Beyond Conservatism

The popularity of the Sarah Palins among the Republican base explains a lot about America.

I have never been to Alaska but Palin reminds me of my friends and neighbors in rural Nevada. Her attitudes about sex education, evolution, and library books are fairly typical in broad swaths of the American population.

Palin conducts politics like a high school home coming queen. That’s why many people can identify with her. Experts on global politics, on the other hand, have little in common with the average voter.

Unfortunately, we will neither be able to sustain ourselves as a world power nor be able to provide for our families with a political leadership that wages a war on science.

There is a reason why we have the lowest life expectation, the highest child mortality, and the most derelict infrastructure in the western world. Anti-science and anti-rational attitudes among the electorate explain a lot in that regard.

According to the Gates Foundation, one third of our children do not graduate from high school. Another third is not prepared for college or a twenty-first century job. That state of the electorate will, of course, have political consequences.

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22 Responses

  1. Elaine says:

    The more I see of and learn about Sarah Palin, the more frightening I find her.

    Not to mention the fact that she has a whiny voice that has about the same effect on me as fingernails scraping down a chalkboard (which gives her something in common with McCain, as far as I’m concerned).

    And not to mention the fact that her delivery of a speech reminds me way, way too much of some of the speeches I heard from high schoolers when I was judging forensics competitions. I absolutely cannot figure out why everyone is so raving about how wonderful her speech was last night, just going on mechanics and not on content…which I wasn’t that thrilled with, either.

  2. Matt says:

    Priorities, people. Priorities. What does it profit a man to gain the world if he loses his soul?

    This is god’s country. So, let’s just keep Joseph Smith’s fav rejoinder in mind here (roughly paraphrased): god loves the simpleton. Political consequences be damned — literally.

    Ahhh, America. Home of Christian Fundamentalism.

    Hellmut, something tells me there will be no easy way around the matter.

  3. Seth R. says:

    “Her attitudes about sex education, evolution, and library books are fairly typical in broad swaths of the American population.”

    And these are… what exactly?

  4. Hellmut says:

    Palin opposes “explicit” sex education but wants abstinence only sex education. She wants public schools to teach creationism side by side with evolution and she tried to ban library books.

    Palin went so far as to fire the city librarian for refusing to remove books from the shelves. After a public outcry, Palin relented.

  5. Elaine says:

    Are there any sources listing which books Palin wanted to ban? I haven’t been able to find any specifics, and I’d really be interested to know what offended her so much.

  6. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    Palin is a Cheerleader for Repub-Neocon POV-causes, a beauty queen. She’s so ‘Bright & Shiny’, many residents of Morland wish she was LDS (to replace MR); if Morlanders thought they could refer the mishs to contact her, they would.
    Unfortunately, many folks now believe that book banning-burning is justified, That’s Scarry.

  7. Hellmut says:

    The Boston Herald covers the censorship issue pretty well.

  8. etigg says:

    Governor Palin and John McCain strike me as politicians out of the same mold as Harry Truman. He was similarly derided by the “experts,” and was similarly determined by the republican-leaning press of his day to be unfit for the Presidency. At this same point in his ’48 campaign, the press had virtually unanimously decided that he would lose in a landslide to Governor Dewey of New York.

    Palin was an inspired pick for VP. Frankly, I would never have believed that Senator McCain had it in him to make such a great choice. This alone has lifted him up several notches in my estimation.

  9. chanson says:

    Palin was an inspired pick for VP.

    This is what scares me most about this pick. Even with GWB’s catastrophic presidencey staring us in the face, there are still people who think that the only expertise a president needs is willingness to enforce the loudest religion.

