I’m headed to Boston this afternoon for one of my semi-monthly ethics seminars for new Mass. bar admittees. I have been having bad luck with keeping up on the blog while traveling of late, so I’m going to post a two-part Warm-Up to try to avoid falling too far behind.
1. Maureen Dowd made my head explode with her ridiculous profile of Gary Hart—you know, Donna Rice, “Monkey Business”—so I’m going to rely heavily on Ann Althouse’s analysis which parallels mine. Her head is just more resilient, apparently. [Tangent: I wonder how Ann’s traffic is doing? I have noticed that progressive commenters have virtually disappeared from her blog as well, where a couple of years ago they were equally represented. I don’t consider Althouse a conservative at all: she is relentlessly objective and non-partisan, and mostly serves as the web’s best bullshit detector. She has, however, defended the President against unfair attacks and hypocrisy, and called out the news media for fake news, fake headlines, and bias. That’s asking for a boycott, apparently.) Hart makes this statement:
“If all that stuff had not happened and if I had been elected, there would have been no gulf war. H.W. wouldn’t have been president. W. wouldn’t have been president. Everything would have changed. I don’t say that to aggrandize myself. It’s just, history changed. And that has haunted me for thirty years. I had only one talent and it wasn’t traditional politics — I could see farther ahead than anybody.”
I could write a long essay about this arrogant nonsense with my eyes closed. Ann had the same instant reaction I did: Funny, you weren’t able to foresee that daring reporters to check on your martial virtue would result in your being caught adultery-handed in Clintonesque trysts, you big dummy. (My words, not Ann’s.) And if hindsight is 20-20, hindsight aternate future readings are even better. Gary needs to study Chaos Theory a bit more closely, and watch that old Star Trek episode. For all he knows, his election would have resulted in the world being taken over by Mole People.
Althouse also flagged the Dowd section where the Queen of Snark writes,
“As we fantasize about a parallel universe, where America is not a joke and our president cares about other human beings, the same questions keep swirling in our heads. What has happened to this country? Can he be stopped? When will it end? How the hell did we get here?”
Wow, Talk about bias making you stupid. To many of us who are at least as smart as Maureen, America is a joke when it embraces open borders and edicts by international organizations, when it warps the Constitution by declaring that men and police can be guilty until proven innocent if a member of a favored group accuses them, and allows a partisan news media to control public opinion. It’s not a very funny joke, though. Some trenchant comments on Ann’s post:
“I don’t know why I’m still surprised by liberals’ inability to do any real soul-searching. You’d think by now, after many hundreds of “how did we get here, why aren’t smart people like me listened to by the stupids?” articles, I’d give up hope that they will ever open their eyes and see what’s right in front of them. But then I remember, I’m a pollyanna. I can’t give up on anybody.”
“It would seem obvious to me that Trump does care about human beings, but not the ones Dowd think he should be caring about. And maybe her friends consider America a joke, and maybe that’s why we got were we are..”
“Dowd’s perspective is Technocratic. Society needs to be supervised by an educated elite. Democracy is just mob rule that will lead to ruin. But, we have to put on a facade so that the deplorables will accept our edicts. So we do the election thing, but the real rules are set behind the scenes by career bureaucrats. Politicians and the medias’ job is to set the agenda and influence popular opinion towards the “correct” attitudes”
Bingo. Bingo. Bingo.
2. How Madison avenue and corporate America tilt cultural attitudes. Mixed-race couples are now featured in so many TV commercials that they almost seem to outnumber the other kind. This is culturally healthy, because it normalizes what was once regarded as abnormal by a majority of American society. This is especially true of if effect on children and rising generations. The example that struck me recently was a Sling commercial featuring the 80’s celebrity I thought was dead, sex expert Dr. Ruth Westheimer. The Sling commercials are gratuitously smutty, based on the not-very-clever play on words between “sling” and “swing.” Dr. Ruth leads an inter-racial couple through “sex” exercises. I doubt that anyone under the age of 40 cares about the races of the actors.
The problem is when corporations and TV ads try to push partisan cultural values that are not theirs to push, because they can’t see the difference. Power is inherently dangerous in the hands of such entities and institutions.
3. Here is a dubious value on display! Heavy’s headline: “Maura Binkley: A Tribute to the Hot Yoga Shooting Victim.” What in the world does being “hot” have to do with the tragedy of being killed in a shooting? This sentiment creeps into many a post-tragedy commentary: describing a victim as “young” and “beautiful” is used to make the tragedy seem especially cruel, as if killing homely person or a senior isn’t quite so bad.
UPDATE: Apparently “hot yoga” is a thing. We explore the ambiguity in Part II.
4. From the “Just Desserts Files” In what sounds like the plot of a Lifetime movie, two 16- and 17-year-old female students at Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Florida, who were having sex with their science teacher, Corey French, discovered that he was two-timing them with each other, and exacted their revenge by telling his wife. They saw nothing wrong with having sex with a married man, or their teacher, of course, just with him doing to each of them what he was doing with them to his innocent wife. Nice.
French was arrested. Good.
Boy says woman asked to slap him while trick-or-treating in President Trump costume
59 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 11/4/2018 (Part I): Gary Hart’s Prophesy, Media Values, And High School Babylon [UPDATED]”
Hot yoga is a type of yoga, Jack. Not sure what it is exactly, but I think it just involves sweating. Not a sexual reference. Better delete this before Sparty jumps all over you.
Bikram *Hot Yoga*:
You don’t think Heavy was playing games with “hot”? At very least, it’s an incompetent headline. If the woman’s photo wasn’t so flattering, maybe they would have plausible deniability.
