American Conservatism Right Now–Less A Movement Than An Industry

In the context of trying to make sense of the Palin phenomenon and her recent resignation, Andrew Sullivan perfectly sums up the problem with the current state of America’s right wing establishment:

And this helps explain the broader problem with American conservatism right now. It is less a movement than an industry. From Fox News to talk radio to conservative publishing houses, it has created an alternate and lucrative media reality that is worth a fortune to those able to exploit it. Alas, these alternative media thrive on paranoia, hatred of liberal elites and growing extremist rhetoric made worse by a hermetically sealed echo chamber of true believers. Anyone criticised by the left or even by the establishment right is a martyr in this world. In America, martyrdom sells. And Palin is a product worth lots of money.

She wants some of it; and she has no actual interest in governing America (even though she’d love the title of president). She referred to giving up her “title” as governor, not her “office”. In this, she is the ultimate Republican of this degenerate moment: all culture war, no policy; all identity politics, no engagement with practical answers to difficult public problems; and all hysterical opposition to Barack Obama, no actual alternatives offered.

Since even epic scandals heighten celebrity rather than diminish it, Palin’s future is secure. Her party’s? Getting bleaker by the day.

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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