This will be the first in a series of posts exploring what I believe is a powerful shift that has occurred in American politics that has greatly changed the right wing. I believe that part of the rather amorphous group referred to as the right has developed a much more stable, and coherent, world view and political identity than has been seen before in American politics.
This idea arises from a series of observations. First, what I learned about the Republican party when I was growing up doesn't seem to describe the party today. Second, I lived out of the country for awhile, when I returned for a year in 2000 there seemed to be a split within the party. The part I recognized seemed to favor McCain but there was a new part that was opposed to him. The third observation was that when I came back to the US permanently the party seemed to have changed fundamentally from what I had expected it to be. I realized as I became better reacquainted with American politics that there were in fact several components of the Republican party and the changes I was observing didn't seem to apply to the party as a whole, just a significant portion of it. To learn more about this I'll be following up by reading Conservative websites, Tea Party websites, as well as reading foundational theoretical literature, such as Burke and Hayek.
Future posts will explore a number of topics as I learn more about this subject.
1. Did this shift really happen, or am I just seeing things (or ignorant about the political right in the US)?
2. How do I properly specify the group I'm trying to look at? The subject of interest seems to be an overlap between the Tea Party movement and part of the Conservative wing of the Republican party. Am I right to make this division and how do I accurately specify it?
3. What exactly is the ideology and world view of this group? If I can't define it fairly accurately then I must be seeing things.
4. Is this group as influential in politics as I believe it is? What are the implications for the American political system of a group with this strong and uncompromising of a world view?
5. This group seems to believe that its viewpoint is part of a long tradition of political thought. Are they correct that it has been suppressed by the main stream media and liberal academia but does in fact have a long and influential history?
6. As a related topic I will be seeking to trace the development of liberal thought in the US. Where do these traditions come from and can they really be described as “socialist?”