Daily Bread for 3.15.22: Conservatism v. Conservatism

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 56.  Sunrise is 7:04 AM and sunset 7:01 PM for 11h 57m 02s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 91.3% its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 44 BC, Julius Caesar is assassinated.

 Whitewater once had three kinds of conservatives (traditional, transactional, and populist), but she effectively has only two types (transactional and populist) now.  Whitewater’s traditional conservatives have faded into political irrelevance.  They were once the backbone of Old Whitewater, but by the mid-teens another conservatism, a populist one, rose quickly and replaced the tired and fading traditional types.

Fundamentally, the populist conservatives aren’t conservative at all. They’re energetic, motivated opponents of a traditional outlook.  They don’t want to conserve – they want to overturn. Emotional, thin-skinned, and contemptuous of established institutions, they’re not working to repair.  They’re working to tear down and, afterward, replace with something, anything so long as it advances them over others.

They are not, however, the only rightwing faction in town. Transactional conservatives, a smaller but well-positioned group of rightwing developers and business types, have outlasted the traditional conservatives and now find themselves in an alliance with the rising rightwing populists. The transactionalists fancy themselves financial savants, but the backbone of the group rests on second-generation landlords.  (Plainly and accurately stated: the rental sector isn’t a modern development, tenancy having been around as long as history itself, and it’s not part of a modern knowledge economy.) In any event, they’ve worked these years to dominate town politics, but for it all Whitewater remains a low-wage economy.  See A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA, Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom, and Reported Family Poverty in Whitewater Increased Over the Last Decade (note well: that’s family and child poverty).

These men have done well for themselves, but they’ve done nothing for individual and household incomes.

Credit where credit is due: they have successfully managed every previous political alliance to their advantage. They’ve effectively co-opted those with whom they’ve made deals (including some on the center-left). Such an alliance is something like the old commercial about a roach motel: you can check in, but you won’t be checking out.

The alliance between the populists and the transactionalists won’t last.  Either the populists will give up their ambitions to overturn existing arrangements, or they will discard the transactionalists if they achieve those ambitions. Rightwing populism as a movement only sustains intensity through ever-greater extremism; the transactionalists can only manipulate local politics through a stability that allows them to satisfy their own business ambitions. The populists are crudely appetitive, and the transactionalists are transparently acquisitive, and these are different impulses.

It’s a partnership of convenience now, but in the end only one of these factions will endure.

See also the series WHITEWATER’S LOCAL POLITICS 2021 and yesterday’s Energy and Exhaustion.

Tomorrow: What if They Got Everything They Wanted?

Fly through Gaia probe’s catalog of Milky Way stars:

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1 year ago

So…Where will Vos end up? He certainly, as a Whitewater student housing oligarch and popcorn magnate, checks the transactional box. Is he just pretending to be a populist? I must say he is depressingly persuasive on that front.

It sure seems like Vos is both running scared about right-flank attacks and being humiliated, on an almost daily basis, about the transparent grifter that he hired to “review” election procedures. Gableman has gone completely, proudly, rogue, and seems to be daring Vos to do something about it.

Sucks to be Vos. I’m OK with that.