What is a conservative, anyway?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Skeptik, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. Skeptik
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    Skeptik Astute observer

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    Please help me. I'd like to be a good conservative, but I'm not sure how.

    Is it enough to believe in free enterprise and limited government, or do I have to believe that the limited government has the unlimited right to determine when a woman may have an abortion?

    Can I just believe in the 10th. amendment, or do I also have to believe that the federal government has to determine who may and may not marry?

    I believe in lower taxes, of course, but do I also have to believe that we need to support the commander in chief whenever he decides it's time to spend a half trillion or so on a nation building project?

    Is in enough to believe in lower taxes, or do I also have to believe in unlimited borrowing and ever increasing spending?

    Is it really necessary to believe the what Bush I called "voodoo economics" really works, or is it OK to think that wealth in the hands of the average American will trickle up?

    Do I really have to deny modern science, declare global warming a hoax, and join a church that believes that the theory of evolution is hokum?

    I'd really like to polish my conservative credentials. I may want to run for office as a Republican.

    I'd run as a Libertarian, but no one seems to want to vote for that party. They have no chance of winning, you see, since no one will vote for them because they have no chance of winning.
     
  2. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Sarcastic acute observer's tongue blows out cheek completely.

    Update at 11
     
  3. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    You can be a Republican and a Libertarian. Libertarianism is much more than a political party.
     
  4. musicman
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    musicman Senior Member

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    You can hardly be faulted for that. There hasn't been anything even resembling a conservative in the White House since I was a much younger man; it is entirely possible that you've never seen one in your life.

    You mean like when central government - in the person of the federal judiciary - creates, out of whole cloth, the right to abortion on demand? Abortion policy is none of the federal government's business - it's a matter for the people, through their duly elected representatives.

    You mean like when federal courts override the will of the people, and declare gay marriage legal?

    It is part of the CIC's job to provide for the national defense, and to conduct foreign policy. It is your right, as a citizen, to vote his ass out of office if you don't like the job he's doing. Recourse - accountability - these are the weapons of a free people. Anyone who tries to take these away from you is a tyrant.

    A true conservative's attitude is more along the lines of , "Hey, believe whatever you want - just don't try to force it on ME". Federal courts forcing communities to take down their nativity scenes, anyone?

    My advice is, "Don't". The modern-day GOP has hung out a sign that reads, "No conservatives wanted".

    Tell me about it. I voted for Bob Barr; boy, did Bob and I get our asses kicked!
     
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  5. Skull Pilot
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    Skull Pilot Platinum Member

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    http://www.kirkcenter.org/kirk/essence-1957.html

    Conservative leaders, ever since Burke and Adams, have subscribed to certain general ideas that we may set down, briefly, by way of definition. Conservatives distrust what Burke called “abstractions”—that is, absolute political dogmas divorced from practical experience and particular circumstances. They do believe, nevertheless, in the existence of certain abiding truths which govern the conduct of human society. Perhaps the chief principles which have characterized American conservative thought are these:

    (1) Men and nations are governed by moral laws; and those laws have their origin in a wisdom that is more than human—in divine justice. At heart, political problems are moral and religious problems. The wise statesman tries to apprehend the moral law and govern his conduct accordingly. We have a moral debt to our ancestors, who bestowed upon us our civilization, and a moral obligation to the generations who will come after us. This debt is ordained of God. We have no right, therefore, to tamper impudently with human nature or with the delicate fabric of our civil social order.

    (2) Variety and diversity are the characteristics of a high civilization. Uniformity and absolute equality are the death of all real vigor and freedom in existence. Conservatives resist with impartial strength the uniformity of a tyrant or an oligarchy, and the uniformity of what Tocqueville called “democratic despotism.”

    (3) Justice means that every man and every woman have the right to what is their own—to the things best suited to their own nature, to the rewards of their ability and integrity, to their property and their personality. Civilized society requires that all men and women have equal rights before the law, but that equality should not extend to equality of condition: that is, society is a great partnership, in which all have equal rights—but not to equal things. The just society requires sound leadership, different rewards for different abilities, and a sense of respect and duty.

