Quick question for movement conservatives

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Murali

Murali did his undergraduate degree in molecular biology with a minor in biophysics from the National University of Singapore (NUS). He then changed direction and did his Masters in Philosophy also at NUS. Now, he is currently pursuing a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Warwick.

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58 Responses

  1. Avatar Sky says:

    I presume that when movement conservatives espouse support for liberal democracy in the developing world, they use the word ‘liberal’ in the classical sense of the word, that is, a political philosophy in which “primary emphasis is placed on securing the freedom of the individual by limiting the power of the government.” In the United States, ‘liberal’ has been redefined as a synonym with ‘progressive’.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      So why the dissonance in use. When I try to use the word in a classical sense people keep telling me that it is too late to reclaim the word. Yet, clearly the classical meaning of the word is not alien to Americans. Not only does the rest of the world use it in the classical sense, the whole of academia in the anglosphere uses it in the classical sense. In fact Americans seem to know very well how to use it in the classical sense when they talk about anything other than American politics. So why is the term liberal used in a particularly idiosyncratic sense when it refers to American national politics?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        English is annoying that way, ain’t it?Report

      • I do think when American movement conservatives and neocons use “liberal democracy” when talking about foreign policy, the context usually makes it mean “classical liberal” rather than “U.S. liberal.” Which is pretty much what you said.

        While it may be frustrating, that’s the way it is, and because the U.S. is one of the dominant world powers, its linguistic provincialism has a lot of force public discussions in the world.

        I also don’t think this dynamic is limited to English. First, most languages (all languages?) have such weird uses in context. Second, when some country that doesn’t speak English becomes the dominant world power, people like me will be complaining about such double uses of words.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        There is a whole history here.

        Americans never really used the word liberal in the Party of David Lloyd George sense and even he was considering left-wing or center-left in UK Politics. Hence, The People’s Budget.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      Heh. And yet both words are used to mean something very different from and largely opposed to what the etymology suggests.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Than why are they all for government promoting a brand of social conservatism that really limits the freedom of people? Why aren’t they supportive of LGBT rights?Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        Um, because the nexus of legislative measures which generally fall under the rubric of ‘gay rights’ consist of the following:

        1. Commercial, labor and landlord-tenant law which interfere with freedom of contract and analogous restrictions on philanthropies which interfere with freedom of association.

        2. The content of school curriculum and disciplinary practices. The purposes and actions of public agencies are inherently an object of interest to elected bodies and those attending proceedings of same.

        3. Matrimonial and family law. There is no laissez faire in these areas because these are adjudicatory rules governing attempts to pick up the pieces upon failures of social architecture – most specifically the architecture surrounding dependent populations. They are also a means of manifesting communal recognition of certain human relations, and there is nothing about personal friendships (corrupted or no) which commands such recognition.

        4. You ain’t got no rights, merely permissions.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Art Deco,

        1. This is an illegitimate concern. People should be no more free to discriminate on the basis of sexuality than they are on any other basis like race, gender, or religion. They should not be free to discriminate on those grounds either.

        2 and 3 are also meaningless. Very few people are arguing for laissez-faire in those matters. Most people are advocating more an expansion to include LBGT people and their families.

        4 is nothing more than you trying to have your cake and eat it to. You can not argue that people don’t have rights, merely permissions but than argue that LBGT rights violates freedom of association.Report

      • Avatar Dave says:

        1. Commercial, labor and landlord-tenant law which interfere with freedom of contract and analogous restrictions on philanthropies which interfere with freedom of association.

        This falls under anti-discrimination law. To the extent it is gay rights, it is only insofar as to have sexual orientation included along with race, gender, etc. The anti-discrimination framework existed long before the gay rights movements gained political power.

        2. The content of school curriculum and disciplinary practices. The purposes and actions of public agencies are inherently an object of interest to elected bodies and those attending proceedings of same.

        How are disciplinary practices affected by this?

        3. Matrimonial and family law. There is no laissez faire in these areas because these are adjudicatory rules governing attempts to pick up the pieces upon failures of social architecture – most specifically the architecture surrounding dependent wpopulations.

