The nasty party
I have just finished reading "Hijacking America: How the Secular and Religious Right Changed What Americans Think" by Susan George. I find it hard to think about American politics without getting depressed. In the book George argues that the swing to the right has been expertly managed by business leaders, lobbyists, religious nuts, thinktanks and right-wing intellectuals - they have managed to thwart responses to climate change, ensured that the poor get poorer while the rich get richer, stymied cell stem research, put the knife in gay marriage and got people believing in Creationism. Congratulations to them - they pulled it off, and George shows exactly how they did it - while the progressives rested on their laurels, complacent that their "sharing is good" ideology would win out because it is inherently nicer, the right-wing were planning, waiting and scheming for the last two decades. The only other book I've read that is equally depressing is George Orwell's 1984 - and at least that's fiction.
Perhaps the most upsetting note in the book is that even if Obama gets elected, it's unlikely to make a huge difference to the direction the country has taken. The damage is done. And it's not just in America, but the shift is happening across the world. Politicalcompass.org lists the current stances of the Conservatives and Labour party as firmly in the authoritarian/right quadrant of their map (although both have shifted slighty towards the centre in the last couple of years). There isn't much in it though, and oddly, if you want a more progressive government, it looks like politicalcompass would advise you vote Tory out of the two.
I wonder how long all this large-scale selfishness and delusion can go on for?