by Ben Kritikos
It’s election time! If you’re British, you’re probably sitting in front of a telly thinking, “Look at David Cameron’s stupid face”. Fair enough. But count yourself lucky; at least you’re not American.
In the US, politics is comedy — usually without a sense of humour. It’s not even very funny. In fact, it’s less like comedy than bitter irony.
Some lefties are pleased to have such outlandish caricatures of the right served up ready-made. Not me. I think it’s unfair to moderate conservatives; and as a socialist, I want healthy, reasonable debate from both sides about how to make society the best it can be.
American conservatism has been hijacked by nut jobs, and that’s dangerous for everybody — just think about the invasion of Iraq for a minute. Extremism has become a legitimate force in American politics. Conservatism, in its moderate form, is a belief in private enterprise, a small state that interferes with business as little as possible, and an emphasis on traditional values.
While I disagree vehemently with the implications of this sociopolitical philosophy, it is of course a legitimate, moderate and relatively sensible one. Even the Tories believe there should be an NHS; they’re generally just too rich to understand why anybody would want to use it.
You can have a reasonable argument with a moderate conservative, one that enriches both of you and from which you come away with a broader view.
But popular American far-right commentators are to conservatism what shouting is to normal conversation: at best, an embarrassment; and at worst, a sign of danger. I feel a tremendous sympathy for moderates of all persuasions, and I think it’s important to make sure the ongoing project that we call “civilisation” remains amicable.
These are my top five raving fookin’ eejits who make reasonable discourse in America like running a marathon in cement shoes. Continue reading