Conservatism...

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Bullypulpit, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    For the past few weeks, I've been examining the writings of some of what might be considered the "Founding Fathers" of madern American conservatism.

    In 1959, James Burnham, a philosophy professor at NYU and co-founder of <i>The National Review</i>, enumerated some of the qualities that defined conservatism, such as diffusing the power of government by adherence to the separation of powers and system of checks and balances, as laid out in the Constitution, a rejection of utopian solutions to social ills, the encourage ment of private enterprise, fiscal responsibility and so on. I found myself in agreement with many of the qualities he listed.

    Barry Goldwater defined conservatism as "...social, economic and political practices based on the successes of the past...", essentially drawing upon the wisdom of the past rather than its worst excesses. He also described the conscience of the conservative was "...pricked by anyone or any action which debases human dignity...". He also held that "Politics is the art of achieving the maximumamount of freedom for insdividuals that is consistent with social order." Again, I have no disagreement with these definitions of conservatism.

    More currently, George Will wrote that "...since the rise of nation-states and parliaments, a preoccupation of Western political thought has been the problem of defining and confining executive power..." In other words preventing of the accumulation of too much power into too few hands. Once again, I have no disagreement.

    What I see currently defined as conservatism is little more than authoritarianism. We have Congress controlled by conservative Republicans which excludes input from anyone out side their cabal, as evidenced by the number of closed door committee hearings which exclude Democrats. We have an administration obsessed with secrecy, not so much to fight the "war on terror" as to avoid oversight of its actions. This same administration also seems bent on establishing a unitary executive branch, answerabe to no one. The "conservatives" currently in power have abandoned even the pretense of adhering to any sort of fiscal responsibility and limited government. The politics of fear are played by conservatives daily. Politics which have no place in traditional conservative thought or a democracy. I could go on, but you get the point, I'm sure, by now.

    None of the qualities listed were ever a part of the modern conservative movement in America at its inception, after W.W. II. Nor are they consistent with the framework for the Republic laid out in The Declaration of Independence or The Constitution. They are, howerver, consistent with the characteristics of authoritarianism, which is itself just a short step away from despotism.
     
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  2. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Bully, spell it out. Give the Bush examples you've 'researched'.
     
  3. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    tell me. Why should we listen to the losers? Why should we listen to the ideas that have been repeatedly tried and failed while the Democrats were in power?
     
  4. Mr.Conley
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    Mr.Conley Senior Member

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    So the only responce you can come up with is that democrats suck? Lame.
     
  5. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    It should not be neccessary to spell out what you, an individual of wit and perception, already know. You need but look to see it...
     
  6. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    Well, that's not really being fair, since they were promised, but rarely tried. It's just a general, well-known assumption that if the Dems have their hands on it, it has "Loser" written all over it.
     
  7. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    You're not paying attention. Neither Burnham nor Goldwater nor Will were, or are Democrats...Republicans and conservatives all. Read the works of the founders of the conservative movment in the 50's and early 60's. Their views have little in common with the bellicose, bloviating, overblown and hysterical rhetoric that passes for conservative thought now.
     
  8. KarlMarx
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    KarlMarx Senior Member

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    First of all Bully, the Democrats didn't allow Republicans much say when they were in power, either. So, I guess what goes around comes around. That's the way it is with government, the party in power isn't going to give power to the other party, especially when the voters have given them a mandate for change.

    I have to agree with you on the fiscal responsibility and limited government part. I'm pretty disappointed, too. However, for Democrats to be accusing the Republicans of fiscal irresponsibility and for expanding the role of government is just brazen hypocrisy. The Democrats have done their share of reckless spending and are primarily responsible to a large part for the expansion of government.

    Your claim that the Republicans play the politics of fear is something that the Democrats seem to be very guilty of. Every time Republicans in Congress try to reform something, it is the Democrats that are out in the streets with the bullhorns. The Democrats played on the fears of senior citizens to get reform of Social Security defeated. The Patriot Act was passed by both Democrats and Republicans almost unanimously, then the Democrats who voted for it turn around and criticize it. The lack of oversight that you mention is a non sequitur. If you are referring to FISA, the secret wiretapping program, that has been in effect since the Carter Administration. In addition FISA is overseen by the FISA court. There are cases where the executive branch has authority to authorize eavesdropping on agents of foreign powers for the purposes of national defense. Since the executive branch is responsible for the defense of the country, they do not require Congress's permission in this area. If that were the case, the D-Day invasion would have required passage of both houses of Congress before we could invade Europe.

    I'm sure, Bully, if I got my wish and saw limited government and fiscal responsibility reign in the halls of Washington DC (which will be the same day that Miss USA decides she wants to date me) that the biggest critics will be the very Democratic party you seem to be so fond of. Limited government means dismantling of many federal programs starting with PBS, the NEA, Amtrak and many social programs that were part of the war on poverty from the Johnson days which have had little, to no effect on the problems they were supposed to solve. Fiscal responsibility would mean no funding for a lot of programs, too.
     
  9. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    That's neither fair nor accurate. Some of our greatest achievements as a society were bi-partisan, like the civil rights act of 1965.

    Also untrue. Our government under this current administration has grown. It was reduced in size while Clinton was president. The only difference is that this admin has chosen to grow government so that it interferes in our individual choices and liberties and for the benefit of corporations. At least under democrats government was seen as a means of easing, if not solving, some of our greatest ills.

    Again, untrue. If you look at current Republican politics, they attempt to conjure bugaboos like aliens flooding over borders, restriction of civil liberties through cries of "oh no! the gays are going to be married" and "eek, there are terrorists everywhere so you have to vote for us". Seems to me THAT is the politics of fear and hatred.

    And what have they tried to "reform"? Social security? Medicare? No...they haven't tried to reform them, they've tried to destroy them. And yes, people should, and rightfully did, oppose those absurdist policies.

    The far right has hated social security since it was passed under Roosevelt. All of us knew that they were just trying to effectuate the goal of its destruction.

    It was intended as a temporary measure. And it became clear that it was nothing but a power grab to get around constitutional means of surveillance. If you recall, the tone after 9/11 was such that, politically, no one could vote against it.... Heck, Karl Rove-boy even morphed Max Kleland's face with Bin Laden's because he voted against it. And Rove isn't fit to lick Kleland's boots.

    And? What in that statement gives Bush the right to avoid oversight and the FISA Courts?

    Yes...but not on OUR citizens, which is what Baby Bush did.

    Not a good analogy as the violations of the FISA law have nothing to do with the type of circumstances you raise.

    This government has spent money like a bunch of drunken sailors (Remember the bridge to no where in Alaska? not to mention the trillions being spent on Bush's war of choice in Iraq). There is nothing fiscally responsible about this current crop of republicans.
     
  10. Mr.Conley
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    Mr.Conley Senior Member

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    So let me get this straight, you're okay with the Republicans because you hate the Democrats?
     

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