Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Problem with Conteporary Conservatism.

I'm glad to see that Novaseeker is back to blogging. His comments, even though I disagree with some of them, are always thoughtful and worth considering and one of his recent posts got me thinking on the problems with contemporary conservatism.

From the post:
The core of the problem[Ed: with regard to conservatism] is that the underlying political philosophy of the United States finds its roots in the ideals of the Enlightenment and the French Revolutionary period.  Even though these were expressed somewhat differently in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S Constitution than they were in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the main ideas are congruent — all men are created equal, and the highest order principles are liberty and equality.  All of our political discussions take these principles, these ends, as givens.  The “debate” between the left and the right is about the relative importance of each, how each is to be properly defined, how each is best to be realized in policy terms, how each applies in different spheres, and, above all, about the appropriate speed and timing of substantial change, but both the left and the right see themselves as champions of the principles of liberty and equality.
I partially agree with what Novaseeker is saying here but I feel that blaming the enlightenment for the problems of the modern world is a misdiagnosis of the disease: The problem is far more complex. As I see it, the reason why the conservative movement has become utterly irrelevant is because it doesn't stand for something as much it is against something. It is reactionary rather than propositional and, as such, has become a refuge for all those against the Left. Each having their own axe to grind against it but nothing else in common.

And who are these types?

Novaseeker clearly identifies a certain type that is prevalent in the conservative movement, that is, a man who dislikes change. Their conservatism is biological and their opposition to change is sentimental rather than ideological. It's the "novelty" element of the proposition that concerns them, not the proposition itself.  Movements in the wrong direction are opposed just as vigorously as movements in the right one and Liberalism is quite readily accepted as long as the poison is absorbed gradually.  These people hate the Left because its desire for perpetual novelty.

Then, of course, there are natural allies of the biological conservatives, the Traditionalists, who believe that whilst their fathers could think and solve problems,  the current generation can't. Traditionalism is really the ideology of the infallibility of the past and the irrelevance of the present. Their stance makes it impossible to adapt when situation warrants it. Unlike the biological conservatives, who will eventually accept a truthful proposition, the traditionalists refuse to.

Then there are the pseudo-conservatives.  The Rothbards and the Rands who champion the cause of materialism more effectively than any Marxist but who disagree with them on how to best implement the materialist Nirvana. Their disagreement with the Left is on theological subtleties rather than core dogma. They side with the conservative cause on matters of economics only but otherwise are more radical than many of the leftoids. Any call to a conservatism beyond economics is fiercely resisted by them.

Then there are the Neo-Conservatives. These are men who want a Christian-God-lite version of conservatism. These are frequently ex-communists/socialists who have seen the error of their ways but can't stomach an acceptance of a Christian conservatism for whatever personal reason. These men are conservative in their politics and economics rather than culture.

Then there are the single issue nuts of various persuasion who find common cause with the conservatives on their particular issue but are against it otherwise.

There are other groups as well but those described are enough to describe that what unifies them is a hatred of the left rather than any core commonality of the right. In fact, if the left could be totally defeated then many of these "Conservatives" would be at each others throats. The fact is that many of these Conservatives are not conservatives at all, they are leftoids in conservative clothing. They are the enemy within.

The way the left "wins" is either through implementation of its political program when it achieves outright political victory, or, by exploiting differences in "conservative" factions to their advantage. The left knows that it can side with the libertarian crowd when a pro-abortion position is required. It can side with soft-Christians when an aggressive "Social Justice" or "Peace" policy is required. It plays off one faction against the other to its advantage.

The problem with contemporary Conservatism is that being inclusive in its battle against the left, it stands for nothing. 

This is why a certain amount of ideological housekeeping is in order. It's housekeeping that is well overdue.

48 comments:

Jason said...

A good essay, but I'm curious: Did you forget to include a paragraph about biological conservatives? It seems that you thought you had discussed them in the previous paragraph when you actually didn't (Or do you see them as a kind of traditionalist?)

