Comment Of The Day: “Declaration: I Know Who I Won’t Be Voting For In November, And Why”

When I wrote this post, I knew it would cause some consternation, and it did. I wrote it after becoming disgusted with Alyssa Milano, Kamala Harris, and all the other passionate #MeToo advocates who insisted that a decades-old, recovered memory, conveniently-timed, recited-in-a-baby-voice accusation against a distinguished judge nominated for the Supreme Court was sufficient to disqualified him for that office because respecting “women/victims/survivors” was a paramount and non-negotiable value in our society,  but that a more credible accusation by a Presidential candidate’s former staffer alleging a more serious sexual assault by that man should be shrugged off because beating Donald Trump is more important than those same values we were told could not be outweighed. 

I realized, as every day the latest outrageous trick, lie or plot from the Axis of Unethical Conduct (that’s Democrats, the “resistance”, and the news media) dragged me closer to a decision to vote to re-elect the President, that if I reached that decision I would be doing exactly what the #MeToo hypocrites are doing.

Oh, I could rationalize a difference: their convictions regarding Trump are based on propaganda, Big Lies and impeachment cabals, and they are, in the case of the Milano types, ignorant of the threat to democracy that today’s Left poses, and in the case of Harris, Klobuchar, Pelosi, Warren, and the rest, they are part of it.  My problem is different, as it stems from the fact that while one choice this November is undeniably worse than the other from an ethical perspective, making either choice requires me, as an ethicist, to contradict the principles and values I spend all day and all year trying to promote.

I have to pick an ethics system, and after reviewing the ethics decision-making models, I believe in my case, where integrity is crucial, the system to be applied is Absolutism, where the Rule of Universality applies. The only other choice is the most brutal form of utilitarianism, the ends justify the means. I feel that if I choose that I should author an apology to all of Biden’s #MeToo supporters (and Bill Clinton’s too) and pack it in.  Kill Ethics Alarms, close down ProEthics, and become a porn flick director.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Declaration: I Know Who I Won’t Be Voting For In November, And Why:

I think that as a Canadian, I can take a step back and look at this from a different view from people in America.

Frankly, I get this. 100%. I’ve been really struggling talking to some of the people I used to talk with constantly, because I find them… aggravating. It’s like there’s an Anti Trump-Derangement Derangement, where people that have held conservative beliefs for their entire life all of a sudden turn on a dime to defend Trump from what they would have called out 10 minutes ago from anyone else. i get how it happens, Trump has been under siege for years and it’s sometimes hard to figure out whether or not the criticism laid at his feet is legitimate or not. But frankly, sometimes it isn’t hard at all to point out when the criticism is legitimate or not, it is, and the response from previously thoughtful commentators is so obviously mired in this deep morass of tribalism, except instead of a left-right tribalism, the crux of the differentiation is a type of blind loyalty to Trump. I don’t find that interesting, intelligent, thoughtful, or even particularly honest.

Loyalty to Trump is not a defining principle of conservatism. It’s even less of a defining principle to any other ideology, other than Trump’s cult of personality.

That said… I think the issue here is that you’re acting like a single issue voter, but in reality, no one is. The math on this would be a little different if there was even the outside possibility of a third party candidate gaining a plurality, but there isn’t. Not this time. Frankly, Trump has been too good at his job, and his supporters are to energetic to peel much off from the right, and the people that hate him hate him with a burning passion that rivals the sun, and they’ll vote for a poorly animated corpse to beat Trump.

So your choices, for better or worse, are:

1) To hold your nose and vote for Trump, both to stave off the progressive left for another four years, and because you haven’t turned your back on every principle you hold outside of ethics.

2) To stand on the principle of ethics, and vote third party, secretly hoping that enough other people will do The Dirty Thing and vote for Trump, because really… You don’t want Joe to win.

3) Jump in a vat of acid, because fuck everything.

I have real empathy for number three right now. But failing that, while I hate what Trump has done to the political discourse, and while I’m constantly annoyed by the problems he makes for himself by being a poorly spoken boor with at least the affectations of a lack of intelligence, the fact of the matter is that he has actually done a pretty good job; His judicial appointments have been excellent, his work at de-regulating… basically everything… was long overdue, his tax reform was effective, and the most meaningful tax reform done in my lifetime… Even the things that I disliked, like the conditions in the border camps, he fixed those! Progressives are still butthurt that they exist, but the conditions are better now, and I still think the camps are necessary. There is precious little that I can point to and say: “Y’know what? He really dropped the ball there.” And I think there’s something to be said for that raw level of effectiveness.

The question is if the stand on ethics is more important than ceding all that to a barely coherent walking corpse and the president-to-be of his VP, which will end up being whatever black woman pops up first on Craigslist.

In 2016, I said that were I an American, I would hold my nose and vote for Trump, because Hillary deserved to lose. I had great reservations on whether or not Trump would govern conservatively, because frankly he’d been a New York Liberal all his life, and he wasn’t exactly your normal “family values” candidate.

In 2020, we’ve seen what Trump is, Joe deserves to lose, and I have much less reservation on Trump’s ability to govern, or the leanings of his policies.

Just imagine if he hadn’t spent the last four years fighting Russian Collusions or Ukrainian phone calls.

