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[w:88]What Happened to American Conservatism?

HikerGuy83

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A world where 9/11 didn't happen is...difficult to ponder. So much in our world has changed because of it.

I would agree.

But that is the power of the moment.

Bush lights it off in early 2003. Everyone was on board (except for some of us who thought it was a bad idea and said as much)

Until it went south.

Then the left was against the war.
 

NWRatCon

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The central focus of this thread was and is the Brooks essay, but... I think it appropriate to explore other aspects of what has been termed "Traditional Conservatism" or sometimes "Burkean Conservatism" after Sir Edmund Burke. (I'm using Wikipedia entries here, rather than philosophy sources, because they are easily accessible and simply put.)

As one commenter recently put it, "a good part of the confusion arises because the word “conservative” no longer means what it once meant—that is to say, a person who wants to conserve something." A Few Notes on Burkean Conservatism (John Michael Greer, Resilience); another take is The Right Man (Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker) "One reason that Burke is so appealing to American conservatives is that, unlike other anti-Enlightenment thinkers, he supported the American Revolution." (Much like Brooks, I'll note.)

The central tenet of Conservatism, I argue, is the preservation of something. That something can take up many forms, be it the church, the economic system (landed gentry, monetarism, colonialism, slavery, capitalism, mercantilism, depending on the age), established civil institutions, or some gauzy conception of an earlier age (Greek classicism, Roman colonialism, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Britannia ruling the waves, the 1950s).

Where Brooks, and other Burke acolytes, distinguishes American Conservatism is its birth in the American Revolution and the example of the United States as the guiding light of Representative, Constitutional, Democratic Liberty - the liberal world order. And, legitimately, that event marked a new philosophical beginning. But the lessons drawn from that event engage both conservative and liberal thinkers alike - and both find solace and meaning in them. That makes that foundation very confused and confusing.
 

HikerGuy83

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The central tenet of Conservatism, I argue, is the preservation of something. That something can take up many forms, be it the church, the economic system (landed gentry, monetarism, colonialism, slavery, capitalism, mercantilism, depending on the age), established civil institutions, or some gauzy conception of an earlier age (Greek classicism, Roman colonialism, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Britannia ruling the waves, the 1950s).

That something can just as easily be democratic and/or republican processes.

What you describe are institutions.

What I think of is knowledge. The idea that we don't know how to predict how things will go based on "first principles" tends to create a greater reliance on history and an acknowledgement of human nature for what it is...not what it could be.

As a conservative, I am willing to change and welcome it in some areas. I am very unwilling to throw away lessons learned on similar topics by others. I am also very skeptical of my or anyone else's ability to engineer a complex system such as a society. Hence a more incremental approach.

Conservatives don't hold a corner on happiness, but I believe like most humans they desire happiness.
 

NWRatCon

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That something can just as easily be democratic and/or republican processes.
To a great extent, I agree. It was, I think, the formation of the nation that made that so in large measure. And, it is that reality that can make Democratic/Republican or conservative/liberal compromise possible.
What you describe are institutions.
Few "liberals" want to tear down the institutions (with some exceptions), indeed, they largely and vehemently want to preserve and protect them, but they do want to improve them. Not all of those suggestions are tenable, but far more of them are than would be apparent to an outside observer in today's environment. Contrast that with the iconoclastic ambitions of the TEA party/Freedom Caucus/Trump wing of the GOP. Their entire program is to tear down those institutions. The instincts of many GOP stalwarts was to condemn the attack on the Capitol - their institution - in words as strong as their Democratic brethren. Sadly, that instinct has since been suppressed.
What I think of is knowledge. The idea that we don't know how to predict how things will go based on "first principles" tends to create a greater reliance on history and an acknowledgement of human nature for what it is...not what it could be.
I think that mischaracterizes the opposite. Liberals are as wedded to history as conservatives - they just want it to be accurate and reflect the diversity that is America. They prefer it not be bowdlerized and gauzified. Too often, I assert, that is where the schism actually occurs. Many conservatives want to idealize that past. They want to preserve a history as they want it to be, not as it actually was. Modernists want to clear it of the patina of nostalgia and strip off the varnish that obscures the truth.

