Saturday, September 22, 2007

Whither Conservatism?

Robert Bidinotto’s article, “Up from Conservatism” has been nominated for an Eddie for best single article in a publication of a non-profit organization. Bidinotto explains why conservatism can’t or won’t stop the growth of government and steady loss of individual liberty. And why it never could.

Among the problems are hostility to explicit principles, an admission that reason can’t support its moral percepts, and a confession that man isn’t good enough to practice God’s moral imperatives. This leaves nothing but expediency and compromise. The result is timidity and retreat.

The ultimate surrender, however, is moral. Conservatives cave in the face of charges that individualism isn’t altruistic and compassionate. Scrambling to justify individualism on socialist ethics has left conservatives with nothing to do when in power but to move to the left. Bidinotto explains the moral surrender and what should be done instead. Judge for yourself and see if he’s gotten to the essence of the problem: “Up from Conservatism.”

Update: And the winner is ... Robert Bidinotto ... proving that recognition doesn't require compromising one's principles. Congrats, Robert.


Blogger AmPowerBlog said...

That's interesting. I would just add that we're not likely to ever be rid of "big government," since we're the world's largest industrial democracy, and big government also implies a large military/industrial establishment, which I support.

That said, conservative values of thrift, responsibility, hard work, charity, and resistance to tyranny in all its forms (especially with regard to the present terror threat), should help those on the right prevail in the long-term political debate.

Things might not be looking up for 2008, but I'm confident conservative values - and more market principles - will help work to keep America vital in the decades ahead.

Burkean Reflections

9/23/07, 12:44 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

The article correctly describes pragmatism as being unprincipled and based upon expediency. But it is wrong to classify it as a facet of conservatism. Pragmatism is the evaluation and matching against of ideals in competition. Progressives, even though they are equally dismissive of it for being valueless (not egalitare nor diverse nor altruistic nor redistributive) have pragmatist politicians, pragmatism is of the centre and of politics.

Provide an expedient ideal.

9/24/07, 12:24 AM  
Blogger (((Thought Criminal))) said...

Conservatives are not resistant to or fearful of change. We're just skeptical of it. Or should be. We don't sign on to very many things that turn out to be bullshit, and certainly never twice (re: amnesty for Mexican invaders; etc.). Conservatives aren't ruled by tradition. We're ruled by history. Experience.

Conservatives are the ball in the ping pong match between Santayana and Fukiyama.

"Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it"

"We're at the end of history."

As far as "unprincipled principleness" - screw the partisanship crap. You think we stayed home in 2006 because we had better things to do?

9/24/07, 1:37 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

There’s tradition and there’s traditionalism. History provides us with many traditions but one needs principles to evaluate and select the best among them. Post-war conservatives recoiled against abstract principles arguing that not everything can be explicated. While that’s true they used that fact to avoid explication of principles on principle. Here’s what I wrote a few years ago:

“But something interesting happened on the way to the victory party: conservatism became just that – a reticence to change the status quo. As a sentiment, opposed on principle to systems of abstract principles, it could never achieve the clarity and soundness of a well-grounded body of knowledge supported and established by evidence and rational argumentation. Frank S. Meyer initially understood the problem well in 1955 before his ‘fusion’ with traditionalism. Conservatism ‘carries with it, however, no built-in defense against the acceptance, grudging though it may be, of institutions which reason and prudence would otherwise reject, if only those institutions are sufficiently firmly established. … the mantle of the conservative tone can well befit the established order of the welfare society.’ [1] In the end, the traditionalists won control of the conservative movement and Republican Party. To understand the implications to the current crisis we must understand the limitations of traditionalist conservatism.” [2]

One of the problems of traditionalism is its inherent ability to accept the status quo under any condition. The tradition most of us would like to see re-established is the tradition of liberty. However, in the last 80 years we’ve seen another tradition: the welfare state.

Restoration of the tradition of liberty means rejecting the current tradition of dependence and subservience to the state. That’s a long process but without the explication of principles we will hobble along groping our way while leaving the advantage of ideas and principles to our opponents.

We maintain the advantage of the absurdity of the left but that only keeps us from a complete adoption of socialism as we continue to drift by regulations and legislation only punctuated by an occasional pause or rare victory.

