On the Futility of Conservatism.

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Esquire
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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by Esquire » 2018-12-01 02:57am

As this year's turnout was in fact almost unprecedented for a midterm election, I don't think that's quite what's going on. Indeed, I suspect the causality here is almost diametrically opposite to your suggestion - all of my anecdata suggest that the recent Democratic emphasis on identity issues (I think that's a decently nonpoliticized phrasing? Apologies if not; I'm trying to be impartial in this paragraph) has been more discouraging to potential voters than the "both parties are awful" cliche, but I'm not aware of any data which address this rigorously. I'd be more than happy to do the analysis on any that do exist, though; this is really important and I'm concerned that it doesn't appear to be studied in any really meaningful way.

I concur with your second paragraph in entirety. Break for celebration, then we can get back to quibbling? :D I simply meant that [the set of things which are concrete Democratic policy proposals] isn't very different from what it was a decade or two ago, and isn't much more popular than the equivalent set was at that time; similarly for Republican positions.
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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-01 03:20am

Esquire wrote:
2018-12-01 02:57am
As this year's turnout was in fact almost unprecedented for a midterm election, I don't think that's quite what's going on. Indeed, I suspect the causality here is almost diametrically opposite to your suggestion - all of my anecdata suggest that the recent Democratic emphasis on identity issues (I think that's a decently nonpoliticized phrasing? Apologies if not; I'm trying to be impartial in this paragraph) has been more discouraging to potential voters than the "both parties are awful" cliche, but I'm not aware of any data which address this rigorously. I'd be more than happy to do the analysis on any that do exist, though; this is really important and I'm concerned that it doesn't appear to be studied in any really meaningful way.
Think carefully about this. This is a popular assertion on the far Right- that Democrats are losing because of their "identity politics" (an ill-defined term which is frequently used as short-hand for "they dare to acknowledge that racism and sexism exist and are problems worth addressing"). Frequently we are told that if we want to win, we need to "stop focussing on identity politics" (and, implicitly, focus on addressing the concerns of straight white men).

Leaving aside the moral repugnance of such a position, its strategically ill-advised. The people who are offended by what is generally mislabeled "identity politics" are not, by and large, going to be won over. The Republicans are better at pandering to them, and to win that game we would have to be prepared to more or less entirely thrown women and minorities (ie the majority of the Democratic base) under the bus. And Republicans know that. When the Right tells us we need to throw minorities and women under the bus, they sure as hell aren't doing it out of concern for the best interests of the Democratic Party.

So its very disheartening to me to hear liberals repeating this meme. We need to be focussing on turning out the base- meaning a diverse coalition of young people, women, minorities, and college-educated white people. Not trying to assuage the insecurities of a demographically-shrinking pool of bitter, angry working class white men.
I concur with your second paragraph in entirety. Break for celebration, then we can get back to quibbling? :D I simply meant that [the set of things which are concrete Democratic policy proposals] isn't very different from what it was a decade or two ago, and isn't much more popular than the equivalent set was at that time; similarly for Republican positions.
Republican positions have shifted hard to the right. Trump pushes things that simply would not have been advanced by any other Republican President in recent decades.

Democratic policies have perhaps shifted less... but there are major differences from the Clinton era. Gay rights is one obvious one. Universal health care has gained enormous ground as well (in both parties, actually, if you poll individual voters rather than the leadership).
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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by Esquire » 2018-12-01 04:05am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-12-01 03:20am
Think carefully about this. This is a popular assertion on the far Right- that Democrats are losing because of their "identity politics" (an ill-defined term which is frequently used as short-hand for "they dare to acknowledge that racism and sexism exist and are problems worth addressing"). Frequently we are told that if we want to win, we need to "stop focussing on identity politics" (and, implicitly, focus on addressing the concerns of straight white men).
I have done, thank you, and am not using any such shorthand, whence my explicit avoidance of the usual phrase. The intelligent form of your 'popular assertion' (I mean this in the most logically-stringent sense; mine is the form of argument sharing this base sentiment which is worth considering and of which I am aware) is that there are ways to phrase the same desired outcomes that don't plausibly* come off as direct personal attacks on a majority of the current electorate.
Leaving aside the moral repugnance of such a position, its strategically ill-advised. The people who are offended by what is generally mislabeled "identity politics" are not, by and large, going to be won over. The Republicans are better at pandering to them, and to win that game we would have to be prepared to more or less entirely thrown women and minorities (ie the majority of the Democratic base) under the bus. And Republicans know that. When the Right tells us we need to throw minorities and women under the bus, they sure as hell aren't doing it out of concern for the best interests of the Democratic Party.

