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  1. #51
    Sniffles
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    @Lark, are you referring to this thread?

  2. #52
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Did you create this?

    Its really very good, although it reminds me of another writer, the one which said that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    Thanks! I'll take a comparison to Lord Acton any day . I really was just listing the things off the top of my head that could constitute universally "conservative" principles. The interesting thing about them is that they're essentially unobjectionable to the vast majority of the population. The broad based opposition to certain conservative movements often has less to do with their conservatism then it does their personnel, or other, more radical beliefs.

    If this thread has illustrated anything for me its that DB isnt sure what conservatism is, he was on surer footing when consider what he was against, ie liberalism, which is pretty much the case for most right wing Americans I've known.
    Well, part of that is simply because "conservatism" in the US today isn't so much a coherent movement as it is a reaction against hegemonic mass consumer culture, which we call "liberalism." The argument doesn't center on the preservation of social institutions, and actually seeks the dismantling of a good many of them.

    Citing Kirk one moment, who is a writer I admire too albeit I think he was seriously, seriously in error to align himself with free market capitalism, but then later suggesting that abortion and same sex marriage are fine doesnt really display much in the way of real consistency.
    Well, that seems understandable to me, but only because of a couple of massive social changes that have affected our generation. The rationalization of reproduction and genetics have made the process seem less "divine," and the real threat of resource constraints makes it so that in terms of harm to others, abortion can seem like the less immoral choice. Furthermore, along with this, the ease of divorce in the modern era has nearly entirely obliterated the legitimacy of marriage as a social institution, and restricting it to only heterosexual couples seems needlessly arbitrary.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    @Lark, are you referring to this thread?
    Yeah, that's the one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    Without reading too much of Kirk on this issue I think it's because they annoyed him on an academic and philosophical level. I'm more politically minded so I see their usefulness in pushing forward individual policies we agree on. Though it's hard to carry on a political conversation with a libertarian without it getting to a philosophical area I'm not comfortable with. Even Rand Paul makes remarks at times that make me cringe and he's my second favorite senator.

    I do. I second Lark's motion that you contribute more.
    Well I do believe there are a lot of similar goals between conservatives and libertarians, particularly in the strictest, pragmatic sense but libertarians ARE the militant tendency of the right wing, they are motivated by ideology, and a totalising ideology, in a sense which mainstream conservatives are not or may not be, so that kind of thing is only to be expected.

    I see this as all a deep and long term bit of social engineering by the right wing, as youths the privileged and even under privileged can be libertarians, the role traditionally reserved for the left wing or radicals of a single issue variety having been effectively usurped from them, and when they grow up they can go to the same country clubs as their folks and become regular GOP. Its not been a conspiracy or anything and there's no "wizard" behind the curtain but its not entirely accident or coincidence.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Thanks! I'll take a comparison to Lord Acton any day . I really was just listing the things off the top of my head that could constitute universally "conservative" principles. The interesting thing about them is that they're essentially unobjectionable to the vast majority of the population. The broad based opposition to certain conservative movements often has less to do with their conservatism then it does their personnel, or other, more radical beliefs.
    My objection to conservatism is wholly to do with its degeneration into a defence of privilege or elites, not in the traditional sense as either are institutions or reflect natural tendencies either.

    In the UK the policies have been really crudely rigged to suit a small elite of Oxford and Cambridge graduates, young financial speculators in about a square mile in the city of london. Its pretty disgusting how, when required to evidence how they are not just fighting a class war against working classes they have singled out the elderly, asset "rich", ie too old to work but with an estate they have built up which has been inherited as a family legacy, as a target. That is a population which was once their constituency and the ease with which people betray their constituencies in politics has been the almost sole criteria by which I judge politicians and political parties at least since 1997.

