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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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day from reflectionephemeral, commenting at Noahpinion:

the American right is held together by resentment and tribal affinity, lacking any coherent political or ideological ideas.

The individual health insurance mandate was the conservative health care policy for about a quarter century. Then a black Democrat tried to compromise with the right by agreeing to implement it, whereupon every Republican politician in America denounced it as unconstitutional socialist fascism.

As with Milton Friedman, the career of Ronald Reagan is shot through with actions that would have him read out of today's Republican Party. As president, he repeatedly raised taxes, talked to Mikhail Gorbachev (earning him comparisons to Neville Chamberlain), argued that failing to raise the debt ceiling would be ruinous, and later called for an army for the UN.

To today's right, Reagan and Friedman stand for freedom, America, bald eagles, the Constitution, and Screw You Obama. Learning and writing about things that happened in real life is quite beside the point.

Exactly so. The false memory of St. Ronnie is a wild distortion of reality. Reagan raised taxes 11 times. [the net result was to shift the tax burden from the haves to the have-nots, but - hey - a tax increase is a tax increase.]


reflectionephemeral said...

Thanks for the quote & link!

The demise of conservatism as a political philosophy is the central problem with our politics. I'd thought that I might be being a bit too glib when I've said that conservatism, in the US today, is the act of convincing resentful whites to sit through ads for gold coins. But I just came across this David Frum quote from a few years back: "Conservatism has evolved from a political philosophy into a market segment."

That about captures it. Not an eternal principle, not the way things always have been & will be, but it's where we are right now. (Just wrote about how Amity Shlaes' agitprop-as-history fits into all this). It's no fun at all, and very bad for America.

Jazzbumpa said...

Credit where it's due.

You were right on, and expressed it very clearly.

I'll check out the Frum quote. Like Stockman and Bartlet, he's one of those rare conservatives who occasionally says some things that hit the mark.