52 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Declaration: I Know Who I Won’t Be Voting For In November, And Why”

  1. Excellent commentary HT. Your last paragraph sums up a great deal. We don’t really know if Trump would have grown into the job and been less likely to walk headlong into the traps the resistance works diligently in preparing.

  2. Yep, that was a fantastic response. I thought option #2 was especially good. The notion of not voting for a particular candidate while hoping enough other people do was an angle I never considered. And “loyalty to Trump is not a defining principle of conservatism” was another great truth, particularly because the President really isn’t very close to a conservative himself. He just looks conservative when looked at him through the filter of his opposition.

    Anyways, good work!!

    • I was very proud of “Loyalty to Trump is not a defining value of conservatism” as I wrote it, as self evidently true as it is, the number of people who act as if it is is staggering.

      I think part of it is that parts of the right are starting to act like the parts of the left that react negatively to whatever Trump says.

      Trump could say “It’s a nice day out today!” and the Headline from the NYT’s editorial page would be: “Factcheck: Trump says Day is “Good”, total lie.”

      Now in that case, making fun of the NYT is probably warranted. But when the president said, for instance, that he had the total authority to open states, which he obviously does not actually have, there were still people on the right, not all of us, but the number wasn’t zero, defending Trump and pretending (or saying in ignorance) that he was right.

      That’s a problem. If Obama had said he had the ultimate authority to penphone something the states actually had authority over, they would have been first to the firing line to criticize him. That should not change because the speaker is Trump.

      • Yes. However, the default position of the news media is “If the President does it or says it, it’s wrong, stupid, or a lie.” That’s bias. It’s also suicidal to any organization: a leader, no matter who he or she is, must begin with the presumption of good will. My presumption is that, where Trump is concerned, the news media has bad will, and I believe I have seen enough evidence to conclude that5 beyond a reasonable doubt. Rejecting the default condemnation of the President has nothing to do with loyalty, or at least need not. One should always have that attitude toward bigotry and bias. That level of support of a President—we reject an automatic condemnation or suspicion of everything he does—is fair, responsible and ethical. And it should extend across ideological lines.

        • But sometimes they’re right. And sometimes it’s self-evident that they’re right. And acting as if they’re wrong because they usually are when you know that they’re actually right cannot possibly be fair, responsible, or ethical.

          • But sometimes they’re right. And sometimes it’s self-evident that they’re right. And acting as if they’re wrong because they usually are when you know that they’re actually right cannot possibly be fair, responsible, or ethical.

            Neither you nor Jack have — it seems to me — the will or the motive to push forward into the more difficult territories. So your analysis always stays on the outside edge. You examine *surfaces* but you do not examine *depth*. I suggest that it is unethical to hold to a superficial analysis in a time of such danger. When major players and major powers seem to be operating in concert to inhibit and disrupt the free communication of ideas and views about very important ongoing events. It must be noted that those who look into these more difficult questions are being banned from those platforms where these ideas are examined and distributed. That is to say there is a war going on and it has to do with information, perspective and conclusion.

            If you make declarations about what is “fair, responsible, or ethical”, if you insist that people must focus their attention on this; must ask the most difficult questions about our lives, our politics, our history, our social organization; and if all of this must be analyzed through ethical lenses, then it seems that you are making a demand that you do not live up to. But outside of your (limited) circle, a kind of information loop, there are — indeed there are — people asking far more demanding questions that require far more incisive investigations.

            To say “sometimes the NYTs is right” is a superficial analysis. But then to say “That’s bias. It’s also suicidal to any organization: a leader, no matter who he or she is, must begin with the presumption of good will” is credulous. I could suggest that to be credulous when every indication points to the fact that we cannot simply give our trust to anyone, more especially to politicians, is unethical. It would be far more ethical to have an incredulous attitude as a starting point.

            Even to speak about the New York Times — to critique it — is to open up a whole range of questions about the nature of ownership and dissemination of information, view and perspective in our present. To assume, naively, that these media entities are or even should be unbiased — given the fact that they are themselves corporate entities owned by other entities that have many good reasons to avoid truth and to purvey semi-truth, partial truth, tendentious and self-serving truth — is an unethical posture when we all know, to greater or lesser degree, that ‘interest’ contaminates.

            That level of support of a President—we reject an automatic condemnation or suspicion of everything he does—is fair, responsible and ethical. And it should extend across ideological lines.

            I see this as a partial statement. It has superficial truth but not a fuller truth. I admit that the *fuller truth* leads to more troubling and difficult territory however, and territory avoided because, at times, the revelations that arise there are painful and difficult. It examines a surface, and succeeds in a partial analysis of that surface, but does not go far enough. Therefore, on one level it is successful (and thus ethical) but on another it fails (and is thus potentially unethical). This is why I say that Jack’s view is ‘patriotic’. It is idealistic. It is part-and-parcel of a view of what America is, or was, our should be, or might be again, but not one in which America as it is is revealed and discussed. And while it is true that ‘the office of the Presidency’ deserves respect, insofar as it is a symbol as well as a repository of our hope and belief in the presidents themselves, there are hundreds and thousands of very good reasons to have profound suspicion about what these political actors actually do — indeed, what they are doing — with the power vested in them.

