When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise, we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Construction Underway ...

How is it that the word "Conservative" has become a four letter word, instead of a 12 letter ideology? When did conservative thought become "old"?... when did the GOP become synonymous with mostly Caucasian white males living in fly-over country, who are flag-wavers and cling to guns for moral support? How did the political movement of Goldwater and popularized by Ronald Reagan, suffer such a devastating shot to the solar plexus? When did being a conservative stop being "cool" and began being old, square, religious and dinosaur-ish? I don't know. I think I know, I have ideas on how this morphing took place, but I can't put it in a nice synopsis for you to digest. I just don't know.

Tonight, as I had an online chat with the esteemed members of this Blog, it hit us that we have to begin a process of re-education in terms of what it is to be a conservative. The conservative brand name is now the Edsel of political-think. So if you are going to peel off the skin of something that has suffered the erosion of its public relations luster, you have to re-invent the wheel. Seriously. You have to destroy the matrix, kill the blueprint, vaporize any semblance of its imagery and perception and retool the assembly line. This is not to imply that the engine does not work, or that in the hands of a good driver it won't pull the horsepower we all know and love, it simply means that the public is not buying it. It is sitting in a bloated car-lot, with its 6th coat of turtle wax, with the stupid colored triangular flags adorning its antenna,... while passers-by go straight across the street to try the liberal brand of chariot. So be it.

This is our call to arms to all of you, no matter which "wing" of conservatism appeals to you. Blogging alone is not gonna' do it. Spewing off in somebody else's blog? Cathartic? yes,... long term gain? Negligible. The tried method of attracting voters by attacking other forms of ideology does nothing but make people defensive and makes us look mean. Dumb. Calling people who follow opposing political doctrine all sorts of names and labeling them as communists or socialists -while probably fun-, does not allow us the higher ground and we come across as a bunch of louts and sophomores. Bomb-throwing may be great, but not when you don't have the luxury of public trust and poor imagery. We don't need it.

In the coming days, weeks and months, we here are Conservative Convictions are going to dedicate ourselves to doing something quite extraordinary in both scope and ambition. I am tempted to spew the beans and give you and insight into what is coming, but as a sign of respect to the kind persons who have invited me to be part of this metamorphosis, I will not disclose squat. Let me just say this: If we get to do half, HALF of what we briefly discussed casually over a few hours of banter, this Blog is going to develop into a serious player in the re-definition of the conservative movement in America. Bold statement? You bet your ass.

To our contributors and like-minded friends, tell us what you think. Give us your ideas, your fears, the events you feel betrayed your faith in conservatism and the items in the platform of your party that you think helps or hinders the cause. Tell us the events of the past that reflect conservatism at its finest, and those political figures that damaged the philosophy. Tell us what you need. Tell us what we can do to fill the voids of knowledge in your gray matter. Tell us, how to help you. Give us a wish list, a list of things that you feel conservatism should stand for. Talk to us, become part of the process, become one with the inertia of things to come.

In our hearts we believe that if you put conservatism side-by-side against any other ideology, no matter what the agenda is, conservatism will trump the other just on the merits of its own logic, history and available data. We don't have to yell it or blow our horns. Just lay it side-by-side, connect the dots for those unable to fully understand, and let the facts jump at the masses. We don't have to expose the virtues of conservatism by putting any other ideology down, we don't have to. Conservatism can stand on its own wheels. Just make those wheels look good enough for the passers-by to admire them...

To those of you who do not agree with conservative values and stop by just to raise some hell? Go ahead. As the rules of engagement state so clearly, we welcome all opinions as long as they are cordial and free of the sort of language Truth-Pain uses in his own back yard. But if you are here to Bush-bash? Save it. I can do that better that you can ever imagine. If you are here to pick a fight and tell us we are this or that? That's to your peril. We should not allow any emotional button-pushing to take our eyes of the greater goal. We should be here in this medium of communication to try and save a cause and philosophy of citizenry greater than any one individual. You want to help us? (seriously) Tell us why you think conservatism sucks. Why is your philosophy better? ... Tell us what parts of conservatism you disagree with and why. Go ahead, lay the lumber and lay it hard. Break our the mirror of perception and show us, ... show us what we look like.

There are thousands of Blogs born every day but very few of them make any significant ripples in the waters of the American mind. We are hoping this one makes a serious dent to the existing Edsel model of Conservatism. But we cannot do it alone. I pledge to you that I will wander to your individual Blogs and assist as I can to expand your own networks of influence, while at the same time working my tail off to make this place our "coffee-house" of information. Let's get to work. I am going to do some serious house-cleaning at my own blog, while working concurrently with all who participate in this one. It is and should be a symbiotic movement where we take individual actions in our own blogs to refine and make them laboratories of though, while bringing the best ideas here for dissection and argument. I think its going to be fun to do this, I really do.