Counterpoint: Somewhere between 9 and 13% of 2012 Obama voters voted for Trump in 2016, which fact more than decides the election on it's face. Any time we can achieve the same thing without alienating significantly-significant swathes of the electorate, we should do that instead of the alternate case.
So its very disheartening to me to hear liberals repeating this meme. We need to be focussing on turning out the base- meaning a diverse coalition of young people, women, minorities, and college-educated white people. Not trying to assuage the insecurities of a demographically-shrinking pool of bitter, angry working class white men.
I would agree, except that nobody has yet managed to solve-for-base-turnout and I would way rather broaden the base and keep current base-turnout rates, especially if we can do this by simply making a few semantic changes.
Republican positions have shifted hard to the right. Trump pushes things that simply would not have been advanced by any other Republican President in recent decades.
I admit I'm less certain of this than other parts of the argument - my impression is that President Trump isn't doing anything that Republican presidents wouldn't have done if they thought they could get away with it, but this is easily explained as weird knock-on effects from the 2016 elections which were clearly corrected in the 2018 ones. Thoughts?
Democratic policies have perhaps shifted less... but there are major differences from the Clinton era. Gay rights is one obvious one. Universal health care has gained enormous ground as well (in both parties, actually, if you poll individual voters rather than the leadership).
I note that these are places where my heuristic doesn't work properly.

That said, universal health care suffers very severe 'what exactly does that actually mean in practice' problems, and is still net-unpassable; gay rights became a political nonissue so quickly that I suspect something very weird was going on in the surveys regarding them for about the 10 years prior to Obergefell v. Hodges. Please note, not committed to this and thought is based on anecdata and remembered NYT articles.

*Look, you and I both know that 'racism is a thing' doesn't mean 'all white people are basically KKK members,' but this distinction has not been made anything like clear enough and my anecdata suggest that we're shooting ourselves not just in the foot, but probably up to about the thigh through this kind of thing; this is especially true for people who's main forms of political engagement are online. Shibboleths are a thing, people perceive opposed groups as more sneaky than they are, and more flies are caught with honey.
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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by Avrjoe » 2018-12-01 04:46pm

Well look at marijuana law. It exposed what happens when political leaders try to keep oppressive laws on the books. They demonize an issue and convince voters to vote out of fear. They make extreme claims about the consequences of accepting a tolerant viewpoint on the issue. If they evidence doesn't support their narrative they make up evidence.

The real world examples show that civilization doesn't fall where weed is legal. A platform built on unfounded fear starts to crumble. People believe what they see over the talking points. Numbers start to swing toward acceptance. Chip away at the fear that promotes hate. Kill the vine from the root.
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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-01 05:04pm

Esquire wrote:
2018-12-01 04:05am
I have done, thank you, and am not using any such shorthand, whence my explicit avoidance of the usual phrase. The intelligent form of your 'popular assertion' (I mean this in the most logically-stringent sense; mine is the form of argument sharing this base sentiment which is worth considering and of which I am aware) is that there are ways to phrase the same desired outcomes that don't plausibly* come off as direct personal attacks on a majority of the current electorate.
Yeah, I know you're not trying to use it the way the Alt. Reich does. But it does nonetheless get used that way a lot.

Personally, though, I don't see how addressing racism and sexism as ongoing problems is something that a reasonable person would see as "direct personal attacks on the majority of the electorate". And I would frankly suspect the motives of anyone who did see it that way. If one sees attacks on racism or sexism as attacks on themselves... well, frankly, that seems like a tacit admission that they're racist/sexist.
Counterpoint: Somewhere between 9 and 13% of 2012 Obama voters voted for Trump in 2016, which fact more than decides the election on it's face. Any time we can achieve the same thing without alienating significantly-significant swathes of the electorate, we should do that instead of the alternate case.
But at the same time, if they voted for Obama, that suggests that they aren't terribly threatened by the advancement of non-white people.