            And acting as if they’re wrong because they usually are when you know that they’re actually right cannot possibly be fair, responsible, or ethical.

            It seems to me that the following is a ‘fair(er)’ statement: the NYTs in its reporting [sic] reveals levels of corruption within our political and indeed our epistemological system itself. What that corruption is; how it came to be; how it has penetrated; how far it has penetrated; and the degree to which we are complicit in the corruption or have come under its power — those are the questions that need to be asked if we are to be “fair, responsible, [and] ethical”. If we fall short of that we are, I would suggest, guilty of ethical failing.

            At the same time it has to be stated as a base-fact, as part of a foundation of understanding, that *corruption*, if it is understood to be real, has not only infected ‘democrats and progressives’ — these factions that have their own, specific agenda and intentions in respect to what America is, should be, and will be — but is universal and wide-spread within the entire system. Obviously I refer to the Republican establishment, the industrial and finance industries, and within what is called ‘the swamp’.

            So, what appears to be true is that all factions, to the degree that they are compromised, complicit and corrupt, will in some instances and in some areas have truth and defend truth — have an interest in bringing it out — but then in other areas have an interest in obscuring it, keeping it from being seen & revealed. At that point, then, it seems more ethical (and sensible) to doubt all of them. Not to believe much of anything they say. But more importantly to doubt the reasons why we are inclined to grant to them our trust.

  3. Also, I think the Dems chose their own form of destruction, a la Ghostbusters, in Trump. If they actually tried to be amicable, pragmatic, and, gasp, willing to compromise, they probably would have been able to get a lot of their policies enacted, because Trump would love to make deals, shake hands with Pelosi and Schumer, sign big infrastructure deals, etc. Heck, even Reps might have been angry with him, calling him a RINO squish, in this alternative universe. In 2016 in MA I voted Libertarian, knowing that Johnson was an ignoramus. This year, I voted in the Republican primaries and I am feeling optimistic for America.

  4. I still think “vote for the lesser of two evils” is sound advice, and no one’s been able to convince me otherwise yet.

    Statistically, my vote for a third party means nothing and does nothing, and everyone knows it. If I vote for the candidate who will do the least actual harm, I am mitigating damage, which is helpful. Better than doing nothing.

    I understand the “principled stand” ideal of refusing to vote for a bad guy, and also the “I’m above the corrupt system” ideal of not voting at all…I get it, I’m just not convinced. What’s principled about making no external impact in any direction? I don’t need to abstain from the vote to maintain my own internal values; it’s not as though I’m endorsing a bad candidate’s vices by voting for him or her. A vote just means I prefer you over the alternative. It doesn’t signal anything beyond.

    • “What’s principled about making no external impact in any direction?’

      Nothing. But my profession and credibility have more external impact, or should, than my vote.
      I have yet to read a persuasive argument that voting for an individual that violated every aspect of my convictions regarding leadership as stated at great length and in great detail can be distinguished from the #MeToo hypocrites supporting Biden. I’m right and they are wrong” is not an argument.

      • I wonder if this us an ethics incompleteness problem, though. Kind of like a Gibson’s Choice where you are choosing the less of two evils. Not voting is a choice l, a protest that all candidates are awful, but then you are letting someone decide for you.

        jvb

  5. The purpose of the Democrat Party — to all appearances — is to be the party of People of Color in a demographic struggle to construct a new platform of ideology for when the new demographic becomes the dominating political demographic in America. I think that this explains why the Democrat Party and left-progressivism has veered away from its support of ‘the working man’, the family, and communities.

    The Republican Party (and certain conservatives), in strange reversals have now taken the rôle of protector of the American worker. However, just a few years back (if my reading sources are correct) the Republican Party was, more or less, the party of a corporate elite who seemed only to want to gain more for themselves while the health and well-being of the people of the country (‘the American worker’) was of very little concern. Because American politics is conducted through elaborate public relations imaging, which are based in deception (often), what they did (who they are essentially, what they value) was disguised. But this concealment and trickery is a primary feature of the present. I tend so see sense in Steve Bannon’s analysis of both the Republican Party and many ‘conservatives’. These people have shown themselves to be traitors. They are the ones who were the architects of dismantling the US manufacturing base and setting it up elsewhere. They *sold* it as a product. And they were involved in selling out the country and its people. This is a straight fact, not an embellishment. Now, the country’s suffering is evident. A sort of *starvation* of the body-politic with all the attendant evils.

    How funny that all on the sudden the Republican establishment and the so-called Conservatives are now plaintively moaning about how unfettered industry decimates communities and hollows-out the individual leading to social malaise.

    These are levels of hypocrisy that are simply fantastic.

    America is in a crisis which it cannot see and it cannot name. To see clearly (I suggest) is to engage in wrongthink and crimethink. (Because it involves demographics and economics and social engineering and the negative effects of excessive militarization and a whole range of things that cannot be analyzed because analysis — real analysis — requires a genuine critical perspective).

    If for example you are found to be crimethinking today (race, demographics, elite power, globalization, the undermining of the Constitution) you can literally witness your own destruction at the hands of a mob. Tweet something *bad* in the evening and wake up the next day in the midst of your destruction. What I think this means — and here I reference the notion of *chilling* — is that we live in a time in which constraint surrounds us. You cannot say what you actually think (if what you think is understood to be crimethink).

