12 October 2015

Which side is winning -- the long view

While we naturally get very invested in whatever election or issue is most salient at the given moment, it's also of value to take the long view and remember the overall direction of history.  The other day I ran across this overview of the last 154 years in the struggle between conservatism and progressivism:

• Conservatives tried to retain slavery, but they lost.
• They tried to block voting by women, but they lost.
• They tried to prevent couples from using birth control, but they lost.
• They tried to obstruct Social Security pensions for oldsters, but they lost.
• They tried to outlaw labor unions, but they lost.
• They tried to prevent unemployment compensation for the jobless, but they lost.
• They tried to keep stores closed on the Sabbath, but they lost.
• They banned alcohol during Prohibition, but they eventually lost.
• They tried to sustain racial segregation, but they lost.
• They supported government-mandated prayer in school, but they lost.
• They tried to continue throwing gays in prison, but they lost.
• They tried to defeat Medicare and Medicaid, but they lost.
• They tried to halt the sexual revolution, but they lost.
• They opposed food stamps for the poor, but they lost.
• They fought against equal human rights laws, but they lost.
• They tried to censor sexy magazines, books and movies, but they lost.
• They sought to jail girls and doctors who end pregnancies, but they lost.
• They tried to block liquor clubs and lotteries, but they lost.
• They tried to prevent expansion of health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, but they lost.
• They tried to halt same-sex marriage, but they lost.

(Found via this posting at The Freethinker, an excellent atheist news site which I've added under "News" in the sidebar.)

As long-term readers know, I take a very long view of things -- I would add the conservative campaign against lightning rods, the forced recantation of Galileo, and the centuries of torture and burning of religious dissidents, heretics, and "witches".  They scored some successes each time, but in the end, they always lost.  And in the end, they always will.


Blogger Les Carpenter said...

Of course societal evolution is towards enlightenment and progress. Let us hope there is never another Dark Ages.

12 October, 2015 17:50  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

This list explains a lot. Visit any of the right wing blogs and you'll read a litany of what is wrong with America: Its best days are over; America has lost its "moral compass;" Men have become spineless, emasculated wimps; women delight in slaughtering their innocent blastocysts; God has been kicked out of schools and replaced by "the gay agenda;" so therefore, our children have become unmanageable beasts. Everything is going to hell and it's all the fault of the godless, immoral progressives/liberals.

The list explains their apocalyptic view of America: They keep losing; the country keeps progressing, and they haven't a clue. They don't learn, and they never will. They dream of a stagnant culture where nothing moves forward, where we never improve and grow in understanding and tolerance (they HATE that word) for the other. Also "diversity" they hate that even more.

12 October, 2015 18:02  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

I'd like to post this at P.E., with attribution, of course and with your permission.

12 October, 2015 18:03  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RN: Unfortunately the right wing seems more determined than ever to have another Dark Age. But they'll keep losing.

Shaw: Yes, what they mean when they say society is going to hell is that it's no longer enslaved to their mindless taboo system.

It's fine with me if you repost -- the list is from The Freethinker, so it's they who should get credit for it.

13 October, 2015 04:28  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Odd, I dont think some folks that vote conservative dont even think of those things, but you have some points there. Back when I voted conservative, I really didnt think much, except think that they were for working class Americans, property rights, individualism, pro- business/ free market, honesty, strong defense, gun rights, fiscal responsibility spending, love of country (I understand if you are laughing reading this) ... I voted BLINDLY and never really looked into the politics too much, never even watched debates, living in Texas ... back then Infidel, I actually thought that gayz were allowed to marry ... bottom line Infidel ... when it came to knowledge of politics, I voted regularly and never even looked closely on who I voted for ... frankly, I was young and dumb as a doorknob on much ... I even voted for Bush/ Cheney ... I cant even believe I did that when I look back. I remember having breakfast with you when you were in Texas (my wife cooked it for us), and you asked me .... "How could you vote for George Bush" ... when I told you I did ... you gave me a look like I was crazy ... and NOW I SEE WHY.

13 October, 2015 11:19  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RC: Well, so long as it was before 2009 when they went totally nuts, I can understand voting for them. I even did it myself once or twice. There's always a learning curve.

13 October, 2015 13:14  
Anonymous wjbill49 said...

surely there are some "victories" on the conservative side of the ledger. Like keeping a significant number of people living an alternate reality, making more money for the elites of the movement, keeping the corporate media from going off script, owning the judicial branch of government, keeping voting rights with the "right" people, etc. ?

14 October, 2015 09:20  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Wjbill49: keeping a significant number of people living an alternate reality

True, though I question how much good it does them in the long run. Their shrinking population of dupes is so trapped in its alternate-reality bubble that it has no ability to understand what it's up against, and has started turning its rage against the Republican establishment for not actually getting the whole foaming-at-the-mouth agenda enacted.

making more money for the elites of the movement

They've certainly done that, but at the price that a majority of the public now favors a strongly redistributionist agenda. Eventually election results will reflect that.

keeping the corporate media from going off script

True only in the alternate-reality bubble (Fox, Drudge, etc.). There are plenty of media that attack conservatism.

owning the judicial branch of government

Spotty at best. Their only real victory lately has been Citizens United. The rulings have gone our way on Obamacare, gay marriage, etc.

keeping voting rights with the "right" people

Only marginally. Black turnout in 2008 and 2012 reached historic highs. Yes, they're making it harder to register and vote, but that will move the needle only a bit, and the media (outside the bubble) are constantly calling them out over it. Alabama, for example, is already "reconsidering" closing all those offices in the "black belt" after the outcry made it clear they weren't fooling anybody.

I don't really consider these to be conservative victories -- they're battles the conservatives haven't lost yet.

14 October, 2015 18:03  

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