Thursday, November 17, 2005

Conservative In Name Only

George Will has wondered what has happened to limited-government conservatives. So has Robert Bidinotto. Why, for example, is there such a focus on including Creationism in school curriculum? This is now the hot topic as government spending and regulation grow uncontrollably. And there is absolutely no mention of removing the Federal government from schooling or private alternatives! Is conservatism, in particular self-reliant rugged individualism, dead?

Update: It's not just our conservatives. This blogger from the UK sees the same problem in England. Worse! He notes that a lead candidate in their Conservative Party is not only "Conservative in Name Only" but wants to get rid of the name!


Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Self reliant, rugged individualism has never been alive except in B movies. John Wayne doesn't live here and never lived here.

This image of a cultural as a bunch of "free" entities all acting on their chaotic whims is a recipe for disaster.

Creationism is the hot topic of the day. Tomorrow it will be upstaged by Libertarians becoming orgasmic about the "perfection of the market". The bill changes every few months but independent of that noise people still spend most of their time working, sleeping, eating and buying cheap shit made in China.

Is that life or are we just a really sorry people?

11/17/05, 5:05 PM  
Blogger beakerkin said...


Messing with the Duke .

You can whine about Libertarians but they are rooted in reality unlike your average disorganized thief who quotes Marx.

11/17/05, 7:04 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

"Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage."

"The above has been attributed to DeTocqueville, Tytler and others; it is probable that we’ll never know who said the above pair of paragraphs."


Incidentally, Laurence Auster at has written too many posts about the essentially liberal nature of today's conservatives to count. Here is just one example, especially interesting in light of the previous post about postmodernism (incidentally, I reread the long article about postmodernism and the European left that I had posted and the whole Rousseau legacy which spawned all the collectivist totalitarian movements is now much much clearer in my mind):

Auster: the basically leftist character of modern conservatism

11/17/05, 7:09 PM  
Blogger (((Thought Criminal))) said...

There's usually around a 20 year gap between conservative Presidencies.

We're due for a conservative President in 2008.

11/17/05, 8:48 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Some interesting responses! Ducky equates individualism with subjectivism. Beak defends the Duke from the Duck!

Auster has some good points, Caroline; but do you think that Tyler quote is too fatalistic?

Beamish, I wonder if Bush is like Nixon – biding time until another Reagan comes along.

11/17/05, 10:06 PM  
Blogger (((Thought Criminal))) said...

Nah. Nixon used daisy-cutters.

11/17/05, 10:29 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Oh - so that quote is from Tyler and not from DeTocqueville (elsewhere I saw perhaps Disraeli).

Well, I think like a psychologist and from that point of view it makes a great deal of sense. The question would be, at what point would we be on that timeline, if it were true? That in itself would be an interesting discussion and one's answer to that would probably tell a great deal about whether one is an optimist or a pessimist. I would say we're on the trajectory either from "abundance to selfishness" or from "selfishness to complacency". One of the two. If you split the difference that might put us squarely at "Selfishness". That's about halfway into the trajectory, which means the glass is either half empty or half full, depending on your perspective. In terms of a trajectory, we're sort of poised at midflight, at a turning point, which I suppose means that we still have a window of opportunity to prove the theory wrong. If I think that, well then, I guess I'm not a fatalist..:-)

11/17/05, 11:07 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Caroline is correct in pointing out a useful deToqueville quote, howver you have been more than a little naive in not recognizing that the worst leeches are the Republican constituency.

11/19/05, 2:48 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Ducky - I don't follow your point.

Why do you draw such a sharp line between Republicans and Democrats? You sound like someone completely obsessed by Republicans as if they were some alien species and as if you literally believed that Republicans (i.e. many of your fellow citizens) actually represented the major source of evil in the world, which strikes me as totally bizarre. When you suggest that the worst "leaches are the Republican constituency" I actually can't tell if you're kidding. Obviously the American constituency as a whole has moved far enough to the left (on the European model) that at this point it doesn't matter which party is in power, in terms of entitlements and open borders (even our foreign policy is liberal). Bush is basically a liberal in most respects. And even a Republican Congress can't say NO. But on the other hand, it's hard to imagine either party abandoning the fundamental tenets of capitalism, which would seem to mean that American policy will always remain corporate-friendly. Maybe I have misunderstood your posts. Are you actually a radical conservative? A paleoconservative? Or a Rousseauian inspired leftist (working here on my terminology but hope to improve with practice:-). It would help (me) if you would clarify where you stand politically so that I could understand the general tone of your comments. (I don't pretend to be politically savvy. I just appreciate what I call Plainspeak.)

P.S. So that quote WAS DeTocqueville and not Tyler?

11/19/05, 6:33 PM  
Blogger Bithead said...

Don't make the mistake, Jason of negating the structure of society. Government can and will do as it will... and the types of spending are not tyhe core of the issue. The thinking BEHIND the spending is. That thinking is based on the influence of the culture... I submit the ID arguments of the moment, is the culture re-asserting itself.

11/20/05, 12:11 PM  
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