    Well, part of that is simply because "conservatism" in the US today isn't so much a coherent movement as it is a reaction against hegemonic mass consumer culture, which we call "liberalism." The argument doesn't center on the preservation of social institutions, and actually seeks the dismantling of a good many of them.
    Could you elaborate on the bolded point? I'm interested in what this means, the idea of a reaction against hegemonic mass consumer culture interests me too, surely that is the traditional ground of the left? Or ought to be? I have seen trends globally which could reflect this but it is general very nuanced and culturally specific, it looks very different in China to Russia to the US.

    Well, that seems understandable to me, but only because of a couple of massive social changes that have affected our generation. The rationalization of reproduction and genetics have made the process seem less "divine," and the real threat of resource constraints makes it so that in terms of harm to others, abortion can seem like the less immoral choice. Furthermore, along with this, the ease of divorce in the modern era has nearly entirely obliterated the legitimacy of marriage as a social institution, and restricting it to only heterosexual couples seems needlessly arbitrary.
    Hmm, so materialism, as opposed to the "divine", is a harbringer for these things? I would not disagree with that, the sacred has perished with consequence.

    Although I think the ease with which the views you express here are felt indicates something about conservatism, or rather the lack of depth, it could be typical of a lot of ideologies or perhaps just people and culture now.

    I highlighted the line in your first paragraph because this is something which I find about conservatism, it is unobjectionable properly understood but I also think that this characteristic can be a weakness aswell as a strength because if it is common sense then I dont believe that any political tendency really can lay claim to it, if it is sociology, it is sociology and not politics, if you know what I mean?

    Although lately I've been reading a lot of older socialist sources Jean Jaures (spelling) for instance and I've discovered some pretty cogent and interesting arguments contra conservatism and the early, early socialists seem to have seem conservatives and not liberals or populists as their opposition. Although those are sophisticated arguments and I dont believe even a lot of the thinking conservatives these days have the sophistication of their predecessors or predecessors opposition.

  6. #56
    Alexander the Terrible yenom's Avatar
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    Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription. Conservatives sense that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see farther than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time. Therefore conservatives very often emphasize the importance of prescription—that is, of things established by immemorial usage, so that the mind of man runneth not to the contrary. There exist rights of which the chief sanction is their antiquity—including rights to property, often. Similarly, our morals are prescriptive in great part. Conservatives argue that we are unlikely, we moderns, to make any brave new discoveries in morals or politics or taste. It is perilous to weigh every passing issue on the basis of private judgment and private rationality. The individual is foolish, but the species is wise, Burke declared. In politics we do well to abide by precedent and precept and even prejudice, for the great mysterious incorporation of the human race has acquired a prescriptive wisdom far greater than any man’s petty private rationality.
    The fear of poverty turns people into slaves of money.

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  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    My objection to conservatism is wholly to do with its degeneration into a defence of privilege or elites, not in the traditional sense as either are institutions or reflect natural tendencies either.

    In the UK the policies have been really crudely rigged to suit a small elite of Oxford and Cambridge graduates, young financial speculators in about a square mile in the city of london. Its pretty disgusting how, when required to evidence how they are not just fighting a class war against working classes they have singled out the elderly, asset "rich", ie too old to work but with an estate they have built up which has been inherited as a family legacy, as a target. That is a population which was once their constituency and the ease with which people betray their constituencies in politics has been the almost sole criteria by which I judge politicians and political parties at least since 1997.
    That's pretty much how it's going in the US these days, too, with the elite Ivies taking the place of Cambridge and Oxford. The interesting thing, though, is that this is primarily a pattern that the Democrats promote, in the name of "meritocracy." I'll elaborate when talking about hegemonic mass culture.

