Conceptual Frameworks, Language, and Messaging: Why Conservatives have dominated American public discourse, politics, and policy for a generation

October 21, 2011  |   Progressive Political Commentary

Conceptual Frameworks, Language, and Messaging: Why Conservatives have dominated American public discourse, politics, and policy for a generation

The anger on the Tea Party right, and the frustration on the left that has energized the "Occupy” movement in cities across America, spring from similar, mostly economic, dissatisfactions. The difference is that those on the rightght have been co-opted to a set of beliefs that are actually in opposition to their own economic interests. Those involved in the “Occupy” movement, and others on the left are quite clear about where their interests lie, despite concerns by media pundits that the participants in the “Occupy” movement thus far lack a clear set of policy demands. Voters from the right vote their aspirations, rather than their reality, while the policies they support make it less likely that they (or their children) will ever achieve the economic security and self reliance to which they aspire. Led to believe that they could succeed if only government would get out of the way, they believe in “personal freedom,” but lack an understanding of the nature of freedom as defined by our Constitution.  They advocate an ideology of “personal responsibility,” rejecting the mutual responsibility required for social and national cohesion and willfully ignorant of the benefits they enjoy thanks to a social contract embodied by our government. The right demands lower taxes and ever smaller, ever more impotent government, focused narrowly on national security, administration of a harsh conception of justice (largely punishment, meted out by a for-profit prison industry), and promotion of the orderly but “unfettered” conduct of business.  Despite incongruity with a small-government

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Economic Discontent and Conservatives’ Secret Weapon to Win the Class War

September 25, 2010  |   Economics & Trade Politics and Policy

Paul Crist August 13, 2010 Framing the Issue: Class War The white-hot anger on the “Tea Party” political right and the frustration on the political left largely spring from the same fundamental problem: A generation of increasing economic inequality, job insecurity, loss of privilege, and a once optimistic middle class that is under attack and demoralized. Political and mainstream corporate news media leaders avoid the term, but what we are confronting is class warfare in America.  The conflict is essentially between the owners of capital, and the owners of labor.  The battle lines are less clear than in the past, but this is not the first time in our national history that we’ve been here.  In the late 19th and early 20th century, there was only a small middle class relative to the population.  The period from 1940 to the 1960’s saw a tremendous growth of a middle class that, while their principal asset remains labor, also holds some capital assets (home equity, stock ownership, and retirement funds) that they fiercely desire to protect.  That has helped society’s true economic elites to enlist a substantial subset of the middle class to espouse a capitalist ideology that is largely in opposition to their real economic interests.  Asset price bubbles during the past several decades helped to strengthen the ideology of wealth acquisition through capital ownership among middle and working classes, but the bursting of the housing price bubble and consequent financial crisis has been a major blow to the middle class

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