Jason said...

Actually, I read again the essay and see that you did mention biology in the previous paragraph, although I still wonder if there is a distinction to made between old-fashioned Burkean-type traditionalist/conservatives (like, say, the American columnist George Will, who really doesn't talk about biology) and more modern evolutionary psychology/HBD/emphasis on genetics conservatives who stongly link their conservatism to very modern developments in science. Anyway, it is not a terribly important point, mostly a matter of semantics.

Novaseeker said...

This is a very good expansive corrective to my earlier post. I will include some of these ideas in my response to some of the comments on that earlier post (a responsa I am working on, but which will likely take some days).

Aurini said...

Brilliant post; checking out this Novaseeker chap now.

The combination of both your posts helps emphasize how there *is* no accredited ideology which isn't part of the "Left" aka the Enlightenment.

mdavid said...

...the Traditionalists, who believe that whilst their fathers could think and solve problems, the current generation can't. Traditionalism is really the ideology of the infallibility of the past and the irrelevance of the present.

I completely disagree. As a Trad, I take the Chesterton position, an ideology that leads to both life today and in the future: that one must let both their ancestors and their progeny vote. One does not live for their own passions alone but ties them inextricably to both the past and future. That's the real traditionalist...because they are the only ones that continue on. Everyone else merely goes extinct, some faster than others for sure, but all the rest lack a past or a future, or both.

In fact, somebody who only looks to the past (heck is there anyone like that in this century?) is in fact only thinking of themselves. They are basically a liberal. The real traditionalist is always concerned with the future, which is why he respects the traditions that got him this far.

Anonymous said...

What would be your conservativism?

It seems that there is a whole class of conservative whose only purpose is to shit on other people's ideas and tell them they won't work.

Anonymous said...

actually conservatism stands for a lot. many people just don't like what they're selling.

people in power could change the culture but they don't. they must like the status quo. the media is also firmly on the side of left liberalism. so many people experience filtered news, otherwise they'd may notice the pattern of a disintegrating west.

the internet brings different perspectives but doesn't help to crossover ideas into action.

i often lament: what if what we're saying is true and nobody seems to care, why care so much yourself?

The Social Pathologist said...

I'll get back to you guys later in the day.

ElectricAngel said...

On traditionalism, I'll again quote Ortega y Gasset: “Man’s real treasure is the treasure of his mistakes, piled up stone by stone through thousands of years… breaking the continuity with the past, wanting to begin again, is a lowering of man and a plagiarism of the orangutan. It was a Frenchman, DuPont-White, who around 1860 had the courage to exclaim: ‘Continuity is one of the rights of man; it is a homage of everything that distinguishes him from the beast.’”

A true conservative knows that most new ideas are BAD ideas, just as most mutations are BAD in effect (but some are stunningly helpful, like apolipoproteins). The problem we have is that the left has driven centralization to the point that conservatism becomes ridiculous. What's needed is decentralized trial-and-error: so, for example, my city-state bans hip-hop, yours does not. Which society does better after 20 years? 100?

The problem is, we are ALL forced to follow ONE path in matters that are not unquestionably correct. Yes, everyone SHOULD be Catholic; no, no one should be FORCED to be. The Church has finally got this one right, but the Cathedral, to use Moldbug's term, has adopted the intolerance assigned, rightly or wrongly, to the old Church.

For reference, I'd recommend Nassim Taleb's most recent book, The Antifragile.

Sid said...

A Christian paleoconservative, an atheist libertarian, and a pagan fascist are all considered "right-wing." In fact, they share very little in common with each other. I think that shows that the right is not really an ideologically consistent movement, but a set of beliefs and tendencies that a number of people from different mindsets and ideologies share.

