Tuesday, October 25, 2011


     America's small town and rural folk are worried about oppression by government, and they have a point. These small town & rural folk, who vote conservative, and are Republican, have ideas about the kind of world they'd like to live in. It may come as a surprise but they have a point so let us examine for a moment their frustrations and worries.
     These ideas and worries of theirs are a surface manifestation of a deeper frustration, a frustration which runs deep, a frustration with where America has gone. America is leaving them behind. I'd be pissed, too. For America has taken a path towards internationalism, and cosmopolitanism, without much concern for the small town type. After all, they live in small towns, but they do have their values; and, the U. S., as it barreled into its global, climate-changing, catastrophic yet cosmopolitan and electronic future, has largely forgotten them.

     What do they mean, with their worries allegedly about too much oppression by the government?

     Who needs the government? they reason. White privilege ought to just about take care of everything for us. If not, then try "Republicanism." Anything but "Governmentalism." Ah. They are reading Foucault.

     Government, they feel, is just dangerous by nature. Republicans (or whites) ought to do better without it, as the rugged individualists they truly are.

     And they have a point, after all. It is truly is better not to turn to the government to solve all your problems. Where, then? If not government, where? This is the problem with this point of view or this kind of talk. Indeed, it is immature for us always to expect the government to solve all of our problems. It is, indeed. However, also there is a problem.
     That view does not correspond very well to the actual American experience the experience of the continuous expansion of human rights. That is the basic problem. Also, this localized, self-absorbed view does not correspond very well to the "democratic" side of that experience. Thus, the U.S.A. that experienced the continuous expansion of individual rights is what there is, and certain practices have tended to be associated with that. Maybe all of these tendencies are not good, but they need to be dealt with, because it exists. The basic historical tendency is not towards the kind of self-absorbed local-ism conservatives feel comfortable with.

     Since there is no history attached to this kind of conservative individualism, their idea is just an idea. It is an ahistorical one; and, not a very good one. They want to hit a button and delete the government, but the view is ahistorical. And they have nothing at all to replace hated "government-ism" with. So, it does not work. They have no interest in the real story of the United States of America, which in any case the government is not sharing with them, which is why they make up fairy tales about it. The story is a political story, and it is a story that has as one of its major themes the expansion of human rights. Not white rights, or Southern Rights, or any other local kind of rights. Those rights, in turn, are linked to governmentality (Google that last word along with "Foucault" and see if anything comes up, OK?)
     And those are the rights the grass-roots conservatives use when they go to the voting booth to vote and they vote like everyone else does. This is totally embedded in a political process that is anything but ahistorical. So, if you get rid of the government, what else do have? What do you have left?
     You have nothing but your own vanity; that's the answer, and that is why self-appointed claimants to being "leaders" of sincere, decent grassroots conservatives (whom I know are sincere people because I have lived with them) are phony leaders. When they finally get a "leader" sort, a representative, that guy who claims to represent them, do not, not really. They can be kind of phony, even if it is a "she" like the ones named "Michelle" or "Sarah."

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