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Thursday, February 12. 2009
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If that was the platform of the Republican Party and more Republicans governed by those principles they'd be in the majority.
Amazing how opinions differ. I think those tenets are why the republicans have lost it. And I mean, lost it. Those statements sound like voodoo.
Apparently #7 had something to do with dropping acid and reading Ken Kesey...
Hahaha... another Kesey reference. Must be tonights meme.
Though that's funny KRW. Seriously.
Well thanks, Lex. I'd like to say that I try, but sadly it's really not necessary.
Ha... that's funny as well. But don't get carried away my friend.
Really Meta? First, I don't think many Republicans have tried any of those particularly conservative beliefs recently. Second, let's look at the "what if" and consider if they aren't sound beliefs.
1) If life doesn't have a transcendant character to it then the only thing that matters is material stuff. They call this materialism. It generally isn't viewed as a path to a rewarding life, even by secularists.
2) If variety in human existence is not to be valued, then the default position is approval (or active seeking) of uniformity.
3) I'm not sure society requires classes per se, but if you deny natural distinction and the resulting orders, then you might as well draft cripples to be mixed martial arts fighters and downs syndrome kids to operate your nuclear plants.
4) If property and freedom - in the sense of individual rights are not linked - then why should the state not feel free to take your property from you whenever it feels like it, whether in the guise of a 5th Amendment taking, a 4th Amendment seizure (arrest)?
5) If you don't believe in faith, custom and prescription - rules - then how exactly do you propose to order society? The alternative is Rousseau's noble savage-ry. Even aboriginal tribes can't order their lives without rules and customs.
6) If political innovation is not to be prudent, then it is reckless. Could you name us some reckless politicians whom you would hold up as models?
I don't mean to harrangue you. I know a lot of progressives reject these notions out of hand without really considering them and would submit to you that they are worth considering.
Did you read the linked article?
""It's this notion of a Christian civilization. You have to be part of it or you're not really fit to conserve anything. That's an old line and it's very ignorant.""
Beyond that, politics is a secular pursuit. Kirk is a lofty thinker whose first principles here don't match our Constitution, no matter how cleverly he words his dispatch. Religion cannot dominate the political agenda because it does not always translate into a practical reality.
1. "If life doesn't have a transcendant character to it then the only thing that matters is material stuff." Can you prove this?
2. "If variety in human existence is not to be valued, then the default position is approval (or active seeking) of uniformity."
Can you explain the default position a little more, please?
3. "A conviction that society requires orders and classes that emphasize "natural" distinctions;" (Kirk) Does anyone with half a brain think we need this distinction pointed out to us? It is the natural order of any society.
4. "A belief that property and freedom are closely linked;" (Kirk) Again, do we need to hold this as a tenet of conservatism? Do liberals feel differently?
5. "The alternative is Rousseau's noble savage-ry. Even aboriginal tribes can't order their lives without rules and customs." Believe in rules, etc. Do not believe in your noble savagery as the only alternative to a lack of rules. As you say, even the aborigines work it out - without god, as well. Tribes, groups, people automatically cleave to order. I believe we should have a system of laws, but those laws should be secular and reasonable.
6. "A recognition that innovation must be tied to existing traditions and customs, which entails a respect for the political value of prudence." A crock. "...must be tied to existing traditions and customs..." That'll hold us back in a world where we are all Red Queens running to keep up with the fabulous flow of innovation that goes on with or without a "model" politician overseering it. A complete joke.
1. If something is not immaterial, then it must be immaterial. That seems a pretty clear dichotomy, does it not? Perhaps there is a class of immaterial stuff in cosmology that does not matter - perhaps you could call it the frivolous. So that if you do not believe in materialism, and you do not believe in the higher order of the immaterial - the transcendant things like love and ideals such as truth - then you can believe in the frivolous immaterial. Frivolism - is that a word?
2. I'll note that the article's criticism of Kirk as basically off the deep end, is sort of the opposite of an endorsement of Kirk. I didn't feel it necessary to endorse the criticism of Kirk as my point was to endorse Kirk's summary of conservatism which the link more or less did capture. I don't agree that you have to be christian to be conservative; I do believe that you need to have some form of internal restraint on your impulses and that this restraint generally stems from either religion, or a strong secular internal moralistic sense that quite resembles traditional judeo-christian religion. George Santayana is a good example of that.
Funny (to me) that you should mention Santayana. I believe it was he who said something to the effect that the greatest threat to any cause are the zealots that support it (someone correct me if I'm wrong, as I can't find the quote right now). He's been on my mind as I read this thread and the one concerning Darwin.
Santayana had little use for Christianity. One of the most scathing quotations I ever read against Christianity was his, but I can't find it. Here's one, like Santayana's, written by Nobel Laurete Steven Weinberg:
"With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion."
