Sunday, April 7, 2013

Conservatives Morph into Doomsday Preppers

from The Nation
If left unchecked, this brand of political nihilism does more than just wreck Congress’s job approval numbers; it effectively undermines all our public institutions until they, like Congress, start to fail. Then when they do, these same doomsday conservatives can conveniently cite these breakdowns as vindication. To be sure, right-wing, anti-government agitating has a long, sordid history in our country. But today an alarmingly broad swath of mainstream conservatism also buys into and acts out these catastrophic, self-fulfilling prophecies.
To accept this as our near-term fate may be daunting, but it need not be defeating; the folks on Doomsday Preppersat least offer that valuable lesson. Eighty years ago, President Roosevelt understood this point as well. Thus, his inaugural address invoked “the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of the national unity.” He recognized that a nation of atomized individuals invested only in filling one’s bank account or stockpiling one’s basement shelves isn’t really much of a nation worth believing in. “We do not distrust the future of essential democracy,” Roosevelt confidently stated in conclusion, once again embracing the power of the collective spirit to remind his audience, “the people of the United States have not failed.” The same holds true today. If we let it, fear itself can indeed divide one person from the next, but bound together as one people, fear alone cannot defeat us.

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