In contrast, the left, wherever it is, more often shares a common, consistent agenda. The main difference between leftists is in degrees. A center-left person thinks that his country has done some bad things that it should apologize for, while a far-left person thinks that his country is founded on greed and corruption. A center-left person likes the idea of equality, but has little scruples about bringing home six figure salaries if he lives in New York. It is the far-leftist who hates money altogether. Their underlying values are the same, but the center-left makes more compromises with reality.

There may have been different leftist ideologies in the past, but nowadays, most leftists tend to agree with each other, at least in my experience.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, they share very little in common with each other."

They are on the outside looking in.

The "ideology" of the left shifts constantly and is full of inconsistencies. The key is that its adherents endorse whatever the party is saying right at this moment. It matters not if one is at war with Eurasia, only that people belief. The "idealogy" of the left is the status advancement of its individual members in the near future.

The Social Pathologist said...

@Jason

I think you may have misunderstood me.
By "Biological Conservative" I mean a man who is conservative by genetic disposition. A Jonathan Haidt has shown, most peoples' reasoning is a justification is an attempt to at justification of their feelings. For example, most peoples dislike of homosexuality stems from a disgust response when contemplating their act, their rationalisation against homosexuality comes as a secondary consequence of their feeling of disgust. Take away their feeling of disgust and their opposition to homosexuality vanishes. This is why psychological conditioning is important in democracies. The prole conservatives, can be made to see homosexuality as a good thing, if they can be conditioned to have positive feelings towards it. For myself, the aesthetics of homosexuality don't bother me in the slightest. My opposition to it is is based on its inherent wrongness not on any feelings I have towards it.

The Social Pathologist said...

@Aurini

Novaseeker is good value, even when I disagree with him.(Not very often). Glad to see that he is blogging again.

emphasize how there *is* no accredited ideology which isn't part of the "Left" aka the Enlightenment.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that.

I think the characteristic features of the left are:
1) Some version of utopianism.
2) The perfectability of man. i.e a denial of the doctrine of original sin.
3) The legitimacy of popular will.
4) The existence of cadre who ensures that the popular will is enforced.
5) The need for all to conform to this will.

Astute observers will see a strong overlap between the left and certain fundamentalist (i.e taliban) religious sects.

The Social Pathologist said...

@mdavid

I think you have misread Chesterton. He is quote here from the Illustrated London News of 1924.

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition.[Ed] Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.”

Chesterton did not venerate tradition he respected it. He was quite prepared to ditch it when it was obviously wrong. Chesterton's famous quote about tradition being a voice of the dead to the living never implied that that voice was infallible. This is why Chesterton can be so radical at times. He was less concerned with distinctions between the Right and Left than he was between right and wrong.

Chesterton's position seemed to be that he saw a lot of good in the past but also quite a bit of error.

The Social Pathologist said...

@Anon

What would be your conservativism?

My conservatism is a conservatism which rests on the primacy of the truth.

It's a truth that rests on faith, empiricism and reason.

The truth is the test by which any ideology gets support or is damned. My personal feelings about the subject are irrelevant.

In fact, as I get older, I think of myself as less of a mainstream conservative than what Whittaker Chambers called himself, "a Man of the Right". I also recently noticed that Erik von Kuenhett-Leddihn (EKL is really worth getting to know) thought of himself in the same way.

Living in the truth is my philosophy and I'm quite happy to criticise the partisans of both left and right who live in error. The reason why I'm more right wing than left is because the right still acknowledges the importance of the truth. The left has given up on it.

The Social Pathologist said...

Sid,

The left likes to pit anyone who is against it as "right wing". The classic example is Nazism. Nazi stood for National Socialist. Their socialism was parochial but it was socialism none the less. The fight between them and the Communists was on how to best implement socialism and who were the class enemies. Their fight was on theological points rather than dogma (and territory).

Modern Leftism is the product of social evolution, and so yes, there is more agreement amongst them than before. Now it seems to have morphed into a religion of "niceness" to everyone.

The Social Pathologist said...

