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Trouble In Conservative Paradise

When I entered the libertarian world, I was in search of ideas that I thought would be more liberating for me as an individual, and when I entered the conservative world, I was in search of ideas that I hoped would have a deeper bedrock and evidence of success than the experimental ones my hippie family background had banked on.

Those days are over for me, as I write in an upcoming piece for Hampton about my admiration and antipathy for Republican presidential possibility Rand Paul. As someone who checks in on it but has no dreams of ever entering conservative world again, I am regularly flummoxed by the strange and bizarre conversations that conservatives have amongst themselves and how bizarrely inaccurate their perception of themselves is.

In most of the liberal or radical world, going in to the developing world and feeding at risk children is something that would be admired almost without question. Organizations like UNICEF, the Salvation Army and Red Cross do this sort of thing daily. Only in conservatopia does a heated debate occur over the most benign behavior imaginable:

To start, Christian conservatives were roundly assailed by other conservatives for daring to provide aid and comfort to children whose parents had shipped them across the border. Some could not distinguish between giving a child a teddy bear and supporting Mexican drug cartels. It was all one or all the other. In fact, many Christians, myself included, want expedited deportations and a secure border. But we also want to make sure the children, some victims of human trafficking, were taken care of, fed, and comforted.
But to some on the right, that is aiding law breakers. The anger and hysteria directed at conservatives engaged in private charity had all the makings of a leftist police state making us care about how we choose to spend our own money.

That paragraph only shows how sad the conservative mindset is but it gets worse in the Hot Air response:

I largely agree with Erick, although we should keep in mind at least one important distinction. The conservo-populist movement that Erick blames for the issues he sees is more libertarian than faith-based. Those activists are more likely to be the people with an Ayn Rand quote on their bumper rather than the ichthys medallion on their car. Erick’s younger than I am (and has better hair, darn him), but we’re both political products of the era of the Religious Right, when the conservative movement and Christian faith were more closely tied together. We have been moving away from that correlation for years, a trend accelerated by the rise of social media and the open-source political debates of the past decade — in which both Erick and I have thrived, it also should be noted.

 First off, Ayn Rand has been around for decades. She was doing interviews with Mike Wallace and talking about objectivism when my mother was in elementary school. In that regard, Randianism is hardly a new arrival. Alan Greenspan was an acolyte of hers. It is troubling that a great deal of Republicans would be outward fans of Atlas Shrugged, a demented and nonsensical book by a seriously emotionally troubled woman that played a significant role in me leaving the right wing world, but her influence is not new.

The word "Christian" comes up alot and no matter how many services one goes to, perhaps that just becomes more about the ceremony and the self-agrandizement that the pomp and circumstance that it provides. There is nothing in the Gospel that corroborates with the conservative world of selfishness. In fact, let me direct you to Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek, for they hall inherit the Kingdom of God." There are many other passages that drive the point home too.

Conservatism has been hostile to immigrants for a long time and successful Republican politicians have always had to work hard to keep a lid on it. It's not a product of young libertarian whipper snappers, as the like of Gary Johnson are actually very much in favor of open immigration. Loathing of immigrants for all their difference is at the core of conservative reaction and colloquialism and if self-professed conservatives are uncomfortable with it, they aren't really conservatives.

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Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

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Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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