Thursday, December 06, 2018

Are there any real conservative politicians?

Bill Vallicella wrote: 

A liberal is a person who wants to use the power of the state and other people's money to do what he considers to be good.
A conservative is a person who, rightly skeptical of of the power of the state to do what is truly good, and to do so without infringing individual liberties, USES HIS OWN MONEY to do what is good.
Am I being fair?

No, I don't think you are being fair. Both liberals and conservatives use other people's money to promote the common good. They just do it in different ways. Want to build up the military? I don't see Donald Trump or the Koch Brothers saying we are going to do this with our own money? Want a wall between us and Mexico? That takes other people's money from taxes. Want a war in Iraq? or support for Israel? How about hurricane relief? And then there was the Conservative argument that Obamacare was a bad thing because a) it was socialistic and b) it undermined Medicare. Of course, when Medicare was passed it was vehemently opposed by conservatives on the grounds that it was socialistic. Advocates of a night watchman state and an isolationist foreign policy refrain from using other people's money for the common good, or minimize it as far as they can. Conservatives and liberals just disagree over what we should use other people's money (gotten through taxation) for.

Perhaps, none of the actual politicians who call themselves conservative really are conservative. If that is true, then why vote Republican? You are just voting for one brand of liberal as opposed to another. I don't see the difference between spending my tax money to keep me from being killed by a terrorist and spending tax money to keep make sure I can afford the treatment I need to keep from getting cancer, except that getting cancer is a lot more likely than getting killed by a terrorist.


Starhopper said...

Bottom line on top - I see nothing wrong with government using "other people's money" to accomplish its aims. The has been the way things were done since the Dawn of Time. You don't think the pharaohs built the pyramids on their own dime, do you? I doubt the Parthenon was constructed via Go Fund Me. The Medieval castles were the product of serf labor and the Interstate Highway System wasn't financed by entrepreneurs. If society (read: government) didn't use "other people's money", we'd still be nomadic hunter gatherers. (Not that that might not be such a bad thing, but that's certainly what we would be.)

So yes, ALL politicians will find reasons to use other people's money for projects they personally approve of, whether it be a new aircraft carrier, a renovated highway bridge, or a modernized high school (or health care). So the real debate is not whether or not to compel people to finance government projects (that's a given) but rather, what projects should be financed.

Starhopper said...

Aaarrgh! Typo in 2nd sentence. Should have been "That has been the way things were done" etc.

bmiller said...


Was this part of an exchange? Do you have the link if it was?

Kevin said...

If that is true, then why vote Republican? You are just voting for one brand of liberal as opposed to another.

While hypocrisy is a core component of politics, the general difference between a Republican and Democrat for me is that while Republicans DO things I despise, Democrats also STAND FOR things that I despise. A Republican can theoretically behave acceptably, while a Democrat cannot so long as he is a Democrat and supports the Democratic agenda. ("Acceptably" meaning worthy of my vote.)