Tag Archives: conservatism

The Right’s Betrayal of Conservatism

Three controversies in recent years describe how the Right in America has betrayed conservatism.

In the first, the Terri Schiavo controversy, Rightists attacked marriage and family in their attempt to have the government to regulate medical care.

Int the second, the Kelo eminent domain controversy, Rightists attacked the power of the government to allocate resources in order to further economic growth.

In the third, the Henry Louis Gates controversy, Rightists attacked the Constitution in an effort to spread class warfare.

I don’t know when this strain of anti-conservative, anti-family, anti-growth, anti-liberty Rightism infected the conservative movement. Certainly it has perverted it. The sooner that anti-conservative, anti-family, anti-growth, anti-liberty Rightists are marginalized in American politics, the better.

The Conservative Case Against Innovation

Courtesy of Economist’s View, this Tom Tomorrow piece on what happens when you let exotic new instruments grow rapidly: unexpected consequences.

While Tom Tomorrow is a Leftist, here he is making a conservative case: what happens when we create a new institution and rapidly expand it? What are the social consequences.

Of course, we “do not know” until a disaster occurs. Then we know to well.

There was a conservative case to be made against the rapid expansion of mortage-backed securities. Likewise, there is a conservative case to be made against things such as homosexual marriage laws. These are new things we do not know the consequences of.

On one side are libertarians, who say, “You can only stop these contracts through violence, and the first rule of civilized society is never to initiate violence.”

On the other side are conservatives, who say, “The state exists to protect against against the chaos of nature. We are at war with uncertainty, becauese bad choices can lead lost lives of innocent people who were caught up in your innovations.”

Response to Aaron’s Response to Conservatives’ Response to Durban’s Response to Bush’s Response to Terrorism

Mortified right ignores message of Durbin speech,” by Aaron, tdaxp, 22 June 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/06/22/mortified_right_ignores_message_of_durbin_speech.html.

I was delighted by Aarons’ surprise guest blogging. A modified version of this post was going to be a comment to his work, but it exceeds the maximum comment length. So… enjoy!

Borrowing a tactic from Dan, the Right has ceaselessly chastised Senator Durbin the past few days for comments likening Guantanamo to concentration camps.

To the extent it is a swarm attack, it is borrowing a tactic from RAND, if not the very history of war itself.

They’ve happily made so much noise about the syntax that the return value has been conveniently ignored. This is a masterful tactic.

And an old one, even in American politics. See towering genius Chris Bower’s review of “The Republican Noise Machine”.

Focus on the text and not the message. Unlike Dan, however, they have no convenient excuse like “I’m drunk by 3pm” or “I have no concept of right or wrong” to cover for their maneuvering.”

To crib Machiavelli, their “excuse” is that they are attempting to liberate American politics from the barbarians

And to crib St. Paul, they know they wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world, against spirtual wickedness in high places.

Both writers saw struggle as a multi-generational effort to achieve a desired goal. Both knew that one’s enemies whither and die as the strugglign continues. Both had disdain for those who fought just to fight.

Successful movements rarely wrestle for the fun of it. They wrestle to create a better world against an implacable foe.

If they had no concept of right and wrong, they would have no reason for their maneuverings. They manevuer because they do believe in right and do detest wrong.

Former President Clinton was absolutely correct in his comments that we need to either clean up or we need to shut it down.

Former President Clinton was exactly right in what he said.

When we watch the news, we’re horrified to see civilians and military personnel alike taken hostage and presumably harmed or tortured by enemy combatants. However, there’s no outrage that the very same is most likely going on outside the borders of our great Nation, just under our supervision?

What civilians have been taken hostage and tortured under our supervision?

A lot of Americans were dismayed there was no Muslim outrage at the events occurring in the Middle East. Why would there be? There’s no Christian outrage that the detainees holy symbols are being desecrated, that their way of life in regard to women and sexuality is constantly being affronted, or that they’re being forced to listen to American pop music.

“their way of life in regard to women and sexuality is constantly being affronted”


Excuse me, I fell out of my chair from the irony.

The American Left works for generations to radically alter the American way of life in regard to women and sexuality, and now realizes the psychic harm such actions cause?

While I would welcome strippers and would laugh at the misguided destruction of Bibles, as the message is what’s important to me, not the worthless paper it’s printed on, the music would definitely be torture.

Dan has expressed concern that these people “do not deserve honor or humanity or honesty.” What he’s failed to do is distance himself from moral relativism.

See the Machiavelli and Paul comments. Such actions are needed because there is an absolute good. In pre-Modern societies (Chivalrous and Ottoman Europe being good examples), there were powerful codes of conduct in war because they recognized war was meaningless. Likewise, the reason for the Shogunate abolishing firearms.

