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  1. #71
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    1. Do away with no-fault divorces. - Nope


    2. Strengthen labor unions [the need for multiple incomes adds stress to marriages]. - I don't know if strengthening the unions will do anything but strengthen the unions. Why will that necessarily do anything for the Millions of laborers who aren't unionized?

    3. Mandating a year of national or military service [re-teaching the ethic of duty]. - terrible idea. Could possibly bring revolution if used in anything but an EXTREME emergency

    4. Use public funds to bring jobs back to old industrial towns [cut back on transient communities] - Like OMT said. What would they do?

    5. Support same-sex marriage. [Marriage is a social stabilizer] - it doesn't need to be supported to a higher position than regular marriage, as long as they are equal.

    6. Increase the minimum wage. [money issues are the number one cause of divorce] - as long as baby steps are taken.

    7. Teach character and civic values in school [hopefully encouraging participation in basic institutions, whether religious, civic, or community-oriented] - cult of personality.

    8. Stiffer prison sentences for violent offenders [crime kills neighborhoods] - no criminal penalties for (most) drug offenses.

    9. Strict banking and wall street regulations [greed hurts families and communities] - the regulations need to be strict enough to have teeth, but not so strict that they strangle innovation.

    10. Public support of faith-based organizations [they feed the hungry and house the poor effectively] - absolutely not. Never.

    11. Medicare for all. [medical catastrophes lead to bankruptcy; bankruptcy hurts families.] - All long as the money for comes from defunding the military and not out of my pocket.

    12. Stricter gun control laws [see #8] - make it harder to qualify to get a gun. But once you've passed that test, gun control really can't do anything to make intentional gun deaths go down.

  2. #72
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    It's perceived because there's no way to establish an objective standard. It's an entirely subjective judgment based on personal standards that at least 30% of the population vehemently disagrees with. Yet, there is an air of superior knowledge that goes along with this view, like it's somehow the only way to run a society (even though the socially conservative ideal itself is an evolution of some past societal set up).
    You say it's entirely subjective. I'm not a relativist. It is possible to be both a thoughtful person and also to defer to common sense on some basic objective standards. Being thoughtful doesn't mean you have to consider the exception at the expense of the rule. Unless you are advocating anarchy, some shared set of societal guidelines are required. If you accept that, then it's just a matter of working out the balance between Social Responsibility and Individual Expression.

    Wasn't the American Dream acting out of desire? Sure, the desire might be more rooted in familial ties, but it still is a desire to better one's situation. That aspect of society in this country hasn't changed one bit.
    If you break it down to that level of abstraction, then yeah. But it's kind of using the logic of Ayn Rand: everything traces back to selfishness; no other motives exist. I just don't buy it.

    My opinion is similar, if not exactly the same as the latter. It's important to remember that the aggregate actors are essentially the same over the course of decades. People are not of fundamentally different dispositions, rather, they are influenced by different events. It's here that I find the fundamental flaw in social conservatism: how do you establish the mindsets required for a societal character of a past time when the events that influenced that character have long passed from relevance or memory?
    Trying to answer that question was the main reason I opened this topic for discussion in the first place. I first of all wanted an idea of whether people thought the changes were positive or negative, and then - for the people who agree with me that they're negative - throw out a few ideas on possible remedies. Yeah, trying to re-create a sense of community in a world where that hasn't been as necessary as it once was is an uphill battle. That doesn't mean we should do nothing, or even pretend that all of those changes are signs of progress. I listed some of my ideas in the post on potential remedies - you're welcome to throw out some of your own ideas if you disagree with them.

    How do you have that sort of an era without the devastating deprivation of the Great Depression forcing people to become closer to one another, not out of desire, but out of sheer survival necessity? For fifteen years, the world shuddered to its foundations as it faced the twin evils of utter poverty and mass murder the likes of which we've never seen since. Is it any wonder people preferred things be pleasant, as they had just experienced enough tragedy for several lifetimes?