Hot Yoga is a very common term. Since I know what it refers to, and was capitalized, I would not have been confused by it.
I am going to go with Other Bill and Alizia on this one, though the headline is clumsy and confusing.
3– Didn’t know if you were joshing or not, but
Hot Yoga is a style.
#1–Timing! Had I waited an extra minute, I wouldn’t have needed to post that.
Or if I’d have posted two minutes sooner…?
“What’s the most important thing in-”
So I’m not the only person wondering why all these inter-racial couples have been hiding in plain sight all these years. Isn’t corporate advertising amazing. I hadn’t realized there were no longer single race couples any more. Maureen Dowd would be very happy. So now, Mad Men are instructing us on how to marry and reproduce.
And how about the BMW ad with the two young gay guys kissing amidst the hetero kissing couples flashing across the screen. Interesting it’s gotten no notice.
Maybe we’ve gotten to the point where bi-racial couples can just be couples rather than superior couples, just as homosexual couples can just be couples rather than superior icons. Hooray.
Hey Jack, I am the farthest thing from a yoga aficionado, but even I know that “HotYoga” is a thing. The phrase doesn’t refer to a babilicious yoga instructor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_yoga
You are quite right about ‘the effect on children and rising generations. They have been perverted, and will continue to be perverted, by those ‘progressive choices’ that you and many other hold as ‘proper values’. This is one of the reasons why I say that *your generation* (perhaps more than one) have a large responsibility in having allowed the present to become perverse.
How very wrong you are. How America’s normal sensibilities became modified is, of course, an interesting topic of conversation! It is called Social Engineering . . .
Who’s behind the race mixing agenda in advertising?
YouTube is (necessarily and correctly) concerned about what you can view and what you can’t. Here is a *forbidden video* in ‘limited status’ for even talking about these questions.
“ Hot Yoga” is a thing. It doesn’t refer to the yoga instructor’s pulchritude: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_yoga
Sent from my iPhone
So I have been informed. What I wrote on the previous comment about that…”You don’t think Heavy was playing games with “hot”? At very least, it’s an incompetent headline. If the woman’s photo wasn’t so flattering, maybe they would have plausible deniability.”
Never heard of it. I’ll run a reader poll. I bet most people haven’t, but I could be wrong.
Poll it. Great idea. I think you’ve unwittingly wandered into pop cultural unawareness territory, Jack. Which isn’t hard to do.
Maybe there is a Hot Yoga studio within walking distance of your home? I’ve done it. It is pretty amazing.
It’s early, but so far, the number of readers who had heard of hot yoga and those who had not is evenly split. If it really is evenly split, even among a major demographic group like “old people who care about ethics,” then the headline was inept. But as I say, it’s early….
never heard of it… but I live in the cultural wasteland of Texas, I am told…
This literally jumped off the page to me. I can explain with zero effort why liberals don’t do any soul searching — it’s because they are convinced their souls are pristine. They believe and say all the “right” things, they don’t engage in wrongthink, and they assail those who do on social media.
How can you self-criticize your beliefs when your beliefs are all the right ones? They look into the rhetorical mirror and love what they see. Introspection, to them, is what other should be doing so they can be more like a liberal. Casting the first stone, to them is morally effortless, even imperative.
I totally agree. I recall being raised on the ideal that interracial marriages were the very definition of evil. In my view, they are the best way for us to learn to quit seeing skin color as being important.
What it also does is make black and white harder to define, although the identity politics of the left works hard to make sure it gets defined anyway. For example, why was Barack Obama our first African-American president, rather than our first Asian president. Hard to fathom, since he is equal parts Asian and African. Politically, I get it, but practically, it’s absurd.
The same is true of Tiger Woods as a “black” golfer. There are many other examples.
They don’t see it that way, though. The people that write and approve these ads think they are doing good for the country and their customers. In a way, they are. But you’re right, the commercials in question are not funny or even amusing. They are dumb and, as you say, smutty.
Finally, in re: “Hot Yoga,” I confess to being as clueless about it as you.
Jack wrote, “I wonder how Ann’s traffic is doing? I have noticed that progressive commenters have virtually disappeared from her blog as well, where a couple of years ago they were equally represented.”
I’ve noticed a big shift in commenters on her site and other sites over the years. I’ve read her blog and comments for a long time but more than a couple of years ago the commenters were overwhelming left leaning.
Here is what I think is going on; the political left has been the dominant percentage of commenters on blogs and news sights for many years and that is changing. The left seems to expect that their online echo chambers will be pure with left leaning rhetoric and when that echo chamber is challenged with thinking that’s not like their own they leave the site. The left has been portrayed as the more intellectual political ideology for years and they have found out that their opposition in the political right isn’t as dumb as they have been portraying them to be and the don’t like it one bit when they don’t look like intellectual in the conversation so they leave to save face. Rhetorically speaking, the left has no ideological hill to die on, now they just attack the messengers with accusations, ad hominems, and lies and when those tactics don’t work they run for the hills to find another echo chamber. I’ve seen left leaning news sights literally shut down their commenting sections to stop their website from presenting critical thinking that challenges their echo chamber left leaning news source.
Overall, the political left is full of rhetorical cowards.
I like this post. I have been wondering about this myself. I read some of the comments on news stories in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh shooting. I was surprised at the push-back many made against the “this is Trump’s fault” ideologies. The rise of the Alt-Left (perhaps unhinged screaming and crying Left) seems to have awakened conservatives and the Right to defend themselves. Maybe it is the realization that the internet is not the sole domain of the Left and that conservative voices have as much power and the right to expression.
