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Let Us Face the Future*
July 22, 2009 3:45 AM   Subscribe

Conservatism Is Dead, Reagan Was Wrong

BONUS
  • Colossus with feet of clay - Low-Wage Capitalism: What the new globalized, high-tech imperialism means for the class struggle in the U.S.
  • How to upgrade human values - Andrew Leonard: A more pleasant society will then evolve.
  • Elizabeth Warren returns to blogging - Consumer Financial Protection Agency: That’s good for families, good for market competition, and good for our economy.
  • Pay of top earners erodes social security - Fund Expected to Be Exhausted in 2037: Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the U.S., according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Social Security Administration data -- without counting billions of dollars more in pay that remains off federal radar screens that measure wages and salaries.
  • Sampling the sausage - A Health Reform Politics Explainer: Independents want to get health care done; they respect Obama for trying, even as they've begun to sour on his leadership skills.
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*the labour campaign from the 1945 UK general election
posted by kliuless (90 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
The fact that this is seen as news at this juncture is a greater indictment of journalism than of conservatism.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:51 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


The fact that this is seen as news at this juncture is a greater indictment of journalism than of conservatism.

Wow, Emperor SnooKloze, only six minutes to read all those links? Quite a speed reader there--especially finishing that 330+ page book. Good on you.
posted by elfgirl at 3:57 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


In other news, Jim Robinson, the founder of conservative super-site FreeRepublic, has just called for the overthrow of the US Government.

Limbaugh: 'Obama has yet to prove he's a citizen'

Lou Dobbs wonders aloud if President Obama is actually a citizen.

Dangerous times, folks.
posted by Avenger at 4:00 AM on July 22, 2009 [11 favorites]


It's all Clinton's fault. And the unions. We can fix everything by taxing the middle class more, and giving the money directly to the rich. We should also enact a minimum wage for CEOs. $10 million a year sounds like a good place to start. If their company goes bankrupt, they should get 50% of that until they land a new job, just to ease the terrible hardship.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:00 AM on July 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


It's called trickle-down economics. And it works, damnit! Now get off mah lawn! And turn down that walk-man!
posted by slater at 4:04 AM on July 22, 2009


Hilarious watching the hysterical !Right lose their shit right now.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 4:05 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I needed to read a book and 5 other links to see that the overall gist was exactly what kliuless indicated it was? Troll someone else.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:06 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


re: SS (and corporate welfare) - Don't Tax the Rich -- Just Stop Giving Them Stuff
posted by kliuless at 4:09 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I needed to read a book and 5 other links to see that the overall gist was exactly what kliuless indicated it was?

No, but you probably did need to read at least any of the links to snark/derail about the quality of the reporting.

Now you go!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:32 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know it's bad when they want to stage a revolution and install Hillary Clinton as temporary de-facto president.

So much of the handwringing seems to be that "This is not real conservatism. Real conservatism would work, but those neo-cons led us down a blind alley." Conservative hand-wringers -- you followed them. Own the blame, along with "them," as they are you. The good news there is that they're still so utterly wrong, and that the purging should take a generation, followed by a return to the original wrong ideas of conservatism, that hopefully will also be rejected.

note --I had to correct a typo. Instead of "but those neo-cons," I had accidentally put the space in the wrong place, and typed "butt hose neo-cons." Which is what they are, really
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:41 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Dance on their grave all you want, friends. You should know that, eventually, their arms will break through the ground, grab you by the ankles and drag you into their hungry, sharp teeth, as they rise from their supposed demise.

That, and, there is nothing more dangerous than a cornered, wounded animal.

Pick one.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:59 AM on July 22, 2009 [9 favorites]


Does anyone else hear MC Chris screaming, "Shoot em in the head! You ain't got time to smoke a bowl," or is it just me?
posted by crataegus at 5:04 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


You people have a memory of about two days duration. Nothing was considered deader than socialism and Marxism in 1996. Yet here we are, in the midst of a resurgence These things go in cycles. If you think "conservatism" is dead, you don't spend much time among the people. There is, indeed, a power and leadership vacuum among conservatives today. But there is no shortage of people willing to be led. While you're dancing on the graves of yesterday's conservative boogymen, something far uglier may be rising up behind you, and someday you'll look back on the sweet, reasonable, even intellectual conservatives of the 2000s with fond nostalgia.
posted by Faze at 5:08 AM on July 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


> ...Republicans eager to see billions funneled into "much-needed and underfunded defense procurement," as William Kristol recommended shortly after Obama's victory.

