Skip to comments.'Conservatism' -- Social movement or Political movement?
Posted on 05/31/2006 1:32:23 PM PDT by Dominic Harr
If I may, I'd like to ask for an informal 'poll' of FReepers:
There are 2 'Conservative' movements in this country.
All I would like to know is, what % of us are which? Please respond and say which, or both.
When you get right down to it, the federal government really has only three domestic tasks under the Constitution:
Secure our borders/defend the country.
Count everybody every ten years.
Deliver the mail.
Almost everything else is to be left for the states to do.
I disagree. It divides us.
I would argue that we can't explain ourselves to anyone. That the names, labels, etc we currently use only push people away from us, because the words literally don't mean what we are.
The traditional def of 'Conservative' that everyone seems to use is "opposed to change". Which does not describe us at all. And anyone who sees changes they want, will automatically assume that they can't be a C.
So I believe that it is past time for us to define ourselves. It makes no sense to tell people, "We are Cs. C means 'against change'. And we want these changes."
It's time for us to fix that. And part of fixing that means looking at those who call themselves C -- ALL folks who call themselves C -- and look at what is common amongst all.
Then *that* is what a C is.
Hence, I'd say, C means 'careful'. There is a definition of C, like in 'Conservative Estimates', that perfectly sums up what we all believe in.
It weakens the C movement to divide us. It strenghtens the movement to unite us.
I think the idea of 'news' is what is worthless. News is about what is new or shocking or different. What we need is 'information'.
If an info org was going to cover daily Iraq happenings, then it needs to have *all* the info of everything that happened in Iraq. Stuff that is good, stuff that is bad. Facts, rumors, political, social, etc. Then people can surf thru it all, and learn what they want.
'News' is something else entirely.
Someone who believes as I do = Statesman/Conservative.
Someone who tells me what I want hear for my vote = Republican.
Someone who tells other people what they want to hear for their vote = Democrat.
Someone who calls me vile names and demands I vote for him = Liberal.
Someone who tells me once I have voted for him, I need never vote again = Communist.
I developed this list as an aid to categorize those who wish to engage me politically.
Great list. That's like those 'irregular' verbs.
I made a mistake with my taxes.
You are cheating on your taxes.
He has been charged with section 8 of the Federal Penal code . . .
Political Conservative. Social libertarian.
"that everyone seems to use"? Well,no, I don't know of any Conservative that equates 'Conservative' with 'opposed to change'. Refusal of radical schemes sometimes, but generally favoring steady improvement -- often toward localism/subsidiarity, education reform, and regulation against corruption.
Opposing statist centralizaton schemes as Conservatives have in the 20th century isn't merely "anti-change", but we have been mischaracterized that way by some liberal dictionary editors, and by Leftist political advocates.
100% absolutely BOTH!!
I have no idea.
But it'll take a website, not a print or TV media. They have limited bandwidth (so to speak).
I think if you read back into this thread, you'll see that this is in fact true. For one good example, post 123.
And that is certainly the def that the outside world knows us for. I've seen Cs on TV rationalize it as, "We only want a change *back* to the way things use to be", and that sort of rot. And this is why Cs are seen as wanting to stop progress. It's why Ls have now tried to switch to calling themselves "progressives", as opposed to Cs 'anti-progress' image.
And this is a big problem with kids growing up now, looking for a political identity. We *must* take back the debate. We must explain who we really are.
And it has nothing to do with being against change.
On other issues, much the same. I oppose interference with my fundamental right to make my own arrangements with others absent force or fraud.
Absolutely beautiful. How perfectly articulate. Thumbs up to you!
"Fiscal conservatives" are another thing altogether. Some of them aren't especially conservative about either cultural issues or economic freedom. Not that "fiscal conservatism" is a bad thing, or that they're bad people, but they aren't a team on the same playing field as the other traditionalists or libertarians.
One thing that accounts for a lot of the differences: whether one takes automatic knee-jerk positions or whether one tries to think things out for oneself. Ideological divisions are real, but much of the time people are just throwing slogans at one another, rather than trying to think things through.
