Conservative Political Views

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

StayPhrosty
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:57 pm UTC

Conservative Political Views

Postby StayPhrosty » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:06 pm UTC

Okay guys, I'm a fairly left-wing guy, and I would consider myself slightly libertarian. (http://politicalcompass.org/ for a good definition of TRUE left/right wing and authoritarian/libertarian imo) The problem is, every time I engage in a political discussion on the internet, it gets bogged down with extremist views and uneducated idiots, so I came here. I am just looking for someone to state a somewhat convincing argument for an economically conservative and/or socially authoritarian government. I don't necessarily need to be 'converted', and I'm hoping that this 'discussion' won't become too heated, it's just that I'm tired of John Stuart being the only left-wing view and Glen Beck being the only right wing view. I mean, there has got to be SOMEONE on the internet who can give me some rational points of discussion.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Vaniver » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:03 am UTC

Convincing arguments? I'm not convinced there are any. But I'll explain it briefly, at least.

Well, if you lean libertarian you understand the benefits of support economic freedoms. Republicans add a heaping dose of mercantilism to that, but since the Democrats do that too, it doesn't really differentiate them.

So, the question is more 'why would anyone be against social freedoms?' Well... a number of reasons. One of them is a respect for traditional culture as compared to counterculture, which is backed up by some evidence. The arguments for things like polyamory and free love tend to be "It feels good and it's not hurting anyone!" while evidence that it is actually hurting people piles up.* For example, take the claim that after Roe v. Wade not only did conceptions increase more than abortions did (leading to a net increase in births), STD transmission increased- so the effect of legalizing abortion was more children and more disease transmission. Women got more freedom over their lives and less women got butchered by back-alley abortionists, but those benefits don't necessary outweigh the costs.

That sort of reasoning is probably the best reason to support social conservatism, rather than "well, no one I know is gay, so clearly being gay isn't what people should do!" Many social conservatives take the second route, though- unwed mothers are bad because "it's immoral" rather than "less parents means less investment in the children, making them perpetually behind their peers and more susceptible to problems, and the desire and ability to get married is a proxy for other things which are beneficial to child-rearing." To buy into being a social conservative, you need to believe that tradition is right.

Most of the time, the tradition is right. The problem is when it isn't, or when you're on the wrong side of the tradition, or when external circumstances are changing more rapidly than your traditions. Now that the counterculture has grown, wilted, and become part of the culture, most proponents of social freedom tend to focus on limited experimentation rather than remaking their lives, with generally better results than pure traditionalists or antitraditionalists.

*Edit: most of the people hurt by those things tend to be the practitioners, like with drugs, though there tend to be mild externalities, like with drug addiction leading to crime. Proponents of social freedoms think that my decision to enter into a behavior which is likely to bite me in the ass should be my choice, whereas proponents of social control think that people need help making decisions, because they make bad ones with a startling frequency.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

User avatar
Krong
Posts: 288
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:49 am UTC
Location: Charleston, South Cackalacky

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Krong » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:38 am UTC

Two quick things here:

1. While it does a good job of illustrating that the two parties in American politics do not correspond to different points on a single-dimension scale, I disagree with the Political Compass in the notion that one's political leanings instead need only two dimensions. For instance, where does one's stance on foreign policy fit into this? Is an isolationist government more "Libertarian" than one that opposes dictatorships through aggressive foreign policy? The site itself points out so many contradictions and paradoxes within certain viewpoints that it should be obvious to them that their model is incomplete.

Also, it's not obvious which side one's stance on particular issues would fall. Say I'm an abolitionist in the US in 1850. Am I leftist trying to abolish private property? Am I a rightist trying to remove (government-enforced) economic inefficiencies? Am I an authoritarian trying to prevent the plantation owners from acting as they wish? Am I a libertarian trying to safeguard the rights of the slaves?

2. Welcome to SB! The m.o.d.s. are having some fun with w.o.r.d. f.i.l.t.e.r.s., so be careful if something seems odd about the arguments you'll see. For instance, Vaniver's post reads d.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n. now in some places; what he originally typed was likely f.r.e.e.d.o.m.
The answer to the question "What’s wrong with the world?" is just two words: "I am." -- G. K. Chesterton (attributed)

User avatar
mmmcannibalism
Posts: 2150
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:16 am UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:04 am UTC

1. While it does a good job of illustrating that the two parties in American politics do not correspond to different points on a single-dimension scale, I disagree with the Political Compass in the notion that one's political leanings instead need only two dimensions. For instance, where does one's stance on foreign policy fit into this? Is an isolationist government more "Libertarian" than one that opposes dictatorships through aggressive foreign policy? The site itself points out so many contradictions and paradoxes within certain viewpoints that it should be obvious to them that their model is incomplete.


I think they left foreign policy off because of how difficult it is to get a metric on. For instance, it is difficult to seperate someone who believes in preemptive war with someone who wants a strong defensive military.
Izawwlgood wrote:I for one would happily live on an island as a fuzzy seal-human.

Oregonaut wrote:Damn fetuses and their terroist plots.

User avatar
UmbrageOfSnow
Not Fully Human
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:06 am UTC
Location: Insomnia Island
Contact:

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby UmbrageOfSnow » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:30 pm UTC

And just as strange as the tendency to lump all beliefs into a left-right spectrum is the tendency for candidates to pander squarely into this non-related set of positions.

It sometimes seems you can't like the second amendment without being a religious nutjob, and you can't support gay marriage and other civil rights issues without demanding instant withdrawal from all wars ever.
yellie wrote:Confession: I just had to look up the word ubiquitous because I kept seeing it all over the place and had no idea what it meant.

User avatar
jakovasaur
Posts: 678
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:43 am UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby jakovasaur » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:09 pm UTC

UmbrageOfSnow wrote:And just as strange as the tendency to lump all beliefs into a left-right spectrum is the tendency for candidates to pander squarely into this non-related set of positions.

It sometimes seems you can't like the second amendment without being a religious nutjob, and you can't support sparkling marriage and other civil rights issues without demanding instant withdrawal from all wars ever.

I completely agree. You can defend almost any stance on an issue with either a conservative or progressive approach. I think people generally just pick a side like they pick sports allegiances.

Do you like scrappy white guys? Do you like money? Are you from Texas? I bet you'll look great rocking that Jason Witten jersey while you drive your Ron-Paul-themed Hummer to a Cowboys game!

If you live in LA and love talented black guys who spent time overseas, and then grew up to overcome obstacles? Make sure you lock up the username "ObamaMamba24" on the espn.com boards.

Iceman
Posts: 667
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:41 am UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Iceman » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:38 am UTC

I think Conservatism has to be divided into a few parts, the Economic, Social and Military.

