December 09, 2005

Nixon's Conservatives?

Rick Perlstein was asked to talk at the conference: "The Conservative Movement: Past, Present and Future" this past weekend. In his speech, he pointed out that the young conservatives that tried to nominate Goldwater in the 1960 Republican convention proclaimed a special connection to the moral order. As Perlstein notes:

Young Americans for Freedom distributed a pamphlet in 1965: the text of the inaugural address of their first chairman named after the Goldwater defeat. It excoriated conservatives "who abuse the truth, who resort to violence and engage in slander," and "who seek victory at any price without regard for the broken lives...incurred by those who stand in the way." That is the spirit of Barry Goldwater--the spirit we honor on this panel. As he put it in Conscience of a Conservative--in italics: "we entrust the conduct of our affairs to men who understand that their first duty as public officials is to divest themselves of the power they have been given."

Yet as Perlstein says, the Conservative movement was possessed by the spirit of Nixon and today has been transformed into a organization that believes the ends justify the means; and the only end that counts is their hold on power. Obviously something has corrupted the soul of the conservatives since the innocent days when they believed that they had the moral highground. One example of this is John McCain who ran in 2000 as the reformer and was put through the meat grinder by Bush. What did McCain do? Well, he backed Bush all the way in 2004 and is still a major apologist for Bush's policies. What moral principles is McCain following when he backs a man that sponsors torture?

So what was it that has corrupted those who seek power in the Republican party? Was it inevitable that this would be the outcome from a party that adopted stalinist tactics as an acceptable road to gaining power?

George Lakoff believes that how you think (the metaphors you use) actually rewire people so they no longer can be open to certain facts.

In Lakoff's view, not only does Luntz's language twist the facts of his agenda but it also renders facts meaningless by actually reprogramming, through long-term repetition, the neural networks inside our brains. And this is where Lakoff's vision gets a little disturbing. According to Lakoff, Democrats have been wrong to assume that people are rational actors who make their decisions based on facts; in reality, he says, cognitive science has proved that all of us are programmed to respond to the frames that have been embedded deep in our unconscious minds, and if the facts don't fit the frame, our brains simply reject them. Lakoff explained to me that the frames in our brains can be "activated" by the right combination of words and imagery, and only then, once the brain has been unlocked, can we process the facts being thrown at us.

And I believe that how you act, what tactics you use, also shapes one's character. It is clear now that the tactics and the philosophy of power at any cost has created a government made of people who are disconnected from the foundations of what humans agree is moral. Today's Republican party (the Party that Rove built) cannot be trusted to govern our country because they have lost their souls in their deal with the devil.

Via Atrios

Posted by Mary at December 9, 2005 08:00 AM | Philosophy | Technorati links |
Comments

Prezadint Bush in this week's speechizin' done said about things gettin better in Iraq, "The Iraqis are shoppin', an they're eatin', an their 'sewerage' systems are gettin' rebuilt". What a byouteeful mind! Naturally, shoppin' is a very important religious thing this time a year. Gotta put shoppin' front n' center. Then eatin', cuz wow, they must all been starvin' before they got freed, an now they're eatin'. And then you know what happens after the eatin - the seweraging that needs to be taken care of, well that's getting fixed too. Wow, what a good job the Prezadint he doin'! He must love Jezus.

Posted by: Wells at December 9, 2005 06:27 PM