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Politics
See other Politics Articles

Title: Where Have All the Conservatives Gone?
Source: The American Conservative
URL Source: http://amconmag.com/2006/2006_04_24/article1.html
Published: Apr 24, 2006
Author: W. James Antle III
Post Date: 2006-04-21 03:38:19 by gargantuton
176 Comments

April 24, 2006 Issue

Copyright © 2006 The American Conservative

Where Have All the Conservatives Gone?

The Republican Party’s top contenders for 2008 aren’t paleoconservatives—or any other kind.

By W. James Antle III

Come 2008, who will succeed George W. Bush at the helm of a troubled Republican Party? Though the next presidential race is far off, the question is already on conservatives’ minds.

The last few months haven’t been kind to Republican operatives who assumed President Bush’s slide in popularity would be temporary. Instead, his approval ratings have settled below 40 percent, averaging 38 percent over the last four Gallup polls, and the president appears determined to drag the rest of his party down with him. Bush remains committed to an increasingly unpopular stay-the-course position on Iraq and is actively pushing amnesty for illegal immigrants in defiance of the GOP base.

So far the grassroots have been generally reluctant to defy Bush in return. But public discontent with the White House’s immigration and foreign-policy initiatives could create as many opportunities for traditional conservatives as Democrats, something Bush Republicans are beginning to sense. The president has begun sprinkling his speeches with denunciations of “isolationism.” Fred Barnes declared, in the pages of The Weekly Standard no less, “It’s a paleo moment in America.”

If so, it’s a moment the leading contenders for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination seem content to let pass. The field is dominated by candidates who support the Bush line on immigration and Iraq or are inclined to go even further. In a March Fox News/ Opinion Dynamics poll, the top three Republican hopefuls were former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani at 29 percent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at 22 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich drawing 8 percent. Not a paleoconservative among them.

The sole Iraq skeptic, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), is at the bottom of the pack with just 1 percent. The Fox poll is no outlier. Giuliani and McCain lead in most surveys—in November, Rasmussen Reports had Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joining them in the top tier—while mavericks like Hagel languish in the low single digits.

Rice isn’t sounding like someone who plans to be a candidate in 2008, and Gingrich is running on the fumes of 1994 nostalgia. Giuliani and McCain are the beneficiaries of near-universal name recognition and fawning press coverage. But few of the dark horses offer paleos—or the growing majority of Americans who disapprove of Bush’s handling of Iraq and immigration—much reason for optimism. Unless something changes dramatically over the next year and a half, rather than taking the opportunity to repudiate the current president’s mistakes, Republicans are poised to nominate someone who favors repeating them.

If something does change, it will likely be due to one of two potential candidates. While foreign-policy realists dream of Hagel breaking out of his asterisk status, many immigration realists pin their hopes on Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.). Tancredo has graduated from House backbencher to the leader of an effective congressional immigration-reform faction. In December, he and his allies fashioned a tough enforcement-only border-security bill that passed the House. Tancredo has been touring the country as the Senate prepares to undo his handiwork.

Tancredo is realistic about his presidential chances. He tells reporters that he would prefer to see a first-tier candidate take up the immigration issue—“someone taller and with better hair”—but is considering a run if no one obliges. “Soon we may see some of the princes in waiting jockeying to become the Tancredo of the Senate,” predicts Will Adams, the congressman’s spokesman.

A Senate version of Tancredo would be a welcome addition to the field, given how inhospitable many leading Republicans have been to the real one. He was excluded from the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC), with organizers citing schedule and ballot space constraints and Tancredo’s office calling it “a clear snub from the leadership.” “Congressman Tancredo may have been kept off the stage,” says Adams. “But the immigration issue wasn’t off the stage.”

Hagel has also gotten a poor reception from Republican regulars. He garnered just 0.2 percent of the vote at the SRLC straw poll and is unpopular with conservative activists. Despite a solid lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 85 percent, he has been tagged with the GOP Right’s favorite epithet—RINO, or Republican in name only.

“If the choice were Hillary v. Hagel, I would be tempted to vote for Hillary, even apart from my ideologue’s desire to punish a bad Republican,” wrote National Review senior editor Richard Brookhiser on the magazine’s website. “This is a bogus choice, since Michael Jackson has as much chance of being the GOP nominee as Hagel.”

Conservative distaste for Hagel appears to have two causes. The first is that the Nebraska senator established himself as a reliable Bush critic before he developed a reputation as a Beltway conservative in his own right. James Dobson has accused Hagel of being coy about a constitutional amendment forbidding same-sex marriage. Supply-siders fault him for telling the Washington Post Style section that in a presidential debate he “couldn’t take that pledge” not to raise taxes. Without strong conservative credentials of his own, observers see his differences with Bush as a liability among Republican primary voters.

Hagel’s second problem is that he is perceived as being too close to McCain. While the two senators are far apart on foreign policy—Hagel is known for prudent internationalism while McCain outdoes Bush in go-it-alone interventionism—the Nebraskan was one of the few senators to endorse McCain in 2000. Lumped together with his Vietnam service and disputes with Bush, the McCain clone label has stuck. George Neumayr, in a cover story for The American Spectator, mocked him as “Chuck McHagel,” others prefer to taunt him as “the poor man’s McCain.”

Republican consultant Patrick Hynes, an expert on evangelical voting patterns, sees several reasons the 2008 field will probably remain a paleo-free zone. “Paleoconservatives are not organized politically and there are no political consequences for defying them,” he says. “They are absolutely right that their views on foreign policy have a long conservative pedigree, but most voters don’t really care who is the purest in their political tradition.”

It is true that adherents of the older strains of conservatism amount to more of an intellectual movement than an electoral one. David Brooks memorably wrote that Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential bid—perhaps the most successful paleo political venture to date—was “as close to an intellectual’s campaign as we have seen in modern politics.” There is no real paleo presence among the party’s state chairmen and Rolodex-wielding fundraisers. But an ambitious conservative needn’t channel Russell Kirk to realize there is an incentive to move away from unpopular positions on salient issues. According to a Hotline poll, Iraq is the top reason Republicans disapprove of the president.

But the Rolodex men aren’t just weeding out dissenters on the war and immigration policy. This field is strikingly weak even on basic conservative staple issues. For the past 25 years, it would have been difficult for a candidate who was outspokenly pro-choice or in favor of gay rights to mount a serious bid for the Republican nomination; Giuliani is both. McCain’s record on social issues is more consistent with GOP norms, but he is distrusted by the Christian Right and despised by economic conservatives. His unsuccessful 2000 presidential campaign was widely seen as an attempt to relieve both factions of their control over the party.

This will provide some interesting insights into conservative priorities—whether they prefer war and guest workers or traditional values and small government. Some of the Right’s opinion-makers have already reconciled themselves to the front-runners’ moderation. In 2004, David Frum penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, the title of which pronounced Giuliani “pro-choice, but still the best choice.” The Weekly Standard promoted McCain when he took a more adversarial line against the GOP establishment; his saber-rattling on Iran and talk of committing still more troops to Iraq may make him William Kristol’s favorite a second time around.

Conservative outlets that are more interested in domestic policy have already started casting about for alternatives. The two favorites have been Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The smooth-talking, telegenic Romney has appeared on the covers of National Review, The Weekly Standard, and The American Spectator (the last with the headline “Romney Rocks!”). The football-throwing, NASCAR-loving Allen has graced the covers of NR and Newsmax.

Both men are odd choices for conservative adulation. Until he began seriously entertaining presidential ambitions, Romney was a Northeastern moderate Republican. As recently as his 2002 campaign for governor, he pledged to “protect the right of a woman to choose under the law of the country and the laws of the commonwealth.” “He has had as many positions on abortion as John Kerry has on Iraq,” says Hynes.

Allen is a more conventional red-state Republican, but despite his 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee, as governor of Virginia he was pro-choice in the first trimester and opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade. Factor in Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who is also tepid on social issues, and all the stronger cultural conservatives linger at the back of the pack alongside war critics and immigration reformers.

Hynes warns, “Republicans may be in real trouble with values voters.” Traditional conservatives are also in real trouble if, after eight years of Bush, the best the GOP can do is even worse.

April 24, 2006 Issue

FAIR USE NOTICE: The above may be copyrighted material, and the use of it on LibertyPost.org may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available on a non-profit basis for educational and discussion purposes only. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 USC § 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Post Comment


Top • Page Up • Full Thread • Page Down • Bottom/Latest

1. To: JohnGalt, Sheltonmac, (#0)

ping

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   03:40:26 ET  Reply   Trace


2. To: gargantuton (#1)

Where Have All the Conservatives Gone?

Up in flames ignited by the Global warming.

domer  posted on  2006-04-21   03:42:40 ET  Reply   Trace


3. To: JustUsealittleBrainPower, xUSMC0311, alan chapman, Original_Intent, fogarty, Idol Hanz, Rufus T Firefly, Milo Bloom (#0)

ping

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   03:43:57 ET  Reply   Trace


4. To: gargantuton (#0)

Ask Barry Goldwater.

My1964 Campaign Doll weeps miraculously.

WhiteSands  posted on  2006-04-21   03:47:30 ET  (1 image) Reply   Trace


5. To: gargantuton (#0)

This will provide some interesting insights into conservative priorities—whether they prefer war and guest workers or traditional values and small government.

False dichotomy – dead end !

byeltsin  posted on  2006-04-21   04:15:03 ET  Reply   Trace


6. To: gargantuton, *ELECTIONS 2008* (#0)

Well James, I disagree with just about everything you said except for this:

“Republicans may be in real trouble with values voters.” Traditional conservatives are also in real trouble if, after eight years of Bush, the best the GOP can do is even worse.”

You forgot to attribute McCain’s penchant for BIG GOVERMENT and CFR as one of the reasons he’s despised. Add his military insults and OOPS…there’s another large group he’s ticked off.

In fact, there’s much you forgot to mention. But then, look who you’re quoting..all NEO-CON ideologues. They’ve lost all credibility with most Conservatives, Paleo or not.

out damned spot  posted on  2006-04-21   04:17:33 ET  Reply   Trace


7. To: gargantuton (#0)

Depends in part on how one defines “conservative”.

RJCogburn  posted on  2006-04-21   07:28:05 ET  Reply   Trace


8. To: RJCogburn (#7)

Depends in part on how one defines “conservative”.

There are varieties of conservatism. Conservatism has many different types and should not be limited by particular “tenets.” In the end it’s a label.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   10:51:36 ET  Reply   Trace


9. To: out damned spot (#6)

You forgot to attribute McCain’s penchant for BIG GOVERMENT and CFR as one of the reasons he’s despised. Add his military insults and OOPS…there’s another large group he’s ticked off.

In fact, there’s much you forgot to mention. But then, look who you’re quoting..all NEO-CON ideologues. They’ve lost all credibility with most Conservatives, Paleo or not.

To whom do conservatives look in 08?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   10:56:05 ET  Reply   Trace


10. To: gargantuton, JohnGalt, Sheltonmac, domer, WhiteSands, byeltsin, out damned spot, RJCogburn (#1)

Depends in part on how one defines “conservative”.

This matches a discussion I was having with others in asking – ‘Is the conservative movement a failed ideology’.

Some aspects of Goldwater conservativisim work but looking at the record of Republican rule since Reagan it is clear that the full version of economic conservativisim in relation to govt spending does not hold any appeal to the people beyond playing lip service – i.e. say we are against spending while winking and spending like a drunken sailor and saying you want to shrink govt and in fact the GOP expands it.

The still viable part of the coalition – the values conservatives are grating and as they become more Talibanish they will fall. I like conservative social values – but these types want to force me to be a good Christian through the power of govt. That is not a good thing.

So I can no longer call myself a ‘conservative’ because I don’t see the ideology working – I call myself a constitutionalist in that the only ideology I have now is preserving the workings of the consititution as intended and having a limited opinion when it comes to social values and economic systems.

There is no longer a difference on 80% of the issues or more between GOP and Dems.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-21   10:57:39 ET  Reply   Trace


11. To: Destro (#10)

This matches a discussion I was having with others in asking – ‘Is the conservative movement a failed ideology’.

I would argue that conservatism isn’t an ideology.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   11:06:25 ET  Reply   Trace


12. To: Destro (#10)

Ten Conservative Principles by Russell Kirk

Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries. After some introductory remarks on this general theme, I will proceed to list ten such conservative principles.

Perhaps it would be well, most of the time, to use this word “conservative” as an adjective chiefly. For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.

The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.

In essence, the conservative person is simply one who finds the permanent things more pleasing than Chaos and Old Night. (Yet conservatives know, with Burke, that healthy “change is the means of our preservation.”) A people’s historic continuity of experience, says the conservative, offers a guide to policy far better than the abstract designs of coffee-house philosophers. But of course there is more to the conservative persuasion than this general attitude.

It is not possible to draw up a neat catalogue of conservatives’ convictions; nevertheless, I offer you, summarily, ten general principles; it seems safe to say that most conservatives would subscribe to most of these maxims. In various editions of my book The Conservative Mind I have listed certain canons of conservative thought—the list differing somewhat from edition to edition; in my anthology The Portable Conservative Reader I offer variations upon this theme. Now I present to you a summary of conservative assumptions differing somewhat from my canons in those two books of mine. In fine, the diversity of ways in which conservative views may find expression is itself proof that conservatism is no fixed ideology. What particular principles conservatives emphasize during any given time will vary with the circumstances and necessities of that era. The following ten articles of belief reflect the emphases of conservatives in America nowadays.

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order.

Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity.

Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription.

Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence.

Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety.

Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability.

Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked.

Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.

Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions.

Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.

I would argue that within this limitations a variety of different conservatisms may flourish, some more true to the “principles” than others, but all nonetheless conservatism.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   11:12:24 ET  Reply   Trace


13. To: gargantuton (#11)

I would argue that conservatism isn’t an ideology.

