Michael Lind has a great story at Salon.com today about how conservatives say one thing, but do another. I know that will come as a shock. Despite their claims of being the people bent on protecting Americans’ freedoms, they are actually the people who have, over the past 60 years, most sought to curtail those freedoms.
Lind is careful to make the distinction between true Libertarians and conservatives, and points out that, since World War II, conservatives have opposed every expansion of personal liberty in the U.S.
In the ’60s, Goldwater and Buckley, along with their adherents, opposed every civil rights measure for African-Americans. As is so often the case, they claimed they weren’t segregationist, they were opposing federal government interference, but this made them OK with state government interference in personal lives.
Up until 1965 the use of contraception was banned for married couples, and when the courts struck that down, and made abortion illegal, they didn’t even pretend it was for Constitutional reasons, but opposed it based on their religious views. As Lind puts it:
In other words, the very conservatives warning us about the dangers of “mobocracy” when it came to the welfare state had no objection to using the power of government to force their fellow citizens to live their private lives according to the teachings of Thomas Aquinas or the Book of Leviticus, as interpreted by semi-literate Southern Protestant preachers.
We explore here often not only their attempts to not only subvert the inalienable rights of LGBT people, but to, by state constitution fiat, curtail the rights.
They’re not better on the rights of workers and debtors and the poor, All people clearly covered in the Bible to which they so vehemently claim to be their authority. They have worked aggressively to inhibit workers rights to unionize and bargain for a better life, they have opposed the minimum wage at every stage, and oppose all workplace safety regulations.
Despite the biblical admonitions against usury, they have opposed every effort to help families refinance homes in which they are underwater. They have opposed taxes on the rich to help support the social safety net, and in many cases have worked for its removal.
Lind ends his piece with a chilling look at America if the conservatives had won their battles:
Formal racial segregation might still exist at the state and local level in the South. In some states, it would be illegal to get abortions or even for married couples to use contraception. In much of the United States, gays and lesbians would still be treated as criminals. Government would dictate to Americans with whom and how they can have sex. Unions would have been completely annihilated in the public as well as the private sector. Wages and hours laws would be abolished, so that employers could pay third-world wages to Americans working seven days a week, 12 hours a day, as many did before the New Deal.
This really is an article you need to read, especially if you are a conservative.