    (4) Property and freedom are inseparably connected; economic leveling is not economic progress. Conservatives value property for its own sake, of course; but they value it even more because without it all men and women are at the mercy of an omnipotent government.

    (5) Power is full of danger; therefore the good state is one in which power is checked and balanced, restricted by sound constitutions and customs. So far as possible, political power ought to be kept in the hands of private persons and local institutions. Centralization is ordinarily a sign of social decadence.

    (6) The past is a great storehouse of wisdom; as Burke said, “the individual is foolish, but the species is wise.” The conservative believes that we need to guide ourselves by the moral traditions, the social experience, and the whole complex body of knowledge bequeathed to us by our ancestors. The conservative appeals beyond the rash opinion of the hour to what Chesterton called “the democracy of the dead”—that is, the considered opinions of the wise men and women who died before our time, the experience of the race. The conservative, in short, knows he was not born yesterday.

    (7) Modern society urgently needs true community: and true community is a world away from collectivism. Real community is governed by love and charity, not by compulsion. Through churches, voluntary associations, local governments, and a variety of institutions, conservatives strive to keep community healthy. Conservatives are not selfish, but public-spirited. They know that collectivism means the end of real community, substituting uniformity for variety and force for willing cooperation.

    (8) In the affairs of nations, the American conservative feels that his country ought to set an example to the world, but ought not to try to remake the world in its image. It is a law of politics, as well as of biology, that every living thing loves above all else—even above its own life—its distinct identity, which sets it off from all other things. The conservative does not aspire to domination of the world, nor does he relish the prospect of a world reduced to a single pattern of government and civilization.

    (9) Men and women are not perfectible, conservatives know; and neither are political institutions. We cannot make a heaven on earth, though we may make a hell. We all are creatures of mingled good and evil; and, good institutions neglected and ancient moral principles ignored, the evil in us tends to predominate. Therefore the conservative is suspicious of all utopian schemes. He does not believe that, by power of positive law, we can solve all the problems of humanity. We can hope to make our world tolerable, but we cannot make it perfect. When progress is achieved, it is through prudent recognition of the limitations of human nature.

    (10) Change and reform, conservatives are convinced, are not identical: moral and political innovation can be destructive as well as beneficial; and if innovation is undertaken in a spirit of presumption and enthusiasm, probably it will be disastrous. All human institutions alter to some extent from age to age, for slow change is the means of conserving society, just as it is the means for renewing the human body. But American conservatives endeavor to reconcile the growth and alteration essential to our life with the strength of our social and moral traditions. With Lord Falkland, they say, “When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.” They understand that men and women are best content when they can feel that they live in a stable world of enduring values.

    Conservatism, then, is not simply the concern of the people who have much property and influence; it is not simply the defense of privilege and status. Most conservatives are neither rich nor powerful. But they do, even the most humble of them, derive great benefits from our established Republic. They have liberty, security of person and home, equal protection of the laws, the right to the fruits of their industry, and opportunity to do the best that is in them. They have a right to personality in life, and a right to consolation in death. Conservative principles shelter the hopes of everyone in society. And conservatism is a social concept important to everyone who desires equal justice and personal freedom and all the lovable old ways of humanity. Conservatism is not simply a defense of “capitalism.” (“Capitalism,” indeed, is a word coined by Karl Marx, intended from the beginning to imply that the only thing conservatives defend is vast accumulations of private capital.) But the true conservative does stoutly defend private property and a free economy, both for their own sake and because these are means to great ends.

    Those great ends are more than economic and more than political. They involve human dignity, human personality, human happiness. They involve even the relationship between God and man. For the radical collectivism of our age is fiercely hostile to any other authority: modern radicalism detests religious faith, private virtue, traditional personality, and the life of simple satisfactions. Everything worth conserving is menaced in our generation. Mere unthinking negative opposition to the current of events, clutching in despair at what we still retain, will not suffice in this age. A conservatism of instinct must be reinforced by a conservatism of thought and imagination.

