Brock See Yet?
April 18, 2002
By David Swanson
David Brock's Blinded By the Right is an apolitical
book, and while it denounces and apologizes for the "conservative
movement" that replaced politics with sex scandals, it does
not make a political apology.
Brock does not say he is sorry that people died and suffered
in the richest country on the planet because they had no health
insurance. He does not say he regrets seeing families booted
off welfare and offered no assistance toward becoming self-supporting.
He doesn't apologize for the dwindling of labor rights, massive
layoffs, loss of protections in hazardous workplaces, environmental
destruction, or the radical increase in the inequality of
wealth. He's not sorry for the divestment of resources from
positive efforts and the explosive growth of the prison industry.
He doesn't comment on the devastation of inner cities, the
demolition of rights for criminal defendants, the routine
bombing of civilians in foreign countries, the abandonment
of public education and efforts to privatize schools for profit.
He doesn't seem concerned that corporations pay no taxes or
that loan sharks pay no penalties. None of this sort of ungossipy,
less-than-warlike stuff is of interest to him, at least not
in this book. But then, neither was it of interest to Congress
for over a year of all-Monica-all-the-time or during the past
7 months since September 11, 2001.
Brock is writing about an all-out struggle between two "teams."
He could have been a supporter of the pro-Israel rally held
in DC yesterday (April 15, 2002) or of the pro-Palestinian
one scheduled for Saturday (which I hope becomes, rather,
pro-peace). He could be routing for the Catholics or the Protestants
in Ireland. He chose a team, but his choice had nothing to
do with any merits of that team. If you had nothing but Brock's
book to go by, you might believe that all conservatives found
their positions as a result of some childhood trauma or Freudian
drama plus a big dose of opportunism. And you might also believe
that an honest and polite conservatism, in contrast to that
described by Brock, would be a possibly good course to follow.
In reality, conservatism in all of its forms is largely motivated
by greed, religion, timidity, antidemocratic abuse of power,
and a big dose of opportunism. The New Republic doesn't check
its facts any more than the American Spectator did. The conservatism
of George Bush the First condemned more Americans and Iraqis
to death than the lunatic ravings of Grover Norquist, at least
as the count stands now. There is no honest conservatism,
and that should be the lesson of this book. Right-wing arguments
only win if they are massively funded.
It takes a vast conspiracy and millions of dollars to promote
ideas that seek to harm the many for the profit of the few.
Spinners and statisticians and muckrakers don't come cheap,
and those who can afford them are able to give life to ideas
that deserve to die and in many cases will soon die anyway.
On the "social issues" the conservative foot draggers denounced
in this book already look out of date. On the "economic issues"
the arguments of the conservatives have been proved disastrous
again and again and again, but they will continue to be funded.
Brock thinks his mistake lay in going too far to one extreme,
but even then he doesn't think he went very far. He resents
a comparison to Nazi doctors and how they rationalized their
behavior. But this is Brock continuing to fetishize the personal
and the hands-on. He says he could never have voted for a
right-wing politician. Yet he sees relatively little harm
in his probably having swayed thousands to do so, not to mention
his helping confirm a Supreme Court Justice who later appointed
a wing-nut president to top all wing-nuts.
Things must seem pretty meaningless when you're supposedly
working for a cause and yet you manage to squeeze in THAT
many dinner parties and cocktail receptions. It's amazing!
Left-wing D.C. activists that I'm familiar with are lucky
if they get to sleep and eat. Time and money constraints make
Brock's sort of lifestyle impossible as well as undesirable
for lefties. And a good deal of time for any left-wing movement
that sought to duplicate the intensity of Brock and Company's
right-wing attack would have to be devoted to talking to low-income
and shutout people beyond the Beltway. Brock's schedule was
not constrained by such needs. Even when he recognizes the
hypocrisy of the adulterous "pro-family" talking heads in
D.C., he imagines their provincial supporters really are all
heterosexual monogamous unmisogynistic teetotalers.
Brock has finally started on the right road by leaving the
extreme conservatives, and has avoided the potentially fatal
mistake of embracing the Democratic party. But will he work
to give power to the people or will he promote a Third Way
of screwing the majority without talking so much about screwing?
Washington is plagued with those who speak up too late, but
Brock can redeem himself by putting his talents to noble,
not just moderate or respectable, use. He can join the fight
for more democracy and less stock market, more world and less
bank. And he is in a unique position to be able to do so without
making the mistake of demonizing the conservatives. The extremists
are now the Administration, but Brock knows they are human
beings and knows that they can be swayed - even if only by
means of humiliation.
In New Orleans community activists recently raised the minimum
wage. When big business owners challenged it in court, repeating
myths that had sounded good to them for years but didn't have
any evidence behind them, the judge dismissed their case as
"biased," "speculative," and based on "no specific study."
They immediately denounced her as "popularly elected."
If Brock is really looking for something to do with the rest
of is life, I'd like to encourage him to put his skills to
work trying to make "popularly elected" into a compliment.
David Swanson's website is at www.davidswanson.org