Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Liberals and Conservatives - A Short Introduction

Over at Angry Bear, I opined thusly:

The moral basis for liberalism is humanity, and improving its general living conditions.  The environment is important for a lot of reasons.  One of the big ones is humanity has to live in it  
The moral basis for conservatism is stable structure.  This typically manifests itself as property and/or family, since those are tangible and easy to grasp and define, almost always and everywhere.  But allowing conservatives to co-opt family values is a huge error; it is wrong - factually, morally, and tactically   Domination by an aristocracy is not a good definition of conservatism, but it is a good description of how structure is frequently imposed on society - to the self-serving ends of the aristocracy, by no coincidence.  
Conservatives are against change, free thought, and secular humanism, and are suspicious of science because those things will always challenge the current structure.   Cf. Galileo.  
Russell Kirk tells us that conservatism is a mind set, not an ideology.   This explains why hard liners in the old Soviet Union were the spiritual equivalents of frex, Jesse Helms or Strom Thermond, with whom their ideological  overlap was essentially zero.  They were all about maintaining structure, and to the small mind, that means the status quo.  
Remember, the cornerstones of the conservative mindset are ignorance, prejudice (Kirk is proud of these!) magical thinking, and false choice.  These are necessary conditions, since an overarching commitment to maintaining stability is generally inconsistent with the natural course of humanity - which is progress.  Every political, social or technological advancement ever achieved has been over the staunch objections of conservatives.  
Give a conservative an ideology, and he becomes a regressive.  Hence, the tea party movement.  
In short, liberals are about people and progress.  Regressives are about things and preserving a static society.  
The reason have-nots get sucked into regressivism is that they are deceived by right wing propaganda about values and rights.  Some people have a natural tendency to this mindset anyway, and thus, irrationally, embrace a mode of thinking that is overtly contrary to their own self interest.  
People are conservative/regressive out of greed, ignorance, fear, gullibility, or some fundamental misanthropic personality flaw.   The latter group cannot be reached by truth, logic, or any manifestation of reality  

Which is kind of why we are so screwed.

1 comment:

Barbara and Nancy said...

So true and well put. I couldn't agree with you more. I think I'll keep this and hang it on my bulletin board.