     
  6. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    What a load of nonsense.

    Conservatives have been clinging to the abstraction that FREE TRADE is good for our economy for the last thirty years.

    Despite all the evidence (see balance of trade; bankruptsies; national debts) they continue to believe that this foolish policy is good for America. It is, however good for SOME conservatives (and their toadies) in America and it is ESPECIALLY good for communist and totalitarian governmments world wide






    More crap. They would impose their supposed "christian family values" on all of us and call that abortion of our rights "religious freedom".



    Read: they hate respresentational governments, but hide behind the myth of the rugged individual when out of power, and lord over the individual under the color of the law, when in power

    .


    Read: Them what has deserves more, and then what hain't gets none



    Read: "Hey, I know! Let's sell the common property to my chums for a song"



    And so in defence of checked and blanace power they passed the HOMELAND SECURITY ACT. Go figure.



    No group of people in America are less conversant about history than the self proclaiming rabble who call themselves conservatives.

    We see evidence of their ignorance and mistaken notions about history this every fucking day on this board.



    Read: I gave at the office.



    Hence we find America, after 8 years of "conservatism" bogged down in TWO LAND WARS IN ASIA and bogged down with the largest public debt in human history.



    Except his own libertopian schemes, of course.



    Read: We forgive ourselves when we do wrong by blaming it all on liberals
    Slow change = as long as we have all the money, let's not change a damned thing.




    Not simply...totally.





    Most self proclaiming conservatives are neither rich nor powerful.

    They are the handmaidens and the henchmen of the rich and powerful.

    Most self proclaimed conservatives just imagine that one day their masters will allow them to eat crumbs from the banquet they will never ben invited to. They are ass-kissing toadies, quislings and mitigating liars.

    It is clearly NOT true that the "only thing" that today's self proclaiming conservatives defend is vast accumulations of capital. That is true.

    They also defend whatever it takes to keep those vast accumulations in the hands of those whole stole it fair and square.





    Theirs, but nobody elses



    Yes, and God so loved wealthy people, too.



    Conservatives are the least competent people in the world to tell any of us what non-conservatives think.

    That's exactly why they must tell themselves constantly what their detractors think. Because if they didn't keep lying to themselves, they might actually learn something.





    Yeah, yeah yeah. The world doesn't belong to th e living, it belongs to our imaginary caracatures of the floundering fathers who we pretend wouldn't be appalled by our shameless greed and hatred of represenational government.
     
  7. Paulie
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    Paulie Platinum Member

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    Just be your own person and don't try to live up to society's perceived labels.

    I'd say that in the least, if you support limited government and low taxes and spending, you can refer to yourself as a conservative and call it a day.
     
  8. sealybobo
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    sealybobo Diamond Member

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    Something similar to this dawned on me the other day. I was thinking about how Republicans tried to distance themselves from Bush, and they said he wasn't a conservative, but then they couldn't name any good conservative republicans that were in charge between 2002-2006.

    And then I wiki'ed Tom Delay, and it said: DeLay was elected House Majority Leader after the 2002 midterm elections, and compelled House Republicans to unite to an unprecedented degree, especially in support of President George W. Bush's agenda.

    So they want to pretend GW Bush acted alone.

    This is why I say there is no difference between Bush and every other Republican. They'll all tell you they are conservative. And give any of them a chance to do it all over again and any one of them would have done exactly the same things GW did. The war, out of control defense spending, sending jobs overseas, creating loopholes so corporations can avoid paying taxes, pollution.

    I remember Bush 1 ran on 10 campaign promises. He had the balls to run on the exact same 10 promises in 1992 when he ran against Clinton, even though he didn't even attempt to keep one of those 10 promises. They just sounded good.

    And that's how a conservative rolls. :lol:
     
  9. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Yeah, I think that's a fair description of a REAL conservative, too.

    Sadly, those people don't really have a party any more than any real liberals do.
     
  10. glockmail
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    glockmail BANNED

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    It's all right here, plain and simple:
    :eusa_whistle:
     

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