Thursday, February 21, 2008

What is conservatism? Some reflections from Paul's ponderings

I was growing up in Arizona when Barry Goldwater ran for President. Back then I know what a conservative was. A lot of things go by the name of "conservatism" today and I am not at all sure we understand the term so clearly now. I do know this. Someone who lowers taxes but spends like a drunken sailor is not a conservative.

10 comments:

exapologist said...

I *love* that last line!

Jason Pratt said...

Me, too. {g}

JRP

normajean said...

Vic wrote: Someone who lowers taxes but spends like a drunken sailor is not a conservative.

As an economic and moral conservative, I no longer feel a moral obligation to support "republicans" who IMO do not deserve the moral high ground anymore. Take a look at our healthcare system. It's a sad day when folks are forced to sell their homes to finance care. That’s not conservatism. I’m glad he put the smack to Bush, Hannity and Rush. Mucho kudos his way!

whatthecrap? said...

First of all - if you really want to know about conservatism, then I suggest getting to the source. And by source, I mean listening to some of the ideas from the thinkers themselves.

Thankfully - there are some great resources out there.

I highly recommend a couple places to start. First, you could try listen to Mark Steyn and Newt Gingrich's CPAC speeches (http://whatthecrap.wordpress.com/2008/02/10/mark-steyn-speech-at-cpac/). Also, both have been critical of Bush in the areas where he has not been conservative (as have many many others) yet supportive in other areas. There is a balance.

Next - I would check out NRO's Uncommon Knowledge video section. Start at the bottom listening to war historian Victor Davis Hanson - and work your way up. As far as talk shows go, I highly recommend Dennis Prager as a good starting place (you can get a free podcast of his show at PragerRadio.com). His show is nothing like Hannity, Rush and Co.

Also - check out the platform for the American people over at American Solutions.

There is still a lot of good clear conservative thinking going on, even when it's hard to see past presidents and single issue voters. Unfortunately - what many people (and I am not necessarily including you, Victor, here) know about conservatism, they gathered from the media. And we all know that the media doesn't try to understand anything - they just try to make points. They do a horrible job representing viewpoints - especially conservative ones.

I find that to understand conservatism you have to go to the source, the philosophy on which it's based - rather than deal with the garbage that the media choose to represent conservatives.

Anyway, that's my two cents for now. There is a great deal more I could say about this topic, but I will leave it at this. Check out some of the resources above. They are, at least, a good place to start.
-Adc (whatthecrap?)

Ilíon said...

NormaJean: "As an economic and moral conservative, I no longer feel a moral obligation to support "republicans" who IMO do not deserve the moral high ground anymore. Take a look at our healthcare system. It's a sad day when folks are forced to sell their homes to finance care. That’s not conservatism."

"Bash" the GOP if you want (the Party surely deserve it), but if you can't see the morally and politically dangerous ... and unConstitutional ... policies you're implicitly endorcing, then you never were a conservative.


Since everyone likes quotes, how about this:

"That government competent to give you what you want is also competent to take away what you have."

normajean said...

Illion, I'm not voting---I feel no conscience draw from either side. I'd just as well have the two sides trade power every 4 years so that things don't get too out of control. At least Obama has a cool voice and he's good looking. Kinda reminds me of The Rock!

Ilíon said...

Really? How interesting.

video: The non-American who thinks himself qualified to be *our* President.

How about this?

On NRO, the Corner: Barack Will Never Allow You to Go Back to Your Lives as Usual

from the above link, Mrs Obama, quoted:

"Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed. "


You don't think that's asking for "out of control?"

normajean said...

Victor, do you argue in your book that naturalists must be committed to epiphenomenalism?

Victor Reppert said...

zgI think that in light of the fact that the reduction of the mental to the physical doesn't work, there are two directions the naturalist can go, either to supervenience theory, which leads to epiphenomenalism, or to eliminativism.

On conservatism, I suppose that the concept evolves like anything else. In the 1930s, if I recall correctly, in foreign policy conservatives were isolationists. In the Cold War era, conservatism was coupled (and here Goldwater is a prime example), with a hawkish policy against Communism. Here the conservatives used the Munich/Churchill argument--the enemies are really dangerous and you have to take a tough military stand against them. This pushed us into Vietnam, but conservatives credit Reagan's tough anti-Soviet policy with the collapse of the former USSR. In the present day the Administration converts the hawk arguments vis a vis the USSR and all its works to a case for an aggressive anti-terrorism policy. In both cases I've got a problem--hawks during the Vietnam era equated opposition to the Vietnam war with softness on communism, and opposition to the Iraq war is now equated with softness on terrorism.

I read an entry by John West in the C. S. Lewis dictionary on C. S. Lewis's political views which identified him as a conservative on several grounds except for one significant lapse: he supported Britain's health care system!

What I fear is that over the years "conservative" has come to mean whatever benefits the large corporations.

Can you imagine what Barry Goldwater would have said about a president who runs the deficit up to record numbers, and borrowed the money from the People's Republic of China.

One Brow said...

that the reduction of the mental to the physical doesn't work, there are two directions the naturalist can go, either to supervenience theory, which leads to epiphenomenalism, or to eliminativism.

Perhaps it is my inexperience in these matters, but I fail to see why these are the only three options. For example, if mentals states were approximate aggregates of a combination of physical responses in different parts of the brain, assembled together in a certain part of the brain, there would be no way to reduce any mental state to a precise physical state, the mental state would be real, and it would be a physical phenomenon, capable of having physical effects.