for the country as a whole, good for everyone, not just the rich.    
  The fact of the matter is that the Conservative Movement had little choice but to climb into bed with Republicans and accept the Southern Strategy. Their overriding principle(s) were, if nothing else, a decidedly hard sell proposition to say the least. Basically, they argued that giving more money and power to the rich, businesses and corporations would ultimately benefit everyone; what we now call “Supply Side/Trickle Down” economics, and that almost any taxing of the rich and business/corporations would ultimately result in less revenue going to the government and the loss of jobs and less overall productivity.    
  They had an argument. I don't agree with it, but they had an argument. Unfortunately for them, the vast majority of the population work for somebody; a company, a business, a corporation, somebody. They don't own a company, a business or a corporation, so the argument, “We're going to give your boss/company/corporation a huge tax-break but, because we still need money to run the place, we're going to b—tt-f—k you on taxes and fees every chance we get (someone's got to pay for everything); but don't worry, all that money we're giving to the rich guys on top is going to tickle down to you some day! We promise!” was kind of a hard sell to the average American working-stiff.    
  So in '68 the Conservatives went with Nixon and his “Southern Strategy;” the only way they could get the average-Joes to basically vote against their own direct economic interests (i.e.: “trickle down” is, by definition, the opposite of “direct”). The True Conservative Believers weren't racists themselves, they reassured themselves of this over and over and over again, this was only a temporary means to an end and in the end, when we implement entirely our doctrine and programs it will be all good for all people of all races everywhere! HOO! RAY!    
  Unfortunately for the New Conservative Movement, “Tricky Dick” crashed-and-burned well before he could completely sell the American public on Conservative economic principles. It was looking bad for the True Believers! So what did they do? Of course they doubled-down! Instead of trying to sell an economic scheme that would initially enrich only the rich, they attached themselves to a right-wing social agenda that would keep their flock on the ranch! Anti-abortion, racism, anti-welfare, prayer in school, anti-gay, god and guns! But this was only a temporary means to an end and in the end, when we implement entirely our doctrine and programs it will be all good for all races and everyone everywhere! HOO! RAY!    
  Did the True Believers believe in all of this right-wing nonsense? Of course not! They believe in an almost pure liberty. Extreme liberty! You want to sleep with people of the same sex? Have at it! It's nobody's business! You want an abortion? That's up to you! The extreme right-wing's anti-welfare and pro-gun positions go right along with their program of no government intervention of any kind – so why not? State's Rights? Whatever! The racism of the right-wing was simply an unfortunate necessity to get votes. Basically, at it's base, the modern Conservative Movement is Libertarian politically and not Republicanism at all. And this was only a temporary means to an end and in the end, when we implement entirely our doctrine and programs it will be all good for all races and everybody everywhere! HOO! RAY!    
  Then along came Ronald Wilson Reagan. This stupid ass-hat pretty much spelled out the true Conservative economic system he would implement: “Supply Side/Trickle Down Economics” AKA Reaganomics. He explained it, explained how he thought it would benefit the whole country, why we should all be all for it. And the True Believers were ecstatic! At last, the people understood and were behind what the True Believers believed in! HOO! RAY!    
  However, in fact, True Conservative Believers were just lying to themselves. Sure, most of the people now understood their political and economic philosophy (sort of) but they didn't care about any of that; it wasn't what they were actually voting for when they voted for Reagan. Actually, they were voting for an old man who they thought was their “Grampa,” as he was a racist-joe, just like their real grampa.      
  Did True Conservative Believers totally miss the significance of the PHILADELPHIA, MISSISSIPPI dog-whistle (HELLO!?! Anybody HOME!?!)? Did they actually not get Grampa's BITBURG (Nazi) CEMETARY “Ceremonial Visit!?!” Could anybody with a brain in their head have actually been so willfully naive? (NOTE: I can give many, many, many more examples between the Reagan-years through to Bush, Jr., but I think the point is made, so let's move on.)    
  So to recap: Because of all their many “wins” – hey, both Houses of Congress are in Republican hands today – the True Believers convinced themselves that the people were finally on board with the project, never wanting to face the fact that the people could not care less about their “project.” In fact, the people barely understood the “project!” The whole time the people were actually voting for racist/right-wing dog-whistles from Grampa (as well as others): i.e.: black welfare-queens driving brand new Cadillacs; brown illegal immigrants stealing jobs; they’re coming to get your guns; there's a war on Christians; etc. But that's not entirely fair; is it still a “dog-whistle” when some assh—e politician or degenerate FOX News political pundit is screaming that bullsh—t at the top of his/her lungs?    
  So when we got Reagan we got “Supply Side/Trickle Down Economics” and in 2008, 28 years into “Supply Side/Trickle Down,” America's entire economy suffered an almost complete, catastrophic meltdown – Ayn Rand, the Goddess of the True Believers, had always promised that businesses and corporations would never do anything that would bring down the private sector because to do so wouldn't be in their long term best interests; the “invisible hand” of the market was magical and perfect! But in the end Rand and the “invisible magic hand” didn't account for – and they should have accounted for – the “short term” and a very well known, very common and very well understood human trait: “pure greed” (i.e.: the reason we have various laws and regulations on businesses and corporations in the first place).    
  Which brings us to The Donald, Donald John Trump, aka: the “Orange Il Duce,” the President of the United States. So now the Republicans have a straight-up racist/fascist/clown of a POTUS; the logical conclusion to everything the True Believers did, every compromise they made, every Faustian Deal they signed on to up to this point.    
  This wasn't supposed to happen. This was only supposed to be a temporary means to an end and in the end, when we implement entirely our doctrine and programs it will be all good for everybody everywhere! HOO! RAY!    
  But that's not what happened; the “Great Recession of '08” and Donald Trump is. Hoo. Ray.