@EA

Thanks for heads up about Taleb's book. Centralisation is a problem, especially when error is centralised.

@anon

i often lament: what if what we're saying is true and nobody seems to care, why care so much yourself?


I am a vehicle of God's Caritas.

mdavid said...

SP, mdavid, I think you have misread Chesterton.

I think we are merely batting around definitions. I agree 100% with Chesterton in his era. But who are the traditionalists Chesterton is referring to that hold the past infallible? I don't know these people...they are as long dead as Chesterton himself.

Take a look around you. The entire world is now progressive, there are no traditionalists left who can't see the liberal side and engage with it. They have to every day just to eat. Chesterton would be blown away at your modern version of what a "traditionalist" is: I guess it's somebody who thinks homosexuality and abortion are wrong and God is not dead. These radial traditional things were the norm and in fact law in Chesterton's day.

So let's hear your version of a trad. To me, it's merely somebody who is obliged to truth and (to quote Chesterton again) somebody who lets their ancestors have a vote and is not a slave to the whims of their own age. And finally, somebody who has loyalty to their linage, both forward and backwards, not just backwards. Slavish loyalty to the past at the expense of the youth is now a liberal cause - look at the passion for unions and failed big government. What say you?

Anonymous said...

Neoconservatives and pseudo-conservatives are roughly part of the same camp.

The whole "Biological conservatives", such as yourself, are still under the power of modernity.

That's why you called Traditionalists "looking to the past" instead of the true view: cycles.

Traditionalists (religious conservatives) believe in societal cycles.

You believe in "progress" and a linear view of time. That there is only the present and the future.

In reality they are all interconnected and all form cycles.

Technically speaking when you speak of traditionalism you speak of the fruits of the Reformation -> Enlightenment (which IS modernity) -> Anglo Protestant (aka WASP) mores.

You are not speaking of Roman Catholics, or Ancient Greeks, or Ancient Romans, or anything along those lines.

Anonymous said...

That's why everybody in the modern Western liberal Anglo sphere hates, despises and ridicules Roman Catholics and Orthodox people as backward religious people, all while creating secular religions themselves. These groups include secular liberals to Protestants and evangelicals (who have the same zeal as secular liberals).

This prejudice stems from Reformation -> Enlightment -> Modern Anglo sphere.

I stress modern Anglo sphere because while the Enlightment has created the another big baby, aka The French Revolution, that baby died.

There were two major babies from the Reformation -> Enlightment. I don't know why the French Enlightment failed and why the Anglo Enlightment succeeded.

Perhaps you know the answer? I'm curious if anybody could analyze the factors of why the French Enlightment doesn't have much present power and died alongside the way.

I'm thinking that the French Enlightment was "purer" than the Anglo and couldn't do cognitive dissonance/projection/individualism/etc. as much as Anglo people could.

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Nick B Steves said...

The Anglo Enlightenment succeeded where the French failed because it was built, cleverly disguised, upon the back of a sort of syncretic low church protestantism. You cannot build god's kingdom on earth in a day (whether your theology has a god or not). The French tried and the result was instant leftist singularity, i.e., a blood bath.

No, the solution is to be incremental, slowly ratcheting in one direction, so that the opinions of the avant guard become mainstream about one generation, and then public consensus in two. Cthulu swims slowly, but always leftward. Eventually, the leftist singularity will come to the anglosphere as well, but it takes its time... being much more English and good-mannered-n-all.

In response to the larger point, yes, there is no single monolithic conservatism. There never was, there never will be. How many conservatisms are there? How many ways are there to destroy public goods?

And that is what leftism is about: destruction. That is why it is self-organizing. That is why the revolution was not (need not have been) televised. To conserve requires a reduction of entropy. It therefore requires heirarchy, order, and coordination (on a massive, and potentially inhumane scale). The Reaction, therefore will have to be televised. When it happens, it will be the only thing on TV.

dalrock said...