Bring it on ... (Sorry, couldn't help myself)


Joe said...

One thing that might be necessary is to stop referencing Ronald Reagon (whom I esteem greatly) by name, and start just putting forth his principles, explaining where they came from and why they are relevant as we go.

Robert said...

Joe, that is an interesting comment and I think one that has a great deal of merit. I will have to let that one swirl around my brain housing group for a bit.

In the meantime, please elaborate a bit. Why do you think that is a good approach? Why do you think the principles should stand, but not their poster boy? And I hold Reagan in awe...that was not disrespectful at all. He is the epitome of modern conservatism, so why should he not be included?

Not challenging the opinion, just trying to draw out more information.

Robert said...

I would also like to substantiate T-P's request. We want your opinons, and want your voice to be heard on this site. We do want to hear what you think is right about conservatism, AND what is wrong with it. Tell us why it is the worst thing since the Black Plague.

We are not here to get anyone's goat or make anyone look bad. We are not here to engage in sophomoric arguments. We are not here to be insulting or demeaning.

Let your voices be heard!

Clay Bowler said...

Conservatism isn't the problem, the problem is that we aren't promoting real conservatism. President Bush 43 ran on the premise that he was a new (compassionate) conservative. Well, eight years later and I believe he just created a new label for moderately liberal. In my latest blog, The United States Slow Road to Socialism, we see that it is his treasury secretary that is driving socialism. I make the argument that the road was begun when the Federal Reserve was established. Republican candidates pretend to be conservatives and then run from the principles of Reagan and Goldwater. It maybe a blessing McCain lost, because he is not a conservative no matter who he claims his hero is.

Joe said...

robert: Here's the thing. I lived during the Reagan Years and never missed one of his speeches, if I could help it. I still get goosebumps from them.

Like a trite expression, though, overuse can result in a lessening of effect.

I believe words like "founders" and "Ronald Reagan" mean less to those who were not alive at the time.

(I don't mean to imply that I was alive at the time of the founders, close, maybe, but not yet alive.)

Many who were not present to experience his charisma and eloquence, his strength of character and influence, and his power under control, don't get the same thrill we do when his name is mentioned.

His name sometimes causes knee-jerk reactions among those who are younger or who were not politically savy when he was President.

His principles, however, are timeless.

If we could emphasize conservative principles, explain their logic and purposes, we might be more successful at reaching those who never knew of or revered Ronald Reagan.

TAO said...

Realistically, "compassionate conservative" is a misnomer. To be a conservative is to be logical, well grounded, and dispassionate. I think conservatives have run from the principles of Burke, Hobbes, and Disreali and we need to return to our roots. As my ideas are rather long winded and I am new to blogging and not all that technologically savvy I have posted my thoughts of what the conservative tradition is all about on my blog at http://tao-whocares.blogspot.com If someone would be so kind to tell me how to squeeze a long winded word document into a comment box I would appreciate it...

Patrick M said...

I think I can come up with some clear definitions for conservatism. Actually, I'm working on a version for my blog (utilizing all the creative and obscene metaphors I am known for), but I think I can slap it into something slightly more cogent, but far less entertaining.

I also have to agree with Joe that we need to let Reagan's words, not his name guide us.

I did a some posts back in January (the infancy of my blog) where I said the Reagan Era was dead. But in those posts, I reasserted everything that Reagan stood for.

Clarification and restating is necessary if we are to move forward.

TRUTH-PAIN said...

Wow, first comment off the assembly line and the idea of dropping Ronald Reagan from our mast is put forth. I am seriously going to consider that although as Robert says, it jars my melon just to think about it. We HAVE to think outside the box, and this my friends (oh no, was that a McCain-ism?) is what we need.

Joe, I want to thank you for your opinion. We need you and the rest of you who have already expressed some thoughts here. Let's build "it" so the rest feel compelled to come forth.

I will be back throughout the day to respond the your comments.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

I am very much a Reaganite. While I was involved politically before Reagan it was during his administration that I became a conservative activist.

The problem is that we have an entire generation who not only know Reagan as only a historical figure but because real conservatism has not been seen in the GOP or anywhere else in politics since the early nineties with the Contract with America and the GOP majority BEFORE they flunked and caved, there is a huge gap in the understanding of what conservatism is.

Most equate it with Bush policies. While President Bush as a person I beleive is a conservative he did NOT govern as one nor did the GOP during his administration.

So the first step it to educate. The trouble with that is because of Obamamania and the hype still associated with him, major news outlets have no desire to cover anything that deals with conservatism.

It may take a massive Obama failure, which will happen only the time has yet to be determined, to get coverage for conservatism.

It is also going to take someone like Reagan who has the ability to get the spotlight. That is why Sarah Palin is so important for the future. Even with the Obamahype, she is still getting more headlines than the President Elect. Why ? Because she has an appeal to the public like Reagan.