What exactly is it then?

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   11:12:55 ET  Reply   Trace


14. To: gargantuton (#12)

Who made Kirk the new Moses?

Destro  posted on  2006-04-21   11:15:15 ET  Reply   Trace


15. To: Lamont Cranston (#13)

I would argue that conservatism isn’t an ideology.

What exactly is it then?

see post #12

Perhaps it would be well, most of the time, to use this word “conservative” as an adjective chiefly. For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.

Do you consider it an ideology with hard and fast rules the likes of which determine which ideas are and are not conservative?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   11:15:19 ET  Reply   Trace


16. To: Destro (#14)

Who made Kirk the new Moses?

He helped establish the conservative movement as a viable option after WW2. He laid out what is a commonly accepted shell of principles of conservatism. He is an authoritative figure. Where do you disagree with him in those passages and principles?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   11:17:28 ET  Reply   Trace


17. To: gargantuton (#16)

Nothing wrong with it per say but why 10? Why not 11? 12 principles, etc?

I stick to the Federalist Papers and other documents that formed the thinking of the Founding Fathers these days.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-21   11:30:36 ET  Reply   Trace


18. To: gargantuton (#15)

Do you consider it an ideology with hard and fast rules the likes of which determine which ideas are and are not conservative?

Kirk’s list is pablum, and essentially meaningless. Its avoidance of principle is a foundation of sand, which is why conservatism is presently with whatever George W. Bush happens to be doing on any given day…

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   11:33:32 ET  Reply   Trace


19. To: gargantuton (#0)

Less government is best government.

fiddler  posted on  2006-04-21   11:37:11 ET  Reply   Trace


20. To: Lamont Cranston, gargantuton (#18)

I was kind of not attracted to Kirk’s list either.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-21   11:39:38 ET  Reply   Trace


21. To: Destro (#20)

I was kind of not attracted to Kirk’s list either.

Yeah; conservatives believe there exists an enduring moral order? What exactly does that mean? If I believe that the strong are always morally justified in dominating the weak because they can, does that make me a conservative?

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   11:46:32 ET  Reply   Trace


22. To: RJCogburn (#7)

Depends in part on how one defines “conservative”.

Consulting my own personal dictonary I found this…

“Conservative”…One that in good conscience belongs to neither branch of the ruling elite government party of the United States…

Cynicom  posted on  2006-04-21   12:00:11 ET  Reply   Trace


23. To: gargantuton (#11)

I would argue that conservatism isn’t an ideology.

IOW, it has no substantive meaning.
Just another brand name owned and marketed by transnational corporate interests — the same folks who deceive a gullible public into believing that one box of laundry detergent is better than another simply by loudly chanting “whiter”, “brighter”, “softer”, “fresher”, “more better”, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…..

Willie Green  posted on  2006-04-21   12:00:41 ET  Reply   Trace


24. To: Lamont Cranston (#21)

Yeah; conservatives believe there exists an enduring moral order? What exactly does that mean? If I believe that the strong are always morally justified in dominating the weak because they can, does that make me a conservative?

Yea, that was a bothersome principle. Wow – that means others think as I do – I am not alone in this world in thinking like this!

Destro  posted on  2006-04-21   12:03:27 ET  Reply   Trace


25. To: Lamont Cranston (#18)

Kirk’s list is pablum, and essentially meaningless. Its avoidance of principle is a foundation of sand, which is why conservatism is presently with whatever George W. Bush happens to be doing on any given day…

I think conservatism lends itself to certain simple principles (and those are what Kirk lays out, as flexible as each principle may be). To parphrase Peter Viereck (and my memory is foggy) a conservative is not prone to debate, in fact he may lose a debate; once he appeals to purely abstract principles, he is no longer conservative (that may be incorrect. I’ll have to eventually look)

I would argue that Kirk’s thought (and his conservatism) is not built upon sand, but does have principles. A system need not be an ideology to have principles to guide it. Kirk’s “canon” is just that set of principles that can guide conservatism. But, conservatism is not an abstract ideology detached completely from reality. It exists within history. It is the fact that conservatism is not an ideology that one can look to Bush’s abstract ideology and say that no, he is not and cannot be a conservative.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   12:12:01 ET  Reply   Trace


26. To: Destro (#24)

Yea, that was a bothersome principle. Wow – that means others think as I do – I am not alone in this world in thinking like this!

Lean on me 😉

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   12:12:28 ET  Reply   Trace


27. To: fiddler (#19)

Less government is best government.

But why?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   12:13:00 ET  Reply   Trace


28. To: Destro (#17)

Nothing wrong with it per say but why 10? Why not 11? 12 principles, etc?

It is arbitrary, that’s right. I don’t think it’s a big issue though. He had 10 principles he culled from various writings. They are principles on which conservatives can generally agree and they serve the purpose to give an idea of what conservatism is.

I stick to the Federalist Papers and other documents that formed the thinking of the Founding Fathers these days.

The founding documents are quite important and help to define the American experience and particular conservative identity. But conservatism is not simply a governing ideology. It extends beyond government into culture and life. That’s why it is not simply an ideology. There are non-governmental elements that conservatism defines, which cannot be defined by the founding documents (or any documents of government). But as you show with your reference to the founding documents, conservatism is contingent upon time and place. It is historical rather than abstract.

You say that conservatism is an ideology, why is that? And what would you define it?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   12:20:24 ET  Reply   Trace


29. To: Destro (#20)

I was kind of not attracted to Kirk’s list either.

In what ways does Kirk’s list bother you?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   12:21:39 ET  Reply   Trace


30. To: Lamont Cranston (#18)

I think those “principles” that Kirk lays out are measurements against with which Bush can be juxtaposed and found that he is not a conservative.

Where do you find Kirk’s principles problematic? And why do you think his principles are built upon sand? Alternatively, how do you define conservatism? Is it an abstract ideology?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   12:24:42 ET  Reply   Trace


31. To: gargantuton (#28)

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth. Twenty- five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. The problem of order has been a principal concern of conservatives ever since conservative became a term of politics.

Our twentieth-century world has experienced the hideous consequences of the collapse of belief in a moral order. Like the atrocities and disasters of Greece in the fifth century before Christ, the ruin of great nations in our century shows us the pit into which fall societies that mistake clever self- interest, or ingenious social controls, for pleasing alternatives to an oldfangled moral order.

It has been said by liberal intellectuals that the conservative believes all social questions, at heart, to be questions of private morality. Properly understood, this statement is quite true. A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society— whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are … morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites — will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.

byeltsin  posted on  2006-04-21   12:25:09 ET  Reply   Trace


32. To: Lamont Cranston, burkeman1, gargantuton (#26)

enduring moral order?

Hmmm Operation Enduring Freedom?

God, I hate the so phoney Orwellian ‘1984’ like naming of these ‘Operation’ wars and of ‘anti-terrorisim’ bills like the ‘Patriot act’.

That so few ‘conservatives’ were not repullsed by manipulatory propoganda names like ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ and ‘Operation: Enduring Freedom’ or ‘Operation: Mom and Apple Pie Freedom’ or ‘Operation: if you vote against this war you stomp on kittens and molest children’ that it means to me the movement of true conservatives is dead.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-21   12:25:52 ET  Reply   Trace


33. To: gargantuton (#25)

I think conservatism lends itself to certain simple principles (and those are what Kirk lays out, as flexible as each principle may be).

Kirk offers nought but a few ambiguous modes of how one may possibly act on whatever principles he has, but never gets around to mentioning actual priciples.

I can practice evil and immorality in a prudent and prescriptive manner just as easily as I can good. Kirk is oblivious to this fact.

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   12:27:15 ET  Reply   Trace


34. To: byeltsin, gargantuton (#31)

Like the atrocities and disasters of Greece in the fifth century before Christ

I would match any city-state in Greece in the fifth century BC to what the Hebrew system was producing and I would pick the Greek system at its worse any time.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-21   12:30:03 ET  Reply   Trace


35. To: Lamont Cranston, gargantuton (#33)

Kirk offers nought but a few ambiguous modes of how one may possibly act on whatever principles he has, but never gets around to mentioning actual priciples.

Ditto.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-21   12:32:23 ET  Reply   Trace


36. To: gargantuton (#30)

Where do you find Kirk’s principles problematic?

It’s not that I find Kirk’s principles problematic; I don’t find Kirk to have any clear set of principles at all. His assumption(and yours) seem to be that principles are platonic ideals floating around out there divorced from life in the real world and in history. That is a philosophical assumption, and it is thoroughly mistaken, in my view.

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   12:32:55 ET  Reply   Trace


37. To: Lamont Cranston, Destro (#21)

Yeah; conservatives believe there exists an enduring moral order? What exactly does that mean? If I believe that the strong are always morally justified in dominating the weak because they can, does that make me a conservative?

It does not mean “the strong are always morally justified in dominating the weak,” which is a separate question anyway. The enduring moral order is the “timeless” (transcendent/universal, call it what you will) that man appeals to. It governs human existence. It simply refers to a constant aspect of human existence.

Kirk writes

That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth. Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. The problem of order has been a principal concern of conservatives ever since conservative became a term of politics.

Our twentieth-century world has experienced the hideous consequences of the collapse of belief in a moral order. Like the atrocities and disasters of Greece in the fifth century before Christ, the ruin of great nations in our century shows us the pit into which fall societies that mistake clever self-interest, or ingenious social controls, for pleasing alternatives to an oldfangled moral order.

It has been said by liberal intellectuals that the conservative believes all social questions, at heart, to be questions of private morality. Properly understood, this statement is quite true. A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society—whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   12:34:12 ET  Reply   Trace


38. To: Destro (#34)

I would match any city-state in Greece in the fifth century BC to what the Hebrew system was producing and I would pick the Greek system at its worse any time.

The french too … for liberals – libertarians — anarchists – elites !

byeltsin  posted on  2006-04-21   12:36:39 ET  Reply   Trace


39. To: Destro (#32)

That so few ‘conservatives’ were not repullsed by manipulatory propoganda names like ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ and ‘Operation: Enduring Freedom’ or ‘Operation: Mom and Apple Pie Freedom’ or ‘Operation: if you vote against this war you stomp on kittens and molest children’ that it means to me the movement of true conservatives is dead.

Sadly, you’re exactly right about that…

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   12:37:24 ET  Reply   Trace


40. To: Lamont Cranston, Destro (#37)

Here are Kirk’s principles as they appear in full on the webpage

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth. Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. The problem of order has been a principal concern of conservatives ever since conservative became a term of politics.

Our twentieth-century world has experienced the hideous consequences of the collapse of belief in a moral order. Like the atrocities and disasters of Greece in the fifth century before Christ, the ruin of great nations in our century shows us the pit into which fall societies that mistake clever self-interest, or ingenious social controls, for pleasing alternatives to an oldfangled moral order.

It has been said by liberal intellectuals that the conservative believes all social questions, at heart, to be questions of private morality. Properly understood, this statement is quite true. A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society—whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.

Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity. It is old custom that enables people to live together peaceably; the destroyers of custom demolish more than they know or desire. It is through convention—a word much abused in our time—that we contrive to avoid perpetual disputes about rights and duties: law at base is a body of conventions. Continuity is the means of linking generation to generation; it matters as much for society as it does for the individual; without it, life is meaningless. When successful revolutionaries have effaced old customs, derided old conventions, and broken the continuity of social institutions—why, presently they discover the necessity of establishing fresh customs, conventions, and continuity; but that process is painful and slow; and the new social order that eventually emerges may be much inferior to the old order that radicals overthrew in their zeal for the Earthly Paradise.

Conservatives are champions of custom, convention, and continuity because they prefer the devil they know to the devil they don’t know. Order and justice and freedom, they believe, are the artificial products of a long social experience, the result of centuries of trial and reflection and sacrifice. Thus the body social is a kind of spiritual corporation, comparable to the church; it may even be called a community of souls. Human society is no machine, to be treated mechanically. The continuity, the life-blood, of a society must not be interrupted. Burke’s reminder of the necessity for prudent change is in the mind of the conservative. But necessary change, conservatives argue, ought to he gradual and discriminatory, never unfixing old interests at once.

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.

Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence. Burke agrees with Plato that in the statesman, prudence is chief among virtues. Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity. Liberals and radicals, the conservative says, are imprudent: for they dash at their objectives without giving much heed to the risk of new abuses worse than the evils they hope to sweep away. As John Randolph of Roanoke put it, Providence moves slowly, but the devil always hurries. Human society being complex, remedies cannot be simple if they are to be efficacious. The conservative declares that he acts only after sufficient reflection, having weighed the consequences. Sudden and slashing reforms are as perilous as sudden and slashing surgery.

Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems. For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at levelling must lead, at best, to social stagnation. Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.

Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability. Human nature suffers irremediably from certain grave faults, the conservatives know. Man being imperfect, no perfect social order ever can be created. Because of human restlessness, mankind would grow rebellious under any utopian domination, and would break out once more in violent discontent—or else expire of boredom. To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things. All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk. By proper attention to prudent reform, we may preserve and improve this tolerable order. But if the old institutional and moral safeguards of a nation are neglected, then the anarchic impulse in humankind breaks loose: “the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” The ideologues who promise the perfection of man and society have converted a great part of the twentieth-century world into a terrestrial hell.

Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked. Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic levelling, conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence; but a sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired.