Similarly, I don't think liberals are, in the main, "head in the cloud" idealists, but do have a vision of where they want to go. Where we've been informs our path, but it doesn't define our future aspirations, and shouldn't limit them. The past is prologue, it is not the destination. That is the central failure of conservatism throughout history. Today is "good enough", even when change is inevitable or desirable.
As a conservative, I am willing to change and welcome it in some areas.
Hallelujah!
I am very unwilling to throw away lessons learned on similar topics by others.
And, you shouldn't. Those that refuse to learn from history are bound to repeat the mistakes of history, such is the fraught era we live in. We have learned, and are learning, much. Those lessons should inform our decision-making, but they shouldn't end it.
I am also very skeptical of my or anyone else's ability to engineer a complex system such as a society. Hence a more incremental approach.
I love skepticism. It is too routinely ignored, nowadays. Society is a complex system, true, but too small of increments in change can doom any endeavor. It's the venerable "penny-wise, pound foolish" narrative repeated iteratively. Hence immigration, taxation and environmental degradation become perennial problems - although obvious and even popular solutions are evident.

And, when change has occurred, particularly solidified by decades of development and acceptance, trying to "go back" is a fool's errand, but one too many are willing to embark upon. Which, for example, is more disruptive to society - Roe, or Dobbs? I think the answer is obvious. Social Security, whether "socialist or not", is a revered and established institution that, frankly, makes our society function. Conservatism has not historically been about going back, but standing pat.
Conservatives don't hold a corner on happiness, but I believe like most humans they desire happiness.
Amen to that.
 

HikerGuy83

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I think that mischaracterizes the opposite. Liberals are as wedded to history as conservatives - they just want it to be accurate and reflect the diversity that is America. They prefer it not be bowdlerized and gauzified. Too often, I assert, that is where the schism actually occurs. Many conservatives want to idealize that past. They want to preserve a history as they want it to be, not as it actually was. Modernists want to clear it of the patina of nostalgia and strip off the varnish that obscures the truth.

Left wing thought is not liberal thought.

Left wingers are all to happy to throw out history AND convention. Both of which add stability to a system. Now, I am no fan of convention to the point the Brits ued to take it. But to an extent, you can't collapse things to quickly.

Idealization of the past is a strange accusation. And I think there are those who play into that stereotype. However, I think more to the point many look at "the past" and only know they felt less encumbered and less prone to the whims of our government. The future always gets better in some respects. Things like medical technology, the internet (although some could debate that too..and I hate facebook).

And you are right, the "Make Custer a hero and a victim instead of what he was" crowd does do some pretty crazy revisionist history.

At the same time, nobody like the constant drone of the "America Sucks" crowd either. It takes grown ups to actually look at what we are and what we might become.

If I praise Reagan, you'll be upset. If I diss Obama, you'll be upset. The fact is that many many people were at work during both of those administations and the complex nature of both their successes and failures helps you to realize that personifying the government in one individual is a huge mistake.

But it seems to be what we do.

The truth is a mixture of things. I believe a lot of good and bad in both. It seems we have those who want to only emphasie one over the other.

Now......

Conservatives look for slow gradual change. In today's world, no real change at the federal level is possible. We've pretty much proven the clownshow is here to stay.
 

bomberfox

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Its tried to be very two faced for such a long time one of the faces just took over. Contradictory ideologies tend to do that.

Kinda like America has always been a pretty two faced country.
 

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Left wing thought is not liberal thought.

Left wingers are all to happy to throw out history AND convention. Both of which add stability to a system.
I don't agree with either assertion. There is a great deal of variation on "liberal/left" side of the equation, just as there are a number of philosophical positions taken on the right, from mild hesitancy to regressive chauvinism. It depends, I suppose, on where you identify the root of the "wing". There are "flight feathers" on the wingtips of the wing that want to "defund the police", for example, but they do not represent mainstream "left" thought any more than white nationalists represent "right" thought. I think the preference in anti-thought discourse is to lump the entire spectrum into the fringe elements to simplify the attack. Don't succumb to that tendency.
Now, I am no fan of convention to the point the Brits ued to take it. But to an extent, you can't collapse things to quickly.
Again "collapse" - the use of the term belies an attitude about the "other", no? Who is advocating a collapse? Now, I will admit, that there are policies in place that will augur in a collapse - like environmental policies that exacerbate climate change, social policies that are remarginalizing minority groups, and economic policies that are robbing the middle and bottom of the income classes obscenely to the benefit of the top percentile. Those will all lead to collapses. Rather, the left wishes to introduce changes that will inject equity and foresight into a sclerotic, and even regressive, system, and mitigate or even forestall those collapses. Those are decidedly conservative instincts, are they not? Preserve the planet, spread equity, and stabilize the economy? The problem is that the governing philosophy on the right has abandoned those principles to "win". But win what?
Idealization of the past is a strange accusation.
Not an accusation, an observation.
And I think there are those who play into that stereotype.
What's the stereotype?
However, I think more to the point many look at "the past" and only know they felt less encumbered and less prone to the whims of our government.
And here those "feelings" are injected, demonstrating the point. Neither of those sentiments are factually true. Were slavery, Indian resettlement or Asian exclusion not "encumbrances"? Were not laissez-faire policies "whims" of the government? Take off the rose-encumbered glasses and view the past with clear vision, not the massaged preferred version of the elites.
The future always gets better in some respects.
The future doesn't just get better, it is made better. But it can only be made better with changes in policies and investment in it.
Things like medical technology, the internet (although some could debate that too..and I hate facebook).