    Could you elaborate on the bolded point? I'm interested in what this means, the idea of a reaction against hegemonic mass consumer culture interests me too, surely that is the traditional ground of the left? Or ought to be? I have seen trends globally which could reflect this but it is general very nuanced and culturally specific, it looks very different in China to Russia to the US.
    You're right, that by traditional, European standards, this reaction would be primarily leftist in orientation. However, this isn't the case in the United States for several reasons, notably that the North won the Civil War, and the considerable cultural importance placed on the assimilation of immigrant populations from 1865-1914. The broadest resistance to the hegemonic "Yankee huckster" ethic has always originated from the former Confederate states of the South. However, this resistance has also been essentially racist, while motivated by more of a sense of vengeance than moral concern (even as it is couched in that language). Sharing's only for closely trusted people; the default stance is to defend what you have against outsiders, who almost certainly have designs on any wealth one might have (especially if they're of another race).

    As such, there will be little regard for demand-side economic stimulus, or anything else that is redistributive in nature. It just provides a way for "those people" to buy "luxuries that they don't need" (i.e. mass-produced products), and even worse so if taxes go up as a result.

    It is hard for the left to catch on down South, since elimination of class disadvantage is a core principle, which sounds a lot like what the North pushed on the region during Reconstruction. Other reasons aren't entirely irrational, though; there's an understanding that the leveling of class distinctions would create greater labor competition in a region that already had a historical glut of unskilled workers. Of course, the thought goes, that's exactly what the penny-pinchers up in NYC want to see happen. It wasn't entirely acceptable until Sam Walton gave a Southern spin to that merciless Yankee business attitude.

    Of course, the Southern form of Calvinism plays a huge part, as well. There is a genuine belief in the total depravity of humans, and commensurate with this is the understanding that people become politicians primarily to enrich themselves at the public's expense. It's absurd and quite possibly dangerous to think that secular government could improve the state of society through policy, from this perspective. Within this belief system, humans cannot work to lessen their utter sinfulness, and doing so denies the utter exclusivity of divine grace as the means of salvation, and as such is vanity.

    On a broader scale, mass culture was the primary means of assimilating immigrants into US culture, and still remains so. Consequently, the very idea of progress is intimately tied to growth in personal consumption rates. It's hard to rebel against an entire economic structure if you've been taught all your life that you're doing "OK" as long as you buy more stuff this year than you did last year. To forgo the purchase of too many purchases is essentially un-American. So, the left has problems when it gets in the way of more stuff flowing to consumers faster, and more cheaply.

    Hmm, so materialism, as opposed to the "divine", is a harbringer for these things? I would not disagree with that, the sacred has perished with consequence.

    Although I think the ease with which the views you express here are felt indicates something about conservatism, or rather the lack of depth, it could be typical of a lot of ideologies or perhaps just people and culture now.
    Once again, I think this has a lot to do with mass culture, and the tendency to reduce any moral dilemma to a question of consumer choice, and/or utilitarianism. It's the fundamental individualism of that mass culture.

    I highlighted the line in your first paragraph because this is something which I find about conservatism, it is unobjectionable properly understood but I also think that this characteristic can be a weakness aswell as a strength because if it is common sense then I dont believe that any political tendency really can lay claim to it, if it is sociology, it is sociology and not politics, if you know what I mean?
    Yes. At the same time, politics is always about the justification of satisfying one's personal interests at the expense of another as an essentially moral choice.

    Although lately I've been reading a lot of older socialist sources Jean Jaures (spelling) for instance and I've discovered some pretty cogent and interesting arguments contra conservatism and the early, early socialists seem to have seem conservatives and not liberals or populists as their opposition. Although those are sophisticated arguments and I dont believe even a lot of the thinking conservatives these days have the sophistication of their predecessors or predecessors opposition.
    Care to elaborate?

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by yenom View Post
    There's a mix of good satire and bad politics doing the rounds you know, I've often reflected on how in the UK at least too many people take satirists at their word, often then investing in pretty radical no hopers at election time, but cant work up enough interest in politicians.

    This week the media has been making a lot of the fact that while he could be the next PM people in the street cant pick Ed Milliband out of a line up or dont realise if they just walked past him. Its got to say something doesnt it?

