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Posts Tagged ‘Conservatism’

Conservatism is measured and reliable.  Conservative foreign policy is where you embrace your allies and recognize your enemies.  That’s a long way from where we are today.  We’ve adopted a populist attitude that is a sugar high.
  —  Senator Jeff Flake
U.S. Senator (R) from Arizona
Quoted in the article “8 Questions
In Time Magazine dtd: 21 August 2017
Written by: Jack Brewster
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On This Day In:
2016 The Business Of Life
2015 Alone Again, Naturally
2014 Agreed
2013 Smile From Your Heart!
2012 Like You
2011 Got Days?
2010 K9 Humor – Has Anyone Seen My Setter? (Must read!!)
A Longer Blog Than You Want To Read (Probably)
2009 Back and Forth and Round Again…

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Best Of Enemies  (2015)  —  movie review
Today’s review is for the documentary “Best Of Enemies“.  The documentary purports to show the start of today’s version of acrimonious televised pundit’s political analysis by referencing back to a series of ten debates between conservative commentator William F. Buckley, Jr. and liberal commentator Gore Vidal which occurred during the 1968 Republican and Democratic conventions that summer.  The operative word in this last sentence being “televised”.  There should be no doubt that vitriolic personal animosity has always existed (to some lessor or greater degree) between the defenders of opposing sides in virtually every political debate – especially those which deal with “moral” issues.
First, as usual, full disclosure: as I’ve stated before on this blog, I am a life-long conservative Democrat.  I grew up a BIG fan of Buckley (from TV) and have almost complete ignorance of Vidal.  I have, of course, seen his image and probably seen him on TV, but I have never (to my recollection) read any of his books.  When I saw this documentary was available on Netflix, it immediately went to the top of my “must watch” list because I anticipated a contest between intellectual giants casting Zeus-like bolts at each other in their arguments of liberalism versus conservatism.  And this with the advantage of 50 years of history to underline which side prevailed (or at least was correct).
In the end, while fascinated and wildly entertained, I was sorely disappointed.  There is no “there” there (or should I say “there” here).
Instead, what we are treated with is a documentary demonstrating the art of the personal attack as a means – not of winning a debate – but as a means of diminishing one’s opponent, so as to appear to “win” a debate by means of embarrassment.  If this movie is to be believed, Vidal is the clear winner.  If history is the final judge, the answer is less certain.
Vidal opens with the defining challenge: can a party whose sole standing policy is greed, continue to gather enough support from the masses of the public (who live with the failures of capitalism) to elect Republican politicians in general and a President in specific.  Although, the conservative (Buckley) loses the debate, the answer is ‘yes’.  Not as resounding a “YES” as one might think, but a ‘yes’ none the less.  George Wallace splits the democratic vote in the South (with the Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey) and Richard Nixon goes on to win the Presidency.  And beyond that, for twenty of the next twenty-four years, the Republicans control the White House and the Executive Branch.
From this time reference, one might judge Republican conservatism to have been successful and therefore correct as a political theory or somehow “better” than Democratic liberalism.   Again, as I said earlier, the answer is less certain.  The record of history over the last 120 years is that Conservative Republican policies lead to (“cause” is probably too strong a word) economic failure:  the Great Depression, the Great Recession of the 80’s, the collapse of the Savings and Loans, the collapse of the American middle class and the recent recession and financial collapse (of 2007/08).  The sad truth is that the “party of business” doesn’t know how to run an economy when it is in power.
But I digress.  Final recommendation: strong, but qualified.  This is a documentary about how business executives learned to turn political news into confrontational entertainment.  And, similar to modern political punditry, it entertains without providing the foundation of the ideas upon which the two sides rest.  Just because it’s spicy doesn’t mean it’s filling.
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On This Day In:
2015 Positive Acts Of Creation
2014 One Thing Is Clear
2013 Corrections
See Greatness
2012 Gemutlichkeit
2011 Back On The Asphalt
It Is Just Not The Same

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“Republican candidates,” Vice President Nixon has said, “should be economic conservatives, but conservatives with a heart.”  President Eisenhower announced during his first term, “I am conservative when it comes to economic problems but liberal when it comes to human problems.”  Still other Republican leaders have insisted on calling themselves “progressive” Conservatives.”  These formulations are tantamount to an admission that Conservatism is a narrow, mechanistic economic theory that may work very well as a bookkeeper’s guide, but cannot be relied upon as a comprehensive political philosophy.
— Senator Barry Goldwater
Quoted from his book: “The Conscience Of A Conservative
[Isn’t it interesting that Senator Goldwater was able to tell us over 50 years ago EXACTLY what the problem is with Conservatism in the United States.  In fact, he did not go far enough, because he should have stated not that it could not be relied upon, but that it would ultimately fail miserably for a functioning government in a country moving to a post-manufacturing society.  Note: I did NOT say “post-industrial”.  We have industries.  We simply don’t manufacture enough solid, tangible goods to support our society and our economic welfare.  I would argue the current Republicans are NOT Conservatives at all.  They are Corporatists.  They are not interested in personal freedom.  They ARE interested in Corporate profits.  Full stop.  —  KMAB]
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