Economically, the conservative arguments are usually quite strong. Lower government spending and lower transfer payments and social programs are generally going to be beneficial for the economy as a whole, but will tend to lead to more disparity of income. The more free market something is, generally the more efficient resources are deployed, however that often comes at the cost of the lower rungs of society.
In the long, long term, that is generally going to be fine and standard of living will likely increase faster, however in the short term it means some tier of people is always getting the short end of the stick.

Socially, conservativism serves more as a slowing mechanism against too rapid progressivism. While conservativism essentially knows they'll lose every battle they fight in the long run, such as fights against gay marriage or racial equality and so forth, they also serve as a bit of a gatekeeper to make sure that things don't change too fast and too indiscriminately. By constantly trying to hold the line, it makes sure that things only become accepted at the rate that the majority of the population is willing to accept them. If it wasn't for the slowing process offered by conservatism then its likely borders would be thrown open, all types of sexuality would become accepted including ones that shouldn't (pedo, beastial etc..) too many groups would be 'accomodated' a little too easily and freely etc... and you would have a break down from too much progression with no time to properly absorb it. Conservativism is more like the defense attorney in a legal case, you don't convince the Lawyer ever, but by arguing with him you convince the jury, and if you can't convince the jury then it means they aren't ready yet.

Militarily, Conservatives are very important and generally more correct. But again its a type of correct that goes against some levels of morality and social warfare. The course of action suggested by conservatives is usually one that is militarily viable and militarily correct. US Aggression is probably militarily the best idea, the country currently holds a military dominance over the world, however that dominance is going to be short lived. Given that situation, most startegists would say that means you should strike now at any enemy. However that ignores the social and moral implications of doing so.

Overall, Conservativism is largely the check and balance that is required in politics. They make sure that nothing totally insanely progressive happens, that no one destroys the whole economy to fix the ozone layer or save birds, and that no one totally sacrifices education, productivity or national defense in order to make a group of people feel special.

Conservatives are the set-in-their-ways cranky old folks that you have to explain your actions to, and by doing so you explain them to the general population who will either agree or disagree.

Liberals always ask to change something, Conservatives are merely the side asking 'Why?'

User avatar
Ixtellor
There are like 4 posters on XKCD that no more about ...
Posts: 3112
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:31 pm UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:35 pm UTC

It sounded as if the OP was asking for non-extreme Conservative thinkers.

Here are some I like:
George Will, Tucker Carlson, Joe Scarborough, David er... (NYTimes guy), The er.... gay guy that writes for the Atlantic Journal...,

I am totally blanking on names right now will edit this later.
The Revolution will not be Twitterized.

Le Téméraire
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:10 pm UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Le Téméraire » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:11 pm UTC

To explain conservative politics, one needs a good definition of what it is and also, of what it is not. First off, free market economics, libertarianism and small government have nothing to do with conservatism per se.

Conservatism as a political idea is a third way between liberalism/libertarianism on side and socialism/communism on the other side. I understand conservatism as a strong personal conviction that society, and the way society is organised is determined by the culture that is present in that society and the history of that society. Societies are self-defined and rely strongly on self-organisation. A society, from a conservative point of view, is defined by its members (people) that are only different because of the property they own. This determines also the conservative view on government, military and economics. A society (a state, nation) creates for itself a framework of laws, norms and values in order to safeguard a balance between the different members of this society. Societies evolve, but this evolution should always be organic and never radical (revolution = radicalism = bad). That is why true conservatives oppose both radical liberalism and radical socialism.

So, in response to the post above, conservative views of economics, military and social structure are always dictated by this belief of an organic society and organic evolution.
  • In economics, a conservative could plead for less market regulation, especially in matters where he/she is convinced that the market mechanism is strong enough to regulate itself. On the other hand, in matters where a free market is clearly defunct, a conservative would plead for more/better market regulation.
  • In social matters, a conservative would typically plead for a transparent and good legal framework that does not replace's what can be regulated by society and existing social structures.
  • I am no expert in military matters, but as far as I know a typical conservative would try to honor existing military and diplomatic alliances and agreements.

Fume Troll
Posts: 254
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:06 am UTC
Location: Scotland / Norway mainly

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Fume Troll » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:29 pm UTC

Information Is Beautiful have an interesting right vs. left graphic

Le Téméraire
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:10 pm UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Le Téméraire » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:46 pm UTC

Fume Troll wrote:Information Is Beautiful have an interesting right vs. left graphic


Your graphic has a higher entertainment value than it has an information value. And it does only apply to US politics. It is a very nice graphic though.
Last edited by Le Téméraire on Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:08 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Fume Troll
Posts: 254
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:06 am UTC
Location: Scotland / Norway mainly

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Fume Troll » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:55 pm UTC

Perhaps...nothing is quite that polar. However it does quite a good job of looking positively at the same issues from both sides, which is what I like about it. Believe it or not that is the "world" version, there's a "US" version too.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7481
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Zamfir » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:58 pm UTC

The "world" version has red for left, the US version has blue for left. AFAICT, that the only difference.

User avatar
Velict
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:07 pm UTC
Location: Icecrown Citadel

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Velict » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:25 pm UTC

Le Téméraire wrote:
Fume wonderful poster wrote:Information Is Beautiful have an interesting right vs. left graphic


Your graphic has a higher entertainment value than it has an information value.


I agree. And it's mostly along social lines, whereas a lot of people differ on economic lines (e.g. libertarians).

Some of it's a little odd, though. I'm conservative so my relationship with my parents is based on fear? Uh, not really. The beliefs section is very accurate however.

User avatar
bentheimmigrant
Dotcor Good Poster
Posts: 1365
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:01 pm UTC
Location: UK

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby bentheimmigrant » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:09 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:Well, if you lean libertarian you understand the benefits of support economic freedoms. Republicans add a heaping dose of mercantilism to that, but since the Democrats do that too, it doesn't really differentiate them.


Velict wrote:
I agree. And it's mostly along social lines, whereas a lot of people differ on economic lines (e.g. libertarians).

Some of it's a little odd, though. I'm conservative so my relationship with my parents is based on fear? Uh, not really. The beliefs section is very accurate however.


I disagree here - your posts seem to be saying that libertarianism is an economic stance, whereas it is really like conservatism; you can have all different aspects. You can be a social libertarian and not support the free market, just as you can be an economic libertarian and a social/moral authoritarian at the same time (many conservatives in the US fall into this I would say). It all depends which freedoms you value highest.