In the next decade, I expect middle-class entitlements and the religion of environmentalism to further the encroachment of the state. Conservatives seem unable to intellectually fight this trend and many are surrendering. Look at Donald’s resignation above. Sure, he’s right that the legacy of “big government” isn’t going to disappear overnight but that’s no reason not to hold up the ideals of individualism and take steps in the right direction.

I know, Beamish, that you’re not a status quo guy. Without explicating the right aspirations -- the aspriation of individual liberty -- they will never be established, secure, and enduring. The drift toward serfdom will resume after the occasional pause.

[1] Frank S. Meyer, “A Rebel in Search of Tradition,” The Freeman (July 1955): 559-62 reprinted in Gregory L. Schneider’s “Conservatism in America since 1930”
[2] From my long essay on conservatism in the face of the Islamic threat.

9/24/07, 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well there is one thing that I believe the author of this critique has ignored that bears on the prime reason why even conservatives tend to become more "liberal" or "altruistic" in their moral thinking...

Nietzsche, "Genealogy of Morals"

As it acquires more power, a community considers the crimes of a single individual less serious, because they no longer make him dangerous and unsettling for the existence of the community as much as they did before. The wrong doer is no longer “left without peace” and thrown out, and the common anger can no longer vent itself on him without restraint to the same extent it did before. It is rather the case that the wrong doer from now on is carefully protected by the community against this anger, particularly from that of the injured person, and is taken into protective custody. The compromise with the anger of those most immediately affected by the wrong doing, and thus the effort to localize the case and to avert a wider or even a general participation and unrest, the attempts to find equivalents and to settle the whole business (the compositio), above all the desire, appearing with ever-increasing clarity, to consider every crime as, in some sense or other, capable of being paid off, and thus, at least to some extent, to separate the criminal and his crime from each other—those are the characteristics stamped more and more clearly on the further development of criminal law.

If the power and the self-confidence of a community keeps growing, the criminal law grows constantly milder. Every weakening and profound jeopardizing of the community brings the harsher forms of criminal law to light once more. The “creditor” always became proportionally more human as he became richer. Finally the amount of his wealth itself establishes how much damage he can sustain without suffering from it. It would not be impossible to imagine a society with a consciousness of its own power which allowed itself the most privileged luxury which it can have—letting its criminals go free without punishment. “Why should I really bother about my parasites,” it could then say. “May they live and prosper—for that I am still sufficiently strong!” . . . Justice, which started by stating “Everything is capable of being paid for, everything must be paid off” ends at that point, by covering its eyes and letting the person incapable of payment go free—it ends, as every good thing on earth ends, by doing away with itself. This self-negation of justice—we know what a beautiful name it calls itself—mercy. It goes without saying that mercy remains the privilege of the most powerful man, or even better, his 'beyond the law'.

9/24/07, 10:56 AM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

Immediately noted is the fact that he has no idea of the meaning of Pragmatism. He hasn't read James and I don't think many conservatives have.

Second is this constant in Randoid thought that altruism as defined by "self sacrifice is a driving force in society. Of course it isn't, not even close but what you do have are reasoning people who understand that by strengthening the group the individual is also strengthened. They are able to see value in this apparent trade off.

For someone who values "excellence" you should get off the Rand site once in a while to gain experience.

9/24/07, 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I concur with James Bidinotto that the Barry Goldwater coalition “did not share a single, overarching, philosophical frame of reference or
agenda” and that there are many conflicting branches of conservatism.

He asks “What single idea would distinguish them, as a group, from non-conservatives?” (as he notes their hostility to theory). Then he asks “By what standard is “a particular people and its
institutionalized cultural expressions” to be considered superior to all others?”

His approach is to throw out conservatism as a flawed outlook, in theory and practice. Mine differs, for I find much to recommend in conservatism (despite its flaws). This is especially the case now, when our national outlooks and practices find nothing worth conserving in our nation.

Let us get to the key flaw in conservatism, namely the inability to decide what is to be conserved. All of us acknowledge the imperative to conserve. The question is 'What is to be conserved?' Many libertarians and Objectivists would give a political answer, such as our Constitution or our free market. However, that is at most a partial answer, since in addition to government there is the matter of culture. *What has to be preserved is ‘civilization’* where culture requires freedom (which is to be maximized) and government requires force (which is to be minimized). This provides the standard requested by Bidinotto that demonstrates why our civilization is superior to all others.

