Friday, February 25, 2005

Matthew Yglesias: Kinds of Rightwingery

Pay close attention to Matt's on-going thoughts on the two kinds of conservative (anti-state and anti-left), here and here. He's on to something very important here and I look forward to seeing how this discussion evolves. A key point which he addresses in the second post is the critisism like "I'm no de-prioritizing small government because I've simply decided to hate on liberals, I supported Bush because the Democrats aren't serious about national security." Matt's answer is that this is "wrong", but I don't think that fully covers it. Also it is nowhere near as elegant as the emerging "two kinds of conservatives" thesis. I look forward to a more powerful response.

UPDATE: Thinking about this some more, it seems clear to me that there's another element to conservative motivation beyong anti-state and anti-left. I'm not quite sure what it is but it has something to do with the fact that 9/11 was such as shock to most Americans and the strong appeal of the "let's kick some butt" type of response. There are lots of (mostly) white Americans in the heartland who have never even been to New York who wholeheartedly support Bush and think Democrats are unserious about national security. People who were much closer to the attacks (such as my wife who was in NYC on 9/11) think many of Bush's initiatives have been counter-productive and Kerry & Co. would have probably done a better job. Something is going on here, and that something is a major rightwing political force in this country today which rivals the anti-state and anti-left currents.

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