10 June 2016

America: Conservatism, Christian Fundamentalism and Racism

For almost 250 years, there was something called 'American Conservatism'. It stood for small government, low taxes and free trade. And for around 150 years, it was the ideology of the Republican Party.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan made a cynical alliance with Christian fundamentalism to increase the power of the Republican Party. A bizarre cocktail of political conservatism and Christian fundamentalism became the new ideology of the Republican Party.

But there was one more, older, ingredient. In 1968, Richard Nixon had shaken hands with another devil – white racism. The undercurrent of racism has been flowing beneath the conservatism and Christian fundamentalism of the Republican Party since then.

Today the chickens have come home to roost. The expedient add-on has ended up becoming the main engine. For the first time in America's 240-year history, a blatant racist has been elected as the Presidential candidate of one of its two parties. With the triumph of Donald Trump, white racism has now become the official ideology of the Republican Party.

What happens to the other two ingredients? Christian fundamentalism is perfectly compatible with white racism. So it will continue as a co-ideology. But the political/economic plank of Trumpism – ie, the real plank – is big government, high taxes and isolationism. This is nothing but the anti-thesis of conservatism.

So American conservatism is dead and buried. RIP.

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