Next it is going to take political activism. People completely misunderstand the intent behind the Founders reason for including Free Speech in the Constitution. It was NOT for placing a crusifix in a bottle of urin!

The reason free speech was included was to allow the people the freedom to desent against the government. The Founders knew what it meant to be under the oppression of tyranny and fear of reprisal if they spoke out against the crown. The Constitution's intent for free speech means political activism and freedom to speek out against the government as a means to keep the government from oppressing the people.

For real conservatism to take hold once again as it did with Reagan it is going to take activism in making our voice heard even if it means we have to travel to Washington and yell it from the roof tops or the galleries of Congress.

Also it is going to take finding real conservative candidates through grassroots measures running for office and taking out the Country Club RINOS that have take the GOP away from Reagan conservatism.

It is also our responsibility to make those in Washington toe the line as we did with the amnesty bill. That to is political activism...making our voice heard and as such forcing our voice to be listened to in the halls of Congress!

In this current political climate conservatives are the true liberals in the sense that it is we who are now going to out AGAINST the established liberal politics that now dominate Washington. We are activists AGAINST the traditional Washington insiders who will run the government. Kind of an interesting twist isn't it !

One person, one voice steamrolling to retruning conservative values and ideas to Washington. We are still by more than 2 to 1 a conservative Nation and as such if we speak in one voice we will prevail!

Sam Huntington said...

I do most certainly agree that responsible Americans must shed themselves of their propensity to place mere mortals on the top of pedestals. In this context, I agree with Joe that if we intend to develop an influential dialogue, we must refrain from the pettiness of hero-worship. We should probably also avoid ad hominem attacks as well, and for the same reasons: it is petty (even if justified in some cases).

Part of understanding “principles” of any kind is the recognition of who embraced them, and their context; it is also scholarly to properly cite the individuals whose statements we use and we need to do that in order to maintain credibility. None of the persons I respect was perfect, but they exhibited the attributes I most admire . . . but it is also true that there are individuals who were truly remarkable because they were utter scoundrels. Everyone must receive a fair hearing — and if we can do that, I am perfectly content to allow the readers to judge us, what we write, who we cite, and the arguments we create for consideration (or amusement).

Robert said...

Sam, you have expressed exactly what we have talked about in framing this place of ours. We all want to rise above the level of current political discourse and take the high road here. We have a mission, want everyone involved, and do not want to be sidetracked.

For those who will read, and many of you don't regularly comment, I am encouraging you to do so on this post. This is a benchmark concept for us, and while this will be the first of many similar posts, it is the first one and we need your voice. Go further than just responding to the thread; branch out and give different ideas as well. I am reserving my major comments for later in the day, so as I don't "poison the well" of this thread with my thoughts.

Nice work so far!

rockync said...

T-P states in this post:
"The tried method of attracting voters by attacking other forms of ideology does nothing but make people defensive and makes us look mean. Dumb. Calling people who follow opposing political doctrine all sorts of names and labeling them as communists or socialists -while probably fun-, does not allow us the higher ground and we come across as a bunch of louts and sophomores."
I couldn't agree more.
Frankly, I'm as sick and tired of conservatives calling liberals socialists and communists as I am of liberals calling conservatives Nazis and Facists.
Can we at least start there and remove this type of inflammatory labeling - it's annoying.
I am none of the above - the Nazis and the Communists both injured my family grieviously.
If you don't begin with the premise that we are first, Americans all, then you lose all hope of further your cause. And that goes for bith liberals and conservatives! I'm not talking of compromising your principles here, just dropping the derogatory rhetoric and replacing it with sincere, meaningful debate. I can hold my own with anyone, but that doesn't necessarily make it a productive exchange - which I much prefer. I would much rather walk away from a discussion with a smile and a handshake - regardless of the outcome.
Think about it...

Dan Trabue said...

If you'd like the opinion of an outsider, I have posted on this topic here, at my blog. (Hope that's okay to post the link).

In brief, I suggest that conservative has come to equal mean-spirited and contrarian, even hateful-ness. By all means, disagree with those you think are wrong. BUT, disagree with, for instance, Obama's position on off-shore drilling, or his position on raising taxes on the wealthiest, etc... disagree with his POSITIONS, but do so without demonizing the man. There's no need to call him a socialist, marxist, to say he's "pals with terrorists," etc. Disagree with his positions and make your case for why his positions are wrong and why your positions are right.

But for most of us, we can see that clearly Obama is a Christian man, a fella that loves his country, that loves children and puppies and wants the best for our nation. When you start saying that Obama is a socialist who wants to destroy America, you lose credibility with most Americans and become a nutty fringe element, not a serious fellow citizen.

