Archive for the ‘Conservatism’ Category

Civilization

Posted: August 5, 2014 by veeshir in Conservatism, I'm Afraid I Can't Blog That, Op/Sped, PEBKAC

Ace links to a Federalist post about atheists (and agnostics) being able to be conservatives.

Let me say that I am agnostic. I think an atheist says, “There is no God, god or gods.” while I say, “I don’t know.”

Maybe there is a God or god or gods, who knows? I will say that, in my opinion, maybe.

But then we get to which God, god or gods? As Heinlein said, all of them have to go in the hat. Sorry if that pisses you off, but that’s the way I see it.

Maybe Zeus is pissed off we’re not sacrificing white bulls to him or Huitzilipochti is pissed off we’re not sacrificing people, Baal has to be partly happy with our abortion rate (especially partial-birth abortion), but we’re not exactly sacrificing babies to him so his happiness is qualified.

Personally, I’m rooting for a Jonathan Livingston Seagull sort of deal of going up, sideways or down the ladder.

A quote from the Federalist link

My point is not just that it is possible to offer a secular defense of free markets and liberty and the moral values that support them. My point that is these arguments have a power to persuade that cannot be matched just by quoting chapter and verse from the Bible.

Exactly.

I’ve been Troll for a Day a number of times because I try to explain that I can be in favor of civilization without believing in God.

Take something simple like traffic.

A lane ends on the highway, so what happens? If you’re in any metropolitan region, most people line up but a bunch of assholes have to be first so they screw the whole thing up.

If everybody worked together we’d all go through more quickly, the people being assholes screw it up for not just the polite people but for all the assholes behind them as they force traffic down to a crawl.

Civilization is a compilation of like situations, if we all work together, in a Christian manner, then life is better for all of us.

You do not need to believe in God to realize that or to believe that Jesus was probably the very best, most wise western philosopher ever (Bush should not have taken shit over that, he was right in my opinion), certainly the one whose philosophy has led to the best outcome for the most people.

Besides, many of the worst, non-commie, things we’ve done to each other is in service to a religion. There are few, non-commie, things more scary than a despot who thinks he’s doing God’s will. I will also say that communism/socialism/nannarchism is a religion without a god. Today’s leftism is a religion with a god, Gaia, and we’ve pissed her off by being imprius so…global worming.

 

My point, if we stop fucking with each other, life is better for everybody. It’s that simple.

You do not need a religion to believe that, as Ace says, you merely need to look at empirical evidence, logic and results.

It should be noted, of course, that religious people do not rely exclusively on religious precepts to make their cases. They, too, point to observable evidence and make secular (math-based, policy outcome based) arguments.

 

Preach it brother.

Striking a bold move, Michigan Congressman Kerry Bentivolio returned his Chamber of Commerce award.

Daily Caller:
“If you notice, they call it the Spirit of Enterprise award, not the Spirit of Free Enterprise Award,” [Bentivolio's chief of staff Rob] Wasinger told The Daily Caller via email. “Crony capitalism is alive and well at the Chamber of Commerce.”

Naturally, the Chamber now supports his opponent.

Just in case you were confused about who the good guy is here, Bentivolio has quite a respectable conservative report card with an ACU score of 88, a Club for Growth score of 88, and a Heritage Action score of 83.

As previously discussed, the Chamber is also attempting to primary Justin Amash, who sports even more impressive credentials with an ACU score of 89.22, a Club for Growth score of 99, and a Heritage Action score  of 89.  The Club for Growth has explicitly endorsed Amash in the primary.

Ricochet?

Posted: June 9, 2014 by socklessjoe in Brevity etc., Conservatism

Anybody subscribe to Ricochet?

Recommend it?

I’ve been listening to two of the free podcasts, and they’re pretty good.  Problem being I don’t really have time to read (let alone post) as much as I used to.

Ran across this interview with George Will, who makes reference to fissures and factions within the Tea Party as being a healthy thing. While there have long been competing groups (e.g. Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Express, etc.), I have not noticed much ideological difference among them.

Thinking about this idea of ideologically differing factions, I believe this could be a useful concept to explore for those of us who might want to strike a note of dissent within the GOP, but disassociate ourselves from some of the nutters and fraudsters.

What factions currently exist that might be called “tea party” of some stripe?  Are these the same factions that have always populated the conservative movement?  I’d really like to get away from something as ideologically trivial (however tactically important) as Freedomworks vs. AFP. (Or Freedomworks vs. Freedomworks.)