Just when I think I've heard the stupidest thing to come out of that idiot's mouth...
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:08 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


So much of the handwringing seems to be that "This is not real conservatism. Real conservatism would work, but those neo-cons led us down a blind alley.
Which sounds a lot like what a lot of die-hard Communists said about why the failure of the Soviet Union/Chinese cultural revolution doesn't invalidate their "never-tried" ideology. True believers, it seems, are the same.
posted by acb at 5:13 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


> But there is no shortage of people willing to be led. While you're dancing on the graves of yesterday's conservative boogymen, something far uglier may be rising up behind you, and someday you'll look back on the sweet, reasonable, even intellectual conservatives of the 2000s with fond nostalgia.

This is a defense of conservatism?
posted by you just lost the game at 5:17 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


You people...While you're dancing...something far uglier may be rising up behind you...and someday you'll look back

Faze, if America is ever subjected to a brutal reactionary dictatorship, it won't just be "us" liberals who will suffer under the boot-heel.

Also, you almost sound like you can't wait for that to happen, btw.
posted by Avenger at 5:19 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Troll someone else.

That's hilarious coming from the guy who posted in this thread just to shit in it.
posted by CRM114 at 5:22 AM on July 22, 2009


Dangerous times, folks.

Pfft. Dangerous times are those in which questioning the leadership results in one's death, you naif.
posted by Hovercraft Eel at 5:23 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it's human nature to underestimate the potential negative consequences to one's self in the midst of enjoying them as they impact others. I have seen this a lot in the tech world during the various rounds of layoffs since the bubble burst in 99/2000. "Good thing those lazy assholes got laid off! Now my job is safe because I'm such a good worker!"
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:23 AM on July 22, 2009


But there is no shortage of people willing to be led. While you're dancing on the graves of yesterday's conservative boogymen, something far uglier may be rising up behind you, and someday you'll look back on the sweet, reasonable, even intellectual conservatives of the 2000s with fond nostalgia.

"It could be worse and we are the party to make it happen!"
posted by srboisvert at 5:25 AM on July 22, 2009 [9 favorites]


Nothing was considered deader than socialism and Marxism in 1996. Yet here we are, in the midst of a resurgence.

Name one "socialist" or "Marxist" thing Obama has done. Just one.
posted by DU at 5:25 AM on July 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


...you almost sound like you can't wait for that to happen, btw.

Of course not! A return to the proper feudal system can't come too soon! When the entire family spends all their waking hours in service of the wealthy, they won't have time for foolishness like 'voting' and 'education.' Those things are proper pursuits for the elite, not for peons.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:28 AM on July 22, 2009


Pfft. Dangerous times are those in which questioning the leadership results in one's death, you naif.

That would certainly qualify as being "dangerous times". I would add that large and vocal segment of the political scene openly talking about coups and rebellions while flatly stating that the current leadership is illegitimate also makes for dangerous times.
posted by Avenger at 5:34 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


When the entire family spends all their waking hours in service of the wealthy, they won't have time for foolishness like 'voting' and 'education.' Those things are proper pursuits for the elite, not for peons.
Enough of this liberal claptrap about "voting". In a neo-feudal utopia, there'd be no place for cultural Marxist constructions such as these. Decisions will be made by consensus in closed-door meetings of the natural leaders of the order (local businessmen and landowners, as well as the sherriff and the preacher from the local megachurch), just as God intended.
posted by acb at 5:36 AM on July 22, 2009


Name one "socialist" or "Marxist" thing Obama has done. Just one.

1) He is black
posted by Avenger at 5:39 AM on July 22, 2009 [39 favorites]


Also: a Virginia Republican candidate calls for Obama's political agenda to be resisted with bullets, if necessary.
posted by acb at 5:40 AM on July 22, 2009


Decisions will be made by consensus in closed-door meetings of the natural leaders of the order (local businessmen and landowners, as well as the sherriff and the preacher from the local megachurch), just as God intended.

Consensus?! Decisions are things made by a strongman hiding behind the figurehead in an undisclosed location.
posted by DU at 5:41 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


there is nothing more dangerous than a cornered, wounded animal.