Sir Henry Maine, in his Village Communities, puts strongly the case for private property, as distinguished from communal property: “Nobody is at liberty to attack several property and to say at the same time that he values civilization. The history of the two cannot be disentangled.” For the institution of several property—that is, private property—has been a powerful instrument for teaching men and women responsibility, for providing motives to integrity, for supporting general culture, for raising mankind above the level of mere drudgery, for affording leisure to think and freedom to act. To be able to retain the fruits of one’s labor; to be able to see one’s work made permanent; to be able to bequeath one’s property to one’s posterity; to be able to rise from the natural condition of grinding poverty to the security of enduring accomplishment; to have something that is really one’s own—these are advantages difficult to deny. The conservative acknowledges that the possession of property fixes certain duties upon the possessor; he accepts those moral and legal obligations cheerfully.

Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism. Although Americans have been attached strongly to privacy and private rights, they also have been a people conspicuous for a successful spirit of community. In a genuine community, the decisions most directly affecting the lives of citizens are made locally and voluntarily. Some of these functions are carried out by local political bodies, others by private associations: so long as they are kept local, and are marked by the general agreement of those affected, they constitute healthy community. But when these functions pass by default or usurpation to centralized authority, then community is in serious danger. Whatever is beneficent and prudent in modern democracy is made possible through cooperative volition. If, then, in the name of an abstract Democracy, the functions of community are transferred to distant political direction—why, real government by the consent of the governed gives way to a standardizing process hostile to freedom and human dignity.

For a nation is no stronger than the numerous little communities of which it is composed. A central administration, or a corps of select managers and civil servants, however well intentioned and well trained, cannot confer justice and prosperity and tranquility upon a mass of men and women deprived of their old responsibilities. That experiment has been made before; and it has been disastrous. It is the performance of our duties in community that teaches us prudence and efficiency and charity.

Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions. Politically speaking, power is the ability to do as one likes, regardless of the wills of one’s fellows. A state in which an individual or a small group are able to dominate the wills of their fellows without check is a despotism, whether it is called monarchical or aristocratic or democratic. When every person claims to be a power unto himself, then society falls into anarchy. Anarchy never lasts long, being intolerable for everyone, and contrary to the ineluctable fact that some persons are more strong and more clever than their neighbors. To anarchy there succeeds tyranny or oligarchy, in which power is monopolized by a very few.

The conservative endeavors to so limit and balance political power that anarchy or tyranny may not arise. In every age, nevertheless, men and women are tempted to overthrow the limitations upon power, for the sake of some fancied temporary advantage. It is characteristic of the radical that he thinks of power as a force for good—so long as the power falls into his hands. In the name of liberty, the French and Russian revolutionaries abolished the old restraints upon power; but power cannot be abolished; it always finds its way into someone’s hands. That power which the revolutionaries had thought oppressive in the hands of the old regime became many times as tyrannical in the hands of the radical new masters of the state.

Knowing human nature for a mixture of good and evil, the conservative does not put his trust in mere benevolence. Constitutional restrictions, political checks and balances, adequate enforcement of the laws, the old intricate web of restraints upon will and appetite—these the conservative approves as instruments of freedom and order. A just government maintains a healthy tension between the claims of authority and the claims of liberty.

Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society. The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.

Such, then, are ten principles that have loomed large during the two centuries of modern conservative thought. Other principles of equal importance might have been discussed here: the conservative understanding of justice, for one, or the conservative view of education. But such subjects, time running on, I must leave to your private investigation.

The great line of demarcation in modern politics, Eric Voegelin used to point out, is not a division between liberals on one side and totalitarians on the other. No, on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   12:37:28 ET  Reply   Trace


41. To: Destro (#17)

I stick to the Federalist Papers and other documents that formed the thinking of the Founding Fathers these days.

That will fail you as well:

“I am not a blind admirer (for I saw the imperfections) of the Constitution to which I have assisted to give birth–but I am fully persuaded it is the best that can be obtained at this day and that it or disunion is before us–if the first is our choice when the defects of it are experenced a Constitutional door is open for amendments and may be adopted in a peaceable maner without tumult or disorder.” G. Washington. George Washington to Charles Carter, 14 December 1787

WhiteSands  posted on  2006-04-21   12:37:31 ET  Reply   Trace


42. To: gargantuton (#37)

It does not mean “the strong are always morally justified in dominating the weak,” which is a separate question anyway. The enduring moral order is the “timeless” (transcendent/universal, call it what you will) that man appeals to. It governs human existence. It simply refers to a constant aspect of human existence.

Kirk writes

That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth.

It’s a timeless fact of human nature that the strong will invariably dominate the weak. This is a constant aspect of human existence, which also serves the cause of order: since the weak of naturally unable to oppose the strong, harmony and peace are the natural products of trodding them underfoot.

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   12:44:30 ET  Reply   Trace


43. To: WhiteSands, Lamont Cranston, gargantuton (#41)

“I am not a blind admirer (for I saw the imperfections) of the Constitution to which I have assisted to give birth–but I am fully persuaded it is the best that can be obtained at this day and that it or disunion is before us–if the first is our choice when the defects of it are experenced a Constitutional door is open for amendments and may be adopted in a peaceable maner without tumult or disorder.” G. Washington.

One think that ‘conservatives’ say is that there is no Utopia – and that any system must acknowledge that there is no perfect system nor can mankind be perfected. A true conservative for example would be repulsed at the idea that America could transform the world into a democracy like we are trying to do under the neocon system. So Washington’s words are in line with my thinking that I should ‘stick to the Federalist Papers and other documents that formed the thinking of the Founding Fathers these days’ to form my political world view.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-21   12:46:10 ET  Reply   Trace


44. To: WhiteSands (#43)

I stick to the Federalist Papers and other documents that formed the thinking of the Founding Fathers these days.

That will fail you as well:

PS: That is why what I wrote above will not fail me. See my point?

Destro  posted on  2006-04-21   12:51:18 ET  Reply   Trace


45. To: Destro (#43)

So Washington’s words are in line with my thinking that I should ‘stick to the Federalist Papers and other documents that formed the thinking of the Founding Fathers these days’ to form my political world view.

The thinking of the Founding Fathers was grounded in the philosophical (Lockean) principles of classical liberalism (libertarianism)which guided the Enlightenment.

Conservatives such as Kirk want to harvest the fruits of this philosophy without having to first plant the tree, and the fact that you can’t beat something with nothing accounts for the present barrenness of the movement.

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   12:56:23 ET  Reply   Trace


46. To: Lamont Cranston (#45)

Ditto to that, too. Kirk and his ilk are a product of the modern post- Enhlightenment tradition.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-21   13:09:49 ET  Reply   Trace


47. To: Lamont Cranston (#45)

The thinking of the Founding Fathers was grounded in the philosophical (Lockean) principles of classical liberalism (libertarianism)which guided the Enlightenmen

No it wasn’t guided by Lockean principles. Locke had an influence yes, but it was as much taken from a non-liberal tradition than it was the liberal tradition of Locke. It’s not libertarian.

Conservatives such as Kirk want to harvest the fruits of this philosophy without having to first plant the tree, and the fact that you can’t beat something with nothing accounts for the present barrenness of the movement.

No, conservatives such as Kirk do not want to harvest a Lockean philosophy. Conservatives such as Kirk reject the Lockean liberal/libertarian philosophy. Kirk went to great lengths (questionable lengths, might I add) to show that an Anglo-American conservative tradition exists. That’s from where he finds his thought. That is the soil in which his philosophy is planted. That is the soil in which conservatism finds a home, a home that rests within a particular Anglo-American conservative tradition.

The present barreness of the movement is inaccurate. It is quite fertile, it is only that a particular brand of “conservatism” neoconservatism has come to dominate. That it cannot come to dominate the political arena does not mean it is barren. It has various proponents and outlets that continue to challenge the dominant strains in American cultural and intellectual life.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   13:17:15 ET  Reply   Trace


48. To: gargantuton (#47)

No it wasn’t guided by Lockean principles. Locke had an influence yes, but it was as much taken from a non-liberal tradition than it was the liberal tradition of Locke. It’s not libertarian.

I don’t see how you can say that. The Declaration of Independence is little more than a plagiarization of Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government

Conservatives such as Kirk reject the Lockean liberal/libertarian philosophy. Kirk went to great lengths (questionable lengths, might I add) to show that an Anglo-American conservative tradition exists. That’s from where he finds his thought. That is the soil in which his philosophy is planted. That is the soil in which conservatism finds a home, a home that rests within a particular Anglo-American conservative tradition.

Kirk had no philosophy. The convservative Anglo tradition was monarchialism, which the founding of this country was a revolt from, philosophically as well as politically. The Founders were classical liberals, who explicitly rejected the conservative tradition of the day.

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   13:37:46 ET  Reply   Trace


49. To: Lamont Cranston (#48)

Just a small note, Kirk had no ideology and his definition of conservatism was the abscene of ideology.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   13:44:16 ET  Reply   Trace


50. To: JohnGalt (#49)

Just a small note, Kirk had no ideology and his definition of conservatism was the abscene of ideology.

So a primitive, brutal African slaveholding tribesman would be a conservative, since he naturally follows the path of might makes right, but doesn’t have the mental capacity to elevate it into an explicit ideology…

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   13:49:21 ET  Reply   Trace


51. To: Lamont Cranston (#50)

I suppose if you were a bloodthirsty liberal, that would be a logical caricature. Ideology is a Marxist construct, afterall, a tool for revolution, the enemy of conservatism. Blood, soil, social position, Duty in the Western sense of the various roles we take on in life, that is conservatism. With the exception of the Rothbardian strain of anarcho-capitalism (he being the most successful entrepreneur of ideas in contemprary times, but certainly there is a long line of classical liberal thinkers) libertarianism has a left and right as well. Conservatives, real ones, have pointed out that the pursuit of classical liberalism and its rights framework have given us Leviathan, as it pursues an abstraction. The point is that when “rights” replace “duties” it is the State that comes bearing the most gifts and becomes the arbiter of all disputes, the complete politicization of every aspect of life, the way the Marxists envisioned the utopia.

It is true that markets can replace just about everything we have come to know as the the “things the State provides.” But that does not settle the aesthethical question of just what sorts of societies allow civilization to flourish and replicate itself. It’s clear, this one, the American experience, is finished and on life support.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   13:58:15 ET  Reply   Trace


52. To: Lamont Cranston, JohnGalt (#50)

So a primitive, brutal African slaveholding tribesman would be a conservative, since he naturally follows the path of might makes right, but doesn’t have the mental capacity to elevate it into an explicit ideology…

No, it does not. Kirk’s philosophy is not “might makes right” and it cannot be interpreted as such. It is the absence of ideology, as JohnGalt has said. This does not mean it is the absence of morality or ethics. As the excerpt from Kirk has shown, ethics and morality can exist (in fact, do exist naturally) outside a narrow, artificial ideological framework.

i·de·ol·o·gy (d-l-j, d-) n. pl. i·de·ol·o·gies

1. The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture.

2. A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.

That is what Kirk (and many other conservatives) reject. It is not the rejection of ideology as such that defines conservatism. It is that, coupled with particular principles (such as those outlined by Kirk which I posted above). Moral or political principles do not require an ideology for legitimacy.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   13:58:22 ET  Reply   Trace


53. To: JohnGalt (#51)

I suppose if you were a bloodthirsty liberal, that would be a logical caricature. Ideology is a Marxist construct, afterall, a tool for revolution, the enemy of conservatism.

Is anyone who has no ideology a de facto conservative?

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   14:00:50 ET  Reply   Trace


54. To: Lamont Cranston, JohnGalt (#53)

I suppose if you were a bloodthirsty liberal, that would be a logical caricature. Ideology is a Marxist construct, afterall, a tool for revolution, the enemy of conservatism.

Is anyone who has no ideology a de facto conservative?

I would say no. Why would such a person be conservative just because he has an absence of ideology?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   14:02:58 ET  Reply   Trace


55. To: Destro (#44)

PS: That is why what I wrote above will not fail me. See my point?

“Papers and other documents” vs Founders.

Yes youre correct.

As even many founders violated the Constitution.

WhiteSands  posted on  2006-04-21   14:04:59 ET  Reply   Trace


56. To: gargantuton (#52)

No, it does not. Kirk’s philosophy is not “might makes right” and it cannot be interpreted as such. It is the absence of ideology, as JohnGalt has said. This does not mean it is the absence of morality or ethics. As the excerpt from Kirk has shown, ethics and morality can exist (in fact, do exist naturally) outside a narrow, artificial ideological framework.

I didn’t say his philosophy was might makes right. Kirk has no philosophy, and can only advise the slaveholder to be prudent and prescriptive in his traditional subjugation of the weak, benefitting from the wisdom passed down by the long generations of his ancestors who have done the same…

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   14:06:13 ET  Reply   Trace


57. To: Lamont Cranston (#53)

No, but we are confusing an intellectual (pursuit of wisdom) tradition with an abstract individual. For example, a consevative might point to manners and lets say, table setting, as the glue that holds civilization together. A libertarian might argue that it’s the “property rights” of the Middle Class that holds civilization together. One refers to specific things, the other to an abstraction, generally English property rights tradition, and yet some scholars would argue the Roman property rights tradition is older and better in regards to the least, emminent domain.

You do know that Karl Marx himself was very supportive of Lincoln’s War to destroy the slave aristocracy, eh?

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   14:06:32 ET  Reply   Trace


58. To: Lamont Cranston (#56)

Did liberty flourish once the slaveholder was no longer master? Did African Americans flourish as a distinct civilization after they were “freed” and started paying the income tax and getting welfare bennies?

That is the nature of the complexity of civilization.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   14:08:45 ET  Reply   Trace


59. To: gargantuton (#54)

I would say no. Why would such a person be conservative just because he has an absence of ideology?

He certainly would be if conservatism is defined as the absence of ideology. And if it’s not, then what are its core principles?

The things Kirk listed in his essay are not principles; they are merely modes of carrying out and relating to some prior set of principles already established.

