Conceptual Guerilla writes:

Have you got three minutes? Because that’s all you need to learn how to
defeat the Republican Right. Just read through this handy guide and you’ll
have everything you need to successfully debunk right-wing propaganda.

It’s really that simple. First, you have to beat their ideology, which
really isn’t that difficult. At bottom, conservatives believe in a social
hierarchy of “haves” and “have nots” that I call “corporate
“‘. They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed
it up with a “respectable” sounding ideology. That ideology is pure
hogwash, and you can prove it.

But you have to do more than defeat the ideology. You have to defeat
the “drum beat”. You have to defeat the “propaganda machine”, that
brainwashes people with their slogans and catch-phrases. You’ve heard
those slogans.”Less government“, “personal
” and lots of flag waving. They are “shorthand” for an
entire worldview, and the right has been pounding their slogans out into
the public domain for getting on forty years.

So you need a really good slogan – a “counter-slogan” really, to
“deprogram” the brainwashed. You need a “magic bullet” that quickly and
efficiently destroys the effectiveness of their “drum beat”. You need your
own “drum beat” that sums up the right’s position. Only your “drum beat”
exposes the ugly reality of right-wing philosophy – the reality their
slogans are meant to hide. Our slogan contains the governing concept that
explains the entire right-wing agenda. That’s why it works. You can see it
in every policy, and virtually all of Republican rhetoric. And it’s so
easy to remember, and captures the essence of the Republican Right so
well, we can pin it on them like a “scarlet letter”.

Is there really a catch phrase – a “magic bullet” – that sums up the
Republican Right in such a nice easy-to-grasp package. You better believe
it, and it’s downright elegant in its simplicity.

You want to know what that “magic bullet” is, don’t you. Read on.
You’ve still got two minutes.

Right-Wing Ideology in a Nutshell

When you cut right through it, right-wing ideology is just “dime-store
economics” – intended to dress their ideology up and make it look
respectable. You don’t really need to know much about economics to
understand it. They certainly don’t. It all gets down to two simple

“Cheap labor”. That’s their whole philosophy in a nutshell – which
gives you a short and pithy “catch phrase” that describes them perfectly.
You’ve heard of “big-government liberals”. Well they’re “cheap-labor

“Cheap-labor conservative” is a moniker they will never shake, and
never live down. Because it’s exactly what they are. You see, cheap-labor
conservatives are defenders of corporate America – whose fortunes depend
on labor. The larger the labor supply, the cheaper it is. The more
desperately you need a job, the cheaper you’ll work, and the more power
those “corporate lords” have over you. If you are a wealthy elite – or a
like most dittoheads – your wealth, power and privilege is enhanced by a
labor pool, forced to work cheap.

Don’t believe me. Well, let’s apply this principle, and see how many
right-wing positions become instantly understandable.

  • Cheap-labor conservatives don’t like social spending or our “safety
    net”. Why. Because when you’re unemployed and desperate, corporations
    can pay you whatever they feel like – which is inevitably next to
    nothing. You see, they want you “over a barrel” and in a position to
    “work cheap or starve”.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives don’t like the minimum wage, or other
    improvements in wages and working conditions. Why. These reforms undo
    all of their efforts to keep you “over a barrel”.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives like “free trade”, NAFTA, GATT, etc. Why.
    Because there is a huge supply of desperately poor people in the third
    world, who are “over a barrel”, and will work cheap.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives oppose a woman’s right to choose. Why.
    Unwanted children are an economic burden that put poor women “over a
    barrel”, forcing them to work cheap.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives don’t like unions. Why. Because when labor
    “sticks together”, wages go up. That’s why workers unionize. Seems
    workers don’t like being “over a barrel”.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives constantly bray about “morality”,
    “virtue”, “respect for authority”, “hard work” and other “values”. Why. So they can blame your being
    “over a barrel” on your own “immorality”, lack of “values” and “poor
  • Cheap-labor conservatives encourage racism, misogyny, homophobia and
    other forms of bigotry. Why? Bigotry among wage earners distracts them,
    and keeps them from recognizing their common interests as wage earners.

They Don’t Really Like Prosperity

Maybe you don’t believe that cheap-labor conservatives like
unemployment, poverty and “cheap labor”. Consider these facts.

Unemployment was 23 percent when FDR took office in 1933. It dropped to
2.5 percent by time the next Republican was in the White House in 1953. It
climbed back to 6.5 percent by the end of the Eisenhower administration.
It dropped to 3.5 percent by the time LBJ left office. It climbed over 5
percent shortly after Nixon took office, and stayed there for 27 years,
until Clinton brought it down to 4.5 percent early in his second term.