Um. There are lots of things more dangerous than a cornered, wounded animal. Off the top of my head: cardiovascular diseases, infectious and parasitic diseases, ischemic heart disease, malignant neoplasms, cerebrovascular disease, respiratory infections, lower respiratory tract infections, HIV/AIDS , chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, perinatal conditions, digestive diseases, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, malaria , lung cancers, road traffic accidents, childhood diseases, neuropsychiatric disorders, diabetes mellitus, hypertensive heart disease, suicide, stomach cancer, diseases of the genitourinary system, cirrhosis of the liver, nephritis/nephropathy, colorectal cancer, liver cancer and measles. Those are all way more dangerous than a cornered, wounded animal.
posted by ND¢ at 5:42 AM on July 22, 2009 [13 favorites]


And Clinton!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:44 AM on July 22, 2009


1) He is black
More specifically, he is the product of a mixed marriage, which some on the right would classify as a product of "cultural Marxism" (a category encompassing everything from atheism to wearing jeans)
posted by acb at 5:45 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Um. There are lots of things more dangerous than a cornered, wounded animal.

Doesn't it really depend on what kind of animal we're talking about? If it's a bunny, I would surely rather face it than colorectal cancer. But if we're talking lion, I might take my chances with a respiratory infection.
posted by diogenes at 5:51 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Regardless, it's a moot point, because the far right is like a wounded cornered animal with lower respiratory tract infections, HIV/AIDS, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, perinatal conditions, digestive diseases, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, and malaria.
posted by diogenes at 5:53 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


more like perineumal conditions amirite?
posted by ND¢ at 5:57 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm glad conservatism isn't doing very well, I think as it existed in the last couple of decades and how it is likely to exist in the near future it is a ideology that creates disastrous results. I'm not smug though about the victory, if the economic cycle had synced up differently with the campaign cycle the GOP could have easily won the white house and been less routed from the congress. That could have happened. That can happen again. Obama is a great get and I think if his goal is reelection he's doing just about as good a job as possible (which is likely a problem). But this doesn't really matter things can go poorly. And when things go poorly, for whatever reason, there will likely be a changing of the guard.
posted by I Foody at 5:57 AM on July 22, 2009


I like your reasoning, diogenes. A strong chest cough is preferable to an angry lioness in my face any day of the week.
posted by grubi at 6:01 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


thinking about corporate welfare more (and cycles), what strikes me is the divergent political paths the UK and US took after WWII: in the UK you got the NHS and the Welfare State and, in the US, the MIC and Market Fundamentalism...
posted by kliuless at 6:09 AM on July 22, 2009


There are lots of things more dangerous than a cornered, wounded animal.

like people who are armed to the teeth, talk about overthrowing the government and claim that our president is a foreign born muslim who's going to start a socialist islamic republic?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:14 AM on July 22, 2009


large and vocal segment of the political scene openly talking about coups and rebellions while flatly stating that the current leadership is illegitimate also makes for dangerous times.

I'd call it business as usual. But then - I can remember Nixon, the 68 conventions, Kent State, etc.
posted by Hovercraft Eel at 6:22 AM on July 22, 2009


I have a hard time believing conservatism is dead when Democrats won't vote for a healthcare program that pays for itself.
posted by DU at 6:27 AM on July 22, 2009 [12 favorites]


Krugman's take on the economy.

It's Reagan's fault.

Debunking the Reagan myth

Reagan's legacy was military spending on borrowed money, artificially expanding the economy. The problem with his supply-side approach was that it was an emotionally driven weakness, not disciplined or forward-looking or even strategically clever. They brought back the then canceled B-1 bomber at billions each (parts supplied by GE, Reagan's former employer as a traveling speech giver), and they mocked efforts to make smaller and smarter warships with plans for monolithic battleships, citing America's glory past. It was a Freudian nightmare as the majority swooned. Reagan wasn't just wrong about reality, he was stupid and controlled, just like the people who cited his wisdom for the past 25 years.
posted by Brian B. at 6:27 AM on July 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


Anybody who truly believes that conservatism is dead is just a fool. The GOP let fanatics take control and the public became disgusted with W, but conservative values such as low taxes and small government have not gone away. Whether there remain any adults in the GOP to capitalize on this remains a question however.
posted by caddis at 6:28 AM on July 22, 2009


In other news, Jim Robinson, the founder of conservative super-site FreeRepublic, has just called for the overthrow of the US Government.
Limbaugh: 'Obama has yet to prove he's a citizen'
Lou Dobbs wonders aloud if President Obama is actually a citizen.


I was laughing at all those retards all along, but wow. Just wow.

