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Problem with Conservatives


John Simkin
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The problem with conservatives is that they like to live in the past. Kenneth Clark, who held right-wing opinions, admitted that: "To do as our fathers did is not to do as our fathers did."

It’s difficult to see a clear outline of many policy differences between the Conservatives and liberals anymore.

In the USA the underlying platform for Conservatives used to be less central Government (or just less government). By contrast Liberals were thought to advocate a greater role for government in peoples' lives (i.e. people couldn't think for themselves and certainly couldn't care for themselves).

Since then (this paradigm I believe ended at least a decade ago) both groups seem to be shifting towards a larger role in central government (esp. in such matters as the Patriot Act, War Powers, and Emergency management, etc. (Hurricane Katrina notwithstanding).

Although there are some services and entitlements that should be provided for and regulated by central government, this would be an ideal time for a paradigm shift for the Democratic Party in the US (that is a smaller less expensive and less intrusive Federal Government).

The war on drugs has been a disaster in the US. Our prisons are filled with the greatest number of prisoners per capita in US history (largely due to federal law and sentencing requirements), The Criminal justice system is overloaded to the point of being hamstrung, and the US prison system has been declared to be unacceptable with respect to human rights abuses by (the UN?).

Most reasons for conservative points of view on my part (in the past), have vanished and I see the once conservative Republican Party as staunch advocates of Big Government, massive spending, execution of foreign policy through force, impotent foreign policy with respect to autocratic and expanding militaristic powers in the world.

As for the Bush administration---Amnesty International’s yearly report condemning the United States conduct in the war on terror. “I have a copy of Amnesty International’s report here, which includes a section on the United States,” he said. “The organization has concluded that the United States IS NOW THE PRINCIPLE VIOLATOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS WORLDWIDE.” (Vladimir Putin).

Russia is organizing in the same mold as pre perestroika. China is fast becoming probably the largest and maybe deadliest military force on earth.

The US is so wrapped up in the Mideast, we would have trouble handling a military issue in someplace like the Mideast or Africa, let alone an additional one or two ocean war. I say this not to advocate war or war mongering, but in the spirit of deterrence and non-involvement unless a direct threat to the US is present.

The Democrats have an opportunity in the USA to become the champions of downsizing a big Federal Government, and to begin extricating the US of involvement in all of the roles which we handle so poorly due to the fast changing world and our difficulty in changing with it. Domestically, for subjects like education, we need the help of the Federal Government, but not their heavy handed administration. And so on it goes. We are too large a country to model ourselves after say Finland or even Canada (which has a far too burdensome Central Government anyway).

There has always been a very large group in the US opposed to big Government. The next major political party to tap into that sentiment will do well by it. Prior to the New Deal, the Democrats were anti big Government, when that changed to a Republican hail and cry, many democrats changed sides (Ronald Reagan talked about this when he ran for President in his first election, talking down big government, and that he was a Democrat and jumped ship when the GOP grabbed the anti big Government mantle). Maybe it’s time for the Dems to take up the battle against big government.

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The war on drugs has been a disaster in the US. Our prisons are filled with the greatest number of prisoners per capita in US history (largely due to federal law and sentencing requirements), The Criminal justice system is overloaded to the point of being hamstrung, and the US prison system has been declared to be unacceptable with respect to human rights abuses by (the UN?).

There seems to be a greater and greater call for the 'war on drugs' to be abandoned. Treat drug use as a disease, not a crime. I'm interested in how other countries have dealt with the problem? I understand the Netherlands have gone down the decriminalisation road - how has that turned out? So far, it seems we are badly losing the war on drugs.

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The war on drugs has been a disaster in the US. Our prisons are filled with the greatest number of prisoners per capita in US history (largely due to federal law and sentencing requirements), The Criminal justice system is overloaded to the point of being hamstrung, and the US prison system has been declared to be unacceptable with respect to human rights abuses by (the UN?).

There seems to be a greater and greater call for the 'war on drugs' to be abandoned. Treat drug use as a disease, not a crime. I'm interested in how other countries have dealt with the problem? I understand the Netherlands have gone down the decriminalisation road - how has that turned out? So far, it seems we are badly losing the war on drugs.

I don't know much about the Netherlands success against the criminal element, having to a large degree decriminalized drugs, but places like Amsterdam are portrayed as having a large criminal element in proximity due to the clearinghouse effect that exists because of their liberal criminal laws relating to drugs. That is only my impression from television and the media. If only one or two European countries decrimnalize drugs, then IMO they would be a logical base of operation for criminals operating/dealing in other countires.