If I understand Bidinnoto, his approach is to exclude those who are irrational from the coalition by which America is to fight for survival. I would instead welcome all who might adhere to the following concepts and principles:

Our civilization is superior, for it is based on the inalienable rights of the individual;
Our enemies are at war with us, where our alternatives are strictly victory or defeat;
Survival trumps morality, for absent survival there can be no morality;
Citizenship prohibits sedition & treason;
Do not reward the irresponsible, nor penalize the responsible;
The role of government is to protect our rights; the role of culture is to uplift man;
Speak straight, and treat issues on their merit.

Are these the principles that need to be explicated, and if not, what should they be?

I completely agree with Jason that "Restoration of the tradition of liberty means rejecting the current tradition of dependence and subservience to the state. That’s a long process but without the explication of principles we will hobble along groping our way while leaving the advantage of ideas and principles to our opponents."


9/24/07, 11:00 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...


Read your long essay again and you are a very good writer, but it grates some.

You claim to believe in moral ideals of individualism and individual rights & responsibility. These ideas that I appreciate for their derived pragmatic value, you claim to hold self evident and truthful. Yet of Islam you say - "This is not a religion that shows any capacity to restrict its focus to individual salvation as a personnel private matter – it is, from its inception, a political religious ideology. This is not a religion that has been reformed by the rebirth of the classical worldview; it rejected that path long ago."

"It" is not an entity, but rather 1.3 billion individual people who cooperate in "its" name. I cannot see the use in dismissing the liberty, individual rights and responsibilities of Muslims as if they are unimportant.

Methinks that an examination of terrorism, jihadism can show that it is formed by individuals using their liberty to take actions. I do not see that there is a dispersed, pervasive cultural force driving the actions. Despite your denials you are advocating a holy war - "us' vs. "them". This is wrong, because it is in my opinion unfeasible in reality and perhaps more importantly because it runs counter to your stated truths.

Please write as an individualist. To defeat jihadism by individualism it is important to define the enemy in individualist terms. Collectivist mumbo jumbo, of cultures and religious entities - god made me do it or the culture drove me to it or historical fates are not terms of reference an individualist should give weight to. Define solely on the basis of individuals (even if they are Muslim) using their liberty to act for their own benefit is the individualist creed. If this can be analysed it shall be likely found that our enemies are less numerous than 1.3 billion and a war to make them bear responsibility for our loss (responsibility for their actions) might just be possible, heck it might even be expedient.

9/24/07, 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reasoning people who understand that by strengthening the group the individual is also strengthened. They are able to see value in this apparent trade off.

Nietzsche, BG&E

And if I have seen things correctly, the problem of the "unfreedom of the will" has generally been seen from two totally contrasting points of view, but always in a deeply personal way: some people are not willing at any price to let go of their "responsibility," their belief in themselves, their personal right to the credit (the vain races belong to this group—); the others want the reverse—they don't wish to be responsible, to be guilty of anything, and demand, out of an inner self-contempt, that they can shift blame for themselves somewhere else.

People in this second group, when they write books, are in the habit nowadays of taking up the cause of criminals; a sort of socialist pity is their most attractive disguise. And in fact, the fatalism of those with weak wills brightens up amazingly when it learns how to present itself as "la religion de la souffrance humaine"—that's its "good taste"

Pity for the diseased, the weak, the mentally incapable is NOT good for the herd, ducky. Best let the lions eat them, so to atleast keep their numbers down...

9/24/07, 12:22 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Fascinating Nietzsche quotes! In particular: “This self-negation of justice—we know what a beautiful name it calls itself—mercy.

Weingarten: “Are these the principles that need to be explicated, ...” Yes, they are.

Una, I make a distinction between philosophy and sociology. Hope that helps.

9/24/07, 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, self-negation...

"Every institution finally perishes by an excess of its own first principle"

I guess it might be a 'good' thing to perhaps be "un-principled" at times, espcially when one's own survival is at stake.

9/24/07, 1:47 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Or if survival is the principle, it may manifest itself differently within a civil order during peacetime than it would on the battlefield –- to take two starkly different contexts.

9/24/07, 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed it would.

9/24/07, 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every vice becomes a virtue in war...

9/24/07, 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...well, almost. ;-)

9/24/07, 2:31 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...