Some of that swing can be put down to Hillary Clinton being personally a far inferior candidate to Barak Obama. I suppose there could also be some people who are more sexist than they are racist, and who can stomach a black President but not a female one. Misogyny runs very deep in our society.

[/quote] I would agree, except that nobody has yet managed to solve-for-base-turnout and I would way rather broaden the base and keep current base-turnout rates, especially if we can do this by simply making a few semantic changes.[/quote]

The point is that, moral bankruptcy of throwing the most vulnerable members of society under the bus for political expediency to appease the insecurities of bigots aside, I don't think "Shut up and stop talking about bigotry and discrimination" will actually broaden the base. I think we risk losing more by alienating minorities, women, and young voters, than we stand to gain by appeasing the insecurities of older white men. I'm not opposed to broadening the base by any means- but not at the expense of alienating voters we already have.
I admit I'm less certain of this than other parts of the argument - my impression is that President Trump isn't doing anything that Republican presidents wouldn't have done if they thought they could get away with it, but this is easily explained as weird knock-on effects from the 2016 elections which were clearly corrected in the 2018 ones. Thoughts?
I disagree. Some of Trump's policies are extensions of past mainstream Republican ideology. Others, however, cross lines his predecessors never would have. Just to take one example: after 9/11 George W. Bush made a point of telling the American people that we were not at war with Islam. Can you imagine for one second that Donald "Muslim Ban" Trump would have done the same in his shoes? With Bush's post-9/11 approval ratings and the excuse of national security to justify anything he wanted, Trump would more likely have gone full-dictator with concentration camps.

Tell me I'm wrong.
I note that these are places where my heuristic doesn't work properly.
But that's the point. How valid an argument is it, if you must acknowledge from the outside that there are multiple major exceptions to it on some of the most significant issues facing the country?
That said, universal health care suffers very severe 'what exactly does that actually mean in practice' problems, and is still net-unpassable; gay rights became a political nonissue so quickly that I suspect something very weird was going on in the surveys regarding them for about the 10 years prior to Obergefell v. Hodges. Please note, not committed to this and thought is based on anecdata and remembered NYT articles.
I'd question that gay rights is a non-issue, actually. There are lots of states where discrimination is still legal in various ways, Trump is trying to ban transgender people from the military (and erase recognition of transgender people altogether), and I bet you there'd be a challenge to gay marriage as a Constitutional right if the Republicans got a couple more Supreme Court seats. The country has shifted, but not so quickly or thoroughly as to suggest that the polls were way off all along.
*Look, you and I both know that 'racism is a thing' doesn't mean 'all white people are basically KKK members,' but this distinction has not been made anything like clear enough and my anecdata suggest that we're shooting ourselves not just in the foot, but probably up to about the thigh through this kind of thing; this is especially true for people who's main forms of political engagement are online. Shibboleths are a thing, people perceive opposed groups as more sneaky than they are, and more flies are caught with honey.
No major Democrat has suggested anything like "all white people are basically KKK members", or anything like that, to my knowledge. Sure, there are some progressive radicals who will say things like that, but they have basically no power or influence at the national level. That is largely just a straw man put forward by the Alt. Reich and its allies, a caricature of and "SJW agenda" waging a "war on white men". Its a stereotype designed to scare white people into thinking the Democrats are out to get them, not a reflection of reality.

Perhaps we need to do a better job of refuting that lie. But not by playing the Republicans' game and refusing to tackle bigotry and discrimination as issues. Because then we are letting them define the terms of the debate, and we know where that leads- they accuse anything to the Left of Mein Kampf of having "liberal bias" and the mainstream media and Democrats move further and further right, or automatically default to treating both sides as equal even when the facts don't support it, in a futile effort to silence the accusations of bias by proving how "moderate" they are.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals Sherman and Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"They are nearer to me than the other side, in thought and sentiment, though bitterly hostile personally. They are utterly lawless - the unhandiest devils in the world to deal with - but after all their faces are set Zion-wards."- Lincoln on radical Abolitionists.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by Esquire » 2018-12-03 12:29am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-12-01 05:04pm
Yeah, I know you're not trying to use it the way the Alt. Reich does. But it does nonetheless get used that way a lot.