Regarding the OP's question, the political compass is a step in the right direction in terms of abandoning left vs right or liberal vs conservative. Real political views are far too complex and varied to define under such narrow categories. I have found it most helpful just to find different aspects and their definitions, and then you can build a more complex view of why people believe what they do. Some conservatives are agrarian, while some are industrial, and others don't even consider these things. There are too many components of an individual view to simplify it as it has been done in the states.
"Comment is free, but facts are sacred" - C.P. Scott

Sharlos
Posts: 720
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:26 am UTC
Location: Straya

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Sharlos » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:34 am UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:
Vaniver wrote:Well, if you lean libertarian you understand the benefits of support economic freedoms. Republicans add a heaping dose of mercantilism to that, but since the Democrats do that too, it doesn't really differentiate them.


Velict wrote:
I agree. And it's mostly along social lines, whereas a lot of people differ on economic lines (e.g. libertarians).

Some of it's a little odd, though. I'm conservative so my relationship with my parents is based on fear? Uh, not really. The beliefs section is very accurate however.


I disagree here - your posts seem to be saying that libertarianism is an economic stance, whereas it is really like conservatism; you can have all different aspects. You can be a social libertarian and not support the free market, just as you can be an economic libertarian and a social/moral authoritarian at the same time (many conservatives in the US fall into this I would say). It all depends which freedoms you value highest.


I disagree, or at least think people who only have either economic or social libertarian beliefs have a seriously flawed ideology. From what I understand, libertarianism is about personal rights and non-coercion. I don't see how you can logically conclude that economic coercion is morally wrong but social coercion isn't (or vice versa).

User avatar
bentheimmigrant
Dotcor Good Poster
Posts: 1365
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:01 pm UTC
Location: UK

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby bentheimmigrant » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:57 am UTC

Sharlos wrote:I disagree, or at least think people who only have either economic or social libertarian beliefs have a seriously flawed ideology. From what I understand, libertarianism is about personal rights and non-coercion. I don't see how you can logically conclude that economic coercion is morally wrong but social coercion isn't (or vice versa).


How is it illogical to be for more regulation in the market but for less regulation in your personal life? They are completely disconnected on a moral basis. (Also, making it about coercion casts any government involvement in a negative light - it's a fairly emotive word)
"Comment is free, but facts are sacred" - C.P. Scott

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7481
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Zamfir » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:13 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:I disagree, or at least think people who only have either economic or social libertarian beliefs have a seriously flawed ideology. From what I understand, libertarianism is about personal rights and non-coercion. I don't see how you can logically conclude that economic coercion is morally wrong but social coercion isn't (or vice versa).

Many people see economic coercion outside of the government too, and originally "libertarian" was used for a much wider range of ideas, focussed more on a communist kind of anarchy, without governments and also without property.

User avatar
bentheimmigrant
Dotcor Good Poster
Posts: 1365
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:01 pm UTC
Location: UK

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby bentheimmigrant » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:04 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Many people see economic coercion outside of the government too, and originally "libertarian" was used for a much wider range of ideas, focussed more on a communist kind of anarchy, without governments and also without property.



I tend to use such words as they are defined by common culture. Thus liberal has left its earlier meanings tied into the New Deal, and is now much broader, and I try to use it as such. It is one of the major problems in political discourse; that we're all talking about the same words, but completely different subjects.
"Comment is free, but facts are sacred" - C.P. Scott

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7481
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Zamfir » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:23 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:I tend to use such words as they are defined by common culture.

Don't you mean American culture? :)

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Vaniver » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:27 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:I disagree, or at least think people who only have either economic or social libertarian beliefs have a seriously flawed ideology. From what I understand, libertarianism is about personal rights and non-coercion. I don't see how you can logically conclude that economic coercion is morally wrong but social coercion isn't (or vice versa).
You could do so either by looking at results rather than first principles or by sticking to the traditional ideal of what made America great. If you do the latter, you have to interpret things like freedom of religion as more "the State shouldn't persecute you for being the wrong kind of Christian" instead of "the State should welcome all moralities"- but that wasn't all that far from how things operated.

I believe in high social freedoms, but I understand why someone could believe in high economic freedoms and low social freedoms.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

Sheikh al-Majaneen
Name Checks Out On Time, Tips Chambermaid
Posts: 1075
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:17 am UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:37 am UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:How is it illogical to be for more regulation in the market but for less regulation in your personal life? They are completely disconnected on a moral basis. (Also, making it about coercion casts any government involvement in a negative light - it's a fairly emotive word)

I suppose it depends on how important you consider the coercion to be. Most libertarians (at least the ones who don't have casu marzu for brains), like everybody except anarchists, consider at least some government coercion to be necessary, in order to hold back society from a chaos where the best way to get what you want is through violence and theft. The logic of your views depends on what you consider important enough for coercion to be preferable to inaction.

Some, specifically those mentioned to have casu marzu brains (read as: anarcho-capitalists), consider absolutely nothing to be worth coercion by an entity over all others. Everything is on the market; everything is okay, and if its not, you better be able to hold your own, whether it be through money or through violence (though your money can only really be held through violence).

Should you consider equality to be as important as liberty, then it makes perfect sense to me that you would support strong market regulation and little social regulation.

Should you be irrational enough to consider an ordered society to be of greatest importance, that it behave as a well-oiled machine, whether for the glory of your country or the international (there is really little difference when you really look into it--merely rhetoric), then you would likely favour strong regulation of everything and strong behavioural controls on everybody, regardless of what it takes.

(I suppose it shows that I play some paradox games, but I find the trichotomy to match the extremes alright; who doesn't fit somewhere in between, other than the strawmen?)

sje46
Posts: 4730
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 4:41 am UTC
Location: New Hampshire

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby sje46 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:10 am UTC

I'm tired of John Stuart being the only left-wing view and Glen Beck being the only right wing view
Why John Stewart? He doesn't seem to support...he only questions. Of both sides, too, but the conservative side of politics provide the most humor, because there's more humor to be milked out of them.