Ha Ha Ha!!! I like it... I love it... I want some more of it!!!
Actually, this is the type of thinking that I'm trying to highlight, with this thread.
We better all be on the same team, or we're doomed in Nov. If we can't come to understand that, I don't know what will happen long-term.
'Political' conservatives are folks who believe in being careful with what govt does -- folks who believe in smaller govt, accountability, strong defense, etc. Not all of us are 'culture' conservatives. But they are the ones who were responsible for the '94 R party victory that brought them majority status.
Yet 'cultural' conservatives seem keen all over the place to label political conservatives as not being "real" conservatives. That pushes away the political Cs.
This is critical, I believe, cuz right now, the Rs are scrambling for ways to "pacify the base". But they're talking about things like a Constitutional ammendment to ban gay marriage . . . playing to the 'social' conservatives. Which will only further alienate us 'political' conservatives.
Which will only make things worse for the Rs.
"Intellectually Bankrupt." That's what "conservative" means if it means someone who claims to be conservative.
We don't need to tailer the word to fit what modern conservatives are, or even claim to be. The word either describes them or it doesn't. Anything else is something other than a conservative approach to the problem.
Well, whether we like it or not, that's the word applied to our grouping of beliefs/philosophies/voting patterns.
So I think it would be useful to come up with an accurate definition of "who we are".
Like I said, the media uses one definition. That def does not describe us. So I disagree with you -- pushing *our* definition of who we are and what we stand for is absolutely a 'conservative' approach.
Unfortunately, the Ls are united thru their hate of all things Bush-related.
And in the past 2 elections, a disjointed C movement has beaten a unified L movement. If we can find some way to focus on that which unites us, while still hashing out the things that divide us, we *can* turn this country.
I want to push *My* definition of "red" to include other possibilities like... "green." After all, "modern red" has so much more going on under the hood these days.
Words mean things, if you changes them to convenience a political convention they lose their original meaning. You can change conservative to mean the attitudes or philosophy of the modern political movement, but you will not be able to converse with those using the older meaning. You will be speaking a new speak.
'Red' can also mean a communist, tho.
Much like in this case -- a political movement exists. A large group of Americans, actually a majority, believe in 'smaller govt, strong defense, etc'. We call this 'Conservative'.
The current 'definition' that the world uses to describe us, is 'C = opposed to change'.
They have taken control of the debate by defining us.
Well I say it's time we define ourselves . . .
Social Conservative here with elements of the second.
I don't mind rocking the boat however.
Whats wrong with that?
Well I say it's time we define ourselves . . .
You use words to describe something based upon what the word means, you do not change the word's meaning to fit what you are trying to describe.
This much I am certain of -- the majority of voters are politicallly conservative.
It's the 'social' issues that chase many people away from voting R.
Many socially liberal people vote D cuz they don't like the social Cs angle. But like with Reagan and with the contract with America, when a person comes along who promises not to push the 'social engineering' policies but instead focuses on the 'political C' ideas of govt accountability, etc . . . then we find out that the vast majority of Americans are politically conservative.
The problem is by far most people, on social issues, are "live and let live". And the social Cs agendas against Gays and such scare many, many voters away from the R party.
Words change their meanings with time.
Just like 'Liberal' doesn't mean what it use to mean. Now it means collectivist, basically. And in this case, I'm not inventing anything -- one definition of 'Conservative' is 'careful'. As in 'conservative with money'.
I'm not changing the meaning of the word at all, therefore. I am using a 'different' word, or in fact a different description of the same word, to describe who and what we are.
I completely disagree with your premise, I'm afraid. Maybe it would be more helpful if I asked you . . . what solution would you propose? What words would best describe people who are 'politically' in favor of smaller govt and strong defense?
See, I knew Bush was a liberal!!! ((Smile...))
How does smaller government translate to more government accountability? Accountable to what; more government, Or the people? The former means... well, more government, and the latter means more direct democratic populism; we might as well call ourselves democrats.
