Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Gravy Train

Ta-Nehisi Coates has a nice piece talking about the rise of Dr. Benjamin Carson the new conservative "it boy."  It's largely about continuing search by conservatives for a "great black hope" to finally banish that tyrant Obama from the realms of men.  Coates points out that:
Some of the most committed black people I know -- in some other America -- would be Republicans. But in this America, this conservative movement, has a fairly nasty romance with white racism. There are black conservatives (some Republican, some not) who manage to steer clear of this -- Bill Cosby, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and possibly Tim Scott. And there are others who, to put it bluntly, profit from it. 
Coates is talking about African-American thought leaders/talking heads who use the conservative movement as a gravy train, but it's important to remember that a lot of people in the conservative movement do this (although by no means all).  We like to think about politics as being a big ideological struggle between opposing views on what American society should look like, and to some degree it certainly is!  It can also be a public arena for interest groups to fight it out for their differing agendas.  But it is also an industry and unfortunately some people can use the conservative movement as a way to gain fame, power and fortune.  It's true that there are some liberals who try and do similar things, Michael Moore comes to mind, but it just doesn't compare.  Glenn Beck went from being just another radio shock jock to being worth tens of millions of dollars by peddling bizarre conspiracy theories.  Maybe he really is crazy, or maybe not.

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