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They’re not conservatives  May 23, 2023

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Interesting point made on the QAnon Anonymous podcast about the sheer strangeness of the US definition of conservative, and indeed definitions of other political ideologies. This in the context of a fascinating overview of the far from lovable Conservapedia.

The point was that “Conservapiedia seems to operate from this very simplistic view of the political spectrum that is popular with talk radio hosts (in the US). When they say conservative they really mean this particular brand of American evangelical Christian conservatism and anyone on the right who doesn’t fit into that brand is RINO (Republican in Name Only) and anyone on the left is referred to as liberal, Communist or Marxist, interchangeably, so Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Stalin himself, anarchists, are basically all the same kind of thing […] this perspective is evident in multiple entries.”

Consider Conservapedia’s obsession with young Earth creationism as example A of that. 

Of course, that view is much more widespread and has been adopted by those beyond the shores of the evangelical Christian Right and far-right, where for example a whole raft of those on the further and far right have done similarly. Indeed, we see Tories and suchlike adopting similar language – consider the National Conservatism conference in Britain only this last while and the prominence of another spin on that attitude (so-called ‘Cultural Marxism’) and how that is used to attempt to delegitimise an implausibly wide range of actors on the centre, left and further left.  

The thing is that there is clear ideological ground between conservatism in the more general definition of the term as understood in Europe and even one would think to a degree in the US, albeit somewhat less clearly, and the strand of Christian evangelical conservatism which is very much its own thing.

Let’s not forget we have on this island those who cleave to much the same line and an entire political party that has been in part inflected by same in the form of the DUP. It’s interesting to reflect on what a united Ireland would look like in political terms and where many of those folk would go politically to get representation. Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, FF-DUP, who knows?

‘Christian democracy’ on the Continent is conservatism but seemingly largely shorn of that particular religious strand. 

It’s almost needless to say this is useful from these US self-professed ‘conservatives’ because it provides both a point of distinction with others and handy means of defining both within the US Republican party and outside it who are allies and opponents. But then given the strangeness of the beliefs (again young Earth creationism) that was baked in from the off. More troubling is the way in which in so many areas this sort of approach has blended with others to provide a genuinely reactionary brew. Small wonder that the QAnon Anonymous podcast examines this because it is of a piece with other reactionary strands currently prominent in the US.

As interesting is the outline of how RationalWiki came to be as a sort of dissenting forum where contributors to Conservapedia split away to form their own…well… rational Wiki. I wasn’t aware of that history before this.


1. alanmyler - May 24, 2023

I’d always thought of western European Christian Democracy being largely a Catholic and anti-communist movement originating in the wake of WW2, essentially as a (nominally at least) break with the centre-right collaboration with home-grown or externally-imposed fascism.

But wikipedia tells me that CD is also a thing in countries that are not predominantly catholic, which I hadn’t realised.

It also notes that CD has traditionally been centrist in economic terms and conservative on social issues. But of course that centrism has drifted rightwards across the board during the more recent decades of neoliberalism. I suppose the risk really is that the break with historical fascism might experience a U-turn, and that a rapprochement with the far-right could become the new normal.


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