Rolling Back the 20th Century

Old Blog Import

Media Transparency has a great who’s-who of which conservative think tank folks have been given what government jobs under Bush. I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with this — except that the left have completely failed to mobilize intellectual resources in the same way. Still, considering the craziness of the beliefs that these think tanks were promoting, it is something to be very worried about.

Meanwhile, the Nation has an article about the actual content of the strategy these people have come up with: Rolling Back the 20th Century

Here is a quote:

But the right employs a highly selective memory. McKinley Republicans, aligned with the newly emergent industrial titans, did indeed hold off the Progressive advocates of a federal income tax and other reforms, while its high tariffs were the equivalent of a stiff consumption tax. And its conservative Supreme Court blocked regulatory laws designed to protect society and workers as unconstitutional intrusions on private property rights.

But the truth is that McKinley’s conservatism broke down not because of socialists but because a deeply troubled nation was awash in social and economic conflicts, inequities generated by industrialization and the awesome power consolidating in the behemoth industrial corporations (struggles not resolved until economic crisis spawned the New Deal). Reacting to popular demands, Teddy Roosevelt enacted landmark Progressive reforms like the first federal regulations protecting public health and safety and a ban on corporate campaign contributions. Both Roosevelt and his successor, Republican William Howard Taft, endorsed the concept of a progressive income tax and other un-Republican measures later enacted under Woodrow Wilson.