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United States

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You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they've tried everything else.
Winston Churchill[1]

The United States of America (U.S., U.S.A., or "America"[note 1]) is a secular federal democratic republic consisting of so-called states, mostly located in North America (and their possessions, territories, and rental properties), some of which, at various times, wish they weren't.[note 2] There are 48 49 50[note 3] states in the union, of which Michigan and seven other states have names that begin with M.

Moving swiftly on from any claims of American Indian Holocaust, America has pretty much run the world since World War II, but especially since the fall of the Soviet Union, with which they tussled for decades during the Cold War. It is currently the world's only superpower,[note 4] though Russia and China are catching up fast.

The U.S. is the only nation in the world to have ever used an atomic weapon in war, when they dropped two of them on Japan in the final days of World War II. Several other countries have set them off, but not in anger, more for jovial kicks (i.e., sabre rattling). It is rumoured that the former USSR was threatened and suspicious of America's nuclear might, which in part led to the growing mistrust that permeated the Cold War.


Things America borders on: Canada, Mexico, and self-parody.
—Ken Jennings


Native petroglyphs.
The USA is having so many disasters and tragedies you'd almost think it was built on thousands of ancient Indian burial grounds.
—shut up, mike[2]

North America was settled — much to the bemusement of the people who lived there already — by foreigners following Columbus's successful voyage to India the Asian-continent-which-was-colloquially-known-as-India-at-the-time across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. The continent was named for the mapmaker who pointed out that he was not quite right, though similar care was not taken when naming the native inhabitants. Sadly, for them, they didn't have their own flag.

The first permanent English settlement founded was Jamestown on the coast of present-day Virginia, in 1607. Though the inhabitants spoke English and therefore count more than the Spaniards in Florida, no compelling mythology was attached to this colony, and so the Pilgrims' founding of Plymouth Colony in 1620 is the one that Americans have mythologized, and celebrate annually, as being numero uno premiere first. The Pilgrims, who were Puritans, left Europe in order to be free to persecute people for their religious beliefs.

Maryland was founded as a refuge for Catholics. Its enlightened rulers decided to only persecute those lousy non-Christians.

Pennsylvania was more tolerant than most of the other colonies, perhaps a result of being founded by the Quakers. Those Quakers who remained in Great Britain later went on to invent Cadbury's chocolateWikipedia's W.svg.

The French and Spanish also founded many colonies in what was to become the United States (and Mexico) in the 16th and 17th centuries, most of which were later sold (France) or lost in wars (Spain and her successors) to the U.S., which is why the country today is trilingual, much to the dismay of the English-only movement (see below).

Founding and expansion[edit]

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
The Star-Spangled Banner, second verse (with no irony intended)[3]

A century and a half later, the East Coast colonists got teed-off about having to stick overpriced stamps all over everything while drinking inexpensive East India Company tea, so naturally they went and started a revolution. With more help from the French than they dare admit, they somehow won a war against the most powerful nation on earth (a fact the good folks at the Pentagon should bear in mind), and took the unorganized territories Britain had claimed to their west, as well. After a massively failed attempt to establish a confederation which almost killed the country, in 1789, a second attempt worked out way better. A few years later the U.S. bought "Louisiana" (at that time stretching from the current state of that name to Minnesota and Montana) from Napoleon, who was broke, doubling the size of the country. After beating Mexico in a war over the U.S. annexation of the Republic of Texas (a breakaway territory still claimed by Mexico), the U.S. extended its territory through what had been New Spain to the Pacific. A little trimming here and there, and the acquisition of the Pacific Northwest, established the continental boundaries that today seem so… manifest.

Alaska was purchased from Russia when it didn't have oil or gold yet. The natives of Hawaii were conquered by a corporation that gave the islands over to the USA.

Civil war[edit]

Given the choice between Christian Love for all, and making money off of the backs, lives, and freedom of dark-skinned people, the Southeastern chunk of the US chose the money. For both moral and economic reasons, the tension between these two factions continued to grow worse, until Reed Richards cloned Thor Oh, wait — wrong Civil War.[note 5] When a large portion of the Southern states tried to revolt, they discovered that while they had all the "good" generals, the North had all the factories and railroads and most of the population. The war was over a century and a half ago, and there are no hard feelings about it at all.[4]

These days, black people theoretically enjoy all the same liberties as whites, but continue to form a social and economic underclass in many areas due the aftereffects of Jim Crow. State-mandated efforts to ameliorate this are despised by some conservatives and libertarians, who call such measures civilization "reverse discrimination."


Having banned slavery, the United States surely became a color-blind society much to the joy of all. About 40 years later, women were also granted personhood.[note 6] Also around this time, alcoholic beverages were banned, and unbanned, making the country blind drunk for a few years.

