Sunday, June 10, 2012

Truth... Gaze Into the Mirror Conservatives... Classical Liberalism -vs- 21st Century Liberalism and Conservatism

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

I am, above all a classical liberal thinker. One who understands Randian principles as well as those of the founding fathers of this great nation. Although not entirely synonymous in all respects they are as relates to government and the rights of all mankind to be free of tyrannical government. Liberalism, properly understood in the context of the era in which is flourished, the Age of Reason and The Age of Enlightenment, is in fact a good and positive philosophy. Unfortunately liberalism of the 21st century is not representative of what was indeed the soul of the classical liberal movement.

American conservatism, which essentially became a effort to conserve classical liberalism, is today as large a failure as is modern liberalism itself. Liberalism is essentially recognizing the right of the individual to control their own lives in so long as they do not harm another. As liberalism began to turn more towards statism, and the resulting increased control of the state over individuals lives conservatism became the champion of individual liberties and the free market. Both classical liberal principles.

Unfortunately conservatives have resorted to using the same statist and authoritarian tactics they once decried. Of course while doing so they claimed it was necessary to "protect" the freedoms American patriots fought to secure in 1776. I shall limit example of this to current realities as I believe it most appropriate, The Patriot Act, Homeland Security, and the TSA to illustrate this point. All of the foregoing would be viewed with extreme skepticism by the enlightened thinkers that gave us our democratic republic. The same republic modern conservative (republican in the sense used here) claim to want to protect and uphold. I really wonder.

Diverse opinions, discussing the validity, or lack thereof with respect to any view, and the resulting debate that naturally follows is as positive as it is American. There are by far too many on both sides of the political divide that prefer to attack the views of the "opposition" rather than to consider them and then rationally and logically dissect them. Assumption by assumption. I know, I have occasionally been guilty of the same.

Regardless of ones political leanings, accepting that "the other side" can occasionally be right (no pun intended) is in fact a strength and in reality makes one a more informed and thoughtful individual. It is part of the process of knowledge. As Thomas Jefferson said, "Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."

It is for, and because of each of the foregoing observations I post the following article by liberal professor Steve Almond. The following excerpts are from his article in The New York Times dared June 8th 2012.

This, to be blunt, is the tragic flaw of the modern liberal. We choose to see ourselves as innocent victims of an escalating right-wing fanaticism. But too often we serve as willing accomplices to this escalation and to the resulting degradation of our civic discourse. We do this, without even meaning to, by consuming conservative folly as mass entertainment.

If this sounds like a harsh assessment, trust me, I’m among the worst offenders. Yes, I’m one of those enlightened masochists who tune in to conservative talk radio when driving alone. I recognize this as pathological behavior, and I always make sure to switch the station back to NPR before returning the car to my wife. But I can’t help myself. I take a perverse and complicated pleasure in listening to all the mean, manipulative things those people say.

Of course, not all right-wing pundits spew hate. But the ones who do are the ones we liberals dependably aggrandize. Consider the recent debate over whether employers must cover contraception in their health plans. The underlying question — should American women receive help in protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancies? — is part of a serious and necessary national conversation.

Any hope of that conversation happening was dashed the moment Rush Limbaugh began his attacks on Sandra Fluke, the young contraceptive advocate. The left took enormous pleasure in seeing Limbaugh pilloried. To what end, though? Industry experts noted that his ratings actually went up during the flap. In effect, the firestorm helped Limbaugh do his job, at least in the short term.

But the real problem isn’t Limbaugh. He’s just a businessman who is paid to reduce complex cultural issues to ad hominem assaults. The real problem is that liberals, both on an institutional and a personal level, have chosen to treat for-profit propaganda as news. In so doing, we have helped redefine liberalism as an essentially reactionary movement. Rather than initiating discussion, or advocating for more humane policy, we react to the most vile and nihilistic voices on the right.

Media outlets like MSNBC and The Huffington Post often justify their coverage of these voices by claiming to serve as watchdogs. It would be more accurate to think of them as de facto loudspeakers for conservative agitprop. The demagogues of the world, after all, derive power solely from their ability to provoke reaction. Those liberals (like me) who take the bait, are to blame for their outsize influence.

Even programs that seek to inject some levity into our rancorous political theater run on the same noxious fuel. What would “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” be without the fulminations of Fox News and the rest of the right-wing hysterics?

