Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Unbearable Rightness of Being

There's an awful lot of things I don't like about the political right, but something that's always driven me to distraction is the way that right wing pundits, politicians, and talk-show hosts have managed to sell themselves as the vox populi. It seems like no amount of corporate welfare, war-mongering, public land-levelling, or bribery can dislodge this mythology. The left, who want universal health-care, stronger labor and consumer protections, and a progressive tax policy, are presented and percieved as a group of effete elitists. If there is any possibility of something good coming from the Bush administration, it might be a change in this perception.

The political face of the mega-corporation, of insurance and banking, of the oil industry has actually managed to successfully fob itself off as the friend of plain folks. How did this happen? I ask this question a lot, and have gotten a few decent answers, and I have a few ideas of my own. But none seem to cut to the heart of the essential Orwellian paradox of the whole matter.

Stephen Metcalf chimes in with his thoughts on the subject in an elite, effete Times review of a new anthology entitled “Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys.” If there is a required reading list in hell, I'm sure this particular title immediately found its way on to the roster.