“…conservative voices have as much power and the right to expression.”
For now. Leftist corporations are working to shut that access and right down.
This is showing my age, but I was 7-8 years old during Gary Hart’s apparent run for President and I had never heard of him before this weekend when I sat down to a showing of Hunter Killer and there was a preview for a movie starring Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart. That gave me the cultural reference to read your blurb above and know what the hell you were talking about. Weird.
Also – this could be a fun game to play. If Gary Hart had successfully become president in 1988 and served 8 years, Who would have become president in 1996? Newt Gingrich?
You’re assuming a Bob Dole run and loss in ’92? Then quite possibly Jeb Bush or Tommy Thomson.
Fred Thompson would have gained traction as a reaction the Hart’s liberal excesses.
(Don’t get offended: Clinton was a reaction to Bush’s missteps as well. This is how POTUS races go)
You and I are of the same generation. When I heard “Gary Hart” at the same time you did apparently, I thought “The Cartoonist?” Then I remembered the Cartoonist was Johnny Hart. So I still had no idea who Gary Hart was…
Bloom County ran some great bits about Gary Hart and his little, er, indiscretions. That made me aware at a young-ish age.
#1 I agree with one of the commenters over on Althouse’s blog who said that Gary Hart is a “narcissistic blowhard”. The fact that anyone in the media would attempt to elevate what Hart thinks about the what if’s crap as if it has any relevance what-so-ever to today political environment is telling of how terribly desperate the political left is to twist the minds of the public. Doesn’t the political left understand that what they’ve been doing for years is exactly what produced and environment where a person like Trump could be elected to the office of the President of the United States.
“Thank you” Democrats for screwing up the United States.
There are two schools of thought in advertising, one is that you should try to shellac as many colors/genders/whatevers on screen because people are more likely to buy products from people who look like them, the other is that you should put as few people who are not white on screen as possible, because people are less likely to buy products from people who do not look like them, and the vast majority of America is white. It even goes a little deeper than that, there was a study done where a product was highlighted by being held by hands of different races, and people were asked how likely they were to buy the product… For some reason, even black people were more likely to buy the product out of the white hand.
Regardless… My take on mixed-race (a term that must be aging badly, because I cringe a little even writing it) couples in advertising is that the advertisers are trying to check off as many diversity boxes as possible to appeal to a wider audience. A part of me wonders how effective that is, and maybe it is biased by a progressive seeking virtue points, but I don’t know if an acceptance of mixed-race couples is actually contrary to American values… You said it yourself… No one under 40 sees it that way.
Shall I vacate your lawn?
I wonder now that I’ve posted if I haven’t put my foot firmly in my mouth…. When you’re talking about “partisan cultural values” are you referring to mixed race couples, or the sex on display with the “swing/sling” allusions?
I’m usually not one to make predictions but I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and make a prediction about the midterm elections.
I think unhinged Democrats have sealed the overall losing fate of the Democratic Party in the midterms. I think Republicans are going to have an overall win in tomorrow’s election, including Governor’s races, and I think it’s going to push a slew of Democrats over the edge.
Any election predictions besides mine?
My prediction is that the Democrats are not going to handle the outcome of the election well nor that they will discover responsible governance or civility after the election and that there is a really good chance that Republicans will continue to follow Democrats down the incivility trail.
I think… I don’t know…. Polls can be out, and the Bradley effect is going to be in full swing because Trump is Trump, but I think we’re in for some bad feels tomorrow. There’s a very good chance that Republicans lose the house.
Oh, my prediction has little to do with who wins what and everything to do with how the Democrats will be the next day anyway.
I could not have even seen what was happening in the 2016 election, so my prediction skills are gonna be pathetic. However, as much as I think reasonable people were happy to deliver a blow to Clinton and settle for Trump, I think they just want to hamstring government more. I think Democrats take one part of congress.
Hey – I’m not that out of touch! Woohoo!
Ooooh. Too bad we can’t bet.
I personally think that though the Democrats have been acting unhinged, their fear and panic will result in a stronger Democrat turn-out. One must remember that the emerging new demographic is destined to ascend, and the white-Republican demographic to descend. This Republican flare-up is, in the overall historical picture, a fluke.
If I were writing an historical drama, I am not sure what would function better at this point in the dramatic unfolding: another octave of win by the Republicans? or a push-back by the Democrats? Either one will result in a great deal of dramatic tension.
Back on October 8th I wrote this…
Yes, I think unhinged Democrats have sealed the overall losing fate of the Democratic Party in the midterms. We’ll know soon enough if Zoltar is off-his-rocker. 😉
FYI: Keep an close eye on the outcomes and subsequent reactions to the election in Georgia; rhetorically speaking, seeds of civil unrest have been sown. Voters are very highly motivated to action in Georgia and my only question is what action(s) will they rationalize. I sincerely hope I’m wrong.
Well it appears that my predictions were off base.
Mine won’t be.
Zoltar speaks: “the political left has been the dominant percentage of commenters . . . for many years and that is changing. . . .when that echo chamber is challenged . . . they leave the site. The left has been portrayed as the more intellectual political ideology for years and they have” [just] “found out that their opposition in the political right isn’t as dumb as they have been portraying them to be . . . .”
Jack speaks (in italics):
It even goes a little deeper than that,
[The tunnels comfort me, I guess, because they’re mine. They know what’s inside me and they feel the way I do. …]
. . . There was a study done where a product was highlighted by being held by hands of different races, and people were asked how likely they were to buy the product…
[Dr. Roger Bentley: “Jud come here. Take a look at this.”
