Toward a positive conservatism


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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36 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    The problem i think is that self-righteous rage is addictive. once you get used to that, anything less seems like weak tea.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

      @greginak, I think that’s very true. It’s also very easy to slip into that in this particular medium, which lends itself so well to snark and vitriol, and as you put it – addictive self-righteous rage.Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    I think Kevin Drum has written a bit about how the Tea Party people are not new in any way. They are core conservatives and there have been loud rage filled groups of conservatives before ( the John Birch society and the militia movement being two examples). To a degree when circumstances, mostly the economy, improve a lot of that rage subsides. On the other hand i think there is a subset of the conservative movement that will never except any Democrat as president. If Jim Webb became prez, even with his life story and politics, there are conservatives who will shriek about how they are losing their country and everything is going to hell.

    Liberals are The Other to many conservatives and that just isn’t going to change. Some of what you are asking the conservative movement to do is let their gaurd down while the The Other stalks them.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Liberals are The Other to many conservatives

    And vice versa. Frum, who holds, so far as I can tell, no ideas that are not extremely conservative is branded a “liberal” for his few apostasies to the movement, and he’s not alone.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    how loathsome the right-wing punditry can be

    And it is. Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, Beck, Kristol, Hewitt, and McCarthy are disgraces to humanity, and apparently Sowell is working hard to achieve that status.Report

    • Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

      @Mike Schilling,

      Ah that ignoble band of grifters. How they squeeze the rubes with such panache and skill that the dupes never even think it possible that the ones pulling the wool over their eyes are their own great illuminators.Report

  5. Avatar Rufus says:

    What do you do when liberals are right? You’ve hit on a fairly positive approach when they’re wrong. The older I get, the less affiliated I feel with anyone. Sometimes, I agree with the guy next door. But it seems to me that liberals are right about 20 % of the time and conservatives are right about 20% of the time, and the trick is knowing when and ignoring them the rest of the time.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    This also dates back to the whole High Road/Low Road thing.

    A positive conservativism… well. We’ll see if it works. But to some suggestions (e.g., “We should do X!”), the suggested thing is so bad that saying “no, we shouldn’t” ought to be sufficient.

    Let’s look at the Iraq War.

    On the one hand, we could say “well, let’s explore this whole ‘WMD’ thing a little closer, let’s look at the costs for the war, for the price of 1,000,000,000,000 maybe we could make some nuclear reactors and develop battery technologies that could make us completely energy independent and, more importantly, we could then sell the technology (at least the battery technology) to other countries and make most of that money back while, at the same time, making for a greener earth. It’s at least worth discussing!”

    While, at the same time, people were explaining how we were attacked. And Al Qaeda wants to kill your child. That child sitting on your lap RIGHT NOW. Yeah, Al Qaeda.

    And you want to make batteries?

    It’s not surprising that people would move to making signs talking about Mumia and how War is Harmful to Children and Other Living Things and have drum circles.

    The “Let’s not do X, but Y!” gets treated similarly to “Let’s not do X but talk about Mumia!”

    It becomes quite easy to just start saying “nah, let’s just oppose.”Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Yup, all those filthy liberals insisting the US invade Iraq.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        @Mike Schilling, they certainly used “liberal” arguments.

        “They have rape rooms!”
        “Saddam is a vicious tyrant who doesn’t deserve to be Head of State!”
        “We have a responsibility to our fellow man to release them from the shackles of oppression!”

        Or… are you objectively pro-Saddam?Report

        • Avatar North says:

          @Jaybird, Odd, I thought the principle driver arguement was “our intelligence service and military say Saddam is near to developing WMD and may well pass them on to terrorists.”Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            @North, Those weren’t the ones I remember most viciously. The ones I remember were the ones that questioned my humanity and ability to tackle such things as tyrants who would be relatively easily toppled.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          @Jaybird, its somewhat telling that you frame saving people from rape and oppression as a “liberal” argument and not a conservative or libertarian argument. Not that those were reasons to invade but as North noted, OMG they can bomb us in a minute and kill us all was a pretty damn big focus.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            @greginak, you probably remember those arguments most for a reason.

            I am just repeating the arguments read to me that stung the most. Remember the purple fingers? Good times.Report

  7. Avatar Bob says:

    “…but I imagine the actual composition of the movement is far more complex.” E.D. Kain

    Here is the opening paragraph from a Gallup poll released today:

    “There is significant overlap between Americans who identify as supporters of the Tea Party movement and those who identify as conservative Republicans. Their similar ideological makeup and views suggest that the Tea Party movement is more a rebranding of core Republicanism than a new or distinct entity on the American political scene.”

    • Avatar North says:

      @Bob, Yeah, I read a similar poll over at Ambider’s. If anything I consider a large component of the tea party to be a splinter off the GOP that was caused by Bush Minor’s towering incompetence. Prior to Bush and his allies in the GOP congress taking a dump all over the GOP’s claims to fiscal probity I’d have expected the tea party to be happily rabble rousing from within the Republican tent.Report

  8. Avatar gregiank says:

    @jaybird- uh yeah. i’m still lost. Yes many people, including progressives believed in eugenics and that has what to do with what. How about telling what you disagreed with about my assertion.Report

  9. Avatar greginak says:

    @Jaybird- i haven’t paid attention to the protesters at the G20, but futile petulant counter productive protests at international economic meeting is something of a hobby for a subset of left wingers. Some people seem to think trashing a starbux is serious useful political statement.

    All political movements have multiple groups and always, like that one odd cousin we all have, embarrass the others. So what. I don’t think every action done by any one right winger, left winger, centrist, libertarian, or what ever, defines everybody else who falls under that same label. That does not mean that there aren’t coherent groups or threads throughout the history of movements. Silly pointless protests that function more as social outings or a chance to pick up chix have long been a feature of the left. Somehow my own beliefs survive.Report