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The Conservative’s Utopia

October 31, 2009

Come with me now, while we step into the right-wing version of earthly paradise. The elite right and the populist right will dream slightly different dreams, naturally, but their Utopia is still unmistakable. As with The Leftist’s Utopia, you’ll encounter some deliberate exaggerations here for the sake of our amusement.

The Conservative’s Utopia.

Everyone is white, except for those amiable minority folk who smile broadly and help with the chores. Everyone is Christian, except for those funny, kind-hearted Jews who teach your children, measure you for a suit or own the corner drugstore. There are no Muslims. Everyone believes in God, reads the Bible and worships together on the Sabbath. All movies are G-rated and the museums actually feature pretty art. Mom stays home with her 2.4 kids, nobody is gay and everyone is happy.

Children grow up respecting their elders, using clean language and living clean lives, dressing neatly, drinking nothing stronger than Cherry Coke and avoiding sex until marriage. They learn optimism and discipline at an early age, all the better to equip them for the competititve challenges of our glorious free-enterprise system.

Everyone here has the opportunity to succeed handsomely through education and hard work. Granted, some schools are a lot more prestigious than others… and the prestigious ones generally cost a lot more. And granted, some careers pay a few hundred times more than others even though they’re not especially difficult or honorable. But success in one’s chosen field is all that matters. If you have to exploit underpaid employees and beat down the competition to succeed, well… that’s the American way.

America is a melting pot, of course: the hardworking immigrants who arrive on these shores quickly learn English and adopt American customs. Eventually they’re indistinguishable from the “real” Americans who first settled this great land (we mean the Pilgrims, not the Indians). All of them, regardless of race, creed or football team preference, can aspire to the American Dream: success, wealth and a surplus of material possessions.

America! Golden land of opportunity! The sight of marching veterans and the stirring sound of a Sousa march still bring tears to the starry eyes of patriots who watch the local Fourth of July parade on Main Street. America, always victorious in war and generous in peace, is the envy of the world: a land of boundless wealth, freedom and potential, a democratic republic that has always honored the egalitarian ideals of its Founding Fathers. In short, everyone here feels fortunate to be living in the greatest nation ever designed by the hand of man. Yep, we’re better than France.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2009 2:06 pm

    We are blessed with such high unemployment, we can finally return to the way things should be. I can finally have a man servant to lay out my clothes, and attend to my errands for food lodging, and free government health care. My wife can have a maid clean the house, do the laundry for food, lodging, and free government health care. We can have a cook prepare our meals for food, lodging, and free government health care. I don’t make enough to afford paying anyone, but I can at least give them a place to eat and live. Of course, that is slavery, and looked upon as demeaning those who would like a place to live and eat. So, forget about my daydream, and I won’t help anybody. The liberals are doing that swell now.

  2. Priscilla permalink
    November 2, 2009 11:49 pm

    Honestly, I found this offensive – well, maybe not offensive, but irritatingly condescending. Maybe because it’s late and I’m tired. But I know a lot of conservatives, and not a one would consider this their utopian dream. Eh, most of them are not even religious.

  3. November 3, 2009 12:42 am

    Sorry about that, Priscilla. I know it’s condescending, but that’s the whole idea of these satirical Utopias: to chuckle at the extremists and, by doing so, undermine some of their power. (At least I’m doing my part to undermine their power… not that I’ll have any measurable effect.)

    Think of these pieces as caricatures. The conservative Utopia presented difficulties because of the weird coupling of secular Eastern elites and religious Middle American populists under the conservative banner — not to mention the differences between extreme conservatives and moderate conservatives like you.

    For this Utopia, I imagined turning back the clock to the 1950s, when basic conservative verities still held sway in most of the U.S. If anything, I actually thought I was going too far in creating an image of a lovable (if somewhat clueless) Mayberry-like America.

    • Priscilla permalink
      November 5, 2009 10:58 am

      I do understand that this was a satirical view…..and you are certainly one of the very last people that I would ever accuse of being mean-spirited…however, I thought that there was a mean-spirited tone to the conservative utopia, particularly in what I perceived as the veiled references to racism, anti-semitism and narrow-minded Christian fundamentalism being part and parcel of the utopian view of conservatives. I think that this tendency to characterize extreme right wingnut social views as being somehow at the heart of real conservatism is what makes center-right moderates like me so sensitive about this stuff. And it wouldn’t be so bad if center-left moderates had to deal with the same kind of insinuations ….but they don’t. The worst that left leaners are “accused” of these days is of being socialists, and, as a result, we have Time and Newsweek, among others, writing glowing articles about the great benefits of socialism, and suggesting that being a socialist is not out of the mainstream in any way, but that being a Christian is. Go figure.

