Up from Conservatism

( 2 )


For nearly a decade, Michael Lind worked closely as a writer and editor with the intellectual leaders of American conservatism. Slowly, he came to believe that the many prominent intellectuals he worked with were not the leaders of the conservative movement but the followers and apologists for an increasingly divisive and reactionary political strategy orchestrated by the Republican party. Lind's disillusionment led to a very public break with his former colleagues on the right, as he attacked the Reverend Pat ...

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Up from Conservatism

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For nearly a decade, Michael Lind worked closely as a writer and editor with the intellectual leaders of American conservatism. Slowly, he came to believe that the many prominent intellectuals he worked with were not the leaders of the conservative movement but the followers and apologists for an increasingly divisive and reactionary political strategy orchestrated by the Republican party. Lind's disillusionment led to a very public break with his former colleagues on the right, as he attacked the Reverend Pat Robertson for using anti-Semitic sources in his writings.

In Up From Conservatism, this former rising star of the right reveals what he believes to be the disturbing truth about the hidden economic agenda of the conservative elite. The Republican capture of the U.S. Congress in 1994 did not represent the conversion of the American public to conservative ideology. Rather, it marked the success of the thirty-year-old "southern strategy" begun by Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon. From the Civil War to the civil rights revolution, the southern elite combined a low-wage, low-tax strategy for economic development with a politics of demagogy based on race-baiting and Bible-thumping. Now, Lind maintains, the economic elite that controls the Republican party is following a similar strategy on a national scale, using their power to shift the tax burden from the rich to the middle class while redistributing wealth upward.

To divert attention from their favoritism toward the rich, conservatives play up the "culture war," channeling popular anger about falling real wages and living standards away from Wall Street and focusing it instead on the black poor and nonwhite immigrants.

The United States, Lind concludes, could use a genuine "one-nation" conservatism that seeks to promote the interests of the middle class and the poor as well as the rich. But today's elitist conservatism poses a clear and present danger to the American middle class and the American republic.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lind is perhaps the most prominent convert from 1980s neoconservatism. Though his book only occasionally dips into his personal story, it is a powerful attack on conservatives who, he says, use "the culture war, a revival of racism and radical antigovernment rhetoric" to distract voters from the realities of their own economic exploitation. Lind's language is strong, and he has much ammunition. The most damaging conservative hoax of recent years, he argues, is supply-side economics, which led to our current deficit, "the central fact of American politics today." He also critiques proposals for school vouchers, tax policies that shift burdens to the middle class and proposals to cut welfare, noting the much larger "Hidden Welfare State" of programs such as mortgage subsidies. It is too late to rescue American conservatism from the radical right, he declares, pointing out the surprising sympathy conservatives have for antigovernment hate groups. Lind doesn't dwell on attacking the left; he did that in The Next American Nation. Given that few politicos today espouse the "national liberalism" he propoundsa centrist populism that unites moderate social conservatism with economic class warfareLind urges his readers to support neoliberals such as President Clinton. Translation rights: ICM/Kristine Dahl; U.K. rights: Simon & Schuster. (July)
Library Journal
Lind, senior editor for the New Republic, has written a book that is sure to help Democrats running for election and reelection in the fall. Lind asserts that the conservative movement in the Republican Party reflects the viewpoints of only the Far Rightembodied by televangelist Pat Robertson and presidential candidate Patrick Buchananand that a moderate viewpoint is no longer tolerated. Borrowing themes from his last book, The Next American Nation (LJ 6/1/95), Lind argues that the overclass, a term he popularized last year, along with the social agenda of groups such as the Christian Coalition, is driving the Republican Party at the expense of the middle and lower classes. To support his points, Lind presents powerful evidence of the Republican agenda since the congressional elections of 1994, revealing how the party has maneuvered to single out poor women and children as the cause of social and economic problems while doing nothing about corporate welfare and making tax rates more equitable. The author identifies four classes of social and economic culture today: left liberalism, neoliberalism, conservatism, and national liberalism. While the first three have their mouthpieces, national liberalism, which Lind describes as a philosophy for those who believe in universal healthcare and oppose racial quotas, does not have a place in the current political spectrum. Until a voice for it can be fully developed, Lind calls for those with this point of view to support neoliberals against the Far Right. This book will provide interesting reading for those following the developments regarding the Republican "Contract with America" and should have a place in collections with a strong emphasis on political science.Patricia Hatch, Emmanuel Coll. Lib, Boston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684831862
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 7/15/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 0.68 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Triumph and Collapse of Conservatism 1
1 Realignment and Revolution: The New Map of American Politics 15
2 The Center Cannot Hold: The Defeat of One-Nation Conservatism in America 45
3 The Triangular Trade: How the Conservative Movement Works 75
4 No Enemies to the Right: The Pat Robertson Scandal and What It Means 97
5 Whistling Dixie: The Southernization of the American Right 121
6 The Culture War and the Myth of the New Class 138
7 Three Conservative Hoaxes: How the Right Has Fooled the American People About Taxes, Education, and Illegitimacy 156
8 The New Social Darwinism: The Revival of Racism on the Right 188
9 The Confederate Theory of the Constitution 208
10 Soaking the Middle: The Conservative Class War Against Wage-Earning Americans 235
Epilogue: Up From Conservatism 259
Notes 271
Index 283
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014


