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  • Posted by Hiraghm 8 years ago
    A conservative is someone who believes in just enough government to protect the rights of the individual and the sovereignty of the societal body (i.e., national defense).
    A conservative is someone who believes in a nation founded upon a body of fundamental principles, such as a Constitution, and in the case of the U.S., a conservative requires strict interpretation of and obedience to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    That's a conservative. All else is angels doing can-cans on pinheads.
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    • Posted by 8 years ago
      It sounds like you've identified the ideal individual for US citizenship and applied the word "conservative" to him. This is fine with me in this context, but it does overlook a, not insignificant, number of current and historical individuals that are identified and/or self-identified as "conservative", and yet fail to qualify as ideal with respect to this definition.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 8 years ago
    Wonky to answer your question about canon on the left, all I do is support your initial post because the Left and Right are symmetrical. In other words, except for Karl Marx, no one single source is common to all. Even there, many now take issue. Christopher Hitchens abandoned Marxism when realized that history left it behind.

    On point, also, realize that probably ANYONE who actually reads Marx or Lenin or Fanon or whoever, see themself as a leader, and perhaps rightfully so. In other words, most people just sort of "absorb" opinions that fit with what they uncritically accept in the first place. Those opinions come from people such as you and me, and like our mirror images on the left, who publicize our thoughts.
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    • Posted by 8 years ago
      Well said. I've been reading a ton of right leaning non-fiction, slowly buying into the idea that the right is weak because it won't use the same tactics as the left. Most recently, Ben Shapiro has attracted my attention. I'm just getting into his book "Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America". It is interesting that he and his (now deceased) mentor, Andrew Breitbart, seem to think that Saul Alinsky was a genius. Sadly, winning debates/votes doesn't make you right.
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 8 years ago
        Well, one of the symmetries is the right-left dichotomy. They both insist on this false alternative. If you watch the "Day in NIght" interview with Ayn Rand, you will see that at one point, discussing the weakness of "belief" Rand starts to use the word "believe" and then catches herself, excusing the weakness of language.

        We do it, too. Right and Left are a false dichotomy and at root they are conceptually meaningless.

        As you know the World's Smallest Political Quiz is a two-dimensional grid. That is much better. In fact that poll has changed over the decades, suggesting that a proper taxonomy is multi-dimensional.

        We use words like progressives, socialists, liberals, and then lump them all together. As I noted elsewhere F. A. Hayek called himself a liberal. Karl Popper and Hannah Arendt also were liberals.

        The means determine the ends. If you use bullying and the other tactics of your enemies, you only achieve what they would.

        It is impossible to lie, cheat, and steal our way to a limited constitutional government in a capitalist economy. Only reason can bring a reasonable society.

        See the comment by Hiraghm below, his choice between controlling people and living in the wild is worse than a false dichotomy because they do not even exist on the same conceptual axis. If anything, that "wild state of nature" is the very tribe or village in which personal freedom cannot exist. See also the comment from Stargeezer to my post "City Air Makes You Free." Many conservatives share the Marxist ideal of a primitive society, "close to the Earth" living "in harmony with nature" shooting animals with guns that arrived miraculously from cities that would not even exist in their utopias.

        Then, the next step is that this post gets voted down to zero or minus-one by an intolerant conservative whose god gave them absolute truth - truth that can stand no contradiction. That is clearly the mindset of the totalitarian, whether of the so-called "left" or "right."

        Fascism and communism are not opposites, but only two expressions of the same philosophy of Hegelianism, which advocates for an "Idea" that is the final expression of social order, beyond which no change is possible.

        I assure you that if we had a world of constitutional government in a capitalist economy, in a hundred years we would not recognize it. If a simple dichotomy encapsulates the distinction, it is between Fantasy and Science Fiction.

        Lord of the Rings was a world of magic, the Shire, simple folk, and uncomplicated heroes, founding or regaining family lines of hereditary rulers, and talking trees as the epitome of wisdom. Both "left" and "right" identify with that.