By 'politically conservative', I mean 'politically careful'.
Smaller govt means less govt intrusion into private life and business.
Accountable means when someone is caught doing something wrong, they are fired/prosecuted, etc.
Which doesn't require any more govt, what an unusual suggestion.
This is an interesting conversation, one I didn't expect to need to have.
In that speach, Reagan was saying all the same things we're talking about here.
Outstanding find, thank you.
This is the only way we can save the R party.
"Our first job is to get this message across to those who share most of our principles. If we allow ourselves to be portrayed as ideological shock troops without correcting this error we are doing ourselves and our cause a disservice. Wherever and whenever we can, we should gently but firmly correct our political and media friends who have been perpetuating the myth of conservatism as a narrow ideology. Whatever the word may have meant in the past, today conservatism means principles evolving from experience and a belief in change when necessary, but not just for the sake of change."
Yes -very nice!
I found it to be a good test.
Well you have to understand where I'm coming from to understand my answer.
I'm an arch-conservative liberal. Smiler to a libertarian but with a great mistrust of humanity, and no faith at all in the politics of populism. And as such, as much as I like liberty I believe there are limits. As it's impossible for any democracy to be founded on a constitution so strong as to remain permanently inviolate from the effects of the system, so too, there are no guarantees on freedom. Thus I prefer a more organic solution to problems, ie, a solution that relies on natural human instincts and behavior as a fundamental element of its operation. That's the part of me that's conservative. I'm so far to the right in a traditional way that most people on FR are to the left of me.
Thus I'm wary of any popular reactionism, because any such movement would have its only justification in popular will, which however morally and politically orthodox it may be in its ideals at the moment, it is still morally ambiguous in the long run and prone to progressive ideology as a consequence of its form.
So as to your question, I'm not sure, but I do believe the modern political movement under discussion is, (based upon the thoughts and understandings I've gleaned from your posts, and assuming you are a fairly garden-variety example), an idealistic one. So perhaps Idealistic Neo-Rightist Political-Populism. Of course such as description doesn't beg but demands the question... so it can't be used in our modern political arena as it's to complicated. In any case conservative only describes part of it, and not the most significant vis-a-vis its modern ascendancy.
Which doesn't require any more govt, what an unusual suggestion.
What you are talking about is some kind of governmental oversight. How do you implement oversight in a government without adding to said government? Note: I was talking in a general sense as a political philosophy, not the particulars of our system in which we have extra elements of government who handle that.
That is a mouthful.
Altho I'd quibble a bit -- no 'idealism' here at all. In fact, 'Idealism' is what I'm fighting against.
I'm suggesting that politically 'conservative' means careful. Careful to only push for policies and solutions which are proven solid workable systemic solutions.
As Reagan pointed out in that speach, it is the 'ideologues' who are the problem with the R party. The folks on this thread who say, "if you don't believe x and y, you aren't one of us, regardless of your other views".
How do you implement oversight in a government without adding to said government?
By voting the bums out, of course.
My point is we need to vote for politicians who aggressively police their own party. When they don't, when they turn their backs on misdeeds by "their own", we vote them out.
For the past generation, liberalism has become more identified with the status quo and change is seen as coming from the right. That's why I said that "fiscal conservatives" didn't seem to be playing the same game as traditionalists (social conservatives) or libertarians (economic conservatives).
There's a lot that's admirable in the older style of conservatism (which you apparently are calling "political conservatism"). I'm not a "movement" guy. But the problem is that such old style, centrist conservatives tend to accept liberal policies if they've been entrenched for a while.
I'm not talking about social security or environmental protection so much as about the judicially-imposed social changes of the the last thirty years or so. I don't think you're going to get any kind of major "rollback" of government economic and social policies (if such a thing ever does come, it will be part of a bigger shift that makes current left-right thinking irrelevant), but I don't trust the Rockefeller-Ford sort of Republicans who simply contented themselves with administering the policy changes imposed by the left.