Socially, conservativism serves more as a slowing mechanism against too rapid progressivism. While conservativism essentially knows they'll lose every battle they fight in the long run, such as fights against gay marriage or racial equality and so forth, they also serve as a bit of a gatekeeper to make sure that things don't change too fast and too indiscriminately. By constantly trying to hold the line, it makes sure that things only become accepted at the rate that the majority of the population is willing to accept them. If it wasn't for the slowing process offered by conservatism then its likely borders would be thrown open, all types of sexuality would become accepted including ones that shouldn't (pedo, beastial etc..) too many groups would be 'accomodated' a little too easily and freely etc... and you would have a break down from too much progression with no time to properly absorb it. Conservativism is more like the defense attorney in a legal case, you don't convince the Lawyer ever, but by arguing with him you convince the jury, and if you can't convince the jury then it means they aren't ready yet.
I agree with you that the most useful way of thinking about it is to separate conservatism into social, economic, and military....but I don't agree with you about social conservatives fulfilling a devil's advocate role ("Devil's advocate" is being used more in line with it's original meaning...a person who takes on a skeptic's point of view, who deliberately tries to find flaws in argument X, but doesn't necessary believe X is correct or incorrect). Liberals aren't those who say "maybe gay marriage isn't right for the good of this country", they say "gay marriage is objectively wrong", usually citing the Bible, or Tradition. You think that without conservatives adult-child sexual relations would be accepted? Or human-animal relations? No politician from either side of the aisle would ever vote yes to that. It isn't like the liberals are Team A, pushing for as much social liberation as possible without regarding the negative consequences, and the conservatives are Team B, pushing back as much social liberation legislation as possible, without regarding the negative consequences of that, and they "even each other out". Rather it's two different viewpoints doing what they think is best, for the greater good, just from two different perspectives. Social Liberals just think along the lines of social justice and equality, and social conservatives go along the lines of "this progress is objectively wrong" and "this is against tradition, we were fine before".
General_Norris: Taking pride in your nation is taking pride in the division of humanity.
Pirate.Bondage: Let's get married. Right now.

YFLeo
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:40 am UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby YFLeo » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:07 am UTC

StayPhrosty: If you're trying to understand someone else's point of view, make sure that you can describe the view itself in terms that they agree with. Otherwise, the conversation can't even get off the ground.

I don't see any connection between "socially authoritarian" and American conservatism. I see the Left as being far more socially authoritarian. It's the Left that has instituted PC speech codes on college campuses that would have been unthinkable 30 years ago. It's the Left that wants to suspend democracy to cram down its views on gay marriage, just as it did in the past on abortion and forced busing. It's the Left that wants ever-expanding anti-discrimination laws to tell us who we can hire, and who we have to do business with. It's the Left that wants hate-crime laws that are essentially thought-crime laws. It's the Left that wants to alter the country's culture and voter base by refusing to enforce immigration laws, though that one's a little more complicated. It's the Left that's about to force every American to fund abortions.

We could debate whether each of those policy goals is a good or bad thing, but leave that aside for now. You asked a reasonable question, and I'm trying to move you towards the answer. You may believe, for example, that anti-discrimination laws are wonderful. And that's fine. But do you really deny that they're socially authoritarian? Or can you at least see how someone could view them as being socially authoritarian?

From a conservative perspective, the Left is all about re-shaping society. That's what puts the "social" in socialism, at least as far back as the French Revolution. From a conservative perspective, socialists (or whatever they currently call themselves) believe that they know how people ought to think and act in a perfect society. And the socialist project is to force people to think and act in accordance with that socialist Utopian vision.

Conservatives, at least in their own minds, just want to be left alone, both economically and socially. So to call them "socially authoritarian" strikes me as completely upside-down.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7481
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Zamfir » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:50 am UTC

YFLeo, those are very good points. They are very much aimed at non-conservative things you (or conservatives in general) do not agree with. Perhaps you could also write a post about the conservative things you do agree with?

sje46
Posts: 4730
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 4:41 am UTC
Location: New Hampshire

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby sje46 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:00 am UTC

How exactly is the left suspending democracy to "cram" it's views about gay marriage? Gay marriage still isn't legal for the majority of the country, and as far as I'm aware, the state legislators that voted for it didn't do any underhanded tactics, like the Republicans did with the health care bill (attempting to deny democracy by fillibustering the Senate).
General_Norris: Taking pride in your nation is taking pride in the division of humanity.
Pirate.Bondage: Let's get married. Right now.

YFLeo
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:40 am UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby YFLeo » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:36 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:YFLeo, those are very good points. They are very much aimed at non-conservative things you (or conservatives in general) do not agree with. Perhaps you could also write a post about the conservative things you do agree with?

OK. At the broadest level my conservatism starts with anti-Utopianism, or a belief that man is inherently and permanently flawed. You could phrase it in terms of the Garden of Eden, but that's not really necessary. Historical examples abound to demonstrate that grand schemes for societal perfection always end in disaster because the leaders are blind to their own foibles.

Move down a conceptual level, and the more specific principles become federalism, limited government, representative government, and free speech. This is an impromptu list, so I reserve the right to add one or two later, but those are some of the biggies.

Federalism means that power should reside in small political units rather than large ones. Decentralization of power makes it harder for the Utopians to enact their disastrous grand schemes. It's also usually more efficient, because lower-level governments are generally more responsive than higher-level ones.

Limited government in the modern world means lower taxes and fewer regulations. We used to have the whole enumerated powers concept, but the New Deal blew that to smithereens. Limited government is economically efficient up to a point, but the moral argument is stronger. It's morally wrong and dangerous to take large amounts of money and power by threat of violence. As much as is practical, people should do what they want rather than what the government tells them to do, financially or behaviorally.

I wish that the importance of representative government were obvious to everyone, but sadly it's not so. When Utopians get excited about their pet issue du jour, they always end up wanting to suspend all forms of representative government to impose their views on the citizenry. Back when I was a kid it was abortion and forced busing. Before that it was Miranda and serious hamstringing of law enforcement. Now it's gay marriage. I'm a real stickler for the whole "consent of the governed" concept. I don't care how wonderful your cause is. To me, representative government trumps it. If you don't want to follow procedure and persuade people, then I'm opposed to you.

Free speech is tied to representative government. Voting doesn't mean much unless people are free to express controversial views without fear of violence. Utopians always end up opposed to free speech. They believe that they have the special knowledge of how society should work. So they don't need to listen; they just want to talk. And if someone wants to disagree with the special knowledge, then they are a threat to Utopia, and they need to be silenced. Talk is one way to move closer to Utopia, but if that doesn't work then a brick to the head will do just as well. In the past year or so we've seen a real spectacle of speech suppression in Canada, though I don't know if you folks are plugged into the right news sources to know much about that.

Please note that I'm not using "Utopian" as a synonym for leftist, liberal, progressive, socialist, or whatever. Utopianism is much larger than those. It includes many types of libertarianism, and also nationalistic and religious Utopian visions. I see modern American liberalism as a mix of different Utopian visions that often conflict. But they all agree that the first step toward any kind of Utopia is limiting free speech and expanding the federal government. They all want to destroy the safeguards against Utopianism.

