On Kansas and Conservatives: Thomas Frank, “Letter from Brownbackistan”
June 19, 2012 2 Comments
Thomas Frank, the author of What’s the Matter with Kansas? (2005), has an article in the July edition of Harper’s detailing some of the latest moves by those most conservative of conservatives in the Sunflower State.
The meta-argument Frank makes is that we can understand the larger conservative movement by studying what’s being done in Kansas, and there are a couple of concise points he makes that really shed light on why we’re on the wrong political path.
FRANK: Many of the great conservative crusades of the last few decades, it strikes me, have set out to move the world with some tiny, harmless-sounding lever. Changing defined-benefit pensions into 401(k) plans is always presented as a responsible fiscal move, but it actually transforms the pensioner into a small-time speculator, like it or not.
Indeed, the move to 401(k) plans has brought a lot of financial pain into the world of retired workers. It benefits the corporations by making individuals dependent on how the stock market performs, while simultaneously depriving individuals of a secure retirement.
Frank also points to they hypocrisy behind the conservative drive to suppress the vote by requiring additional identification.
FRANK: One of the movement’s great indignation clusters of thirty years ago concerned paperwork imposed by government on business. Today, though, conservatives seem to think paperwork is a good idea, as long as government imposes it on individual voters.
Progressive often get outraged by conservative hypocrisy, and it’s not hard to find, but I think it’s still important to point out. It’s not the moral affront that bothers me most, or the curious disregard for the Ten Commandments that many Christians have when it comes to telling the truth in politics. No, I think it’s important to point out the hypocrisy because, as the fraudulent concern about voter fraud demonstrates, conservatives use hypocrisy as a political tool, and that’s what progressives need to expose. Repeatedly, as they ain’t gonna stop.