    The world we live in today is nothing like that.
    Chicken or egg. Maybe we only made it through that period of history because that generation had different priorities and were naturally able to pull together when necessary.

    I promise you, the societal evils affecting the average American 100 years ago far overwhelmed anything we face today. Families routinely dissolved as people traveled the country for work. The rates of alcoholism were such that temperance was seen as a severe, but necessary solution. Civil War morphine junkie veterans still lined the streets. Children were effectively ripped from their parents as their labor was required to make sure everyone had something to eat. Life expectancy was a joke - you were expected to die before 45 of tuberculosis. The food issues have been covered extensively by others. Street gangs roamed around the major cities wreaking havoc, only to be suppressed by either political machines or the Mob. If you tried to form a union to improve the lot of your family, you'd be sure to have a Pinkerton down your neck either roughing up your loved ones or making sure you're no longer a problem for those who hired the agency. And this is if you were considered to be "white" by today's standards.
    Exactly. The problems of the turn-of-the-century were so severe that a new generation fought to remedy them. The entire progressive era (and the populist era that set the stage) was a reaction to those social ills. The progressives built communities; they recognized that families were most likely to dissolve among the wealthiest and most impoverished members of society, so they fought for changes to narrow the gap between rich and poor. They supported labor unions as a way to build the middle class. Where the progressives left off, the New Deal picked up, and we ended up with a generation that thought of The Other at least as much as they considered The Self. Obviously, mid-century America reaped the benefits of that mindset. Then the New Left came along and turned the entire history of progressive change on its head: all individual rights and liberties took precedence over community good. But I don't see a generational response to that as there was with the populists and progressives 100 years ago.

    I promise you, while things are certainly no picnic nowadays, they are in no way close to those experienced just a scant 100 years ago, never mind the 1920s and Depression years. Much like you mentioned earlier, we've just started to pay attention to previously ignored groups.
    How bad should things get before we actually start paying attention to the problems?

    Very true, however, resistance to social change, particularly through the use of force, does not exactly have a good track record.
    I'm not the best person to go to for agreement on this. I've always found the "scientific" bigotry of Social Darwinism much more dangerous than the blatant ignorance of open racists, for example. Far from resisting social change, the social darwinists and eugenics theorists argued that they'd unlocked the secret to a better tomorrow. I would argue AT LEAST as many lives have been lost in the name of "progress" than in the name of resistance to social change. That said, far too many lives have been lost to either motivation.

    Let me ask you - if you get a "feeling" that things are going to hell in a handbasket, and this feeling corresponds with a known psychological bias of humans, why is it more appropriate to go with the "feeling" rather than try to understand fully what's going on? You've said it yourself - your desire for a more communitarian society is based on a personal preference (one I happen to share). However, it's still just a personal preference - for every variable which supports your ideal of a better society, there's at least another which runs counter to someone else's ideal. What gives you the authority to determine that your set of ideals is correct, if the only justification is "well, it was like that, once"?
    Having a personal preference doesn't mean I don't "fully understand what's going on." I'd like to think I have considered the pros and cons of each and then come down on one side over the other. The only alternative to reaching a conclusion is basically paralysis: because there are arguments to be made on both sides, I'm better off saying both arguments are of equal merit? That doesn't make sense to me. What makes me the authority to determine the "correct" set of ideals? Nothing, that's why it's an opinion. But opinions shape society. That's why we have elections and governments that are capable of making laws based on those opinions. You might have a "live and let live" opinion that removes the individual from any social context. Fine - what gives you the authority to believe that that set of ideals is superior?

  3. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    If you sift through the laundry list of issues, at its heart social conservatism makes the following comparisons between past and present:

    1. Families are less stable than they used to be.
    2. Communities are more transient.
    3. Social mores regarding behavior have deteriorated.
    4. There is less deference to previous generations or their values.
    5. Community, national, religious institutions have become less relevant.