This Internet thing... it's not doing much to improve IQ levels, is it.
posted by the cydonian at 6:28 AM on July 22, 2009


I have a hard time believing conservatism is dead when Democrats won't vote for a healthcare program that pays for itself.

The problem with the current healthcare proposals are that they fail to pay for themselves, or even close to it. Single payer might do it, but public is not ready for that,.....yet.
posted by caddis at 6:30 AM on July 22, 2009


Geez, Fairlie is a guy I need to read more of.
For Fairlie—a lifelong, if idiosyncratic, Tory—the ideology that came to dominate American conservatism after World War II didn't live up to America's best traditions. It was, in fact, no conservatism at all.
Bingo. Couldn't be more true, especially regarding the Reagan/Bush/Cheney/Rove versions of 'conservatism'.

His description of the 1980 GOP convention delegates is way over the top but a great summary of the recent 'conservative' mindset:
"Narrow minded, book banning, truth censoring, mean spirited; ungenerous, envious, intolerant, afraid; chicken, bullying; trivially moral, falsely patriotic; family cheapening, flag cheapening, God cheapening; the common man, shallow, small, sanctimonious."
The darkest part is that the GOP deliberately pandered to these negative traits, whitewashing them as legitimate qualities of the Moral Majority, in order to draw otherwise fringe groups to the GOP.

To me, there is a place for genuine conservative values, not the tarted-up self-interest that's been sold as conservatism in the US for the last 25 years. Not that it would become my ideological home, but there would be a more effective relationship and tension between the right and left sides of the political discussion.

Here in Canada, unfortunately, conservatives have followed the US lead (we had the Progressive Conservative party, now we had the Conservative party. At least they're being honest about it...). Unfortunately we seem to lag politically behind the US by about 5 years, so our own 'conservative' implosion is still a ways off.
posted by Artful Codger at 6:30 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


So much of the handwringing seems to be that "This is not real conservatism. Real conservatism would work, but those neo-cons led us down a blind alley."

I can't be the only person here who believes that real conservatism would work. It would be a system in which decisions are made based on objective observations and lessons learned from carefully studied history, and I'd be very happy with that. Real conservatism is most likely to be implemented by a political party several notches to the left of the Democrats.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:31 AM on July 22, 2009 [14 favorites]


While you're dancing on the graves of yesterday's conservative boogymen, something far uglier may be rising up behind you, and someday you'll look back on the sweet, reasonable, even intellectual conservatives of the 2000s with fond nostalgia.

Strangely enough Faze, I actually kinda agree with you (minus the nostalgia for, uh, "sweet, reasonable, even intellectual conservatives"). All that needs to happen is for a candidate to rise up that can properly channel populist rage at the bailouts and the recession in general towards a particular group of people (professionals? foreigners? anyone who doesn't appear to be part of the "real" America?) and we've got a homegrown holocaust on our hands. Think nazi germany. I don't think it's likely, but the prospect is still scary.
posted by symbollocks at 6:33 AM on July 22, 2009


There are lots of things more dangerous than a cornered, wounded animal.


Like a cornered, wounded animal that shoots bees from it's mouth.
posted by i_cola at 6:40 AM on July 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Loved the Elizabeth Warren article. She'd make a great blogger, but frankly she'd make an even better agency head for the CFPA she's defending here.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:52 AM on July 22, 2009


Personally, I can't say that conservatism is "dead" just because there's a bunch of conservatives saying really stupid shit. I've been watching them do that my entire life and they've somehow maintained a good grip on power regardless. The fact that they are dominating most of the policy debates right now should be evidence enough that the ridiculous outrage tactic continues to work because there will always be idiots who listen to them.
posted by threeturtles at 7:00 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


As a lapsed Reagan conservative, I just want to say we had a hell of a ride, boys. Good times.
posted by Shohn at 7:01 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would add that large and vocal segment of the political scene openly talking about coups and rebellions while flatly stating that the current leadership is illegitimate also makes for dangerous times.

I'll give you "vocal," certainly. But "large" I'm not so sure about.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 AM on July 22, 2009


They were also sworn enemies of programs like FDR's Agricultural Adjustment Act, which tried to offset the volatility of markets by controlling crop yields and fixing prices. Some had even been indicted for refusing to allow farm officials to inspect their crops. Nonetheless, Chambers observed, his typical neighbor happily accepted federal subsidies. In other words, the farmers wanted it both ways.