Beyond that attitude, my post suggests returning to being TRULY consistently conservative: Small gov't (Reagan, Bush and Bush all INCREASED the size of gov't substantially), advocates for personal and societal responsibility, opponents of military adventurism. Let Teddy Roosevelt be your model, not Ronald Reagan.

One man's opinion, for what it's worth.

Dan Trabue said...

And I agree with those who've said bringing up/idolizing Reagan is not a winning approach for conservatism. Frankly, I don't think he was all that conservative in many significant ways. Also, what accomplishments he had are tarnished by his support of dictators, thugs and terrorists (Osama bin Laden, Saddam, Pinochet, Contras, etc).

And I say this as a fella who was a conservative, traditionalist Reagan supporter back in the day. In fact, while I supported Reagan at first, he was the one that drove me away from that model of "conservatism," as represented by Reagan.

I think labels like conservative and liberal have their place, but they also have limitations. For instance, I am for a small but smart gov't. If it costs $1 million for a program and it's not necessary, then let's get rid of it! BUT, if by NOT spending $1 million, we end up spending $2 billion, well, then fiscal responsibility would suggest that investing $1 million is a wise move and the opposite of small gov't.

Now does that make me a conservative or liberal? Well, it would be difficult to say, as such positions defy categories. I think most people have conservative AND liberal reasoning in how they approach problems and solutions. It would behoove both liberals and conservatives to recognize this and find alliances where they can.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

I disagree with the thought that refering to Reagan in reference to conservatism as a form of hero worship. When we think of the Declaration of Independance we think of Jefferson.

When we think of emancipation we think of Lincoln and so on. Reagan as a reference to conservatism becomes a historical focal point because he is the closest poltical embodiment of how a conservative governs.

He as with any President had his short comings and was at times even critisized by conservatives when he took only a piece of the pie and fought for the rest later rather than holding out for the whole pie and getting nothing.

What we have to remember in putting it into context is that we cannot hope to survive as a conservative movement if we do not do more than reference Reagan in the context of his historical contribution to conservative values, ideas and government.

If we simply keep looking for the next Reagan we will fall to liberal rule while always seeking the next horizen.

We who are conservatives know what a conservative is and what we stand for and beleive in and it is up to us to use every means available to educate those who are ignorant to conservatism the truth about conservatism and its relevance to today and the future.

Its long standing beleif in Constitutional principles and personal responsibility, limited government and the ability to achieve because of the freedoms that allow the atmosohere of ahcievement for every citizen.

Churchill once said, "If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain."

For conservatism to grow the education must begin by teaching younger generations what it means to be conservative. Unfortunatly they are in many respects hero worshippers and as such that is also a reason that it is going to take someone well known to connect to the people. That to is a historical lesson we can learn from Reagan.

We can build that connection to those who are not conservatives without compromising our principles or beliefs. We don't have to adapt conservatism to todays issues because the answers to todays issues are found in conservative ideology and the Constitutional principles on which that ideology is based.

Dan Trabue said...

Certainly Reagan was a popular president and is still remembered fondly by many. But for many Americans, he also represents the man that sponsored much terrorism, who was undemocratic in his support for some despots around the world, he represents compassion-less conservatives, in his denying/downplaying the existence of the homeless and of AIDS. He represents the sort of lawless, "If the US does it, that makes it Right," sort of imperialism that many find distasteful.

Now, I don't know how widespread that view of Reagan is, but it's significant and that baggage is a problem for any who would invoke Reagan as a hero or model. For me and my community (including my faith community), to invoke Reagan is to be discredited before you begin.

Just sayin'...

Robert said...

Very interesting discussions here. Please continue.

I see the point behind Joe's position, and in many ways agree with it. I hold President Reagan in the highest regard, both individually and as President. I think that Reagan and conservatism are seperate issues that can be addressed in different ways. As Sam indicated, it is only right and proper to cite the influences on the movement. We talk about Jefferson and Hamilton, Locke and De Tocqueville, and reference their impact on our nation. We should also talk about Reagan in the same light.

But conservatism stands without Reagan. We have an entire generation that voted 7-3 (round numbers) for a democratic ticket in this past election. We must find what rings the bell with the under 30 generation and package our conservatism much as Obama packaged his entire campaign. Marketing, visualization, persona...

As a concept, conservatism must be "cool" because we know that in half the country and in most universities, students parrot twhat they hear. If Obama is in the lead, and he represents "change", then a vote for him is not cool.

Therefore, the reason for this post - How do we make conservatism stand on its own? First we have to define conservatism, and define ourselves within the structure. We know it is a guiding set of principles, and as Ken (Liberals Lie....)has stated, we make our judgments and decisions within awareness, but it is hard to apply it to a decision matrix.

There are many common thread that run through us, regardless of where you are within the party of conservatism. We have to find those threads

So let us know what things you don't like about the modern GOP/CONSERVATIVE movement. Where have you fel deserted? Where did the GOP drop the ball?