    The best I can come up with is to begin simply by trying to state what is going on and to point out that what is going on (really) is different from what is a) said to be going on and b) allowed to be understood as really going on.

    What I always say — and will not stop saying it — is that the analysis that goes on here, generally speaking, is always on a shallow superficial level. The surface is seen and described but rarely the depth and the essence. Humble Talent’s entire essay is superficial. I can respect that it is articulate in its way. But I cannot respect that it only deals in superficialities.

  6. Frankly, I get this. 100%. I’ve been really struggling talking to some of the people I used to talk with constantly, because I find them… aggravating. It’s like there’s an Anti Trump-Derangement Derangement, where people that have held conservative beliefs for their entire life all of a sudden turn on a dime to defend Trump from what they would have called out 10 minutes ago from anyone else. I get how it happens, Trump has been under siege for years and it’s sometimes hard to figure out whether or not the criticism laid at his feet is legitimate or not. But frankly, sometimes it isn’t hard at all to point out when the criticism is legitimate or not, it is, and the response from previously thoughtful commentators is so obviously mired in this deep morass of tribalism, except instead of a left-right tribalism, the crux of the differentiation is a type of blind loyalty to Trump. I don’t find that interesting, intelligent, thoughtful, or even particularly honest.

    You are incapable of defining ‘conservatism’. You do not know what it is. Your ‘conservatism’ is a pose. You are a classic ‘fake conservative’ and at the same time show the depthlessness of the entire posture that defines so-called ‘conservatism’ in our present.

    Your country is in an advanced state of *take-over* not by conservative forces but by ultra-progressive forces. There are people in your own country whose ideas are suppressed and condemned, and these people (according to the conclusions of my research) are actually holding the conversative flag. But you — you have done this — associate them with Nazism and indeed use these terms. The way your structure your rhetoric is in no sense as a ‘conservative’ because you are not one! You are a classic progressive and, for reasons I do not understand, pose as a ‘conservative.

    Hope that helps! 🙂

    To be able to ‘criticize Trump’ would actually involve having an intellect free enough to do so. You do not have this intellect, nor is this now nor has it ever been part of your ‘spiel’. What you do is to keep your analysis at the most superficial level and merely repeat the given tropes-of-the-day. There is nothing revelatory in what you wrote! There does appear to be a ‘siege’ yet — to be truthful and direct — no one on this blog writes with any depth of understanding about why the siege is going on. Nor do you — ever. You are content within superficial and anodyne views. You simply complain a little bit among a group do people who meet to share *complaint*.

    “…obviously mired in this deep morass of tribalism…

    Ah-ha! There it is. Examining this revealing phrase you show that you have no relationship with genuine conservatism. Yours would be the ideology of a progressive Canadian and there no ‘self-interest’ is allowed. But conservatism is based in recognition of a range of real social, political, ethnic and other facts, not in the abstract position that you take. To be a ‘nation’ involves recognition of all those factors combined, not the negation of them. You fit right in here though because Jack and nearly everyone else sees ‘nationhood’ in this abstract sense. You elevate the abstract ideology while strategically negating everything on which genuine peoplehood is built.

    The ‘tribalism’ to which you refer is a complex thing that needs to be brought out and discussed fully. You cannot do this because it involves concepts that will involve you in crimethink.

    Hope that helps a bit. If you have questions let me know!

        • I know what you mean. But I think there is more involved here. I think there are forces, shadowy, unseen, that do not want those powerful & devastating memes to circulate. Might be related to neuro-linguistic programming or God-only-knows. I struggled for an hour and each time EACH TIME this was all I could post.

          The walls are closing in!

    • Look, crazy cat lady, I knew that mentioning conservative values would trigger you and force yet another tirade about how the common parlance of words confuse you. A part of me thinks that I should just ignore you, but particularly bad ideas need at least a little pushback.

      You don’t think I’m a conservative? I don’t particularly care what you think. In order for me to care, I’d have to respect your opinion, and spoiler alert: I don’t. You could call me a rutabaga, and despite causing me to smirk, because rutabaga is a funny word, it would neither be true, nor a useful label.

      As with every time we have this discussion, I’m going to ask you the question to which you have no answer:

      If I’m so mired in progressiveness that I can’t recognize conservatism, but you can, from the great conservative bastion where all the Amazonian self-hating Jews live, then please, of please, great elucidator, explain to us what conservatism actually is. Because as always, you choose to throw labels around like ticker tape at a Macy’s Day parade without once defining a single one of them.

      But you won’t, because you never do, because you’re talking directly out of your ass.

      • For the record, the Crazy Cat Lady is the one character on the Simpsons that makes me laugh on sight every time she shows up. Lionel Hutz and Dr. Nick are a distant second and third, and they’re both dead.

      • How lucky you two are that you have Simpson’s memes through which you can communicate. I have never watched, and will never watch, a complete episode of The Simpsons and — if you will permit my bold honesty — would worry if an American TeeVee program ever became a reference point for commentary on the important events of our day and out time. Again: this is extremely superficial analysis yet it fits in with a general superficial analysis of all things. If that works for you, if with that you feel you advance, then I wish you the best of luck! 🙂

        The ‘common parlance’ does not confuse me at all. The common parlance needs to be examined critically. Terms are used improperly. As for example the term ‘conservative’. I have been over this a dozen times but I am dealing with hard-headed people who are set in their ways. I respect your entitlement to be any way that works for you, but everytime I notice it I will challenge you on it.

