A Radical Reactionary Blog Post

May 20, 2012 at 11:00 am (Uncategorized)

So something I’ve been thinking about today is the political divide today and where I think people are coming from. Essentially, if one were to make a rough sketch of ideological beliefs (and wouldn’t you know it, I did in the post below this one! So considerate) you might find that four points you could look at are radicalism, progressive, conservatism, and reactionary. Radicalism is generally associated with leftism, but I think today we find that isn’t always the case. More on that momentarily.

I think much of the ideological issues we have today come from the conflict between progressives (democrats, mostly) and reactionaries on the right. The difference between conservatism and a reactionary worldview is that while conservatives seek to stifle change, reactionaries believe that we should go backwards to a better, simpler time. When one chalks this up to nostalgia that seems harmless, but when a group of people want to reverse a raft a societal and social changes for the better that have been made, it presents a dangerous threat to our country’s stability and ability to operate in the modern world. On issues like women’s rights and freedom of religion, many reactionaries would like to head back to 1912 as opposed to 2012. This also comes up in the idea of limited government. There is, I think, a marked difference between fiscal responsibility and the drastic (and possibly devastating) effects that are the stated goal of some of the libertarian and tea party individuals in this country.In some ways, I would characterize their behavior as having more in line with radicalism, and the reimagining of the way in which America operates in the fiscal sense. The fact that fiscal conservatives and radicals have aligned themselves with religious conservatives and reactionaries makes for interesting bedfellows, as I am not quite convinced that they always have much in common. In any case, I feel that the Republican party’s shift to the right signals some kind of change in our two party system, because our generation is not going to stand for this kind of polarization in the long term.

I believe that there is a reasonable debate to be had about the size of government in this country and what our priorities in terms of spending should be. However, the unwillingness of many members of our legislative branch and beyond is occasionally very disheartening. Young people need to get involved in politics, need to elect moderates (on both sides of the isle), and we need to figure out that many of the problems facing this country today are serious but are essentially fixable. It isn’t a matter of always throwing money at a problem, or cutting a program completely, but rather looking at the data and finding creative, nonpartisan solutions to these problems. I find that while in my head something akin to socialism seems to be the philosophical ideal I look up to, when trying to solve problems of governance it is not the answer in the U.S. It’s not going to work all the time, but can we at least have some modicum of respect for one another?

For whatever reason, my mind has jumped to healthcare. I am certainly a progressive, but it’s an issue that if people were willing to compromise on I think could have a viable solution. Clearly a single payer system is more efficient in many ways, but I can understand the right’s reluctance in the name of stifled innovation and investment. Why can’t we have a panel of smart, dedicated people sit down and craft something that allows the government to control costs (and unfortunately for the libertarian crowd, still probably has some form of mandate–it just won’t work without it) while still providing room for innovation and potentially creating a minimal safety net for everyone while allowing people to pay more for health insurance if they want a better plan. The thing I think people fail to take into account is that you’re still paying for all of these uninsured people through higher premiums. The more people are in the pool, the less you have to pay for health care. There are answers to this problem. I think what’s more frustrating than anything is the leadership vacuum from conservatives in terms of giving alternative plans so that there’s something substantive to the debate instead of the reform vs “go fuck yourselves” argument that seems to be playing out at the moment.

It’s easy for young people to think that they don’t have a voice, but we have a strong one. It just needs to be activated. We can start the respectful dialogue our parents’ generation apparently felt like leaving at the door. It starts with involvement in primaries and contacting your officials, and opening up conversations with people we disagree with and instead of saying hateful things trying to come to understandings and being respectful of our differences and cultivating the essential American values we all share. It also comes with understanding that someone’s politics are not their whole person, and being able to separate the two. If we can do that, we might just find we have more common ground than we think.

 

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