Personally, though, I don't see how addressing racism and sexism as ongoing problems is something that a reasonable person would see as "direct personal attacks on the majority of the electorate". And I would frankly suspect the motives of anyone who did see it that way. If one sees attacks on racism or sexism as attacks on themselves... well, frankly, that seems like a tacit admission that they're racist/sexist.
This will be addressed more fully below, I just want to note that the actual intention isn't at all the point - it's that if even a couple of percent of undecided voters perceive it that way, we lose all elections before the demographic transition is complete due to how thin the probable-voters margins are.
But at the same time, if they voted for Obama, that suggests that they aren't terribly threatened by the advancement of non-white people.

Some of that swing can be put down to Hillary Clinton being personally a far inferior candidate to Barack Obama. I suppose there could also be some people who are more sexist than they are racist, and who can stomach a black President but not a female one. Misogyny runs very deep in our society.
Oh, absolutely. That's exactly the point - comparatively few people are bothered by the advancement of non-white people, as far as I can tell. rather more people are bothered by the implied threat of dragging down white people to the current level of non-white people, and in trying to tap into the base's growing interest in such issues without having to actually change policies, the Democratic Party has not specified where exactly they fall on this. Again, very thin margins mean this problem can have outsized impacts.
The point is that, moral bankruptcy of throwing the most vulnerable members of society under the bus for political expediency to appease the insecurities of bigots aside, I don't think "Shut up and stop talking about bigotry and discrimination" will actually broaden the base. I think we risk losing more by alienating minorities, women, and young voters, than we stand to gain by appeasing the insecurities of older white men. I'm not opposed to broadening the base by any means- but not at the expense of alienating voters we already have.
Look, again, we lost 9-13% of 2012 Obama voters in 2016, and therefore had two years with Republican domination of all three branches of government. They'll probably keep the Senate and the Supreme Court for at least the next one or two. This empirically did happen. Something about the above logic didn't hold up in the past, and I'm not willing to agree to try it again going forward unless you can explain why it will now.

I don't say 'stop trying to address bigotry and discrimination.' I say 'could we please try and implement the same policies in a way which doesn't alienate electorally-significant chunks of people who voted for us just last election.'
I disagree. Some of Trump's policies are extensions of past mainstream Republican ideology. Others, however, cross lines his predecessors never would have. Just to take one example: after 9/11 George W. Bush made a point of telling the American people that we were not at war with Islam. Can you imagine for one second that Donald "Muslim Ban" Trump would have done the same in his shoes? With Bush's post-9/11 approval ratings and the excuse of national security to justify anything he wanted, Trump would more likely have gone full-dictator with concentration camps.

Tell me I'm wrong.
Personally, I think actually starting two literal wars of aggression under differentially-specious justifications, killing many hundreds of thousands of people over the course of more than a decade, and destabilizing entire regions of the world for at least the foreseeable future is rather worse than enforcing plausible, if extreme and counter-productively cruel interpretations of actual US laws in an outrageously incompetent fashion for obviously self-aggrandizing reasons, but I'm willing to debate that. Plus, if President Bush had thought he was in as strong a postions as President Trump thinks he is, I would not have been at all surprised to see the same actions out of his administration.

I note that these are places where my heuristic doesn't work properly.
But that's the point. How valid an argument is it, if you must acknowledge from the outside that there are multiple major exceptions to it on some of the most significant issues facing the country?
That said, universal health care suffers very severe 'what exactly does that actually mean in practice' problems, and is still net-unpassable; gay rights became a political nonissue so quickly that I suspect something very weird was going on in the surveys regarding them for about the 10 years prior to Obergefell v. Hodges. Please note, not committed to this and thought is based on anecdata and remembered NYT articles.
I'd question that gay rights is a non-issue, actually. There are lots of states where discrimination is still legal in various ways, Trump is trying to ban transgender people from the military (and erase recognition of transgender people altogether), and I bet you there'd be a challenge to gay marriage as a Constitutional right if the Republicans got a couple more Supreme Court seats. The country has shifted, but not so quickly or thoroughly as to suggest that the polls were way off all along.
This is fair. I should have said something like 'gay rights are sufficiently popular as to no longer be a productive subject of national political debate,' meaning that although House Republicans may have said any number of insane things when the last Senate and President Obama were there to make those meaningless gestures, you'll note that nothing much was done when Republicans had solid control of all three branches of government. Don't mistake noise for activity.

