The different flavors of the Right have turned the tables on truth.
For years, the Right claimed that Communists and "comsymps" were masters of propaganda, hiding veritable evil behind utopian platitudes. By confusing symbol and reference, they highlighted Comintern political propaganda in an effort to dismiss the far more realistic social messages inherent in progressive thought.
Now, the tables have turned, and with a vengeance.
The conservative economic agenda ranges from "fundamentalist economics" to "free marketdom" depending on the flavor, neocon or paleoconservative. In essence, however, the goal is a return to Laissez Faire capitalism, a system that was a major cause of both the Depression and WWII.
This is nothing new, btw. Since the New Deal, the conservatives have made it quite clear that they would not brook social improvements, anathema because they suppose at least some government control over the economy. In other words, conservatives have defended the interests of their paymasters, business, who would rather have a free hand in making money - albeit over the cadavers of workers.
The Conservatives have adopted a number of propagandistic mantras designed to dupe the electorate into following its scheme. "Market freedom", the concept of "benevolent capitalism" (oxymoron), "less government", "less regulations", can all be translated into "let's go back to the good old days of laissez faire".
To "govern" is to "Direct or strongly influence the behavior" or "Exercise authority". In a democracy, government by and for the people, the goal of "direction" and "authority" should be the greater good.
The economy is the single most important aspect of "the greater good". Food, shelter and health - not to mention the pursuit of happiness in a consumer's world - are dependent on the economy. If the government were to abdicate its authority regarding the economy, precisely the goal of conservatives, the government abdicates its reason for being. If the government caters to a strong minority such as Capital, it is abdicating its reason for being. When a political party uses outrageous propaganda in an effort to dupe voters into adopting policies that are not in their best interests, said party is treasonous.
The Right loves to point at our current affluence, statistics of "growth" and the like, as examples of how "free marketism" is such a success. The fact of the matter is that the improvement of our lot has been attained DESPITE and not BECAUSE of "free marketism".
A little over a century ago we were working 6 days a week. By "we" I mean men, women and children - who worked 12 hours a day for barely subsistence wages. There was plenty of "growth" back then - yet tenement squalor was the social reality behind the statistical veneer.
Various "-isms" arose out of the suffering of the Industrial Revolution. These "-isms" COERCED better conditions for most of the population of 1st world countries - and created the "consumer society" that is the reality of the "American Dream" today.
Make no mistake about it - it took blood, sweat and tears to shave some of Capital's profits and to give a life worth living to the workers. A worthwhile life that incidentally made profits, growth and wealth bigger than ever as well-paid workers actually acquired the wherewithal to buy the products and services that make the capitalistic world go 'round.
Capital has benefited from progressive ideals even more than workers. But as the bottom line is rather blurred and not directly attributable to better working conditions in the subjective account books of corporations, self-seeking shortsightedness takes over.
Modern American affluence was the direct result of the New Deal, trade unionism and the fear of revolution. Yet capital has always been against these movements - fighting against overtime pay, collective negotiation or anything that gets in the way of its hiring workers for as little as possible. "Let others pay more" to make their own products acquirable - capital needs to look at their own subjective bottom line. Short-term expediency reigns.
Communism fell. Trade unionism fell by the wayside in a demand economy where it's always an employers' market. There is sufficient affluence so that the powers-that-be no longer need fear "revolution". And there is no longer a voice that counters the hegemony of capital.
Thus since 1969 only the wealthiest have seen their lots improve, while the remaining 95% of us have had to do with more working hours with less pay. The economy has gone "global", meaning that 1st world workers must "learn to compete" with 3rd world workers - who are shamelessly exploited.
The end result is that the 1st world - home of more or less "mixed economies" - must forsake the hard-won benefits, while capital earns more money than ever....
...Capital learned its lessons over the past couple centuries. It saw the revolutions of 1848 and 1917 (amongst others), read the writing on the wall. They were initially against democracy because they feared that once people had a voice in their governance they would no longer brook exploitation.
The lesson Capital learned was that the electorate is eminently malleable. Base instincts can be appealed to - empty concepts such as "nationalism", "family values" and the plethora of ultimately meaningless concepts that divert attention away from the bottom line. Goebbels was preceded by Disraeli's Primrose League and succeeded by the "Moral Majority" (etc.). Bait & switch is an age-old ploy - as old as democracy itself.
Capital has been all too successful. Always the taskmaster of political conservatism, it has always been the root of righ twing authoritarianism. It has learned that the trappings of power are not as necessary as power itself - and has adapted its message to populistic appeals: it cries "freedom" while holding the reigns of power.
There is no longer any real opposition to laissez faire and to capital-driven populism. We've lived to see no less than 3 decades of erosion of our well-being - and even to see purportedly "progressive" political parties embracing laissez faire. An extremism has won out to the point that "centrist" policies such as Europe's welfare systems are seen as outrageously radical...
... And the end result? The very factors that made the 1st world into something to be emulated are seen as detrimental to society. We are fast on track towards re-creating the very environment that made the opposite extreme (the various "-isms") viable or even desirable. The snake chases its own tail.
Those of us in the center - neither supporters of laissez faire nor the "-isms" - are now considered the radical left-wing extremists, as opposed to being voices of sanity in an insane world. The lessons of history are once again being forgotten.