Politics of Resentment

They want us to hate each other. It’s all they’ve got:

Movement conservatism started off as a racket. Movement conservatism has always been about exacerbating and then profiting from existing cultural, social, and economic resentments. There was never any fall from an original ideological Eden. The corruption was there from the start. Packer is quite right to emphasize how the political and popular success of movement conservatism owes everything to its legitimization of a politics of resentment that arose in the 1960s.

The women and the blacks and the Mexicans took the jobs away, and the hippies lost us Vietnam and are even now making us feel bad about waving our big foam finger around, and the liberals keep harshing our buzz by reminding us we still have poor people, and bloggers are swearing on the Internets in order to make us feel bad about our lives. It’s all somebody else’s fault you’re not successful, you’re not strong, you’re not the person you want to be, the person you know deep down you should be. It’s all someone else’s fault, so don’t get off the couch, don’t pick up a sign, don’t sign a petition. Just vote for me, and be pissed off, and mutter darkly about the borders and the chicks. Just vote for me, and you won’t be any better off, but at least you’ll know you can blame somebody else for it. At least you’ll have that.


3 thoughts on “Politics of Resentment

  1. It’s imperative that we not allow “even-steven” thinking like Packer’s (who’s a fine reporter and writer but a poor historian) to go unchecked. It is simply not the case that Conservatism has had its day and now, in accordance to the Circle of Political Life, it’s Liberalism’s turn.
    Liberalism is not a counterpart to Conservatism. We live in a liberal country as part of a broad liberal global alliance. Conservatism is a disruptive movement designed primarily to bring wealth and power to its leaders.
    It’s like saying that the Mafia was the flip side of the FBI. Simply. Not. True.

  2. Well, I don’t know. I’ve been reading Franks’ What is the Matter With Kansas (finally) and of course he shows that the seriously con conservative movement of bitter, angry, lower class white losers was actually *extremely* active. They didn’t just hate and vote for whoever the republicans told them to vote for. In Kansas they trashed the republican moderate hierarchy and they got out and laid down in the highway, protested, and organized. Certainly, they organized around social issues while the economic ones that were really embittering them were simply wished away. But they were anything but passive.

Comments are closed.