The bankruptcy of conservative ideology


5 comments posted
I both agree and disagree

I both agree and disagree with your statement about conservatives not being able to run the government in a time of crisis.

The part where I agree is that "conservatives" as they pass themselves off in the bush administration, can't seem to do anything right, but then again, they're hardly conservatives in any sense. These guys scream about being conservative while trying to ram a bloated, inept cow of a covernment down our throats. I think of it like someone saying he is a pacifist while he beats you with a crowbar. So if you mean this current administration when you say conservatives, youre dead on balls accurate.

However, when it comes to true, honest to god conservatives, constitution huggers, I think they can get the job done in a time of crisis. A true conservative believes in a small but streamlined government, a government that doesn't focus its resources on micro-managing the daily aspects of its citizens lives. Free from the burden of trampling on peoples rights and privacy, the federal government could point its efforts in the direction of matters for which it was created, things like protecting the nation.

If the bush administration had trimmed government to the bone and then failed, I could see people blaming conservatism, but the policies applied by the neo-cons is anything but conservative. The federal government that everyone sadly watched fall on its face after katrina did not fall because it was slimmed down so much by radical conservatism, it failed because it was bloated and lazy from dining on so much pork thanks to the american tax-payer. In a true conservative government there is no room for cronyism because anyone who doesnt pull their own weight is a waste and waste is bad for business.

Many "liberals" cringe when someone promotes conservatism, but true conservatism is all about individual freedom, freedom to have an abortion or freedom to be homosexual, a true conservative federal government just doesn't give a fuck about those issues, afterall, those are states issues.

Freedom has become something that politicians only pay lip service to when there is a campaign coming up. What America really needs is a return to the Constitution and a return to the Bill of Rights.

D, Mason's picture
Posted by D, Mason (not verified) on 19 September 2005 - 6:43pm
I note

I note that you put "liberals" in quotes. I wonder what you mean by that.

I also wonder at this assertion of conservatism other than the conservatism that has taken over our country. You want to salvage a word, but I'm saying it's time to scrap the ideology.

What you claim to be conservatism has nothing to do with the constitution. It's just another political philosophy, no more constitutionally pure than liberalism. In fact, America was founded as a liberal society. That is where the ideals of freedom came from. Conservatives then were Royalists, no?

Your libertarian views I can agree with, to a degree. But I also see government as a tool for the public to help forge a society. Just today I was passed by a huge semi tractor trailer hauling fuel. I was glad to know that. How did I know? Because of the government-mandated signage on the trailer itself, indicating its contents. If it were up to business, they'd as soon nobody knew what they were shipping through their neighborhoods.

Progressive liberalism also embraces the positive contributions from government, including, um..., building and maintaining levees, managing civil defense, providing preventive healthcare -- all things that benefit the society as a whole by providing health and stability, things that also are essential for business.

The failure of FEMA etc. in the Katrina aftermath I'm sure can be laid at the feet of many things. But I'd say one obvious cause was that it was being run by an inexperienced political hack who was appointed by people who disrespect government so much they don't give a shit about how well it runs, just as long as they get paid.

I see a lot of common ground between the conservatism you describe and progressivism I embrace. I just wonder why we see our political parties way over there on the other side of the universe.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 20 September 2005 - 12:55am
well, I put liberals in

well, I put liberals in quotes because I dont honestly consider the liberals in washington to be very liberal, theyre GOP lite. Just like the fuckwits in the white house arent conservative, theyre .... I don't guess theres a political word for what they are, big spenders I guess? Deffinately not conservatives by any stretch of the imagination. It's the conservative ideal that I want to hang onto though, you can call it whetever you like.

As far as the truck labels go, I can see your point but theres no reason why, in a true styreamlined government, they cant put regulations on business. the idea behind keeping government small is to protect individuals from government interferance. The kinds of issues you mentioned could be handled through one corperate oversight committee.

I STRONGLY disagree that the traditional conservative ideals aren't in line with the constitution, I would like for you to explain to me how an idea that is all about preventing centralised government can be anything but in line with the Constitution, a document that by its very nature stands against centralised government.

D. Mason's picture
Posted by D. Mason (not verified) on 20 September 2005 - 12:53pm
The constitution and government

The constitution says only what government cannot do. It does not say government must be small or big, and just how centralized it should be was hotly debated. To assert that somehow conservatism is more constitutional than other political views is like building a castle in the sky. It may look nice, but it's not on a solid foundation.

I'm not saying true conservatism is unconstitutional, mind you. Just saying that the constitution is rather agnostic on all it doesn't specifically proscribe. The rest is up to us, to muddle through as best we humans can.

In utilitarian terms, there are many arguments against extreme conservatism. For one thing, without major public works our economy would be struggling. Without stability from proactive social programs, our economy would be struggling. I would suggest (re-)reading a bit of Dickens to get a picture of true conservatism at work. When ideology ignores the people, then suffering increases and that destabilizes society, and business suffers, people suffer, the entire nation suffers. That's not to say our social programs, as constructed and administered, are effective. But the idea of a social safety net, the idea of bankruptcy protection, the idea of free and/or affordable education for all, the idea of univeral healthcare are still sound, with very real benefits for the country as a whole, and make us, as a people, able to thrive in the tumultuous world of free market dynamics, scarcity, unpredictability and rapid change.

Where I think you and I would agree is how "conservatives" have taken it upon themselves to meddle in private lives. Do we really need "family police" to regulate what consenting adults do or believe? And how ironic that these same moralists oppose so many domestic violence measures.

And then there's corporate welfare. And we could go on and on....

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 20 September 2005 - 2:16pm
I agree thyat social

I agree thyat social programs are a very very important part of any society, I just think they should be up to the state to administer. They're in a better position to tailor the social programs to the needs of their individual citizens. Without a federal standard each state would be free to provide only the services needed by its residents, whats wrong with that?

You're also right that the Constitution doesnt endore any political doctrine specifically, however I believe it does provide a framework for government and I believe that true conservatism falls most closely in line with that framework.

I think there might have been a little bit of mis-communication between us, I realise the important role that government plays in our lives(too large of a role I think) and that soem people rely on it. I just dont like a huge powerful federal government with no oversight. If you strike a balance between federal and local powers then you have accountability on both sides, as it is now, the federal government bosses the state governments around because they are subservient to it. Imagine a world if you will, where the federal government couldn't outlaw abortion, pot or porn because they have no power to enforce those laws within any given state, No IRS, no FBI, no DEA. Not that I'm suggesting this is possible now, its way too late to turn back, but it would be nice to know that there was no danger of turning into a "big brother" society because we had a firm level of state sovereignty, if we had a truly small federal government and states with some actualy authority thats the world we would be living in .

D. Mason's picture
Posted by D. Mason (not verified) on 20 September 2005 - 3:14pm