        For all of the pro-military and anti-market prejudices of its writers and producers, Star Trek is epitomized by a ship of exploration called "Enterprise" with logical Vulcans, intelligent and commanding women (who may or may not have children, as they choose), where novelty is constantly unfolding, and the scientific method is the accepted mode of knowing the physical world, which is the only world. Every "god" is just another kind of very real and un-mysterious, limited being, usually defeated for their attempt to rule others.
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        • Posted by Lucky 8 years ago
          Well done again MM.
          Yes there could be better words for belief when what is really meant is- I have good but not absolute evidence that..
          Strictly speaking, belief means holding to a position without evidence, this is what religion is about even to the extent of finding virtue in believing contrary to evidence. (There is an interesting exception of Buddhism here, see the Kalama Sutra). Objectivism is clearly the opposite of religion. Of course there is much common ground at this time between conservatives and objectivists. On this site there are frequent, intelligent and welcome contributions from conservative, religious, and patriotic viewpoints, the distinction is still important.
          "Fascism and communism are not opposites," Quite so, they claim a false dichotomy but share much particularly the claim to absolute truth which is above not just rationality but even criticism.
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          • Posted by 8 years ago
            I thought the word she used was "feel". I'm not sure that changes anything. It probably just supports the argument further given that the words "feel" and "believe" are so often interchanged. If I'm getting the gist, both the right and the left need the spectrum to exist in order to contrast themselves against their opponents. And yet, there is that pesky, multidimensional test... http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz/quiz.ph...

            Am I to "believe" that I am 100% Libertarian based on the evidence supplied by the test? Should I self-identify as such? Clearly not to such an extent that I waive my responsibility to think for myself and instead just "absorb" Libertarian viewpoints.
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    • Posted by Hiraghm 8 years ago
      " the Left and Right are symmetrical."

      NO THEY ARE NOT.

      Stop propagating that myth.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DioQooFIc...

      On the left you have those who wish to control people totally. On the right you have those who wish to live in a wild state of nature.
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      • Posted by 8 years ago
        The context here (my question for MM) was the individual rather than the power structure (or individuals within the power structure).

        According to the video you posted, there would be no power structure on the far right, and no honest individuals seeking power through political office using a far right agenda. That said, from the perspective of the leadership, I tend to agree that the spectrum shown illustrates the values that the leadership must "claim" to hold.

        I'm most interested in individuals (outside of the power structure) with philosophically integrated values, and whether such individuals can be said to exist on the far left.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 8 years ago
    If you have access to JSTOR or another archive, find this:
    The Rising National Individualism
    Author(s): Herbert Adolphus Miller
    The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 19, No. 5 (Mar., 1914), pp. 592-605

    By "national individualism" the author actually means "national socialism."

    "The object of this paper is to show that there is a rapidly developing individualism that is distinctly social, and which promises to become a powerful factor in human affairs. The earlier conflict between Socialism and Individualism is likely to be diverted to that between Socialism and Nationalism or the struggle for national individuality. At the present moment the world is organizing itself into two great camps-Socialism and Nationalism. Both are expressions of the group feeling; both are movements of revolt; both are struggles for freedom. They started from a common impulse about fifty years ago, but quickly found themselves arrayed against each other. One would break down political boundaries; the other would build them up. Socialism calls all the world one; Nationalism sets part against the rest. Socialism is economic; Nationalism sentimental. Both are rapidly becoming world-wide and must fundamentally modify statescraft."

    "It does not correspond to present national boundaries, but rather to historic or even imagi- nary boundaries. At the present time this sentimental Nationalism is fraught with more significance on the continent of Europe than existing political divisions. In the United States with its hordes of various peoples such as no other country ever knew, an understanding of the national feeling is indispensable before we can hope to assimilate our aliens into Americans. Just as Socialism has been a revolt against the coercive control of men by wealth or arbitrary government, so this national feeling is the revolt of a people conscious of its unity, against control by a. power trying to annihilate this consciousness. The phenomenal development of both Socialism and Nationalism has been in the last decade."

    (and much more)



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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 8 years ago
    Had to work through the presenter there to get to the crux of the presentation. It's been done before:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_uC0wy_O...
    Another (BTW: look up Janet Greene)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZCTZUZ4X...

    (BTW: nice to see you, Wonky!)
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    • Posted by 8 years ago
      Good to see you as well!

      In my review of Mark Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto", I wrote the following:

      -----------

      The premise that a Conservative individual is the polar opposite of a Statist individual is very difficult to envision. From Levin's depictions, any distillation of a Statist individual outside of the political arena amounts to a brainwashed zombie with no interest in his own freedom, ever fearful of the government's inability to protect and provide for himself or other individuals in society, who thusly votes blindly for big government. A more likely depiction of a Statist individual is one that is passionate about one or more social issues (such as caring for the poor, the ill, or the elderly) who, in ignorance, supports a sort of Statist "creep" by casting his or her vote without consideration of the consequences. Such a person can be envisioned, and is more accessible and recognizable as a human being, but it would not be accurate to label him a "Statist" in the sense that he endorses "Statism".