Zamfir, I'm not sure if all this answers your question. I think that Utopians often have trouble understanding conservatism because they want it to be some other kind of Utopianism. A common sentiment from the Left is, "They're only opposed to OUR power grab because they want to grab power for themselves!" But we don't. We really just wish that the government would leave us alone so that we can raise our families and work at our jobs. But the Utopians are always cooking up some new scheme to make a mess of things, so we've got to be on guard.

sje46 wrote:How exactly is the left suspending democracy to "cram" its views about gay marriage?

By imposing it through the courts reading secret messages in constitutions, rather than through legislation. Even now there is a lawsuit in California over whether the people of California are such evil bigots that they shouldn't be allowed to amend their own constitution. Again, I'm big on the whole "consent of the governed" concept. I say that it's the opposite of representative government when radical changes in the law are "discovered" in constitutional amendments decades after they were enacted.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7481
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Zamfir » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:20 am UTC

I guess that's a decent explanation of conservatism. My country used to have a party simply called the "Anti-revolutionary party", which sums up your views pretty well,doesn't it?

I do have one extra question, if you don't mind: how do you recognize utopians, or utopian ideas? Especially when it comes to the nuts and bolts of daily politics, where presumably the most far-stretched ideas have already been left behind.

For example: why is gay marriage a utopian idea? There are countries with gay marriage (I live in one), and they are neither utopias nor try to be. If a majority of the electorate were to support gay marriage, would it still be utopian?

Another type of example: social security for the elderly, or subsidized primary education. Before such measures were enacted, they fitted your description of a utopian idea pretty well. But by now they have been in place in every developed country for generations, they are widely popular, and at the very least they are clearly not deeply destructive. They have essentially become the tradition. Does that mean it is now utopian to want remove them?

Le1bn1z
Posts: 832
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:27 pm UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Le1bn1z » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:21 pm UTC

For flavour, I'll throw in some of the traditional Conservative tradition from the Commonwealth experience, which, generally speaking, is alien to the United States.

The biggie is belief in evolutionary democracy, intentionally contrasted to the revolutionary doctrines of the United Sates-France republican axis. The godfather of the movement is Edmund Burke, a liberal of Irish descent who became famous as a critic of the French Revolutionaries and advocate for Irish rights. Essentially the argument works its way out like this:

Contrasted Jefferson or Robbespierre, Burke argued that human society cannot be reasonably analysed or understood through reason alone, a priori of hard, empirical analysis. The notion that one could sit down an draw up a hard and fast laundry list of rights based on metaphysical musings and create a Great Constitutional Document which would stand largely intact for all time, ex nihlio, is from a conservative standpoint ridiculous.

The political, economic, spiritual, psychological and plain human interactions defy this sort of analysis. Attempts to bend humanity to fit some rationalised norm, Burke argued, would always be disasterous (oh his prophetic soul; he had a real understanding of communism and fascism over a century and a half before Orwell or Arendt) because humans would become like pawns on a chess board, objects to be manipulated in the name of a Master Plan, or culled continuouly for failing to live up to the demands of the New Humanity.

More frustrating still, human society defies analysis in a straight up-and-down historical fashion. Reforms undertaken in the name of reactionarism or anything like that were just as bad, because humans can't remember enough to hold every factor down long enough to come to a consensus.

The strength of a society, then, is in its institutional memory and change ought to be taken on an informed, cautious and ad-hoc basis. The institutions, prejudices and customs of a people build up over time in response to the needs of the society to thrive and funciton. For example, Burke talks about constituency boundaries adhering to those of established communities, as established over time, rather than the French proposal of dividing the country into squares. He also talks about the religious limits on the British monarch and governance of the Church, designed at once to stop a monarch from forcing the people to adopt a religion against their will (Catholicism) and to prevent the rise of Protestant extremism a-la Cromwell. Such measures are introduced in the face of immediate need, become set in the institutions of the country, which adapt to defend against the problem and are set in the prejudices of the people.

This is not to say that Burke was anti-change. Quite the opposite; he was a reformer. However, he argued that change should be premised on need, not abstract utopianism or metaphysical discourse. It should be gradual, and keep as much of the institutional and cultural infastructure intact as possible.

This tradition now crosses party lines in many Commonwealth countries. It remains a point of contention in Canada, for example, where Conservatives view the Liberal-introduced Charter with grave suspicion, because it spawns laws that are more concerned with metaphysical than with the needs of the Canadian people, in a most (*shudder*) revoltingly American fashion. (The Charter has produced a mix bag of effects, from leading to complete equality for gays and lesbians, on one hand, to ending the ability of teachers or police to search lockers or students for weapons in schools and permitting wild and costly abuses of the legal system by the wealthy at the expense of the poor on the other. It remains contentious to this day.)

This does not, naturally, apply to the American experience, which is premised entirely on two sides of the revolutionary coin. The American "Conservative" experience is a legalistic, rather than organic, movement. Proponents point to Founders Intent and the Constitution as having given America The Great Truth, all but unquestionably. Constitutional writ, like the second ammendment, is taken as Holy writ, because its in the Constitution. On the "Liberal" side of the coin, the rhetoric is, again, revolutionary rather than evolutionary; its still very much the all-or-nothing, unite-or-die sort of thought on which America was founded. This, I think, is probably why America is the only first world nation to still be unable to have a grown-up conversation about healthcare: Every change is a complete revolution, and so needs to be tackled accordingly.

Pre 1980's in Canada and the rest of the Commonwealth, Constitution meant something entirely different to what it means in the America-France axis. The constitution was specifically NOT a written document, but rather those principles which underly all laws, which still, in fact, play a huge part in governing to this day.This means that Constitutions were, in effect, partially a conglomerate of documents accumulated over time, and partically a series of unwritten precedents and principles. For example, in Canada and the UK the Monarch has massive theoretical executive powers of appointment, dissmissal and the waging of war. However, the use of these powers is called "unconstitutional" because it conflicts witht the constitution of Principles which underly all law in the Commonwealth Realms.

This type of conservativism has been successfully applied to finance and economics (the Chretien/Martin pragmatism and caution managing Canada's financial markets, stopping idiotic Amerian/British style blue-sky abstract theories being adopted here, and thus preventing any bank or housing collapse), law and rights (the abolition of slavery in the Empire, starting with the constitutional ruling of Lord Mansfield on Sommerset that slavery was contrary to the basic, unwritten Constitution of the U.K, in late 1772. America's revolution began within a year and a bit of news of the ruling reaching the colonies, led largely by slavers and slave traders. I'm told this is a coincidence) government services (the gradual adoption of private universities in their traditional forms into a public network) and even art and urban planning (here, ironically, its the "left" which leads the "conservative charge here, including Jane Jacobs, but also HRH Prince Charles, in arguing for human-scale public art and community planning.)