And you are right, the "Make Custer a hero and a victim instead of what he was" crowd does do some pretty crazy revisionist history.
On this we can definitely agree.
At the same time, nobody like the constant drone of the "America Sucks" crowd either. It takes grown ups to actually look at what we are and what we might become.
Where are those grown ups? Think about this: were it not for progressive ideas, tied to their times, we would still have slavery, unlimited work weeks, miserable pay, no social security, medicare, exclusion of the very populations that built the country, redlining, etc. Indeed, in the absence of progressive programs, we might not have survived several recessions, including the Great Depression and the 2008 collapse.
 

NWRatCon

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(Part II)

If I praise Reagan, you'll be upset. If I diss Obama, you'll be upset. The fact is that many many people were at work during both of those administations and the complex nature of both their successes and failures helps you to realize that personifying the government in one individual is a huge mistake.
I agree that the government is a very complicated and cumbersome entity, and were it not for "the deep state" we might not have survived Trump's tenure. But, government also needs leadership and vision. It doesn't just persist, it needs funding and priorities. When you look at the priorities of the White House tenants, you get a sense of the direction that the nation is moving, because we put them there.
The truth is a mixture of things. I believe a lot of good and bad in both. It seems we have those who want to only emphasize one over the other.

Now......

Conservatives look for slow gradual change. In today's world, no real change at the federal level is possible. We've pretty much proven the clownshow is here to stay.
If you're right, we're doomed. But I am not nearly so pessimistic. Look at the progress the Biden administration has made, and is going to make shortly. Just look at it realistically, and not cynically. That is where the hope lies.
 

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With that in mind, I recommend the essay and look forward to discussing it.

I don't know how much there is to discuss. David Brooks is a good person, a kind and thoughtful person but he is hopelessly naive. I think he really believes that all people are just like him, well educated, upper middle class, grounded but not obsessed by his religion, family oriented. He seems to believe that if everyone follows Burke's philosophy and Brooks practicality everything will work for everybody. He recognizes greed, racism, selfishness and the misuse of power and wealth as drawbacks to a fair and just society but only in the abstract and only in passing as in this example:

"The British and American strains of conservatism were built on a foundation of national confidence. .......... By 2016, that confidence was in tatters. Communities were falling apart, families were breaking up, America was fragmenting. Whole regions had been left behind ......... social trust was cratering, and the leadership class was growing more isolated, imperious, and condescending."

The impression Brooks gives here, is the "falling apart" is because the average American had forgotten the benevolence of Burke's philosophy completely, while ignoring the transformation of corporate America from businesses with a reasonable sense of responsibility and loyalty to their workers and the town into monsters of wealth and power. He seems to have forgotten the willingness of both Republicans and Democrats to give corporations almost unlimited power to do malice to their workers and the country in exchange for generous campaign funding. The average American did not destroy confidence, communities, families, or leave whole regions behind. Brooks seems unaware that corporations with the complicity of the politicians we elected and trusted to do the right thing did that to America, simply because they could.

Actually one can stop reading after Brook's first sentence: "I fell in love with conservatism in my 20s." Most of us fell under the spell of some impossible idealization of how the world should work, when we were 20. Most of us have grown more realistic and practical and long ago abandoned the romantic but unworkable ideas of our 20's. It's appealing that Brooks still believes in his 20s idealism but I think it's unworkable.
 

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With that in mind, I recommend the essay and look forward to discussing it.
Conservativism at its core is a fear-based ideology.