    Anyway, by the standard of what that guy was saying about the founding fathers no one, not liberals, not conservatives, certainly not contemporary elites of the same extraction as the founding fathers (they were not common people, not in the least) measure up at all. So while I like anyone making fun of the tea party and the ilk, especially anyone putting out such a poorly thought out piece of crap as that picture of Jesus with the constitution, there's a wider point to be made about contemporary society versus that of years ago. People are less accomplished. Way less accomplished.

    Since I was about twenty twenty one I've had this in mind and tried consciously to learn all I can, I'm not even on the distant approach to anything like that sort of accomplishment. Although I probably know more about the crap which circulates in academia and the intelligentsia. And it really is crap.

  9. #59
    Alexander the Terrible yenom's Avatar
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    I don't know this thread is talking about conservatives in america or conservatives in general, as i don't know much about american politics and the former.

    The conservative worldview is generally that the past is better, and that we should look back to glories of the past for guidance. The present is a degeneration from the past, and that we should look back to past values to reinvigorate our society. Conservatives are generally enemies of liberals, who seek change and a break away from the past. In short, Conservatives are generally resistant to change, and believe the past is always better.

    In the long term, conservatives generally will lose, because society is progressive and constantly moving forward, and the past cannot provide guidance and solutions to the problems we are suffering in the present and the near future.
    The fear of poverty turns people into slaves of money.

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    Conquer your inner demons first before you conquer the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    That's pretty much how it's going in the US these days, too, with the elite Ivies taking the place of Cambridge and Oxford. The interesting thing, though, is that this is primarily a pattern that the Democrats promote, in the name of "meritocracy." I'll elaborate when talking about hegemonic mass culture.
    Its been a bigger deal in the UK as the eduaction system was not like the US, after the war not only was tuition free but you had a living expenses grant and were entitled to tax funded housing or benefits for housing costs, unemployment benefit or other benefits while you studied, year on year those were cut away and no one noticed much because while it was all open and paid for culturally a lot of working people did not aspire to university or go.

    So the last labour government reformed higher education, appeared to make it as it is in the US, tuition fees shouldered by students, no grants what so ever. They did introduce a new benefit, based upon a trust which would mature at the age of eighteen, providing money to all student age persons whether they go to uni or not, this would mean that annually cash injections would come into the economy, money would circulate, people who wanted to could go to uni at tax payer expense as they always had, people who didnt could invest the money in start ups or just buy things and it would also provide incentives for banks managing trusts to compete or stabilise trading. It was a great piece of reform but little understood by the public and attacked by conservatives as another squanderous benefit it was struck down at a single blow and the money given to banks as bail out.

    In addition conservatives deregulated tuition fees and universities can charge upwards of £9000 for studies now, it really has become an exercise in the most moneyed securing the future of their offspring with their money and there's no merit involved at all, the international character of sales in education has been central to it all and the wish of some elite UK universities to attract the nouveau rich of the world, ie The Chinese, but its been attacked, I think rightly, as reducing education to a kind of academic theme park. Would you believe that the sales and success of Harry Potter factors into this too? Crazy huh?

    It's hard to rebel against an entire economic structure if you've been taught all your life that you're doing "OK" as long as you buy more stuff this year than you did last year. To forgo the purchase of too many purchases is essentially un-American. So, the left has problems when it gets in the way of more stuff flowing to consumers faster, and more cheaply.
    What you said about the south vs. the north was interesting there but I've got to say I'm a bit lost, I had read your original points as suggesting that conservatism was attacking not affirming the consumerism ethos.

    Once again, I think this has a lot to do with mass culture, and the tendency to reduce any moral dilemma to a question of consumer choice, and/or utilitarianism. It's the fundamental individualism of that mass culture.
    I would agree with that, also that it is monsterous and I would expect a proper conservative, or even just a proper human being, to object to it.


    Care to elaborate?
    I'll think about it, not sure I want to trouble myself to be honest though.

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