In today's political discourse the difference between actual conservatives and the radical right is that the latter has turned two conservative ideas into radical fetishes.
A generation ago, Grover Norquist pressured conservative politicians to pledge never to raise taxes. His intention was not simply to balance budgets, but to combine balanced budgets with lower taxes in order to shrink government. His objective, he said, was to weaken and shrink government until it could be drowned, metaphorically, in a bathtub. Even before that, readers of Ayn Rand's fantasies became convinced that the private sector is always more efficient than the public sector, and that it is impossible for the latter to ever be productive.
The results have these obsessive thoughts have been profound for the quality of life in America, particularly with respect to education and health care. An additional result is aesthetic, as public spaces are increasingly privatized and turned over to marketers to make up for gaps in public funding, brilliantly illustrated by Morgan Spurlock below.
During the California wildfires of 2016, Brad Craig exemplified the hypocrisy of "fair-weather libertarianism." He was wearing this anti-tax, anti-government t-shirt as he smiled and thanked the tax-supported government workers who saved his home.
|Brad Craig, False Patriot|