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View Diary: The lost conservative (really) (74 comments)

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  •  I make the same argument all the time (24+ / 0-)

    Movement Conservatism is to conservatism as National Socialism is to socialism. They share a common word but that's about it. The retort is usually the stock "conservatism can't fail; it can only be failed, right?" But that's not what I'm arguing, either. Movement Conservatives seek to tear down the institutions of government, of civil protections, etc., which is starkly in contrast to the ideals of protection of the status quo and making societal change only after close examination. I obviously am in the camp of making societal improvement and progression, but I recognize the value of a cautious voice to balance things out in order that all sides of a situation are examined. I hope that whatever actual Conservatives who are left will stand up and reclaim their philosophy and party before permanent harm is done to the country, if it isn't too late already.

    No, you can't fix stupid. You OUTNUMBER stupid. -Wildthumb, 1/10/2013

    by newinfluence on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:56:50 PM PDT

    •  "Movement" conservatives are a religion (25+ / 0-)

      They function like a religion, in that they set out a brace of enemies and saints, and they elevate or denigrate based on adherence to the movement, not any achievements.

      If we want to understand the veneration of Bork, we have to look at a model not of loyalty, but of identity. The same is true of "Brownie" and the rest of the "loyal Bushies." Competence and execution did not matter, but the purity of heart did.

      Actual religion modifies a political view and makes people realize that they owe their fellow people respect. This political religion has taken the tent revival's mountebank elements and combined it with bad ward boss retaliation and rewards to create something truly ghastly.

      Everyone is innocent of some crime.

      by The Geogre on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 01:15:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  These days, the conservatives are all Democrats. (9+ / 0-)

      I'd consider my philosophy to be that of the skeptical conservative -- and that makes me a Democrat. I have no desire to roll back abortion rights or voting rights by decades; that would be an unequivocally bad change from the status quo. I believe in proven policy solutions, like the single-payer health care that has worked for decades in dozens of countries. And I wanted the Bush tax cuts to expire because they were a failed experiment. (The consistency with my stance on other issues is: this is a limited roll-back of a single failed experiment. Unlike progress in civil rights, the Bush tax cuts have never gained broad consensus acceptance as the right thing to do.) If we actually had truly conservative and liberal political parties, we'd be in much better shape. Instead, we currently have a radical reactionary party in the Republican Party, with both conservatives and liberals lumped together in the Democratic Party and trying to keep the reactionaries from causing severe harm to the country.

      •  My hidden question indeed: are we conservatives? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        newinfluence, Haf2Read, Kevskos, amyzex

        I know that we're actually not.

        We are not conservatives because of our relationship toward power and capital. Most of us desire greater freedom and power for greater numbers, or at least a restoration of fundamental civil rights granted by the Constitution. This is a diffusion of power from concentrated positions, and that marks us -- especially when it comes to power belonging to the producer over the monied -- as progressives (esp. aligned with the Farmers and Progressives Party).

        At the same time, we are the conservatives with points of law. We want to preserve the state of law with regard to abortion rights, the state of the constitution with regard to FISA (now vanished), the state of pre-2001 law in regard to torture, habeas corpus, etc.

        Everyone is innocent of some crime.

        by The Geogre on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 05:37:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I quite agree with this: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Geogre
          Most of us desire greater freedom and power for greater numbers
          For me, that has always been the real dividing line between right and left. The left wants to diffuse political, social and economic power as widely as possible; the right wants to concentrate all of them as centrally as possible.

          Which means that both the Soviet Leninists and the German Nazis were BOTH extreme rightwingers.

      •  You and I are, perhaps, not too far apart (5+ / 0-)

        I call myself "conservative" but always in quotes because I want to differentiate myself from what passes for conservatism in the Republican party.  I also identify as a skeptical conservative or, as Andrew Sullivan often says, a conservative of doubt.

        A good example of this is a topic that you bring up which is single-payer health care.  I had been skeptical that putting the government in charge of the healthcare system would be a good thing.  After all who wants a healthcare system with the efficiency of the USPS, the compassion of the IRS or the wait times of the DMV (or so the conservative framing goes).

        But as I studied the debate a bit more, what we were talking about is the funding mechanism and not the healthcare system as a whole.  Thus, with the government in charge of healthcare you wouldn't have doctor's and nurses be government employees.

        Anyway, while I was still skeptical, I examined my values and thought that the most important aspects of a healthcare system were universal access, outcomes of the care and the cost of the system.  When viewed through that lens what comes through is that single payer throughout the world creates universal access, has outcomes as good, if not better than ours, and its costs are significantly below ours.