        You are not conservatives. You are progressives. If you see your selfs more accurately you will do a service because you will ground yourself more in truth than in distortions-of-truth. Make sense?

        You don’t think I’m a conservative? I don’t particularly care what you think. In order for me to care, I’d have to respect your opinion, and spoiler alert: I don’t. You could call me a rutabaga, and despite causing me to smirk, because rutabaga is a funny word, it would neither be true, nor a useful label.

        If you read this with a ‘queer inflection’ in the voice I suggest that your animus can be better understood. The entire basis of your reaction to me began in your pique that I do not *support* your choices and oppose the homsexualization of culture, any culture. The basis of my opposition to the Globo-Homo Movement is something you cannot grasp because you do not deal in ideas. You deal in sentiments and emotions when you handle, very superficially, ideas. My opposition is grounded in conservative principles. But since you can’t deal in ideas you resort to Cat-Lady Memes and expressions of pique. This gets you nowhere and is a way of — as per usual — avoiding ideas and remaining in superficialities.

        But your reactions aside, and the cause of them, I am discussing ideas and their consequences.

        You make the mistake of believing that this is really about *you*. It is not. It is about ideas. It is about the terms used to describe things. And if there is *confusion* I suggest, strictly within argumentation, that you are confused: deeply confused. It is an issue of self-deception and from that position you deceive others. Therefore, to call you on it is a moral and ethical necessity. But it really does not have to do with you. If you understand this many other things will begin to clarify.

        If I’m so mired in progressiveness that I can’t recognize conservatism, but you can, from the great conservative bastion where all the Amazonian self-hating Jews live, then please, of please, great elucidator, explain to us what conservatism actually is. Because as always, you choose to throw labels around like ticker tape at a Macy’s Day parade without once defining a single one of them.

        I am a Jew who has superceded Judaism. And that I have done this, and why, and what this means, is something you have no way to understand. Because you have no idea what any of this means, at any level. You are completely ignorant on these themes. You do not know, in any sense, what *Christianity* is and why it will always be grounded in conservative principles. You do not know even what *a Jew* is!

        In everything that I write, in all the references I make, I generally only talk about ideas and their grounding in principles, and those principles are conservative. Read what I write. But you do not, and perhaps cannot, actually read what I write, and then you say (in essence) “You are a crazy person so no part of what you say can make any sense and I do not read and consider it”. You work — as I pointed out to Jim — within a genuine assertion that is really & truly part of your view-structure: that you are sane and normal and that you mediate this for everyone else. You suppose, and sincerely so, that your choices, ideas, perceptions — a general way-of-being that you see yourself as carrying — really and truly is ‘normal’. And you cannot examine the possibility that it could have pathological parts or elements. In this way you use a pose of ‘conservatism’ to trick your self and to trick others. You are involved, at essential levels, in trickery, lying & deception.

        My object is to see this, and then to see through you. Not because you have any particular relevance, you do not, but because the IDEAS here and their consequential effects are far more important than you & I and all of us.

        I introduce ideas into this on-going conversation and you are unable to participate.

        Anything good on the TeeVee today? 🙂

        • “As for example the term ‘conservative’. I have been over this a dozen times but I am dealing with hard-headed people who are set in their ways. ”

          And yet, you have never, in all those dozens of times, offered a single working definition of what you think “conservative” means, only deigning to tell us who is and is not conservative. Like… Take a step back, do you honestly not see how big a problem that is for you? Forgive me, but I’m not going to take “I’ll knows it when I sees it” as meaningful.

          “If you read this with a ‘queer inflection’ in the voice I suggest that your animus can be better understood. The entire basis of your reaction to me began in your pique that I do not *support* your choices and oppose the homsexualization of culture, any culture.”

          “Yeah, we’ll, you’re gay” isn’t particularly meaningful either.

          “I am a Jew who has superceded Judaism. And that I have done this, and why, and what this means, is something you have no way to understand. Because you have no idea what any of this means, at any level.”

          Super Jew! Better than the rest of you!
          Super Jew! Better than the average Jew!
          Super Jew! Joooooooooooo!

          • I have begun, that is to say that I began, trying to define social and other forms of conservatism through a process of defining what it is not. Often it is easier for me to see what it is not than to clearly define the principle on which that *neti-neti* is established.

            The basic structure of a conservativism for Occidentals can only be, in my present view, within a firmly established metaphysical Christianity. That is the ground or area that we have, essentially, left or abandoned. I do understand though that other traditions — say for example the Vedas or other oriental forms — define metaphysical platforms upon which a social conservatism is established.

            I do not have any problem in admitting to you and anyone else that I do not have all my ideas worked out. I have only been on this blog for 6 years and have used it as a way to organize my own reading and study. I have still only just begun.

            I can refer to you to what I consider excellent places to start the process of defining what *conservative* should mean, must mean, and perhaps can only mean. An excellent starting-point is Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences. For me, when I read this book, it began processes of introspection and self-analysis to see and understand the degree to which I had been influenced and informed by non-conservative and progressive radical ideas. You too can easily access any of the essays that comprise his book.