That same period – especially from the late forties into the early
seventies – was the “golden age” of the United States. We sent men to the
moon. We built our Interstate Highway system. We ended segregation in the
South and established Medicare. In those days, a single wage earner could
support an entire family on his wages. I grew up then, and I will tell you
that life was good – at least for the many Americans insulated from the
tragedy in Vietnam, as I was.

These facts provide a nice background to evaluate cheap-labor
conservative claims like “liberals are destroying America.”In fact,
cheap-labor conservatives have howled with outrage and indignation against
New Deal liberalism from its inception in the 1930’s all the way to the
present. You can go to “Free Republic” or Hannity’s forum right now, and
find a cheap-labor conservative comparing New Deal Liberalism to

  • Cheap-labor conservatives opposed virtually all of the New
    Deal, including every improvement in wages and working conditions.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives have a long and sorry history
    of opposing virtually every advancement
    in this country’s development going right back to the American revolution.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives have hated Social Security and
    Medicare since their inception.
  • Many cheap-labor conservatives are hostile to public
    education. They think it should be privatized. But why are we surprised.
    Cheap-labor conservatives opposed universal public education in its
    early days. School vouchers are just a backdoor method to “resegregate”
    the public schools.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives hate the progressive income tax
    like the devil hates holy water.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives like budget deficits and a huge
    national debt for two reasons. A bankrupt government has a harder time
    doing any “social spending” – which cheap-labor conservatives oppose,
    and . . .
  • Wealthy cheap-labor conservatives like say, George W.
    Bush, buy the bonds and then earn tax free interest on the money they
    lend the government.[Check out Dubya’s financial disclosures. The son of
    a bitch is a big holder of the T-bills that finance the deficit he is
    helping to expand.] The deficit created by cheap-labor conservatives
      while they posture as being “fiscally conservative” – may count
    as the biggest con job in American history.
  • “Free Trade”, globalization, NAFTA and especially GATT are
    intended to create a world-wide “corporate playground” where national
    governments serve the interests of corporations – which means “cheap

working people. They don’t like “bottom up” prosperity, and the reason for
it is very simple. lords have a harder time kicking them around. Once you
understand this about the cheap-labor conservatives, the real motivation
for their policies makes perfect sense. Remember, cheap-labor
conservatives believe in social hierarchy and privilege, so the only
prosperity they want is limited to them. They want to see absolutely
nothing that benefits the guy – or more often the woman – who works for an
hourly wage.

So there you have it, in one easy-to-remember phrase. See how easy it
is to understand these cheap-labor conservatives. The more ignorant and
destitute people there are – desperate for any job they can get – the
cheaper the cheap-labor conservatives can get them to work.

Try it. Every time you respond to a cheap-labor conservative in letters
to the editor, or an online discussion forum, look for the “cheap labor”
angle. Trust me, you’ll find it. I can even show you the “cheap labor”
angle in things like the “war on drugs”, and the absurd conservative
opposition to alternative energy.

Next, make that moniker – cheap-labor conservatives – your “standard
reference” to the other side. One of the last revisions I made to this
article was to find every reference to “conservatives”, “Republicans”,
“right-wingers”, and “righties”, and replace it with “cheap-labor
conservatives”. In fact, if you’re a cheap-labor conservative reading
this, you should be getting sick of that phrase right about now.

If enough people will “get with the program”, it won’t be long before
you can’t look at an editorial page, listen to the radio, turn on the TV,
or log onto your favorite message board without seeing the phrase “cheap
labor conservatives” – and have plenty of examples to reinforce the
message. By election day of 2004, every politically sentient American
should understand exactly what a “cheap labor conservative” is, and what
he stands for.

Now if you stop right here, you will have enough ammunition to hold
your own with a cheap-labor conservative, in any public debate. You have
your catch phrase, and you have some of the facts and history to give that
phrase meaning.

But if you really want to rip the heart out of cheap-labor conservative
ideology, you may want to invest just a little bit more effort. It still
isn’t all that complicated, though it is a bit more detailed than what we
have covered so far.

To explore that detail, just click one of the links below.

Government” and “Cheap Labor”

Public Sector and Private Fortunes

Responsibility” and Wages

For more detailed theoretical understanding, check out The
Mythology of Wealth
, or just browse through some of the articles in
the sidebar.

Now go find some “cheap labor conservatives”, and pin that scarlet
moniker on them.


Less Government is the central defining right-wing
slogan. And yes, its all about cheap

Included within the slogan less government is the whole
conservative set of assumptions about the nature of the free market and
governments role in that market..In
fact, the whole public sector/private sector distinction is an invention of
the cheap-labor conservatives.They say
that the private sector exists outside and independently of the public sector. The public sector, according to cheap-labor

ideology, can only interfere with the private sector, and that such
interference is inefficient and unprincipled

Using this ideology, the cheap-labor ideologue paints
himself as a defender of freedom against big government tyranny.
In fact, the whole idea that the private
sector is independent of the public sector is totally bogus.
In fact, the market is created by public
laws, public institutions and public infrastructure.

