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E.J. Dionne Jr.: Will the true conservatives please stand up?
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ^ | March 24, 2010 | E.J. Dionne Jr

Posted on 03/24/2010 9:07:16 AM PDT by pupdog

Every nation needs an intelligent and constructive form of conservatism. The debate over the health care bill, which mercifully came to a close on Sunday night, was not American conservatism's finest hour. In its current incarnation, conservatism has taken on an angry crankiness. It is caught up in a pseudo-populism that true conservatism should mistrust - what on Earth would Bill Buckley have made of "death panels"? The creed is caught up in a suspicion of all reform that conservatives of the Edmund Burke stripe have always warned against. Authentic conservatism is better than this...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Society
KEYWORDS: conservatism; healthcare
So before the mods go yanking this one, there's a reason behind this post.

A friend posted this article, and I respond, asking exactly how it is that liberals get to define "true conservatives". An argument ensued, and is now at the point where I'd like to get direct feedback from self-identified conservatives on two questions:

1) The article lists what the author considers three good things about conservatism. They are:

* "First, conservatives are suspicious of innovation and therefore subject all grand plans to merciless interrogation" * "Second, conservatives respect old things and old habits." * "third ... a suspicion of human nature and a belief that humans cannot be remolded like plastic."

(Make sure you read the article to put these quotes in context)

So question #1: How accurate do you think these descriptors are of conservatism as you personally understand it?

2) When I argued that it was not this person's place to be defining "true conservatives", one person respond with the following claim: "...the article is not specifically targeted towards conservatives as a way to improve themselves. The article is by a liberal, intended to entertain liberals. To take it any other way is kind of silly..."

So my question to you: if you read this article without any lead-in or explanation, would you take it, as a conservative, as addressed to you?

I'd like to get as much feedback as possible, agreeing or disagreeing, to make this scientific inquiry. I think it's absurd on some level to think that it was not addressed to conservatives, but perhaps I am wrong, and I alone am not the one to make that determination.

Just to clarify, I am not a self-identified conservative, but I have been on this board a long time, have posted multiple articles, taken part in many conversations, and have been politically active in pro-freedom causes all throughout my life. So even though I'm not here much these days, I didn't just start posting here for this. Take it as you will, but I believe in full disclosure. Thanks for all of your feedback.

1 posted on 03/24/2010 9:07:16 AM PDT by pupdog
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To: pupdog

“So before the mods go yanking this one, there’s a reason behind this post.”

Realize this sounds bad. My apologies: by this, I mean that I’m not some liberal coming here looking for a fight.

2 posted on 03/24/2010 9:08:52 AM PDT by pupdog
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To: pupdog

ping for later answers.....

3 posted on 03/24/2010 9:09:14 AM PDT by Loud Mime (Liberalism is a Socialist Disease)
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To: pupdog

>> asking exactly how it is that liberals get to define “true conservatives”.

The Left is hoping to avoid serious confrontation.

4 posted on 03/24/2010 9:10:30 AM PDT by Gene Eric (Your Hope has been redistributed. Here's your Change.)
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To: pupdog

That definitiona sounds good to me. Bush II would fail all three.

5 posted on 03/24/2010 9:11:34 AM PDT by C19fan
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To: pupdog

If you are not a conservative, you dont think like a conservative. For a liberal to describe us is useless and condescending they dont understand. On another note, EJ Dionne should NEVER be taken seriously, ever.

6 posted on 03/24/2010 9:11:46 AM PDT by GoCards ("We eat therefore we hunt...")
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To: pupdog
Just about all of the vocabulary is tainted and mis-used.

I see two groups: Individualists and Collectivists.

Individualist care about individual liberty and personal responsibility.

Collectivists want to enslave the Individualists for the greater good of the Collective.

7 posted on 03/24/2010 9:15:48 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (I do not want the Union to be maintained. I want the US to break up. I support secession.)
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To: pupdog

Two items:
1) Arguing with a liberal is pointless.
2) E.J. Dionne is useless.
That is all.

8 posted on 03/24/2010 9:22:35 AM PDT by astyanax (Liberalism: Logic's retarded cousin.)
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To: pupdog

EJ Dionne would know conservatism if it slapped him in the face. He hates conservatism and everything he writes about it is bad.

9 posted on 03/24/2010 9:22:39 AM PDT by KC_Conspirator
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To: pupdog

E.J.’s obviously missing the “salty” talk and tickling sessions of his good friend Eric Massa.

10 posted on 03/24/2010 9:25:20 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Host The Beer Summit-->Win The Nobel Peace Prize!)
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To: pupdog
friend posted this article, and I respond, asking exactly how it is that liberals get to define "true conservatives".

Don't ever let your enemy define who you are.

An argument ensued, and is now at the point where I'd like to get direct feedback from self-identified conservatives

Tell "your friend" to read Liberty and Tyranny" by Mark Levine. Give him a week. He'll be a lot smarter!
11 posted on 03/24/2010 9:38:53 AM PDT by Issaquahking (Help Sarah Palin! go to - - You know what to do!)
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To: pupdog

He who frames the debate wins the debate.

