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  •  Conservatism never fails - it is only failed (13+ / 0-)

     Rick Perlstein has seen these mental gymnastics on the conservative side before as they attempt to explain away their defeats and their failures.

    This part of my talk, I imagine, is long after the point a constitutive operation of conservative intellectual work has clicked on in your minds: the part where you argue that malefactor A or B or C, or transgression X or Y or Z, is not "really" conservative. In conservative intellectual discourse there is no such thing as a bad conservative. Conservatism never fails. It is only failed. One guy will get up, at a conference like this, and say conservatism, in its proper conception, is 33 1/3 percent this, 33 1/3 percent that, 33 1/3 percent the other thing. Another rises to declaim that the proper admixture is 50-25-25.

    It is, among other things, a strategy of psychological innocence. If the first guy turns out to be someone you would not care to be associated with, you have an easy, Platonic, out: with his crazy 33-33-33 formula--well, maybe he's a Republican. Or a neocon, or a paleo. He's certainly not a conservative. The structure holds whether it's William Kristol calling out Pat Buchanan, or Pat Buchanan calling out William Kristol.

    As the Internet's smartest liberal blogger, Digby, puts it, tongue only partially in cheek: "'Conservative' is a magic word that applies to those who are in other conservatives' good graces. Until they aren't. At which point they are liberals."

    What we're seeing now is what we always see when these bozos get their heads handed to them. True believers just can't admit that there might be a little problem with their ideology....

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:09:16 PM PST

    •  Conservatism (1+ / 0-)
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      xaxnar

      When conservatism fails, conservatives say "But it wasn't PURE conservatism!" This is just like when someone says "But it wasn't PURE communism!"

      We've seen the results of their policies. People died in the Triangle factory fire because there were no safety regulations: thus the factory doors were locked. People died on the Titanic because there were no regulations ensuring a spot on the lifeboats for everyone. Lake Erie caught fire because there weren't environmental regulations.

      Adam Smith didn't say that the invisible hand will make everything better. He only said that sometimes the invisible hand will produce good results.

      The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

      by A Citizen on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:59:39 AM PST

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