It is driven by fear of change, fear of the future, fear of anything new or novel, fear of the outside world, fear of outsiders, and fear of anything they don't fully understand. It is gravitated towards by the elderly not out of wisdom, but out of fear that the world is changing too fast, and they no longer have the ability to keep up.

While there are levels of conservative thinking that can be supported by rational thought, the overwhelming majority of it is simply based upon fear, and those few conservatives who border on being rational will always find themselves in bed with and outnumbered by Racists, Nationalist, and Religious Zealots.
They will always find themselves opposed to youth, modern science, modern economics, and progress. Their nature is to oppose progress regardless of facts evidence or reason based purely on the notion that their scared, and they can't know with certainty whether the future will be better or worse.

While there is nothing wrong with having a healthy skepticism of radical new ideas, simply blocking those ideas because you're scared you don't know how things are going to turn out is not a valid rational choice.
 

HikerGuy83

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I agree that the government is a very complicated and cumbersome entity, and were it not for "the deep state" we might not have survived Trump's tenure.

The Federal Government is a very complicated, self-feeding, inefficient and stupid entity.

We survived Bush.

We survived Obama.

We survived Trump (I have no idea what the "Deep State" did except violate just about every rule of government function in it's efforts to thwart him (and there really wasn't that much to thwart).

We'll survive Biden.

And hopefully Harris will do us a favor and not further test our robustness.

Partnered with idiots Schumer and Pelosi (as minority leaders), it may be the biggest challenge yet.

But, government also needs leadership and vision.

Apparently it doesn't. At least not to exist. We have not had a good leader for a very long time.

It doesn't just persist, it needs funding and priorities.

Yes it does. And no it doesn't. Not the federal government.
When you look at the priorities of the White House tenants, you get a sense of the direction that the nation is moving, because we put them there.

We put Trump there and the story was much different. Non-stop whining for four years. Absent COVID, it would have been eight.

If the country is moving, it is only in the direction something moves in a toilet just before the trap opens.
 

HikerGuy83

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While there is nothing wrong with having a healthy skepticism of radical new ideas, simply blocking those ideas because you're scared you don't know how things are going to turn out is not a valid rational choice.

That made absolutely no sense at all.
 

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Conservativism at its core is a fear-based ideology.

It is driven by fear of change, fear of the future, fear of anything new or novel, fear of the outside world, fear of outsiders, and fear of anything they don't fully understand. It is gravitated towards by the elderly not out of wisdom, but out of fear that the world is changing too fast, and they no longer have the ability to keep up.

While there are levels of conservative thinking that can be supported by rational thought, the overwhelming majority of it is simply based upon fear, and those few conservatives who border on being rational will always find themselves in bed with and outnumbered by Racists, Nationalist, and Religious Zealots.
They will always find themselves opposed to youth, modern science, modern economics, and progress. Their nature is to oppose progress regardless of facts evidence or reason based purely on the notion that their scared, and they can't know with certainty whether the future will be better or worse.

While there is nothing wrong with having a healthy skepticism of radical new ideas, simply blocking those ideas because you're scared you don't know how things are going to turn out is not a valid rational choice.
If you are describing conservatism today, I tend to agree. However, that doesn't describe the conservatism David Brooks is talking about or the old style Republican Party of the 30s 40s 50s and somewhat into the 60s.
.
 

HikerGuy83

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If you are describing conservatism today, I tend to agree. However, that doesn't describe the conservatism David Brooks is talking about or the old style Republican Party of the 30s 40s 50s and somewhat into the 60s.

Do you feel positive about any candidate for the presidency?

It isn't just the presidency.

It's the Federal Government, it's "mission" and it's overreach.

Clinton did a good job once he got away from the silly social issues that plagued his first two years.
 

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It isn't just the presidency.

It's the Federal Government, it's "mission" and it's overreach.

Clinton did a good job once he got away from the silly social issues that plagued his first two years.
Who makes up this Federal Government whose mission you don't like. Are you talking about the people we elected to serve in Washington DC. Do you mean the civil service? The founding fathers set up the Federal Government is that the government with an unacceptable mission. What is that mission and why don't you like it. And what is that they are overreaching. In order to discuss ideas I think i it's necessary to be more specific.
 