    On the facts, it's tough to argue the truth of those points (easy to measure stats like divorce rate, crime rate, average number of job/career changes, church membership, etc... and compare it to the same statistics from, say, 1945.)

    So, here's what I want to open up to the board for debate: setting aside the issues the social conservatives back today (same-sex marriage chief among them), are those five changes positive, negative, or neutral?
    What's the difference between social conservatism and other sorts? I read a "paleo-conservative" once because they dealt with themes the same as one of my favourite socialist psychologists, Eric Fromm, all conservatisms seem the same to me.

  4. #74
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    What's the difference between social conservatism and other sorts? I read a "paleo-conservative" once because they dealt with themes the same as one of my favourite socialist psychologists, Eric Fromm, all conservatisms seem the same to me.
    I can only speak for the context in which I used "social conservative."

    The main difference that I see is the role of government and the desired outcomes. Paleocons generally battle back and forth with neocons in terms of isolationism vs. The Freedom Doctrine. But both paleocons and neocons go at it from the political Right. Domestically, Paleocons have always advocated limited government - at least in terms of economic policy; Neocons are more likely to be supply siders - wanting to actively use government to achieve conservative ends. Again, both approach it from the political Right.

    My argument is that "social conservatism" is (or should be) at the heart of political liberalism. Duty to country, community, family, shared sacrifice, participation in civic life, restraint from excess... these are the hallmarks of the New Deal.

  5. #75
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    Interesting, so paleocons and neocons are fiscally similar, its funny because the one I'm familiar with Chris Lasch, didnt appear too friendly toward free market capitalism. I dont understand yet what makes conservatism "neo", objectively I think it is the foreign policy, although in my understanding of politics being "neo" and conservative is oxymoronic.

    Is political liberalism the same as neo-liberalism or neo-classical economic liberalism? I do believe that many traditions upon which any kind of social order, including a free market capitalist one, are premised are undermined by the normative consequences of free market capitalism.

    It makes perfect sense that without some degree of traditionalism to countermand the norms generated by consumerism that same consumerism would become impossible.

    I place a great deal of importance upon many of the norms and tradition you mention, although I am avowedly socialist, I dont support central planning or command economies, and believe that the norms, values and expectations generated by the marketplace and unconsciously transfered to just about every other relationship have a corrosive, anti-social effect.

  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Interesting, so paleocons and neocons are fiscally similar, its funny because the one I'm familiar with Chris Lasch, didnt appear too friendly toward free market capitalism. I dont understand yet what makes conservatism "neo", objectively I think it is the foreign policy, although in my understanding of politics being "neo" and conservative is oxymoronic.

    Is political liberalism the same as neo-liberalism or neo-classical economic liberalism? I do believe that many traditions upon which any kind of social order, including a free market capitalist one, are premised are undermined by the normative consequences of free market capitalism.

    It makes perfect sense that without some degree of traditionalism to countermand the norms generated by consumerism that same consumerism would become impossible.

    I place a great deal of importance upon many of the norms and tradition you mention, although I am avowedly socialist, I dont support central planning or command economies, and believe that the norms, values and expectations generated by the marketplace and unconsciously transfered to just about every other relationship have a corrosive, anti-social effect.
    Actually, there is an uneasy relationship with free market capitalism between both paleoconservatism and neoconservatism. Paleos generally support capitalism, but they also believe that the market should support the traditional social structures of the society. A hundred years ago, paleocons would have been very concerned about industrializing the rural South, for instance. Neoconservatism, meanwhile, emerged out of the anti-communist left of the mid-20th Century. Neocons are willing to tolerate (and even to expand) the welfare state as long as the general tenets of Western-style liberal democracy is promoted at all times (up to and including imposition of it upon belligerent foreign nations).
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  7. #77
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Interesting, so paleocons and neocons are fiscally similar, its funny because the one I'm familiar with Chris Lasch, didnt appear too friendly toward free market capitalism. I dont understand yet what makes conservatism "neo", objectively I think it is the foreign policy, although in my understanding of politics being "neo" and conservative is oxymoronic.