Libs are trying to define who we are, to create a separation (as if it doesn’t already exist) among social/financial conservatives, and among the various striations of conservatism.

With the strong arm tactics used by Obama/Pelosi/Reid, et al., one has to wonder: did Mr. Dionne write a similar article about this not being liberalism’s finest hour?

12 posted on 03/24/2010 9:47:11 AM PDT by EDINVA
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To: pupdog
The first point is utterly incorrect - that is a self-serving liberal falsehood - keeping in mind, however, that it impliedly grants to us something that liberals clearly do not have, namely, the ability to think critically about everything. Liberals love to clothe themselves in fancy rhetoric about how rational, intellectual, progressive, and thoughtful they are, when the fact of the matter is they are unquestioning cultists who make lemmings look like paragons of thinking individualism by comparison.

Vis-a-vis innovation, conservatives ask only that some innovation prove its worth, and that the proponent of some innovation have good, legitimate, rational, fact-based arguments to justify the adoption of his or her innovation, particularly if that innovation is to display some existing means of doing something. In other words, the only thing that is truly anathema to conservatives is innovation for the sake of innovation - something that the liberals are in love with, largely because they lack the capacity for critical thought and because, like spoiled little infants they must be constantly amused by novelty because they lack any real sort of attention span, nor do they have the capacity for self-restraint in the patient pursuit of larger, better goals. That is why they make such good sheeple, and such wonderful cannon-fodder for statists, totalitarians, despots and fascists - like the current Democratic Party.

The second point goes without saying - and it can be most easily summarized in the pithy witticism: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Liberals, by contrast, simply have to go around "fixing" everything - even if it is clear beyond peradventure that their "fix" will, in fact, break things and make things worse than they are now: witness Obamacare - largely, again, because they lack any sort of patience, attention span, and need to be constantly amused by novelty for the sake of novelty like little babies.

The third point merely suffers from an unnecessary rhetorical gloss, again applied by liberals for self-serving purposes. Conservatives know that human nature is not some gauzy epiphenomenon to be rewritten at will by the reining fascists of the day, as liberals would have it (we can also play the rhetoric game, usually better than the liberals can). Conservatives know that human nature is deeply rooted and is consistent across all human beings just as the basic bipedal, head-at-the-top body-form is consistent across all human beings, and with the same capacity for variation, and pathology.

That does not, however, mean that conservatives think that human nature is fixed and static - by no means - no, we tend to see human nature as more analogous to a tree, deeply rooted in the corporeal nature of being a human, and both strong and flexible enough to stand up to tremendous forces without breaking at the first gust of adversity. Further, like a tree, human nature grows slowly, and organically, and changes in an evolutionary - not a revolutionary - manner.

Liberals, by contrast, appear to view human nature as some ephemera to be erased and will-ye, nill-ye rewritten according to the whims of the prevailing powers-that-be largely because they have projected their own weak, pathological natures onto the rest of us (without any really good reason for such projection, but then, liberals are notoriously incapable of reasoning in the first place, so this should not be surprising). Liberalism is a species of personality disorder, if you will, in which the sufferer acts somewhat like a psychic dopplegangar, molding and remolding the weak, undifferentiated mass of their own personalities into whatever form seems to suit the objects of their affection at the moment. It strikes me that this, more than anything else, ought to be a sufficient explanation for the quasi-religious, cult-like view liberals have of Obama and the high priesthood of the Democratic Party (now, in all reality, the American Fascist Party).

Finally, because we have a much better, deeper understanding of the consistency and relative permanence of human nature - both as regards individuals and as regards humanity qua humanity, we understand better than any liberal will ever understand that each individual human being always acts to accomplish that which he or she sees as being in his or her own individual best interest (keeping in mind, that I am not speaking about some reductivist example of the so-called "Rational Man" but rather, in a more generalized, psychological sense, and thus my concept can include individuals who see an act that is generally classified as being "altruistic" as, in fact, being in that individual's own best interest - this can easily be summed up with the aphorism about: you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours). In other words, human beings are essentially self-regarding (which, really, is just another name for self-conscious, a fact I would assume is simply not in any doubt) and act accordingly.

Because individuals act to accomplish what they perceive, that is, believe to be in their own best interests, it is entirely possible that sometimes an individual's beliefs will diverge from the truth of the matter - drinking a fifth of whiskey in one go is never in one's best interests, no matter how much one may believe it is at the time, for example - accordingly, one must always take the statements made by another individual regarding their motivations and intent with a grain of salt - that is, one should not simply gullibly assume that what someone says is their motivation really is their motivation, nor that what they believe is in their best interest really is in their best interest. Objective facts always have to be taken into account when evaluating the motivations and goals of another individual human being.

