The Rottenness of the Right Has Long Been Evident

Published at 21:54 on 18 September 2021

Just take this story as an example. In 2015, a Seattle capitalist adopts an egalitarian pay scale at his business, and he gets raked over the coals by right-wing voices for it. Rush Limbaugh all but wished for the guy’s business to fail.

Capitalism is the economic system of classic liberalism. Under classical liberal doctrine, what sort of pay scale Dan Price chooses to adopt for his business quite literally is not Rush Limbaugh’s business. A properly pro-capitalist opinion would be to basically have no opinion, other than that it is within Dan Price’s property rights to do that.

Clearly, there is some motive operating here other than one of defending the individual rights of the capitalist. There is evidently a positive wish for society to be unequal and unjust, with the few enjoying luxury while the many struggle.

The standard defenses of capitalism are only being made because those making them assume capitalism will work out in such a way. The instant it fails to do so, what a capitalist does with his own business ceases to be a mere issue of personal freedom and suddenly becomes a matter of concern for society at large.

This is in fact one of the things John Dean (a conservative, by the way) discussed in his 2006 book Conservatives Without Conscience. The conservative ideology, based on skepticism about human nature and the complexity of society, often leads conservatives to oppose efforts at changing society. The opposition is because one firmly believes said change to be risky and likely to be ultimately counterproductive to its stated goals.

That is one reason for opposing change. The other reason is because you actively like a world of privilege and injustice, because you believe that you or the group you are a member of will end up on the privileged side of the deal. That’s a pretty ugly set of beliefs, and one that is difficult to argue for as such. Far easier to get the outcome you want (an unchanged and unjust society) by professing to be a concerned conservative. Conservatism is thus intrinsically vulnerable to being hijacked by authoritarians.

It goes a long way to explain how the Republican Party got to where it is today.

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