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   14:09:21 ET  Reply   Trace


60. To: Lamont Cranston (#59)

This is the piece you are missing. Our Duty as a Euro, or a Celt, or a German, is to preserve the civilization that was handed down to us through time. Reject that duty in favor of ideology as you please, I will not stop you. I view myself as a subject of an alien regime, but I still have the duty to preserve my families heritage and see my genes, as best I can, pass on down through the ages (and as a Christian, see that my wife and kids have the best chance possible to make it to Heaven.)

I find my position completely compatible with Rothbardian Anarcho-capitalism.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   14:12:52 ET  Reply   Trace


61. To: johngalt (#60)

…and my young friend G., here finds his position possibly compatible with neoconservativism, contemporary statism, and not compatible with an anarcho- capitalism approach. I think life experience will change his outlook.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   14:15:27 ET  Reply   Trace


62. To: JohnGalt (#58)

Did liberty flourish once the slaveholder was no longer master? Did African Americans flourish as a distinct civilization after they were “freed” and started paying the income tax and getting welfare bennies?

No, but only because a different master was put into place and the Republic destroyed. Would liberty have flourished if the principles of the old Republic had been upheld post-slavery? Yes.

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   14:16:04 ET  Reply   Trace


63. To: JohnGalt (#60)

This is the piece you are missing. Our Duty as a Euro, or a Celt, or a German, is to preserve the civilization that was handed down to us through time.

According to what standard is that my duty?

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   14:19:48 ET  Reply   Trace


64. To: Lamont Cranston (#62)

Would liberty have flourished if the principles of the old Republic had been upheld post-slavery? Yes.

Again, that is an abstraction, a tool of “philosophers” that cannot be much applied to every day life, if it can be applied in the realm of the arts, literature, music etc, to produce something Beautiful. The principles of the Old Republic, a republic founded on secession, would have let the the country go it’s seperate ways, allowing each unique region to pursue its own destiny.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   14:22:20 ET  Reply   Trace


65. To: Lamont Cranston (#63)

The civilization that produces all the stored capital Leftists have been squandering for several hundreds of years. Like it or not, accept it or not, we are what is left of Roman and Greek civilization and the Germanic civilizations that conquered it. Celts have never really had a high culture, since the days of the Druids if you count that, though they, we, were building something quite unique here in the New World, only to have it conquered by those who used the combinded power of the central state and the ability to sell to not only a mass market but to continuously import cheap labor and displace those of us who are ancient regime Americana.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   14:28:15 ET  Reply   Trace


66. To: RJCogburn (#7)

Depends in part on how one defines “conservative”.

Actually a rather astute observation.

What is a Conservative?

The traditional definition in a nut shell is a reactionary that opposes changes in society and desires to “keep things as they are” OR to return them to a more idealized past.

Now that is not to say that is the way the term is used in current political discourse.

More broadly a Conservative/Paleconservative or Paleolibertarian is someone who believes in limited government – rather more of a Jeffersonian “Liberal” i.e., very limited central government, free markets, with moral and ethical issues affecting a local community settled by the action of that community.

To sum up my own view it’s: Courts, Coinage, and Defense. Nothing more and nothing less.

A uniform, and justly constructed Court System, provides a non-violent means of conflict resolution and provides communities with a tool to reign in criminal elements.

Coinage again is something which benefits from uniform standards and measures of exchange. A stable and honest coinage allows commerce between individuals to be readily understood and values determined.

Defense is an action which benefits all and protects the society from the aggressive intentions of others. While it is one of those goods that does benefit all it is also arguable whether such would be possible under a profusion of independent principalities or States. This does not mean a large standing army, which Madison warned against, but a framework for coordinating defense activities and quickly marshalling them in times of emergent need.

All other social problems and decisions can be handled by voluntary cooperation or at the State level. Of course the form those would take is also conditioned by the viewpoint of LIMITING government authority and delegation of the exercise of power to ONLY those areas admitting of no other solution.

Original_Intent  posted on  2006-04-21   14:28:46 ET  Reply   Trace


67. To: Lamont Cranston (#63)

This is the piece you are missing. Our Duty as a Euro, or a Celt, or a German, is to preserve the civilization that was handed down to us through time.

According to what standard is that my duty?

The desire to live in a society that maximizes individual liberty, is founded upon voluntary cooperation, and limits unwarranted exercise of governmental power i.e., tyranny.

Original_Intent  posted on  2006-04-21   14:32:05 ET  Reply   Trace


68. To: JohnGalt (#61)

…and my young friend G., here finds his position possibly compatible with neoconservativism, contemporary statism, and not compatible with an anarcho- capitalism approach. I think life experience will change his outlook.

Now I’m not neocon;) The labels tire me. I figure it’s Catholic first, then the politics fits in somewhere. So, I won’t reject government intervention in principle (call it “statism” if you wish;). I think government is a necessity, and even government intervention at times. Though neoconservatism is definitely not my bag.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   14:33:56 ET  Reply   Trace


69. To: JohnGalt (#64)

Again, that is an abstraction, a tool of “philosophers” that cannot be much applied to every day life, if it can be applied in the realm of the arts, literature, music etc, to produce something Beautiful.

What? Without abstraction there is no Beautiful (itself an abstraction), since one is otherwise confronted only by the brute and disjointed factuality of individual existants.

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   14:41:07 ET  Reply   Trace


70. To: Original_Intent (#67)

The desire to live in a society that maximizes individual liberty, is founded upon voluntary cooperation, and limits unwarranted exercise of governmental power i.e., tyranny

I’ve been handed a civilization that does not honor those things. Is it my duty to preserve said civilization?

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   14:43:13 ET  Reply   Trace


71. To: gargantuton (#68)

Your duty as a Catholic, is to only be a Catholic…I am a prot and free to be an ancap here in the New World. But you missed the nuance, the contemporary state has proven to promiscuous to be trusted with anything.

There can be no argument on this one, none, from a conservative philosophical position. Without the influence of a social body of what we call neoconservatives that try to make this position seem to extreme and nonconformist and only held by misfits and social outcasts (and haters, anti- Semites, anti-Americans etc) there would be signficantly less confusion on this point.

Yes, in real life, it might mean cutting political deals, or supporting a political candidate that doesn’t believe the same things as you do–but we are in the realm of philosphy right now.

You throw the term government around as if I know what you mean. I support the exercise of power from the smallest political unit possible, a town, a state, occasionally a county. So I support government as well, just on a scale, a human scale, abscent from your use of the term.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   14:45:38 ET  Reply   Trace


72. To: Lamont Cranston (#70)

No.

Your Duty is to your family, your friends and your literal neighbors, and all those who claim otherwise should be hated, perfectly.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   14:47:21 ET  Reply   Trace


73. To: Lamont Cranston (#69)

Beauty is not an abstraction, evil people put that idea there…but do we dare have an aesthetical debate?

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   14:49:28 ET  Reply   Trace


74. To: Lamont Cranston (#69)

What? Without abstraction there is no Beautiful (itself an abstraction), since one is otherwise confronted only by the brute and disjointed factuality of individual existants.

Beauty is concrete. Mozart, Bach, van Gogh’s works are not beautiful in spite of those artists, because the works adhere to an abstract concept. Those works are beautiful because of the particular Mozart or Bach who creates the concretely beautiful pieces.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   15:03:55 ET  Reply   Trace


75. To: gargantuton (#74)

Beauty is concrete. Mozart, Bach, van Gogh’s works are not beautiful in spite of those artists, because the works adhere to an abstract concept. Those works are beautiful because of the particular Mozart or Bach who creates the concretely beautiful pieces.

Without abstraction those works aren’t even works, much less beautiful; they’re just notes in the air and blobs of paint on a surface. You’re smuggling an abstraction into your assessment and denying it 🙂

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   15:17:37 ET  Reply   Trace


76. To: JohnGalt (#73)

Beauty is not an abstraction, evil people put that idea there…but do we dare have an aesthetical debate?

Well, I’ve done it many times before 🙂

(though aesthetics proper would remove from the focus from the topic at hand, namely, the necessity of first principles in general, and in political philosophy in particular 🙂

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-21   15:21:22 ET  Reply   Trace


77. To: JohnGalt (#71)

Your duty as a Catholic, is to only be a Catholic…I am a prot and free to be an ancap here in the New World. But you missed the nuance, the contemporary state has proven to promiscuous to be trusted with anything.

You said my philosophy supports “neoconservatism.” There is no nuance in that position. I am not a neoconservative I in fact reject it. Granted, I really could care less even if it did and i were a neoconservative. That Catholicism is why I made the statement that I won’t reject government intervention. It is precisely because Catholicism does not adhere to any particular political belief system that I say that, nuance not missed. The “contemporary state” is not much different than other states, imo. It’s larger, but that’s about it. It is because those internal checks are absent that the contemporary state has become so promiscuous.

There can be no argument on this one, none, from a conservative philosophical position. Without the influence of a social body of what we call neoconservatives that try to make this position seem to extreme and nonconformist and only held by misfits and social outcasts (and haters, anti- Semites, anti-Americans etc) there would be signficantly less confusion on this point.

There can be an argument from this in conservatism (after all this is not a hard and fast ideology). I think the anarcho-capitalist position is an extreme position. Yes, the state must shrink, but the preconditions must be met beforehand for such a minimalist state to be effective. I don’t know how much influence the neoconservatives have had in the marginalization of the anarcho-capitalist position. I don’t think we can have a “small” state. The society is just not good enough for it. With that said, the debate is too often shut down by ad hominem attacks and negative, distracting language.

Yes, in real life, it might mean cutting political deals, or supporting a political candidate that doesn’t believe the same things as you do–but we are in the realm of philosphy right now.

But we cannot separate philosophy from the reality in which we live. There is always a correspondent reality to which we apply our philosophy. Philosophically,

You throw the term government around as if I know what you mean. I support the exercise of power from the smallest political unit possible, a town, a state, occasionally a county. So I support government as well, just on a scale, a human scale, abscent from your use of the term.

I don’t think government at the level you speak of is possible. society is too deracinated, too interdependent to see it. There will always be the necessity of government at levels higher than the town or county, or at least one which takes on the responsibilities of a large government. Within a larger framework, I support a rather limited state. I just don’t think small framework is workable in the contemporary world

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   15:31:31 ET  Reply   Trace


78. To: gargantuton (#77)

No, I said your point of view is occasionally compatible with neoconservatism. That is one of the nuances you missed. A philosophical conservative who, lets say, supports the income tax, would cease to be a philosphical conservative. Only in the neocon framework, can the support for US nationalized healthcare be reconciled with conservatism, thus ceasing to be conservative.

The ancap position is extreme in political terms. (Real) conservatives and ancaps of the Rothbardian strain can agree to dismantle 90% of the current state, and battle tooth and nail for the last 10%. No worries here; it’s your lack of imagination that concerns me.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-21   15:50:20 ET  Reply   Trace


79. To: Lamont Cranston (#56)

I didn’t say his philosophy was might makes right. Kirk has no philosophy, and can only advise the slaveholder to be prudent and prescriptive in his traditional subjugation of the weak, benefitting from the wisdom passed down by the long generations of his ancestors who have done the same…

No, Kirk has no ideology. He has something resembling a philosophy, though admittedly he was not much of a philosopher.

I don’t see a problem with Kirk having no ideology. The question of slavery always is a bugaboo for this type of thought because of the point you make. The problem is, life is complex and it does require prudence not solely abstract thought. His principles in the concrete (which are also grounded in the transcendent) that guide us. That they do not lead to the abstract condemnation of slavery, while problematic nonetheless suggest the complex nature of human existence. There is more to Kirk then the preservation of that which is.

Why do you insist on the necessity of principles in the abstract divorced from particular circumstance?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-21   22:43:14 ET  Reply   Trace


80. To: JohnGalt (#78)

No, I said your point of view is occasionally compatible with neoconservatism. That is one of the nuances you missed. A philosophical conservative who, lets say, supports the income tax, would cease to be a philosphical conservative. Only in the neocon framework, can the support for US nationalized healthcare be reconciled with conservatism, thus ceasing to be conservative.

Ah, possibly. I did miss that. I do see now. I was far too sloppy in my reading. But, what is your point? So it is potentially prone to neoconservatism, so what? And how so is it? As for your specific examples: I don’t think either in and of themselves constitute a breach of conservative philosophy. Granted, I don’t support an income tax and I don’t support a national health care system, but one may be reconciled with conservatism, I think. There is precedent for that type of thinking: James Burnham and Peter Viereck both supported the New Deal. They are not leftists. They are both conservatives. Conservatism has some flexibility to it. It’s a big tent (minus the neocons).

The ancap position is extreme in political terms. (Real) conservatives and ancaps of the Rothbardian strain can agree to dismantle 90% of the current state, and battle tooth and nail for the last 10%. No worries here; it’s your lack of imagination that concerns me.

Ah yes, we can agree on 90% but it is that last 10 (and how, lol).

Imagination is a very important term. Before we continue, how do you define it?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-22   02:00:32 ET  Reply   Trace


81. To: All (#80)

I should rephrase that. James Burnham and Peter Viereck did not necessarily support the New Deal so much as they accepted it.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-22   03:56:43 ET  Reply   Trace


82. To: gargantuton (#81)

James Burnham ,ex-CIA, ex-Trotskite?? Do we need to spend more time on him? Yes, the managerial revolution is good stuff, but is this a real conservative to be discussing?

I am not sure your point really,re: the New Deal. It was fascism, even used fascist imagery (check that dime in your pocket). I am not sure what is means to accept, unless you mean to lie about what it was.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-22   09:19:22 ET  Reply   Trace


83. To: gargantuton (#80)

Imagination in this context, is to be able to consider the possibilities from neutral ground without relying on conformist dogma.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-22   09:20:44 ET  Reply   Trace


84. To: JohnGalt (#82)

James Burnham ,ex-CIA, ex-Trotskite?? Do we need to spend more time on him? Yes, the managerial revolution is good stuff, but is this a real conservative to be discussing?