It’s only when a “happy ending” is discovered, when a morality becomes absolute, that violence spirals upwards.

See also the studies finding a strong correlation between monotheism and violence. Same cause.

He has determined that some of these uncharged “criminals” do not deserve to be treated well, or for that matter, not subjected to cruelty or torture.

They are not criminals. American criminals deserve the protection of American citizenshp. Some of my more leftward posts explore this need.

At Zen Pundit, Mark Safranski and I discussed the role of criminals in society, and I expressed my admiration for Japan’s “management” of a criminal class

The detainees in Guantanemo are not criminals. They are soldiers and warriors.

He says this because presumably they’re responsible for or have some connection to the deaths of Americans, or perhaps they’ve stolen his corporate card number and are charging phone sex. Either way, his hatred for enemy hostage-takers can be assumed.

Hatred is dangerous. In the Christian tradition, Paul and Jesus recognized the self-limiting aspect of hate. In the early Renaissance, Machiavelli saw how it warps rationality and changes desired goals.

So I try to love them, and I know I have sympathy for them. And I recognize them as dangerous soldiers and warriors.

But to them, are the people they are capturing, torturing, and in some cases beheading on television not responsible for the deaths of THEIR people?

We know bin Laden thinks that way, yeah. He has stated that in a democracy the people control the government and so are individually responsible for the behavior of that government.

Despite having some MBA training, bin Laden either never grasped the concept of “corporate governance” or else rejected it.

I doubt these men are blowing themselves up in at military checkpoints because they’ve nothing better to do. They must perceive their way of life must be in jeopardy,


The terrorists do know better.

and it is America that is responsible.

Largely, yes.

While I do not lament the loss of their backwards cultures,

They’re ancient culture was largely destroyed by big-government statist projects from that horrid half-century, the late 20th.

We are witnessing the desperate attempt to hold on to remnants of the past, and hopefully restore it.

I have noticed a similar devout pessimism among Missouri Synod Lutherans.

their human rights violations, or their lack of respect for women, I do understand that these things they think are “normal” and that they do not like having their views changed forcibly.

I’m not justifying their actions. But I’m saying that if we want to level the playing field,

Why do we want to level the playing field? We don’t want a fair fight — we want a very unfair fight in our advantage.

we have to show the enemy that we’re treating prisoners with respect

Why, if the enemy believes that respect must be earned?

and that we are not harming them, we are not being destructive in regards to their beliefs,

Their beliefs are why they are warriors. To the extent practical we must destroy or subvert their beliefs.

and that we have a legal and well-documented due process for them.

The enemy could care less. They will not stop if we are kinder to them.

However, legal and well-documented due process is useful in preventing the enemy from morally isolating us.

The President hides behind comments like “processing these men would put our troops in danger” and other bait-and-switch tactics. “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” What damage could determining these mens’ guilt or innocence do to our current operations in the Middle East?

In order to have a fair trial, the accused would need access to the evidence against them. It may be that a substantial portion of the evidence in nearly all cases cannot be shared, because its very nature would reveal sources and/or methods.

If Ackbar is found innocent, what is likely to happen? He returns to Iraq/Afghanistan and tells his comrades “be careful, the employ women in their ranks, who at any moment may begin to dance and remove their clothing to Britney Spears music… I saw it with my own eyes, and I may never sleep again… Oh, also, they’re looking for us in Pakistan now too.” What sensitive information could they give up? “They are searching for our leaders in the mountains along the border… Oh, you know? Yeah, I guess it’s hard to miss the tanks and helicopters and Hum-Vees, and that FoxNews van is quite colorful for a desert setting.

He returns to tell his comrades “I have lived to fight another day.”

While possibly shortsighted as to the quick rhetoric and shallow understanding of his detractors, Senator Durbin was exactly correct. The Nazis detained people they determined to be guilty without a trial of their peers, held them in conditions that were aversive to their needs and their faiths. The SS pulled people from the streets who were never heard from again and weren’t acknowledged as being prisoners of war. The Nazis decided that Jews were the enemy because of their actions that affronted their beliefs. They believed the Jews were responsible for the starving deaths and horrible economy of their people. They provided no evidence to the people of Germany that the Jews were criminals or had done anything wrong.

Genetic fallacy, reductio ad hitlerum variant.

Perhaps we could see a list of crimes the Guantanamo detainees are being held for?

They are not criminals. To the extent they are in that special class, “war criminals,” the charge would be they operated as franc tireurs.

But on that charge, we could care less.

The hostage-taking and murder by suicide-bombing of our people is deplorable. The Arabs in this case are mimicking the Nazis quite well. But we are putting on a good show as well.