Tuesday, July 1, 2014

'Hobby Lobby' in Context: How Long Will the Unholy Alliance of Christian Dominionists, 1 Percenters, and Libertarians Last?

I would like to thank all of you who shared my earlier piece on the Hobby Lobby decision, and the counter factual question "What if Muslims Used the Hobby Lobby Decision to Discriminate Against White Christians?".

It has gone viral with about 63,000 shares on Facebook.

As I wrote there, despite the Court's claim that the Hobby Lobby ruling will have a "narrow" reach with few implications, the consequences for how claims of religious freedom and free enterprise can trump standing law and the social compact will be far reaching.

In my earlier post, I alluded to the question of unintended consequences in regards to how Hobby Lobby could potentially blow up in the faces of the White Right. Reflecting on that supposition by putting it within a broader cultural, historical, and political context, Hobby Lobby may actually be an intentional gift to the White Right by the Roberts court.


The Libertarian wing is pleased that federal law and the social compact are further diminished. The Christian Fundamentalists are happy that their twisted and distorted view that the United States ought to be made into a theocracy where "Biblically sound" laws govern was advanced by the Supreme Court. The plutocrats are giddy that they moved one more piece forward on the chessboard of corporate control over all aspects of individual's lives and freedom.

In my original thoughts on how the Hobby Lobby ruling is one more step towards American Theocracy, I erred by assuming judicial neutrality and principled decision making on the part of the Roberts and Scalia Court. My veneration of the Court distracted me from how its Right-wing members have politicized and ruined such an important American political institution.

The contemporary Tea Party GOP (and movement conservatism more broadly) is an unholy alliance of divergent interests. Of course, white supremacy and anti-black racism is one of their strongest bonds; it is a shared value. For the corporatists and the 1 percent it is a means to an end; for the other elements of the White Right it is a core belief.

The Hobby lobby decision offers up a foul, yet appropriate visual, for describing the White Right's Age of Obama Legion of Doom.

The 1 percent and the corporateocracy are voyeurs. They enjoy watching while the libertarians mount the Christian Dominionists and other fundies from behind. The 1 percent are enthralled at the sex show. The Libertarians are not even kind enough to give the Christian Fundamentalists the courtesy of a reach around. The latter enjoy being used; they are topping from the bottom. The open white supremacists are chained to the wall, wearing gimp suits and with gag balls in their mouths, eager to be freed so that they may do the others' bidding.

The question then becomes, how long will this alliance of convenience last?

To the degree that they are separate elements, will the Christian Dominionists, Corporatists/1 percenters and libertarians turn on one another? Will this happen in the near, mid, or long term?

Will the open white supremacists in the Tea Party GOP alliance become disgusted at the relative "moderation" of their allies?

The outrage narrative in response to the Supreme Court's horrible Hobby Lobby ruling is entertaining and compelling. It makes for easy "hashtag" Social Media "activism". The more important and substantive work begins by putting the Court's support of Austerity, neoliberalism, and theocracy within a broader systemic context.

The commentariat should be asking what is the bigger game plan here, whose agenda is being advanced, and how is it being forced on the American people?

A few are following through on that most basic of journalist responsibilities; unfortunately, too many others are going for the "cheap heat"


James Estrada-Scaminaci III said...

In my opinion, you have the mounting backwards. From the 1930s onwards, corporate leaders sought to merge libertarian economics with Protestant fundamentalism. By the 1950s, Protestant fundamentalism with its libertarian economics, was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the white supremacists, as was the National Review conservatism. Starting in the 1960s, Rousas Rushdoony began creating Christian Reconstructionism which is a mixture of Christian fundamentalism (biblical inerrancy, biblical literalism, biblical worldview) with Christian libertarianism (Gary North who is Ron Paul's strategic and economic adviser) with white supremacy. The Christian Reconstructionists along with the John Birch Society, the secular face of the movement, created the Council for National Policy. The CNP is the elite tip of the Christian Right which brings together the Christian Right and its millionaire/billionaire funders. The libertarians are now the rump of the movement. In the entire populace, perhaps no more than 10 to 20 percent. Reason and Cato are simply along for the ride. They don't provide guidance to the overall movement. From the 1990s onwards, the libertarians have not been in control of anything on the right-wing. They were a distinct minority in the Patriot militia. They are a distinct minority in the Tea Party movement. Skocpol's book demonstrated that even when they show up, they stay silently. The Koch brothers are tied directly and tightly to the Council for National Policy, while the CNP elite take part in their secret strategy and fund raising meetings. Their Americans For Prosperity are tied directly and tightly into the leading Tea Party coalitions and networks. The libertarians are under the delusion that they exert some kind of influence or control on the right-wing movement. In reality, they are riding in the caboose of a train they cannot control, influence, and probably only can get off of. It is the Christian Right which is the fundamental threat--not the Cato Institute or Reason.

chauncey devega said...