Yes, ex-CIA, ex-Trotskyite. Key word being “ex.” He rejected Marxism. One cannot make a credible argument that he was a trotskyite after he rejected it. He is a “real” conservative who represents quite a pragmatic and modern type, as I’m sure you know. And the Managerial Revolution is good stuff. You’ve read it?

I am not sure your point really,re: the New Deal. It was fascism, even used fascist imagery (check that dime in your pocket). I am not sure what is means to accept, unless you mean to lie about what it was.

My point is that conservatism is flexible. It is not doctrinaire. The two thinkers represent two more pragmatic types of conservative. They accept it but are nonetheless conservative. That acceptance is analogous to a conservative accepting some type of single-payment health care plan today.

And, do you have any credible history that shows that the new deal is fascist?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-22   19:59:17 ET  Reply   Trace


85. To: gargantuton (#84)

Credible history? I cited the imagery of the dime, the face of FDR, and the economic approach. There is no argument what the model was that I know of, though if you are interested, try Garet Garrett in the Saturday Evening Post, The Revolution in the Night amongst others. Burnham represents a deep political thinker which doesn’t have as much to do with conservatism as you might think.

No, I read Sam Francis discuss the managerial revolution, the thesis made good sense, and then I learned after that Burnham was an ex-CIA pro-frist strike nutball. Buckley and his CIA rag logically, dumped the Old Right for these folks. Rothbard and Henry Elmer Barnes are must read for critiques of the Cold War, which it appears you take for granted, enter our discussion about imagination.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-22   20:18:24 ET  Reply   Trace


86. To: JohnGalt (#83)

Imagination in this context, is to be able to consider the possibilities from neutral ground without relying on conformist dogma.

Ok. cool. We’re in agreement. Why do you worry about my capacity for this type of imagination?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-22   20:27:32 ET  Reply   Trace


87. To: JohnGalt (#85)

Credible history? I cited the imagery of the dime, the face of FDR, and the economic approach. There is no argument what the model was that I know of, though if you are interested, try Garet Garrett in the Saturday Evening Post, The Revolution in the Night amongst others. Burnham represents a deep political thinker which doesn’t have as much to do with conservatism as you might think.

I will look into Garet Garrett. I know there are some (names I don’t know. I’ve heard only second hand in discussion) who argue that FDR saved capitalism, though I’m skeptical of that. What I mean by credible history is just that: histories that detail the model. Imagery and comparisons are nice, but ultimately are only speculative outside of concrete evidence that points to the fascist roots or nature of the program. With that said, to be able to trim it back would be a joy.

Since I do think Burnham has much to do with conservatism, for what reasons do you argue otherwise? I think such a discussion not only relates to conservatism and its definitions, but also relates to “imagination” in this non-dogmatic sense.

No, I read Sam Francis discuss the managerial revolution, the thesis made good sense, and then I learned after that Burnham was an ex-CIA pro-frist strike nutball. Buckley and his CIA rag logically, dumped the Old Right for these folks. Rothbard and Henry Elmer Barnes are must read for critiques of the Cold War, which it appears you take for granted, enter our discussion about imagination.

I’ll have to take a look at Rothbard and Barnes. I can see that we’re on the same side its just that we represent different types of conservatism. While there is obvious tension between the Old Right and the New Right, I don’t think it was because NR was a “CIA rag” that the folks were dumped. There were serious disagreements between the two groups. Who was right in the Cold War? well, I think many at NR were too strident in their anti-communism, I don’t know that the critics were any less strident.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-22   21:05:44 ET  Reply   Trace


88. To: JohnGalt (#85)

Since we are talking about imagination in this non-dogmatic sense, on what grounds does a conservative reject the New Deal? Given the circumstances the country found itself at the time of the Great Depression, what is the alternative to the New Deal programs? Does the government de-regulate? Does it let it pass and do nothing? In light of the definition of imagination you offered I think there are a variety of options.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   00:08:18 ET  Reply   Trace


89. To: gargantuton (#88)

Since we are talking about imagination in this non-dogmatic sense, on what grounds does a conservative reject the New Deal? Given the circumstances the country found itself at the time of the Great Depression, what is the alternative to the New Deal programs? Does the government de-regulate? Does it let it pass and do nothing? In light of the definition of imagination you offered I think there are a variety of options.

Why do we have to use imagination? Why not history? We certainly can look back and see the Depression wasn’t caused by what would be called Conservative governance. So why would we turn to non-Conservative ideas to get us out of it?

GaretGarrettsGhost  posted on  2006-04-23   00:51:44 ET  Reply   Trace


90. To: GaretGarrettsGhost (#89)

So why would we turn to non-Conservative ideas to get us out of it?

Its the only way out.

GWBush has ensured more national debt and world-wide speculation that any other president before himself.

buckeroo  posted on  2006-04-23   00:57:35 ET  Reply   Trace


91. To: buckeroo (#90)

GWBush

Is he a Conservative?

GaretGarrettsGhost  posted on  2006-04-23   01:02:51 ET  Reply   Trace


92. To: GaretGarrettsGhost (#91)

Yes … ask karl marx or mao tse tung.

buckeroo  posted on  2006-04-23   01:09:34 ET  Reply   Trace


93. To: GaretGarrettsGhost (#89)

Why do we have to use imagination? Why not history? We certainly can look back and see the Depression wasn’t caused by what would be called Conservative governance. So why would we turn to non-Conservative ideas to get us out of it?

When we speak of imagination we mean that which is historical, that which is concrete. Imagination is an important component in the creation of ideas and in life as a whole. It is an acute, experience-based imagination. I mention imagination because it is in this context “undogmatic” and open to various ideas.

The Great Depression was not caused by conservative governance? The Great Depression was not caused by “liberal” governance either, was it? What was it caused by?

To solve the problem you turn to the ideas that work, and are reasonable given the circumstances, to get you out of the situation. “Conservative” and “liberal” are unnecessary ideological labels that limit the discussion and the solution. It’s false to make such distinctions. You don’t limit yourself to those policies which are ideologically ‘pure.’

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   01:15:11 ET  Reply   Trace


94. To: GaretGarrettsGhost (#91)

GWBush Is he a Conservative?

Not on foreign affairs
Not on deficit
Not on Small government
Not on Social spending
I guess that would be a NO!

JustUsealittleBrainPower  posted on  2006-04-23   01:17:25 ET  Reply   Trace


95. To: gargantuton (#93)

What was it caused by?

The Federal Reserve and exacerbated by tariffs and regulation.

GaretGarrettsGhost  posted on  2006-04-23   01:19:03 ET  Reply   Trace


96. To: gargantuton (#93)

I mention imagination because it is in this context “undogmatic” and open to various ideas.

Well I’m not “undogmatic”. So you are barking up the wrong tree. Pun intended.

GaretGarrettsGhost  posted on  2006-04-23   01:21:24 ET  Reply   Trace


97. To: buckeroo (#90)

So why would we turn to non-Conservative ideas to get us out of it?

Its the only way out.

GWBush has ensured more national debt and world-wide speculation that any other president before himself.

What are “conservative” ideas though? I think conservatism is flexible enough to incorporate ideas that may not on their face be conservative, but nonetheless are.

It is unfortunate that Bush and the neoconservatives have become dominant. It requires some re-interpretation of conservatism.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   01:25:11 ET  Reply   Trace


98. To: GaretGarrettsGhost (#89)

Im not a historian but the great depression was brought about through many problems. #1 stock market crash. With no safe guards to protect people. And the fact people where borrowing money to gamble on the stock market. When collapse came it brought banks down and everyone that had money in the banks and anyone that was heavly invested in the stock market. Then add in the dust bowl we americans had major problems. At times government must step in to help. Once the problem has been solved then slowly pull out.

JustUsealittleBrainPower  posted on  2006-04-23   01:27:31 ET  Reply   Trace


99. To: gargantuton (#97)

What are “conservative” ideas though?

I have often been asked this singular, non-secular question. I defer your question to GWBush and his cheerleader, Rush Limbaugh as they “own” conservatives.

buckeroo  posted on  2006-04-23   01:34:52 ET  Reply   Trace


100. To: buckeroo (#99)

What are “conservative” ideas though?

I have often been asked this singular, non-secular question. I defer your question to GWBush and his cheerleader, Rush Limbaugh as they “own” conservatives.

GWBush has only one cheerleader? lol… let’s not forget about the others… Weekly Standard, Fox News, NRO… so many…

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   01:35:46 ET  Reply   Trace


101. To: gargantuton (#100)

GWBush has only one cheerleader?

Yes …

buckeroo  posted on  2006-04-23   01:47:19 ET  Reply   Trace


102. To: buckeroo (#99)

You may say what you want about rush but the fact is with out rush we would have socialist(R) and then communist(d). He is atleast fighting the move towards the left. I do enjoy listening to him most the time. He is not perfect by along shot but then again neither are you or i. I would not be where i am with out him and i do appreciate his help.

JustUsealittleBrainPower  posted on  2006-04-23   02:01:15 ET  Reply   Trace


103. To: buckeroo (#101)

GWBush has only one cheerleader?

Yes …

Funny. I thought he had more…

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   04:16:40 ET  Reply   Trace


104. To: JustUsealittleBrainPower (#102)

You may say what you want about rush but the fact is with out rush we would have socialist(R) and then communist(d). He is atleast fighting the move towards the left. I do enjoy listening to him most the time. He is not perfect by along shot but then again neither are you or i. I would not be where i am with out him and i do appreciate his help.

I gotta agree there. If it weren’t for Rush, conservatism would not be where it is today. Sure, he has a radio show which appeals (though I don’t think caters) to a the “masses” or a “populist” crowd. That is where conservatism is in America. And we can thank Rush for giving that middle america a voice, even if it is not a pure enough one.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   05:07:44 ET  Reply   Trace


105. To: GaretGarrettsGhost (#95)

What was it caused by?

The Federal Reserve and exacerbated by tariffs and regulation.

That tells me nothing.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   05:12:23 ET  Reply   Trace


106. To: GaretGarrettsGhost (#96)

I mention imagination because it is in this context “undogmatic” and open to various ideas.

Well I’m not “undogmatic”. So you are barking up the wrong tree. Pun intended.

Lol, ok. I shall not bark up the tree. The nondogmatism is from an earlier defintion provided in the thread. As for your dogmatism: well, politics aren’t so simple, imo. Solutions based on ideological preconceptions are very problematic to me, for reasons mentioned in an earlier post. A solution is a solution. It is not (or should not be) “liberal” or “conservative.”

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   05:15:07 ET  Reply   Trace


107. To: JustUsealittleBrainPower (#98)

Im not a historian but the great depression was brought about through many problems. #1 stock market crash. With no safe guards to protect people. And the fact people where borrowing money to gamble on the stock market. When collapse came it brought banks down and everyone that had money in the banks and anyone that was heavly invested in the stock market. Then add in the dust bowl we americans had major problems. At times government must step in to help. Once the problem has been solved then slowly pull out.

I agree. The Great Depression had a variety of causes. Unfortunately for us conservatives, those causes may not sit well with our ideologies. The New Deal, for all of its negative consequences, at the time was probably the best solution. Government intervention was necessary. The capitalist system had collapsed and that was one way to save it. That government did not recede significantly after the recovery is very unfortunate, though a cursory glance would cause one to notice that WW 2 came right after, so any cut backs were probably not on the table. Government intervention is not an evil in itself. Occasionally it is necessary. The Great Depression was one such occasion.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   05:18:54 ET  Reply   Trace


108. To: gargantuton (#107)

Yea i agree with that. I think we are seening the other side of it where the government is so big its a heavy load on society. If we could not borrow the way we do it we would collapse.

im out cant hardly think or even see the screen LOL Good nite

JustUsealittleBrainPower  posted on  2006-04-23   05:39:06 ET  Reply   Trace


109. To: gargantuton (#88)

If I have to explain the Truth about the Great Depresssion, then at best, we are back to your neocon tendencies. The government causes an economic crisis, exaserbates the situation, and then takes overs major parts of the economy in unprecedented power grabs, and then plunges the nation into a war allied with the most murderous tyrant of the 20th Century, and you ask me to answer what else could have been done?

As if the worst possible outcome didn’t take place?

Okay, lets try the imagination. Imprison every member of the Federal Reserve. and repeal the income tax. Let the country break apart and go its seperate way. Get rid of the Empire’s colonies in the Pacific.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-23   08:41:05 ET  Reply   Trace


110. To: JohnGalt (#109)

If I have to explain the Truth about the Great Depresssion, then at best, we are back to your neocon tendencies. The government causes an economic crisis, exaserbates the situation, and then takes overs major parts of the economy in unprecedented power grabs, and then plunges the nation into a war allied with the most murderous tyrant of the 20th Century, and you ask me to answer what else could have been done?

Yes I do. The Great Depression was caused be excess, though I don’t think it was an excess of government. It happened and a solution to it was necessary. Government intervention provided the solution. That is not a ‘neoconservative’ position let alone a neocon tendency (though they may hold similar ideas). If you think that, then I confess that you appear more doctrinaire than I thought. The question relates to, how does one solve the depression? It’s difficult to determine the causal chain between all of the policies.

As if the worst possible outcome didn’t take place?

Yes, WW2 happened, we got a bigger state. But, I think it’s a stretch to make a direct connectionb between government intervention in the market and the war. It’s more complex than that. Hindsight is 20/20 perhaps we should have done things differently. At the same time there were a lot of different factors that contributed to that ultimate outcome.

Okay, lets try the imagination. Imprison every member of the Federal Reserve. and repeal the income tax. Let the country break apart and go its seperate way. Get rid of the Empire’s colonies in the Pacific.

