Conservative Fantasies About the Miracles of the Market by Robert Jensen, Common Dreams, January 23, 2012 - A central doctrine of evangelicals for the “free market” is its capacity for innovation: New ideas, new technologies, new gadgets — all flow not from governments but from individuals and businesses allowed to flourish in the market…As is often the case in faith-based systems, reconciling doctrine to the facts of history can be tricky.…thought of the long list of modern technological innovations that came directly from government-directed and –financed projects…without the foundational research funded by government, none of those products and services could exist…The larger context for this assertion of market fundamentalism is the ongoing political project to de-legitimize any collective action by ordinary people through government. Given the degree to which corporations and the wealthy dominate contemporary government, from the local to the national level, it’s not clear why elites are so flustered; they are the ones who benefit most from government spending. But politicians and pundits who serve those elites keep hammering away on a simple theme — business good, government bad — hoping to make sure that the formal mechanisms of democracy won’t be used to question the concentration of wealth and power. Throughout history, the political projects of the wealthy have been driven by propaganda. There is no reason to expect that to change anytime soon, which means popular movements for economic justice and ecological sustainability not only have to struggle to change the future but also to tell the truth about the past.
Five Preposterous, Persistent Conservative Myths by Paul Buchheit, Common Dreams, April 2, 2012 With the mainstream media in the hands of the mostly conservative wealthy, it’s difficult for average Americans to learn the truth about critical issues. The following five conservative claims are examples of mythical beliefs that fall apart in the presence of inconvenient facts:
1. Entitlements are the Problem
2. Charter Schools are the Answer
3. Corporate Taxes Are Too High
4. Jim Crow is Dead
5. Poverty Is Declining Everywhere
6 and 7. Evolution and global warming don’t exist.
These are just too preposterous for words.
Challenging the Republican’s Five Myths on Inequality by David Morris, CommonDreams.org, January 23, 2012 - The Republican position on inequality rests on five statements, all false. 1. Income is Not All That Unequal — 2. Inequality doesn’t matter because inAmericaambition and hard work can make a pauper a millionaire. — 3. Income inequality is not a result of tax policy. — 4. Taxing the rich will slow economic growth — 5. Taxing the rich would not raise much money …
How Republicans created the myth of Ronald Reagan By Will Bunch, Salon.com, Feb. 02, 2009 - excerpt from “Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future” With the Gipper’s reputation flagging after Clinton, neoconservatives launched a stealthy campaign to remake him as a “great” president.
The Self-Made Myth: Debunking Conservatives’ Favorite — And Most Dangerous — Fiction By Sara Robinson, AlterNet, April 25, 2012 – The self-made myth is one of the most cherished foundation stones of the conservative theology. Nurtured by Horatio Alger and generations of beloved boys’ stories, It sits at the deep black heart of the entire right-wing worldview, where it provides the essential justification for a great many other common right-wing beliefs. It feeds the accusation that government is evil because it only exists to redistribute wealth from society’s producers (self-made, of course) and its parasites (who refuse to work). It justifies conservative rage against progressives, who are seen as wanting to use government to forcibly take away what belongs to the righteous wealthy. It’s piously invoked by hedge fund managers and oil billionaires, who think that being required to reinvest any of their wealth back into the public society that made it possible is “punishing success.” It’s the foundational belief on which all of Ayn Rand’s novels stand.
If you’ve heard it once from your Fox-watching uncle, you’ve probably heard it a hundred times. “The government never did anything for me, dammit,” he grouses. “Everything I have, I earned. Nobody ever handed me anything. I did it all on my own. I’m a self-made man.”
He’s just plain wrong. Flat-out, incontrovertibly, inarguably wrong. So profoundly wrong, in fact, that we probably won’t be able to change the national discourse on taxes, infrastructure, education, government investment, technology policy, transportation, welfare, or our future prospects as a country until we can effectively convince the country of the monumental wrongness of this one core point.
…created the most fertile soil on the planet for entrepreneurs to succeed…
ways in which government action laid the groundwork for their success….education…support of the Small Business Administration and other government agencies…strong regulatory environment…Enforceable copyright and intellectual property laws…A robust system of roads, ports, airports, and mass transit…The government’s role in creating the Internet…The ability to issue public stock in a fair, reliable, regulated marketplace [plus] the contributions of their employees, without whom their companies wouldn’t exist…Luck and Timing…
Because Americans in general like to think we’re an equal society, we’re also quick to discount the importance of race, gender, appearance, class, upbringing, and other essential forms of social capital that can open doors for people who have it — and close them on those who don’t. The self-made myth allows us to deflect our attention from these critical factors, undermining our determination to level the playing field for those who don’t start life with a pocket fat with advantages. What Changes?
The book winds up with specific policy prescriptions that can bring the built-together reality back into sharper political and cultural focus. The last section shows how abandoning the self-made myth for a built-together reality creates fresh justification for a more progressive income tax, the repeal of the capital gains exemption and raising corporate and inheritance taxes. It also makes a far more compelling philosophical backdrop against which progressives can argue for increased investment in infrastructure, education, a fair minimum wage, a strong social safety net, and better anti-discrimination laws.
But the most striking thing about the book — implicit throughout, but explicit nowhere — was the alternative vision of capitalism it offers. Throughout the book, Miller and Lapham seem to be making the tacit case that businesses premised on the built-together reality are simply more fair, more generous, more sustainable, and more humane….
The implication is clear: if we can interrupt American’s long love affair with the self-made myth, we will effectively pull the center tent pole out from under the selfish assumptions that shelter most of the excesses of corporate behavior that characterize our age. This isn’t just another point of contention between progressives and conservatives; it’s somewhere near the very center of the disconnect between our worldviews….