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If you are describing conservatism today, I tend to agree. However, that doesn't describe the conservatism David Brooks is talking about or the old style Republican Party of the 30s 40s 50s and somewhat into the 60s.
During the 30s, 40s and 50s, the Republican party was not a conservative party. It was led by northern liberals.
It was under Richard Nixon that the Republican Party became what it is today. Davis Brooks is and was a part of that Republican party. For decades he excused away the deplorable within the Republican party as not truly representative of the party, and only a very small minority. But that was a bullshit lie.
Richard Nixon actively sought out the votes of racist pieces of shit to form his coalition to win the white house. His campaign manager literally called it "The Southern Strategy." That is the exact same strategy that all Republican presidents have used to run for election ever since then. They've just done it with a wink and a dog whistle to maintain plausible deniability.

But don't think for one second that pieces of shit like David Brooks didn't know exactly what they were doing.

He and others like him know damn well that their economic ideas are only truly beneficial to a handful of rich assholes and are entirely unpalatable and unsellable to anyone making less than $200k/ year.
They can't win without the deplorables, they know they can't, and they don't care. It's only when they get off their leash that they pretend this is some new thing.
 

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Who makes up this Federal Government whose mission you don't like. Are you talking about the people we elected to serve in Washington DC. Do you mean the civil service? The founding fathers set up the Federal Government is that the government with an unacceptable mission. What is that mission and why don't you like it. And what is that they are overreaching. In order to discuss ideas I think i it's necessary to be more specific.
"Overreach" to some is simply "reach" to others, or "simply doing their job," which is something conservatives often complain about: IRS agents actually conducting audits to find illegally hidden revenues; the FTC and CPB protecting consumers from predatory practices; Monopolies being broken up; laws actually being enforced.

It is often the mission of conservatives to prevent government from functioning, and they're certainly against efficiency, which is contrary to the fundamental principles of conservatism. It's ironic, really.
 

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If you are describing conservatism today, I tend to agree. However, that doesn't describe the conservatism David Brooks is talking about or the old style Republican Party of the 30s 40s 50s and somewhat into the 60s.
.

What Books is attacking is something that calls itself conservatism.

That's the whole point.

Conservatisim, by definition, is "something". That people who call themselves conservatives behave differently.....does not mean conservatism changed.

Tucker Carlson is not "conservative". No more than I am black.

He can call himself anything he wants. Regardless...he's still a moron.
 

HikerGuy83

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"Overreach" to some is simply "reach" to others, or "simply doing their job," which is something conservatives often complain about: IRS agents actually conducting audits to find illegally hidden revenues; the FTC and CPB protecting consumers from predatory practices; Monopolies being broken up; laws actually being enforced.

It is often the mission of conservatives to prevent government from functioning, and they're certainly against efficiency, which is contrary to the fundamental principles of conservatism. It's ironic, really.

It's pretty easy to look at a job description and tell if someone is doing their job.

If you work with someone who has a job description that is supposed to flange up to your function, you know what they produce and how it should come to you.

If they decide to do part of your job without telling you or just because they want to (or because their boss....who is not your boss) tells them to, then you have an issue.

You claim about the mission of conservatives is simply not true. It fits a narrative and your claim about "progressive" thought is not progressive thought, exclusively, in any way shape or fashion.
 

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It's pretty easy to look at a job description and tell if someone is doing their job.

If you work with someone who has a job description that is supposed to flange up to your function, you know what they produce and how it should come to you.

If they decide to do part of your job without telling you or just because they want to (or because their boss....who is not your boss) tells them to, then you have an issue.

You claim about the mission of conservatives is simply not true. It fits a narrative and your claim about "progressive" thought is not progressive thought, exclusively, in any way shape or fashion.
I think, my friend, you're going to have to do better than that. In what way are they "not doing their jobs"? I don't think, frankly, your assertions are responsive.

I stand by my statement, "It is often the mission of conservatives to prevent government from functioning". Prove me wrong. I have lots of evidence I can muster, and I'm not talking about the fringe pseudo-conservatives Brooks objects to. We can go back a century for examples.
 

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During the 30s, 40s and 50s, the Republican party was not a conservative party. It was led by northern liberals.
It was under Richard Nixon that the Republican Party became what it is today. Davis Brooks is and was a part of that Republican party. For decades he excused away the deplorable within the Republican party as not truly representative of the party, and only a very small minority. But that was a bullshit lie.
Richard Nixon actively sought out the votes of racist pieces of shit to form his coalition to win the white house. His campaign manager literally called it "The Southern Strategy." That is the exact same strategy that all Republican presidents have used to run for election ever since then. They've just done it with a wink and a dog whistle to maintain plausible deniability.