This calculus does not apply to transgender rights as yet, but hopefully it will soon. Some delay is to be expected, if not necessarily accepted - there' something like 100 times fewer transgender people than homosexual people, after all, and much more strongly concentrated in politically-noncompetitive districts. Politicians, like all of us, respond to incentives.
No major Democrat has suggested anything like "all white people are basically KKK members", or anything like that, to my knowledge. Sure, there are some progressive radicals who will say things like that, but they have basically no power or influence at the national level. That is largely just a straw man put forward by the Alt. Reich and its allies, a caricature of and "SJW agenda" waging a "war on white men". Its a stereotype designed to scare white people into thinking the Democrats are out to get them, not a reflection of reality.

Perhaps we need to do a better job of refuting that lie. But not by playing the Republicans' game and refusing to tackle bigotry and discrimination as issues. Because then we are letting them define the terms of the debate, and we know where that leads- they accuse anything to the Left of Mein Kampf of having "liberal bias" and the mainstream media and Democrats move further and further right, or automatically default to treating both sides as equal even when the facts don't support it, in a futile effort to silence the accusations of bias by proving how "moderate" they are.
Again, noise and activity should not be confused. Obviously no even plausibly-electable Democrat could actually hold such a positon, but some small number of our own Tea Party equivalents do, or at least are willing to claim so over the Internet, and they are much louder than the press statements of Senators partially trying to appeal to these people as well as the rest of the party base. My proposal to the Democratic Party, as always, is to work out a set of concrete policy proposals and phrase them in terms of benefiting the broadest possible number of people as an obvious way to benefit in wider elections. For example, if we're going to try a basic income scheme (fingers crossed!), phrase it as being about benefiting the poor generally, not just minorities. This is semantics vs. potentially losing elections for the next couple of decades.

I am not fully addressing a separate problem here, because I need to be up early tomorrow, but it's also really important to note that a lot of the things which Democratic activists label as 'bigotry and discrimination' are at least not intuitively quite the sorts of things those words have historically meant. For example, affirmative action at the college level fairly empirically does not work as currently implemented, and according to at least a few studies actually produces net-worse outcomes for everybody involved; how does the Democratic Party think I should interpret this?

I think this is sort of labeling change is a better bet than steering into more controversial policy waters further Left, even though those are probably better policies, but would love to be proven wrong.
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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-02-24 08:16am

The thing with this is that conservativism has been built on certain assumptions and preconceptions (even the 'left' is built on such), then there is the fact that these preconceptions and assumptions get overturned or annihilated by technology. For quite some time -for example- our preconceptions and assumptions on rights and freedoms is based around their own preconceptions and assumptions on the human condition and the idea that they are 'solid' or 'rigid' across time and space when the reality is that they are incredibly fluid social-political structures that are entirely dependent on the technological context and the ability to enforce these rights and freedoms.

Sadly, not only did we find that humans have a hard limit on information density, we no longer have the tools to ensure that horrors we want to keep in the history books available to us thanks to things like the Internet. Hell, the 2016 US elections is a showcase on how bad technology has changed the game (the Trump-Russia Investigation has been painting a horrifying picture that 2016 isn't legitimate by the rules, traditions, and standards (however low they are) that the US has for it's elections thanks to Russian intelligence services). Democracy -of any form- relies that the body politic be able to know what is going on, and technology has removed that possibility the moment social media took off and companies like Google and Facebook started using algorithms to basically ensure that people get into their own bubbles of reality. Russia exploited this immensely from what the Trump-Russia investigation has revealed so far...