Countries which are large or isolated would seem to benefit to a much larger degree. Again that is only my opinion.

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The war on drugs has been a disaster in the US. Our prisons are filled with the greatest number of prisoners per capita in US history (largely due to federal law and sentencing requirements), The Criminal justice system is overloaded to the point of being hamstrung, and the US prison system has been declared to be unacceptable with respect to human rights abuses by (the UN?).

There seems to be a greater and greater call for the 'war on drugs' to be abandoned. Treat drug use as a disease, not a crime. I'm interested in how other countries have dealt with the problem? I understand the Netherlands have gone down the decriminalisation road - how has that turned out? So far, it seems we are badly losing the war on drugs.

US gun laws might be an example of ineffective gun control if some states ban the sale of handguns and some states allow unrestricted handgun handgun sales, gunrunning across state lines becomes a criminal enterprise.

For one or two European countries to decriminalize or liberalize laws for the "lesser" types/quantities of drugs would likely invite some amount of criminal enterprise for criminals operating/dealing in harsher countries using the liberal spots as bases for operation (just my opinion).

Edited by Peter McKenna
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"To do as our fathers did is not to do as our fathers did." - interesting. Others have commented on the flip-flop through generations where the grandfather is revisited in the grandchildren.

Some early commentators on Conservatism have said something along the line of 'if it works, why fix it?'.

Sometimes the best way of getting someone to do something is to tell them not to. At the same time what a wonderful world it would be if True Elders were esteemed and obeyed by youth as a primciple indicating wisdom on the part of youth.

In a Conservative Consumer Society with ads and other applications of pavlovian techniques, the Elder is a nuisance that if listened to can hamper profit flows. As well the Elder sees the broad picture and remembers the past/history and hence can avoid or advice in the avoidance of mistakes. ie. a climate where Elders are devalued is desirable to Conservatism. It's a power thing.

"The problem with conservatives is that they like to live in the past."

A conservative conundrum, perhaps dealt with by creating eternal chaos that begs eternal sorting out of the chaos. An aspect of divide and rule? The more things change...

___________

If many drugs are decriminalised then price, availability and quality control can be imposed. This would undermine a huge segment of related crimes such as burglary to support a habit. It would also de-stigmatise the drug user, thus becomeing more ready to hear allied to supply, the options re. rehabilitation. Many parents would be happy to have their chidren thus avoiding OD'ing in a lonely alley somewhere.

In some traditional societies where opium, for example. is freely available, the youth are not interested, they've got better things to do and the elderly nearing death with some painful dis ease can rest peacefully and painlessly.

In the raw form many drugs serve a medicinal purposes as well as being used in rituals that binds the society together.

There is an australian variety of a plant that when chewed enables tha barefoot hunter to run through harsh bush and ignore minor wounds enabling the gathering of food.

It's not the decriminalising of drugs in Netherlands that's the problem. It's the non-decriminalising in other countries that is the problem. Decriminalise universally and a massive industry will collapse, burglary and other crimes that may (do often) involve violence would decrease dramatically. Deaths of youth, massive incarceration rates (and the associated recidivism) et.c. would decrease dramatically.

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The problem with conservatives is that they like to live in the past. Kenneth Clark, who held right-wing opinions, admitted that: "To do as our fathers did is not to do as our fathers did."

It’s difficult to see a clear outline of many policy differences between the Conservatives and liberals anymore.

In the USA the underlying platform for Conservatives used to be less central Government (or just less government). By contrast Liberals were thought to advocate a greater role for government in peoples' lives (i.e. people couldn't think for themselves and certainly couldn't care for themselves).

In my view, conservatives are people who try to maintain the status quo. In some senses everyone is a conservative. When Norman Mailer stood for the post of mayor of New York City he described himself as a "left-wing conservative". For example, I am a conservative about certain moral values but am extremely radical on economic issues.

I can understand Americans being very confused about the link between conservatism and big government. It has been a common election slogan for those on the right to be against big government (high government spending). However, when in government, they always increase government spending (most of it going on the arms industry).

On the UK there are few policy differences between the Conservative Party and the New Labour government. This was reflected in the decision to support the invasion of Iraq. However, there is a division between the leaders of these two parties and the electorate. Public opinion polls show that on several issues, the people are to the left of the status quo defended by New Labour and the Tories. Unfortunately, because of our corrupt election system, this is not reflected in the political opinions of the people who rule us.

