What did the new right believe was wrong with liberal foreign and domestic policies?

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hi1954 | Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Basically, the New Right movement viewed everything "liberal" as wrong-headed and un-American.  Affirmative Action was seen as reverse-racism.  Welfare, food stamp programs, etc. were viewed as government "giveaways" to the lazy and undeserving- the concept that some people actually needed help was seen as irrelevant.  The problem with that, of course, was that the economic policies of the New Right caused economic inequalities in society to become larger and more pronounced.  Interstate regulation of business was seen as "interference".  Government intervention in businesses such as banking, lending institutions, and large corporate businesses of all types was seen as a social evil, despite the fact that without some sort of protectionist legislation the people have no defense against business practices that harm the economy.  This is what led to the Great Depression, and it is what has led to the current economic downturn.

In foreign policy the New Right views America more as an empire than as the democratic republic our Founding Fathers had in mind.  Foreign policy is viewed as a process of some diplomacy backed with the use of international credit and economic clout as weapons to get our way, not as tools to help other countries and ourselves, and the use of the American military as a means to gain corporate economic objectives, not just the defense of our country.  The essential reality of the New Right is not "America First", but American corporations first, ahead of even the American people.

The real problem with the New Right is that its world view is based on unrealistic ideas.  Modern society is viewed as evil and corrupt, and we must harken back to a "Golden Age" in which America was prosperous, happy, and the most powerful nation on Earth, and that this was achieved through completely unrestrained capital enterprise.  The era of prosperity they point to is the late 1940s-'50s post-war boom, in which America was the richest country on the planet and had not only sustained the world through World War II but was rebuilding it, and maintaining an increasing standard of living.  But this was only made possible by the rebuilding of our economy through "liberal" economic policies of President F. D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, which were the opposite of unrestrained capitalism.  The same economic policies the New Right espouses were what built up a superinflated economy in the '20s and led to the Crash.

The truly disturbing thing about this is that the same world view is what has given extremist militant Islam its current power.  They, too, believe modern society is corrupt and wish to move backwards to a "Golden Age" in which Islam was a dynamic and expanding political power, and Islamic medicine and science led the world.  Where the New Right looks to a mythical version of the '50s, the radical Muslims look back at an imaginary version of the 14th century.


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