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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-02-24 10:42am

And your point is?..
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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by Proletarian » 2019-03-12 03:24am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-11-18 05:29pm
For generations, the political spectrum has traditionally be divided into a conservative "Right" and a reform-minded or liberal "Left". Many critiques have been made of this admittedly simple divide, and alternatives proposed.
Have you considered the possibility that the 'political spectrum' is an empty, idealistic abstraction, a kind of mental shorthand for concrete social processes which falsifies as much as it explains?
There are certainly many subdivisions within each larger category, and it is certainly possible for an individual to be liberal on some issues, and conservative on others. However, the division does, to me, illustrate a basic divide in how people view the world, at the most fundamental level- between those who embrace diversity and change, and those who fear it.
Nonsense. As has already been addressed on several occasions in this thread, from the vantage point of 'change' versus 'solidity' it is the left-liberal 'progressive', holding as he does to the mid-20th century mythology of the New Deal and the Butskellist post-war consensus, who falls squarely into the latter camp.

An observation to consider - the Republican Party today can claim more or less direct descent from the Whig Party of the United States. And while the two should by no means be taken as direct analogues, it was the Whig Party of Great Britain and the United Kingdom which bequeathed to us a vulgarly linear view of sociohistoric 'progress' - the Whiggish conception of history, the direct influence of which can be seen in Republican rhetoric concerning 'innovation' as a constant good.
The more that I have considered this question, the more I have come to the conclusion that fear is the fundamental basis to conservative ideology.
The fundamental basis of all ideology is... interest, hard and concrete, although it does not necessarily have to be (and typically is not) immediate self-interest. You are psychologizing a subject which belongs primarily, almost exclusively, to sociology.
Conservatism, by definition, seeks to conserve- to preserve a status quo that is deemed desirable or, in its more reactionary and extreme forms, to return society to a (generally imagined) idealized golden age, whether its the traditional (white) family and white picket fences of a Fifties sit-com, or the idealized America of the Founding Fathers, or a society based on Old Testament Biblical morality.
And this is functionally indistinguishable from the desires of left-liberals to retain Obama-era tax rates, or to remain in the European Union, or to retain laïcité in the face of a growing Muslim-conservative population.
Always, there is a drive to return to a so-called "simpler time"- simpler because the diversity and the complexity of the modern world has been surpressed.
Like the desire to return to themuch-lauded Eisenhower-era tax rates on the liberal-left, no doubt.
Certainly, there are many aspects of our contemporary society, and our past, that are worth preserving. But when Conservatism becomes the basis of one's entire approach to the world, it becomes a reactionary force striving to prevent any change or reform, and reformers and outsiders become threats and enemies.
"Conservatism" as a 'force' forces nothing. It holds no independent existence outside of social structures which sometimes have to behave in a 'conservative' fashion for the sake of their own self-preservation.
Refugee children become "foreigners coming to take your jobs" or "rapists and drug dealers" or "terrorists". Women become FemiNazis out to frame men for rape. Reformers seeking a more equitable society become "SJWs" trying to "ram a PC agenda down our throats".
All of this is true enough. But by the same token, liberalism embodies a "topsy-turvy world" of its own -
ome in which the media institutions which promulgates war on dishonest premises ought to be trusted implicitly, or in which nationalism is to be opposed, save when certain international actors operate within the purview of domestic politics, at which point it becomes the highest possible virtue - the loud nationalism of Trump and the soft-spoken patriotism of Atticus Finch are practically indistinguishable.
Ultimately, Conservatism as an ideology is based in a fear, resentment, and rejection of the unknown, in favor of a safe, familiar (if often imaginary) status quo. Imaginary, because the world doesn't actually work that way. It never has.
Ultimately, conservatism as an ideology is produced by the existence of certain concrete material interests - extractive industries, defense contractors, certain parts of the ideological apparatus like the Church - and nothing more. Individuals with no direct relation to these institutions might certainly be swayed towards conservatism for their own narrow reasons, but these reasons do not themselves create conservatism