I like the income tax repeal. But we’d have to replace it with something. I also like the idea of getting rid of the colonies. As for the other two ideas: a bit too romantic for my tastes. Together the ideas seem a dangerous mix.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   18:40:43 ET  Reply   Trace


111. To: JustUsealittleBrainPower (#108)

Yea i agree with that. I think we are seening the other side of it where the government is so big its a heavy load on society. If we could not borrow the way we do it we would collapse.

Exactly. We are seeing the opposite extreme. At this rate all we have is to hope someone comes along and begins to trim back these many programs that have become staples of American government. It would be a lot of work. Imagine if we went back to the New Deal programs alone. How smaller our government would be… that puts FDR in a different perspective, lol.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   18:43:15 ET  Reply   Trace


112. To: gargantuton (#111)

LOL i always said the government around the 1950’s was near perfect as a society could get. With a few minor changes on the minority issues.

My concern is that if we do start to pull back to fast it will cause a recession or a depression economicly. Then the movenment will get a bad name and possibly stopped. These rich fat cats with socialist(kennedy, kerry, bushes, rockfeller etc) leanings would stop it by any means nessicary.

Even the 1920’s was good but like the 1990’s it was a false economy.

JustUsealittleBrainPower  posted on  2006-04-23   19:09:47 ET  Reply   Trace


113. To: gargantuton (#110)

The question relates to, how does one solve the depression? It’s difficult to determine the causal chain between all of the policies

Well for one government temporarly borrowing money, ease on taxes, no excess growth of government, Since labor is plentifull build things that the country needs(Roads, power plants, water levies(?) basic investment into america), ease on prime rate for borrowing, and last stop immigration until unemployment is below 6%. Once traction starts then start removing programs until economy is can work on its own(5-10year plan).

JustUsealittleBrainPower  posted on  2006-04-23   19:23:47 ET  Reply   Trace


114. To: All (#113)

Ping

JustUsealittleBrainPower  posted on  2006-04-23   20:18:55 ET  Reply   Trace


115. To: gargantuton (#110)

You agree with the neoconservatives, the Trotskites, in regards to the New Deal and the Depression. You accept their history.

If you don’t care to understand fiat currency, the Fed, the income tax, the Creature of Jeckly Island, the First World War, I cannot help you, I don’t even care to help you. Such laziness for a student in college means you are aleady lost, your immagination destroyed by movies, tv or the mere fear of not conforming.

LOL, repeal the income tax and replace it with something…my goodness, you are a neocon.

Who are you to decide/conclude that government intervention was correct? Are you God? Do you have a secret crystal ball? That is anti-conservativism, pro-neoconism, well, pro Whig history if I ever saw it.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-23   20:22:23 ET  Reply   Trace


116. To: JohnGalt (#115)

You agree with the neoconservatives, the Trotskites, in regards to the New Deal and the Depression. You accept their history.

The “neoconservative” view of history? I always that that was the standard line, I didn’t realize it was the sole property of the neoconservatives. Either way, it means nothing. I am not a neoconservative.

If you don’t care to understand fiat currency, the Fed, the income tax, the Creature of Jeckly Island, the First World War, I cannot help you, I don’t even care to help you. Such laziness for a student in college means you are aleady lost, your immagination destroyed by movies, tv or the mere fear of not conforming.

LOL. OK. you go ahead and think that. There is no point to correct you.

LOL, repeal the income tax and replace it with something…my goodness, you are a neocon.

No I’m not. You may think that all you wish, but that is not true.

Who are you to decide/conclude that government intervention was correct? Are you God? Do you have a secret crystal ball? That is anti-conservativism, pro-neoconism, well, pro Whig history if I ever saw it

You’re narrow, ideological and abstract brand of conservatism is not my style, that’s all. We have different types of conservatism. I have no crystal ball, but that is not necessary to see that government intervention was a correct policy (not necessarily ideolgically appealing, and not the only route but correct). It is not neocon, it is not pro Whig, it just is. But, let’s suppose that it is: those labels mean nothing. They carry no weight at all.

So, make your argument for my neoconservatism. On what basis am I one?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   20:56:27 ET  Reply   Trace


117. To: JohnGalt (#115)

And while I think about it, what is your point about James Burnham not being related to conservatism?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-23   20:58:39 ET  Reply   Trace


118. To: Destro (#10)

The still viable part of the coalition – the values conservatives are grating and as they become more Talibanish they will fall. I like conservative social values – but these types want to force me to be a good Christian through the power of govt. That is not a good thing.

Who is forcing you to be anything. Stop promoting lies.

FreedomFriend  posted on  2006-04-23   21:13:08 ET  Reply   Trace


119. To: FreedomFriend (#118)

Who is forcing you to be anything. Stop promoting lies.

The Bush administration (search) said Wednesday it would seek to reinstate an indictment against a California pornography company that was charged with violating federal obscenity laws. It was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ (search) first public decision on a legal matter.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-23   21:34:26 ET  Reply   Trace


120. To: FreedomFriend (#118)

The still viable part of the coalition – the values conservatives are grating and as they become more Talibanish they will fall. I like conservative social values – but these types want to force me to be a good Christian through the power of govt. That is not a good thing. Who is forcing you to be anything. Stop promoting lies.

This is the lie that the left keeps telling itself,those Christians want to run everyones lives.The reality is just the opposite,its the left that forces its immorality on everyone.The left steals resourses from me and enables people to live immoral lives.If it were not for government programs about 99% of the issues that us so called right wing Christians have problems with would take care of themselves.Here is my challenge to all the lefties,as soon as you quit using government to force your immorality on me I will quit trying to force my morality on you.

GATOR PAUL  posted on  2006-04-23   21:42:01 ET  Reply   Trace


121. To: GATOR PAUL (#120)

This is the lie that the left keeps telling itself,those Christians want to run everyones lives.The reality is just the opposite,its the left that forces its immorality on everyone.The left steals resourses from me and enables people to live immoral lives.If it were not for government programs about 99% of the issues that us so called right wing Christians have problems with would take care of themselves.Here is my challenge to all the lefties,as soon as you quit using government to force your immorality on me I will quit trying to force my morality on you.

How about we freedom loving Americans (what is left of us) kick both your asses to the curb?

Lefty do-gooders and religious nutters – two sides of the same coin – both growing govt for their own evil freedom crushing ends.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-23   22:04:23 ET  Reply   Trace


122. To: Destro (#121)

Lefty do-gooders and religious nutters – two sides of the same coin – both growing govt for their own evil freedom crushing ends.

Most of the religious conservatives I know gave up on government a long time ago and dont even get involved in politics.Now the left wing churches on the other hand are very involved in politics.As I said in the preivous post,almost all the contention between church and state is because of the illegal and unconstitutional involvment of government in the social fabric of this country.The whole welfare state is the left forcing its immorality on the rest of the country by force of law.

GATOR PAUL  posted on  2006-04-23   22:20:35 ET  Reply   Trace


123. To: GATOR PAUL (#120)

Here is my challenge to all the lefties,as soon as you quit using government to force your immorality on me I will quit trying to force my morality on you.

I would say Christians don’t so much “force” their morality on others as much as they do “resist” others’ immorality.

Scrivener  posted on  2006-04-23   22:22:34 ET  Reply   Trace


124. To: GATOR PAUL (#122)

Here is my challenge to all the lefties,as soon as you quit using government to force your immorality on me I will quit trying to force my morality on you.

Force it how? Private effort? Go for it – use the govt? That is not conservative.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-23   22:33:07 ET  Reply   Trace


125. To: Scrivener (#123)

I would say Christians don’t so much “force” their morality on others as much as they do “resist” others’ immorality.

Agree,if the measure is political it is real obvious the left winning.I keep hearing how much the religious right controls the Republican Party,we cant even stop paritial birth abortions even though the majority of Americans believe it is killing a baby and the redefinition of what a family is in full swing.By any measure the religious right might be credited with slowing down this leftist marxist takeover of America.

GATOR PAUL  posted on  2006-04-23   22:43:20 ET  Reply   Trace


126. To: GATOR PAUL (#125)

If the measure is political it is real obvious the left winning….By any measure the religious right might be credited with slowing down this leftist marxist takeover of America.

You’re absolutely right.

Scrivener  posted on  2006-04-23   23:12:20 ET  Reply   Trace


127. To: gargantuton (#0)

Where Have All the Conservatives Gone?

When somone figures out where,let me know because there sure are not many of them left in D.C.

GATOR PAUL  posted on  2006-04-23   23:29:12 ET  Reply   Trace


128. To: Destro (#10)

Goldwater was against Medicare. When Reagan ran in 1980 he had to tell Jimmy Carter “There you go again” in their lone debate because he had to deny he was going to cut Medicare if he became President. That should tell you all you need to know about conservatism in a nutshell.

Milo Bloom  posted on  2006-04-24   11:05:06 ET  Reply   Trace


129. To: gargantuton (#117)

My point was how much time should be spent on discussing him on an anon posting board. Where as Rothbard and many Old Right authors are still being discussed today, outside of the late Sam Francis and Joe Sobran, I never hear Burnham get a name drop. If you think he is significant, by all means make your case, I am just not promising too much engagement on that front.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-24   11:20:58 ET  Reply   Trace


130. To: gargantuton (#116)

The basis is that while you have a conservative outlook perhaps in your day to day habits and life course (though, I could be way off here and we would need to get personal) you take a neoconservative view towards history. Someone put those ideas there, and it wasn’t conservatives.

I have no ideology, so you’ll have to try again. I find the ancap theories of the Austrian school to be correct, humane, and in line with the traditions of the civilization my ancestors built which, yes, extends to a time period before the Secession from Britian. Nevertheless, in my day to day life, ancap’s do not have a theory on aesthetics or day to day habits (ethics and morals) that I find compelling or in line with human experience to the degree that they bother to enter that space. Rothbard, on the otherhand, was a great defender of Middle Class America, and thus I find him more compelling than many a Cold Warrior cum paleoconservative who were probably too smart for their own good to catch the nuance of the libertarian position.

To that end, I am a radical localists who believes in Duty as father, son, friend and citizen of the street he lives on in a rural country. As I have said, life experience will be the great differentiator here. If you choose to work for a pee in a cup conformist corp job, so be it.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-24   11:28:50 ET  Reply   Trace


131. To: Milo Bloom (#128)

Goldwater was against Medicare. When Reagan ran in 1980 he had to tell Jimmy Carter “There you go again” in their lone debate because he had to deny he was going to cut Medicare if he became President. That should tell you all you need to know about conservatism in a nutshell.

Yup – conservativisim does not work – or to be more accurate the majority of the American people do not want full conservativisim (which of course means it is a failed ideology ina democratic nation). Like it or not – the majority of the American people want a mixed private and socialist system (the mix depending on the generation) – though they are too ashamed or hypocritical to admit such a thing outright.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-24   12:52:16 ET  Reply   Trace


132. To: Destro (#131)

In other words they want social democracy, which exactly is what runs Sweeden. Right now it’s the right-wing version that’s in power.

Milo Bloom  posted on  2006-04-24   20:37:05 ET  Reply   Trace


133. To: Milo Bloom (#132)

In other words they want social democracy, which exactly is what runs Sweeden.

I would add that the majority of the American public do want that but are embarrassed about it so they deny it even though they demand it. Sound about right to you?

Destro  posted on  2006-04-24   22:00:47 ET  Reply   Trace


134. To: Destro, Milo Bloom (#133)

In other words they want social democracy, which exactly is what runs Sweeden.

I would add that the majority of the American public do want that but are embarrassed about it so they deny it even though they demand it. Sound about right to you?

This brings up an interesting question: what is the “tradition” in America? If people want some type of mixed government/economy (i’m hesitent to call it “social democracy” and to single out as the model sweden), that would suggest to me that the American experience and tradition are inclined toward such policies. After all, it was ~50 years ago when Lionel Trilling spoke of the US being a “liberal” nation, before Russell Kirk came along with one.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-24   22:46:57 ET  Reply   Trace


135. To: gargantuton (#134)

Lionel Trilling spoke of the US being a “liberal” nation

Did he mean Liberal as in classical liberal which is what the Founding Fathers were – the modern meaning of liberal in the does not mean the same thing as the word was used in the past by the educated elites.

Destro  posted on  2006-04-24   22:53:38 ET  Reply   Trace


136. To: Destro (#135)

Did he mean Liberal as in classical liberal which is what the Founding Fathers were – the modern meaning of liberal in the does not mean the same thing as the word was used in the past by the educated elites.

I know the meaning has changed over the years. I don’t know the context of his statement. Unfortunately I’ve only read it in secondary sources. I would imagine he referred to “liberal” in general. classical liberalism and modern american liberalism, though exhibit different policies share fundmamental assumptions about human beings. That being the case, any distinction between classical liberalism and modern liberalism is arbitrary at best, and ultimately meaningless. If America has a “liberal” tradition, then it has a “liberal” tradition that corresponds to the transformation of liberalism in america.

However, I would argue (as I have attempted on this thread) that conservatism offers just as rich and a very diverse tradition to America, and can obviously accomodate changes in the American political system in a way I think intrinsically superior to liberalism. With that said, I’m not a fan of “social democracy,” though I do support a regulated economy.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-24   23:34:25 ET  Reply   Trace


137. To: gargantuton (#136)

Classical liberalism and modern american liberalism, though exhibit different policies share fundmamental assumptions about human beings. That being the case, any distinction between classical liberalism and modern liberalism is arbitrary at best, and ultimately meaningless. If America has a “liberal” tradition, then it has a “liberal” tradition that corresponds to the transformation of liberalism in america.

Sorry, but your claims are thoroughly erroneous.