It's not the decriminalising of drugs in Netherlands that's the problem. It's the non-decriminalising in other countries that is the problem. Decriminalise universally and a massive industry will collapse, burglary and other crimes that may (do often) involve violence would decrease dramatically. Deaths of youth, massive incarceration rates (and the associated recidivism) et.c. would decrease dramatically.

I agree entirely.

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It's a very interesting topic.

The premise of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" is quite valid.... but we must also consider the premise of "We have always done it that way here". That premise abhors change and / or improvement.

So what is the best compromise between the two?

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The problem with conservatives is that, by definition, they want to retain the status quo, and not allow new changes toward the positive.

-Have slavery - all the conservatives think it fine, retain it. [No slave or oppressed person has ever been a 'conservative']

This is not true. Karl Marx spent a lot of time writing about the concept of "false political consciousness". One of the reasons Marx was against state education. In the UK we have always had the problem of the "working class conservative". Is is very closely connected to the authoritarian personality created by the capitalist system. I believe in the US you have something called the "blue-collar right-wing Republican voter". I would argue that Tim Gratz falls into this category. Someone who is clearly suffering from "false political consciousness". What is interesting is that it is often someone at the bottom of the pile that embraces this ideology with a certain amount of enthusiasm. Something illustrated by the Jewish concentration guard.

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The problem with conservatives is that, by definition, they want to retain the status quo, and not allow new changes toward the positive.

-Have slavery - all the conservatives think it fine, retain it. [No slave or oppressed person has ever been a 'conservative']

This is not true. Karl Marx spent a lot of time writing about the concept of "false political consciousness". One of the reasons Marx was against state education. In the UK we have always had the problem of the "working class conservative". Is is very closely connected to the authoritarian personality created by the capitalist system. I believe in the US you have something called the "blue-collar right-wing Republican voter". I would argue that Tim Gratz falls into this category. Someone who is clearly suffering from "false political consciousness". What is interesting is that it is often someone at the bottom of the pile that embraces this ideology with a certain amount of enthusiasm. Something illustrated by the Jewish concentration guard.

Tim's a wage slave (like most of us, expendable) living in overpriced dormitories (suburbs) working to pay for the priviledge of living in overpriced dormitories and working to pay for the priviledge of living in overpriced (ad infinitum) distracted by shiny toys and crumbs from 'the Masters Table'. His Petit Bourgeoisie sentiments are leaning in faour of his slavers. It need not be so.

"Something illustrated by the Jewish concentration guard." - an apt illustration (though at the extreme end of the spectrum). The Share croppers/small store owners that killed Emmett Till would do as well. Ditto the law enforcement officers that killed the 'Mississippi Three' and those that aided before (MSC) and after (the legal systems leeches) are more contemptible.

The Jewish concentration guard was always in danger of becoming 'aware' or politicised. The Nazis dealt with it by making a team the victim of the next team on a regular basis to avoid the 'coming to awareness'. The horror was a prime motivator and one must approach this one in many cases with understanding and fogiveness.

Idi Amin had a 'technique' where the 'undesirables' were lined up facing each others back. The second in line was given a hammer and the person never knew whether he/she would be the last to use it on the head of the person in front after handing it to the person behind.

The child 'soldier' in Mozambique kidnapped, parents/siblings/friends violated, lkilled, or dismembered. then given training and carrying out orders. Then the war ends and a period of reconciliation and redemption follows hopefully with resconciliation.

Buddha converted one of the most notorious highway/forest robber/killers of all time. This person then spent the rest of his life going to all who had suffered from his actions and sought redemption, he was met by forgiveness and stones.

It is those, like Beckwith and Emmett Tills killers who DID have a choice all along, but lived in a society where a large segment applauded them and 'intelligent' (Sociopaths/Psychopaths) persons developed miseginist philosophies that bolstered them. that are most condemnable. These are the true (Marx) Lumpen elements of a conservative society. (IMO)

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It's a very interesting topic.

The premise of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" is quite valid.... but we must also consider the premise of "We have always done it that way here". That premise abhors change and / or improvement.

So what is the best compromise between the two?

Amazingly what is passing off as conservative government, these days, is the diametric opposite of what a conservative philosophy used to be in the not too distant past.

Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, both self styled conservatives, have spoken out in favor of a Presidential line item veto. A line item veto, if you haven’t heard of it, would give the President the power to editorialize the legislature brought before him. Line item veto would allow him to erase lines, sections, or whole chapters of bills, allowing the bill to be passed in its altered state rather than be vetoed.

The line item veto would allow the changing of bills substantially, giving the President nominal legislative power.