This is a very interesting post, but I'm not sure I understand who you (or others) would consider "real" conservatives. Who would be considered the current leaders of "real conservatives"? Where would one go to find discussions by such a group on the internet? To me the question is much bigger than simply a "big tent", but a more profound identity crisis.

As I see it the fundamental problem for conservatives is they have become the party responsible for making foolish liberal ideas work. I recall seeing a debate several years ago between the UK's liberal and conservative parties. The topic was socialized medicine, and the liberal candidate's argument was they were the ones who invented the concept. The conservative's rebuttal was that conservatives were the ones who knew how to make the idea work best. I've since noticed this basic dynamic play out in American politics many times. The left's job is to promise unicorns and rainbows. The right's job is to find a practical way to deliver on the left's promise. In fairness I'm not sure how the right can avoid falling into this trap so long as the general public believes in unicorns and rainbows.

Jason said...

Thanks for your clarification about biological conservatives, doctor. I guess I should get around to reading the Haidt book you mentioned one of these days, since so many thoughtful individuals I read seem to be praising it.

Anonymous said...

The Russell Kirk(ed.) book 'The Portable Conservative Reader,' has a nice introduction which discusses principles of conservatism, with prudence(in my mind) being chief among them. It is a cornerstone of conservatism, a sticking point to many Libertarians and a word without meaning to the Democrat left.

Herbie

The Social Pathologist said...

@MDavid

I think we are merely batting around definitions.

But the definitions matter.

You asked for a trad example. There are quite a few trads who feel that it is the role of women to stay at home and not work, they hold the belief that women's economic independence in some way threatens the traditional family structure.

Now let's say it can be shown that some women are positively harmed by being at home all day. Let's say that some women are not suited to motherhood? Will the traditionalist change his views on the basis of empirical observation? There's quite a few who stick their head in the sand just as stubbornly as any liberal when presented with the facts.

By the way. Chesteron wasn't talking about his era, but about a "mindset" that is incapable of data which conflicts with their pre-concieved views.

Another group of the Trads that comes to mind is the anti-Vatican 2 crowd (amongst catholics). Ratzinger, who has no sympathies with modernism and is a superb theologian is on the record as saying that V2 was a good thing. He thinks the theological developments were a good thing. The Leferbvrists go apoplectic when this gets mentioned.

The other problem is what if our ancestors were wrong. Take slavery for example. Slavery has been more accepted than not for most of history and our ancestors saw no problems with it. Should we reinstitute it on the basis of the "voice of the dead?"

@Anon
You believe in "progress" and a linear view of time.

Do I? Where have I said it? Quotes please? Society is just as able to retard just as much is able to progress.

BTW, I think the Protestants have some things right. Hint. Cardinal Newman. Protestant Work Ethic. Stronger sense of Personal Ethics. More "one on one" relationship with God, less mediation. Chesterton could also see these things as well and hoped that the Catholic Church would take on the "best bits" of Protestantism.
V2 was a gradual acceptance of some of these bits.

By the Way the English Enlightenment succeeded because, in the mean, it was not as radical as the French one. The British still kept some faith whilst the French radicals threw it all away.

The problem though with the English Enlightenment is its susceptibility to Romanticism which is a backdoor entrance for the "morality of the flesh".

The Social Pathologist said...

@Dalrock.

With regard to Conservatism, I think that there are very few people who "can stand the truth" or are reflective enough to change their own opinions. Most people just look for others who agree with them.

I think this is why Whittaker Chambers was so out of place in America. His was concerned about the Truth about things and was able to criticise the Right just as effectively as the Left when he saw error. That, of course, put him outside the mainstream and he didn't fit anywhere.

Look at Roissy. With regard to women, where does he fit? The VFR guys don't like him, (and they're pretty mainstream) and the Left hate him. He stands outside the mainstream Left/Right divide.

