If the vote against the bailout plan sounds familiar to Michigan ears, it would seem to be the rise of the “conservatives” — and don’t we know them..
Explains Eve Fairbanks in The New Republic:
(they’re) proponents of “free trade, libertarianism, true free markets, freedom from government intervention in a wide range of sectors, true, rock-ribbed, hard core conservatism,”
Ah yes, the kool-aid drinkers, the folks who never saw a tax cut they didn’t like. Usually, we can keep them contained on the state level, but yesterday they took center stage nationally.
Most obviously, this is conservatism as an ideology, an intellectual Procustean bed. Ideology is a trap. While it can guide policy in relatively calm times, strong ideas become increasingly dangerous when fundamental conditions shift. Then the temptation arises to recite the ideology as a sort of policy talisman. Practically, this means a call for a return to the old, fundamental truths. Here’s a great example.
But in Michigan as in Washington, this ideology-driven politics is something else: it’s a politics of denial. It’s a politics that assumes the old truths still hold, that the current circumstance will pass, whether credit freeze in national markets or the impact of globalization in our state. We are not really threatened, the water will not get to where we are. And speaking as one who has suffered from this disease, this politics induces one other dangerous flaw: we imagine that the solution is simple, that our ideology has given us the key.
Theologically, this is a form of gnosticism. Politically, it is a dead-end. Michigan and the United States need better.
We will not be able to cure the disease until we own our condition.