1. ""If life doesn't have a transcendant character to it then the only thing that matters is material stuff." I'm sticking to your first statement. There is no 'only' to this. I think it's a question of semantics here - what/who is 'character'? God, Jesus, a spiritual being? Life is filled with 'transcendence', magnificence, and the exceptional. Am I able to appreciate it above materialism? Hell yes... probably more so. Do I believe I can be spiritual without aiming that spirituality towards an unknown god in an unknown heaven? Yes. In fact, that spirituality has more meaning to me because it comes from me to another or to an appreciation/situational effect without being told I have to 'feel' because some dogma dictates it.
2. " I do believe that you need to have some form of internal restraint on your impulses and that this restraint generally stems from either religion, or a strong secular internal moralistic sense that quite resembles traditional judeo-christian religion." I agree. The Golden Rule works well, too.
Santayana... Will address to KRW.
I was tempted to weigh in on this in a serious manner but this post/article is a semantic minefield. If some lefty blog had posted such open ended non-sense we would be picking it to pieces. It was only at item 6 did I get the real gist of where this rambling diatribe was coming from. And Luther nailed that one with his "... politics is for the weak" comment. All I know is the only reason I pay attention to politics is to get politics out of my life. After reading some of the comments here, I'm not sure if that makes me "conservative" or "liberal". Funny how I can know what I am and yet not know what I am.
"Funny how I can know what I am and yet not know what I am."
It proves you are a free thinker unfettered by someone else's insistence on good intent.
1) Is my love and respect for a fellow human, with no transcendence implied, materialist?
2) Who the hell doesn't like variety. Islamics?
3) Of course one must take into account physical ability... but who gets to decide beyond that obvious reality.
4) We're lucky here, in this country. The world is lucky for England... yes, the revolution wasn't luck... but we borrowed heavily from our forebears.
5) Have we ever tried reason, logic and common sense. Not a guaranteed solution, there are always outliers. But it would be the ultimate in self responsibility.
6) Most great ideas of the world have directly contradicted established order and prudence... politics is for the weak.
1) If you truly love somebody else, that is you put their interest before your own at all significant times, I think that is a pretty fair definition of the transcendant.
2) I guess you don't have any kids in public schools, where the smart kids get stuck in the same classes with mainstreamed developmentally disabled kids; and I am also pretty sure you haven't dealt with employment discrimination law, where inequality of outcomes at work is thought to make out a prima facie case of discrimination. I suppose also that you have not had to sit in a university classroom getting gender critical theory rammed into your head, with the principle that women and men would be just as strong physically if only society didn't tell women they are physically weaker. That is the kind of uniformity that conservatives are opposed to - a state-imposed uniformity that refuses to accept the fact that people are unique in their strengths and weaknesses.
3) Life should be ordered in accordance with people's natural gifts and how they choose to use them - in other words with due respect for individual differences. That is what Burke was getting at, you could call it order consistent with natural law. Again, I suppose you're missing all the rhetoric coming from the levelers in Congress and the media. These wealthy people of immense power are taking it upon themselves to define how the business sector of society should be ordered. So too with their sneaky health care oversight rules inserted into the stimulus package. To answer your question, our political and media classes are purporting to be able to define how life should be ordered.
4) No, we're not particularly lucky here w/r/t property rights and freedom. We have freedom because our notions of the rule of law respect property; freedom follows from our decision to respect individual autonomy, part of which is individual property. We don't have property and freedom due to luck, but through hard work and conscious decisions, though we're lucky nobody has managed to take it from us.
5) Reason alone is a wonderful thing but it leads you into dead ends. Peter Singer's philosophy is a great example of where reason without transcendent value leads a person. If man has no transcendent value - Peter Singer's premise apparently - then the life of a chicken is equivalent to the life of a man. If you start with the transcendent notion that all men have inherent value, then logic is useful in determining how we ought to treat men.
6) Do you really believe that Nietzschean crap you're spouting? It's the underpinning of a particularly soulless form of totalitarianism. Politics, like law or informal social institutions is what we use to mitigate conflicts between individuals and states. In the absence of politics, you have life as a blood feud. All laws that have arisen out of disorder have come as a reaction against the blood feud. Politics is just a subset of the rule of law. If you really believe that, you should live someplace where there is no law for a while and then report back on how nice it is.
As for great ideas directly contradicting established order and prudence, what do you mean by "great"? If you mean "big ideas," then yes, I agree, they tend to be disorderly and imprudent. I give you Cromwell, the French Revolution, Marxism in all its Stalinist, Maoist, Pol Pot-ist glory, Eugenics, and Fascism. All big ideas, all directly contradicting the established order, and all ultimately shown to have been utterly imprudent.
I'm new to this, but Maggie's Farm is a true salon...the most fun I've had in years...truly interesting debate...a learning opportunity.
Reminds me of the Chicago winter when the renters in six units got stuck at home for lack of $$$. We'd hunker down over jug wine and some homemmade food to discuss The World: a Christian/Arab doctor, a newspaperman covering City Hall, an East Coast transplant in PR with a German wife who'd survived the concentration camps, an atty whose uncle was Emma Goldman's lover...you get the idea.
You all are F-A-S-C-I-N-A-T-I-N-G!