        This is a more sophisticated version of the various arguments Maggie Gallagher has been peddling for years. Civil marriage, i.e. the granting of legal benefits and privileges, has nothing to do with addressing the failures of social architecture. You mention divorce and the undermining of parental authority below. Excluding same-sex couples from these legal benefits addresses neither divorce nor parenting issues.

        When I read “dependent population”, I see classic Maggie “It’s for the Children” Gallagher. Excluding same-sex couples on the basis of promoting the optimal environment to raise children is unconstitutionally underinclusive and overinclusive. Not only that, but if I recall from reading Perry v Schwarzenegger, there appears to be a lot of research that indicates that same-sex couples are quite capable of raising children (why this needs a study is beyond me but that’s another conversation).

        They are also a means of manifesting communal recognition of certain human relations

        Hence the increased legalization through both the courts and legislation.

        and there is nothing about personal friendships (corrupted or no) which commands such recognition.

        To use an Art Deco lead-in…

        This may come as a surprise to you, but there are gay couples that see their relationships as a little more meaningful than that. Then again, I’m talking to the guy that referred to gays as sexual deviants in a prior conversation so I don’t expect us to come to any agreement on this one.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        1. Earth to Lee, if you have courts and state agencies compelling you to do business with people you would rather not, your liberty is being restricted.

        2. I take it that what I say is ‘meaningless’ or alternatively, I mean what Maggie Gallagher means. Maybe you and Dave should work this out between yourselves.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        This may come as a surprise to you, but there are gay couples that see their relationships as a little more meaningful than that.

        That is not important.Report

  2. Avatar Barry says:

    Murali: “I presume that lots of movement conservatives are fine with promoting liberal democracy abroad. ”

    You presume incorrectly, probably due to the fact that you are unaware of the actual record of the right in the USA. It has been far more comfortable with dictators and oppression.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      Well, I sort of became politically aware at about the time Bush became president so…Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        Bush talked a big game, but was fine with whatever dictators were convenient. You were confused by the big ‘freedom, democracy and liberation’ propaganda campaign for the Iraq War (which was alongside the ‘pay them back’ campaign for the Iraq War).Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        he didn’t keep arafat around…Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Bush talked a big game, but was fine with whatever dictators were convenient

        I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t criticizing Bush for starting fewer wars than he ought to have.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        J,
        Democrats like soft power. Democrats like sanctions.

        I can’t help but be kinda pissed that folks aren’t just as pissed at Clinton, though.
        Most Favored Nation status to China is a lot more than just looking the other way…Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      The Cold War had a lot of weird dynamics.Report

    • “You presume incorrectly, probably due to the fact that you are unaware of the actual record of the right in the USA. It has been far more comfortable with dictators and oppression.”

      So has the left, both “real left” and “left liberal” (and centrist liberal, for that matter).

      Murali isn’t incorrect. What the movement conservatives are espousing is liberal democracy. “Liberal democracy” is what they invoke. They’re either hypocritical or misguided or dishonest or honest in their actual policies, but when they say they support encouraging the development of liberal democracies abroad, at the very least they want enough people to believe them.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      This may come as a surprise to you, but

      1. Authoritarian systems are quite unremarkable in this world, and, in fact, the default mode just about everywhere outside of the occidental core up until about 25 years ago. They are still the default mode in the Arab world, Equatorial Africa, Central Asia, and China.

      2. With some riffs in deference to local circumstances, your characterization would be incorrect with regard to the Kennedy Administration and any Administration succeeding Gerald Ford’s.