Great books using this form of critique include Burke's "Reflections nn the French Revolution," Swift's "Gulliver's Travells" (against super-centralised planning), C.S. Lewis's "Out of the Silent Planet" and "That Hiddeous Strength," (J.R.R. Tolkien does battle with Satan in space. It's awesome), George Orwell's everything and Theodore Dalrymple's "Our Culture, What's Left of It." Stephane Dion's "Straight Talk," especially the bits on seperatism, is also a great cross-partisan classic of constitutional conservativism.
Krong writes: Code: Select all
transubstantiate(Bread b) {
Person p = getJesusPersonInstance();
p.RenderProperties = b.RenderProperties;
free(b);
}

YFLeo
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:40 am UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby YFLeo » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:23 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I do have one extra question, if you don't mind: how do you recognize utopians, or utopian ideas? Especially when it comes to the nuts and bolts of daily politics, where presumably the most far-stretched ideas have already been left behind.

First, a Utopian doesn't want to win the argument; he just wants to win. When the Utopian's ideas don't persuade other people, then that's always the fault of the other people. It's never the fault of the Utopian, or his message, or his presentation. The Utopian cannot imagine that he is wrong. The problem is always that the masses are too ignorant or corrupt to know what's good for them. So the Utopian feels morally obligated to deceive, coerce, or otherwise force Utopia on an unwilling public.

Second, Utopian plans must always be done urgently and on a large scale. There's never time for a demonstration project. There's never time to further evaluate the data. It's never good enough that this city does it the Utopian way, and another city does it some other way. Since Utopianism is Truth, everyone must submit to the truth, as soon as possible.

Third, Utopian plans are immune to experience. No matter how many millions have starved to death under Communism, lots of people still think that we should give it one more try. It doesn't matter how much of a disaster nationalized health care has been in Canada, Britain, Sweden, etc. This time the Utopians are sure that they'll get it right.

The corollary to that third point is that the plan is never wrong; it's always the people who are wrong. This goes back to the core Garden of Eden question. The Utopian assumes, as almost a religious belief, that people can be made perfect. The Utopian vision proceeds logically from that belief. When the Utopian plan ends in disaster, the Utopians are always shocked (shocked!) to discover that people are far less perfect than assumed, and far less interested in being perfected. But failure never shakes the Utopian's belief in human perfectibility. Just like in Pinky and the Brain, tomorrow night the Utopians will devise an even better plan for herding the unworthy swine that is humanity towards the promised land.

Zamfir wrote:For example: why is gay marriage a utopian idea? There are countries with gay marriage (I live in one), and they are neither utopias nor try to be. If a majority of the electorate were to support gay marriage, would it still be utopian?

Gay marriage fits all three criteria. First and most important, the plan was to win through corruption of the courts and bypass persuasion and representative government. Second, it had to be forced on the entire country via the Full Faith and Credit clause, which was why any compromise about domestic partnerships was never good enough. We couldn't try it in a few states and see what happened; everyone had to take the plunge all at once.

Third, the movement is hostile to any consideration of the practical effects on children. I used to get into lots of gay-marriage debates, and the other side was always confused about why I kept wanting to talk about children. They seemed to think that children just sort of grow in pumpkin patches and are raised by pixies. I haven't studied it recently, but as I recall the countries that have embraced the whole Sexual Utopian agenda have plummeting birth rates and marriage rates. It turns out that when the state withdraws special recognition for procreative couples, then procreation becomes less important. Surprise! But these are Utopians, so the facts don't really matter.

If gay marriage were voted into law after due deliberation and persuasion, then no, it wouldn't be Utopian. I still don't think it would be a good idea, but I wouldn't be nearly as upset about it. If it's enacted legislatively, then it can also be repealed legislatively. It's all fair that way. But when liberal judges discover secret messages in constitutions, then there's no lawful procedure for overturning them. That's why the current California lawsuit is such an astonishing slap in the face to the very concept of representative government, as was Romer v. Evans.

But really, I don't want to get too deep into the whole gay marriage thing. I'm not here to persuade anyone. I'm just explaining my beliefs.

Zamfir wrote:Another type of example: social security for the elderly, or subsidized primary education. Before such measures were enacted, they fitted your description of a utopian idea pretty well. But by now they have been in place in every developed country for generations, they are widely popular, and at the very least they are clearly not deeply destructive. They have essentially become the tradition. Does that mean it is now utopian to want remove them?

Utopianism isn't in the "What?" but in the "How?" It would be Utopian to repeal something like that in one fell swoop, without serious warning or planning. It would not be Utopian to adjust rates of growth so that those programs steadily shrink over time, so that people would have time to adjust and plan.

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:08 pm UTC

That all sounds very dramatic, but I'm not convinced that it applies to the examples that you give:

YFLeo wrote:It doesn't matter how much of a disaster nationalized health care has been in Canada, Britain, Sweden, etc.

There are valid, nuanced criticisms of nationalized health care; "it's been a disaster" is not one of them, unless you can provide evidence of Canadians dying off in plagues.

YFLeo wrote:Gay marriage fits all three criteria. First and most important, the plan was to win through corruption of the courts and bypass persuasion and representative government.

Well, first of all, you seem to be using "gay marriage" as shorthand for "certain strategies used in attempts to make gay marriage legal." There is nothing intrinsic to gay marriage that means it must be enacted by the judiciary rather than the legislature, and in some states the latter method is how it has been legalized.

Second, you appear to be using "corruption" to mean something other than bribery, its ordinary meaning. Or do you have evidence that judges were bribed in marriage equality cases?

The courts of course have been bypassing the legislature since Marbury v. Madison, and this power in fact is commonly understood as part of our representative democracy. Judges are nominated and confirmed by elected officials, and they apply a Constitution that was overwhelmingly ratified by both the national and state governments. "Persuasion" is also involved in legal trials; the Plaintiffs' proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law alone for the California trial form a document almost 300 pages long.

YFLeo wrote:Second, it had to be forced on the entire country via the Full Faith and Credit clause, which was why any compromise about domestic partnerships was never good enough.

It's true that supporters of marriage equality generally want it to be a national thing, but I'm not convinced that this is Utopian. Every federal policy will apply nationally, meaning that we have been engaging in this supposedly Utopian practice literally before the inception of the Constitution, and all the more so after its adoption and the incorporation of the Bill of Rights through the Fourteenth Amendment. Even the most literalist reading of the Constitution allows for various policies to be "forced on the entire country"; how can you support that document while labeling every sort of national policy Utopian?