9/24/07, 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over most of the Southeast, chieftainship tended to be hereditary within certain lineages. The degree of chiefly power and authority varied, however, from the almost divine kingship of the Great Sun among the theocratic Natchez to the self-effacing status of the peace-making, consensus-seeking micos and ukus among the more egalitarian Choctaws, Creeks, and Cherokees. War leaders normally achieved their positions on the basis of past accomplishment. War chiefs tended to be active and assertive personalities and younger, by about a generation, than the peace chiefs

The alternation between peace and war or the occurrence of such competitive activities between alien groups as ball games, communal hunts, and trading expeditions helped to imbue much of Southeast Indian social structure with a characteristic dualism. The peace chief held sway in the domestic village, whereas the war chief was ascendant in areas external to the village, except when the village was under threat of imminent attack. Young men in the village alternately adjusted to roles appropriate to war and peace, often symbolically represented as red and white activities, and these transformations were usually effected through extensive ritual. This dualistic emphasis was also frequently expressed in the organization of clans, subtribes, and villages into complementary social divisions.

Sparta had two kings, Rome, two consuls... an American President has "normal/peacetime" powers and Gen. George Washington type "war powers" ...although some Constitutional scholars might not agree.

Soldiers fall under the UCMJ and not the Constitution.

9/24/07, 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Machiavelli, "Art of War" - Preface.

9/24/07, 3:03 PM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

Although Farmer as you indulge in your Nietzsche worship I wonder if you join Jason in his admiration for Rand and manage to resolve the impulse in Nietzsche to act against reason.

9/24/07, 4:48 PM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

There’s tradition and there’s traditionalism. History provides us with many traditions but one needs principles to evaluate and select the best among them.

What outcome determines which is "best" or are you going to say that tradition doesn't need to test itself against an desired outcome?

9/24/07, 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why ducky...(Nietzsche WtP)

493 (1885)
Truth is the kind of error without which a certain species of life could not live. The value for life is ultimately decisive.

534 (1887-1888)
The criterion of truth resides in the enhancement of the feeling of power.

Why do you think the Muslim's wish to return to the ways of their good old days when the Caliphate ruled half the planet?

The impulse to "over-reason" is a Euro-death wish... an attempt by western man to 'overcome' himself (self-negation) and commit cultural suicide as the nihilists no longer have the courage of their previous convictions (Jim Morrison's (The Doors) "the West is the best" from "The End")

9/24/07, 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as for "pity" and "altruism" and the usefullness of un-reason

Nietzsche, Human, All too Human

"For in pity at least two (maybe many more) elements of personal pleasure are contained, and it is to that extent self-enjoyment: first of all, it is the pleasure of the emotion (the kind of pity we find in tragedy) and second, when it drives us to act, it is the pleasure of our satisfaction in the exercise of power. If, in addition, a suffering person is very close to us, we reduce our own suffering by our acts of pity. Aside from a few philosophers, men have always placed pity rather low in the hierarchy of moral feelings-and rightly so.

Desire to arouse pity. 15 In the most noteworthy passage of his self-portrait (first published in 1658), La Rochefoucauld certainly hits the mark when he warns all reasonable men against pity,16 when he advises them to leave it to those common people who need passions (because they are not directed by reason) to bring them to the point of helping the sufferer and intervening energetically in a misfortune. For pity, in his (and Plato's) 17 judgment, weakens the soul. Of course one ought to express pity, but one ought to guard against having it; for unfortunate people are so stupid that they count the expression of pity as the greatest good on earth.

Perhaps one can warn even more strongly against having pity for the unfortunate if one does not think of their need for pity as stupidity and intellectual deficiency, a kind of mental disorder resulting from their misfortune (this is how La Rochefoucauld seems to regard it), but rather as something quite different and more dubious. Observe how children (and democrats...;-) weep and cry, so that they will be pitied, how they wait for the moment when their condition will be noticed. Or live among the ill and depressed, and question whether their eloquent laments and whimpering, the spectacle of their misfortune, is not basically aimed at hurting those present. The pity that the spectators then express consoles the weak and suffering, inasmuch as they see that, despite all their weakness, they still have at least one power: the power to hurt. When expressions of pity make the unfortunate man aware of this feeling of superiority, he gets a kind of pleasure from it; his self-image revives; he is still important enough to inflict pain on the world. Thus the thirst for pity is a thirst for self-enjoyment, and at the expense of one's fellow men. It reveals man in the complete inconsideration of his most intimate dear self, but not precisely in his "stupidity," as La Rochefoucauld thinks.

