- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (July 15, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684831864
- ISBN-13: 978-0684831862
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,307,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Up from Conservatism Reprint Edition
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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.
Top customer reviews
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. He traces the myths of the success of supply-side economics and the failures of the public schools and social welfare even before knowing that the Bush administration would bankrupt the country for upper-income tax cuts and push faith-based programs and school vouchers through the back door. He denounces the whacko anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic, irrational rantings of Pat Robertson that conservatives allow to go unchallenged because he controls a vast grass-roots network of voters. (This is what finally led him to renounce his own conservative affiliations.) But my favorite chapter has to be the one attacking the conservative myth of the Golden Age (the 1950s for Newt Gingrich, the 1930s for Trent Lott). It is very funny. Tragically, scandalously funny.
Lind calls attention to the hypocrisy of conservatives who call for law and order (at the same time they let the NRA halt even the most basic controls on weapons), smaller government (at the same time they establish the department of Total Information Awareness headed by situational ethicist John Poindexter), fiscal responsibility (at the same time they dip into Social Security in order to give tax breaks to the top 1%), pro-family (at the same time they tax families to give tax breaks to the rich), and non-intervention (at the same time they send young people off to die in order to divert attention from a poor economy and constitutional shenanigans).
Lind, most interestingly, makes the case that the GOP has shifted from American conservatism to southern conservatism, with its concomitant anti-intellectual, anti-government, pro-industry and separatist attitudes; at the same time, corporations have shifted from a pro-government (investment) model to a low-wage/non-regulation model favored by conservatives.
This is a big-picture book that will give you a lot to think about. If you are a curious and honest thinker, of any political persuasion, you will find this treatise, at the very least, thought-provoking.
The title's implication that current conservatism is bottom-of-the-barrel politics is bookended by the work's final lines: "It is too late to rescue American conservatism from the radical right. But it is not too late to rescue America from conservatism." You gotta love that.
An excellent companion book would be David Brock's Blinded by the Right. While Lind looks at the philosophical underpinnings of conservative thought, Brock's emphasis is on the evolution of the conservative movement since the 1980's and on specific individuals and the media.
This assessment may seem unduly harsh or even cruel to those millions of good decent Americans who regard themselves as conservatives but who would(pace actresses Patricia Heaton, Kathy Ireland, Angie Harmon or actors such as Gary Sinise, Kelsey Grammer, or James Woods) be genuinely appalled or outraged at the charge of racist bigotry, but to quote Edmund Burke, "evil ultimately flourishes when otherwise good men- or women- sit by and do nothing".
The problem is not so much conservatism but th WRONG type of type of conservatism- Lind calls for a "one nation type of conservatism" but how this is going to come about given the heavy domination of the Right by the GOP is unclear.
Because he has the advantage of having been an insider, his book is much more powerful and persuasive than books by those outside the movement. Lind shows the reader the roots of modern day conservatism, he discusses the think tanks that are behind much of today's conservative thought, and he focuses on three conservative hoaxes very popular with the public.
The best part of his book, however, is a chapter based upon a review Lind wrote in the New York Review of Books about Pat Robertson's "The New World Order." Lind is absolutely brilliant in exposing Robertson's plagarism of anti-Semitic works which Robertson in turn sanitized to a more conventional conspiracy theory. And yet there was very little negative comment about Robertson, especially from fellow conservatives. Lind calls this silence a result of a "no enemies to the right" policy.
Lind's book isn't perfect. His explanation of the genealogy of American political thought becomes rather confusing in places. Some readers will no doubt object to Lind's attitude toward affirmative action (he's against it). But all in all, it is still an excellent book.