This is the problem in a nutshell: Conservatives like to pretend that America is a Capitalist Society where The Marketplace solves all the issues, but in actuality we are and have been a Socialist country for some time. Since Regan, Republicans have focused their anger on welfare to the poor while funneling rivers of cash into the gawping maw of corporations. During the Bush administration they slashed taxes for the wealthy but shoveled out the pork like there was no tomorrow. We-- all of us, poor, middle class, wealthy-- have come to expect certain services from our government and the sensible thing is to figure out what programs would give the greatest benefit to all. The way I see it, the biggest difference between us is Republicans want safety nets and financial incentives for Industry while Democrats want safety nets and financial assistance for Individuals.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:03 AM on July 22, 2009 [14 favorites]


I can't help feeling that if all these Reagan conservatives had maybe taken some time off trying to name every inanimate object in the USA after the man, the PNAC conservatives might not have taken over.
posted by i_cola at 7:05 AM on July 22, 2009


I'll give you "vocal," certainly. But "large" I'm not so sure about.

Ehh, They are large enough, Empress. If not in numbers, at least in money. And money can buy media time, which gets you followers (at least temporarily). This is the Modus of the conservative party.
posted by HalfJack at 7:14 AM on July 22, 2009


conservative values such as low taxes and small government have not gone away.

That's true. Those conservative values have been co-opted by the Democrats since the Clinton administration, though.

What is dead is doctrinaire deregulation and a belief that "the system will fix itself."

What the Republicans will choose to pick up in an effort to get themselves elected president is anyone's guess.
posted by deanc at 7:16 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Conservatism is anyone with a job who hates the very idea of any of 'his' tax money supporting someone else. It's the guy in my office who says "Why should Habitat for Humanity give a house to some single mother when I have to pay for mine?" It's a love of being better off than your neighbor and fighting to keep it that way.
Conservatism isn't dead and never will be. It's everywhere.
posted by rocket88 at 7:17 AM on July 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


like people who are armed to the teeth, talk about overthrowing the government and claim that our president is a foreign born muslim who's going to start a socialist islamic republic?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:14 AM on July 22


I love how this post is about the wealthy elite, but the comments quickly turned to the "opposition" in the form of Limbaugh listeners and the people on FreeRepublic. Those people don't have any more money than you do. The wealthy elites aren't on FreeRepublic and they don't listen to Limbaugh or Hannity or all those other guys.

The real problem is not any of what is being discussed here. The real problem is that what is driving American politics today is the desire of the people to get the government to pay for what they themselves can't. It's true that health insurance is expensive. So is defense, education, space exploration, scientific research, the arts, etc. And we should be able to pay for all of those things with money to spare because we are the greatest country on earth.

Except that we aren't. The reason we are talking about how hard it is to pay for all these things now is because China and India are out-competing every economic demographic in the US except the upper class. There is no future for large-scale manufacturing in America - none. China can do manufacturing cheaper, faster, more efficiently, and with greater labor flexibility. Chinese workers are as educated (or better), and demand less money.

What China is doing in manufacturing, India will do in services. American law firms are outsourcing low-level legal work to India. Programming is done in India. And once again, they can do it as well, or better, and they do it for less.

Until the political leadership understands just how screwed up education in this country is (e.g. that it does not simultaneously push students to learn advanced concepts and practical skills), then we are doomed to depend on tax breaks for corporations to keep jobs here.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:19 AM on July 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


You people have a memory of about two days duration. Nothing was considered deader than socialism and Marxism in 1996.

Naw, I'm rather sure that the socialism and Marxism for the 1st class immortal people of America was alive and well.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:22 AM on July 22, 2009


It's the guy in my office who says "Why should Habitat for Humanity give a house to some single mother when I have to pay for mine?"

That's an asshole, not a conservative.
posted by JeffK at 7:33 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


conservative values such as low taxes and small government have not gone away.
That's true. Those conservative values have been co-opted by the Democrats since the Clinton administration, though.


Yet neither of these 'values' are acted upon.

The GOP had years to actually PROVE they could deliver on what they claimed to value and did not.

And I doubt the Democrats will deliver either.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:34 AM on July 22, 2009


What do you mean Conservatism is dead? Clinton was the best Republican president since Ike, and Obama is shaping up to be better than Clinton.
posted by MarshallPoe at 7:42 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


then we are doomed to depend on tax breaks for corporations to keep jobs here.