I’ve already demonstrated on the other thread (to which I’m still awaiting a response 😉 that the American Revolution was a throughly (classical)liberal revolt away from the conservatism of the day. The Declaration of Independence signaled the intention of the Founders to revolt both politically and philosophicall away from the conservative “English tradition’ of the monarchy. And in the Declaration, they explicitly framed the nature of their intentions in terms of the doctrine of Locke.

It is no accident that they thoroughly rejected the monarchy and established a new order; such was their clearly-stated intention from the outset. The Founders listed their concrete grievances in order to demonstrate why the implementation of Locke’s doctrine was justified, and it is only a mistaken philosophical assumption that would lead one to conclude that Locke’s principles of classical liberalism were mer floating abstractions that could have no relevance to the conrete grievances of the Founders. The Founders themselves thoroughly disagreed with such a poistion, which is why they explicitly framed the terms of their revolt in the context established by Locke.

A straightforward reading of the plain text of the Declaration allows for no other interpretation. And, having established that the Founders were in fact classical liberals, you surely wouldn’t want to compare them to modern liberals. To argue that the distinction between them is arbitrary at best and ultimately meaningless is outright foolishness, and deliberately plays on ignorance as to how the meaning of the term ‘liberal’ has changed over these many decades.

Lamont Cranston  posted on  2006-04-25   00:08:09 ET  Reply   Trace


138. To: Destro (#133)

Yup!

Milo Bloom  posted on  2006-04-25   11:27:26 ET  Reply   Trace


139. To: JohnGalt (#130)

If you choose to work for a pee in a cup conformist corp job, so be it.

Your conservatism … don’t pee in a cup — drugs – libertarianism !

byeltsin  posted on  2006-04-25   11:42:14 ET  Reply   Trace


140. To: JohnGalt (#130)

The basis is that while you have a conservative outlook perhaps in your day to day habits and life course (though, I could be way off here and we would need to get personal) you take a neoconservative view towards history. Someone put those ideas there, and it wasn’t conservatives.

I understand, but you I must stress that I’m not a neoconservative. I try to be conservative in my daily life and habits. It may be that my perception and understanding of this event in American history overlaps with or parallels the neoconservatives’ narrative, but that is insignificant. To define this history in “conservative” versus “other (say, neoconservative)” terms is exactly the kind if ideological thinking I wish to avoid. And that is why I said that your thinking was ideological.

I have no ideology, so you’ll have to try again. I find the ancap theories of the Austrian school to be correct, humane, and in line with the traditions of the civilization my ancestors built which, yes, extends to a time period before the Secession from Britian. Nevertheless, in my day to day life, ancap’s do not have a theory on aesthetics or day to day habits (ethics and morals) that I find compelling or in line with human experience to the degree that they bother to enter that space. Rothbard, on the otherhand, was a great defender of Middle Class America, and thus I find him more compelling than many a Cold Warrior cum paleoconservative who were probably too smart for their own good to catch the nuance of the libertarian position.

Fair enough. I think the ancap theory, while appealing, is too romantic for my taste. I have read some Rothbard and other libertarians and what I’ve read I like (again, ultimately uncompelling). I don’t know enough about Cold War history to make a decision about Rothbard, though I will probably come down on the skeptical side of American power in that era. I like Francis, Burnham, Kirk and others. To figure out one’s political views is an interminable process, as you I’m sure are aware.

What defines your aesthetic outlook?

To that end, I am a radical localists who believes in Duty as father, son, friend and citizen of the street he lives on in a rural country. As I have said, life experience will be the great differentiator here. If you choose to work for a pee in a cup conformist corp job, so be it.

Well, life experience will be and is the great differientiator here. You have had more than I. The life experiences I accumulate will shape me further, as they will everyone.

In the end, I think we are allies and agree far more than disagree. We are different kinds of conservatives, but battle against those same straussians, neocons, admitted liberals and the like who wish to take us farther down the wrong path.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-26   01:48:01 ET  Reply   Trace


141. To: JohnGalt (#129)

My point was how much time should be spent on discussing him on an anon posting board. Where as Rothbard and many Old Right authors are still being discussed today, outside of the late Sam Francis and Joe Sobran, I never hear Burnham get a name drop. If you think he is significant, by all means make your case, I am just not promising too much engagement on that front.

Ah, ok. Well, you had mentioned his Trotskyist and CIA past so I was kind of interested in where you were going with it, as I .

There is no question that he was a prominent figure at one time. At NR while he was there he was an influence (a foil of Frank Meyer and an intellectual influence bar none) and a prominent “public intellectual” beginning in the 1940s. He’s certainly not a member of the “Old Right” — and I have a feeling that he would reject something like ancap or Rothbard’s libertarianism — but is of that “new conservative” movement post WW2 (you know that). That he has been relegated to obscurity is an unfortunate and is an inaccurate measure of his significance as a thinker (and their popularity with the pundits is an inaccurate measure for most thinkers, I think). I know of 3 biographies written about him, one in the last 4 years. There is no doubt that he was significant and should be today. But he has become obscure, for whatever reason.

There are many thinkers (on the Right and the Left) who are no longer discussed but should be It is unfortunate, because like a Burnham or Rothbard, they have much to contribute to political theory and discourse even though they have received the short end of the contemporary stick.

That’s all I have about this, lol.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-26   02:33:55 ET  Reply   Trace


142. To: JohnGalt (#141)

My use of Burnham and Viereck were to show that within conservatism there are those who accept the New Deal, and there contemporary popularity slim or not, they are significant in that they show conservatism comprises a great variety of thinkers — “Old,” “New” and “_____” Right — and ideas which are in tension with one another, contradict one another and undermine one another (just look at the “Old Right” and the “New Right”) yet all can be called conservative. Conservatism is a big tent, as I’ve said.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-26   02:45:50 ET  Reply   Trace


143. To: gargantuton (#141)

Hold on there; we are on an anon posting board with a lot of leftists calling themselves rightists. The Right is a Big Tent as you call it, but it doesn’t include the neocons who are leftists.

This Big Tent includes conservative nationalists (Buchanan, example), Austrian School libertarians, Christian Reconstructionists, racialists/or White Natoinalists, conspiracy theorists, and Constitutionalists, and sub groups in the various Southern heritage camps. In my neck of the woods, New England, Old North New England, Vermont Seccession and the Free Staters in NH have increasingly got attention in various rightwing journals and I keep contact via my own efforts with a disparate group of those who see themselves on the Left and Right in this non-ideological radical localist group.

The neocons are not to be found, and though they have attached themselves to the Republican Party they are more a party apparatus, court intellectuals, than an intellectual piece of the right. To the extent this piece intersts you, try the American Spectator. To the extent the paleoright interests you, The New American publication of the John Birch Society is in my opinion, the most inclusive of the rightwing journals in fusing the disparate groups into something coherent, IMO.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-26   09:54:11 ET  Reply   Trace


144. To: JohnGalt (#143)

Hold on there; we are on an anon posting board with a lot of leftists calling themselves rightists. The Right is a Big Tent as you call it, but it doesn’t include the neocons who are leftists.

yes we are anon posting on a message board with a lot of leftists calling themselves rightists. But, James Burnham does not belong to that contegory. Both Sam Francis and Paul Gottfried have spoken of James Burnham as influences upon their thought, and neither considers Burnham a “neoconservative” so far as I know. Those are fairly strong authorities in my book.

The neocons are not to be found, and though they have attached themselves to the Republican Party they are more a party apparatus, court intellectuals, than an intellectual piece of the right. To the extent this piece intersts you, try the American Spectator. To the extent the paleoright interests you, The New American publication of the John Birch Society is in my opinion, the most inclusive of the rightwing journals in fusing the disparate groups into something coherent, IMO

I’m a fan of Chronicles and the American Conservative myself. Where conservatism is in America arguably is at a disadvantage. I don’t know how successful conservatives can see themselves being.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-26   20:53:48 ET  Reply   Trace


145. To: JohnGalt (#143)

Hold on there; we are on an anon posting board with a lot of leftists calling themselves rightists. The Right is a Big Tent as you call it, but it doesn’t include the neocons who are leftists.

This Big Tent includes conservative nationalists (Buchanan, example), Austrian School libertarians, Christian Reconstructionists, racialists/or White Natoinalists, conspiracy theorists, and Constitutionalists, and sub groups in the various Southern heritage camps. In my neck of the woods, New England, Old North New England, Vermont Seccession and the Free Staters in NH have increasingly got attention in various rightwing journals and I keep contact via my own efforts with a disparate group of those who see themselves on the Left and Right in this non-ideological radical localist group.

On what basis do we call these conservative while others not? For example, what is it that makes Christian Reconstructionists or white racialists “conservative,” while, say, “south park republicans” (the modern-day “eisenhower republicans”) are not?

I see a common element to all the groups you mention as “conservative”: these are all ideologies. This is not necessarily intentional, but it is nonetheless the case. What these disparate groups have in common is not a conservatism (at least not in the concrete), but a particular ideological proclivity. Racialism, christian reconstructionism, nationalism… as much are they ideologies as they are representatives of a concrete reality in America. rather than preserve a concrete reality these systems seek to preserve or in some cases impose an ideal (for example, where is Christian reconstructionism or austrianism within the american tradition?). Surely the austrian school libertarian or Christian reconstructionist is not more conservative than the american liberal who wishes to preserve the 70+ years of social programs they have enacted that has become a part of American experience, are they?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-26   23:17:34 ET  Reply   Trace


146. To: gargantuton (#145)

My apologies, I am at fault. I switched to covering the American Right, which doesn’t include neocons. I would argue on decent ground that radical localism is the American tradition and those who wish to preserve it are, while often confused, more conservative than any DC centralist.

Christian Reconstructionist are well in line with the tradition of American Prots, like it or not, as a Catholic and me as an Old Europe Prot.

RE: Burnham: he was a Cold Warrior a political theoretician that influenced Mr. Francis’s critical thinking, but it is clear Burnham as an American Rightists was hardly in line with Catholic or Christian outlooks, the traditions of the American people, even as he could imagine a certain level of geo or mega politics from a Rightwing perspective.

So what?

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-27   07:03:47 ET  Reply   Trace


147. To: JohnGalt (#146)

My apologies, I am at fault. I switched to covering the American Right, which doesn’t include neocons. I would argue on decent ground that radical localism is the American tradition and those who wish to preserve it are, while often confused, more conservative than any DC centralist.

I would agree that radical localism is also more conservative (in fact many of the groups you mention are), but I do wonder where that line is between conservatism and nostalgia.

Christian Reconstructionist are well in line with the tradition of American Prots, like it or not, as a Catholic and me as an Old Europe Prot.

Arguably the Mass Bay Colonies provide a precursor to the modern-day reconstructionists, but the mixture of church and state seems at odds with the American tradition as a whole. And I think it is at odds with Catholicism as well (not to say that reconstructionism is not conservatism in some sense).

RE: Burnham: he was a Cold Warrior a political theoretician that influenced Mr. Francis’s critical thinking, but it is clear Burnham as an American Rightists was hardly in line with Catholic or Christian outlooks, the traditions of the American people, even as he could imagine a certain level of geo or mega politics from a Rightwing perspective.

That’s a fairly sweeping claim. In his modernist philosophy/methodology he was at odds with Catholicism and Christianity no doubt, but in his conclusions he was clearly conservative and in the concrete, there is no doubt of that. In what specific ways was he at odds with the American tradition?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-27   13:10:01 ET  Reply   Trace


148. To: JohnGalt (#146)

So what?

Burnham specifically, like a Viereck, is one more type of conservative who belongs in the conservative camp. If we can include Christian Reconstructionist, white nationalist/racialists and austrian libertarians into the camp, certainly a moderate conservative like Viereck or a hard line anti-communist moderate conservative like Burnham belongs too. Let’s not make this a club of extremes when it need not be.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-27   13:12:40 ET  Reply   Trace


149. To: gargantuton (#147)

No one of that Era who supported the Vietnam War or covered for McNamara or advocated a first strike “pre-emptive war” against the USSR has anything to do with the traditions of this country. You are younger, you can be foregiven, but do watch “Dr Strangelove” some time which parodies the type so well.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-27   13:33:01 ET  Reply   Trace


150. To: gargantuton (#148)

You are confusing two points, but that is my fault for lack of precise language. I described the contemporary American Right.

For example, Christian Reconstructionists are closely tied to the conservative Constitution Party, whom no one confuses for anything but being on the Right. Gary North is probably the most public intellectual of this group and he gets decent coverage on LRC, if you wish to check him out. When the Old Right (isolationist, decentralist etc) institutions were destroyed or taken over by the Buckley Right, the CRs had money and publishing houses to take over a lot of what we know as paleolibertarianism for a brief time in the late 50s and early 60s. (Keep in mind, a lot of this is as much social and institutional, as it is deep critical ideological thinking of which we should not bother pretending to do in this circumstance.)

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-27   13:36:43 ET  Reply   Trace


151. To: gargantuton (#147)

Burnham provided an alternate political analysis to the anti-statism of political libertarianism and it came together nicely with the Buchanan campaign of 1992. You are familiar with Rothbards speech from 1992, eh? Raimondo, Sam Francis, Dr. Fleming et al were in the audience…

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-27   13:39:26 ET  Reply   Trace


152. To: JohnGalt (#149)

No one of that Era who supported the Vietnam War or covered for McNamara or advocated a first strike “pre-emptive war” against the USSR has anything to do with the traditions of this country. You are younger, you can be foregiven, but do watch “Dr Strangelove” some time which parodies the type so well.