Presenting this link with essentially no commentary other than to also point you towards Ace’s recent post on the Tea Party.

Arthur Brooks of AEI on “a conservative social justice agenda“.  (And the aforementioned Ace post.)

Looking for some freestyle commentary from the readership here.

I ask this (1) as somebody who has a strong dislike for Mike Huckabee, and (2) rhetorically, as he committed no real offense.

The supposed transgression was so subtle that David Gregory could not express it with any precision when questioning Rand Paul on Meet the Press, choosing only to play the clip, and then ask, “Is this helpful?”

Not satisfied with Senator Paul’s response, Gregory followed up, “My question, about whether you think it’s appropriate for the party, key figures in the party, to be talking about women, women’s health, women’s bodies, and the role of the federal government related to those things?”

Whoa, whoa, WHOA!  So Republicans are not even allowed to broach the subject of the federal role in matters of women’s heath?!?  When did this rule go into effect?

So there’s this highly controversial –frankly, unconstitutional on many dimensions– federal mandate forcing all Americans into insurance policies that, in part, pay for abortifacient drugs regardless of their religious (or secular) objections, and Republicans are just not supposed to express any opinions on the absurdity of the matter.

Yeah, that makes all the sense in the world.

I defend Huckabee in this despite my strong dislike for him.  He’s not particularly conservative from a fiscal perspective, and has no qualms about launching demagogic attacks on those darned greedy Wall Street folks who have the nerve to call him out on it.  Perhaps more important to the issue at hand, he’s a complete hypocrite, having signed a sort of birth control coverage mandate as Governor.

But in the context of recent events, he has committed no crime except to use the word “libido” in a sentence that was more than six words long, and thus impossible for a journalist to parse.  Ace and Allah have taken a stab at why his suggestions concerning women’s libidos, even though he was attributing the thought to the Democrats, betrayed a judgmental attitude about recreational sex.  There is almost something to this, but Huck continued, “…because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government…”  A more complete reading of the sentence diminishes this interpretation.

I think, having been caught with their pants down, the media has determined to find some fault with what was said.  What you’re seeing here is a bunch of wagon-circling and butt covering.

[Related post: My send-up of the Sandra Fluke controversy from March of 2012.]

Little help here from the lawyery types…

In philosophy, there’s a moral principle that “ought implies can“.  Put otherwise, it means that in order for some action to be obligatory, it must be possible for the agent to perform that act.

Is there a similar principle in law?  If the Congress enacted a law requiring the executive to provide a free unicorn to each citizen (or some non-zero subset of citizens), could that law be considered Constitutional?  Clearly it is impossible.  Wouldn’t impossibility imply unconstitutionality?

Similarly, Obama’s defense of his endless improvisations that substantially alter the law seems to be that the law is impossible to implement.

I hope you can see where I’m going with this.

Any such principle, law nerds?

The Republican Party: Nobody Asked You

Posted: November 17, 2013 by Sean M. in Conservatism, Lame

Joe Scarborough took some time away from his job as the ill-fitting fig leaf over MSNBC’s naked Democrat Party advocacy to write some book, an excerpt of which ran in today’s Parade Magazine under the title “Joe Scarborough: How I Would Fix the Republican Party,” and it’s about as squishtastic as you’d expect.
 
He starts out with some pro forma Tea Party bashing (“amateurs,” “ideologically extreme”) in making the point that we maybe could have won the Senate in 2010 with some better candidates, but then starts talking about his opposition to a 1996 Colin Powell presidential campaign that never materialized anyway:

I spoke out against the possibility of Colin Powell’s presidential candidacy in 1996 ­because his political moderation was so off-putting to me. The thought that he could be the standard-bearer of my Republican Party was offensive. But watching the retired general on Meet the Press in recent years has made me understand why ­Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush drafted him to a be a critical ­player in their administrations. In retrospect I realize how much better the GOP would have fared against Bill Clinton in 1996 if I had not let my hopes for a conservative stalwart get in the way of our best hope to beat Clinton.

Right, because in foregoing a “moderate” (more on that in a moment) like Powell, we ended up with that extremist right wing firebrand…Bob Dole.
 