In social dialogue, three-quarters of all questions and answers are framed in order to hurt the participants a little bit; this is why many men thirst after society so much: it gives them a feeling of their strength. In these countless, but very small doses, malevolence takes effect as one of life's powerful stimulants, just as goodwill, dispensed in the same way throughout the human world, is the perennially ready cure.
But will there be many people honest enough to admit that it is a pleasure to inflict pain? That not infrequently one amuses himself (and well) by offending other men (at least in his thoughts) and by shooting pellets of petty malice at them? Most people are too dishonest, and a few men are too good, to know anything about this source of shame. So they may try to deny that Prosper Merimée is right when he says, "Sachez aussi qu'il n'y a rien de plus commun que de faire le mal pour le plaisir de le faire."18

15. This aphorism is directed against Schopenhauers exaltation of pity as the highest moral feeling (cf. The World as Will and Idea, Bk. 4, par. 67).

16. Je suis peu sensible à la pitié et voudrais ne l'y être point du tout . . . Cependant, il n'est rien que je ne fisse pour le soulagement d'une personne affligée. . . Mais je liens aussi qu'il faut se contenter d 'en témoigner et se garder soigneusement d'en avoir. C'est une passion qui n'est bonne à rien au dedans d'une âme bien faite, qui ne sert qu'a affaiblir le coeur, et qu'on doit laisser au peuple, qui, n'exécutant jamais rien par raison, a besoin des passions pour le porter à faire les choses. (I am not much moved by pity and would like to be not at all .... However, there is nothing I would not do to relieve a suffering person .... But I also maintain that one should be content to show it [pity] and carefully keep from having it. It is a passion which is useless to a well-developed soul, which serves only to weaken the heart, and which ought to be left to the masses, who, never doing anything out of reason, need passions to bring them to act.)

17. Cf. The Republic Bk. 3, 387-88.

18. Prosper Merimée (1803-70), Lettres à une inconnue, I:8. "Know that nothing is more common than to do harm for the pleasure of doing it:"

Repressed cruelty is the source of the SuperEgo's power (Freud's Thanatos) and is used to counter the Pleasure Principle (Eros) and give edge to the hone of the Reality Principle.

9/24/07, 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The victimology of the Left is nothing but their vain attempt to feel more powerful and exercise cruelty... just as their "critical theories" are nothing but attempts to "rationalize" these same feelings and cloak them in both in terms of "old virtues" like "pity" and "mercy" and to transform them into "new virtues" "fairness" and "social justice". Nietzsche, WtP

To revalue values--what would that mean? All the spontaneous--new, future, stronger--movements must be there; but they still appear under false names and valuations and have not yet become conscious of themselves.

9/24/07, 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ultimately, Ecclesiastes 3 sums it all up...

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; etc.

9/24/07, 5:52 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

"Human nature may require rights for life to fully flourish, but for rights to flourish there must be an appropriate cultural context."

No, rights are present in Islamic society and thus can be analysed through individualism.

Individualist theory is based upon people "flourishing" though the maximisation of their "liberty". This is pertained by individualists to be a rational universal concept in sync with human nature that is not subject to any cultural context. Bidinotto confronts this in part by calling out that "principled individualists must publicly challenge and repudiate the rising tribalism and irrationalism" And that "principled individualists must begin to defend capitalism on moral grounds" with the moral grounds being "individual life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" - freedom and happiness. If you are an individualist you should at least attempt to show how individualism can be applied universally.

By applying the individualistic universal principles to Islam it becomes clear that Islam maximises the liberty and happiness of one set of its followers. Those who lead under Islam have more freedom than any Westerner. Islam analysed on the basis of rational self interest is not a mystical warrior religion, it is a feudal system providing maximum liberty for the feudal lord. The lords are our enemy, not because they are of an alien unreformable creed that defies rational analysis (which would constitute a failure of individualism as an independent universal concept). The lords are our enemy, because they attempt to maximise their liberty and freedom, BUT in doing so they encroach* upon our own freedom and liberty.

* BTW this is where Bidinotto falls over - he fails to recognise the inherent altruistic nature of universal rights. He denigrates altruism as un-American, when America was founded by the leaders of the revolution granting rights to all men - an extremely altruistic thing to do. Those leaders could have set themselves as lords amoung men and maximised their liberty at the expense of all others.