            You are not conservatives. That much is clear as day. You are progressives and even radical -progressives who, for different reasons, shy away from the full definition or exposition. You are *slightly to the right of progressivism*.

            • That’s a whole lot of words to write: “You know what, Jeff… you’re right! I have never defined conservatism, I cannot define conservatism, and I have no intention to, I just know what it isn’t, and I’ll tell you when I see it.”

                • And you sit on an ephemeral throne of vagaries. No one can discuss an issue with you because you fail to define your terms, instead you put on airs as if no one on Earth but you has ever read a book, and everyone would think like you if only they had. Why the hell should anyone engage in trying to have a discussion with an anthropomorphic set of moving goalposts? I don’t take you seriously because you are fundamentally unserious, I’m just blatant about it.

                  • Your entire effort today has been, and will always remain, within shutting down conversations and ideas that are contrary to the ones you hold. There is really nothing else — and no argument — offered.

                    Finally, you then demand that I write out an essay on what genuine conservatism is. As if that would be received. As if you are serious. You are not serious.

                    I have written a great deal over the months and years and in each piece I write, in one way or another, I am exploring conservative principles. If you did not listen then, you will not listen now. Your intention is not to listen!

                    Now, you are pretending that you have scored a definitive victory. “She won’t answer my direct question!” You use this as a way to appear to have won in argument, but all you have done is to have avoided everything that I said.

                    This is what you do. And what I am trying to point out, and have been for years now, is why this is part-and-parcel of a fake conservatism.

                    In our present we who oppose the reigning liberal order are working to define our terms, just as any person of conscience in this twisted and distorting present is working to do the same. The effort is genuine and the need is genuine.

                    It no longer bothers me that there is a you-plural that cannot and will not hear. It did, to some degree, before. Not now. In essay after essay I have clearly explained why I think you fail as real conservatives. Each assertion stands. No one of them has been refuted.

                    • Look, Alizia, there was a time, six years ago, where I took you much more seriously than I do now. You failed then and you failed now to actually have a conversation, because you don’t want one. You don’t pick topics, you don’t actually have points, you are a master of drive-by heavily worded shitposts, more than happy to tell people they’re wrong, or that they’ve identified their labels incorrectly, but never really saying how, or why it matters. After six years of this, complaining now that *I’m* not acting in good faith is novel.

                      You’ve been asked a direct question, so many times it’s impossible to count. It’s a direct question that goes to the very core of most of your assertions, and you’ve given platitudes ranging on a spectrum from “I got nothing” to “You wouldn’t understand” to “You don’t actually want an answer”.

                      I suppose, in honesty, I don’t need an answer. My point is that you’re full of shit. My point is made by you refusing to answer. For anyone to take you seriously. you need an answer. Maybe not for me, but for anyone you want to take you seriously. I write comments on here knowing that they’ll never penetrate my conversation partner, but for the people reading my comments, if you feel that I wouldn’t take you seriously (and full disclosure, that’s probably true at this point, you’ve hemorrhaged any shred of credibility in my view) then do it for someone else that might come here and read it. Save it in a word document for the next person to ask you that question. Because you need it, and you don’t fucking have it.

                  • Well, then what are we to conclude? I offer a definition of conservatism which describes what it actually is. Not according to me necessarily. But according to people like Weaver.

                    Yet you do not understand. It is jibberish.

                    What does one do at that point? Pat you on the head? Say “Oh well…”

                    Or — and this is what I actually do — chide you for lack of understanding. Lack of a will to understand.

                    Shouldn’t you actually understand these things? Should not you actually and more fundamentally understand why the conflicts in our present exist? Shouldn’t I be able to demand this of you, my elders even?

                    Therefore, when I say ‘You are shallow’ and you keep things at a shallow, superficial level, at the least you can begin to understand why.

                    • I did, actually, understand what you wrote. What you wrote didn’t help define what you perceive as “conservatism”. Your post defines what conservatism is not. I get that. But, tell me what you think it is. “Conservatism is not progressivism” is empty tautology.

                      Yet, I didn’t accuse you of shallowness. It is improper to accuse someone of something they didn’t do and haven’t done – it’s rude.

                      I have accused you being intentionally obtuse under the guise of sophistication. Again , a lot of words for very little actual substance.

                      Your writing style tends to be inherently and intentionally confusing, which is then used as a bludgeon to accuse readers of failing to comprehend your deeper truths, which only you have the intellectual stamina and depth to comprehend, but when the point is examined just a bit, it is shown that it is not all that clever, deep, or inspired/inspiring. The typical retort is that the humble reader is a dolt or weak intellectually. I, for one, tire of such condescension.

                      I read up on Richard Weaver as you have cited him on other occasions. Interesting guy and I see his influence in your writing style, which I find unnecessarily dense. The point of writing is to express oneself coherently and concisely, and not insult your reader’s intelligence and/or IQ.

                      jvb

                    • HT asked for a definition of conservatism. He does not care to have it, not really, and for him it is all part of an elabore rhetorical and sophistical game he plays.