What really galls me about this, though, is that Scarborough’s squishy mea culpa misses the point: that he was actually right all along. Colin Powell may still nominally be a Republican, and Scarborough is correct that he’s surely no conservative, but he’s not a moderate, either. Powell is a liberal, and while that’s his prerogative, I don’t think it serves anybody to pretend otherwise. He voted for Obama in 2008 and fucking endorsed him in the last election over that other knuckledragging, just-to-the-right-of-Albert-Speer conservative…Mitt Romney.
 
Scarborough claims that Republicans (and he really means conservatives here) “kick moderates like General Powell out of the party’s mainstream and drive them into the arms of the Democratic Party every four years,” but let’s be honest here–In an election between Obama and Colin Powell, Colin Powell probably would have been too conservative for Colin Powell.
 
He closes his piece by invoking Reagan and makes some noise about “fighting for the core ­principles of conservatism and emphasizing values that most Americans agree with” before saying that sometimes we’ll have to use “principled pragmatism” like Reagan sometimes did too. The difference, as I see it, is that someone like Reagan started out from a credibly conservative position and knew when to be pragmatic when he absolutely had to. When “pragmatism” is your default position at best and a handy excuse to stab your base in the back at worst, what’s the point of getting into the Big Tent, anyway?
 
An additional thought:
 
Maybe it’s just because I don’t pay much attention to intra-party stuff like this on the other side, but it sure as hell seems to me like we conservatives are the only ones who get hectored about this coalition-building business on a regular basis. When was the last time you heard, for example, anybody telling the Democrats with a straight face that they had to pay more than lip service to moderating their stance on one of their core issues like, say, abortion on demand? Yeah.

Last night I tweeted, “If you’re a Republican who is STILL yammering about how the Cruz strategy was bad, you’re doing it wrong.” I’m not sure what good it’s doing at this point. Let’s discuss.

Ponnuru & Lowry at NRO:

It is a politics of perpetual intra-Republican denunciation. It focuses its fire on other conservatives as much as on liberals. It takes more satisfaction in a complete loss on supposed principle than in a partial victory, let alone in the mere avoidance of worse outcomes. It has only one tactic — raise the stakes, hope to lower the boom — and treats any prudential disagreement with that tactic as a betrayal. Adherents of this brand of conservative politics are investing considerable time, energy, and money in it, locking themselves in unending intra-party battle.

Actually, except for that third (objectionable) sentence, this applies as much –if not more so– to the “moderate”/establishment faction of the party. I mean, did I imagine John McCain’s and Lindsey Graham’s incessant bitching and name-calling?

I could go on at length about who was actually at fault here, but at this point it really doesn’t matter. Nevertheless, the “establishment” insists on playing the part of the nagging girlfriend – “I told you we should have turned left at Albuquerque!”

The key premise that has been guiding these conservatives, however, is mistaken. That premise is that the main reason conservatives have won so few elections and policy victories, especially recently, is a lack of ideological commitment and will among Republican politicians. A bigger problem than the insufficient conservatism of our leaders is the insufficient number of our followers. There aren’t enough conservative voters to elect enough officials to enact a conservative agenda in Washington, D.C. — or to sustain them in that project even if they were elected. The challenge, fundamentally, isn’t a redoubling of ideological commitment, but more success at persuasion and at winning elections.

This is an oft-repeated fallacy, or at least vast oversimplification, the narrative of the ideological purists (“priests” in Mike Murphy’s parlance) demanding more ideological commitment from the “mathematicians”. Say three Hail-Reagans and sin no more, my child. Yes, there are some “priests” –just as there are genuine RINO squishes– but this is a toddler’s crayon drawing of the problem.

The problem, as has been discussed recently on AoS, is that of not ever making the case for freedom/markets/enlightened self interest/etc. Scoring an inconsequential political vote might get you a five-second mention on the news and a good fundraising bit, but the summation of all this nothing is… nothing. The problem conservatives wish to address is exactly that – of conversion and education.

Are they always good at it. No? Is the establishment? Ask Presidents Dole, McCain, and Romney.

In their piece, Lowry and Ponnuru continue to play the nagging girlfriend for what seems like forever. They’re wrong on a whole host of points, but rather than give myself a migraine and carpal tunnel syndrome going back over it all, I’ll take my own advice and shut the hell up about the shutdown.

RIP Tom Clancy

Posted: October 2, 2013 by aliceaitch in Conservatism

No words.