And even in this respect it is as much the failures of progressivism - the existential inability of progressive Capital to self-critique and self-correct -and therefore to self-abolish - which engenders popular conservatism. If I were an African-American, I'd be every bit as wary of the Democratic Party - with its historical ties to the Ku Klux Klan (in the South, as against e.g. the Republican-oriented Indiana Klan) - and the legacy of American "progressivism" - which gave to us Woodrow Wilson, Tuskegee and the exclusion of African-Americans from the New Deal - as I would conservatism.
Take progressive depictions of ancient history in recent media. Every time you see a black person cast in a show taking place in Medieval Europe, for example, it is sure to be promptly followed by an outraged brigade of Right-wing white men protesting the supposed PC historical revisionism. They will often deny that they are motivated by racism, but insist that they only want "historical accuracy", and that we shouldn't "politicize entertainment". Which ignores, of course, that there actually were black people in ancient Europe- not as many as there are today, perhaps, but the Roman Empire was vast, and people traveled far upon its network of roads.
You have no objection from me here, save to say that this is not an either/or proposition: it is simultaneously true that racial and ethnic (and religious and sexual and gender) minorities are underrepresented in popular depictions of the past, to the point of erasure, and at the same time true that the primary reason for the recent uptick in 'corrective behavior' in this regard is essentially economic, an attempt to tap into the expanding market share of minority viewers.
Again and again you can find this pattern repeated throughout history- the world was never as insular, its cultures never as isolated, as modern Conservatives might like to believe. The Silk Road brought trade from Europe to Asia. Races weren't "pure" and separate. People didn't just keep to their "proper" place, and women were not always content with the role of sex object and baby-maker and domestic servant, before modern progressives came along. The world has always been bigger, and more complex, and more uncertain than the comforting simplicity of traditional pop culture history would have us believe.
Certainly. But the other side of the coin to this is that identitarian ethnocentrism popular on the "radical" (i.e. bourgeois) Left is also historically false. And simultaneously, as you admit yourself, the Whiggish conception of history as an eternally upwards movement towards Progress is ontologically false as well - in a very literal sense there is more stratification, less freedom, than a century ago.
But since conservatism is founded in a fear and rejection of change, it must attempt to hold back the currents of the world by force.
All ideology seeks to "hold back the currents of the world by force" - or, rather, the function of ideology is to enable certain movements of Capital to capture and hold power. This is why ideology must be gotten rid of.
And when it finds that reality does not fit its beliefs, it will be naturally predisposed to resort to ever-more despotic and violent extremes in an attempt to suppress inconvenient truths.
You are again ascribing to ideology a conscious function, an independent will. It has neither.
Ultimately, change is a universal constant of reality, perhaps the only truly universal constant that there is.
Yes, but in infinitely more complex ways than the Whiggish-progressive imagination allows for.

I could quote Marx at length, but you really need only read the introduction to The German Ideology. You are a Young Hegelian par excellance.
Since the Young Hegelians consider conceptions, thoughts, ideas, in fact all the products of consciousness, to which they attribute an independent existence, as the real chains of men (just as the Old Hegelians declared them the true bonds of human society) it is evident that the Young Hegelians have to fight only against these illusions of consciousness. Since, according to their fantasy, the relationships of men, all their doings, their chains and their limitations are products of their consciousness, the Young Hegelians logically put to men the moral postulate of exchanging their present consciousness for human, critical or egoistic consciousness, and thus of removing their limitations. This demand to change consciousness amounts to a demand to interpret reality in another way, i.e. to recognise it by means of another interpretation. The Young-Hegelian ideologists, in spite of their allegedly “world-shattering" statements, are the staunchest conservatives. The most recent of them have found the correct expression for their activity when they declare they are only fighting against “phrases.” They forget, however, that to these phrases they themselves are only opposing other phrases, and that they are in no way combating the real existing world when they are merely combating the phrases of this world.

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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by houser2112 » 2019-03-12 08:42am

Proletarian wrote:
2019-03-12 03:24am
An observation to consider - the Republican Party today can claim more or less direct descent from the Whig Party of the United States.
If I were an African-American, I'd be every bit as wary of the Democratic Party - with its historical ties to the Ku Klux Klan (in the South, as against e.g. the Republican-oriented Indiana Klan) - and the legacy of American "progressivism" - which gave to us Woodrow Wilson, Tuskegee and the exclusion of African-Americans from the New Deal - as I would conservatism.
It's really irritating when conservatives willfully deny that this happened:
Founded in 1854, the GOP originally subscribed to classical liberalism and took ideological stands that were anti-slavery and pro-economic reform. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president in the history of the United States. The Party was usually dominant over the Democrats during the Third Party System and Fourth Party System. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive ("Bull Moose") Party after being rejected by the GOP and ran unsuccessfully as a third-party presidential candidate calling for social reforms. After the 1912 election, many Roosevelt supporters left the Party, and the Party underwent an ideological shift to the right. Later in the 20th century, the liberal Republican element in the GOP was overwhelmed by a conservative surge begun by Barry Goldwater in 1964 and continued during the Reagan Era.