At the moment, they aren't spending much time listening to the real, true base that could rush the party back to prominence. That is my first objection. We stand by President Bush through these toucgh times, yet aren't given consideration come election time.

Help us change!

Dan Trabue said...

My three pet peeves with Republicans:

1. My biggest complaint against Republicans: The bitterness with which they attack their opponents - and they DO attack their opponents, not just their positions, way too often. "If you disagree with me, you hate America and are probably a terrorist," is not cool, nor responsible, nor reasonable.

2. I recognize (and honor) that one tenet of conservatism is prudence - the notion that we ought not just embrace any change because we are not wise enough to know all the repercussions of changing direction, therefore we ought to be prudent in policy making - but Republicans too often SEEM to embrace an anti-intellectualism, distrusting the media with a passion, distrusting science, distrusting debate. "Well, YOU may think your grandfather was a monkey, but I'd suggest you're trusting in 'science,' and not God when you do so..." Again, in a modern age, I don't think coming across as anti-intellectual is wise.

3. I have much more respect for the libertarian wing of conservatism than I do with the nanny-state version: Those who insist that gov't knows best who should marry whom, who ought to be allowed to adopt, who can smoke what, who can and can't make medical decisions for themselves.

If you can find a way to still embrace your values and yet change in these three areas, I think you might have a chance of winning back some ground.

Anonymous said...

First off T-P great post! You have highlighted much of what we spoke last night! Okay, I may be under 30, but I am close, and will try to convey my take on things.

I know a lot about Reagan, not as much as most of you here, but a good bit. It is not because I saw it in action. I've always been a conservative and it was my interest, that drove me to learn more about him. If we are trying to reach others that don't even know Reagan, we can't just throw his name out there and expect people to jump on board. I do think we need to keep Reagan in the mix though. Talk about him and his vision, and what he did to accomplish it, but we can't make the mistake of just throwing his name out there and expecting people to understand who we are, just by that.

T-P makes a great point when he says the facts will take us farther than anything. What we need to do it to present those facts a different way, for a different generation. We have a few things up our sleeve regarding how to do this, that we will share later.

I think the name calling exploded on both sides because of the election. Passions were running sky high, and I think a lot of us have said things in the heat of the moment, that we may regret. An example.....I have called Obama a socialist. Nice? Not really, but in the middle of an election you try to prove your point anyway you can. What I should have done was thrown the label away and shown how his policies can be considered socialist. I agree that the name calling from both ends, makes you look desperate and a bit out there. We need to bring people to us because they are behind our goals and principles, they are certainly enough to stand on.

Conservatism isn't cool and it needs to be. The people that we need to reach aren't going to simply listen as we fire off what is so great about conservatism. We have to make it more interesting, more appealing. We have to get them to stop and take notice. We need them to be interested and curious about who we are and what we are about. We aren't hip like liberals are perceived to be and that needs to change. I have a challenge for everyone reading this. Ask a couple people (who aren't conservatives) the first thing that comes to their mind when they hear conservatism. I truly think that you will get the answers that T-P said..."old, square, religious and dinosaur-ish?" I heartily disagree that we have to be dispassionate, if anything we need more passion than what has been seen so far.

That is where we have gone wrong, and it needs to change now!

TAO said...

Americans do expect the government to do something about the economy, the environment, our schools, crime, defense, on and on...Americans also want government to intrude into their lives as little as possible. Americans pay taxes and do think it is patriotic. That is the majority. Now, we can clamor for national security and everyone will agree with us because government is to provide security but the majority is against the war in Iraq. We need to look at the Iraq war and question our own motives. We need to understand that Americans do expect government regulation of the economy...while the liberals have to deal with the issue of pushing for too much of a good thing conservatives must deal with the issue of too little of a good thing. Now we can rant and rave like extremists if we want to but to say that most Americans are center right on issues is to say they are more center than right. At the end of the day it is not purity of beliefs that wins the hearts and minds of the majority of Americans it is the implementation of ones beliefs. Since 1994 we had a contract with America and we did not live up to our end of the deal. Now, how do we reestablish conservatism as rational and traditional rather than extremist? Sure not going to get there by calling Obama a Maoist. I have no hate for liberals and I respect their beliefs and I respect their contribution to our country but I believe differently than they do....but I also believe differently than most of what falls under the conservative umbrella nowadays.

Dan Trabue said...

Good points, Tao. I wonder if we couldn't come together a good bit more than we do. For instance, earlier I referenced the notion of a program that ultimately saves money. Might one small step be that, IF a program (Welfare, Prison education/rehab, environmental, etc)can demonstrate that it will ultimately SAVE tax dollars, can't the liberals and conservatives agree that this is a good thing and support that program?

Prisoner education is my favorite example because it has been frequently studied and consistently proven that IF we provide prisoners with education/reform assistance, that consistently and significantly reduces recidivism, which ultimately costs fewer tax dollars. Now, some conservatives I have talked with remain opposed to funding such programs on principle.