9/24/07, 7:38 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Exactly two years ago I wrote an article entitled Are Rights Universal? It’s worth re-reading; I’m quite proud of it. By the way, I also showed respect for the conservative concern for tradition.

9/24/07, 9:25 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Nice, but it seems strangely concerned with extending human rights into islam.

From Farmer John - Nietsche supports of the rationality of Islam as practiced by leaders:

Desire to arouse pity. 15 In the most noteworthy passage of his self-portrait (first published in 1658), La Rochefoucauld certainly hits the mark when he warns all reasonable men against pity,16 when he advises them to leave it to those common people who need passions (because they are not directed by reason) to bring them to the point of helping the sufferer and intervening energetically in a misfortune. For pity, in his (and Plato's) 17 judgment, weakens the soul. Of course one ought to express pity, but one ought to guard against having it; for unfortunate people are so stupid that they count the expression of pity as the greatest good on earth.

This is a rational direct call for leaders to marginalise the common people in order maximise the benefit in terms of rational self advancement. Cultivation of unreason amoung the common people being central to advancing the liberty and power of the rational leader (as fitting a desciption of political Islam as I have seen). This is un-American and un-Western in nature, ascribing common people as unreasoning in conflict with the practice of universal individual rights in a democratic society. What Neitsche fails to account for in his dismissal of altruism is that by granting liberty to another person one may benefit from what inventive nature that other might exhibit. The "common people" (you, me and farmer john) can all exhibit reason and inventiveness if given the opportunity, so an exercise of pity by the empowered that grants liberty to a person it may derive benefits far out weighing the costs. The Islamic world exists on the principle of taking personal liberty over the common people (in wide accordance with Nietsche's theory) and is backward precisely because it fails to make moderated liberty widely available. However the leader is still rationally pursuing the ultimate good of liberty, even if by taking liberty from others.

Islamic practice values liberty very highly for the powerful, to the detriment of others. The Islamic leaders do this to their own and by extension attempt to do it to us. Discussion in relation to the Islamic world should not be concerned if the majority of muslims can or cannot accept an infusion of liberty to their benefit - they are irrelevent. It should revolve around the maximisation of our own benefit only and by the rationality of Nietsche (as practiced under Islam) we can benefit from the suppression of the liberty of the Muslim leaders. We need to destroy the liberty of the leaders of the Islamic world for our own benefit. If this results in the empowerment of commmon muslims - yippee, but if not who cares.

9/25/07, 12:08 AM  
Blogger (((Thought Criminal))) said...


I'd like to say my conservatism is not an argument from tradition (a fallacy), but rather an argument from historical evidence.

I'm not opposed to all forms of leftism because my forefathers were. I'm opposed to all forms of leftism because not one of them has produced anything of consequence that wasn't totalitarian.

9/25/07, 8:37 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

I appreciate that about you, Beamish. You've more than once reminded (or corrected!) me on an historical point.

It’s also a point to appreciate about our founding fathers. If you read any of their literature (take the Federalist Papers as an example) you’re taken by the command of history going back as far as possible. Their explication of principles was woven seamlessly with a study of history.

9/25/07, 9:35 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

unaha, Pity has nothing to do with respecting rights. In a liberal order one respects the liberty of each individual even if one doesn’t respect how they use it. One may pity the fool who uses his liberty to flounder and waste away. But one celebrates the achievement, in character and deed, of those who show what great heights can be reached when liberty unshackles human potential.

9/25/07, 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I concur with Mr. Beamish when he writes "I'd like to say my conservatism is not an argument from tradition (a fallacy), but rather an argument from historical evidence." I would add that it is also theoretically sound that *development & protection demand conservation* (even though conservatives eschew theory). Note that the most creative venture, requires preserving that which was valuable in its predecessor.

Perhaps what is most important to be conserved are the principles that have developed and protected civilization.


9/25/07, 7:40 PM  
Blogger (((Thought Criminal))) said...

That's why most conservatives bristle at historical revisionism.

(And why we write the best cliometrically plausible alternate reality historical fiction...I digress)

Post-modern attempts at revising the historical record are no less than an attempt to manufacture ignorance.

9/26/07, 2:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judge Clarence Thomas, on '60 Minutes' last night demonstrated the finer side of conservatism.


10/1/07, 5:40 PM  
Blogger Ronbo said...

Excellent article, Jason!

You are linked:

10/5/07, 11:55 AM  

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