George Will, a conservative voice, and who is often poignant in his opinions, offers the following:

“After a century of the growth of presidential power and after eight years of especially aggressive assertions of presidential prerogatives, it would be unseemly to intensify this tendency with a line-item veto. Conservatives used to be the designated worriers about the evolution of the presidency into the engine of grandiose government. They should visit the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in the National Archives building on Constitution Avenue. There the Constitution is displayed under four large glass plates. Almost half of the glass is required to cover just Article One. That concerns the legislative branch, which is the government’s “first branch” for a reason.”

The current administration has shifted the balance of power in Washington towards the executive dramatically. I don’t think that the executive branch has ever held such a political advantage (judicial nominations sympathetic to the executive, bills giving the executive broad and vaguely defined powers via Patriot Act, etc. etc.).

This concentration of such power in one branch of the US government used to be the antithesis of a conservative philosophy in government. Granting the executive the line item veto is definitely not the direction we should take if we wish to maintain a balanced government.

Thomas Jefferson would roll over in his grave if he were aware of the current state of affairs.

Anyway, my definition of conservative is far different from the current offerings that the Republican Party is trying to pass off as conservative. I would like to see the government steer towards what the framers of the constitution considered to be States’ rights, along the lines of James Madison’s or Thomas Jefferson’s ideas of a “Constitutional Government”.

Edited by Peter McKenna
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Guest David Guyatt

The problem with our corrupt political system is that it wasn’t designed to be truly representative nor reflect the generally held views of the population. That’s why it’s corrupt.

The British political system was predicated on the elite understanding that the people cannot be trusted to make the right choices (I think they can, of course) and that it is up to the elite to make the choices for them. The history of the late 18th century and 19th century control of the British political system reflects this reality very clearly.

Today the elite is composed of big business who operate hand-in-glove with the government. Big business is likewise corrupt and (to an extent) also operates hand-in-glove with organised crime – providing the latter has been sufficiently well “bleached” to make it smell and appear sweet..

I would also strongly argue that the “war on drugs” is simply another example of the most cynical political misdirection that is regularly perpetrated on people. The “war”, such as it is, is about whom controls the drugs trade – a sort of covert government licensed franchise – then it is about ridding drugs from the streets. Any global industry that is estimated to generate over a trillion dollars in annual gross revenue cannot be halted. Instead it is harnessed… one reason why war and the arms industry usually occupy the same ground as the narcotics industry – and why the banking banking is so intimately involved with all of them (removed to an arms length role obviously).

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It's a very interesting topic.

The premise of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" is quite valid.... but we must also consider the premise of "We have always done it that way here". That premise abhors change and / or improvement.

So what is the best compromise between the two?

Amazingly what is passing off as conservative government, these days, is the diametric opposite of what a conservative philosophy used to be in the not too distant past.

Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, both self styled conservatives, have spoken out in favor of a Presidential line item veto. A line item veto, if you haven’t heard of it, would give the President the power to editorialize the legislature brought before him. Line item veto would allow him to erase lines, sections, or whole chapters of bills, allowing the bill to be passed in its altered state rather than be vetoed.

The line item veto would allow the changing of bills substantially, giving the President nominal legislative power.

George Will, a conservative voice, and who is often poignant in his opinions, offers the following:

“After a century of the growth of presidential power and after eight years of especially aggressive assertions of presidential prerogatives, it would be unseemly to intensify this tendency with a line-item veto. Conservatives used to be the designated worriers about the evolution of the presidency into the engine of grandiose government. They should visit the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in the National Archives building on Constitution Avenue. There the Constitution is displayed under four large glass plates. Almost half of the glass is required to cover just Article One. That concerns the legislative branch, which is the government’s “first branch” for a reason.”

The current administration has shifted the balance of power in Washington towards the executive dramatically. I don’t think that the executive branch has ever held such a political advantage (judicial nominations sympathetic to the executive, bills giving the executive broad and vaguely defined powers via Patriot Act, etc. etc.).

This concentration of such power in one branch of the US government used to be the antithesis of a conservative philosophy in government. Granting the executive the line item veto is definitely not the direction we should take if we wish to maintain a balanced government.

Thomas Jefferson would roll over in his grave if he were aware of the current state of affairs.

Anyway, my definition of conservative is far different from the current offerings that the Republican Party is trying to pass off as conservative. I would like to see the government steer towards what the framers of the constitution considered to be States’ rights, along the lines of James Madison’s or Thomas Jefferson’s ideas of a “Constitutional Government”.

Giuliana and Romney aren't conservatives, not even close.

