Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yes Mommy, There Is A Difference

A Libertarian believes that government is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. A Conservative believes this time it will be different.


Tom Cuddihy said... keep using that word, Vizinni...I do no think it means what you think it means ...

M. Simon said...

I don't believe I used the word Vizinni.

Tom Cuddihy said...

conservative: 1capitalized a: the principles and policies of a Conservative party b: the Conservative party
2 a: disposition in politics to preserve what is established b: a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change ; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage)
3: the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change

Tom Cuddihy said...

[Vizzini has just cut the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing up]
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do no think it means what you think it means.

M. Simon said...

What is conservative about instituting a policy that does not work and then continuing with the changed policy despite its obvious failure.

According to your definition the conservative reaction would be to revert to the former policy.

Prohibitions of one kind and another have failed every where they have ever been tried. The most conspicuous example being the USSR whose whole economic system was based on various prohibitions.

It was a corrupt smuggler's paradise though. A crime riddled and crime run state.

What is conservative about price supports for criminals?

Ah. I forgot. Results don't count. Only intentions count. Very conservative no doubt.

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

Tom Cuddihy said...

It's Merriam-Webster's definition of "Conservative." I don't think you'll find much variation in other sources.

Trying to twist the meaning of "social conservative" into "social fascist" is an exercise in futility. More to the point, it greatly diminishes the strength of your arguments when you mislabel mere bystanders as the 'stoopid opposition.'

For one thing, your primary concern, drug prohibition, is just not a core issue for either the main current of social conservativism or for most liberals.
If you opened your eyes you would see that most social conservatives are agnostics on the drug war, not to mention a huge percentage of "liberals" who are for strong drug laws and enforcement, especially if it gives them a good excuse to regulate guns.

If you have any evidence that this is not so, please post a link. Any poll showing greater zeal for drug prohibition among social conservatives would do.

There is not a solid consensus on either side of the aisle about drug enforcement -- in fact for most drug prohibition is just not a moral issue in the way that marriage, sexuality issues, abortion, and euthanasia are. Add in the stem-cell debate and those five issues handily point out what are the concerns of both the right and left of the "social" moral spectrum.
Drugs don't even register. I venture to say most social conservatives, even the ones that think drugs are dangerous and need to be controlled in some manner, would be more than happy with a constitutional, state-led drug policy.

Simon, you have one of the sharpest "engineer's" eyes on the web for what's new and important on the tech side, and you have an interesting perspective on economics and the philosophy of classic liberalism. I challenge you to use words correctly. Words matter. Intentionally twisting them is the tactic of one with a losing hand.

M. Simon said...

I have been unable to find any survey pro or con.

So what do I have to go by?

Social conservatives in Congress. I'm not going to do an exhaustive survey - I'm busy. But let me just point you to Rick Santorum - former Senator and supposedly social conservative. Big time drug warrior. Or Newt Gingrich - supposedly social conservative. Big time drug warrior. Or former Drug Czar Bill Bennett - supposedly social conservative. Big time drug warrior. Candidate in the primaries for President Mike Huckabee - supposedly social conservative. His stance was: prohibition must be maintained.

What I do see is that Congress is well behind the curve re: the nation in general.

And who do I see leading the charge against Prohibition? Senator Jim Webb - former Republican and now a Democrat.

In any case I think that the conservatives who favor prohibition are not living up to their principles. Which makes them easy targets.

BTW I still like Sarah Palin who though she may be against drug use is not a drug warrior. From what I have seen of her pictures from Alaska she might have more than one or two toker friends. Of course in Alaska drugs have been decriminalized.

We have seen over the last 100 years a dismantling of culturally motivated laws. Which to my mind is all to the good. Perfect? We are dealing with humans after all.

Conservatives need to get with the program. I do believe that the Conservative focus on maintaining those laws helped the Republicans lose the last election. And now we have spending gone wild. Of course given the RINO the Republicans ran having Democrats take the rap is all to the good. If only they can run a "real" Republican in 2012.

