I’m a conservative.

You know traditional values? Well, I’m in, buckaroo. Give me that old time religion!*

See this thing? This is from the year I was born, motherfucker**:

(A thank-you to Envisioning the American Dream for the idea.)

These were the values we had in 1976, and I want them back:

Right to trial by jury:

no forced arbitration, no mandatory sentencing, no three strikes

Right of habeas corpus:

no excessive bail, no civil forfeiture, no laborious probation

Right to bargain with our employers and employees:

  • no strike breakers
  • no union busters
  • no unpaid overtime
  • no moving jobs offshore to undercut employees’ rights
  • no mistreatment of undocumented workers
  • no giving out stock without going public
  • no selling stock when the grunts can’t
  • no stealing from 401ks
  • no golden parachutes
  • no Reagan, firing air traffic controllers
  • more collective bargaining!

Right to privacy in our homes:

Please, we shouldn’t have AT&T giving our emails to the feds. Can we remove all the drones? Also, no warrantless wiretaps! And no buying or selling of consumer profiles!

And though this was a beloved police institution in the 1970s, so my inclusion of it here is somewhat anti-thematic, nonetheless I demand no “No Knock!”

Right to contract about our affairs:

no forced arbitration, no mandatory non-disclosure agreements if we want a job

Right to free elections:

  • no disenfranchising voters
  • no voter ID
  • no gerryrigging
  • no hackable computerized voting
  • no Super PACs
  • no Super Delegates
  • no fake cries of “voter fraud!”
  • no tolerance for the real fraud of the 2000 election, of Republican thugs threatening vote counters, and a Supreme Court blocking the tallying of all votes!

Right to go into business:

  • no monopolies
  • no corporate consolidation
  • no perversion of the patent process
  • no forcing businesses to handle health care, when that should be the state’s job!

Right to peaceably assemble:

no laws against students demonstrating, no “free speech zones”

Right to the service of government as a protector and referee:

more enforcement of health and safety, more focus on gender equality, more focus on destroying the legacies of racism, less dismantling of environmental protections

Right to free speech and press:

  • no colluding with Russians to spread fake news
  • no rigging social media to give people narrow world views
  • no hostility to the press from government
  • no gag orders on doctors or the CDC
  • no imprisoning real whistleblowers!
  • more independent radio, TV, newpapers, billboards, and ideas!

Right to own private property:

no banks foreclosing on homeowners through legal sleight of hand, and more affordable home ownership! 

Right to freedom from arbitrary government regulations and control:

  • no War on Drugs
  • no making it illegal to research facts about guns
  • no telling my doctor what he can’t tell me
  • no eighteen hoops to get psychiatric medications
  • no twenty-five hoops to get an abortion
  • no anti-texting tickets for people who weren’t even texting
  • no stop-and-frisk
  • no banning of fliers on telephone poles for my goddam poetry events
  • no laws against our nation’s most sacred right–to use the bathroom!

Right to worship God in one’s own way:

Mormons, I love you. I really do.

But I don’t worship your God, and I haven’t forgotten Prop. 8. Stay the fuck out of politics, and get back to your 70s roots!

Also, evangelicals? Stop fucking with my birth control.

And Catholic Church? You’re not above the law. Actually, wait, you don’t get to go back to the 70s. Stay here and keep your hands where I can see them.

There are a whole lot more things that I could talk about that I want back that we used to have in 1976: nuanced governance, less division, better journalism, quality punk bands, gay bathhouses, Italo Disco, the Source Family, Krautrock, and streaking.

And let’s not forget that back in the 70s, everyone universally hated the Nazis:


But you may have noticed one thing missing from that list above. Can you think of what it is?

Bear in mind, that list was produced by one of the most patriotic, jingoistic, yay-America groups of the 70s, and it was meant to showcase a very conservative, Lockean concept of governance. And yet… and yet…

There was no concept of the unlimited rights of individual gun ownership in 1976!

That’s right! Back in the 1970s, people loved hunting and shooting at targets just as much as they do now. But no one needed to have a slew of semi-automatic weapons, and no one thought that sensible gun regulations would ever endanger their right to own a gun, because it never has.

And no one thought that the “well-regulated militia” portion of the Second Amendment was some optional, flowery prose.

Well, except for the NRA,*** who decided to just remove that pesky lil’ part from the lobby of their Lobby:

I mean, why let a small but crucial part of the Constitution get in the way of claiming that you’re upholding a small but crucial part of the Constitution?

So yes, if being a conservative means longing for the old days, and not wanting to see progress wash away all the things that were good for your parents’ generation, then fuck yeah, I am a conservative!


I’m a conservative for the spirit of ’76!




… and you know what? While we’re at it, there were some pretty damned interesting things going on in 1876, too!







*By “old time religion” I really mean just gospel music, the transcendent nature of nature, the awe of art, and Dionysian hedonism.

**Well, actually it’s from the year before I was born, but it was meant to prepare us for the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, the year I was born. Here’s hoping I make it to the next one!

***Actually I believe this placard was installed later than 1976, I’m not sure. But definitely the NRA in 1976 was a decent organization that hadn’t yet been destroyed and rebuilt as a radical wing of the gun lobby by the Cincinnati Revolution of 1977.

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