Do Not Concentrate on the Finger…Or You Will Miss All that Heavenly Glory
Corey Robin throw a little cold water on the death of conservatism thesis making the rounds in light of last night’s (fairly close) election.
[L]ast night Barack Obama claimed that reducing the debt and the deficit—elsewhere they call that austerity—will be a top priority of his second administration. There’s a history to this, as I’ve pointed out. But it also confirms another thing I said in the conclusion to The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism is dead because it lives. It has triumphed. It may lose elections, but its basic assumptions, going back to the reaction against the New Deal, now govern both parties. The economist John Quiggin calls it Zombie Economics, and it has never seemed a more appropriate metaphor. The dead walk among us. They are us.
As they say, read the whole thing.
Our political discourse encourages us to pay attention to formal decisions and ignore that which is taken for granted. It tells us to look at those thing that are contested and to ignore those that are not. Political science does as well. Without suggesting that these things don’t matter, it’s important to look beyond them too. That may be difficult today, but it’s absolutely essential tomorrow.