YFLeo wrote:Third, the movement is hostile to any consideration of the practical effects on children. I used to get into lots of gay-marriage debates, and the other side was always confused about why I kept wanting to talk about children. They seemed to think that children just sort of grow in pumpkin patches and are raised by pixies. I haven't studied it recently, but as I recall the countries that have embraced the whole Sexual Utopian agenda have plummeting birth rates and marriage rates. It turns out that when the state withdraws special recognition for procreative couples, then procreation becomes less important. Surprise! But these are Utopians, so the facts don't really matter.

Perhaps populations that adopt progressive marriage policies would have had less marriage and children anyway. But even if marriage equality causes those things to decline, that doesn't indicate a "practical effect on children" — let's not conflate "fewer children" with "worse-off children." It takes resources to raise a child, and those resources aren't stretched so thin when there aren't as many people using them — or did you think the job was handled by pixies?

So, yeah. Utopianism sounds pretty bad, but are you sure that it is as popular as you're presenting it?

Oh, and one other thing: I don't see how certain aspects of your description of Utopianism — particularly the accusations of anti-republicanism — are related to a belief that people are or can be perfected. Presumably any sort of social change, however it is implemented, is going to make the same basic assumption about the possibility of improving human existence.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
Whimsical Eloquence
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 2:29 am UTC
Location: Ireland

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Whimsical Eloquence » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:44 pm UTC

YFLeo wrote:
I don't see any connection between "socially authoritarian" and American conservatism. I see the Left as being far more socially authoritarian. It's the Left that has instituted PC speech codes on college campuses that would have been unthinkable 30 years ago. It's the Left that wants to suspend democracy to cram down its views on gay marriage, just as it did in the past on abortion and forced busing. It's the Left that wants ever-expanding anti-discrimination laws to tell us who we can hire, and who we have to do business with. It's the Left that wants hate-crime laws that are essentially thought-crime laws. It's the Left that wants to alter the country's culture and voter base by refusing to enforce immigration laws, though that one's a little more complicated. It's the Left that's about to force every American to fund abortions.


Conservatives, at least in their own minds, just want to be left alone, both economically and socially. So to call them "socially authoritarian" strikes me as completely upside-down.


Your point about "suspending democracy to cram down its views on x" is more a line between Populist Mobocracy and Republicanism (in the Classical Sense). I for one would prefer a liberal Monarchy than an illiberal democracy. The basic principle of Republicanism is that the majority must be restrained from oppressing the majority. Countless SCOA cases, especially in ending Jim Crow laws, have endorsed this principal.

Libertarians just want to be left alone. Conservatives who are socially authoritarians, restricting sex laws, prostitution, drug laws ect. are not leaving people to their own devices. Acting in the name of tradition is not leaving people alone.

Edit:

....a disaster nationalized health care has been in Canada, Britain, Sweden,....



This is, quite frankly, a ridiculous claim. As far as I am aware, and as is generally acknowledged as self-evident, the nationalisation of Healthcare in the countries you mentioned have been largely rip-roaring successes. Certainly in Britain, there is a great deal of pride about the NHS and all political parties ardently supporting it; indeed the Conservatives have promised a ring-fencing of it ahead of the forth-coming election.
“People understand me so poorly that they don't even understand my complaint about them not understanding me.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard

Le1bn1z
Posts: 832
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:27 pm UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Le1bn1z » Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:13 am UTC

@ YFLeo

First, a disclaimer. I tend to follow politics and history largely for the comic value. In particular, God has blessed me with a neighbouring nation with a passion for politics and a tin ear for irony. Your argument against gay marriage, on the basis that it is a Utopian cram job, brought tears of joy to mine eyes.

Thank you.

You honestly don't see how this cuts both ways? Really? The Conservative movement everywhere is chalk-full of utopians and the American anti-gay froth-at-the-mouth-crazy religious right is a prime example of a way in which not all conservatives are Burkian, and of the chasm between evolutionary conservatives and the Utopian reactionaries.

The religious right, which so dominates the conservative movement in North America, is in fact the ultimate Utopian movement. Godliness, we are told, is the key to being the Great Nation, to solving the problems which beset us, from crime to poverty to security.... even, we're told, hurricanes (If only tose damn Haitians' and New Orleans citizens hadn't worshiped satan....) These people wish to establish a Christian Nation, with people behaving and, indeed, existing in a manner according to their (rather bizarre) reading of mellenia-old and often-revised Holy Scriptures. The situation is given extra comic weight by the fact that they can often find their way into a coalation majority, thus bringing to mind the oft-repeated joke about the three wolves and the sheep deciding what to have to dinner.

(Except in America its the three bacon-eating, aldultery-tolerating, sabbath-breaking, blaspheming, 2nd great commandment breaking usurers and a gay dude sitting down to decide which sin is heinous enough to warrant state intervention.)

The bizzare utopian dream of the "Christian Nation" and its warped totalitarian demands have been sensibly opposed by America's ever-shrinking cohort of Burkians, and has been successfully staved off in Canada by our much, much, much more energetic old-school ProgCon team. For the most part. Gay guys now can't give blood, because Harper had a crazy-spasm on his way home from "church."

Conservative movements have been repleat with "Edenism," since time immemorial. The wish to "return" to an historic ideal which never was coloured the Catonians of Rome, the bizzare post-Darian Scottish nationalists looking for a fuedal ideal, the bucolic rustic dream of the Victorian gentlemen or American libertarian-right, the God-fearing, obediend militant Catholics of the Spanish Fascists.... these dreams are no less Utopian nor less dangerous than any dreamed up by the Utopian left.

The failure of the right-wing in America and Canada to understand its own ever-growing Utopian tendencies has led some pretty bone-headed and sometimes downright evil decisions. The mass-application of wildly-untested and imprudent deregulation and "liberalisation" schemes in financial and housing markets comes to mind in the "boneheaded" department. The denying the right of a gay man to sit by the bedside of his partner of 40 years as he lies dying because their relationship contravenes the Utopian ravings of Sarah Palin falls squarely into the evil.

Frankly, I never thought such peope deserved the name "conservative." At least for a time, in Canada, these nutjobs had the decency to call themselves the "Reform Party" (and then the Conservative Reform Alliance Party. I shite you not, pun unintended by them) a far, far more honest descriptor of what these sorts of people stand for.

Recall that in the Empire, the abolition of slavery was "forced down" the throats of owners by much the same method; slavery was deemed "insufferable to the free air of England" in 1772 (proximity to American Revolution a coincidence. Honest.)
Krong writes: Code: Select all
transubstantiate(Bread b) {
Person p = getJesusPersonInstance();
p.RenderProperties = b.RenderProperties;
free(b);
}

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Vaniver » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:00 pm UTC

Le1bn1z- have you read much Hayek? I thinking specifically of the Constitution of Liberty- Hayek framed the argument for liberty in terms of information / decision-making instead of moral rights, and seemed to strongly believe in the organic, self-ordering society in the Burkean fashion.