And look at the gay marriage thing. What is it? Five or six legislatures have legalized it. For the time being - until we see how it works out - it is a lost cause.

I'm straight and I want Gay Marriage legalized. I want gay couples to be publicly registered with the government. Just like the rest of us. For too long gays have been able to bounce from partner to partner, with none of the special trapped in misery feelings that so many hetro married couples have. I want Gays want to fully experience divorce court with all the life wrecking hell it has to offer. I want gays to think "Wow, your 18 year old son is really hot, but he's not worth my house and half of my remaining life's income." Gays just about never kill their ex-lovers. It's just too easy to dump and move on. I want to change that too. I want gays to share that special feeling of looking across the breakfast table in the morning and knowing that they're trapped for the rest of their lives... Or at least, the rest of their spouse's life... If we're lucky, gays will soon be able to adopt. Then you'll get to share custody battles and child support for other people's kids. You precious darlings have wanted equal treatment for a long time. Looks like you're finally getting it. Welcome to hell. *****es.from The Road To Hell Needs RepavingI'd like to see the Republicans go back to being the "small government party". Socially and economically. Or as I prefer: "the leave us alone party".

BTW I have more than a few social conservatives who comment favorably on the anti Drug War articles I post at Classical Values so I am aware of the dynamic you speak of. I do not see that same dynamic in socially conservative politicians.


Tom Cuddihy said...

I agree that you see a much greater interest in the drug war among politicians of all stripes than you do among your average citizen, social conservatives included. That's because politicians love power and control ;-)

Count me among the social conservatives who think the drug war is not really an important moral issue and certain pragmatic steps are past due (like legalizing marijuana for adults and dropping the alcohol age to the age of majority). That's why I (and other social conservatives) get annoyed when we are mislabeled. Just becuase we think state recognition of gay marriage will be socially destructive, that state support for abortion is the sactioned murder of a human being, etc, doesn't mean we believe in unlimited government.

Just like the vast, vast majority of social conservatives also believe in fiscal responsibility, and yet by clear evidence over the last decade the majority of "socially conservative" politicians are sprendthrifts and wastrels who increased the size of the government as fast as the democrats before them.

I think you're mistaken about what caused the last two election losses. If anything, social issues were sidelined. Just look at the social issue poster boy, Huckabee's, failure to energize any significant support beyond redstate evangelicals. Meanwhile, the actual Republican nominee was the most socially "moderate" Republican nominee since Gerald Ford. Economically retarded, however. Anyway, the statistics point to the fact that social conservatives stayed home on election day to a degree they have not in several decades.

From a philosophical perspective, it is a counterproductive idea to attempt to disconnect conservatism of any stripe from the main current of American culture. Conservatism of all kinds, including fiscal and economic, is rooted in the traditions that flow from the main current of American culture.
There can be no consistent respect for the constitution, economic freedom, or the rule of law that undergirds it, without reference to the Judeo-Christian conception of the worth of the individual, and the existence of individual rights that are granted from a source superior to any government.

That's why the declaration of independence starts with those sentiments.

M. Simon said...


To prevent such mischaracterizations perhaps you and other social conservatives ought to be contacting politicians who claim to speak in your name.

As to the election: there was a lot of invective hurled at Sarah Palin for being a social conservative. How much effect did it have on independent voters? Who can say. It was there.

BTW I also know a number of social conservatives who feel abortion should be legal despite their opposition to it.

So yes. Social conservatives are misunderstood. The only way to get that to change is to make your voices heard.

Libertarians are not well understood either but to counter that they have a pretty good PR machine. Social conservatives mostly preach to the choir and don't seem to understand what it takes to communicate with those that do not hold their views.

Many of them take the view that just saying no to this or that or couching their arguments in Biblical terms is enough. It isn't. For one thing Biblical literacy has sharply declined in the last 50 years. Pity. But it is what it is.

Using sociology and history make for better arguments in the current environment.