Dr. Jud Bellamin: “Claw marks! Maybe a hand – -four cuts.”
Dr. Roger Bentley: “Some hand. Whoever it was needs a manicure.”]
~The Mole People (1956)
Russians! On election day!
You know the saying, slick: One manicure, one vote!
All fascinating to watch and it is frustrating that none of us will see the end of this film. It goes on forever (and there are versions running in Australia and the UK) but most of the plots are repeats in some form.
It seems to me that the ‘right’ has been historically the label for ‘reactionaries’ whose main focus has been reacting against ‘progressives’. They frequently call themselves ‘conservatives’. In spite of recent excitement, over the longer term in the US, the ‘progressives’ have been winning. Each step of ‘progress’ going at least back to FDR and the ‘New Deal’ has been immediately demonised. The ‘right’ has always promised reversals and demolitions but generally has never completely succeeded. Social security and other support systems favoured by ‘progressives’ may be weakened but continue on in some form.
Each time the ‘progressives’ have power they make further ‘progress’, which the ‘right’ in their turn rail against and promise to destroy – but don’t quite manage.
Reaching admittedly for gross generalisations, it seems common to find the ‘right’ being trapped into conceding the needs of the poor and disadvantaged (if only because they need their votes) but failing to develop fully coherent alternatives to the demonised structures promoted by their progressive opponents.
The latest example is healthcare and the ‘progress’ made in Obamacare / the Affordable Care Act. Very few on the ‘right’ still have the nerve to maintain that it is good that freely managed ‘for profit’ health insurers should be able to refuse coverage for preexisting conditions. But Obamacare must be destroyed. And yet there is no fully coherent alternative proposal. So again in the longer term the ‘progressives’ have won the crucial intellectual battle almost by default; the ratchet tightens again against the conservatives; access to healthcare seems in the process of being conceded to be a ‘right’. All conservatives currently have as responses are fig leaf assertions that they can be trusted to make sure those with preexisting conditions will somehow be looked after, but with no detail as to ‘how’. (Perhaps just because they too have relatives who need such protection?) And of course they can keep on and on with the totally irrelevant (for the bigger issues) knee jerk accusation that Obama lied about ‘being able to keep your existing plan if you liked it’.
On this backdrop it seems hardly surprising that so many young intellectuals prefer to play ‘offence’ for the progressives, rather than ‘defence’ for the conservatives. At the very least, it looks to be more fun.
There are of course real progressive strands on the ‘right’, most typically coming from the libertarians. But they seem truly fringe. If they ever did get real power beyond the think tanks, my guess is the reactionaries would attack with even greater vim than is applied to current battles. To my mind there are none so intellectually arrogant as the Ayn Rand disciples.
That was a very interesting post. A good deal of food for thought. If I were to paraphrase it, what you notice is that Progressives control the *anchor* and as they drag the anchor along, it pulls the reactionary so-called Conservatives along with it. Conservatism is then just a sort of brake on the forward-movement of Progressives and an increasingly progressive agenda. (As a caveat though it seems to be true that conservative fiscal policy always pans out better, but those decisions are essentially made by the business class, and who knows better how to run businesses than that class?)
In order to be a real conservative, in my view, requires a real grounding in rather difficult principles. Real conservatism is uniquely intellectual, and requires a trained, consistent and defined platform in *real values*. I do not think real conservatism can exist, or will continue to exist, if it does not have a ground in the substance of a religious viewpoint. That is, in metaphysics. I have said this so many times and, here, I have not gotten the sense that anyone actually understands. Talk about frustrating! European Conservatism was grounded in religious (philosophical and religious) principles, and that means a way of seeing life and being.
Progressivism has links to what I have called The New Metaphysics, and this progressivism has generally always taken aim at philosophically and metaphysically grounded traditionalism. I mention often the need to consider our Present as an octave of those concerns that came to light in the Interwar Period (1920s-1930s). On one side the Russian Bolsheviks and a very serious assault by active Marxists to undermine existent structures. And on the other side the very *structures* themselves, be they educational institutions, government structures, and also capital interests. But it has seemed to me important to see the progressive assault within a larger context: the advance of a materialist-scientistic world-view that, effectively, has no real place for the Former Metaphysics. To get a sense of this displacement and replacement of the Former Metaphysics I have recommended Basil Willy’s Seventeenth Century Background. Just the first chapter will clearly reveal the nature and scope of the enormous shift in which we are subsumed! But, to gain that perspective requires getting up to a point of elevation where it can be seen. Then, from that height, the meaning of conservatism and traditionalism — and also that of progressivism and egalitarianism (et cetera) — can actually be seen. And one aspect of my argument has been that those of us who are fixed down at a ground level and in ‘contingency’ (within the immediateness of phenomena and its constant, shifting movement) cannot see those fixed metaphysical principles on which conservatism and traditionalism are built.