      I honestly think that moderates need to embrace their “inner conservatism” a bit more, if they want to truly drive a political agenda.

      But, in any case, I shouldn’t have used the word “offensive”….that was very PC and weenie of me. Keep writing the good stuff, Rick – it makes me think. At our age, it’s good to keep the mind active ;)

  4. November 5, 2009 11:03 pm

    Thanks, Priscilla. You’re right: I’m not a mean-spirited guy, but sometimes my cynicism leaks out in my writing and gives it a barbed quality. I still think I gave the left a harder time than I gave the right, though: The Leftist’s Utopia makes them look like control freaks and even Maoists; they tolerate no deviation from the program.

    What you saw as racism and anti-Semitism in The Conservative’s Utopia was really just the kind of unconsciously patronizing attitude prevalent in the ’50s: minorities are fine as long as they’re nonthreatening. (Who in their right mind wants to be threatened, anyway?) As for the religious element, I wasn’t implying fundamentalism — just the traditional “Father Knows Best”-style mainstream Christianity of our youth. Nearly everyone went to church on Sunday, but it didn’t seem to matter whether you were “born again.” (Well, maybe to the Baptists it did.) I actually have a lot of affection for that vanished world, despite its flaws and limitations.

    I think part of the objection you had to “The Conservative’s Utopia” stems from nomenclature: we use the terms “liberal,” “progressive,” “leftist,” “socialist” and “Marxist” to distinguish varying degrees of leftward-leaning inclination, but conservatives are simply conservatives; our language hasn’t come up with “gradient” labels for the right. (Well, maybe “reactionary” or “fascist” at the extreme right — even though leftists can be fascists, too.)

    So my Leftist’s Utopia article wasn’t your average liberal’s utopia, just as my Conservative’s Utopia wasn’t YOUR conservative’s utopia.

    Of course, I still have to come up with a Moderate’s Utopia sometime soon. Even I have to wonder what it would look like.

  5. November 6, 2009 9:24 am

    Moderate Utopia starts with hot oatmeal every morning, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every lunch, and “I’m OK You’re OK” discussions over a dinner of tofu, brussel sprouts, and wild rice. Green tea and low fat milk are the beverages of choice. Television would be 24 hour PBS and the Weather Channel. They agree that there can never be a heaven or hell.

  6. November 6, 2009 10:42 am

    Good start, hoboduke, though 24-hour PBS sounds a little too “liberal” for a moderate’s utopia. (CNN would be more typical.) I like the “I’m OK, you’re OK” discussions and the low-fat milk — definitely sounds like a “mid-topia.”

  7. Hallie permalink
    November 14, 2009 2:07 pm

    I agree with you, I thought the conservative utopia was rather mild. Especially compared with the leftist Utopia. Conservative’s just aren’t all that funny, at least compared to there left hand conterpart. You should have mentioned that all schools would be forced to teach creationism, and our new President Mike Huckabee has installed a creationist czar, and Toby Keith has rewritten the national anthem (OK now that’s offensive). ;0)

    As you know I am very conservative; however, like Priscilla, I hate that we are all grouped together with the Christian right. I personally don’t really care about abortion, gay marriage, condoms in school, and other “Christian right” social issues. It bugs me that the only reason that some of the house democrats were not going to vote on the Healthcare bill was because of language about tax funded abortion, rather than the fact that the bill will wreck the industry and the economy. I mean hell an abortion would be be way cheaper than a life time healthcare, if they insist on passing the bill in the senate, I think the abortion part should be put back in (OK some might find that offensive also.)

    • November 15, 2009 12:30 pm

      Hallie: Oh, a lot of people think conservatives are funny (Stephen Colbert, for one). But they’re really such a diverse group that it’s hard to caricature them with a single silly “utopia.” Yeah, a Religious Right Utopia would definitely have to make room for creationism (I love the “creationist czar” idea) and Mike Huckabee (whom I actually like, but not for president). As for the abortion clause in the healthcare bill… well, of course federally funded abortions would be cheaper than a lifetime of healthcare, but the government has to placate the pro-life crowd or they’d have a wingnut revolt on their hands.

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