    American citizens need to stop allowing the racial, and political division of our country to succed in pitting us against each other.Take notice of the issues and people you vote for, try to be objective, and hold them to account instead of making excuses for them or blaming someone else.

    Get over the unfounded propaganda that paints the people who attend tea party rallies with a prejudiced broad brush and listen to reasonable people with knoledge and differing perspectives, then make up your own mind.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2003

    A high magnitude eye opener

    I make it a point to read non-fiction books that encapsulate a perspective that will unsettle me more than non-fiction in any category could ever hope to. Specifically on matters that cut to the quick of what it is to be human in our time: psychology, religious and cultural origins, and controversial views on politics. I can think of only four or five books out of the hundreds I have reviewed and read on ANY subject, that have made me as queasy and exhilarated simultaneously as Michael Lind's UP FROM CONSERVATISM. [paragraph]... Michael Lind's detailed analysis of the modern day conservative movement is frighteningly astute. He says that the Conservative movement, dead from betraying its own doctrines for Machiavellian scheming, is built on the inevitable flight of the Catholic coalitions, the New Deal labor force of FDR and the Southern white Dixiecrats from the identity politics of the Democratic Left after the Civil Rights Movement. He examines the movement's origins as its ideals became codified not with William F. Buckley's GOD AND MAN AT YALE, but with three forces: 1)the ideology and political practices of Communist hunter Joseph McCarthy (a close friend and trusted mentor of Buckley in his youth), 2) the culture of the inherited-riches elite, and 3)the Plantation economy mentality of the Confederate south. What Alice Miller is to psychology, Michael Lind has become to American Politics. Gore Vidal's comparisons of him to both Voltaire and deToqueville are, astonishingly enough, understatements. "The danger is not that conservative policies will succeed....The danger is that when the inevitable failure of conservative governance occurs, an angry populace will conclude that mainstream conservatism as well as liberalism has been discredited--and that the extremists of the populist and fundamentalist right will be well placed to take advantage of popular alienation and wrath.... Make no mistake, the present Republican spree on behalf of the corporate elite will sooner or later provoke a backlash...Though they claim to be students of the French and Russian revolutions, all too many of the thinkers and strategists of the conservative movement appear to have forgotten that those who begin revolutions are seldom the ones who finsh them. Indeed, they are often among the first victims of the brutal forces they unleash upon the world." [paragraph]... From the Introduction [paragraph]... It doesn't get any more real than this. Read this now before history cries HAVOC, and lets loose the dogs of war.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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