The *structure of view* that allows these things to be seen, appreciated understood, is dissolving away! What this means, and I think this should really be made clear and plain, is the destruction of intellectualism! Taken at its root ‘intellectus’ is a capacity within the human soul to see and understand life and our incarnation here from a position above and outside of it. Consider that in relation to what are called The Four Last Things. Only a person with an intellectual position within a defined metaphysics can see and understand what this means and what it alludes to! But we are pulled down into — driven down into, sucked down into — a contingent way-of-seeing that begins to show itself as Absolutist. It so dominates people, which is to say the mind, and begins to determine the limits of thinkable thought to such a degree, and it uses a plethora of *tools* to do this. To describe and to define those *tools* is to describe and define how perception (of the world) is organized, and it locates *reality* only within contingency. How progressivism is linked to scientific materialism and scientism needs to be better understood. But it can’t be understood! Because the mind that is required to understand it . . . is no longer valued. That is to say that an average person *gazing* at someone like Basil Willey cannot even distinguish him. Like a phantasm he slowly disappears. This is a real observation because I have read a number of his works and in Religion Today (1969) he tries to reason with the Sixties generation and simply cannot. There is no one left to hear. (It was at that moment when the real destructiveness of the Sixties movement became apparent to me, despite its fine music and often wonderful music and *sentiment*).
All that I am saying here — if there is a *listener* — only seems to make them angry! It is weird to say the least. The reason it does this (IMHO) is because many see themselves as ‘Conservative’ and yet they absolutely are not. Those so-called conservatives here, in my view, and as you nicely pointed out, are completely and totally attached to the Progressive Anchor. All they are is a brake, a mild brake, a slowing mechanism, within a general and enveloping structure. That is, of Hyper-Liberalism. They simply sit a few degrees right-of-center and *bellyache*. With respect, the one here who best illustrates this is Zoltar. I mention this not as a jab at him but as a way to understand how essentially useless is the American Conservative. And the reason is simply because they can define no *anchor* of their own, if you will, and are in fact tied to and bound to what I may here call the Progressive Anchor and Weltanschauung.
My position is that of Cassandra: she who could see clearly, who spoke (prophesied) and simply could not be heard. There was no one to hear!
One of the things I suggest is to see things as *we* see them. This requires gaining intellectual foundation in ideas. It takes time and effort. It is in many ways a struggle against *the powers that be* and definitely against the movement of the time. It is to gain knowledge of a *counter-current* and to construct a home within it.
An important aspect of this, strange as it sounds and seems, is to focus on shifting demographics. That is, if we are considering America especially, but also to some extent Australia and certainly Britain. ‘The rising tide of color’ is a term that causes even the so-called conservative to wilt like a tender flower. But there is an essence here that must be understood, and the essence is metaphysical not physical.
To get back to the root of Occidentalism is to turn against the destructive currents of scientific materialism or, better put, to understand our materialism in the light of a more encompassing metaphysics. It is essentially intellectual, as I say. But one must understand the present trends in the degree that they are effectively undermining of Occidental structures and also of intellectualism. One aspect of this *trend* has to do with so-called multiculturalism which has itself to do with socially engineering in accord with progressive (materialistic and scientistic) notions: which is to say a New Anthropology.
This is one reason why *we* focus on race and physical identity. On European cohesion as-against an onslaught whose origins in causation can be traced, described, outlined. I will not go into the details of this somewhat sticky and difficult issue, but it is one of the crucial ones. We hope that *Europe* will gain the perspective and the overview to understand what it is and what made it what it was, and will seek to plunge into the depth of the *meaning* that is there.
What I have written here, imperfect though it may be, is in no way devoid of sense. No, quite the opposite. Yet it is not understood and not appreciated. Even — especially! — by a person like you: the class of person who should understand it! This is perhaps because of where you sit within a generational scheme? That is, you absorbed certain ideas as *good* and *necessary* and integrated them into your very person. To turn against that feels wrong, and perhaps wicked. But there is a new generation coming on the scene and I hope that they can regain some of the intellectual ground that has been ceded to the progressive whirlwinds. There is no guarantee at all that this will be successful! Yet one must fight.
The issue of Freedom of Speech within the context of a larger struggle.
Thank you Alizia.
Yes, I do see most of ‘conservatism’ and the ‘right’ as being ‘a sort of brake on the forward- movement of Progressives’ and I instinctively line up for ‘progress’ rather than ‘reaction’.
I see most modern ‘conservatism’ as much more rooted in the reaction of the privileged against ‘egalite, liberte, fraternite’ ou la mort’, than in anything from classical Greece.
Re your caveat as to ‘conservative policy always pans out better’, the record doesn’t support you in any of the traditional measures as I know them, gdp, growth, debt, inflation, unemployment etc.
You paint a picture of ‘real conservatism’ being ‘uniquely intellectual’ requiring ‘real values’, a ‘religious viewpoint’ and ‘metaphysics’. You berate your readers for ‘not understanding’ and remark on how ‘frustrating’ this is for you. Sorry, no sympathy from me on that.
I don’t see your ‘conservatism’ and particularly your Greg Johnson ‘white nationalism’ poisons as being in any way profound or intellectually interesting, although I continue to be intrigued as to why you continue to peddle such ideas. I have reluctantly discarded the conclusion that you are probably a fiendish Russian computer program designed to give liberals like me the screaming abdabs, but if you are, then sorry Igor, it ain’t going to work.
You and your intellectual compatriots must to my mind be made welcome to our camp fire communions. I do believe Greg Johnson and others are trying to provoke violent reaction in ways very redolent of the 1930s fascists. ‘We’ (us wishy washy liberals) have seen this game before. If there is anything useful from our ‘religious viewpoint’ then what comes immediately to mind is “Get thee behind me Satan”.
Perhaps more in the culture I treasure, I will keep top of mind:
“What we need is a great big melting pot
Big enough enough enough to take
The world and all its got And keep it stirring for a hundred years or more
And turn out coffee coloured people by the score…”
Most of what you state is your opinion, and therefore perfectly fine. However I have a bone to pick with this:
“…‘conservative policy always pans out better’, the record doesn’t support you in any of the traditional measures as I know them, gdp, growth, debt, inflation, unemployment etc.”
