Sunday, September 14, 2008

Conservatism and history

I have trouble understanding the conservative mindset. Almost every good idea since the dawn of time has been opposed by conservatives. In the modern era conservatives opposed the abolition of slavery, universal suffrage, legislation protecting people in the workplace (even children), the vote for women, almost every social welfare program, universal education, universal healthcare, environmental restrictions etc. Face it, if we had listened to conservatives since, say, 1750, slavery would still be legal, only rich white male property owners would have the vote, women would still have more or less the status of property, and children would still be working in factories. Anyone who denies this is simply denying some simple facts of history. Most of the positive social legislative ideas we enjoy today, from education to the five day work week, exists today because radical people on the left conceived the idea and then struggled for it. Conservatives only accept these ideas fifty or a hundred years after they are instituted by liberal or left-leaning governments. The tragedy now is that, through massive propaganda efforts, help from the religious right, and great influxes of money from large corporations, conservatives are actually now slowly trying to dismantle many of the ideas that we have taken for granted. They are dismantling health-care, education, and they are even slowly attempting to dismantle the fundamental elements of democracy. If the conservatives have their way workers will lose all their legislative protections, only the rich will get an education, and democratic accountable government will slowly disappear.

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