I see your view of self-interest in a new light now. Your definition of self interest includes but is not limited to class interest; it can include such thing as the good feeling that come from doing good. When you define self interest so broadly, it becomes hard to disprove you, but I also submit that your argument then loses some of its particular force that comes from being narrow. In otehr words, to say "everything is motivated by class interest, or mostly so" is a very specific, predictive, useful statement in explaining behaviro. It may be true or not. I beleive it's provably false, but it's still PREDICTIVE. To say 'everything is motivated by self interest in a very broad sense' may be almost inarguable, but it's also in a way tautological, it amounts to saying 'people do what they do because that's what they want to do'. I'm not going to argue with you baout that, because it eventually comes down to a question of interpretation; there's no way I can prove your view is false, or even attempt to do so. I just choose not to subscribe to it, because I find it reductionist and depressing.
You claimed that Carter was little different than Reagan. Again, it's a matter of interpretation. I believe that Carter's morality made his policies have fundamentally different effects, especailly on Central America, than Reagan's. I believe that much of Carter;s economic policy happened becaue he had little choice, not because he wanted to be conservative. i tend to judge Carter by his beliefs, not his actions, and in that light I think he was a great leader.
Finally, you arguye that religios and political opposition may arie to teh status quo, but even the forms that these take are influenced by economics....I had a hard time figuring this out, so correct me if it's wrong. I just tend not to agree, and find your analysis that 'JC failed' to be a little simplistic. Religious and political arguemnst ahve worked befroe on certain people, in certain times and places, as i pointed out. Tehy haven't worked on EVERYBODY.