The thinking has been along these lines: "They messed their lives up, they need to be punished for it and we ought not coddle them by paying for FREE education for them. So, EVEN IF it would save tax dollars to give them FREE education, I am opposed to it on principle."

That, to me, is stupid conservatism. Cut off your nose to spite your face conservatism. IF it saves money, then it is a reasonable thing to do, from a purely logical, fiscally responsible point of view. I think if we approach more programs like this, we could agree more often, but that only works if conservatives are not of the ilk that I have described above.

Anonymous said...

Dan, thank you for your input! I certainly agree with number 1. Both sides have resulted in name calling and we need to rise above it, take the higher ground.

Number 2.......From the people I've talked to I can tell you they are anything but anti-intellectual. By your belief that you find the GOP so, is a wake up call and something that needs to be addressed. Trusting the media on the other hand is a lot easier said than done. With the media bias that we see in just about everything that involves conservatism, it does not instill trust and integrity that we are being represented the way we need to be. I don't know of any way to change that except to change the individuals perception first and eventually they may come around.

Number 3.......A lot of the things you mentioned here are what makes us individuals. We all different viewpoints in many of those things and what I think we are trying to do here is put them aside for the common goal. Not to say they aren't important. I'm very conservative in a lot of the things you mentioned but I realize that there are bigger issues at stake. Abortion and gun control (as Robert once mentioned) are very important but you cannot make decisions on those factors alone. If conservatism is ever reach it's goals then we need to find common ground.

Anonymous said...

Dan, I see your point, and understand it, but what we have to be very careful of is being blind if it saves us money.

just as an example....It may cost less to put people to death, than to give them life in prison, but it does not necessarily mean that we should. Just because something is cost efficient, doesn't mean that we have to put away our values and principles to see it accomplished.

I do understand where you are coming from, but there is a very fine line that separates doing something because it's cost effective or because we believe in it. We have to judge things on an individual basis in regards to those things.

TAO said...

I think the point is to give up on the mantra of small government...we haven't been able to accomplish that even under Reagan and rather we need to focus on smarter government. We need to focus not on government spending but rather on government investing. Our infrastructure sucks...and even if we got big into alternative energy we do not have the infrastructure to benefit from it. We need to give up on preaching about values and morals and rather discuss RESPECT. We need to give up on complaining about the poor and rather discuss right to work. I have quite a few single mothers working for me and it is really hard to get them motivated to work when they realize that at a certain income level they lose welfare, they lose childcare assistance, and they lose rent assistance...they lose it at a point where you can just about get them to take the leap....

But when I say that we need to pay the poor more who are getting themselves off of welfare rather than those that are doing nothing...well, everyone thinks I am nuts. Then don't get me started on the folks in unemployment who actually lay it out that with unemployment and welfare a person is actually better off...heard that one too...

We have changed the countries perspective on abortion but not with laws but rather by education...don't hear democrats say, "its a woman's right"

We also need to understand that while we all believe that capitalism is the way to go we also do not need executives going on spa vacations after getting bailed out by the taxpayers.

I think it is real easy to make Conservatism cool....we just need to focus on the postivie and give up on the fire and brimstone lectures...but most importantly we need to find our own words and live them.

That in and by its self with bring the younger generation to our philosophy. I was a liberal in my younger days and I remember the Carter and Reagan days real well. Reagan did not turn me into a conservative...experience, age and wisdom did. Young people want to believe they are improving the world and all we need to get them to realize is that conservatives do improve the world...an individual at a time.

Anonymous said...

You make some good points! When conservatives say they want small government though, it isn't always fiscally. We want less governmental control of our lives and our money.

Dan Trabue said...

...except in the bedroom, in the hospital, in what we smoke.

They do come across as wanting less gov'tal control of where we pollute, how fast we drive, how safely we drive, etc.

My point being is that both "conservatives" and "liberals" want less gov't. They just want less gov't in different areas. AND they both want more gov't, just in different areas.

I'm with Tao, at least partially: I tend to want smaller gov't, but what I mostly want is smarter gov't.

Joe said...

DT said: "For me and my community (including my faith community), to invoke Reagan is to be discredited before you begin."

That is exactly the point I was making back at the top.

To lose the ability to discuss before you begin defeats the purpose of discussion and prevents any chance of conversion.

Anonymous said...

If you intend to encourage honest and free discussion, then I would like to add the following for consideration. I would like to begin by observing that a rose by any other name is still a rose. Accordingly, let me point out that the word “socialist” is no more than a polite way of identifying one who subscribes to communist ideology. Thus, I don’t understand why it is wrong or demeaning to classify people according to what they believe, and how they behave.