I honestly find it a much more attractive justification for liberty than morals- anyone can invent morals, but the Hayekian argument uses some strong evolutionary and practical arguments for preferring freedom to control.

Hayek has had some influence on the American right- but mostly in his impact on anti-communists and libertarians, rather than a wholesale inclusion into Republican or right-wing thought.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

KimmieA
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:24 pm UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby KimmieA » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:06 pm UTC

"anyone can invent morals" -Vaniver

This is true, especially in small group thinking wherein we adapt to the social norms we experience in our most immediate environment. However, one could also argue that morals are the inexplicable pull that we feel and cannot base upon experience or ration. Have you read any C.S. Lewis?

Rights are based on a self possessed ideology of expectation. Has the American culture adapted to to think that it is our right to have health insurance funded by our government? I'm not sure. Seems to be a global norm now, though. We are slowly moving away from individualism and closer to a phenomenon called groupthink.

Bad quasi-spammer. -Az
Last edited by KimmieA on Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:41 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Vaniver » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:10 pm UTC

KimmieA wrote:However, one could also argue that morals are the inexplicable pull that we feel and cannot base upon experience or ration. Have you read any C.S. Lewis?
Yes. I would argue, though, that those morals come from someplace- and it's not clear that all people are pulled by the same place. Anyone, then, could be pulled in an arbitrary direction, and so we cannot take that as a more reliable guide for a group than, say, experience or rationality.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

User avatar
lutzj
Posts: 898
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:20 am UTC
Location: Ontario

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby lutzj » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:04 am UTC

sje46 wrote:(attempting to deny democracy by fillibustering the Senate).


Good thing America isn't a democracy. It's a republic. The main reason the Senate in particular was created was to protect political minorities.
addams wrote:I'm not a bot.
That is what a bot would type.

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Lazar » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:05 am UTC

lutzj wrote:Good thing America isn't a democracy. It's a republic.

The two are not mutually exclusive.

Dictionary.com wrote:democracy government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

Good thing cheddar isn't a food. It's a cheese.
Good thing geese aren't animals. They're birds.
etc.
Exit the vampires' castle.

KimmieA
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:24 pm UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby KimmieA » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:40 pm UTC

Lazar... good argument.

Le1bn1z
Posts: 832
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:27 pm UTC

Re: Conservative Political Views

Postby Le1bn1z » Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:43 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:
lutzj wrote:Good thing America isn't a democracy. It's a republic.

The two are not mutually exclusive.

Dictionary.com wrote:democracy government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

Good thing cheddar isn't a food. It's a cheese.
Good thing geese aren't animals. They're birds.
etc.


Yes, but they're not mutually inclusive either.

Some corrections to a few of the above posts.

The Senate was not created to protect "political minorities," at least, not in the sense that springs to mind: that of vulnerable and weak populations in danger of oppression. It was created to defend the priveledges and power of the propertied class and of smaller, but wealthier, States. At least, that's what the vaunted Founders said. Perhaps they were lying.

While the dictionary you cite provides a useful definition as colloquially used in present day, it is not the technical definition of democracy, certainly not one which would be recognisable to the founders. Democracy was, in fact, and remains power wielded directly by "the people" as a sovereign, unified entity on an egalitarian basis.

It was this egalitarianism which the founders attempted to stymie by means of the Senate, amongst other things (same deal in Canada, basically.) Many republics at the time of the Revolution, and during the preceeding centuries, were pointedly not democratic, or at least, had the democracy devolve to tyranny. Notable for the founders would have been the Commonwealth of England under Cromwell, Britain's only and mercifly brief flirtation with a Republic. The only other remotely large scale ones were the Dutch Republic (which could sometimes be sort of democratic, but had more of a corporatist structure than anythin. America essentially copied the Dutch federal system in a whole number of ways, from the triparate federal legislative process w executive to the division into States) and the Aristocratic Republics, especially Venice.

The Senate was supposed to be encompass the American aristocracy. And, indeed, it does its job very well to this day.

@KimmieA

Calling Public Healthcare a species of "groupthink" is disingenuous at best. Is it groupthink to adopt a policy which has, in every country which has adopted it, proven considerably better than the private system it replaced, and thus been adopted by every first-world country except for the United States? Perhaps. Others would call it prudent planning based on an overwhelming mountain of empirical evidence and careful consideration thereof.

Indeed, the comment above decrying the arrival of public healthcare on the basis that it undermines "American individualism" is emblematic of the biggest problem facing North American "conservativism" today: It is ideological to the point of groupthink, without realising its own ideology. The undermining of an abstract principle or formula is what is important; the concrete considerations of what is practical is of secondary importance. This is, I think, the anathema of traditional Commonwealth conservativism, and certainly rings the irony bell in its appearance next to C.S. Lewis.

"That Hideous Strength," (from the "Silent Planet" trilogy by C.S. Lewis, a masterpiece of 20th century social conservativism) beautifully gets to the problem of ideology in society. Belief that things will be set right if we adopt the "right sort of person" to positions of influence, where actual capabilities, expertise or wisdom is irrelevent to rightthink is, in fact, the conceit and propaganda of Satan (Lewis' formula, not mine originally.) The dominance of figures such as Sarah Palin, among so many others, on the American right, gratis her ideological cred and her studied contempt for hard won expertise, study and learning echoes the ethics of The Institute, the abstracted nemisis of Lewis, a conservative of an older ilk than lives in America today. I also think you'll find that Lewis, with his rabid loathing of industrial expansionism, mistrust of the corporate-government nexus and corporations generally and avid conviction that the "expansion of civilization, freedom etc" was, in fact, a pretense even post-WWII for the more pernicious brand of imperialism is a poor candidate for spokesman for modern American conservativism. At least, that's what I gather from his "Silent Planet" trilogy.

As it happens, Lewis is one of my Conservative heros. To me, he represents the sort of broad-minded and careful conservativism that's been lost throughout North America. He was high-church CofE, through and through, and had little time for the rash-minded ideology of American conservativism today. To get a better idea of what his brand of conservativism means, if anyone is allergic to books, Tolkien's Ents were based on Lewis (Lewis and Tolkien were famous friends. Lewis wrote the Silent Planet trilogy as a sort of Christian science fiction, and they are the adventures of Tolkien in space battling Satan. So awesome.)
Krong writes: Code: Select all
transubstantiate(Bread b) {
Person p = getJesusPersonInstance();
p.RenderProperties = b.RenderProperties;
free(b);
}


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests