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I just wasted 30 precious minutes of my life reading that nonsensical article by Packer.

"The success of the Right Wingers over the last generation has had nothing to do with their ideas or their abilities to think and argue.

Sez Roy:

The main problem is that Packer treats the conservative movement as a serious intellectual force, and thinks its diminution as such will lead inevitably to defeat. Pitchfork Pat [Buchanan] may have been trying to throw Packer a clue when he quoted Eric Hoffer to him: "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket." The conservative heavy thinkers to whom Packer gives much credence may feel as if the world has passed them by, but the racketeers really run the show."

The success of the right wing came from a combination of factors:
a. the political system of the South moving from nominally being Democrats (though clearly being violently at odds with the national party from the 1920s onward) to the Republican party. This is the racketeering part of the equation. See Kevin Kruse's White Flight.
b. the failure of Keynesian economics in the 1970s. This is the ideas part of the equation. see Kevin Hickson's The IMF Crisis of 1976 and British Politics.
c. the turmoil created by poorly-though through implementations of the Great Society added on top of the economic shifts of the late 1960s and 1970s. see Jonathan Rieder's Canarsie: The Jews and Italians of Brooklyn Against Liberalism. This is the social/cultural part of the equation.


A bibliography is hardly an argument.


"A bibliography is hardly an argument."

That's a reasonable enough critique: here's a longer-form response:

In the post-WWII era (particularly 1960 onwards), globally we have a large amount of experience with a resurgence of the right. Most developed nations experienced it, at least after 1980. Only in a few nations did the right solidly take over dominance of the national politics: the USA, the UK, Australia and Italy.

Those are also the only four developed countries where the right had at least two, and, in the USA and Italy, all three of the above factors working for them (utilizing and repositioning already existing structures of corruption, taking advantage of the collapse of Keynesian economics and being able to ride societal turmoil to power). Nations like Sweden where there was neither systems of corruption nor as serious a challenge to Keynesian economics still had the societal turmoil, but did not have a serious movement to the right. Even France, which had both systems of corruption and severe societal turmoil did not move as far to the right becuase it still held to a non-neoclassical economics.

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