In 1941, Japan dragged the previously neutral United States into that little war in Europe and the Pacific. The USA and its allies won the war, much to the joy of all who didn't live in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It should be noted that at this time the United States allies actually included the Soviet Union; they only became the "Evil Empire" in 1983. Though the US did invade Russia against the Bolsheviks from 1918-1920Wikipedia's W.svg, so things actually got off to a bad start between the Soviet Union and the US.

With most of the rest of the industrialized world lying in bombed-out ruins, the U.S. rapidly became an unrivaled economic powerhouse.

Present day[edit]

Much of the western US presently looks like this.
And a lot of it looks like this.
I thought for the last ten years, we've been on some weird fucking drug — the whole country — called Fukanol. What a weird fucking drug. And we're just coming out of it and we're kind of waking up. Fuckin' A! It's weird. It's like you're going:
"Last thing I remember was the economy was working and there was a budget surplus... what about the economy?"
Well, we had to bail out the banks.
Fuck, yeah!
"And now, who's the president?"
A black guy.
"Oh, yeah right. Yeah, there's a black president and a Latino on the Supreme Court."
There is.
"Oh, my God! Who's the president? Jesse Jackson?"
No, his name is Barack Hussein Obama.
"Now you're fucking with me!"
—Robin Williams, Weapons of Self Destruction[5]

The United States in short order romanticized most of its history, including claiming to be a European Christian nation that deserves to run the world since it means well. The natives probably would have died and gone to Hell anyway.

The currency of the USA, and by default the world, is the almighty dollar. If countries beg to differ, the USA is sure to reassure them the dollar is mightier than silly currencies like the Euro.[note 7]

In its constant struggles to keep new immigrants away, there are a number of "English-only movements" that seek to make sure that immigrants must learn English, or else!

The land of the woo, and the home of the cranks[edit]

I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time... when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World

The United States as God’s chosen nation[edit]

How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.
Christopher Hitchens[6]

Some Americans think they are God's own nation or God’s chosen nation, and those who hold to that most strongly are Bible Belt Protestant fundamentalists, grabbing at straws in some effort to feel special. It is very difficult to find any Biblical support for this view, being that the people who wrote the Bible, living in the Old World of the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and classical antiquity, didn't know the North American continent even existed; the closest such fundamentalists have come so far is by combining the Puritan Pilgrims' mythology with British Israelism. Under Dubya, all this fitted together nicely for them: a Christian fundie President like themselves was leading God’s chosen nation. Since the election of a non-fundamentalist, they may have a problem with this fantasy. A few religions and sects were founded in the US, including Eckankar, Mormonism, Satanism and Scientology.

Godless Americans[edit]

In a 2016 poll 25% of Americans identified as having no religion. 58% of those, (14%-15% of Americans) actively reject religion. Young Americans under thirty are much more inclined to be non-religious than older Americans. The proportion of Americans who are not religious is increasing steadily and likely to increase further in future.[7]

Evolution and hell[edit]

A poll of 2,455 U.S. adults taken from Nov 7 to 13, 2007, found that 62 percent believed in a literal Hell. Only 42 percent (which is still larger than usual) of those surveyed said that they accepted Darwin's theory of evolution.

White supremacist issues[edit]

The very, very many white supremacists among these fundamentalists had another problem with this fantasy: if the United States is God's chosen nation, with a special dispensation from on high to teach other nations the American Way of Life, then the rest of the world was taught that it is alright to have a black person at the helm of state. Hence, the white supremacists, besides being disgusted that the former occupant of the White House does not match their color scheme, were further disgusted at the "poor example" the U.S. is setting to the heathens.

Those who are openly white-supremacist carried on much as usual, repeating Confederate or Nazi conspiracy theories for the millionth time as they stockpile more machine guns. But the well-documented latent racism of the more extreme elements in the Republican Party manifested itself in different ways; some became Birthers, for example. But it would be no surprise if they had even more trouble coming to grips with Obama than with Bill Clinton, who to their mind was equally left-wing.

Egyptian/Babylonian/Satanic origins[edit]

Some religious fundamentalists feel the need to make documentaries on the origins of every single thing found throughout America, and its "Babylonian/Roman/Egyptian/Satanic origins", completely forgetting that meaning for symbols can change. For example they throw a fit about how the Statue of Liberty is a Roman goddess, and how cities which are laid out (6 by 6 blocks) are "sun blocks". (Some even say the pattern of city blocks adds up to 666, which it does, but it's inevitable when you're working on a 6x6 area on a city.) Some of these videos you can't even figure out what they are talking about.[8] There isn't a single thing on US soil that wasn't accused of being "idol worship" (not even George WashingtonWikipedia's W.svg himself[9]) or "Satanic". Even the US flag is of "Babylonian origin"[10]. America's even accused of being founded on Islam![11]

