Monday, March 9, 2009
The powers-that-be use the words "conservative", "Republican", "liberal" and "Democrat" as wedge issues.
But those terms are largely without substance. They are really "brand names" like Coke and Pepsi, and with about as much difference.
For example, Bush is a "Republican" and so-called "conservative", and yet he spent our country into staggering debt levels, launched various imperial adventures, and rolled back 200-year old traditions contained in the Constitution.
Nancy Pelosi is a "liberal" and "Democrat", yet she has apparently flown all over the country on air force jets using them as her "personal airline", prevented impeachment against war criminals, and encouraged torture and spying on Americans, and covered-up of the fact that the supposed sources of information for the 9/11 investigation were unreliable. Pelosi talked about ending the Iraq war, but then voted for spending increases for the war every single time.
And both Bush and Pelosi helped throw trillions of dollars at failed, corrupt financial companies without requiring any oversight or control.
True, there are some real and important differences on certain issues.
But on many issues, the difference is mainly one of style and images, and the parties are no more different than Coke is from Pepsi: both are drinks made with a lot of sugar, carbonation, food coloring, preservatives and water. Their "secret flavoring ingredients" might be slightly different, but they are 99.9% the same.
Progressives Versus Libertarians
The words "progressive" and "libertarian" still have some meaning, and have not yet been totally co-opted. People who consider themselves "progressive" are largely critical of the DNC agenda, and are pushing for real change.
Likewise, "libertarians" are highly critical of the Republican party, and support real change.Indeed, despite the divide-and-conquer strategy of the powers-that-be, and its false "left-right" dichotomy, progressives and libertarians think a lot alike on many issues. That's why progressives who support Dennis Kucinich and libertarians who like Ron Paul actually work together on many issues.
Of course, part of the problem is that "Neoconservatives, like Bush, are not really conservative. And "Neoliberals" are not really liberal.
So whatever distinction the terms conservative and liberal might formerly have had are largely gone, co-opted by the wealthy and powerful to serve their needs. As such, they have become largely indistinguishable.
How Could He Be Both Conservative and Liberal?
George Washington was neither a "republican" or a "democrat". Those parties didn't exist when he was president. He was simply an "American".
Let's play a game. Who are the all-time most conservative people in America? Who are the most liberal?
You might assume that the most conservative people are small-town midwestern Christians, and that the most liberal people are San Franciscan gays or hippies. But are those stereotypes accurate?
What could be more conservative than a native american who followed traditions largely unchanged for hundreds of years, who took only as much as he and his family needed, who used every single part of the animal he killed and wasted nothing, and whose spiritual beliefs formed the basis for every part of his life?
What could be more liberal than the "seven generations" concept of the Iroquois:
The Great Law of the Iroquois League imposed a duty upon leaders to "have always in view not only the present, but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground—the unborn of the future Nation," and the Iroquois tradition is to consider the impact of decisions on the next seven generations.
The Iroquois sought to protect their environment so that it could keep providing healthy food and good living. They were peacemakers who negotiated conflicts between other tribes. And the women elders had impeachment power to sideline a male leader who acted for himself instead of for the good of the tribe.
Am I saying that we should all dress up like native Americans and show up at pow wows? Of course not. I'll I'm saying is that the strategy of the elite is always to create false stereotypes to divide and conquer us and turn us against one another.
I'm saying that we need to think for ourselves about what conservative and what liberal means, and which parts of each we want to embrace and which parts we don't want any part of.
I'm saying don't let others define you. Define yourself.