Skip to main content

Don’t be fooled.  Conservatives aren’t in love with America or its constitution.  They’re infatuated with a dangerous and misleading fallacy of small government, and committed to hollowing out the nation-state.

Conservatives sure like to remind us of just how much they love America; what with all their talk of “the founding fathers” and the need “defending the constitution” and to “ take the country back.”  Perhaps the reason conservatives feel an incessant need to express their love for America is because they certainly don’t seem to like very many Americans.  They don’t like the gays, or the poor, or feminists, or too many minorities for that matter.  Atheists and Muslims are certainly out of the picture, as are scientists, and most teachers, definitely the unions, and well...you get the idea.

Increasingly, however, I’ve become convinced that despite all their talk to contrary, conservatives don’t actually like America (not just most Americans).  Why else would the be trying so hard to dismantle the American nation-state?

Consider for a moment Grover Norquist’s much repeated mantra of reducing the size of the American government to the point that it can be drowned “in the bathtub.”  Admittedly, it’s one thing to believe in smaller government, but it’s entirely different matter to openly espouse your support for killing the government.  In some circles that’s called treason.  In other circles, it’s called anarchy.  Whatever you call it, it’s most definitely unpatriotic.

As a defense, conservatives like to tell us that what they’re really after is returning America to the country envisioned by the founders. The problem with this argument is that the Founding Fathers were not of one mind. There were many competing and contentious views as to what the new American government should be, and while some of the founders absolutely believed in small government (an opinion that was far from unanimous), none advocated no government at all.

Yet continued Republican efforts to defund key federal programs and crucial public services strikes at the very heart of what a nation-state is.  A country, after all, is far more than a geographically defined territory and a piece of paper laying out the supposed rule for warring political tribes.  That’s a failed state.  A nation-state, must include the above, but it must also enjoy legitimacy from its populous. And legitimacy is derived only insomuch as the state is able to deliver key public benefits (you know, things like roads, and social security, and health care, and schools).

Likewise, claiming that the role of federal government should be limited to providing a strong military does it cut either.  That’s what authoritarian governments do.  And besides, a standing national military certainly wasn’t a concern of the founding fathers.  If it had been, they probably would have established one.

Once you start hollowing the core of what the government does; when you shrink it to the point that you are able to drown it in the bathtub, you eliminate the very reason for government to exist in the first place. At that point, you are returning the populous to the state of nature (the thing which Hobbes and Locke wrote so much about), where only the fittest survive and the strongest rule with impunity.  Such conditions are not at all conducive to a flourishing democracy, nor for that matter, are they what the founders had hoped this nation to be.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site