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Our Seven-Decade Monster

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Like the periodical cicada that continually appears like clockwork very 13 to 17 years to annoy the hell out of us or the destructive tent caterpillars that rise about every seven years or so to eat the greenery off any tree they call home, a recurrent conservative political monster arises on an up-to-70-year cycle to wreak havoc on this grand United States of America. By exercising corruption, failed tax policies, lax regulation and government for the aristocracy it has brought us to its latest incarnation and led to another national rescue mission by the political left. But the right-wing monster will not lie in peace

It will arise again because political right-wingers who usher it in cannot learn from past mistakes. When Ronald Reagan came to the presidency he proclaimed that deregulating the savings-and-loan industry would result in a real-estate paradise that would benefit us all. It didn't. But after the looting of the saving-and-loan institutions, right-wingers who didn't learn from that disaster proclaimed that deregulating the utility industry would bring dirt-cheap electricity through the magic of competition.

Instead we got the Enron collapse and scandal, numerous electricity shortages, utility companies nearing, or in, bankruptcy and an elimination of dividends many Americans depended on for retirement income. That wasn't enough for the deregulators who decided that removing restrictions on accounting firms was the way to go and allowed such firms to serve as financial advisors as well as business auditors and accountants.

That also failed and was a contributing factor in the Enron collapse, the failure and liquidation of longtime accounting firm Arthur Andersen as a certified public accounting enterprise in the United States, and the corporate scandals at Tyco, Global Crossings, WorldCom, Adelphia and other smaller companies. With three major failures of right-wing philosophy in two decades, the right decided that deregulation of the financial markets was a great idea, and that resulted in the present meltdown of finances worldwide and the $50-billion Ponzi scheme run by a well-regarded Wall Street figure. And, true to form, the righties blamed everyone but themselves for the fiascos.

There is no excuse in this modern world to be so ignorant of the events around us. With the internet and search engines, information is at hand as fast as a conservative Republican can muster up a lie. But that knowledge is seldom sought.

That conservatives cannot learn is evident but less overt is that many also refuse to learn. A recent study from Yale University showed that arguing with conservatives ~ who are always right but never correct ~ is counterproductive. So certain of the validity of their "philosophy" are conservatives that factual proof that dispels the conservative belief is met with such stern resistance that it actually makes the conservative believe it is right even more so and build a stronger wall of resistance to reality than previously existed. The conservative views proof as an attack, not as evidence. And that is why conservative nonsense can never be eliminated.

In the savings-and-loan looting conservatives claimed the firms failed because regulators shut them down before the glorious orchid of real-estate paradise could bloom. In the present financial disaster they blame low-income people for "forcing" multi-billion-dollar firms to extend home mortgages that couldn't be repaid.

If conservatives cannot learn, or will not learn, from the mistakes within their own generation ~ or always lie themselves innocent of blame ~ they can't learn from mistakes of past generations, which mean righties will try the same idiocy again in the future. and the assured failures will be blamed on others. Abetting the right's repeated failures, scams and frauds is a voting public, which also doesn't learn from the past, and will usually fall for the right-wing lies because lies always sound better than truth.

Voters' memories might be improved if the nation's media would stop pretending that the present economic problems "just happened" and start calling the mess what it is, a Reagan-double-Bush disaster.

At least, George Bush the Daddy had the good sense to label Reagan's hallucinations on economics "voodoo economics" while campaigning for the presidency in 1980. But after becoming president following Reagan's reign of stupidity, Bush only catered to the lunatic right in hopes of getting re-elected while doing nothing to free the nation from the voodoo he first warned against, which kept the world on the path to what could be called "The Voodoo Depression" we are now experiencing.

Now in Congress we see Republican leaders, the very people who enabled the disaster to occur under George Bush the Delusional by giving Reagan and the Bushes all they wanted on tax cuts and deregulation ~ with more deregulation under Bill Clinton ~ lecturing president-elect Barack Obama on his proposed economic rescue package. These people should be the last to lecture anybody on anything.

During the Great Depression, conservatives continually harangued Franklin Delano Roosevelt to cut spending and balance the budget even though recovery was progressing smoothly. FDR finally relented and reduced spending trying for a balanced budget only to see the recovery stall and regress before he returned to his successful path.

But conservatives now cite that short regression in the recovery to claim Roosevelt "prolonged" the recovery when in fact, it was conservative insistence that he abandon what was working to try their pet theories that caused the brief retraction. And we can be assured that conservatives in Congress will try everything they can think of to try to derail Obama's recovery efforts because a successful recovery will once again prove their economic ideas to be kooky. And, if Obama's efforts succeed those same conservatives will attribute his success to Reagan.

The conservative seven-decade monster will rise again because of the cohesiveness of its philosophy. Right-wingers tend to engage in group think; that is they are inclined to congregate in a small range of political and economic beliefs where there is no room for dissension.

The recent "dismissal" of Christopher Buckley from the National Review political magazine his late father, William F. Buckley Jr., founded is a prime example how differing views are not tolerated in a movement that claims to represent "individuality" and abhor the "collective." Buckley the Younger had pledged to vote for Barack Obama; and that was not accepted on the right. On the other hand, progressives or liberals tend to engage in free thinking; that is, each person will think for himself.

There is no central authority of liberalism trying to herd all into a uniform philosophy. That invariably leads to fractures in the progressive movement such as 10 different liberals wanting 171/2 different actions. The result is always a crippling of the progressive movement that will lose direction and power once the problems caused by right-wing rule have been addressed. The right will then use its unity to rise again and wreak havoc on the land.

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***************************************************** Thomas Bonsell is a former newspaper editor (in Oregon, New York and Colorado) United States Air Force cryptanalyst and National Security Agency intelligence agent. He became one of (more...)
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