Utter bullshit. Explain our current economy. Conservative policy (smaller government, lower taxes across the board, less government intrusion, and so forth) are being implemented, and the economy is running better than under any POTUS since Reagan, who did the same things.
How do you square your statement with what I see with my lying eyes?
Whoa Slickwilly! “Utter bullshit” is unfair and far too strong. All I did was to pick up Alizia’s caveat that “conservative fiscal policy always pans out better’ and say that ‘the record doesn’t support you’. (My underlining.). And it doesn’t. The Blinder and Watson 2016 article in the American Economic Review goes further than I would in arguing that the ‘economy’ goes better under the dems. Useful reference here :
https://www.aeaweb.org/research/why-does-the-economy-do-better-democrats-white-house You might agree that the figures do not really support any firm judgment one way or the other – which was my point.
Yes the article is from 2016 and looks at stats from 16 presidential terms 1949 to 2013, so it doesn’t catch the Trump surge from 2016. Most macroeconomists would say it was too early to judge the Trump economy but yes it would be churlish not to acknowledge the fall in unemployment and the (until recently) rise in the stockmarket. Time will tell how MAGA trade wars are going to pan out.
This is a very old argument as to which side of politics ‘left or right’ makes for the best economy. It is certainly not the case that the ‘progressives’ always screw it up, although there are plenty of lefty driven economic disasters to look at.
Apparently I am allowed ‘opinions’ (as opposed to your cold hard fact based analysis? – thanks) and mine includes an admiration for FDR’s ‘New Deal’ and Obama’s rescuing of General Motors and Chrysler. All of this was quite counter to traditional conservative fiscal policy.
One of the difficulties in analysis is that the labels and ideas change. ‘Conservative fiscal policy’ used to be averse to increased public debt, and Jack used to write regularly about how Obama was throwing future generations under the bus. Jack seems a lot more relaxed now. I imagine you are aware of the projections from the Congressional Budget Office, but I don’t know whether you care? Maybe they are ‘utter bullshit’ too?
Sent from my iPad
I owe you an apology, in that you were saying the issue was indefinite, where I thought you meant that progressive policy was better. Sorry about that.
The article seems a bit slanted, but that is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.
However, it is established that conservative policy creates wealth, and progressive policy creates poverty. This has happened across history, every time progressive, which is to say, socialist, policy has been tried, in little places like the USSR, China, Nicaragua, and lately Venezuela.
America has never gotten that far, but if we do, it is highly likely we fail as well. Human nature dictates this.
My hypothesis is that since about 1970, the election swings have benefited Democrat presidents, and left Republican presidents with a mess to clean up. The Bush presidencies were not conservative at all, so this leaves us with Reagan and Trump. Both inherited horrible economies, and both turned it around by using conservative principles.
The new deal and the recent bailouts were simply progressives sending money to progressives: the first to Wall Street and the latter to unions, who support Democrats.
Conservatives ARE adverse to increased public debt, and this latest budget caused wailing and gnashing of teeth. Still, the tax reforms are a start, and you need income to pay debt, so we fume and wait while Trump fixes things and keeps his promises, unlike almost any POTUS since Reagan.
Like many government agencies, the CBO is run by progressives, who have a hard time being objective. Their projections have not been very accurate the past decade, in case you have not noticed.
Have a good evening
Thank you Slickwilly. Apology appreciated but quite unnecessary.
You stick the most thought provoking puzzle, China, in your list of progressive / socialist policies ‘creating poverty’. Clearly this doesn’t accord with their record over the last 30 or so years. And it is a very big ‘exception’ to your assertion: nigh on 1.4 billion people coming out of poverty at a quite breathtaking pace.
Glad to hear you’ve been wailing and gnashing teeth re the latest budget and good luck while you wait for Trump to ‘fix things’. Having dolled out big tax cuts for the rich, people like me will hope ‘fixing things’ won’t simply involve cutting benefits to the poor. As I’m sure you will appreciate, that sort of formula has been quite popular in conservative circles.
“China, in your list of progressive / socialist policies ‘creating poverty’. Clearly this doesn’t accord with their record over the last 30 or so years. ”
I notice you took the bait, and jumped on the one country I mentioned that is doing “relatively” well. No comment of the long list of failures, hmmmm?
If you want to cherry pick the record, then let’s go there, shall we?
Under Socialism/Communism, the Chinese economy faltered drastically. Millions starved to death in 1959, and the threat surfaced again about 10 years later. At that time there was a complete reform of how China ran their country. Deng Xiaoping and his reformist allies ousted the Gang of Four Maoist faction, and the Communist Party of China leadership turned to market-oriented reforms to salvage the failing economy:
“Deng responded by decollectivizing agriculture and emphasizing the household-responsibility system, which divided the land of the People’s communes into private plots. Under the new policy, peasants were able to exercise formal control of their land as long as they sold a contracted portion of their crops to the government. This move increased agricultural production by 25 percent between 1975 and 1985, setting a precedent for privatizing other parts of the economy. The bottom-up approach of the reforms promoted by Deng, in contrast to the top-down approach of the Perestroika in the Soviet Union, is considered an important factor contributing to the success of China’s economic transition.” 
Similar changes were made across industrial sectors and across the Chinese economy. This means they used capitalism instead of socialism, which is the policy to this day. As I state above, conservative capitalist policies create wealth, no matter who uses them. Progressive policies create a poor dependant underclass, who eventually starve as the system breaks down while the political elite become fabulously wealthy.