                      But there I wrote a brief one which did indeed define what conservatism is. I gave a general definition. I provided what I think is the most essential starting-point: the metaphysics which we use to interpret this existence. If I am allowed to give a definition of conservatism, I will explain it as an aspect of religious view (in my case Christianity). Weaver does it through Platonism though. His views are philosophical.

                      After developing a general outline I then explained that for us — who are now formally outside of such conservatism and the way-of-seeing and understanding that it is based in — that we have to start from descriptions that explain what non-conservatism is, and what it results in. We have to *see* non-conservatism in a certain way and light before we can then *see* (understand with the mind’s eye if you will) what a conservative viewpoint is.

                      I would suggest Slouching Toward Gomorrah by Robert Bork for a polemical and a critical view that describes *what happened to us*. He describes the destructive side of ‘progressivism’ and he describes that happens in the realm of idea when youth — in its false certainty, in its arrogance — undermines authority. That is to say, undermines the hierarchies of knowledge upon which our civilization is built.

                      If you sense frustration in me that these important point — points that describe our present and reveal why what is happening is happening — is not understood by people who should understand it, then I hope you will have a bit of compassion for me. I am doing the best I can. I have worked my way into a peculiar corner, and I have been worked in that corner, and this all places all sort of restraint and limitations on me. For example, today I have spent a great deal of time trying to express things I GENUINELY feel are important. Not because I am important, I am not, but because the IDEAS are important.

                      Are we not called to take things seriously?!? Are we not demanded to take things seriously?

                      If you mean to ask me What does a conservative do once a conservative has arrived at his or her inner conservative stance (understanding), then that is a different question. It is a far more involved question. Answering that question, and finding out how social conservatives have tried to answer it, puts one right in the center of the Culture Wars. And by bringing that out as a topic or area this brings us into the present and the battles being fought.

                      I am not ‘intentionally obtuse’, there you are wrong. I don’t know what to say: I read Weaver and he does not seem that difficult at all. He is very clear. I cannot say why he seems difficult for you.

        • I’m a bit concerned about your delusions of Godhood. The last Jew who truly superceded Judaism in a religious sense was Jesus of Nazareth, after all.

          Also, a bit of unsolicited advice which you will no doubt discard with the contempt you judge it to so richly deserve: simplify your writing style. Shorten your comments. If you continue to write as if you don’t wish to be understood, many commenters and lurkers here who continue to give your earnestness the benefit of the doubt will choose to no longer do so. If your audience here is, as you repeatedly claim, confused, unclear, and incapable of understanding your level of discourse, either bring your level of discourse down to be understandable (and thereby stand a chance of enlightening some of us poor marginally-literate rubes) or take your screeds somewhere they will be understood and appreciated. I’d hate for you to continue casting your verbal pearls before swine. Such a titanic continued waste of effort really would cause me to question your claims of intelligence.

          Apologies for getting personal. It really grinds my gears to see HT ask a simple question, and in response you spend five paragraphs obfuscating by calling him a stupid lying liar who is stupid and lies because he is stupid. It was possible amusing the first half-dozen times, but as others have noted, your schtick wears thin over time.

          • It wears thin when the mob goes to work on the undermining of clear expressions of ideas. This is what you do. You work in packs to keep actual discussion of ideas from coming out.

            I don’t take what you write personally. What I would wish is that you take ONE IDEA — just one! — and comment on it. Don’t focus on the way I write, or length, just discuss ideas.

            Delusions of Godhead? What in the name of Heaven are you talking about?

              • Conservatism has to do with ‘conserving’, obviously. And if that is so it must have to do with defining what is to be conserved. It has to do, at the most important point, with conserving a view or a set of definitions about this incarnated life and for that reason it seems to begin in spiritual or as I say in metaphysical viewpoints. Conservatism must be grounded in those definitions of principles which are understood to be *eternal* and non-changing. It contrasts itself with *the contingent* and what exists in mutability. Conservatism is therefore an attempt to impose into the mutable present such *ideas* that are understood to be constant and eternal. And those sorts of ideas are always, necessarily, metaphysical.

                For that reason I see conservatism as essentially a position in which metaphysics are principal. In order for there to be a *genuine conservatism* there has to be a genuine metaphysical sense of things. That is why I referred to Richard Weaver who, from a Platonic philosophical perspective, defines a ‘conservative orientation’. But in considering Weaver one has to realize that he was one of those thinkers who became acutely aware of the decadence of the age. For example, he noticed a great trend or wave of nihilism (his term) before and after WW2. He noticed that the power that determined it was *saving the world* was in the grip, and was also expressing, this *nihilism*. That is an idea of his that has influenced me a good deal as I examine the present — a far more advanced condition of nihilism and veering away from core values and principles.

                What is ‘conservative’ then can best be understood when comparing it with what does not conserve, or that propels change forward unrelentingly, or most likely without really thinking about it. In that sense, what produces certain aspects of progressivism, I mean one of its consequences, is a certain nescience. A lack of concern even to have much concern about the use of one’s self. One of the opposites of a conservatism perspective (or praxis) would be in ‘surrender to mutability’ and also surrender to temporal and mutable pleasure. This is one reason why the use of sexuality is so important in conservative values.

