[FoRK] Daniel Rosen / ["conservative", "liberal"] apologetics and critique

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Fri Nov 6 06:12:32 PST 2009

So...  interesting week.

The GOP wins some gubernatorial races yet loses the state race on  
which its own internecine coup hinged, yet both intra-party factions  
claim victory, Steele trading blows with an illusory "movement" within  
his own party while at the same time pandering to those he believes to  
be its constituents.  Meanwhile Wednesday morning CNN proudly  
trumpets, with the most vacuous "analysis" I've seen yet, that this  
isn't a referendum on Obama.  (Other outlets, including rather weirdly  
the usually-delusional LA Times, come to the opposite conclusion.)

The internecine war in the GOP is a *good* thing;  I tend to agree  
with Boortz that until the GOP manages to cut itself loose from the  
rhetoric and activism of its theocrat wing, it will continue to  
degenerate.  OTOH, it appears certain (cf. Congressional approval,  
etc.) at this point that the 2010 election will shift the balance of  
power back to some form of checked arrangement between the parties  
with respect to bicameral control.  This could be either good or bad,  
but will almost certainly be bad in the long run unless the GOP  
reality check continues.  This reality check, however, seems likely to  
drown in the tsunami of propaganda being thrown off by the GOP's  
fraternal struggle.  Meanwhile it seems unlikely that the still-punch- 
drunk Democrats will "get the message" in time to make meaningful  
changes in behavior, either --- even if they were inclined to do so,  
which clearly they aren't.


Stephen tosses out Rosen's useless swipe at Hayward's critique of  
conservatism:  "Steven F. Hayward wrote: 'The single largest defect of  
modern conservatism, in my mind, is its insufficient ability to  
challenge liberalism at the intellectual level. . . .'  No.  The  
single largest defect of modern conservatism is that it has ruined the  
nation.  Conservatives do not have ideas; they have interests.   
Conservatives are not 'thinkers'"...  blah blah blah...

This is like arguing about whether Superman can beat up Mighty Mouse.

Is there any political commentator or pundit *at all* left in this  
country that has a brain *at all?*


Neither "conservative" nor "liberal" (nor any other kind of)  
governmental activism has set well with voters over the course of this  
decade (and longer.)  Until the parties recognize this, and learn to  
govern as *less* than they are now, the situation will continue to  
devolve, with increasingly degenerate prospects for long-term  
stability and consistency.  And meanwhile the critics and apologetics  
on both sides of this aisle-of-their-own-imagining continue to  
exacerbate the problem.

Let's recap:

   - elections are being determined by a some "middle" population  
voters with loose and shifting allegiance
     - we can speculate about how big this middle is, however
     - *neither* party's hewing-to-the-base / increasing extremism is  
winning things for them
   - criticizing the "intellectualism" of "conservatives" (or  
"liberals") is just stupid (as is identifying with either)
   - until *both* parties realize what's going on, they'll continue to  
eat their own (and trade elections)
   - there is no single "left" and "right" --- politics is a multi- 
dimensional landscape
   - popular opinion shifts constantly about this landscape
   - the last few elections have made clear what the voters value:
     - a government of *public service*, *humility*, and *integrity*
     - a government that acts responsibly, responsively, yet with  
     - a government that subordinates itself to *general* popular  
(i.e., not niche) interest(s)
     - a government that seeks to engineer neither culture nor economy
     - a government that does what it must --- but *only that* and *no  
     - ...and that set (i.e., *must*) is the *intersection* of  
consensus, not the union!

(I infer the latter re:  voter values by observing that none of the  
statements above describe any of the governmental configurations the  
US has enjoyed in the last decade, and by noting the popular  
dissatisfaction with those various governments over time.)

If we get the government we deserve, then apparently America has for  
nearly a decade (and arguably quite a bit longer) deserved government  
primarily by and for arrogant, extremist oligarchs and technocrats  
whose view of reality is so dominated by ideology (or in some cases by  
absurdly "rationalized," myopic self-interest) that it verges on, or  
perhaps definitionally is, simply delusional.



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