But the cheap-labor conservative isnt really interested in
freedom.What the he wants is the
privatized tyranny of industrial serfdom, the main characteristic of which is
you guessed it — cheap labor.

For proof, you need only look at exactly what constitutes
big government tyranny and what doesnt.
It turns out that cheap-labor conservatives are BIG supporters of the
most oppressive and heavy handed actions the government takes.

  • Cheap-labor
    conservatives are consistent supporters of the generous use of capital
    punishment.They say that
    government cant do anything right except apparently, kill
    people. Indeed, they exhibit
    classic conservative unconcern for the very possibility that the
    government might make a mistake and execute the wrong man.
  • Cheap-labor
    conservatives complain about the Warren Court handcuffing the police
    and giving rights to criminals.
    It never occurs to them, that our criminal justice system is set up
    to protect innocent citizens from abuses or just plain mistakes by
    government officials you know, the ones who cant do anything right.
  • Cheap-labor
    conservatives support the get tough and lock em up approach to
    virtually every social problem in the spectrum.
    In fact, its the only approach they support.
    As for the 2,000,000 people we have in
    jail today a higher percentage of our population than any other nation
    on earth — they say our justice system is too lenient.
  • Cheap-labor
    conservative you know, the ones who believe in freedom say our crime
    problem is because get this were too permissive.
    How exactly do you set up a free
    society that isnt permissive?
  • Cheap-labor
    conservatives want all the military force we can stand to pay for and
    never saw a weapons system they didnt like.
  • Cheap-labor
    conservatives support every right-wing authoritarian hoodlum in the third
  • Cheap-labor
    conservatives support foreign assassinations, covert intervention in
    foreign countries, and every other black bag operation the CIA can dream
    up, even against constitutional governments, elected by the people of
    those countries.
  • Cheap-labor
    conservatives support domestic surveillance against subversives
    where subversive means everybody but them.
  • Cheap-labor
    believers in freedom think its the governments business if you smoke a
    joint or sleep with somebody of your own gender.
  • Cheap-labor
    conservatives support our new concentration camp down at Guantanamo
    Bay.They also support these
    secret tribunals with secret evidence and virtually no judicial review
    of the trials and sentences.Then
    they say that liberals are Stalinists.
  • And
    lets not forget this perennial item on the agenda.
    Cheap-labor conservatives want to
    protect our national symbol from desecration.
    They also support legislation to make
    the Pledge of Allegiance required by law.

    Of course, it is they who desecrate the flag every time they wave
    it to support their cheap-labor agenda.
    [Ouch! That was one of
    those hits you can hear up in the nosebleed seats.]

Sounds to me like the cheap-labor conservatives have a
peculiar definition of freedom.I
mean, just what do these guys consider to be tyranny.

Thats easy. Take a look.

  • Social spending otherwise known as
    redistribution.While they dont
    mind tax dollars being used for killing people, using their taxes to feed
    people is stealing.
  • Minimum wage laws.
  • Every piece of legislation ever proposed to improve
    working conditions, including the eight hour day, OSHA regulations, and
    even Child Labor laws.
  • Labor unions, who extort employers by collectively
  • Environmental regulations and the EPA.
  • Federal support and federal standards for public
  • Civil rights legislation.
    There are still cheap-labor conservatives today, who were
    staunch defenders of Jim Crow including conspicuously Buckleys
    National Review.Apparently,
    federal laws ending segregation were tyranny, but segregation itself was
  • Public broadcasting which is virtually the only
    source for classical music, opera, traditional theatre, traditional
    American music, oh yes, and Buckleys Firing Line.
    This from the people constantly braying
    about the decay of the culture.
    The average cost of Public Television for each American is a
    whopping one dollar a year.Its
    tyranny I tell you.Enoughs

bor conservatives support every coercive and oppressive function
of government, but call it tyranny if government does something for you
using their money, for Chrissake. Even
here, cheap-labor conservatives are complete hypocrites.

Consider the following expenditures:

  • 150 billion dollars a year for corporate subsidies.
  • 300 billion dollars a year for interest payments on
    the national debt payments that are a direct transfer to wealthy bond
    holders, and buy us absolutely nothing.
  • Who knows how many billions will be paid to American
    companies to rebuild Iraq which didnt need rebuilding three months ago.
  • Thats all in addition to the Defense budget large
    chunks of which go to corporate defense contractors.

coming clearer?

These cheap-labor Republicans have no problem at all opening the
public purse for corporate interests.
Its social spending on people who actually need assistance that they
just cant tolerate.

And now you know why.
Destitute people work cheaper, while a harsh police state keeps them
suitably terrorized.

For a short primer on the importance of a strong public
sector, see:

The Public Sector and Private Fortunes