                In my own case, having been like all of us subsumed in non-conservatism (in the general progressive trends and views that define our present and rule our present), my understanding of conservatism, which is on-going of course because we are all under the effect of progressivism and some of us have defined reasons to resist these trends is to have begun to pay attention to *causation* and to become aware of ‘consequences’ in the sense that Weaver uses the term. For those of us who are *victims* of progressive ideology, or its lack of concerns for the immutable, our turn to conservatism is always relational to progressivism and all that which propels us to become comfortable living within mutability. Here, there is an aspect to progressivism that is always ‘seductive’: cloying and stimulating.

                In my view, and as a result of my study, one can examine the Culture Wars of America in this sort of light. It is true that American Conservatism, at least in one faction and to some degree, tried to define genuine conservatism. It still would like to I suppose. But to the degree that it has fallen in with progressive trends, or to the degree that it cannot hold even rather rigidly to solid conservative principles, it falls under the influence of progressivism. Then, what seems to happen is that it defines itself (falsely, but not completely unintelligibly) in relation to the ‘progressivism which has simply gone that much further on its inevitable course.

                In our day my assertion is that conservatives have become compromised by progressive principles, or perhaps ‘anti-principles’ is the word. These are more often than not ‘henid-based’ ideas that are interwoven with emotionalism and sentimentalism and also with sensuality.

                OK you lunatic Canuck! This is what I have been writing about now FOR YEARS. I say the same things as I have here yet you have been unable to hear them. Why? Because you are in no sense of the world a conservative! You general ideology is progressive.

                I do not want just ONE COOKIE for my effort here. I want at least 50 cookies and they must have lots of rare nuts in them!

            • If only I had included another line after I poked fun at you for having delusions of Godhood! Maybe one that explained the reference, and why I made it.

              Oh, wait. I did.

              Another case of deliberate misunderstanding and conversational muddling about on your part, then? Or are you really too dense to understand the jab? Oh, excuse me – cogitating at such a high level that understanding the jab was beneath you?

              Not sure why I’m continuing to respond here. Ignoring an entire sentence and feigning dignified confusion as if there was a lack of clarity on my part does not indicate a willingness to engage in good faith. Reminds me of Chuck Todd in the Meet the Press incident the other night, just a bit.

              • I’m a bit concerned about your delusions of Godhood. The last Jew who truly superseded Judaism in a religious sense was Jesus of Nazareth, after all.

                You actually want me to respond to this as if you were saying anything at all important or even intelligible?

                I am not sure if I will be able to help you here. I said that as a Jew I superseded being a Jew — being focused in a limited non-spiritual religion of legalism — by becoming a Christian. If you understood what ‘being a Jew’ is, and entails (I doubt that you do) you would then understand what being a Christian is, and what it means to say ‘superseded’. Every Christian who makes that internal shift ‘supersedes’ the Jewish legalistic structure — that is, if we are talking about Orthodox Judaism. Christianity is a step upward. Out of that evolution the Occidental world was born.

                No part of what I suggest involves ‘delusions of personal Godhood, and for this reason — it is a wild, outlandish statement, a nonsense statement really — I wonder if you have any comprehension of what Christianity is? You likely don’t. I do not blame you greatly here. At this point I would have to say that most people do not. (Here I distinguish between a personal faith and a larger knowledge of the traditions in an historical and societal sense).

                Oh, wait. I did.

                Or are you really too dense to understand the jab? Oh, excuse me – cogitating at such a high level that understanding the jab was beneath you?

                No, you did nothing. You said nothing in any sense meaningful. There was therefore no ‘jab’. If you make a jab that has some sense in it, and some panache, I will appreciate it!

                Not sure why I’m continuing to respond here.

                You might examine the reasons why HT responds. It might give you insight. You feel piqued because I challenge you. You get offended when someone seems to talk down to you. You have little idea of the things you pretend to talk about so much goes over your head.

                You should resolve to do much better. Not for me. For yourself. Your people. Your nation. The world. These are very important issues.

                • It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

                  Have a great evening, if evenings indeed exist in your higher plane of existence. Thanks for giving me something to chuckle about. I’ll try to take myself less seriously from here on in.

                    • I had to look that one up (I unfortunately must admit to having a much narrower education than the vast majority of the regular commenters here) but appreciate the sentiment. One tries.

          • Stupid and gay, we can’t possibly forget the gay. I’m a stupid, lying, progressive, gay, Canadian liar who lies a lot and has sex with men, and so I couldn’t possibly understand the mental superiority of an Amazonian Super Jew who uses the word “ethnic” in her comments more than anyone else I’ve ever known and also (in theory) has sex with men.

              • So much for you is a *word cloud* though. In that *cloud* are all the things you could understand, and perhaps should understand, and don’t. You can assign everything — all difficult things then — to that cloud. “I don’t understand!” you can shout, and never have to feel bad. It’s all *word cloud*!

  7. You’re comment is great, but I disagree with this:

    “…while I hate what Trump has done to the political discourse…”

    Trump didn’t do anything to the political discourse. The hateful vitriol has been deliberately cultivated by pop culture and media outlets for decades, greatly intensifying during Bush’s 2nd term. Republicans still tried to play the civility rules to their detriment.

    Trump was only able to move into this because the conditions were right for his use of the same bombastic acid and the voter base’s toleration for it because they were tired of receiving similar abuse for years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.