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Saturday, September 25, 2010

The naive atavism of the right

The further right mainstream conservatism lurches the more enamored they become with the idea that 'things' were so much better one or two hundred years ago. For a brief time that might have seemed so after the Declaration of Independence and what was the founding of a democracy unparalleled at the time.

Men were free, as long as they weren't slaves and women know where they belonged. Everyone did just fine with minimal government intrusion and the opportunities in a barely exploited land were bountiful.

The right looks back with reverence, quite happy to skip over the realities of what the founding fathers actually believed as well as the realities of life back then.

Walter Raese, the GOP Senate candidate for the seat left vacant by Sen. Robert Byrd's death is one such 'Atavist'. Raese is a wealthy businessman who says, somewhat jokingly, that he made his money the old fashioned way, he inherited it. His grandmother started the company he now runs about one hundred years ago.

He wants to bring back capitalism the way it was back then. Here is part of an interview he did with Laura Ingraham recently.

RAESE: My grandmother. It is what she created and what she did at the turn of the century, it still resonates today, if we would have the opportunity in this country to bring back capitalism in the way my grandmother had those fruits and really enjoyed it. … [C]apitalism the way it should be. [...]

INGRAHAM: Could you grandmother start her business empire today, in this climate?

RAESE: Well, it would be a long long time to do it, and a lot of expensive permits to do it, but knowing my grandmother, she could do it. But it would take a lot more effort that it would at the turn of the century.

Naturally it was far easier back then, There were no child labor laws, in fact there were no labor laws at all. There were no workplace safety rules and manufacturers could dump any effluents they produced into the river to poison people living downstream. There was no health insurance but business owners didn't particularly care. If an employee got sick and couldn't work, there was always another poor, desparate soul to step in.

In a sstate with one of the highests unemployment and poverty rates in America, all Raese cares about is making life as easy as possible for himself and his fellow busness owners. In a state where coal mines have routinely skirted regulations and caused the largest inland environment disaster in American history and where 29 miners lost their lives earlier this year, Raese wants to abolish those irksome regulations so that the mine operators don't have to be troubled by figure out how to get around them.

As the polls get tighter, we can only hope that the odious Raese doesn't become the next Senator from West Virginia.

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