        Thus, while I was skeptical, I have come to strongly lean toward the belief that single payer can be justified on conservative grounds simply because it seems to be the best and most efficient model out there.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 07:56:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another angle on single payor (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          amyzex, DrPlacebo, newinfluence

          When people question it on the basis of "government in charge," they imply the rest in something that rhetoricians call an argumentum ad populis, or an argument by the prejudices of the audience. It's a dirty trick because the speaker never actually has to prove the proposition or support it with data or even specifically charge one thing or another.

          However, for those who do wish to analyze health care solely along the lines of expense, the analysis is only half complete if one says, "The government wastes money."

          Suppose that all government institutions alike waste, could we guess at an amount lost to waste? 15% is the highest number ever accused of being waste in Medicare, I believe, and that was decades ago. So, we can take 15%, accept it, and say that it not only did occur but that it must occur.

          Now for the other half of the analysis: Private insurance and private medical providers make a profit.

          How much is the profit margin, all told? If we took a broken arm from start to finish, how much would the various agents' profits be in the overall cost? Would it be 15% or more? (Hint: it's much, much, much more.)

          Next, if we wish to limit waste or profits, what can we do? If we have government health care, we have the power of the ballot box. If we have five or seven health insurance giants that force all clients to sign arbitration-only agreements, we have no power at all, unless a state regulates.

          In other words, the moment we strip prejudice and assumptions out and ask even about "cost" on all sides, the traditional "liberal" approach of prevention over punishment is best.

          Everyone is innocent of some crime.

          by The Geogre on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 12:06:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think our positions are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Geogre

          subtly different. Mine is that single payer is the proven solution, shown to work over decades in dozens of countries with all different types of economies, while the employer-based system we have is empirically a failure.

          I think where we are alike, and where we differ from the Republicans, is recognizing that we have a problem. I'm all for problem-solving; it's just that, for me, proven solutions take priority over experiments. In that, I am perfectly OK with looking abroad for evidence, especially when the evidence from other countries weighs overwhelmingly in one direction.

          •  I would say that fits my general view as well. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I would say, in broad generalities, that if liberals see a problem they think about how the problem could be solved and would want to see it role out to the whole country.  Reactionary republicans don't really even look for problems and would be against any federal government action.

            As a conservative, I'm hesitant to go the federal route.  Show me how it worked in various different states.  Show me why one program worked in one state and why another state had slightly different results.  How did the actual costs of the program match up with the estimated costs of the programs?

            Give me that data and a reasonable debate and I'll try to make an informed decision about whether that program should be funded by the federal government.

            On single payer, we don't have successful state examples but the success of other nations with that system lead me to support single payer (devils will be in the details though.)

            Have you seen any good debates/arguments concerning the difficulty of a large country like the US implementing single payer?  A conservative friend of mine recently made the argument that it is far easier for France, Japan or the UK to develop a single payer.  I'm not sure why it would be much harder than a small country but I haven't really been exposed to the arguments on either side.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 06:15:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, I'd argue the opposite. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              The Geogre

              First of all, I want to note that we often underestimate just how big Japan is in terms of human logistics. It may be geographically small, but it has more than half of our population.

              But more importantly, the whole purpose of single-payer health care is to get economies of scale. A larger country is typically able to negotiate better drug prices with manufacturers, for example. And the risk pool is larger; costs averaged out over more people become far more predictable. There's one further benefit to a large risk pool: consider the the medical costs of a natural disaster in a limited geographic area. The same event that could overwhelm a state-run health care system might not even make a big dent in the budget of a federal system.

              We do in fact have an example that demonstrates the benefits of scale: Canada. Canadian single-payer health care didn't come all at once. It was introduced by provincial legislatures, province by province; that's much like what Vermont has set in motion and what California, Pennsylvania, and New York are all trying to do. But Canadian single-payer health care didn't achieve its full benefit until the national government took it over from the provinces. By that time all or almost all of the provinces had implemented single payer.

    •  we need both sides (0+ / 0-)

      We need liberals, and we need conservatives.  I am adamantly opposed to a single party state, even if it my party.

      Sadly, though, today we have neither. The Repug Party is not conservative, and the Dem party is not liberal.

      So what we have are two wings of the same party who actually disagree about very little policy-wise, but who have to yell and point fingers at each other to give excuses for not doing what they don't want to do, and "forced" to do what they already want to do.

      •  Bipolar one state party (0+ / 0-)

        I have had the best evidence for this claim come from Yves Smith's people at nakedcapitalism, but I sitll hiistate to acquiesce. As someone said below, the uniformity grows with power and place. The front line progressives are progressives, and the front line cons are . . . whatever we wish to call the projected fantasy of a reactionary status quo. The higher in office one goes, the less the differences are present.

        That, of course, suggests that, as The Brains sang long ago, "Money. Money changes everything."

        Everyone is innocent of some crime.

        by The Geogre on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:35:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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