The problem for the mainstream parties is political process ensures that they are elected. If the public doesn't agree with what the politicians espouse they get voted out.Any genuine Conservative would get voted out. In order for political conservatives to get voted in they have to embrace populist policies. The public for all its bitching likes left wing policy. In a recession the average man is rooting for an expansive welfare state.

Democracy (or more accurately unqualified democracy) is the problem.

@Herbie

I've got the book and I think it did more harm that good. It took me a long while to shake his ideas out of my head. Prudence is a act of judgement secondary to the facts. Bad facts, assumptions or customs make the exercise of prudence very difficult. I also think that Kirk conflates the virtue of prudence with caution. Sometimes it is prudent to be radical.

mdavid said...

SP, Let's say that some women are not suited to motherhood? Will the traditionalist change his views on the basis of empirical observation?

Agreeing upon some fact does not require agreeing what to do about said fact.

Fact: 1/3 couples divorce
SP-style logic: divorce must be allowed and trads should be willing to change their minds based upon the facts

Fact: More than 2% of people are homosexual
SP-style logic: Gay marriage! Why can't you change your mind, you silly trad?

Fact: Some women don't want to stay home and raise children
SP-style logic: A woman's primary obligation is to her own happiness, not to that of her children.

Trad (and Chesterton) logic: Well, find, then don't have children! Or don't get married. Serve your vocation in another way. And it you still must have children, then pull a Phyllis Schlafly and have your career after you raise your children.

There's quite a few who stick their head in the sand just as stubbornly as any liberal when presented with the facts.

See above. It's not the facts trads disagree with, it's what one should do about the facts. It's a strong modern belief (libs & con) that all people deserve to do anything they want if it doesn't directly hurt another, and any moral judgement that gets in the way of this belief (such as women should raise their children at home rather than leave them in institutions while they work) must be squashed.

By the way. Chesteron wasn't talking about his era, but about a "mindset" that is incapable of data which conflicts with their pre-concieved views.

Chesterton would completely agree with me on this issue; in fact, he would probably pass out today at what gets called a trad nowadays. The mindset you are referring to - trads who cannot see the other side even though it's all around them - is such a minority it's a straw man. What are trads, less than 1% of the culture?

The other problem is what if our ancestors were wrong. Take slavery for example. Slavery has been more accepted than not for most of history and our ancestors saw no problems with it. Should we reinstitute it on the basis of the "voice of the dead?"

Again, a straw man. The line is: let your ancestors VOTE. Voting means they have a say, a vote, just like your children do, and just like you and your current culture does. So of course change is not only possible, it's required.

Anonymous said...

SP,

Whether or not 'bad facts, assumptions or customs make the act of prudence very difficult' is not the point. What is the point is that the prudent conservative sees reality for what it is first and, after careful consideration of the facts on the ground and the customs that have proven healthy for society, makes a case for a plan of action(which, in most cases, would involve taking baby steps - something that would prove difficult for the radical). Libertarians should take note of the radical Left so that they don't fall into the trap of over-zealously forcing change. If revolutions provide any lesson, its that the change you fight for may not, when the dust settles, be the change you get.

Herbie

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Nick B Steves said...

---------------
Slavery has been more accepted than not for most of history and our ancestors saw no problems with it. Should we reinstitute it on the basis of the "voice of the dead?"
---------------

Slavery is not so obviously bad: See Radish

dalrock said...

Thanks SP. I think we are pretty close on this. Part of the reason I asked is you suggested conservatives need to do some housekeeping. I don't disagree, but I truly wonder who would do the housekeeping. I don't see an ideological core which could be identified to do such a thing (leaving aside the question of willingness to do it). This is as I see it a terrible void. I hope it is filled soon.

On Whittaker Chambers, I hadn't considered him that way. Interesting. I did enjoy his book Witness a great deal though.

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Anonymous said...