But don't think for one second that pieces of shit like David Brooks didn't know exactly what they were doing.

He and others like him know damn well that their economic ideas are only truly beneficial to a handful of rich assholes and are entirely unpalatable and unsellable to anyone making less than $200k/ year.
They can't win without the deplorables, they know they can't, and they don't care. It's only when they get off their leash that they pretend this is some new thing.
LOL, I would have used slightly more temperate language but basically I agree. However, David Brooks was only 11 when Richard Nixon won the election. Brooks probably was not yet aware of the Southern Strategy.

Most of the intellectuals who created the new religious conservatives and the donors that gave millions to support them are not well known. Paul Weyrich, John Olin, Richard DeVos, the LaHayes, Phyllis Schlafly, Irving Kristol were the major writers, speakers and creators of the movement right. The money to establish think tanks, political actions organizations, institutes, media outlets came from the Coors family,(beer) the Koch brothers(oil, chemicals, wood products) John Olin(ammunition and chemicals) Richard Scaife (Mellon banking fortune) Sheldon Adelson (casino gambling) Those are the names behind the louder, noisier, and more prominent names on the conservative religious right.

And you are right their goal was to enhance the political power and wealth of the very rich and big corporations at the expense of middle class Americans. Democracy doesn't thrive under that kind of leadership.
 

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I think, my friend, you're going to have to do better than that. In what way are they "not doing their jobs"? I don't think, frankly, your assertions are responsive.

I stand by my statement, "It is often the mission of conservatives to prevent government from functioning". Prove me wrong. I have lots of evidence I can muster, and I'm not talking about the fringe pseudo-conservatives Brooks objects to. We can go back a century for examples.

I have no interest in responding to these assertions.

More fundamentally, as stated elsewhere, my position is that I don't want the Federal Government (and most conservatives) doing much of anything outside of what they were formed to do.

That is where the argument lies.

I am proud to be one of those who is interested in getting the Federal Government out of places it current "functions" (and not well enough to convince me they are the ones for the job).
 

HikerGuy83

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I think, my friend, you're going to have to do better than that. In what way are they "not doing their jobs"? I don't think, frankly, your assertions are responsive.

I stand by my statement, "It is often the mission of conservatives to prevent government from functioning". Prove me wrong. I have lots of evidence I can muster, and I'm not talking about the fringe pseudo-conservatives Brooks objects to. We can go back a century for examples.

My primary complaint against the GOP (which is not conservative) is that it won't address or lead out on issues that are important to all of us.

It makes me sick.

I don't want the federal government running health care.

I am more interested in a state run program (and they currently exist).

That is strictly from a preference standpoint. i can make a case that the Federal Government should not be doing certain things. Others can make the opposite case. Arbitration is achieved at the ballot box and the SCOTUS.

This is why I like Bernie. He, at least talks about key issues. You don't hear others doing the same. You don't have to have the federal government passing laws just becasue they are leading the conversation. Screw Alan Greyson. In his case, I hope he does.
 

NWRatCon

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Internal combustion engines are inherently dangerous because of the reality that they are operated by "combustion" - an explosion housed within a strong metal container. Capitalism is inherently dangerous because it pits profiteering (on behalf of investors) against the workers who actually produce the products being sold, and markets are constantly being assaulted by monopolistic tendencies, so they have to be contained within strong regulatory containment. Similarly, conservatism itself contains inherent contradictions that are in tension and can lead to destruction.

I noted earlier, "The central tenet of Conservatism, I argue, is the preservation of something. That something can take up many forms, be it the church, the economic system (landed gentry, monetarism, colonialism, slavery, capitalism, mercantilism, depending on the age), established civil institutions, or some gauzy conception of an earlier age (Greek classicism, Roman colonialism, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Britannia ruling the waves, the 1950s)." As Brooks noted, those ideas can sweep in some pretty ugly tendencies.

Those tendencies, as Brooks also noted, can be consistent with conservatism itself, as they are seeking to be "preserved" - racism (Jim Crow), xenophobia (Exclusionary Act) - in tension with the liberties espoused in our Constitution and other traditional expressions of our national identity. At the same time, the progressive and conservative tendencies of the populace are in constant tension - the push of change against the pull of continuation, Not everything sought to be preserved is worthy of the effort, from slavery, to horse drawn carriages, to laissez-faire economic policies.
 
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