Of course even if all of it were true, and the genetic fallacy weren't a fallacy, then so what? The fact that Jesusland worships your bogeyman isn't proof that God exists. The "masonic origins" of a bunch of things in the US is to be expected as many of the founding fathers were Freemasons.[12]

In a nutshell[edit]

Political parties[edit]

Every political revolution in America consists now of one party just trying to undo all the shit the other political party did. No actual law has been preserved in this country since, like, 1968.
—Drew Magary, Make It Stop
This whole argument is a complete misconstruction of the idea of freedom. You should not be "free" to duck a measles shot just because you’re a fucking moron. That’s not what American democracy was designed for... And now here come Paul and Christie, ready to fucking undo it. They don’t even really believe it, and yet people will follow them, turning this into yet another backwater wedge issue that keeps 21st century progress from moving forward at all. I can’t even get America out to the car because it won’t put its shoes on.
—Drew Magary[13]


Prior to the 1960's, conservatism in the US could be thought as being split into at least three factions; the Old Right who supported laissez-faire economics and isolationism, the more centrist progressive conservatives, and the often Southern based far-right beliefs that were much more socially conservative, religiously based, and conflated white supremacy with conservatism. While they all had a few broad agreements, such as opposition to socialism/communism and (varying levels of) American nationalism, they were otherwise largely at odds with another. Robert Taft could be considered the leader of the pro-business, low tax, Old Right but nonetheless was generally pro-civil rights; however, he was barely willing to compromise on New Deal programs due to his generally intense dislike of high taxes and government growth. In many ways this could be considered the inverse of the more far-right Southern Conservatives (led at the time by Richard Russell[14]) who were more accepting of government spending that benefited rural (white) people but were far more intensely socially conservative and utterly unwilling to compromise on the issue of civil rights. Finally, the progressive conservatives, led in the 1950's by Dwight Eisenhower but earlier by Thomas Dewey, were generally pro-civil rights and more tolerant of government intervention in the economy (so long as said intervention was more gradualist than radical) and still wanted to minimize government intrusion when thought realistically possible.[15] In many ways the progressive conservatives were the closest embodiment of Burkian ideals, whereas the Old Right was more proto-libertarian/classically liberal and the Southern Conservatives were largely reactionary. To further complicate matters they were in different parties, with both the moderates and Taftian conservatives being at odds with one another in the Republican Party (where the moderates were at the time the more dominant faction) while the white supremacist social conservatives were in the Democratic Party.

The Old Right remained the weakest version of conservatism due its lack of support among many ordinary Americans. In the 1950's this began to be noticed by conservative intellectuals such as those at the National Review. In response they proposed "Fusionism",[16] a combination of the economically libertarian ideals of the Old Right with the social conservatism often found among more rural conservatives, thus creating a coalition thought broad enough to defeat liberals. In the 1960's this movement was embodied by Barry Goldwater and sought to cast out the moderates from the Republican Party in particular, which they successfully did after Goldwater defeated the moderate/centrist Nelson Rockefeller in the 1964 GOP presidential primary.[17] This event permanently weakened the progressive conservative presence within the party[note 8] and gradually led to many of them becoming either independents or even Democrats. However, Goldwater's ideas were still too extreme for the country as a whole and he lost the election by a historical landslide. Eventually Goldwater-styled conservatism would find its successful avatar in Ronald Reagan, at which point it was clearly more reactionary, longing nostalgically for a time that only really 'existed' in those godawful Mickey Rooney movies. The conservatism of Goldwater and Reagan became known as New Right. The New Right is/was far to the right of conservatives in other Western nations. They had little compassion for the underprivileged, overvalued the free market and were deeply suspicious of anything that seems like government interference. (For example, Republicans in Congress, all oppose the Affordable Care Act, which is seen as dangerously socialist,[18] even though it had rather conservative origins.[19])

By the mid-60's, right-wing, populist styled white supremacism based largely (though not exclusively) in the South was in crisis. The Democratic Party leadership had been far more liberal than they predicted. Under Lyndon Baines Johnson the civil rights movement was gaining momentum, which culminated in the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, which began to knock down explicit Jim Crow styled laws. George Wallace became the new leader of this particular group of conservatives and ran a couple independent presidential campaigns on an explicitly segregationalist campaign, but it was becoming increasingly clear they were in retreat, despite their hold on several states in the Deep South and attempted terrorism from their de facto paramilitary wing. While white supremacists had voted Democratic for over one hundred years, they were already breaking off due to increasingly liberal influence from the party leadership, with many voting for Goldwater in 1964 and Wallace in 1968 and 1972. On the local level they had begun to "fill up" the empty local and state Republican parties, but were not comfortably brought into the national fold until at least the 1980's[note 9]. Richard Nixon usually gets "credit" for bringing them into the GOP but in truth he was probably riding a wave that would probably have happened regardless, due to the perceived betrayal on the part of the National Democratic Party supporting civil rights and the fact that the US can only really support two parties at one time.[20]