    Is political liberalism the same as neo-liberalism or neo-classical economic liberalism? I do believe that many traditions upon which any kind of social order, including a free market capitalist one, are premised are undermined by the normative consequences of free market capitalism.

    It makes perfect sense that without some degree of traditionalism to countermand the norms generated by consumerism that same consumerism would become impossible.

    I place a great deal of importance upon many of the norms and tradition you mention, although I am avowedly socialist, I dont support central planning or command economies, and believe that the norms, values and expectations generated by the marketplace and unconsciously transfered to just about every other relationship have a corrosive, anti-social effect.
    I tend to agree with Lasch quite a bit, although I never really considered him a paleocon in practice, or certainly not a typical one. If he is your reference point for paleoconservatism, than I have no problem saying that my argument is a paleoconservative argument.

  8. #78
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    At first I believed Lasch as a socialist like Eric Fromm, it was looking for books similar in perspective to Fromm's that I discovered Lasch, it wasnt until I searched his books online that I discovered he was paleoconservative and I didnt know what that was. He doesnt seem similar to Goldwater or others who strike me as much more pro-market capitalism.

    I wouldnt ever have thought of neo-cons as favourable to welfare statism, in my experience the neo- means post-liberal/hippy/commie or formerly left wing but now conservative, in the UK I consider Blair the archetype. Despite beng leader of the labour party he would have and wanted to dismantle the welfare state as quickly or quicker than Thatcher.

  9. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    At first I believed Lasch as a socialist like Eric Fromm, it was looking for books similar in perspective to Fromm's that I discovered Lasch, it wasnt until I searched his books online that I discovered he was paleoconservative and I didnt know what that was. He doesnt seem similar to Goldwater or others who strike me as much more pro-market capitalism.

    I wouldnt ever have thought of neo-cons as favourable to welfare statism, in my experience the neo- means post-liberal/hippy/commie or formerly left wing but now conservative, in the UK I consider Blair the archetype. Despite beng leader of the labour party he would have and wanted to dismantle the welfare state as quickly or quicker than Thatcher.
    They are more TOLERANT of welfare statism. They certainly aren't free-market ideologues. In practice, neocons tend to be pro-tax cuts, but rather soft on government spending (and very pro-military spending).
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #80
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    At first I believed Lasch as a socialist like Eric Fromm, it was looking for books similar in perspective to Fromm's that I discovered Lasch, it wasnt until I searched his books online that I discovered he was paleoconservative and I didnt know what that was. He doesnt seem similar to Goldwater or others who strike me as much more pro-market capitalism.

    I wouldnt ever have thought of neo-cons as favourable to welfare statism, in my experience the neo- means post-liberal/hippy/commie or formerly left wing but now conservative, in the UK I consider Blair the archetype. Despite beng leader of the labour party he would have and wanted to dismantle the welfare state as quickly or quicker than Thatcher.
    Yeah, Blair would probably be considered neoliberal by US standards, which I guess really isn't all that far off from neoconservatism, but with less whiplash (neoliberals aren't often former communists, nor are they current Rightists).

    In US terms, I generally associate paleocons with William F. Buckley or Pat Buchanan; neocons with Irving and William Kristol or David Horowitz; and neoliberalism with Al From and Bill Clinton (does that fit with Blair?). Problem is that the only backlash against neoliberalism on the Left is from the New Left, or its heirs. Yeah, there are a handful of people who advocate a liberal return to community - Etzioni, Jim Wallis (who comes at it from a Christian perspective), Thomas Frank, Robert Putnam, Amy Sullivan, Michael Kazin (he writes a lot of Populist history) etc... but they are few and far between.

    Did Blair change UK politics in the same (unfortunate) way Clinton did here, or is he considered a blip on the radar of Labour politics?

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