Individuals who subscribe to the idea (no matter how slight) that a command economy best meets the needs of the people, is a communist. People who think that centralized, autocratic management of the state serves the interests of society is a communist. When people subscribe to the notion that government has a right of access to individual disposable income, that government has a right or responsibility to limit the rights of the people through extra-constitutional regulation, then, they support communist ideology. “From each according to his worth, to each according to his need” is classical Marxism. I see no reason to sugarcoat it — and if these individuals are angered, sad, or suicidal because of the truth, then perhaps, they should consider the merits of a different ideology.

The United States has already attempted the welfare state; we found it psychologically and economically ruinous. Personally, I believe the welfare state imposes economic slavery upon poor people, and particularly among minorities, because it locks them into a situation I call “government dependency.” Historically, it follows Jim Crow laws imposed by southern democrats to deny constitutional rights to black Americans. Jim Crow was disgusting, and so too is economic slavery.

In contrast, conservative principles underscore the worth of every man, and it reinforces the idea of equality. Conservativism seeks to reward rugged individuality, encourage risk, and it appeals most directly to those who refuse to give up the good fight . . . whether that be on political issues, social or moral debates, or economic opportunities. We should recall that Hobbes clearly had a dim view of individual rights, whereas John Locke argued that our rights as citizens are God-given rights, freedom of choice that no government may deny. In this context, we should ask ourselves, as decent human beings, why have we allowed such awful conditions to be thrust upon God’s children of color, forcing them to live in subsidized neighborhoods, in stench and filth, surrounded by singularly dangerous criminals, drug dealers and users, and prostitutes. Why right has government to force children . . . many of whom in single parent families, to be raised in this kind of environment?

Because Uncle Sugar is standing by with a welfare check, we have over the years trained people there is no need for them to make wise decisions because no one will ever hold them accountable for their present circumstances. In this area, Ronald Reagan was correct to assert that the “welfare state” is inhumane, intolerable, and in contravention to Christian decency. And yet . . . don’t ask any of the enslaved minorities to vote conservative because it means their bank will dry up and they may actually have to start working for a living. They may even have to begin making life-style changes, and be accountable to wives, children, and communities. And this does not include mentally challenged or physically disabled individuals.

Next, our Tenth Amendment is an expression of federalism—a system of checks and balances against the power of central government. It recognizes that beyond the issues specifically enumerated as a responsibility of the federal government, ALL OTHER programs, however the states choose to define them, belong EXCLUSIVELY to the states and the people. Yet, we now have a federal department of Health, Education, and Welfare. I suggest that the Education Department is unconstitutional, but clever politicians have sidestepped this issue by making state and local participation in federal programs “voluntary.” Of course, states and local governments who choose not to participate will not get millions of federal dollars. We might also wonder why we have a Department of Indian Affairs, why the federal government gives a damn about the speed limit along I-10 inside the state of Alabama, and we might wonder why the federal government is involved in such things as stem-cell research.

In consideration of the above, our government could and should become much, much smaller. For example, if we didn’t spend millions of wasted dollars on education, maybe that money could be better utilized protecting our borders from twenty-million illegal aliens (who like it or not, have driven health care costs through the roof). We should in some way address this mistaken idea that the federal government owes any of us a single thing. Well, they DO owe us a social security check if we paid into the program for 30 or more years, but that is a wound the Roosevelt administration inflicted upon the federal government.

Do we remember the Tenth Amendment? Our nationality is American, but we are foremost citizens of a state, which is our sovereign. If Floridians want welfare benefits, it is up to the state legislatures to provide it, and it is up to the citizens of Florida to pay for it. Why should a citizen of Montana pay for medical insurance for someone living (probably illegally) in California?

So the first hurdle is to question the legitimacy of federal programs and spending. Our congress must have been confused about any program involving health and human services. No, what our Constitution does say is that if Joe White is entitled to medical benefits in the state of Massachusetts, then Jim Black must have equal entitlement. There is NO constitutional mandate to provide health insurance to any person, and in fact the citizens of California do have (and pay for) a program called Medi-Cal. According to conservative principles, this is how it should be. Marxists, on the other hand, believe that national health care fits nicely with a command economy. But beyond all this, I have yet to see one federal program administered in a cost-efficient, more bang for the buck manner. How can anyone begin to justify a Soviet-styled economy here in America?

Please do continue with your interesting discussion. I am interested in how others define a conservative, and how they seek to clarify communists cross-dressing as socialists and progressive humanists. In the past twenty years, this country has made more people richer, and reduced poverty more than any other country in the world. Conservative economics under the watchful eye of a Republican Congress in the Clinton administration appears to have worked. And now, the socialists want to undo this work and revert to the welfare state.

Finally, I find it interesting that 87% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, but a large number of people also see themselves as humanists. A humanist does not believe in God . . . so there are some peculiar irregularities with this thinking. These large numbers of so-called humanists support liberal abortion laws, principally because they have no moral objection to the murder of unborn infants. Beyond disgusting, this attitude is an abomination to conservative principles.

