On Europe's right, that is:
Europe’s center-right parties have embraced many ideas of the left: generous welfare benefits, nationalized health care, sharp restrictions on carbon emissions, the ceding of some sovereignty to the European Union. But they have won votes by promising to deliver more efficiently than the left, while working to lower taxes, improve financial regulation, and grapple with aging populations.
Europe’s conservatives, says Michel Winock, a historian at the Paris Institut d’Études Politiques, “have adapted themselves to modernity.”
Of course, when I look at Britain, I'm on the right of the current Tory party.
I'd like to get government out of direct management of healthcare, ownership of hospitals and direct employment of doctors and have it merely guarantee health insurance. I'd prefer a flat tax to progressive taxation. I favor a steadily rising carbon tax to cap and trade. I'd favor bringing the government's share of the economy down to around a third, instead of a half (as it now is in New Labour's Britain). I'd like to craft public finances so they have to show a small surplus through the usual business cycle. You get the picture.
So what does it tell you about the state of the contemporary right in America that these positions are now described as Marxist, communist or fascist? It tells you that Sam Tanenhaus is right: conservatism is over in America as a coherent governing philosophy in America. It is now an atavistic, militarist, paranoid, reactionary religious movement with no constructive proposals for addressing the actual world we live in.
And like most contemporary movie-zombies, its own death seems to have galvanized its aggression, passion and relentless march toward ever more extremes. Going rogue indeed.
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