“…1.4 billion people coming out of poverty at a quite breathtaking pace”
Despite the gains, the general socialist viewpoint has prevented real wealth creation to penetrate very far into the people’s lives. While the Chinese GDP in 2017 has been rationalized by economists to about 62% of the US that year, the real telling is that the per capita GDP in that period was $8,583, or 14% of the USA. The Chinese common people are far behind those who live in America. This remains true even if one wishes to use PPP measurements instead of normal GDP.
“Having dolled out big tax cuts for the rich, people like me will hope ‘fixing things’ won’t simply involve cutting benefits to the poor.”
This is nothing but a worn out progressive talking point. Americans are taking home more of their own money, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances, and are getting raises, bonuses, and returning to work as jobs are created. More of the ‘poor’ have jobs and are less dependant on Government (which just burns progressives, who want to be that ‘wealthy political elite’). Food stamps and other welfare rolls have shrunk as America returns to work. Your statement is unsupported by the facts and my lying eyes, Andrew.
“As I’m sure you will appreciate, that sort of formula has been quite popular in conservative circles.”
Now you are just being nasty: this is a progressive smear, unrelated to reality or conservative policies. You seem to believe your own progressive propaganda, which says such things without facts to back them up. It is a misrepresentation, an oversimplification, and an outright lie. BITE ME.
I invite you to compare the welfare enrollments under 8 years of the progressive’s ‘Messiah,’ Obama, and compare them to Reagan or Trump. People with the freedom to buy what they want, with their own money, is a cornerstone of the American dream. Progressive ALWAYS smother that freedom, whenever they lie to the voters to get into power.
As I stated, the record speaks for itself.
Sorry Slickwilly. I’m not interested in pinning myself to the wall to defend sundry ‘socialist’ regimes particularly in Nicaragua and Venezuela. All I am contesting is your apparent assertion that progressive / socialist policy always ‘creates poverty’.
Yes, of course you (and Wiki) are right that the truly impressive economic gains in China driven by Deng Xiaoping used ‘market orientated reforms’. But it was never suggested that this was a full blown acceptance of the ‘Washington consensus’ free market model. China remained and remains very much an economy dominated by the communist party and central planning.
China’s great success in relieving poverty over the last 30 or so years confounds many of the near certainties previously held by west leaning economists. It is for instance no longer straightforward to maintain that ‘governments always stuff it up’, or that you can’t address poverty without instituting some form of (small ‘l’) liberal democracy.
Bearing in mind your keenness for combat, I am not in any way arguing against the free market / small government / low tax / low debt model generally favoured on the ‘right’. Just, more boringly, there are few certainties and different horses may do best on different courses.
Just finally as an aside, I wonder where ‘ethics’ fits in all of this? It can’t surely be unethical to be socialist or libertarian, Moslem or Christian, vegan or carnivore? What surely we should call out is hypocrisy and intolerance. Sadly there seems plenty of that around.
Fair enough answer, Andrew. I agree to disagree on how much China’s success (if we want to call it that) is a result of allowing human nature to produce results (freedom to work for and keep the fruits of one’s labor motivating the economy) and how much due to central planning of a political regime at odds with the very concept. China just knows that it works, after a fashion, and is learning to not monkey too much with the goose that lays golden eggs, I believe.
We agree on your last paragraph.
Is it unethical to hold certain beliefs? Now you have given me something to gnaw on. My first though is that earnestly held religious beliefs cannot make one unethical, especially if one is born into such a family or society. This leaves us with non religious beliefs.
The mere act of being vegan, or conservative, or progressive does not make one unethical, either. Conservatives can be intolerant, as can vegans and progressives. This would be an unethical act from one who happens to hold said beliefs. The act makes for the ethics, so to speak.
However, a conservative who is intolerant, or a hypocrite, is violating his own beliefs. The very system espoused does not allow such behavior. This is the problem I personally have with the alt right: many of them are former conservatives who got tired of their principles being used against them, and now respond in kind. They have become what we stand against, and no longer are ethical 8n their dealings.
Progressives, on the other hand, never had any principles to betray. All is relative, and there is no right or wrong: just what you can get away with. If you start out at the ends justify the means, you are unethical. When you are a practicing progressive (as opposed to one with progressive beliefs) you cannot help but be unethical.
I am willing to be wrong, here. Is there a flaw in my reasoning? This is not pure partisan bias, but honest objective observation in pursuit of truth on my part.
Thank you. Thought provoking Slickwilly, how your perspective and mine are almost 180 degrees opposed, as to ‘conservatives’ and ‘progressives’. I suppose this must relate to our different cultures, ie the biases we bring with us.
For me, ‘conservatism’ embodies largely the ‘reactionary’ response to the risks of progress, and is understandably the natural refuge of the ‘haves’ who are scared of losing out to the ‘have nots’. There is nothing visionary or inspiring in this camp: it is essentially pragmatic.
The ‘progressives’ on the other hand have all sorts of ambitions to build a better world. They may well be naive and bring about all sorts of dreadful unintended consequences, but they are the idealists in the political game. As a cliche variously attributed to John Adams and others: “If you are young and not of the ‘left’ you have no heart; if you are old and not of the ‘right’ then you have no head.”
But in your world and seemingly Jack’s, the progressives have (as you say) “no principles to betray”!! It is apparently the conservatives who have the ‘principles’. How can we have such fundamentally different orientations? Are we on different planets?
From my reading, your Thomas Jefferson is an inspiring progressive. His expressions of support for the French Revolution, and more generally for uprisings against monarchies, looks to have been somewhat naive, but it would be harsh to declare him without principles. But historically for the US, thank God for the more conservative Washington.