      Levin does indicate that Statism is achieved slowly through the efforts of insidious collusion between impassioned groups and the mainstream media, using crises to their advantage for political, ideological, and/or financial gain. These groups gain power by leveraging the passions and fears of the emotional individual I described above. In this scenario, it is much easier to see "Statism", not as a philosophy, but rather as a machine whose gears consist of these impassioned groups which do not recognize the function of the machine that they power. The analogy of "Statism" as a machine may serve as a key to disambiguate Levin's persistent references to "The Statist" as the antagonist of "The Conservative".

      It is not necessary to define an anti-Conservative philosophy to justify a Conservative philosophy. A proponent of a Conservative philosophy cannot simply identify his neighbor as an individual holding an anti-Conservative, or Statist, philosophy, and commence with debate over the merits of each.

      -----------

      I keep coming back to this nagging sensation (perhaps realization?) that there is no such thing as an individual that truly holds a "philosophy of collectivism". The very concept of a "philosophy of collectivism" seems absurd (maybe this is self-evident to most members of the Gulch?). If so, it leaves me frustrated with respect to my own effort to correctly identify my enemies, and the tactics by which to combat them.
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 8 years ago
        Karl Popper and Eric Hoffer made the same point, but called their Good Guy the liberal. Hayek also considered himself a liberal. To them, statists or collectivists or totalitarians were anti-liberals.

        To me - as to Ayn Rand - the idea of a "conservative" is exactly the person who embraces fascism. That is why she wrote about "The Fascist New Frontier." President John Kennedy was a conservative.

        If you spend any time among a spectrum of self-identified leftists or progressives or Marxists or communists or socialists, you understand soon that they know what they are talking about and they mean it.

        The unthinking people are only that: unthinking.

        In 2010, I was in a room with Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn as they spoke to a group of college campus "New SDS" kids. No one was misinformed.

        Now, granted that in that audience were at least a couple of "nice" people. (Not them, the kids.) They only wanted the best for everyone and they thought that workers' collectives voting in unions could make the best choices for everyone else -- and given the hard choice, most of them had absolutely no answer for the One Guy Who Does Not Want to Go Along with the Collective.

        Some of them waved their hands and called on magic: in the perfect world, everyone would accept their point of view. Others were willing to use force against the errant individual to protect the group. In the world of Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn you do not have a political right to be wrong.

        No one was being led down the garden path.

        But, you run into the very same people (dressed differently) if you are among a spectrum along the right wing of conservatives or libertarians. Murray Rothbard believed that all banks must be 100% full reserve gold-backed savings institutions -- and anything else was fraud -- and his anarcho-capitalist utopia would have agencies to PUNISH them.

        I met a nice young man working for Ron Paul who said that only the government has the right to issue money. It is the same motivation as the leftists: they know what is best for you and they have enforcement mechanisms in place (at least in their dreams) to make you obey.

        But they are NOT being fooled one step at a time along a gray-scale continuum. They know full well what they want.

        Who is Mark Levin? What is his day job? It seems to me that he is just another world-beater with a Big Idea for everyone else to follow. I did not know anything about him until now when I googled him. The man worked for Edwin Meese, a Reagan administration fascist.
        "Beginning in 1981, Levin served as advisor to several members of President Ronald Reagan's cabinet, eventually becoming Associate Director of Presidential Personnel and ultimately Chief of Staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese; Levin also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, and Deputy Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior." -- Wikipedia - Mark Levin.
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        • Posted by Hiraghm 8 years ago
          John Kennedy was a philandering scumbag liberal, like the rest of his family.

          How can you call the guy responsible for the Apollo program "conservative"? That's *small* government??
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        • Posted by 8 years ago
          "If you spend any time among a spectrum of self-identified leftists or progressives or Marxists or communists or socialists, you understand soon that they know what they are talking about and they mean it."

          Is there a condensed doctrine, or a "manifesto" indicating the intentions of these forces? Is it to be found in "Frankfurt School critical theory", or Alinsky tactics for the degradation of virtues along with the replacement of those virtues with class or sex or race based political rallying points? What evidence is there that non-political individuals (those outside of leadership) truly, consciously, desire collectivist rule based on rational (philosophical) considerations?

          Any pointers you may have on a meaningful insight into the philosophy of the left would be greatly appreciated.
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