Taken as a whole, the arrangement is entirely cynical. This slavish coverage of conservative scoundrels does nothing to illuminate policy or challenge our assumptions. On the contrary, its central goal mirrors that of the pundits it reviles: to boost ratings by reinforcing easy prejudices. These ratings come courtesy of dolts like me: liberals who choose, every day, to click on their links and to watch their shows. {Full Article}

When observations are valid they are valid. Irrespective of any political ideology.

I think the message for conservatives (republicans as used here) is this... either rethink your principles and methodology or (we) must resign ourselves to ultimate failure.

The choice is that of the modern day conservative movement.

Via: Memeorandum


  1. "When observations are valid they are valid. Irrespective of any political ideology."

    granted, but when observations are invalid but seen as valid they are still invalid and dangerous to a society for they invite denouncement of the valid in order to bring about change in society with the acceptance of the invalid observation.

    1. Nice griper. And your point is, to state the observations wrre invalid? And your fear is?...

  2. You're one of the few people that I've seen grasp the idea that liberalism and conservatism changed places as to what the words once described. And you're right, neither side is worth a tinker's dam anymore.

  3. i have no fear for i am at an age where change will not effect me. change always occurs when people will react to the invalid as if it were valid and in time and with repitition will accept the invalid as a truth. once this happens people end up with a misperception of history without questioning it.

    the reason being is the need for people to perceive the past as being consistent with present.

    proof of this lies in the fact that each political ideology declares that they are consistant with the intent of the founding fathers, even the socialists. do you believe that possible?

    1. "... each political ideology declares that they are consistant with the intent of the founding fathers, even the socialists. do you believe that possible?"

      Answer - No

      Gorges gets that I get it. It is time to honestly talk about realities and the founding philosophy on which this democratic republic of ours was actually founded on.

      And Griper, I too (at 60) am rapidly approaching that age in which change will not affect me that much either. It is my children and grandchildren I fear shall experience a life free life than we were able to enjoy.

  4. realities and the founding philosophy!!! what good will that do? the left has already got it in their head that the founding philosophy has no bearing on today's society. that is the whole meaning behind seeing the Constitution as a "Living Document". and there is no way that you'll get them to see it any other way. that is why they call themselves "progressives".

    they see themselves as leading this nation into the future and see the right as wanting to take this nation into the past.

    as for the right, they are less united in their philosophy than the left is.

    and take the man you quoted in this post. if you look closely at this essay you'll see one theme throughout. he considers himself to be morally superior to anyone on the right. and considers his ideology as being morally superior. that was the whole idea behind his essay.

    how many ad hominums did he use in that essay to describe the right?
    how many times did he portray himself victimized?
    it was an essay that played totally on the emotions of the reader to give it credibility, not reason.

    even your exerpt here, it is devoted to the idea that the left are victims of the right in some way or another.

    how valid is that?

    1. Well Griper, all I can say is until such time as the "conservative", or the "right" actually takes a look at their flaws, and there are many, the conservative movement today is doomed.

      One of the things spending years reading so as to understand Rand's philosophy has done for me is to allow to look at things outside the box. Also to be able to recognize that terms (concepts), without a firm grasp and understanding of their historical context are useless. Such is how I see the concepts of conservatism and liberalism today. Worthless because they have no core, no directional compass. Drifting in a sea of drifters.

  5. oh they have a core, Les. and they have a directional compass. take liberals for instance, the core of their ideology is the concept of collectivism. and their direction is wherever collectivism takes them.its a concept that makes the rules of life for them just as individualism does for us.

    and these two concepts cannot be compromised because if they are then they both are illogical. once they are compromised it can only be justified through rationalization not rational thought.

    now, this does not mean both cannot exist. nor does it mean that one has greater value than the other. it just means that both cannot exist at the same time and place. and this is where choice comes into play as Ayn Rand would theorize in her thoughts on free will or determinism.

    but since the two concepts are uncompromisable reason cannot be used to come to an agreement as both sides keep telling each other that they want.

    both sides have to be in agreement on the core values in order to reach an agreement on the issues.

    and when one speaks of government in this nation the core value is the Constitution. and that core value must be seen as being self-evident. if it weren't self-evident then it would be open to all kinds of interpretations. and once that happens it no longer has any meaning.


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