I chose the words in my title carefully, because clearly…obviously, conservatives do not hate government. At least not the ones that get elected to office.
Oh sure, they hate taxes, and gleefully get behind Grover Norquist to sign his pledge, and you hear rumblings from “The Base” on the right about how wonderful it’d be if Duke Norquist actually got his way and really COULD, one fine day, drown that evil gummint in a bathtub, but the rightward leaning politicians would be out of a job if the base got their way, and at that point, I’m pretty sure simple preservation instinct kicks in, which is why you hear lots of talk about virtually ending the government (see “The Ryan Budget Plan,” – both versions), but you seldom see any actual action on that front.
Well, that and because the Democrats represent the larger of the two political parties, and we won’t have it. Let’s not discount that. It’s more than true that in most political fights that occur, the Timidcrats don’t even bother to show up, so the Republicans (increasingly synonymous with “conservative”) win by default and take control of the narrative, but when we do show up and actually throw a couple of punches, we’re more than evenly matched, and when we actually TRY to win–sadly, we seldom do–we trounce them.
Anyway, I’m veering off course.
My sense of it is that there are basically four reasons why conservatives claim to hate government, and taken together, these four explain the vast majority of the right wing faux rage on the topic. They are:
1) Everybody else is doing it. Righties tend to live in a bubble. They only get their “news” from a few “approved” sources, and those sources are always going on about the evils of government. That’s bound to rub off. When pundits and entertainers (Rush, Beck, Coulter, Hannity, O’Reilly, etc) are viewed as news sources, and you hear them railing against gummint daily, of course you’ll start to buy in. In the conservaverse, all the cool kids are doin’ it.
2) Fear. There have been a great number of articles (including several from conservative folk) about how the educated people are leaving the party. Not to put too fine a point on it, but when all the smart people leave your base, you’re ultimately left with a bunch of dumbasses. Dumbasses typically don’t make great decisions (which is why we call them dumbasses), so putting a dumbass in a position of authority (gummint or otherwise) is bound to lead to spectacular incompetence on display. I think these folk are imagining themselves in gummint, and picturing what an awful job they’d do, and it scares the hell out of them. Then, they assume that they’re “just like everybody else” (if you poll people, almost everyone will describe themselves as “above average intelligence” apparently)
3) Ignorance. See above re: the flight of intelligence from the GOP. If you don’t understand what government does, or why it does it, or that YOU PERSONALLY benefit from much of it (I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve talked to people on food stamps or other public assistance who are all for the Republicans, and simply refuse to believe that they’d be impacted if Republicans get their way). When this is where you “are,” it’s not so unbelievable that you’d be against gummint, is it? (and of course, items 2 and 3 tie together neatly with the right’s global education conspiracy, wherein schools all over the western world have been infiltrated by evil liberals, and turned into libbie indoctrination mills, which only drives the base further from education…couple that with the Texas state R party platform which comes right out and SAYS it wants to remove the teaching of critical thinking skills from school, and you get…well….what we’ve got in today’s Republican party–there’s a link to the actual party platform in the article referenced, btw, so you can see for yourself).
4) Blindness. I really think that conservative folk get so caught up in their chest thumping patriotism and worship of “The Free Market” (which, as most of us understand isn’t really all that free), that they ascribe every good to The Corporation, every ill to The Government, and can see no middle ground. There’s no point of intersection in their minds. No instances where government does some stuff better, and other cases where private enterprise does stuff better.
In the conservaverse, government sucks, corporations are all goodness and light, and if you disagree, then you’re obviously a librocommiefascist and part of one of the six global conservative conspiracies, and that’s just all there is to it.
There’s can’t really BE rational discussion with someone like that, and it’s a waste of time to try, sadly.
So, for all you conservative folks out there, I have a list for your consideration:
The Great Pyramid of Giza
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Lighthouse of Alexandria
The Great Wall of China
The Colosseum in Rome
The Hagia Sophia
The Chichen Itza
The Taj Mahal
The City of Petra
What do all of these things have in common?
You guessed it. They were all built by those inept, incapable gummints that you folks despise (I picked mostly old stuff on purpose btw, cos more than half of these are still standing to this day).
Corporations are good at building junk that wears out (can’t build stuff to last, cos then you wouldn’t have repeat customers, and that’s far more important, see?) and overcharging at every step.
If you want to build something to last, call your local incompetent gummint.
Graphics Credit: http://www.crystalinks.com/seven.html