You are the book on this topic. How is the alliance holding together? Do you think it will break?

Myshkin the Idiot said...

My understanding of the decision is it is intended to legitimate American hierarchy. Since the employer implements the health program, they are essentially protecting their beliefs from the beliefs of their employees, when really the employee should be protected from the beliefs of their employers as they have more power over their lives.

What's really concerning me is education (also trans identified people). Suppose you have Biblical literalist students in your classroom. Public education is state run, conservatives believe they have the right to demand what the government teaches their children, thus acting as an employer in this sense.

Will the parents now be legitimated by a Supreme Court decision that says they don't have to have their religious beliefs challenged by an employee of the state?

Miles_Ellison said...

It will last for as long as a significant proportion of the population refuses to believe such an alliance exists.

coolobserver said...

This is so right! And I'd like to exercise my right to disdain and disassociate with ALL monotheists. They are the scourge of the earth and the bane of mankind. And my religion makes me want to discriminate against heterosexuals, home owners, neo-cons, monogamists and probably most women. I am a true believer and my religion just tells me all these are so very WRONG. But, then I am not a corporation, don't have big bucks and don't feel I care to inflict my sacred beliefs on others just to make me feel good and to placate the God I worship.

James Estrada-Scaminaci III said...

Well, as long as they are out of power, the alliance will hold together. They have strong common interests and believe they are at war with a common enemy, be it defined as a godless liberal government or a socialist government.

The Christian Right does not believe that they will come to power through elections. If they did, the Republican Party would be expanding the base of their party to include non-whites and gays. Rather, they are purifying their party so that it is almost exclusively white, conservative, Christian, and male dominated.

They are using Lenin's tactic to build a "combat party" with its own paramilitary wing (Patriot militias) and their own intelligence service within the existing security/military bureaucracies (Oath Keepers and Mack's Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association). The overt white supremacists have joined the military to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring those skills home to the militias. Their strategy of coming to power is based on a catastrophic collapse of the economic system.

In their ideology, this collapse is engineered by the Federal Reserve System in cahoots with an international elite and traitorous American elites. It is difficult to determine how much they really oppose the Wall Street banks.

But, the most conservative members differ from ordinary conservatives who are not as committed to political warfare. But, under pressure, the moderate conservatives would probably conform and not protest because they share the same ideology and religious delusions. One cannot underestimate how much religion holds this movement together.

But, even assuming they came to power through elections, it is a movement built on and driven by HATE. There is no compassion or empathy in this movement.

If they had been in power in 2009, they would have forced people to starve. Look at the Heritage Foundation's recommendations to limit unemployment insurance, limit food stamps, limit other types of support. But, they also plan for and anticipate urban riots caused by their policies.

Corporations, on the other hand, must have customers. You cannot hate your customers and hope to survive. But, corporations are also very supportive of the fiscal regime this hateful right-wing would put into place. The security system is certainly in place to battle the Urban Left.

In my more hopeful moments, I would suggest the following:

What would cause this broad right-wing to fracture, or to pull some of the corporate backing away and some of the secular libertarians away, is a robust rainbow coalition of Americans promoting an alternative narrative of a different more inclusive, more egalitarian America.

On the other hand:

Right now, the vast majority of Americans do not see the tremendous dangers coming from the right-wing because most mainstream media and even progressive bloggers believe in American Exceptionalism--that really bad things cannot be planned for here.

But, I cannot believe that a massive right-wing built on hate, built on an alternative history of America, built on different myths, and ultimately built on the idea that only a very small fraction of Americans are, in fact, human and citizens, will not end terribly.

joe manning said...

As you so deftly point out conservatism and religion are joined at the hip. Their belief in original sin is the basis of their hatred of humanity and their blind faith in the invisible hand of the market is pure theism. Libertarians are "way out there" due to their minimalism which reduces human life to a "buy and sell" absurdity.

SabrinaBee said...

Very nicely put, CD. Everybody gets a piece. In affairs both domestic and abroad. Let's not forget abroad. In the same vein the alliance operates, here at home, where corporations gouge the workers, right politicians refuse to provide any solutions, crying welfare and suggest people go to the church if they want to eat. Corporations also demand right wing politicians push war in various countries for monetary gain. Right wing politicians set up arms industries for themselves, and contract out to the government. (welfare). And right wing evangelicals get to go into the countries and push their religion, while acting as their saviors, increasing their 'conversion' member rolls. A very cozy relationship they have. They all win.