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party's core base shifted, with the Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics and the Northeastern states becoming more reliably Democratic. White voters increasingly identified with the Republican Party after the 1960s. Following the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party made opposition to abortion a key plank of its national party platform and grew its support among evangelicals. By 2000, the Republican Party was aligned with Christian conservatism. The Party's core support since the 1990s comes chiefly from the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and rural areas in the North.
Yes, the Republican Party of the mid-19th century was formed from the ashes of the Whig Party, but quite a lot has changed in the intervening years. Taking a position on civil rights in the 1960s such that the likes of Strom Thurmond see fit to defect to your party makes the modern Republicans' mantra of "We're the party of Lincoln!" ring extremely hollow. It's true, but in a very literal and superficial way.

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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by Proletarian » 2019-03-12 10:41am

houser2112 wrote:
2019-03-12 08:42am
Proletarian wrote:
2019-03-12 03:24am
An observation to consider - the Republican Party today can claim more or less direct descent from the Whig Party of the United States.
If I were an African-American, I'd be every bit as wary of the Democratic Party - with its historical ties to the Ku Klux Klan (in the South, as against e.g. the Republican-oriented Indiana Klan) - and the legacy of American "progressivism" - which gave to us Woodrow Wilson, Tuskegee and the exclusion of African-Americans from the New Deal - as I would conservatism.
It's really irritating when conservatives willfully deny that this happened... Yes, the Republican Party of the mid-19th century was formed from the ashes of the Whig Party, but quite a lot has changed in the intervening years. Taking a position on civil rights in the 1960s such that the likes of Strom Thurmond see fit to defect to your party makes the modern Republicans' mantra of "We're the party of Lincoln!" ring extremely hollow. It's true, but in a very literal and superficial way.
I'm not a conservative, and the (largely mythologized - the Republican Party had mostly ceased to be a vehicle for the advancement of African-American rights by the 1890s) Southern Strategy is irrelevant to my point. The point here, if I have to simplify it for you, isn't that the Republican Party is still "the Party of Lincoln" in some positive sense, but that "the Party of Lincoln" was awful too.

My other point was that contemporary American conservatism, as manifested in the Republican Party, in its endless chatter about 'innovation', in its ceaseless support for capitalist development, retains the same Whiggish - that is, naïvely 'progressive' - conceptualization of history it always has had, and shares that notion with the OP. An idealized vision of 'Progress' is intrinsic to capitalist triumphalism of the kind the Republican Party has always embodied, and cannot be separated from it.
Last edited by Proletarian on 2019-03-12 10:51am, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by Proletarian » 2019-03-12 10:41am

Double post

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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by ray245 » 2019-03-12 11:18am

I won't say conservativism is futile as a political ideology. Conservatism holds the cards of making social progress happens. Only when liberal ideas can be reformulated into a manner conservatives finds to be acceptable, did we see actual change being implemented.

Look at how the idea of being more socially progressive than the middle east was used by conservatives in the West. Liberalism becomes tied or connected to western civilisation.
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Re: On the Futility of Conservatism.

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2019-04-04 10:19am

ray245 wrote:
2019-03-12 11:18am
I won't say conservativism is futile as a political ideology. Conservatism holds the cards of making social progress happens. Only when liberal ideas can be reformulated into a manner conservatives finds to be acceptable, did we see actual change being implemented.
Or when old farts die. Or when material conditions alter, causing influxes of new ideas and lessening privation so the politics of fear lose sway.
Look at how the idea of being more socially progressive than the middle east was used by conservatives in the West. Liberalism becomes tied or connected to western civilisation.
That doesn't really prove your point, but you are correct to point out this interesting phenomenon of double-thinking - conservatives on one hand going "look at those primitives they need civilization" before acting in similar ways to the Taliban. Like when they become such bold feminists only when it's to score points against societies that they want to predate on.
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