  10. Hellmut says:

    Thanks for the post, etigg, and welcome to Main Street Plaza.
    Your comparison with Harry Truman is interesting. I am not sure how John McCain is similar to Harry Truman but, may be, you can explain what you have in mind.
    John McCain is the son and the grandson of admirals. He married an heiress and except for working for his in-laws, McCain never held a private sector job in his life.
    Harry Truman, on the other hand, comes from a humble background in Missouri. His parents were poor. Truman himself went bankrupt during the twenties. Like McCain, Truman married a wealthier woman but Bess Truman was hardly wealthy enough to life off her fortune.
    Just as Truman came from Missouri, I suppose one could claim for Palin that she is also from a place that is as different from the East Coast as can be. But that exhausts the similarities.
    Harry Truman was ridiculed for being a country bumpkin. Sarah Palin is being praised for her abilities to presenting herself to the public, especially in front of the camera.
    Sarah Palin is a populist because she is a religious fundamentalist. Harry Truman was a populist because he fought for the interests of ordinary people against war profiteers and big business.
    When Sarah Palin governed as mayor of Wasilla, she inherited zero long term debt. She left behind $19 million dollars of debt. Harry Truman, on the other hand, balanced the budget after World War II.
    Sarah Palin has no experience in national security. When Harry Truman became President of the United States, he had not only been a Congressman, a United States Senator but also a World War I veteran who had served decades in the national guard.
    Most importantly, while little educated, Harry Truman appreciated his own limitations. He was humble enough to question himself and listen to expert advice.
    Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is blinded by the arrogance of faith. She cannot question herself and mistakes egocentrism for virtue.
    It seems to me that in many important ways, Sarah Palin is the exact negative of Harry Truman. She has everything that Truman lacked. She is a great performer and the ultimate politician. But unlike Truman she is arrogant and her pride reinforces her ignorance about America’s place in the world.

  11. chanson says:

    p.s. I’m shocked by how quick many ‘nacclers have been to applaud the choice of Palin, taking it as a given that the more obvious choice (Romney) should be immediately dismissed since Evangelicals will only vote for one of their own.

    Man, the Mormons are quick to kiss ass and make up. No wonder the Religious Right doesn’t even pretend to like Mormons — they know they don’t have to…

  12. Matt says:

    Classic MoRepub thinking … if two things have similar virtues of one type then they MUST share virtually all other virtues. It’s a cheap and easy way to eat the whole elephant by taking a single bite. As we know, Mormons are taught to do this from birth. Should be no surprise then when we see the method of false reasoning applied again and again … and at what cost?

    Thanks for your comments, Hellmut. And Chanson, you rock. 🙂

  13. circus watcher says:

    America, like Canada will import educatd and skilled labour as required. Unskilled labour will be imported from Mexico. North America has always imported skilled labour. The days of importing skilled labour may be coming to an end. The standard of living for the well paid working class is coming to an end. Palin speaks to these people, people with a grudge, people unwilling to change. These people may hold back America, similar to the agricultural interests in France hiolding France back, until the demographics change.

  14. Hellmut says:

    Thanks for the compliment, Matt.

    Chanson, I have not been to the ‘nacle for a long time. The Palin nomination would have been an interesting point in time. Do you recall who said what?

    In my opinion, Evangelicals are in part abusing Mormons because we are putting up with it. I apologize for blaming the victim but our relationship with Evangelicals is like that of a co-dependent spouse.

    When push comes to shove, only the ACLU will stand up against the discrimination of Mormon minorities.

  15. chanson says:

    Do you recall who said what?

    This is just the basic impression I got from skimming the posts and comments on the blogs I’ve subscribed to. If I have some time later this week, I could write a post on the Bloggernacle’s reaction to Palin…

  16. profxm says:

    Wow, Hellmut (RE #10), that was awesome! I wish I was that knowledgeable about politics and politicians.

  17. Hellmut says:

    Thanks, Prof. Don’t ask me about baseball players. 😉

  18. Elaine says:

    May I just point out to those in the discussion (here and elsewhere) who are believers in the Bible and have applauded Palin, including her denigration of Barack Obama as a “community organizer”, an observation that came across on the knitting website I frequent:

    Jesus was a community organizer, while Pilate was a governor.

  19. Craig says:

    I understand why people in small towns respond to things like teaching creationism, banning books, and getting rid of sex education (yet banning abortions, which are avoidable with sufficient sex education, but why let logic and facts cloud the issues?)

    But I can’t fathom why we as a country, why the media, why anyone allows our possible leaders (and current leaders) to espouse these beliefs, and why we allow them to make social policy based on unscientific and blatantly religious fundamentals.

    Americans are too apathetic, and are paying for it. This could never happen in Canada or Europe, not because there aren’t (insane) conservatives, but because the populace won’t allow such ridiculousness. Creationism? Really? How does that make any sense at all? Separation of church and state anyone? No one?

    It makes me sick, and afraid.

    Maybe it is time to move back to Canada.

  20. Hellmut says:

    I have seen people with Palin’s beliefs in Germany, Craig. They were not conservatives but fundamentalists at the fringe of society.

  21. Guy Noir, Private Eye says:

    ‘Beyond Conservatism’: BC

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