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If Conservatism Is The Ideology of Freedom, I'm The Queen of England

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I wish I had a nickel for every time a conservative told a lie in order to sell an ideology that would otherwise be hopelessly unappealing.

But, then, what the hell would I do with ten kazillion, trillion, dollars? I wouldn’t know how to spend that much loot.

These lies are legend, and they’re endlessly retold. Everything from the one about the liberal bias in the media, or the one about Ronald Reagan ending the Cold War, to the one about how the private sector is so much more efficient than the government. And how about Saddam’s arsenal of WMD, eh? Or the tax cuts that weren’t going to drive the federal government into deficit? Or remember when George Bush told us that the war in Iraq was over, before it had even really started? Or the bit about how global warming is just a great big conspiracy among those noted well-known cabalists, er ... climatology scientists?

I’m only just getting started here, but you get the point. If you’re a conservative you basically have two choices – lie or lose. ‘Cause if you tell the truth, no one in his or her right mind would buy the garbage you’re peddling.

The list of lies is endless, but my personal favorite is the one about how conservatism is the ideology of freedom, and specifically freedom from an overweening, intrusive, liberty-stealing, nanny-state government.

Sometimes when I hear that howler, I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not off in some virtual reality world (like ‘Liberty’ University, or the Republican national convention) somewhere. Because, clearly, between me and the well-programmed fool mouthing these hopeless inanities, one of us is, that’s for sure.

But I’ll tell you what, if conservatism is the ideology of freedom – then I’m the Queen of England. And, one thing you can be sure of is that I’m not the Queen of England. I don’t even have the right parts and pieces, and the only crown I’ve ever worn was given to me forty years ago by some pimply-faced teenager working the cash register at Burger King. Somehow, I don’t think that counts.

Meanwhile, here’s what I’d like to know:

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If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who fought against the American Revolution?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to take that freedom away from us, especially women and minorities? Why did they fight against the effort to end slavery, or to give women and minorities the vote, or to protect them from discrimination? Why are they still supporting efforts to disenfranchise minorities?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who bitterly opposed the New Deal at a time when Americans were ravaged by the Great Depression and the only freedom they were desperately seeking was from unemployment, starvation, humiliation and death? We should give thanks for their efforts ever since then, though, as they’ve been kind enough to keep trying to liberate seniors from the hell of receiving their Social Security benefits, bravely volunteering Wall Street to carry that burden instead.

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always propping up foreign dictators, like Saddam, Musharraf, Mubarak, Marcos, Pinochet, the Shah, Batista, the House of Saud and apartheid South Africa? Why did they, in some of these cases, secretly topple democratically elected governments to install repressive regimes, which they then assisted in the torturing of their own citizens? Exactly which definition of ‘freedom’ does that fall under?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to control other people’s sexuality? Why are conservatives always telling us whom we can sleep with and what we can do in bed, even including whether we can use birth control?

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If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to make sure that the state takes control of women’s bodies, denying them reproductive choice and freedom?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to tell us who we can marry? How come they believe that the state – which they always seem to hate, except when it is at war – should be able to make that most personal decision for us?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always blocking the environmental regulations which are the only hope to keep our bodies free from carcinogens and other harmful effects?

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David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.  He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles (dmg@regressiveantidote.net), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. His website is (more...)
 

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as i watch our constitution shredded you mirror my... by liberalsrock on Friday, Nov 23, 2007 at 9:33:31 AM
I've been making the case on the www for over ... by Ray Dubuque on Friday, Nov 23, 2007 at 6:53:21 PM
You are obviously PROFOUNDLY confused as to the me... by Mark Bennett on Saturday, Nov 24, 2007 at 11:20:54 AM