Hmm… the only problem I see with your analysis is that you write out as false conservatives a large number of intellectuals and lay persons who self-identify as “conservatives.” That seems problematic, to say the least. It rest on a rather narrow understanding of conservatism which denies not only the internal fights and contradictions within it, but the opportunity for a conservative plurality, an opportunity which is natural in any type of political thought. This isn’t Marxism here, it’s conservatism. It in effect makes conservatism an ideology governed by litmus tests. There were conservatives who supported the war and they were within the American tradition– it may not be the Old Right, but it was within the American tradition. I think it also denies the uniqueness of the Cold War which introduced a new kind of conservatism into American public life, one which existed along side the Old Right (this is not to say that the policies they advocated were the proper ones, just that they were valid within the historical time period). Despite his fervent anti-communism, Burnham was a moderate conservative. To point to three stances of his and call him a non-conservative is problematic and lacks a flexibile imagination. With this defense of Burnham, I do not mean to say that we invite neocons now into the fold, because they are clearly not conservative. It’s just to suggest that conservatism in its many varieties has contradiction and tensions and we should not subject it to (too many) policy litmus tests. The Old Right is one form of conservatism. So are the New Conservatives who populated NR. I’ve not seen Dr. Strangelove but I have heard great things about it. It’s a movie I regret i’ve not seen.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   04:06:52 ET  Reply   Trace


153. To: JohnGalt (#150)

You are confusing two points, but that is my fault for lack of precise language. I described the contemporary American Right.

Yes, I know. I suppose I was moving in the wrong direction with the question.

For example, Christian Reconstructionists are closely tied to the conservative Constitution Party, whom no one confuses for anything but being on the Right. Gary North is probably the most public intellectual of this group and he gets decent coverage on LRC, if you wish to check him out. When the Old Right (isolationist, decentralist etc) institutions were destroyed or taken over by the Buckley Right, the CRs had money and publishing houses to take over a lot of what we know as paleolibertarianism for a brief time in the late 50s and early 60s. (Keep in mind, a lot of this is as much social and institutional, as it is deep critical ideological thinking of which we should not bother pretending to do in this circumstance.)

I know of Gary North. I’ll have to check him out on LRC.

What is the common thread amongst these various groups within the contemporary conservative movement? Perhaps if we juxtapose them with the neocons who we know are not conservative, what is it that these groups are against that defines them as conservative, as opposed to reactionaries or nostalgics?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   04:25:32 ET  Reply   Trace


154. To: JohnGalt (#151)

Burnham provided an alternate political analysis to the anti-statism of political libertarianism and it came together nicely with the Buchanan campaign of 1992. You are familiar with Rothbards speech from 1992, eh? Raimondo, Sam Francis, Dr. Fleming et al were in the audience…

Burnham did provide an alternative analysis to libertarian anti-statism, a very intriguing one. Thanks for the link to the Rothbard speech.

For another member of the Right NR did not like check out Peter Viereck’s The Unadjusted Man(he supported Adlai Stevenson for Prez as well as the New Deal, at least moderately. I also think he was not so fervently anti-communist. Not ideologically pure enough for the NR crowd.).

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   04:36:32 ET  Reply   Trace


155. To: gargantuton (#152)

National Review, Buckly, Burnham and the CIA….might be an interesting bit of study for you.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-28   07:29:05 ET  Reply   Trace


156. To: gargantuton (#0)

If Ron Paul were to run he’d get my vote

Analogman  posted on  2006-04-28   07:34:50 ET  Reply   Trace


157. To: JohnGalt (#155)

National Review, Buckly, Burnham and the CIA….might be an interesting bit of study for you.

I’ve heard a bit of the relationship between Buckley, Burnham and the CIA. Both were affiliated for a bit during their careers. I don’t no of NR’s relationship to the organization though. That doesn’t change the fact that the two were conservative and NR was a conservative organ. Old Right? No, but conservative. What else would they be? Liberals?

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   12:25:29 ET  Reply   Trace


158. To: Analogman (#156)

If Ron Paul were to run he’d get my vote

He might get mine.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   12:25:46 ET  Reply   Trace


159. To: gargantuton (#158)

Ron Paul speaking to this convention in Las Vegas this week end?

Crystalk  posted on  2006-04-28   12:28:29 ET  Reply   Trace


160. To: Crystalk (#159)

Ron Paul speaking to this convention in Las Vegas this week end?

I don’t know

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   12:29:27 ET  Reply   Trace


161. To: gargantuton (#157)

The post-WW II dynamic, reading Loftus or Burnham, was a series of national socialist regimes (perfected by some intelligent and savy men in Nazi Germany) with varying sets of interests. The huge inescapable breakdown is the simplistic belief that “international Communism HQed in Moscow” should be met by becoming more like them. That is stupid poli sci crap.

America is the only Western country with a reflective “conservative movement” so if someone claims ownership to it as Buckely did claiming the right of excommunication for himself with the full backing of the permanent government (we are ruled by managerial elites afterall) then one can safely conclude, using Buckley/Burnham’s own logic, that they were part of the managerial elite, instructed to guide with in safe parementers, right thinking in line with the ruling elite.

JohnGalt  posted on  2006-04-28   12:31:19 ET  Reply   Trace


162. To: JohnGalt (#161)

The post-WW II dynamic, reading Loftus or Burnham, was a series of national socialist regimes (perfected by some intelligent and savy men in Nazi Germany) with varying sets of interests. The huge inescapable breakdown is the simplistic belief that “international Communism HQed in Moscow” should be met by becoming more like them. That is stupid poli sci crap.

Hindsight is 20/20. Domestically, Burnham was a moderate conservative. He supported McCarthy, yes, but his policy beliefs outside of communism were moderate by NR and conservative standards (e.g., a supporter of Rockefeller over Goldwater). It’s simply not the case that he wanted the US to turn into the USSR.

America is the only Western country with a reflective “conservative movement” so if someone claims ownership to it as Buckely did claiming the right of excommunication for himself with the full backing of the permanent government (we are ruled by managerial elites afterall) then one can safely conclude, using Buckley/Burnham’s own logic, that they were part of the managerial elite, instructed to guide with in safe parementers, right thinking in line with the ruling elite.

Interesting analysis but that assumes that the New Right (and the Old Right) were a part of the elite. If we assume that they were,the expulsion of the Old Right by the New Right is a natural event. The groups fight with each other in a system of permananent dynamism — the elite class is permanent but there is no permanent ruling elite. Does that mean that the New Right was acting in the interests of the ruling elite? It may, but it may not. That was inter-group politics that works in the same fashion as the elites work, but they were not necessarily the ruling elite at the time. There are opposition groups, of which the Right were probably a part.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   14:11:05 ET  Reply   Trace


163. To: gargantuton (#162)

Hindsight is 20/20. Domestically, Burnham was a moderate conservative. He supported McCarthy, yes, but his policy beliefs outside of communism were moderate by NR and conservative standards (e.g., a supporter of Rockefeller over Goldwater). It’s simply not the case that he wanted the US to turn into the USSR.

Wasn’t Rockefeller a Commie?

xUSMC0311  posted on  2006-04-28   14:14:38 ET  Reply   Trace


164. To: xUSMC0311 (#163)

Hindsight is 20/20. Domestically, Burnham was a moderate conservative. He supported McCarthy, yes, but his policy beliefs outside of communism were moderate by NR and conservative standards (e.g., a supporter of Rockefeller over Goldwater). It’s simply not the case that he wanted the US to turn into the USSR.

Wasn’t Rockefeller a Commie?

No, he was a moderate republican. Burnham thought Goldwater was too extreme (and also not too bright). He wanted conservatism to be respectable and be able to operate within American politics and felt that if it catered to the extremists then it would fail. He was pragmatic.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   14:33:40 ET  Reply   Trace


165. To: gargantuton (#164)

No, he was a moderate republican.

Like I said, a Commie.

He wanted conservatism to be respectable and be able to operate within American politics and felt that if it catered to the extremists then it would fail. He was pragmatic.

I just reviewed Wikipedia’s account of his political career, and it looks like your standard American Communism cloaked in the rhetoric of conservatism/Republicanism.

xUSMC0311  posted on  2006-04-28   14:40:15 ET  Reply   Trace


166. To: gargantuton (#164)

No, he was a moderate republican.

You really meant:

No, he was a moderate Republican.

Right?

xUSMC0311  posted on  2006-04-28   14:40:42 ET  Reply   Trace


167. To: xUSMC0311 (#165)

No, he was a moderate republican.

Like I said, a Commie

No, a moderate Republican.

He wanted conservatism to be respectable and be able to operate within American politics and felt that if it catered to the extremists then it would fail. He was pragmatic.

I just reviewed Wikipedia’s account of his political career, and it looks like your standard American Communism cloaked in the rhetoric of conservatism/Republicanism.

No. There’s on way one can equate moderate Republicans with American Communists, though I’m open to the possibility of a sufficient argument is given.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   14:50:11 ET  Reply   Trace


168. To: xUSMC0311 (#166)

No, he was a moderate republican.

You really meant:

No, he was a moderate Republican.

Right?

Yes

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   14:50:27 ET  Reply   Trace


169. To: gargantuton (#167)

No. There’s on way one can equate moderate Republicans with American Communists, though I’m open to the possibility of a sufficient argument is given.

Communism takes many forms, and has many names. Websters defines it as:

1 a : a theory advocating elimination of private property b : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed

Rockefeller worked very effectively to eliminate ownership of private property called “illegal narcotics”, and he worked to establish government control over the people’s goods through taxes and to make them available to all as needed through “public works”. Different vocabulary, different rhetoric, same illogic, same justification of government power for private gain disguised as being for the public good. Same s**t, different pile.

xUSMC0311  posted on  2006-04-28   14:56:27 ET  Reply   Trace


170. To: xUSMC0311 (#167)

There’s on no way one can equate

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   22:19:32 ET  Reply   Trace


171. To: xUSMC0311 (#169)

Communism takes many forms, and has many names. Websters defines it as:

1 a : a theory advocating elimination of private property b : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed

All forms of Communism desire as the final goal a stateless, classless society. So they’re not as different as one might think.

Rockefeller worked very effectively to eliminate ownership of private property called “illegal narcotics”, and he worked to establish government control over the people’s goods through taxes and to make them available to all as needed through “public works”. Different vocabulary, different rhetoric, same illogic, same justification of government power for private gain disguised as being for the public good. Same s**t, different pile.

Hmm… The argument is highly ideological, but I don’t know how sustainable it is. It’s not communism. It’s government regulation, perhaps more than necessary (after all, he is considered a “liberal Republican”) but it’s not communism. I don’t see any intent to create a classless, stateless society. Not the same logic, not the same justification of government power. No evidence can be presented (no matter how one tries) to equate Rockefeller with communism. In fact, a reason Burnham supported Rockfeller was because Rockefeller was a strong anti-communist. Figure that one out.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   22:36:12 ET  Reply   Trace


172. To: xUSMC0311 (#169)

Rockefeller worked very effectively to eliminate ownership of private property called “illegal narcotics”, and he worked to establish government control over the people’s goods through taxes and to make them available to all as needed through “public works”. Different vocabulary, different rhetoric, same illogic, same justification of government power for private gain disguised as being for the public good. Same s**t, different pile.

What is the bright line for communism? Are all forms of government intervention a form of communism? It would seem to be the argument you are making.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-28   22:48:07 ET  Reply   Trace


173. To: gargantuton (#171)

All forms of Communism desire as the final goal a stateless, classless society. So they’re not as different as one might think.

The theoretical form of Communism is very different compared to the practical form of Communism.

Hmm… The argument is highly ideological, but I don’t know how sustainable it is. It’s not communism. It’s government regulation, perhaps more than necessary (after all, he is considered a “liberal Republican”) but it’s not communism. I don’t see any intent to create a classless, stateless society. Not the same logic, not the same justification of government power. No evidence can be presented (no matter how one tries) to equate Rockefeller with communism. In fact, a reason Burnham supported Rockfeller was because Rockefeller was a strong anti-communist. Figure that one out.

Both communism and Rockefeller’s ideaology aim to subvert individual liberty and property rights, and advance government power, and to create a society of elites ruling over the masses. I guess if you quote Marx to achieve these goals you are a commie, and if you quote Lincoln you are a Republican. Oligarchy is the most accurate term to describe both ideologies. On a long enough time scale I think any procedural/rhetorical differences would fade away.

xUSMC0311  posted on  2006-04-29   04:46:40 ET  Reply   Trace


174. To: gargantuton (#172)

What is the bright line for communism? Are all forms of government intervention a form of communism? It would seem to be the argument you are making.

I’d say in my personal connotation of the word communism is “government that steals from everyone for the benefit of the few but supposedly for everyones benefit” because that’s the simplest explanation of how the communist governments of Soviet Union, China, and Cuba work.

xUSMC0311  posted on  2006-04-29   04:48:40 ET  Reply   Trace


175. To: xUSMC0311 (#174)

I’d say in my personal connotation of the word communism is “government that steals from everyone for the benefit of the few but supposedly for everyones benefit” because that’s the simplest explanation of how the communist governments of Soviet Union, China, and Cuba work.

My first reaction is that the definition is a little too vague to refer solely to communism. It really trivializes Communism as an ideology because under that vague definition may fall many institutional arrangements with that type of structure, but are not communist. That’s why I think one must look beyond the structure and look to the specific policies, the rationales behind the policies, etc. It distinguishes communism proper from simple government intervention which fails.

gargantuton  posted on  2006-04-29   23:18:41 ET  Reply   Trace


176. To: gargantuton (#175)

My first reaction is that the definition is a little too vague to refer solely to communism. It really trivializes Communism as an ideology because under that vague definition may fall many institutional arrangements with that type of structure, but are not communist. That’s why I think one must look beyond the structure and look to the specific policies, the rationales behind the policies, etc. It distinguishes communism proper from simple government intervention which fails.

The only difference I see between the different forms of government that are oligarchies is the priorities of tyranny and the rhetoric used to justify the same. The underlying principles and end goals are the same.

xUSMC0311  posted on  2006-04-30   03:25:36 ET  Reply   Trace


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