I have tried to mug up on the political ‘right’ of the 1930s partly in response to Alizia’s relentless taunts that there is something profound that I am missing. (She suggests she is our Cassandra). But her references seem always to include racist and anti semitic themes that repel me. My reading of 1930s fascism is that it was fundamentally reactionary against bolshevism. I don’t find any profound economic, political or social analysis in the regimes of Mussolini, Franco or Hitler. Their histories do however in my view however provide valuable warnings against the threats of populist dictatorships.
I line up most comfortably with the progressives who have dreams of a better world. But I admit I frequently vote somewhat reluctantly with the ‘conservatives’ as the ‘safer hands’. Being old, I have too much to lose.
Okay, now we have something… we must define our terms for each other. You have given me an insight into your definitions, so allow me to be more clear. I believe you are from Australia? It sounds to me that our cultures are different enough to cause confusion in terms.
“…‘conservatism’ embodies largely the ‘reactionary’ response… There is nothing visionary or inspiring in this camp: it is essentially pragmatic.
I think we have a cultural difference in this definition. Conservatives can be reactionary in America, but the case in my lifetime has been one of distraction and apathy. Our freedoms and the resulting prosperity have come to be so taken for granted, that most common folk have come to ignore politics until it gets their attention through excess. Then they ‘react’ to an infringement by those who would limit or remove freedoms, as in the 2016 elections.
Conservatives here who have paid attention are not reactionary, but espouse the values that created and protected those freedoms for two centuries. The Bill of Rights, the Constitution, Equal protection under the Law, the right of self defense, limited government responsible to the People: all parts of those values. These values make America a unique experiment never before seen (or duplicated) in known history. It makes America exceptional. Not necessarily ‘better’ or ‘more righteous’ than other nations but more free, which does make it better for her people. It has created the highest living standard the world has ever known. Our ‘poor’ have more material wealth than many ‘middle class’ in other countries.
“The ‘progressives’ on the other hand have all sorts of ambitions to build a better world… then you have no head.”
You are describing a once flourishing breed here in the USA: classic liberals. Starry Eyed idealists, who loved America and wanted to make her better for all. They were not much for planning, and most of their programs had those unintended consequences, but they were principled and not unethical for believing in a better society. They generally agreed with American values and lived within the Constitution, working to change the country by winning hearts and minds within the system. Jefferson was a classic liberal for his day.
However, since the late 1960s those values have been under attack by a group who wants to remake America into something like the rest of the world. These people want naked, unrestricted power, (like the elites have in most nations on this planet) and our freedoms stand in the way of that goal. They are unethical in their ideas, motives, and actions, and defy the social contract in favor of ‘the ends justify the means.’ They believe that they have an inherent right to rule over others, by virtue of whatever excuse they dream up, and ignite passion in their followers as a means to destabilize the system. They see Marxism as the key to that change, where they would be the elite few making the decisions and for whom the laws they make for others would not apply. These Socialists have taken the name ‘Progressives’ here in America.
“But in your world and seemingly Jack’s, the progressives have (as you say) “no principles to betray”!! It is apparently the conservatives who have the ‘principles’. How can we have such fundamentally different orientations? Are we on different planets?”
The progressive I just described have no principles. The progressives here have purged the classic liberals from the system, by conversion or intimidation. Progressives are no longer well meaning but naive proponents of a better society: they want to destroy our society and take over from the ashes.
“I line up most comfortably with the progressives who have dreams of a better world. But I admit I frequently vote somewhat reluctantly with the ‘conservatives’ as the ‘safer hands’. Being old, I have too much to lose.”
Aha! Enlightened self interest is a conservative principle, based in human nature. I have observed that many classic liberals were conservative when it came to their kids, their tax bill, and their lives. They voted with their ideas (and that was not a bad thing) but lived by what worked: traditional conservative values.
This is no longer the case here in the USA, for many who tout the progressive label. Funny, but when things don’t work out as promised, (being unworkable from the start) they blame others for the decisions they made. Get rid of the core family, and blame ‘racism’ when the predictable problems arise! Provide free housing, food and medical care, and watch ambition vanish while crime soars! Must be ‘white privilege!’ Label your opponents ‘fascist’ ‘racist’ or some sort of ‘-phobe’ so you no longer have to engage in the realm of ideas and fact! (Just who acts like the fascists you have read about from the 1930s? ‘Antifa’ is a name rich in irony.)
As to Alizia… what can I say? For my money, she is so wrapped up in the theoretical as to be no good with the practical realities we have on the ground. I try to read her novels, but sometimes just don’t have the time! (Love ya, A!)
I hope my (now very long) explanation helps us at least know what the other is talking about in the future, Andrew. Let me know if you think I missed something!
Thanks Slickwilly. Yes, useful to note where we are each coming from. Many heated arguments rest on mutual misunderstandings. Sometimes sharing an apparently shared language adds to the confusion.
Your account sounds pretty scary to me, particularly re “that group who wants to remake America into something like the rest of the world”…….. wanting “naked unrestricted power” …… “like the elites have in most nations on this planet”. You do seem to be exhibiting characteristic (paranoid?) ‘reaction’ against a perceived threat. And I sense that you and Jack and others have no real thought of compromise.
Yes, I am Australian by choice, and British by birth. Yours is not my fight. For a variety of reasons I fear for you. I sense we (Australia and the US) may well be on culturally divergent paths. I hope we all stay ‘friends’ ….. and safe too.