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Up from Conservatism [Paperback]

Michael Lind
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 15, 1997 0684831864 978-0684831862 Reprint
In a no-holds-barred indictment of the Republican Right, Michael Lind, once a protege of William F. Buckley, boldly chronicles how right-wing orthodoxy has been corrupted from within. Lind exposes the egregious turning points in the Republican agenda and warns of those in the party who are setting America on a course toward irreconcilable class divisions and hostility.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 - and about their cynical cultural war strategy for acquiring and maintaining political power. Penetrating in its analysis and insight, savage in its wit, Up From Conservatism adds an important and funny voice to the '96 campaign. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers 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 propounds?a centrist populism that unites moderate social conservatism with economic class warfare?Lind urges his readers to support neoliberals such as President Clinton. Translation rights: ICM/Kristine Dahl; U.K. rights: Simon & Schuster.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (July 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684831864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684831862
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history muddied by passion November 11, 2003
I ordered this book based on a recommendation I found on Josh Marshall's blog. I was immediately enthralled with it and finished it over a weekend.
This book does a superb job of tracing several arcs of American political history from Thomas Jefferson, to Jefferson Davis, to George Bush.
For my own part, I recently left the Republican Party because it seemed increasingly obvious that it has become the province of race-baiters and mercantilists, not of individualists and pro-market (as opposed to pro-business)conservatives. The title, "Up From Conservatism", and the author's good reputation, convinced me to buy. I'm glad I did.
In this book, you will learn that the GOP's southernization is not a marriage of convenience - the south has fully taken over the party. This is now the party of creationists, religious fanatics, and the generally intolerant. I do not believe - for one minute - that George W. Bush is a racist. In fact, much of the party's leadership, in my opinion, are good people. But they've made a deal with the devil - they wink and southern racism as a way of appealing to low-income southern whites. This bloc of voters, along with the GOP's alliance with business elite, constitute a winning formula for the GOP. It is now THE national party.
This book has several serious flaws. It frequenly stoops to sneering and name-calling in lieu of analysis. And although the GOP is truly guilty by its association with southern-style racism, it uses the tactic of guilt by association far too much. For example, the book mercilessly mocks school vouchers as transparently impotent, and goes even further by stating (probably correctly) that the idea was first touted in the south as a way of allowing whites to pull out of integrated schools and form new all-white districts.
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50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lind makes a convincing argument that the American conservatism of Lincoln and Dewey has been hijacked by extremists like Pat Robertson, Patrick Buchanan and Wayne LaPierre. That much is easy for anyone to see. What made this book more interesting is the author's contention that there has also been a change in the Left's priorities, evidenced by the rise of neoliberalism (Carter, Clinton and the DLC, for example) and the shift from working class and immigrant concerns to that of identity politics. What remains is a gaping void where middle class working folks reside -- moderate-to-conservative on social issues and liberal on economics -- left-populists. Essentially, both parties are looking out for the economic concerns of corporations and the affluent, while each does its best to appeal to various special interests in order to get votes. When is the last time either political party decided to strengthen employees' rights, keep jobs in this country, reward workers for having the best productivity in the world, or eliminate the obscenity of a class of working poor?
It was interesting to read this book post-9/11. I expected a lot of it would be outdated and made irrelevant by that awful morning, but much of what the author said then still rings true, though at the time of writing he had no inkling (who could?) of GW and the 2000 election debacle to come. Lind discusses the religious right's stranglehold on the GOP even without knowing that they would sabotage John McCain with a disinformation campaign in South Carolina in 2000.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-intended, but flawed. July 27, 1999
By A Customer
I began reading this book with great anticipation, intrigued by Lind's call for a revival of old-fashioned populist/centrist "vital center" liberalism, a position that has almost completely disappeared from the radar screens of the nation's political and media elites. For the most part, Lind delivers; his comments regarding the professional-managerial overclass are right on the money, and go a long way toward explaining the current political "consensus" that combines cultural liberalism and economic conservatism, both of which are a slap in the face to the working and lower-middle classes, black and white alike. Similarly the usefulness of leftist "multiculturalism" and identity politics as useful tools for that same overclass are given much-needed exposure. However, his belief that the so-called "culture war" is purely a right-wing fabrication betrays a misunderstanding of the depths of people's convictions regarding issues like abortion, sexual morality, drug abuse, careerism, and materialism. While conservatives (and more than a few liberals) have proven adept at exploiting these convictions for political gain, they didn't invent them from scratch. Indeed, for all his jeremaids against overclass elitism, Lind himself seems oddly unwilling to recognize the validity or authenticity of cultural populism, dismissing it as the exclusive province of crackpot fundamentalists a la Pat Robertson. (A more thoughtful consideration of these concerns can be found in the works of Christopher Lasch i.e. "The Revolt Of The Elites." Despite this reservation, however, I found this book to present a compelling case for political reform, and more than worthwhile for the millions of us who are relatively lacking in wealth and privelege and dare to assert that we have a voice too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars How the Right became a One Note Chorus
This Book really shows in great detail how Conservative thought and research were highjacked for narrow political purposes and thus ceased to be a source of useful political... Read more
Published on March 5, 2012 by Robert S. Posey
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep thinking, artful writing
Two concepts come to mind whenever I read one of Michael Lind's books: erudition and sheer intellectual brilliancy. This book is another example of that. Mr. Read more
Published on December 8, 2007 by Harmonious
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Takedown of the Modern Conservative Movement
Michael Lind has provided an excellent overview of the many ways that the modern Republican Party, particularly its conservative leadership, is a danger for current and future... Read more
Published on August 3, 2004 by David W. Southworth
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Eye Opener
I recommend this book to anyone who wants a lot of information about what went wrong with the Republican Party (Lind was a Democrat who switched parties then left the Republicans... Read more
Published on May 3, 2004 by dndobson
5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get any more real than this
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. Read more
Published on February 2, 2003 by Earl Hazell
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Anatomy of American Politics 101, with Dr. Lind
"The Republicans have a problem. The economic program of American Conservatives, if enacted in its entirety, would devastate the middle class while helping the American overclass. Read more
Published on January 29, 2003 by Earl Hazell
2.0 out of 5 stars Dense, and yet thin
Though the book is methodical and is seemingly dense, it is really quite thin -- thin insofar as it is mostly polemical. Read more
Published on December 18, 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Topic, Interesting but Difficult to Read
If you are planning on reading this book then I would suggest that you get a good nights sleep, fix some strong coffee, and find a comfortable chair. Read more
Published on August 16, 2002 by John G. Hilliard
5.0 out of 5 stars This book, hopefully, predicts where U.S. politics is going
Granted, this book is not an easy read, but it is well worth the effort. It lays out what has been lacking as a political choice for voters over the last quarter of a century:... Read more
Published on May 7, 2002 by aatdb
2.0 out of 5 stars Good potential ruined by bigotry
This book has some good things to say - it correctly notes that cynical politicians use the rhetoric of a "culture war" to win support for libertarian economic policies... Read more
Published on July 20, 2001
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