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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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  1. Avatar Aziz Poonawalla
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    says:

    Thanks for the mention! I agree that the phenomenon is probably not unique to conservatism, but I think it is more likely due to the movement status that conservatism had achieved. The way you broke the features of movement status down into the Hero/Radio/Cult components does offer some hope that the liberal wave that is cresting at the moment will not fall prey to the same thing, because at present none of those elements exist (though I can see Obama becoming the Reagan Hero of future liberal generations, if he is successful in his economic policies).

    The other two – talking head cults and talk radio dogmatism – are unlikely to gain as much power on the left as they did on the right, because of the fundamentally perpetually-crashing-the-gate mindset of the progressive left. The left routinely targets media figures and pundits for its excoriation and has been severely critical of Obama for not being progressive enough, being too accomodating of the “irrelevent” right, etc.

    Thus far, Obama’s policies have been profoundly middle of the road, with some bold ideas but not too many. What i see evolving is a stable system here, where the far left and the right apply stabilizing pressure on both sides. A good analogy might be the Church and the King during the middle ages in England, where each opposed the other and in the inerstices, freedom was able to flourish (to paraphrase Fareed Zakaria from his book, “The Future of Freedom”).

    Obama retains extreme popular support thus far and that is on the basis of his largely moderate approach. No successor to him is going to risk changing teh formula, either.Report

  2. Avatar Mark Thompson
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    says:

    Aziz:
    Very interesting thoughts, much as your original post. One clarification – the terms Talk Radio Dogmatism, etc. are phrases that E.D., Alex Massie, and I all came up with independently to describe particular attributes of movement conservatism at the moment, specifically. The phrases as I use them here are very much short-hand for much lengthier analyses of which the linked posts are only a small part, but they are definitely intended to apply specifically to movement conservatism and not to any hypothetical movement liberalism.

    What your post, and especially that quote, does is to unintentionally and yet beautifully synthesize the underlying but unstated principles of those arguments. It really is a fantastic post.

    Interesting point about stability. The concept of divided government allowing liberty to flourish isn’t new, of course (see the Divided We Stand blog on our blogroll). But the idea of having two hyper-partisan movements cancelling each other out regardless of which is nominally in power….I had never thought on that before.Report

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