The explicitly religious side of the modern American conservatism likewise grew out of this late 1970's to early 1980's period, and is largely an evolution of this earlier form of social conservatism. By the mid-1970's explicit white supremacism was increasingly politically toxic. However, one of the few significant institutions that held out from desegregating were Christian churches that were protected by the separation of church and state, and the fact that pastors did not have to answer to the nation as a whole but merely their own congregation, and as a defender of "traditional" Southern values the Southern Baptist Convention had long been a hotbed for white supremacy.[21] In a move to prevent integration Southern Baptist private schools began to emerge which encouraged de facto segregation and counted on the seperation of church and state to protect them. In the late 70's the Carter administration moved on these schools, requiring them to show they were not racist if they wanted to maintain their tax exempt status. This mobilized a mass backlash in the form of the "Moral Majority" and its leader, Jerry Falwell, made common cause with conservative Catholics in the North (despite the two hating each other not ago) by adopting their positions on issues such as abortion in return for support on the national level. This coalition would be vital to voting in the "Fusianist" conservative Ronald Reagan. With this religious fundamentalists who had formerly been mocked (even by conservatives) managed to make themselves the vehicle of rural social conservatism which could not survive explicit appeals to white supremacy on the national scale and effectively used fundamentalism as a cover for this culture war.[22]

Bringing the religious right into the Republican fold was a political success in the 1980's but also further turned off some moderate conservatives. However, party leaders still largely adhered to either latter-day versions of "Fusianism", neoconservatism, or business conservatism and figured these more intensely socially conservative voters could be pandered to and then mostly ignored. As these voters became an increasingly active and large force within the Republican Party the GOP began to shift further and further right, and went through a series of radicalizations. The first and second major catalysts for this were the aforementioned victory of Goldwater in the 1964 Republican Primary and Ronald Reagan's electoral landslide in 1980, but despite these events shifting the party in a more right-wing direction it maintained a center-right wing and was competitive at the national level. The next event that shook the party was when it seriously began to lose control of the social conservatives during the 1994 Gingrich Revolution,[23] when the GOP took over the House of Representatives due to corruption within the Democratic Party. Whereas other prominent Republicans merely pandered to the Religious Right and culture warriors, Newt Gingrich and company were (or at least came across as) true believers and were more than willing to openly wage a culture war. The fact they had gained so much power from within both the party and the government in so little time made them impossible for the "Old-Guard" to control, leading to them making increasingly disastrous political decisions such as threatening (and partly "succeeding") at shutting down the government and a failed attempt to impeach President Bill Clinton for lying under oath. It didn't help the establishment Republicans that new conservative media was also making their politics increasingly sensationalistic and extreme, and likewise was largely pandering/activating this grouping of social conservatives. During this period "conservatism" in the US was becoming associated with increasingly intense right-wing positions who were quickly displacing the Establishment Republicans (who themselves had displaced the earlier Rockefeller Republicans).

In the 2000 GOP primary the contest came down beween the more traditionally conservative John McCain and George W. Bush, the latter of which was further right and had far closer ties to the religious right.[24] McCain's defeat and Bush's subsequent election might be considered the last breath of relative moderatism in the GOP dying, and the party cemented its support as mainly coming from more hardline conservatives. During this era neoconservatism was also influential on the Bush administration as its political presence grew. Mushily conservative on domestic policy, most neocons focused their support on pursuing a hawkish foreign policy thanks to a hyper-nationalitic view of America, and the belief that with the proper force the United States could spread democratic values and also reinforce its place as a superpower all in one go. Neoconservatism remained a somewhat fringe ideology only popular among a handful of conservative intellectuals and politicians while largely being unpopular or just unknown by the public at large. However, when the 9/11 attacks occured Bush began to take foreign policy advice from this grouping of conservatives on how to respond, which resulted in the Iraq War and massive military spending. Meanwhile Bush's domestic policy was much more influenced by his own origins as a religious conservative, which resulted in policies that were often either disastrous (i.e. such as defunding stem-cell research) or simply bizarre (i.e. advocating intelligent design). Despite winning re-election in 2004, he left office in 2008 with the lowest approval rating of any president leaving office since Nixon, which massively damanged support for the mainstream conservative movement.[25]