That is in strong contrast to the views that liberals - based on their actions, not their words - seem to take of these matters. Again, taking regard for the analogy to personality disorders (which is what it is, let us not reify things in this discussion), liberals appear to evaluate other individuals on the basis of whether or not an individual is perceived as also worshipping the current object of the liberal's affections, or not. In the first instance, where a liberal appears to have decided that another individual is a fellow-worshipper at the same altar (right now, the altar of Obama), then that person's motivations are put above question, and any statements that person makes regarding their motivations are accepted at face value and without any critical analysis whatsoever. On the other hand, where a liberal appears to believe that an individual is opposed to the current object of the liberal's affections, then that individual is, ipso facto, reviled, and anything that person does is immediately cast in the most negative light possible - frequently to the point of absurdity - and nothing that person says about their motivations or basis for acting is given any credence, no matter how objectively reasonable it might be; instead, the liberal ascribes to that person the worst motivations possible, and strips them of any and all good-faith or reasoned argument.

So, there you have it. As should be obvious from my little dissertation, what liberals have to say about conservatives in reality says more about the parlous, pathological mentality of liberals than it does about conservatives or conservativism.

Obamareich Standard, small version
13 posted on 03/24/2010 9:59:33 AM PDT by Oceander (The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance -- Thos. Jefferson)
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To: pupdog

As I see it, the liberals lost the fight on healthcare on an intellectual level and they know it. They know it because they saw clearly the reaction of the American People to their plans and could not sell this to them. At the end of the day they had to resort to the naked use of bullying, bribery, and the suspension of rules (reconciliation anyone) to cram this down the throats of the citizenry. Rather than simply admit to that and accept the consequences, they created myths, i.e. “the people will love us once this is passed” or “the people are just mad at us for not doing anything sooner” etc that they actually believe and have taken as gospel. As I see the liberals right now it is like they are on an island, the earth quake has hit, everyone has told them that a sumnami is coming but they are enjoying a nice day at the beach and will have none of that sunami talk. Besides, all those people screaming sunami are just racist, sexist homophobes anyway. Eff em!!!

Similarly, EJ is being self-indulgent. He is just trying to enjoy his day at the beach before the sunami hits but damn if he can’t get those conservatives and the citizens arguments out of his head. He sets up a strawman in his article and knocks it down to make himself feel better.

What he really does is demonstrate how little liberals understand conservatives and most of the country for that matter. I truly believe that EJ simply went to a dictionary, looked up the definition of the word “conservative” and went from there. It is akin to a child assigned a book report who fails to read the book and tries to extrapolate the plot from the jacket liner. He sits at the front of the class stammering as he tries to fill his alotted time.

As for the three good things about conservatives, they are not really good things (meaning that EJ considers there to be no good things about conservatives but was too cowardly to say so explicitly) and are not accurate. He statest that Conservatives do not believe in innovation and like staying in once place and mistrust human nature. This is wrong to the core.

On the contrary we believe that the answers lie with innovative humans but just not with the humans who we elect to represent us in GOVERNMENT. It lies with the private sector where the human spirit and creativity are free to flourish and find solutions. It is the private sector where every solution has been developed for every problem this country has faced. We understand that power corrupts and absolute power corrputs absolutely. Yet this health bill and the further placement of power in our government crushes the private sector and crushes innovation. This is why our Constitution used to limit government(I say used to because I believe the Constitution no longer exists. It has been de facto destroyed by the left.)

14 posted on 03/24/2010 10:01:30 AM PDT by FlipWilson
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To: pupdog

1) Get Rid of Your Liberal Friends
2) Idiots like EJ Dionne cannot be allowed to define Conservatives
3) Who the F cares (on FR) to read EJ Dionne Articles in the First Place
4) Repeat Step 1-3

15 posted on 03/24/2010 11:19:40 AM PDT by ohioman
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To: pupdog

What would WFB Jr. have thought of “death panels”? Well it certainly annoyed the left and made them unhappy, and sought to stand athwart “history” shouting “STOP!”, so I suspect he would have felt it a fine contribution to the conservative agenda.

16 posted on 03/24/2010 3:00:17 PM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: The_Reader_David

Given his nastiness about the wacky weed, why care about it!

17 posted on 03/24/2010 3:11:12 PM PDT by 185JHP ( "The thing thou purposest shall come to pass: And over all thy ways the light shall shine.")
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To: pupdog

Keep spreading the lies...when average people know the truth...I dare you to. Come on...

18 posted on 03/24/2010 3:13:41 PM PDT by Earthdweller (Harvard won the election what's the problem.......?)
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To: 185JHP

So you want to discard the father of the modern conservative movement because you disagree with his stance on marijuana legalization?

That last great statist public-health push, Prohibition, fruit of the same “Progressive” movement that gave us the income tax, direct election of senators, the League of Nations, and the subsequent follow-ons like the UN, the New Deal and Obamacare, worked so well that we have to keep a vestige of it for those psycho-active substances that weren’t popular in Europe at the time of the American Founding, eh?

(That is the only bright line I can find that separates alcohol, tobacco and caffeine from marijuana, opium, cocaine and sundry hallucinogens, not potential harm to the user, not potential harm to those around the user: if it screws with your brain chemistry and was in common use in Europe in 1776, it’s legal, if it wasn’t it’s illegal, or will be as soon as some legislature realized it screws with your brain chemistry.)

19 posted on 03/24/2010 5:34:22 PM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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