      3. It is not merely that authoritarian systems are the default mode in much of the world, but also that conciliar institutions are unsustainable in time and place and fail at core functions when these institutions are in place.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    I stopped using “liberal” alone. I’ll use it combined with “liberal economics” to refer to the Chicago school, and a fair amount of people understand that use. I use “statist” now as it’s a more accurate word to describe both “liberals” and “conservates”.Report

    • Avatar Dan Miller says:

      This strikes me as eliding numerous important differences.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        Interference with what goes on in the bedroom is far worse than interfering with what goes on in the boardroom.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        I guess it depends upon your perspective. Both parties want to use the state to force me and others to do things we may not want to do. The outcomes are just different.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        The outcome may be different, and they all may be statist, but you are still missing important differences. Don’t be a cartoon libertarian. I hate to be a dick about this, but really, you are making the statist case for you.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Damon, there are over 300 million people in the United States. Despite our legendary suburban sprawl, most of us actually live in rather densely populated metropolitan areas rather than spread evenly about the country. Do you think that your radical personal autonomy would work without producing a blood bath? Nearly every society produces a code of behavior so that the social peace can be maintained and that code has never been everybody for themself.Report

      • Avatar Otto says:

        That’s not what the Buddha taught.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        @leeesq
        I’m not interested in what everybody does. And I’m not interested in whether or not people want to live the same as I would like. The gap between where we currently are and me has some much room for improvement that it doesn’t matter. Our society could spend decades moving towards my position and we’d all be better off for the movement. I advocate a postion that offers an alternative viewpoint. Maybe others will grow tired of the status quo and look for an alternative vision. I just offer that.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        @ Murali

        Sorry, I don’t see the difference. They both spring from a single root desire: control.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        You are not thinking hard enough. You are inconsistently attributing the worst motives to those who disagree with you but not to those who agree with you.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        You are not thinking hard enough. You are inconsistently attributing the worst motives to those who disagree with you but not to those who agree with you.

        I’m inclined to say those are just the breaks.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        I’m inclined to say those are just the breaks.

        I’m inclined to say that its just sloppy. We strive for a better quality of thinking around these parts. There are actually a few reasons why I’m harder on libertarians on this score.

        1. It just irks me more when people on my side are subject to the same idiocies that others commit.

        2. We don’t have the excuse of having any major team to root for. Given that politics is the mind killer, we expect Democrats and Republicans to, in a number of cases, care more for their team than the truth. But libertarians don’t have that load to bear. So, we really have less excuse for making laughably bad arguments.

        3. Cartoon libertarians make it harder for the rest of us to make our case. Every time we try to tell progressives that no, we are not just FYIGM and that the fact that markets often benefit the worst off is a powerful reason in favour of them, a cartoon libertarian walks by and says in effect FYIGM. i.e. they ruin the rest of our credibility.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        M- You’ve hit on the central conceit of libertarians. That others of us have a team to root for certainly does lead to some crappy logic and siding with the team over thinking is true. But all the thought errors are the result of people, not of politics. Libertarians have a team, themselves and their own self-regard. Too many libertarians see themselves as possessors of superior thought and ideas that the rest of us are just to political or whatever to understand. To be clear i wish libertarians had a bit more umph in this country since we could use a real libertarian impulse in the actual gov instead of weak tea that we do get. Of course i wish we had a real Social Dem impulse in our gov. We need more voices and influences in our gov.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        I refuse to believe that libertarians are merely human. No, we’re concentrations of pure Awesome(tm) squeezed into the shape of a human body. The rest of you guys are just too political and human to appreciate our sheer awesomenessReport

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      That’s a characteristic of any sort of regulatory legislation. The point is to develop criteria which sorts regulatory legislation into piles of “permissible and advisable” and “not”.Report

  4. Avatar NotMe says:

    I think maybe you might confusing how the term liberal was used and what it now means.

    Personally, as long as a foreign gov’t doesn’t have policies that are adverse to the US’ interests, I couldn’t care less what form of gov’t another country has. So if they didn’t bother us, Iranians are welcome to live in a medieval theocracy or the North Koreans are welcome to starve their own folks. I believe that a republican form of gov’t is better than those examples for both their own citizens and the world but I don’t see it as our job to change other gov’ts.

    So just b/c I hope other countries adopt a republican form of gov’t doesn’t mean I will support the liberals in their quest to ruin the US.Report

  5. Avatar Art Deco says:

    Because soi-disant ‘liberals’ and Democrats have a common tendency which emerges in all of their public advocacy:

    1. Manipulation of and sanctions containing the discretion of local government, subjecting it to the central government.

    2. Displacement of parental discretion and function in favor of that of various occupational guilds – education and social work and the mental health trade. In the words of Christopher Lasch, the parent is reduced to a role of directing traffic for outside actors.