I hope you're not considering turning prot Social Pathologist.The prots have no superiority to faithful Roman Catholics whatsoever. In regard to personal ethics they have antimonian tendencies. Whatever they find irksome they simply dispense with, this is why no protestant sect forbids contraception anymore. I know that most of those who call themselves Catholics crucify their Saviour all over again by habitually committing this particular mortal sin as well, but they are what the old writers called bad Christians & worldlings. The prots like to say "if only you believe you'll be forgiven". They forget the other parts of Holy Scripture such as the quotation from the Epistle of St. James that faith without works is dead.

Their much vaunted work ethic is generally no more than glorified avarice, an attitude more worthy of Shylock than a man who calls himself a Christian. During the Ages of Faith the people were given a great many Holydays throughout the year, they not only weren't made to work, but would be guilty of sin if they did. This was much better than the frenzy of modern people who go about foaming at the mouth to get more money to buy more useless chinese-made rubbish. If they were Catholics rather than pagans, they might remember Our Blessed Lord's words "What doth it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul."

This is why God has given them into the hands of tyrants who work assiduously at impoverishing them in order to solidify their control by making them all into debt-slaves. The people made money their god, & now their god will no longer hear their supplications, just as the priests of baal called in vain for help from their idol against Elias the prophet. The entire world has become one giant open sewer, the only way to put things right is for mankind to submit to the Kingship of Jesus Christ over human society as Fr. Fahey wrote of in several books. The alternative is to sink ever lower until the advent of the antichrist.

chris said...

The right does stand for something. Lex naturalis, or natural law, the operation of.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law

The left stands for using the institutions of society to pervert natural law to their own advantage.

Jonny said...

To me, the obvious core of conservatism would be social preservation founded in theism. The obvious core of the Left is revolution founded in materialism.

In my worldview, an "atheistic libertarian" from the Rand sphere would be a center Leftist. Conservatism is in the state it is in, because of the disintegration of the former social structure brought about by the decline of the church age and the ascendancy of secular humanist philosophies.

There are no conservatives where there is no belief in a transcendant authority that establishes the basis of the social contract of a nation, whatever form that contract takes.

Thus, I admit that there can be some bad forms of conservatism, just as there can be some good and prosperous forms. Medieval Catholicism was a bad form all the way around. The relatively benign forms that characterize many agrarian tribal societies such as those in North America would be good forms - as would the America described by DeTocqueville.

The dividing line of the world and of history is religion.

Jonny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaya Shiva Shambo! said...

"Then there are the Neo-Conservatives. These are men who want a Christian-God-lite version of conservatism. These are frequently ex-communists/socialists who have seen the error of their ways but can't stomach an acceptance of a Christian conservatism for whatever personal reason. These men are conservative in their politics and economics rather than culture."

And then there's the rapidly growing number of Americans like myself who have a regular spiritual practice from an Eastern Wisdom Tradition, most likely Hindu or Buddhist, who by virtue of the values inherent in those traditions, lean culturally and socially conservative, whereas our economics could go any which way, depending on a wide variety of factors, and who do not identify with either the Left or Right.

Jaya Shiva Shambo! said...

". The obvious core of the Left is revolution founded in materialism."

"In my worldview, an "atheistic libertarian" from the Rand sphere would be a center Leftist. "

I'm not a close follower of American politics, but by "Rand Sphere" are you referring to Rand Paul or Ayn Rand?

WRT Libertarians I'm under the impression that they do not by necessity require a materialistic mindset but that they just see extremely limited government as the best way for a society to exercise individual freedom and liberty, in which case I would probably agree.

As far as I know Libertarians do not pressure people to become a greedy corporatists.


Jaya Shiva Shambo! said...

And another thing; Malcolm X was and still is labled "far left" by mainstream writers when in fact he would be "far right" if anything.

Take all of his arguments, ideas and values and replace "black" with "white" in it and those same mainstream "thinkers" would have labeled him "far right".

But simply due to the color of his skin they labeled him "far left".

Jonny said...

