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Howard Doughty

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About Howard Doughty

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  1. A Last Stab at Conservatism Before abandoning the discussion of the "true meaning" of conservatism, I'd like to look at Tim Gratz's contention that the values for which American revolutionaries fought were "conservative values" and that it is therefore possible for Edmund Burke (among many others) to claim to be, simultaneously "conservatives" and "revolutionaries." I disagree. I do not think that the American War of Independence was a "revolution" and I do not think it was fought for "conservative values." The leaders of the American cause were plutocrats - either southern plantation (and
  2. The Morality of Taxation The legitimacy of taxation depends in general on whether citizens are expected to contribute some fair share to the collective burden of civil society. Most people would, I think, agree that taxation in general is legitimate. What separates them are two questions. First, how should the common goods be apportioned (e.g., health care, education and physical infrastructure) and to what degree should taxation contribute to the redistribution of wealth from the wealthy to the poor. Some will say that taxes should be allocated mainly to common needs. The maintainance of t
  3. Two Quick Thoughts on Hegel and Castro I am indeed familiar with dialectics – both in their idealist (Hegelian) and materialist (Marxian) forms. The trouble is that when, I think about the subject, my head hurts. There is no doubt that when two social systems, political institutions, religious doctrines or what not clash, there is a possibility that something more advanced will come from the conflict. Thesis + antithesis = synthesis. I doubt, however, that Marx ever saw things in terms of such neat logical processes. Moreover, I cannot be sure, but I do not think that he ever used the phrase
  4. Lee Harvey Oswald and His Mother I do not know who killed John F. Kennedy. I expect that I shall go to my grave without having had a satisfactory answer to the question: "Who shot JFK?" I suspect that the answer will never be forthcoming. I happen to believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the shooter. I also believe that some sort of conspiracy was involved. I do not know who participated in the conspiracy. The list of suspects is endless. Individuals such as Sam Giancana, organizations such as the FBI and the CIA, vaguely defined groups such as anti-Castro expatriate Cubans and, of course,
  5. Locke, Louis Hartz and the Centrality of Property Although in more than one way I agree with the statement that the American Revolution was fought for conservative ideals, I think that the very desire to parse of the "ideals" may be one of the underlying problems leading to confusion as to what does or does not count as the stuff and substance of any particular ideology. I suggest a materialist alternative. One way to cut through the confusion about who is or is not a conservative, liberal or socialist (or anarchist or fascist, etc.) is to re-focus on the term that provides the umbrella unde
  6. Taxonomic Laxities and The Ambiguities of Edmund Burke Tim Gratz writes: I consider myself a "traditionalist conservative" and goes on to identify his position as one derived ultimately from the late 18th century. He says that "the 'father' of traditional conservatism is the famous English statesman Edmund Burke." Apart from the fact that some would consider Edmund Burke to be Irish (the importance of the electors of Bristol notwithstanding) and not much of a statesman, Mr. Gratz's comments serve a good purpose by underscoring the difficulties associated with applying general labels to differ
  7. I suppose that depends on what kind of socialist. Ultimately, of course, the emancipation of the individual is the aim of socialism as well as liberalism. In the interim, however, social programs such as the compulsory public education, the National Health (medicare in Canada), the enablement of trade unionism separate mildly socialist measures in Britain and Canada from the robust selfishness of American liberalism in the form of school vouchers, private health insurance and "right to work" laws. One thing that may have shaped my view on the matter is not so much Marx (where socialism is
  8. The Trouble with Conservatism Concern about not having a conservative voice is well founded. That is partly because the term conservative is so badly used, especially by those for whom it is a self-descriptor. Before stating what I think conservatism is (or should be), I think it is important to say what it is not. One available definition is that conservatism is that political ideology that strives to defend the status quo, that it is the tendency to believe in and to act in support of those who are recognized as having political authority, the social influence and the economic power to do
  9. WHICH MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX? All that I can say with confidence is that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the shooter. I have this on good authority. In 1966, I had the opportunity to speak at length with his mother and she assured me that "Lee did not do it." I saw then and I see now no reason to doubt her. This, however, does not help much in deciding who was truly responsible. The "military-industrial complex" is, I fear, too unwieldy a term. Its composition is too diverse and its organization too loose to sustain a successful conspiracy. Instead it is necessary to focus on specific element
  10. Occupation: teacher of philosophy, politics ("Professor") Institution: Seneca College - Toronto, Ontario, Canada for the past 36 years and more - also taught at University of Hawaii (Honolulu) and York University (Toronto). Author of about 300 books, articles, reviews, newspaper bits, scholarly papers and the like. Why join? Persistent interest in making the world better, explaining to people what's the matter with it, learning from people how I might help
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