Not just tax breaks, but also relaxation of E.P.A. standards. When Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla she lured the Big Box stores to Wasilla in part by waiving environmental impact studies. Result? Storm water run off from parking lots killed off all the fish in the lake. This "luring" of businesses by cities, counties, and even states has cost billions with little to show for it. For example, under Reagan the Forestry Department couldn't sell off the trees in the National Forests fast enough so they went on a huge road building binge. The problem was they spent so much on the roads, the trees ended up being sold at a loss. That is a loss to the American people but a gain to the logging companies.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:42 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


This Internet thing... it's not doing much to improve IQ levels, is it.

Ignorance can be fixed, but stupid is forever.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:58 AM on July 22, 2009


Lou Dobbs wonders aloud if President Obama is actually a citizen.

Watch: Liz Cheney Defends Obama "Birthers," Carville Stunned || Rick Sanchez Takes On Obama "Birther" Movement || Bad Day For 'Birthers' As Matthews Picks Up Where Sanchez Left Off.
posted by ericb at 8:01 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


What do you mean Conservatism is dead? Clinton was the best Republican president since Ike, and Obama is shaping up to be better than Clinton.

Obama a Republican? That would be news to the all the right-wingers, including some in Congress, who are currently screaming demands that he "provide" his birth certificate.
posted by blucevalo at 8:01 AM on July 22, 2009


Ronald Reagan
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:04 AM on July 22, 2009


That's an asshole, not a conservative.

Um...
posted by grubi at 8:13 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Whatever. It seems that the people who have been in charge, remain in charge. While the spectacularly stupid ideas may be off the table for a while it is doubtful we will see anything that acts to the detriment of the monied classes.
posted by pointilist at 8:21 AM on July 22, 2009


"Reagan conservative" is an oxymoron.

Ronald Reagan was as conservative as I am - not very. He began the great retilting of the table back towards the rich and powerful, undoing seventy years of democratization. He was a Democrat before he was a Republican. He was a union-buster who belonged to a union. He had no moral compunction against using the "welfare-queen" stereotype to further his personal agenda. He was a corporate tool. An "ends-justify-the-means" guy who had no problem with a shadow-government (Ollie North, et. al.) operating in direct contravention of law on his watch.

It is telling that many people who adore Saint Ronald also think Sarah Palin is a credible spokesperson for conservative ideals.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:28 AM on July 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


It was never "Ronald Reagan". It was Reagan's people. Ronald Reagan was a clueless actor who just went along for the ride in order to feed his massive ego.
posted by Zambrano at 8:42 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Conservatism is anyone with a job who hates the very idea of any of 'his' tax money supporting someone else. It's the guy in my office who says "Why should Habitat for Humanity give a house to some single mother when I have to pay for mine?"

It's a love of being better off than your neighbor and fighting to keep it that way.
That's not conservatism, that's greed and selfishness. You'd be correct if you said that the GOP has tried to legitimize that belief.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:56 AM on July 22, 2009


Since he got a mention as the original model of conservatism, here's Hazlitt on Burke:
It is not without reluctance that we speak of the vices and infirmities of such a mind as Burke's: but the poison of high example has by far the widest range of destruction: and, for the sake of public honour and individual integrity, we think it right to say, that however it may be defended upon other grounds, the political career of that eminent individual has no title to the praise of consistency. Mr Burke, the opponent of the American war, and Mr Burke, the opponent of the French Revolution, are not the same person, but opposite persons -- not opposite persons only, but deadly enemies. In the latter period, he abandoned not only all his practical conclusions, but all the principles on which they were founded. He proscribed all his former sentiments, denounced all his former friends, rejected and reviled all the maxims to which he had formerly appealed as incontestable. In the American war, he constantly spoke of the right of the people as inherent, and inalienable: after the French Revolution, he began by treating them with the chicanery of a sophist, and ended by raving at them with the fury of a maniac...
...The burthen of all his speeches on the American war, was conciliation, concession, timely reform, as the only practicable or desirable alternative of rebellion: the object of all his writings on the French Revolution was, to deprecate and explode all concession and all reform, as encouraging rebellion, and as in irretrievable step to revolution and anarchy. In the one, he insulted kings personally, as among the lowest and worst of mankind; in the other, he held them up to the imagination of his readers, as scared abstractions. In the one case, he was a partisan of the people, to court popularity; in the other, to gain the favour of the Court, he became the apologist of all courtly abuses. In the one case, he took part with those who were actually rebels against his Sovereign: in the other, he denounced as rebels and traitors, all those of his own countrymen who did not yield sympathetic allegiance to a foreign Sovereign, whom we had always been in the habit of treating as an arbitrary tyrant...
posted by Abiezer at 9:02 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's not conservatism, that's greed and selfishness. You'd be correct if you said that the GOP has tried to legitimize that belief.