Jaya Shiva Shambo! said...
And another thing; Malcolm X was and still is labled "far left" by mainstream writers when in fact he would be "far right" if anything.

Which Malcolm are you talking about? The Nation of Islam version? Or the mainstream Orthodox version? It would make a difference, although perhaps not set against the context of a strictly American conservatism.

The Social Pathologist said...

JayaShivaShambo

Buddhism is the total opposite of Catholicism, the founding institution of the West. Asia's current success has come about from apeing the West, not repudiating it.

The corruption of the West leads to social atomisation, the triumph of the East leads to personal oblivion.

Jaya Shiva Shambo! said...

"Buddhism is the total opposite of Catholicism, the founding institution of the West. "

Oh boy, we really are in some deep trouble if the Vatican is the "founding institution of the West", aren't we?

I always sensed there was something "off" about this place but could never place my finger on it.

Now I know!

Jaya Shiva Shambo! said...

"Which Malcolm are you talking about? The Nation of Islam version? Or the mainstream Orthodox version? It would make a difference, although perhaps not set against the context of a strictly American conservatism."

Both.

One regrettable thing about the religious trajectory that many Black Americans took at the time was this Islamic influence, whether orthodox or neo/syncretic.

Dharmic traditions like Hindu and Buddhist philosophies were not nearly as known and popular back then as they are now, but just imagine if they had been and Black Americans took to those instead.

So much positive!

One turn for the better of course has been their increasing rejection of Islam for research into ATR - African Traditional Religions, which pre-dated Islam and Christianity.

I know several African Americans who have done this, some even traveling to Africa to get to the root.

And of course we have a number of African American members of my local sat-sanga.

Changes for the better are happening all around.

empathological said...

So your conservatism stands for something....which is reflected in the primacy of truth.
Ok
What does it stand for?

Im not disagreeing with much of what you stated, but Im not seeing a delineation of anything new/different except yet another person claiming to have found some third way.
And that's OK, if it is articulated according to the same standard you are holding regular boorish ole conservatives to, but I ain't see'in it.
Its all a great idea if I knew what the idea is in a manner that has utility.

The one thing I would take issue with at least in terms of any indirect claim that it has a preponderance, is that conservatives simply resist change. Thats almost always true, in effect, but not as implied. When a change resisted is worthy of being resisted, and the status quo or historical position happens to be more "conservative", they are indeed standing FOR something for a reason, not because its always been that way.
Its great that more and more people are questioning conservatives, Christian conservatives, and especially the ignorance of single issue folks, but the brush used to too broad for good painting.

Jonny said...

Jaya Shiva Shambo! said...

"Both."

That's a non-sequitar answer.

"One regrettable thing about the religious trajectory that many Black Americans took at the time was this Islamic influence, whether orthodox or neo/syncretic."

The religious trajectory that most black Americans took was Christianity that gragually incorporated increasing amounts of Progressivism and various Secular/Left philosophies, plus Liberation Theology. Plus mixed in with a good bit of political reeducation featuring class warfare/envy. You could more or less find it exemplified in the global ecumenical movement.

"Dharmic traditions like Hindu and Buddhist philosophies were not nearly as known and popular back then as they are now, but just imagine if they had been and Black Americans took to those instead."

So much positive!"

No, it would have been harmful. What they should have had was a better dose of something like Weber's Protestant Work Ethic and some good old fashioned American self-reliance. Some Burkean Conservatism maybe.

Jaya Shiva Shambo! said...

"The religious trajectory that most black Americans took was Christianity..."

As regrettable as the Islamic trajectory.


"Dharmic traditions like Hindu and Buddhist philosophies were not nearly as known and popular back then as they are now, but just imagine if they had been and Black Americans took to those instead....
So much positive!"

"No, it would have been harmful. "

You have no way of knowing.

I say positive because I see the positive effects Dharmic traditions have on the Black Americans who take to them today.