Metrosexuals, yes - conservatives, no.

I certainly agree with the last several paragraphs of your post.

But Thomas Jefferson (and James Madison) would also likely be shocked by our tax structure, by our welfare systems, and by our gun contol laws.

And the Republican party is certainly not conservative anymore.

Dennis Hastert and Tom Delay are not conservatives, by a long shot.

Nor is President Bush.

The Republican party, like most of the Democratic party, stands for whatever it takes to get elected, save a few pet issues.

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Guest Gary Loughran
I would also strongly argue that the “war on drugs” is simply another example of the most cynical political misdirection that is regularly perpetrated on people. The “war”, such as it is, is about whom controls the drugs trade – a sort of covert government licensed franchise – then it is about ridding drugs from the streets. Any global industry that is estimated to generate over a trillion dollars in annual gross revenue cannot be halted. Instead it is harnessed… one reason why war and the arms industry usually occupy the same ground as the narcotics industry – and why the banking banking is so intimately involved with all of them (removed to an arms length role obviously).

David,

I was coming home from work to post in essence the above; particularly that emboldened above. I was, just before coming to this thread, researching an estimate for the industry turnover (which you've provided to more or less the same degree). Of course, your phrasology and eloquence, being that much better. Fools seldom differ :ice

...removed to an arms length role obviously...profit also proportional to trade in the arms industry, allegedly. Sorry if I've been too literal with your pun :D

As an aside, David, I see UBS has just posted $10 billion or so losses, due to sub-prime primarily. More than last years profits as well as expecting a total loss for 2007. Some Singapore bank has covered these losses with a similar cash injection. I'd appreciate a prognosis, by PM or another thread to avoid disruption here. On the other hand this could be part of the problem with conservatives :)

Gary

Edited by Gary Loughran
added billion. $10 just didn't seem like much
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Guest David Guyatt
I would also strongly argue that the “war on drugs” is simply another example of the most cynical political misdirection that is regularly perpetrated on people. The “war”, such as it is, is about whom controls the drugs trade – a sort of covert government licensed franchise – then it is about ridding drugs from the streets. Any global industry that is estimated to generate over a trillion dollars in annual gross revenue cannot be halted. Instead it is harnessed… one reason why war and the arms industry usually occupy the same ground as the narcotics industry – and why the banking banking is so intimately involved with all of them (removed to an arms length role obviously).

David,

I was coming home from work to post in essence the above; particularly that emboldened above. I was, just before coming to this thread, researching an estimate for the industry turnover (which you've provided to more or less the same degree). Of course, your phrasology and eloquence, being that much better. Fools seldom differ :ice

...removed to an arms length role obviously...profit also proportional to trade in the arms industry, allegedly. Sorry if I've been too literal with your pun :D

As an aside, David, I see UBS has just posted $10 billion or so losses, due to sub-prime primarily. More than last years profits as well as expecting a total loss for 2007. Some Singapore bank has covered these losses with a similar cash injection. I'd appreciate a prognosis, by PM or another thread to avoid disruption here. On the other hand this could be part of the problem with conservatives :)

Gary

Hi Gary, yes I saw the loss posted by UBS on the sub prime fallout. Greed knows no bounds, eh.

I'm always very cautious about the profits posted by the major banks. These, in my opinion, do not reflect the actualite. I remember when Midland was bought out by HongShang Bank, after Midland had suffered terrible losses over its lending to third world sovereign nations (that everyone knew could not be repaid). It was the Bank of England that engineered the takeover by HongShang (Midland's then Chairman, Sir Kit McMahon was previously a deputy governor of the Old Lady btw) because HSBC were coming home from HongKong in time for the Chinese to take possession of the Colony. But the problem was that HSBC were also broke. There was a "blackhole" in their balance sheet that was never made public - not even to this day.

So the question naturally arises: how does a bankrupt bank buy out a bankrupt bank? And why would the Bank of England arrange such a marriage?

Next question: how does a bank that was bankrupt just two or three years earlier, then return record profits taking it to the number two spot (I seem to recall) in the worlds top ten banks and thereafter go on to become amongst the top five year on year.

Ditto Citibank. Bust one year. Dominating the next.

Both end up buying a tower apiece on Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs. Each tower is identical albeit a little shorter than One Canada Square. All three make up an interesting triangle - beloved of the secret handshake brigade:

canary_wharf_02.jpg

Most interestingly, both banks jointly planned to move in to their new quaters on the same day. Very pally. But then one of them changed their minds. Interesting non-the-less, I thought.

Edited by David Guyatt
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