So what is conservatism, then, if not the idea that wealth belongs to he who earns it, and no government should take it from him and give it to others, or otherwise interfere with the "free" market forces that generated it? This has been the core ideal of everyone I've ever known who called themselves a "Conservative".
I guess we need to clearly define our terms before we discuss this. What, exactly, is this conservatism we're declaring dead?
posted by rocket88 at 9:09 AM on July 22, 2009


An animal is never more dangerous as when it is cornered. There, that should take care of that.

You people...

Us vs Them FTW!
posted by davejay at 9:24 AM on July 22, 2009


So what is conservatism, then, if not the idea that wealth belongs to he who earns it, and no government should take it from him and give it to others, or otherwise interfere with the "free" market forces that generated it? This has been the core ideal of everyone I've ever known who called themselves a "Conservative".

True conservatism basically argues for two things: 1. Government should be as small and impotent in individuals' lives as possible, and 2. Citizens should be as free as possible to govern their own affairs. Noble ends, both.

The thing that most modern conservatives fail to notice, IMO, is the "as possible". Government is charged with certain responsibilities and that, by necessity, requires the cooperation of the electorate. Large groups of people cannot live together as a cohesive, sustainable unit without compromise.

One of the compromises we have made as a country is that there is no "free" market. Rules have been put in place to protect consumers, investors, etc., in an effort to make the system sustainable. Ideally, everyone benefits from this. Therefore, it is disingenuous to some extent to make the argument that wealth belongs entirely to the individual that has it. That person has benefitted from a system that allowed them to accumulate said wealth. In a sense, some of that wealth belongs to all citizens.

Taxes are the "dues" we pay to keep the organization going. Arguments can, and should, be made as to whether taxes are justified or excessive. But to say they are unnecessary or unjustified at all is incorrect. If the individual is all that matters, then we need to just close up shop and quit being a country.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:32 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Here's when you'll know that conservatism is dead - when we can have a serious discussion about how much we can reduce the military budget. Notice I didn't say "defense" budget.
We don't need to cut our defense budget, we need to cut our aggression budget.
posted by 2sheets at 9:35 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


True conservatism basically argues for two things: 1. Government should be as small and impotent in individuals' lives as possible, and 2. Citizens should be as free as possible to govern their own affairs.

3. corporations are not individuals or citizens
posted by pyramid termite at 9:40 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Taxes are the "dues" we pay to keep the organization going. Arguments can, and should, be made as to whether taxes are justified or excessive. But to say they are unnecessary or unjustified at all is incorrect.

"My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."— Grover Norquist, The Nation, October 12, 2004
posted by blucevalo at 9:43 AM on July 22, 2009


Elizabeth Warren for Benevolent Space Empress!

Please ask me to kill for you, Elizabeth...
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:47 AM on July 22, 2009


(What benny just said. hooray for preview)

There's no doubt that both terms "liberal" and "conservative" are widely misunderstood, and also abused. This is amply illustrated here and here.

I want to see a bit of a return to pre-Reagan/Thatcher conservatism. Appropriate adjectives for this sort of conservatism might be: pragmatic, cautious, loyal, reflective. Conservatives of this stripe act as a brake on the wilder schemes of liberals. At the same time, I don't think this sort of conservative would have rushed into 2 ill-conceived wars, or allowed the financial market to freely gorge itself unchecked.

3. corporations are not individuals or citizens

C'mon, there's nothing inherently conservative in that statement. Technically that would actually be a tenet of classical liberalism. Confusing, no?
posted by Artful Codger at 9:49 AM on July 22, 2009


I want to see a bit of a return to pre-Reagan/Thatcher conservatism. ... Conservatives of this stripe act as a brake on the wilder schemes of liberals.

Oh, sure - schemes like collective bargaining, food inspection, consumer protection - wild-eyed shit like that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:14 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


True conservatism basically argues for two things: 1. Government should be as small and impotent in individuals' lives as possible, and 2. Citizens should be as free as possible to govern their own affairs. Noble ends, both.

That's classical liberalism.