Establishment Republicans did manage to nominate John McCain as 2008 candidate, though he had to shift further right in order to obtain it. He chose as his running mate Sarah Palin who, unbeknownst to him, was a radical right-winger with astonishing ignorance of US politics, history, and legislation. Her less "respectable" approach to politics energized much of the GOP's increasingly frustrated base, which would later encourage the formation of the Tea Party that increasingly considered the Bush presidency a betrayal of their values.[26] Advocating ultra-libertarian economics, even more hardline social conservatism (often in the form of opposition to immigration), refusal to compromise on legislation, and conspiracy theorism this movement managed to return Republican control to the House of Representatives in 2010 but turned the party into an explicitly radical right-wing/populist party that was far more extreme than even the "fusionist" conservatives preceding them were. Increasingly explicit appeals to white populism/nationalism which had formerly been hidden behind dog-whistles and religious fundamentalism became increasingly acceptable during this far-right rebellion against Establishment Republicans, leading to the emergence of the Alt-Right in both the Republican Party and "conservatism" in general. Basically, the white populist reactionaries whom the GOP leadership pandered to before ignoring realized they now easily outnumbered the Establishment Republicans within the GOP, especially after the Bush presidency and their inability to unseat Barack Obama left the latter discreditied in the eyes of the former. This culminated in the 2016 nomination of Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, the progressive conservative philosophy was somewhat able to find a home in the Democratic Party during the 1992 Presidential Election when Bill Clinton and other New Democrats shifted the party towards the politics center.[27][28][29] Endorsing compromise, balanced budgets, social liberalism, and free trade this wing of the Democratic Party would win virtually every Democratic presidential primary from 1992 onward. While Barack Obama ran as a more liberal candidate he has governed in this vein.[30][31]


It is part of the Republican philosophy that everything should be viewed in terms of monetary value. The world is literally dollars, and the entire moral system is based in that. If it makes you money, it is the absolute right thing to do regardless of any externalities involved. What little scientific research survives is done largely in secret, for fear of handing the next big thing to a rival. The private sector is only interested in research that has a direct application toward turning a profit.[32]. This same mercantilism is being applied to the social institutions in America. Why should poor people get something for nothing? Social welfare seems like a "bad deal" because minorities, immigrants, and the underprivileged are getting food, clothing, and housing for nothing in exchange. This is a cardinal sin. Foreign policy is an extension of this brand of mercantilism. If another country gets something from us, they have to pay for it. But since America's perception of reality is always though the lens of monetary value, they often fail to see the other historical, political, and social realities involved. Speaking of which, conservatives also advocate for increased McMilitary and police spending to moralize the world, whatever that may mean.)

Politicians from both US parties appeal to their core constituencies through fear-mongering of one sort or another; however, the Democrats lack the tie-ins the Republicans have, from the right-wing noise machine Fox News, to fundamentalist churches preaching prosperity gospel and condemning the vile socialists, to think tanks and talk radio, most of which exists solely to ramp up the fear of liberals and foreigners. The GOP has turned fear-mongering into a highly-profitable industry. However, it does have a downside as it's morphed their already-radical platform into a philosophy of no compromise or governance, because how can you negotiate with godless terrorists bent on giving free hugs to poor people destroying your freedoms? No other party in the world does this thought-killing nonsense like the GOP does; there's gold in paranoia and the whole infotainment cabal is in on the scam.

The American conservative movement has incessantly been pushed further and further to the "right." With each success, the bar is moved further to the right; with each failure, it is likewise moved. It now has a tendency to incorporate strong elements of fundamentalist Christianity, most notably in a willful ignorance towards science (i.e. global warming denial), barely-veiled hostility toward women (Modest is Hottest!), and a bellicose nationalism—usually couched in the cliche that America is the "Greatest Country in the World" or "God's Chosen Nation," one with the moral authority to tell other countries how to live and govern. The Bible nowhere mentions America, but the religious right doesn't let that get in way of their spin. Conservatives in the U.S. promote religious indoctrination in schools, such as prayer in public schools or the erection of Christian statues in front of government buildings. It has also limited the field of candidates who can realistically run for office on the GOP ticket. Romney was in much deeper trouble than he realized, not just because of his flip-flops on abortion, but the deeper sin of not being a Southern Baptist.

Surprise: It turns out that cutting government funding for education and science[33] (Big Science is an evil statist charity, especially when it outlaws bad drugs and predicts environmental disasters, because that stuff is unbelievably profitable! -Ben Stein), instead cutting taxes on the already privileged and allowing for tax havens, under the faulty logic that "the market" will allocate enough for R&D,[34] is not a recipe for a healthy and competitive economy. What of the growth of third world industrialization killing off American manufacturing? The only ways to deal with it are tariffs (which are against Republican orthodoxy) or massive education reform (that also involves retraining and vocational technology training), and those are too complex to put into soundbites. One of the strongest factors contributing to the US' downfall was a rush to embrace free trade (by both Republicans and Democrats) which lost the US a ton of manufacturing jobs to China and Mexico, combined with having very poor educational standards as compared to the rest of the industrialized world. In the shifting global economy, the US is going to suffer quite considerably. Right now the Republican strategy appears to be finding new ways of cutting jobs without shrinking the gargantuan military or their present wealth.[35]

While not all conservatives, obviously, embrace all these views, walking away from more than a few can easily leave a politician "outside" the "big tent." American conservatism has moved so far in some directions[36] (invasion of personal privacy[37] and big government[38] for instance), that many traditional conservatives have been stranded in its wake; many of these adrift voters have been gathered up by the techno-fascist Libertarian Party and anarchic Tea Party,[39] both of whom reliably vote Republican. (Dance with the one who brought you.)