Are you talking about accountability in a criminal sense, or as representatives of the people's will?
If the former, all that needs to be done is define what is unacceptable corruption and prosecute according to the law. But if you mean the latter, that could easily lead to government dependent on popular mandate for any action, and eventually government would devolve into rule by plebiscite. I don't see that as careful.
"And if the town votes to allow prostitution or recreational drug use?"
In Nevada, all of the cities forbid prostitution but most (perhaps all) of the counties permit it. Cities do have strip joints.
Perhaps if someone wanted to open a club where you could go to smoke a joint I think there might be liability issues to think about. Might be solved with an overnight or 12 hour stay on premises required. Or usage of public transportation. I don't know I'm not a dope user.
I suggest that you wait until Monday evening.
If it needs done, then do it right. If it isn't worth the effort to do it right, then it didn't really need done.
Short answer it is both and inseperable.
The effort to split the two is a Moby product of the Lackoff "win with words" propaganda scam to try and revitalize the left by arguing the myth that the two are seperate.
To: Dominic Harr
You guys like taking advantage of the organizational skills and the dedication of religious conservatives, but boy you hate it when it comes time to respect them for what they value!!!
Oh, you hit that one right between the eyes! Nice shooting...
Are all cultures equal? Hell no...
Only a cultural Marxist would think so.
Some just have an ax to grind with the Christians and the Jews... I do not. In fact, I have very little problem with the Hindu or the Buddhist (I have practiced the martial arts all my life, which is really a form of Buddhist movement meditation).
The Islamics and neo-pagans are another story. Their cultures exist only to tear things down.
Like a few quislings here and there, who have no other purpose but to tear down the conservatives in the Republican party and the culture that made this country what it is, I would rather just openly wage war upon them, just as I would unceremoniously nuke Mecca if given the opportunity.
It is no coincidence Islamic pagans hate Israel, Jews, Christians and Western Civilization. The entire basis of Western Civilization is Mosaic Law, something both the Neo-Pagan Left and the pagan Islamic thugs cannot abide and wish to destroy.
It is truly the only reason some are here now and within the Republican party, interlopers from the left who can only defeat America and the Republicans by rotting the party from the inside out.
They want more open primaries, non-partisan state legislatures (making it easier for them to hide and gut the primary process) for just this reason; like they want in Oregon, like the one Leon Puñetta tried to pull off in California, or some other electoral tampering scheme.
There are a few litmus issues you can tell who the enemy is. Just because they have a designer label, doesn't mean they can be trusted...
People that want radical change BACK to Americas roots..
And that "conservatives"(of all types) are in fact RINOs.. and FEAR the word radical..
When radical political change is what most/many "conservatives" what..
When the "center" is defacto leftist(and it is) radical change is needed.. Gutting the federal givernment is(has become) a radical political platform.. Just USING the word conservative IS disinformation.. Words are important.. and the left has bogarded the language we use for far too long..
Time for a CHANGE, a radical change, when the "right" decides what "the WORDS" mean.. ANY so'called conservative knows that radical change is needed and the Federal Givernment NEEDS to be downsized. gutted like a fish..
Any that DON'T believe that are either a democrat or a RINO.. and that to happen (the gutting) would take radical political change..
NO... conservative MEANS "more of the same".. "Conservative" in ANY of its iterations.. Gradations of the word "conservative" is defeatism masked as intelligent.. using the word DEMOCRATS/leftists have given us.. and its as incorrect as the word "progressive" is.. There is absolutely NOTHING progressive about socialism.. And absolutely NOTHING conservative about destroying it.. It is purely a radical quest..
There is a time for conservatism and a time to be radical.. NOW is NOT the time to be conservative.. So I think you're premise is WRONG.. UNless you are a RINO.. talking to RINOs.. in this thread.. In that case, sorry.. d;-)~',',
Even your tagline has a super "ring" to it! The ring of solid American freedom and liberty. I just makes me wanna salute!!! Salutations to you, Sir Francis...
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.