Kansas Richard
An American of color

TAO said...


You are right...the cross dressing communists have taken over our country...

Now, do tell...what do we do now?

rockync said...

dan - your prisoner education example struck a cord. I work part time as a jailhouse nurse and have felt like God, karma, the Universe; whatever you believe, put me in this position for a purpose. I have come to understand my purpose there after a painful event that happened in my state - it did not affect me in a personal way, but it left me angry and distressed and then I realized how I could do something that might prevent a similar outcome in the future.
I was doing my med pass in the disciplinary unit and saw an inmate who had been there before, maybe 6 months ago. He's a gang member but has not ever committed a seriously violent crime - yet. He is personable and articulate so I asked him why he was back and he sort of mumbled about being on the street.... And then this just came out of my mouth and surprised me as much as him. I said, "I'm so disappointed to see you back. You are too smart and have too much going for you to waste your days in a jail cell." For a moment, he looked like I had struck him and then he said, "But, Nurse P------, when I'm on the street, nobody tells me stuff like that so I get caught up in the old stuff."
I replied, "So far, you haven't done anything you can't take back. Once you do it will be too late and your life will be wasted. It's not enough for me to believe in you, you must believe in yourself. Next time you get out, it will be up to you what path you are going to take - your decision and I hope you spend your time here giving serious thought to what you will choose to do."
He has since made an effort to call to me in a respectful manner and makes an effort to have a civil conversation each time I am on post.
Will I make a difference? By myself, probably not, but with support and education, perhaps we can improve outcomes so we don't have as many escalating to more violent crimes.
I don't know whether it saves money but if it prevents the tragic death of just one more Eve Carson then to me it would be worth whatever it costs.
It is not enough to "talk" moral integrity - we must find practical ways to reintroduce it into society and make it work to the benefit of society. We must be able to see past the dollar sign to find the real value of some things.

Dan Trabue said...

Richard said several things that I don't think represent reality. First, he defined humanism as a rejection of God. To that, I point out:

Humanism, n.

1. any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate.
2. Philosophy. a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.
[from dictionary.com]

If some people identify themselves as Christians and simultaneously as humanists, I'd suggest it is reasonable to assume that they are Christians who believe in humanism, but not the sort of humanism that rejects God.

Richard also suggested that, "Accordingly, let me point out that the word “socialist” is no more than a polite way of identifying one who subscribes to communist ideology. Thus, I don’t understand why it is wrong or demeaning to classify people according to what they believe, and how they behave."

And I agree. But nearly all of our representatives and all of our major candidates for presidency this year were capitalists, by definition and by behavior. It is wrong, I'm suggesting, to call someone a goat if they're not a goat. Not that there's anything wrong with being a goat, but words have meanings.

Socialism means state ownership of means of production. Obama is not suggesting that, I'm sure he is opposed to that, since it is no where on his platform. Therefore, Obama is not a socialist.

This is, I humbly suggest, one of the problems the GOP is having: When one disagrees with an opponent because he favors, for instance, MORE regulation than the conservative prefers (and yet is still a capitalist, merely one who has a different yardstick for ideal regulation), rather than saying, "I disagree with where you'd draw the line on taxing people. I disagree with how much regulation you wish to see. I disagree with your humanist belief of X (I'm not sure where one would have a problem with humanism)" etc, instead of saying that, they instead say, "you're a communist. You're not a Christian."

It's just a poor way of handling discussions and of cooperating as fellow citizens who love our nation and want the best for us all.

Dan Trabue said...

Richard also said:

“From each according to his worth, to each according to his need” is classical Marxism.

It is also classical Christianity ("From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded." ~Jesus).

My point being, just because someone believes that the most righteous, ethical and fiscally responsible way of paying for our commonwealth is by expecting those who have the most to pay the most, does not necessarily make them a Marxist.

TRUTH-PAIN said...

Ladies / Gentlemen:
I am fully appreciative of the replies, counter-arguments and the power of participation displayed by all.

We are going to do something unusual with our comment feedback. Instead of relegating our collective thoughts to the ash-heap of blogger-history, we will do a follow-up posting within a few days. This will allow us the opportunity to better study your opinions and (if possible) incorporate these into a menu-manifesto of policy points for reference and future use.

We will leave this comment threat open for another 24 hours in case further frustrations have to be spewed about...

Again, many thanks!

Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

Seems like you just can't say "conservative" in polite company anymore. So I don't. I blog instead!

Seems I'm the talk of the town now in Pasadena. Everybody's clamoring to know the true identity of this closet conservative. I'll never tell, because if I out myself in this town my public reputation is sunk forever.

Sad, no? But I must admit, it's a real hoot keeping everybody guessing.

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