But if you ignore all the negative parts (What's left? Flag-waving and backyard barbecue.), American conservatism is a very positive political philosophy.


The secession envisioned here is along the lines of Singapore, not the Old South, but to this writer, they’re the same thing.
—J. Arthur Bloom[40]
The words "individual rights", in a civil-society context, are often Libertarian-ese for "business". That's what they derive as the inevitable meaning of rights and freedom....the whopper of "right to have the State back up business". That's a wild definition of freedom.
—Seth Finkelstein[41]

Back in the 70s and 80s, Libertarianism had a mean anti-immigrant and "God before Country" streak to it. These were the guys lining up behind Branch Davidians and talking about how Bill Clinton was a fascist intent on taking away our precious liberties with UN black helicopters. Ron Paul's newsletters (the ones he says he totally had nothing to do with and what racism are you talking about?) were tailored to this demographic.[42] He and Pat "I never met a racist stereotype I didn't like, but hey! I'm a conservative who isn't pro-war!" Buchanan were bosom buddies. God, Gold, Gays, and Gringos were what they campaigned on.

Modern day Reddit-Libertarianism isn't as religious, so that's a third of the platform out the window; the Libertarian Party in America is oriented toward fiscal but not social conservatism, which is the opposite of the libertarian ideal. They aren't the dyed-in-the-wool racists that their parents' generation were, either (which isn't to say they aren't racist, but they're more "white people are the REAL victims" types than genuine white supremacists). And gold just can't compete with the allure of Bitcoin.

Libertarians align with the GOP on the economy, but in fact, their monetary policy is even more radical: their taxes are far more regressive, and their attitudes toward labor are more Social Darwinist. Overall they are just closeted Republicans, but the GOP suffices for them come election time. Which is why they must push aside all of the "social liberal" stuff to pursue a radical fiscal agenda−one only a draconian government can implement.[43][44] The Libertarian Party needs to purge half its membership if they ever want to appeal to moderates or sensible conservatives.

Libertarianism has a popular rhetorical appeal, but it never seems to catch on in practice. (Make a lot of libertarian-sounding grunts and you can be a Nixon or a Reagan or a Bush Jr.; then you implement all the sweeping neo-con policy you like.) Most people are too scared, or too entrenched in privilege, to be truly radical, so libertarianism has become a safety valve for bottled-up righteousness. You can still talk the talk of armed revolution, waving around guns, Orwell, etc. and seeming to be up on radical politics, but anyone with a brain knows you're just another cog in the system.[45][46]


At the start of the 2016 election cycle, many newspapers foresaw what they called the "libertarian moment".[47] That all changed in the summer of '15. What we're seeing is the Koch-funded candidates are perceived as too liberal by the majority of the base;[48] libertarianism has devolved back into Angry Old Manism.[49][50]

The lesson here is that introducing libertarianism into conservatism is a slippery slope. At the top of the slope you've got Republicans: These are people who reject the predominant liberal notion that government can improve peoples' lives. Once you start down that slope, someone will say to you "Oh, you're a Republican because you think that in some cases the government does bad things, have you ever considered that government does mostly bad things?" So if you agree, then you find that you are in fact a Tea Partier. And you settle comfortably into that niche for a while.

But then some asshole comes along and says "Oh, you're a Tea Partier because you think government mostly does bad things, have you ever considered that government only does bad things?" And if you find yourself agreeing with that person, then you're a libertarian. And then eventually somebody comes along and says "Oh, you're a libertarian because you think that the government only does bad things, but have ever considered that the government has only ever done bad things in the history of mankind?" And if you find yourself agreeing with that person, then you're an AnCap or Alt-right. Every person that starts down the Libertarian slippery slope ends up at the AnCap bottom eventually. Because once you start to realize that you can blame all of your problems in life on the government, there is very little resistance against slippage and great force initiating slippage.[41]

Post-2008, the legacy of George W. Bush was one of libertarian rebirth. He said he was a small government, anti-interventionist conservative that wanted to get government off people's backs. He started two wars, created the Department of Homeland Security and signed the PATRIOT Act into law. The GOP was also going down in flames, its credibility shot to hell by by the financial crisis and the Wall St. bailouts. Obama shit the bed by extending the drone war and NSA spying, and by signing into law the ACA, a half-measure so ill thought-out that conservatives are even considering a single-payer option[51]; this (and the public relations failure of OWS) soured many liberals.[52] And the debt. So much debt.

