Americans Must Drive a Stake Through the Heart of the NeoCalvinist Republican Party

Thom plus logo Once again, negotiations over Covid relief show the stark differences between the Democratic and Republican Parties. That America isn't shocked and horrified by GOP behavior is a testimonial to how well corporate media obscures these differences.

Several Republican senators and their aides have gone so far as to suggest that giving working people even a single $600 check will cause them to "live high on the hog" or will bring "communism" to America.

The same Republicans are enthusiastic when the very rich, their principal donors, get trillions in tax cuts and hundreds of billions in annual subsidies. When those pieces of legislation are being negotiated, "living high on the hog" is not a phrase you will hear.

What we're watching in real time is the worldview promoted by many who share Betsy DeVos's Calvinist church's worldview that being rich is a sign that God has chosen you as a "good person" and wants you to lead the country.

As bizarre as this sounds, it's actually an ideology that has an animated the Republican Party for over 100 years. If all people, at their core, are sinners and evil, the big question for conservatives is, "How do we find 'good' people to lead us?"

Hundreds of years ago, religious leader John Calvin and his followers gave a simple answer: God tells us who should be leading our nation by showering those he favors with great wealth. Thus they should lead us.

The extension of this idea, at the core of conservative thought since the days of Edmund Burke in the era of the American Revolution, has been that poor and working class people are not worthy of leadership because they are not blessed by God with riches.

In the conservative understanding of both religion and a functional social order, only rich people should ever be allowed to rule.

Burke pointed out that while people like hairdressers and candlemakers should be allowed to make a living, they should never be able to vote or participate in government. To this day, Burke is one of the most quoted figures among American conservatives.

While Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, openly worries that giving a $600 check to people already receiving paltry unemployment payments that run out in two weeks would be a "double benefit," lines for food are stretching for miles in some parts of the country.

The conservative billionaire class and it's Republican Party say throwing bones to starving Americans is OK as long as they're tiny bones. But they want their trillions in tax breaks and subsidies to continue nonstop...and Republicans in Congress are working hard to comply.

Sadly, some Democrats are echoing their, "Oh my God, the deficits!" rhetoric. By coincidence, they're the ones whose political campaigns are mostly funded by billionaires and big industry.

This Calvinistic worldview and the massive inequality it's brought America over the last 40 years is a cancer destroying our republic. It's made far, far worse by Supreme Court decisions gutting campaign finance laws.

America once had the world's strongest middle class and widespread social stability. While it didn't extend to all Americans, we had a formula that worked and needed to be extended. Share the wealth with working people and tax the billionaires at a reasonable, above-50% rate.

40 years of Reaganism has gutted the middle class, wildly enriched the billionaire class and is now destroying the very democracy that generations of Americans fought and died for. We must drive a stake through its heart and and this poisonous ideology altogether.


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