True conservatism basically argues that things should be like they were because tradition is probably not just a colossal fuckup. Hence the conserving.

True conservatives don't mind intrusive government if it gets in the way of abrupt radical social change, because abrupt radical social change is presumed to be bad until proven otherwise. A true conservative also wouldn't mind you not being free to govern your own affairs if making you free to do so would disrupt the established social order (ie, by abolishing some formal privilege of rank or banning some informal one). For example, a true conservative in 195x might not mind that wives, by and large, were not free to govern their own affairs because household dominance by husbands is part of the natural order of things.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:34 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's classical liberalism.

You are absolutely correct. I was trying to express the "modern" conservative posture. Modern understanding of conservative and liberal have flip-flopped in alot of ways from their original constructions.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:00 AM on July 22, 2009


The wealthy elites aren't on FreeRepublic and they don't listen to Limbaugh or Hannity or all those other guys.

I've known a lot of the wealthy elites, and while I can't speak to their perusal of FreeRepublic, they are absolutely listening to Rush and Hannity. Just so you know.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:58 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Vengeance
Mekons

Say it's true and say it ain't
When you're down in a hole
Stay down, keep your head down—
There has to be a way of escape

Eating oatcakes down the road
Listenin' to my radio
If Mars invades, then we'll be allies
Reagan/Thatcher won't last long

…so I'll sing another song…

Don't be depressed, don't be downhearted!
There's a mighty crisis coming
Pearls of thunder! Pearls of wisdom!
Reagan/Thatcher dead and gone!

In the steaming rain my clothes are wet
I'll never rest and I'll never forget…


~ [mp3 (4.37 MB, VBR) / via] ~
posted by koeselitz at 2:16 PM on July 22, 2009


The problem with the current healthcare proposals are that they fail to pay for themselves, or even close to it.

Got some news for you, buddy. The current system isn't paying for itself. It sends the recipients of healthcare into bankruptcy with bills that no mere mortal could afford to pay. Those bills will never be recovered in a lifetime even if you did screw the populace by never discharging healthcare debts.

Now. That freerep guy is a complete loon. Income tax is enslaving? Try property or poll taxes. Lose your job? Still gotta pay those taxes? Asset rich but cash poor senior citizen (i.e. you own your own house)? Still gotta pay them.

I can think of nothing more enslaving than having to work to keep paying the taxes on a house you own. Your castle. I can think of no greater uncompassionate and, dare I say it, unamerican gesture than forcing a citizen to sell his or her family home to pay the god damn TAX BILL.

Progressive income taxation divides society's liabilities between society based on their ability to pay. This pervasive "I've got mine so fuck you" attitude is sickening.

Oh and if we were to give back Social Security back to IRAs we'd be depositing negative amounts. FICA doesn't come anywhere close to funding SS liabilities. And are you telling me these middle/upper-middle class wannabe rich baby boomer/cultural warrior cheerleaders seriously have 6 figure IRAs? Or think that refunding SS will result in them having one? Because they're in for a rude shock. I've put 12% of my income away and doing the math I can't see a comfortable retirement so I'm going to jack it up to 15 or even 18% to catch up. And I do this at age 27 because I don't want to live on a measly pension when I get older. If you're in your 50s and don't have at least 100 grand you're going to have to start putting away half your salary lest you become that which you wish to demonize.

Republicans want to see a return to tradition? Destitute widows from their husbands dying at age 55 from poor working conditions? Because that's what those fuckers will get with a return to "tradition"? Fuck that for a joke.
posted by Talez at 5:07 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]





Reagan followed to its logical conclusion equals Palin. lol.
posted by lacus at 10:46 PM on July 22, 2009


Metafilter: more dangerous than cardiovascular diseases, infectious and parasitic diseases, ischemic heart disease, malignant neoplasms, cerebrovascular disease, respiratory infections, lower respiratory tract infections, HIV/AIDS , chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, perinatal conditions, digestive diseases, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, malaria , lung cancers, road traffic accidents, childhood diseases, neuropsychiatric disorders, diabetes mellitus, hypertensive heart disease, suicide, stomach cancer, diseases of the genitourinary system, cirrhosis of the liver, nephritis/nephropathy, colorectal cancer, liver cancer and measles and a cornered, wounded animal.
posted by liza at 7:08 AM on July 23, 2009


Social Security is totes unsustainable because every generation will be larger than the Baby Boom and that makes perfect sense because I was dropped on my head.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:18 AM on July 23, 2009


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