So the GOP asked Americans, "Has it ever occurred to you that government does mostly bad things? Here's a Tea Party for you to join!" And millions of voters collectively started tumbling head-over-heels down the slippery slope.[53] Surprising that it took 7 years for them to start hitting bottom.

Civil rights: Justice for some more than others[edit]

Indigenous affairs[54][edit]

In 1997 the American Indian, Eskimo and Aleut population was 2.3 million, or 0.9 percent of the total population. [55] However to be eligible for Bureau of Indian Affairs services, an Indian must be a member of a Tribe recognised by the Federal Government, have one-half or more Indian blood of tribes indigenous to the United States or must, for some purposes, be of one-fourth or more Indian ancestry. In 1993 the Bureau of Indian Affairs estimated that 1.2 million of the Indian population lived on or adjacent to Federal Indian reservations and were eligible for Bureau of Indian Affairs services. By legislative and administrative decision, all indigenous people of Alaska are eligible for Bureau of Indian Affairs services and programs. [56]

The gap in life expectancy between Native Americans and whites narrowed from 11 years in men and 15 years in women in 1940 to four years and three years respectively in 1980. [57] In 1990, 9 per cent of the Indian population were tertiary graduates compared to 20 per cent of the total population. [58] Labour force participation rates are lower and median family incomes are on average US$14 000 per year below other American families. In 1989, 31 per cent of American Indians lived below the poverty line. [59] In the 1995 fiscal year US$6 billion (0.08 per cent of GDP) was allocated to 140 programs administered by 40 federal agencies. [60]

The 1998 Fiscal Year budget of the Bureau of Indian Affairs was US$1.73 billion. Approximately 50 per cent of the operating budget is administered by tribes and is used for tribal courts, law enforcement, housing, social services and education. In 1924 the United States Congress extended American citizenship to all Indians born in the territorial limits of the United States. Indians are also members of their respective Tribes and these are legally regarded as 'sovereign domestic nations'. Indians thus have dual citizenship. Indians have the same right to vote as other United States citizens. [61]

S.J.Resolution 19, 103rd Congress United States of America, 5 January 1993.In Hawaii, where native Hawaiians comprise approximately 20 per cent of the state's population, the Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council is investigating the possibility of restoring Hawaiian Sovereignty.

Between 1778, when the first treaty was made with the Delawares, and 1871, when Congress ended the treaty-making period, the United States Senate ratified 370 Indian treaties. Since 1871 relations with Indian groups are by Congressional acts, Executive Orders, and Executive Agreements. There are 287 Indian reservations, the largest is the Navajo Reservation of 16m acres (65 000 sq km) in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Many of the smaller reservations are less than 1000 acres (400 ha) with the smallest less than 100 acres (40 ha). On each reservation, the local governing authority is the tribal government, but its power in law enforcement, education, taxation and water rights varies from tribe to tribe. Approximately 22.6m ha of land are held in trust by the United States for various Indian Tribes and individuals. Both the Indian tribes in the lower 48 States and the regional corporations in Alaska hold the rights to subsurface minerals and have a veto over mining on their land. [62]

In 1993 the United States Congress, in a joint Senate and House resolution to mark the centenary of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii resolved:

... it is proper and timely for the Congress on the occasion of the impending one hundredth anniversary of the event, to acknowledge the historic significance of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, to express its deep regret to the Native Hawaiian people, and to support the reconciliation efforts of the State of Hawaii and the United Church of Christ with Native Hawaiians. ... [Congress] apologises to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893 with the participation of agents and citizens of the United States, and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination ... Nothing in this Joint Resolution is intended to serve as a settlement of any claims against the United States.[63]

External links[edit]


  1. There is some controversy in whether the U.S. should be called America, since many Spanish-speaking countries and several parts of Europe are, inexplicably and incorrectly, taught that "America" is one continent - spoiler alert, it's two, North and South. Walking up to a Canadian and asking "What part of America are you from?" is almost guaranteed to net you a broken eye. Many Spanish-speaking countries simply call it the United States (ignoring the United States of Mexico), or more commonly, "North America," which many Canadians and Mexicans would find annoying. Since this is an English site, "America" means the United States of America to make it easier on all our souls.
  2. But they won't renounce their ownership because they love the truckloads of free money that flow in while not having the responsibilities of full-fledged statehood.
  3. Unless you are a very tired Barack Obama, when they magically become 57 states. (Maybe he got distracted by a bottle of Heinz ketchup.)
  4. Unless you count the Chinese… but at this point, no one can count the Chinese.
  5. We got confused with this oneWikipedia's W.svg.
  6. The Supreme Court recently added corporations to the personhood ranks. See Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
  7. Like when Saddam Hussein tried to sell his oil for Euros. Uncle Bush Sam couldn't have that.
  8. Richard Nixon governing as a progressive conservative (despite being much more right-wing in his campaigning and personal views) and his subsequent resignation likewise damaged, if not finished off, the reputation of progressive conservatives within the GOP
  9. After all in the 1976 presidential election they voted for Jimmy Carter by default as he was a Southern Baptist and his opponent was a Northern moderate who was from the business world. Carter would go on to disappoint them.


