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

Copyright Notice

Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On Conservatism, Redux

The intellectual foundation of American conservatism rests largely on the words of Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley. It is an edifice built on sand.

I once had a thought of writing a review of Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind. I gave up, in disgust, around Pg 35. Kirk boldly announces that bastions of conservative thought are ignorance and prejudice. I am not making this up. These are his words, as you can easily see for yourself in the book. I also concluded from the writing that the other two pillars are magical thinking and its close companion false choice.

William F. Buckley said of the National Review, "It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it."*

Let's consider for a moment what this suggests. I will quote Andrew Bacevich, not exactly a flaming liberal. On Pg.26 of The Limits of Power he announces:

Pick the group: blacks, Jews, women, Asians, Hispanics, working stiffs, gays, the handicapped - in every case, the impetus for providing equal rights guaranteed by the Constitution originated among pinks, lefties, liberals, and bleeding-heart fellow travelers. When it came to ensuring that every American should get a fair shake, the contribution of modern conservatism has been essentially nil. Had Martin Luther King counted on William F. Buckley and the National Review to take up the fight against racial segregation in the 1050s and a960s, Jim Crow would still be alive and well.

I'll take it further. Yelling "Stop!" at history has always been casting a "yea" vote for Royalism, racism, nationalism**, oppression, and ignorance. If conservatives had their way, the earth would be flat, Black Americans would be slaves, and women would not be allowed to vote, own property, or even go to school. They would be in the kitchen, bare-foot and pregnant.

And that refers to the most ethical and thoughtful conservatives. Conservatism in the U.S. has degenerated, since the days of the effete, pseudo-intellectual Buckley, to raving insanity. Those who call themselves "conservatives" deny the New Deal, promote unjustifiable war, like torture, support law breaking by Republicans, rationalize their every moral transgression, and indulge absurd conspiracies, even denying Obama's citizenship. The list goes on, but this is more than enough.

I would expect that "conservatives" would at least have respect for the rule of law and the Constitution. But, for example, instead of criticizing the Bush administration for outing Valarie Plame, they defend Bush and vilify Plame.

John Dean deals at length with the moral and intellectual failings and irrationality of a certain type of "conservative" in Conservatives Without Conscience.

In a nutshell*** modern "conservatism" has never had a valid intellectual foundation. It is nothing more than blind partisanship****, based on bitterness, hatred, and negativity. It has no rational ideology*****, no ethical basis, and no correlation to the real world.


* In other words, conservatism takes no brain power at all. Just close your eyes and say, NO!"
** A bad thing, and not to be confused with patriotism - a good thing.
*** The correct packaging
**** Me: good. You: bad.
***** According to Kirk, it can't and won't


WM said...

Amen, Jazz...and thank you. Nailed it. this may be be the "fun" place to come for open discussion.

Elissa said...

Just a short stop by. Not sure I want to expand my blogging time. But I have noticed that if you described the American Conservatives and the muslim fundamentalist there is a disturbing overlap. I hate that. I, unlike Rove who wanted a permanent Republican majority, want a loyal opposition. Democracy will only work if we are driven to see both sides of issues.

Jazzbumpa said...

WM -
Thank you.

Elissa -
Good observations.


Clear Ayes said...

Elissa, I agree. It is a healthy two party system that keeps the U.S. on the ball. Although I have had to gulp more than once when there has been a Republican victory, I know that a few years out of power will bring the Democrats back with better ideas and solutions. Sadly that isn't the case when the situation has been reversed. Republicans have become the party of ultra conservative evangelical wingnuts, birthers, crooks and bigots.

I didn't vote for Goldwater back in the 60's. His hawkish war policies were not to my taste. But I recently saw a documentary that his granddaughter produced. Although I didn't agree with him on many issues, I believe he was a man of principle. He thought that government should keep its nose out of people's personal lives (religion, sexual orientation, etc). He would have been appalled at what his party has become.

Jazzbumpa said...

Goldwater was gong to collaborate with Dean on Conservatives without Conscience. Ill health, and then his passing got in the way of the project, which Dean eventually finished on his own. I think Goldwater came to regret at least some of his earlier beliefs. He was a person of honor, and willing to learn and change - unlike what you see today.
Late in life he became a staunch supporter of gay rights.