  1. National Churchill Museum
  3. See the Wikipedia article on The Star-Spangled Banner.
  4. Partially Clips
  5. Full version
  7. The Six Biggest Takeaways from a New Study Documenting the Amazing Rise of Non-Religious Americans
  8. Something about… Land being separated on 36 blocks with D.C. on the "Devil's Block"?
  9. Quote-Mining warning: {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  10. according to a quote-mine in this video.
  12. It doesn't stop people from quote-mining Discovery Channel to pick apart every monument in D.C.
  13. Magary, Drew, "Turns Out Brian Williams Is a Pretty Terrible Liar", GQ 2.6.15.
  18. "Obamacare: Quintessential Socialism"
  19. Nixon's health care proposal
  30. Barack Obama, Left Conservative, The New Yorker
  31. How Liberal is President Obama?, The New York Times
  32. Myhrvold, Nathan, "Basic Science Can't Survive without Government Funding", Scientific American 2.1.16.
  33. Keyes, Scott, "111 Republican Incumbents And Candidates Want To Eliminate The Department Of Education", ThinkProgress (11/28/10 1:57 pm).
  34. Plumer, Brad, "American companies are investing way less in science than they used to", Vox (2.4.15 12:30 p.m. ET).
  35. Montgomery, Lori, The President's budget adds 15,000,000 jobs. The Republicans' cuts 700,000., WaPo (3/13/2011 6:14 PM).
  37. USA PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretapping
  38. Transportation Security Agency (TSA), Medicare drug programme expansion
  39. Mark Ames, "Homophobia, racism and the Kochs: The tech-libertarian "Reboot" conference is a cesspool", Pando. ("“I avoid saying ‘Republican’ so people don’t think I’m part of crazy right-wing stuff.”)
  40. Bloom, J. Arthur, "", The Ümlaut 2.15.14.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Seth Finkelstein, "Libertarianism Make You Stupid", 1997. Finkelstein: Since there's no Libertopia, they never have to admit being in error as to what will happen under their proposed regime. That's a great debating advantage.
  42. "Ron's Paul's Most Incendiary Newsletters", New Republic 12.22.11.
  43. Tyler Cowen, "The Paradox of Libertarianism".
  44. Jesse Walker, "The Mad Dream of the Libertarian Dictator", Reason.
  45. Stephen Metcalf, "The Liberty Scam - Why Robert Nozick, the father of libertarianism, gave up on the movement", Slate.
  46. RJ Eskow, "11 Questions You Should Ask Libertarians to See if They're Hypocrites", Alternet.
  47. Robert Draper, "Has the Libertarian Moment Finally Arrived?", New York Times.
  48. Molly Ball, "The Kochs Can't Control the Monster They Created", The Atlantic.
  49. Scott Clement, "Millennials are just about as racist as their parents", Washington Post.
  50. Arthur Chu, "Occupying the Throne", Daily Beast. ("How do you go from, in 2011, marching in self-declared solidarity with the '99 Percent' holding a banner saying 'Give Class War A Chance' to, in 2014, tweeting that liberalism is 'Truly one of the ideas ever' calling for a return to aristocracy with techies as the aristocrats and saying the solution to the unemployment crisis is to bring back chattel slavery? You wouldn’t think it was possible. But Google software engineer Justine Tunney did exactly that.")
  51. Avik Roy, "The Conservative Case for Universal Coverage", National Review.
  52. Ron Fournier, "Millennials Sour on Obama and Obamacare", National Journal.
  53. Bill Schneider, "How far right can Republicans go?", Reuters.
  54. Indigenous Affairs in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States of America, Norway and Sweden
  55. United States Census Bureau. Census facts for Native American Month. October 1997
  56. Who is an Indian? Answers to Frequently asked questions on: (March 1998).
  57. Woollard, Keith et al. op.cit., pp. 5-6.
  58. United States. Bureau of the Census. We the first Americans. Washington: Dept of Commerce, 1993, p. 4
  59. United States. Bureau of the Census. Statistical abstract of the United States 1996. Washington: Dept of Commerce, 1996, Table 52.
  60. Indians in Canada and the United States. Information Sheet published by Dept of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and available on: (March 1998).
  61. Are Indians U.S. Citizens? Answers to Frequently asked questions on: (March 1998).
  62. What is a reservation? and Do Indians have the right to own land? Answers to Frequently asked questions on: (March 1998).
  63. S.J.Resolution 19, 103rd Congress United States of America, 5 January 1993.