    3. Subjecting all manner of voluntary association to the superintendency of the courts. By extension, one can see that all occupational groups are subordinated to the legal profession, with special carve outs for higher education.

    4. The displacement of the clergy by the mental health trade.

    5. The practice of common provision is so structured to build client populations and the symbiotic relationship between clients and bureaucracies of helping and caring.

    Note, the institutional defects and dysfunctions of the American political order (buttressed by stupid social ideology) has put the regime beyond the reach of either popular government or traditional authorities. Because the regime is bad, the consequences will one might wager escalating decadence or a political explosion. Neither are pretty prospects.

    (You may have noticed that actual liberality and anything resembling democracy have nothing to do with anything ‘liberals’ and ‘Democrats’ actually favor).Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      1) See SHUC. Liberals are quite capable of doing things with the government, or of building NGOs. But surely you KNEW that (You HAVE heard of the Salvation Army, have you not??).
      If you haven’t heard of such a thing, I assume you have been living under a rock, or in some dark foreign country.
      2) What is so different about childcare than the rest of the economy? I see a general trend towards specialization… Why are kids so different? A nurse sees a patient way more than a doctor does, but we count on the doctor to tell the nurse (some) of what he/she needs to do.
      3) Oh, yeah. You show me TWO liberals who have signed contracts preventing them from voting. I’ll be waiting. (Or two that have signed contracts preventing them from calling their parents). There’s a reason I’m citing these examples, though I doubt you’re clever enough to see it.
      4) Um. Guilty. Glad we aren’t still removing seizures through blood sacrifice, actually. Makes a hell of a smell, and with that much blood you’re likely to get it on something. Science over superstition. Aren’t conservatives supposed to like science anymore?
      5) Liberals don’t write the farm bill. Liberals also are not the accountant lobby. I think you’re pointing fingers instead of actually trying to get to the bottom of problems.

      6) You mean like lowering taxes, where appropriate? Got news for you, whelp. I just voted for a candidate (party, naturally, unimportant, when the vast right wing conspiracy is busy funding a Democratic candidate… not the guy I voted for) who’s quite likely to cut my taxes. Why? Virtuous cycle.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        You need to sober up and respond to my points with something other than non sequiturs.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        You don’t like me calling you an ignorant Luddite who would rather cling to superstition than use scientific solutions to known problems.

        This does not mean that I’m offtopic, however.

        You can continue to believe that the best solution to “Man talks with Squirrels” is to send him off to the clery. I will continue to say this is a dumb way to deal with schizophrenia.

        Until you can cite sources showing that talking with clergy has better outcomes than CBT, you are going to get called out as being one of those people who likes voodoo. By that, I do not mean to imply that you are a practitioner of Vodun, of course.Report

    • Avatar LWA says:

      1978 called- they want their talking points back.

      Seriously, all Art’s points had currency somewhere in the last stages of Great Society liberalism. After that, not so much.

      1. Isn’t this just “state’s rights”? Haven’t succeeding administrations shown a willingness to assert power over local jurisdictions, both conservative and liberal? Aren’t movement conservative plenty willing to strike down local laws that conflict with their favored outcomes on guns, abortion, etc?

      2. Who in the world is unjustly displacing parental authority? Unless you are a polygamist wanting to marry your own daughter, your authority as a parent is pretty intact.

      3. No, you can still form a White Citizens Council if you like. Or do you have other examples to offer?

      4. Psychology was called the “religion of the 20th Century” and that was apt…in the 20th century. Where is psychology intruding on religious practice or expression today? Who is advocating such? The most smashing success liberalism has had in the 21st century has been marriage equality- a fight that was led by liberal churches, a fight that was fought under the banner of human dignity and family formation. Next on the docket is immigration, again being led by religious groups.

      5 This is “wefare dependency”; again, a reasonable argument, when bell bottoms were in fashion. Today, the biggest welfare recipients are Wall Street, agri-business, and military contractors, and their biggest advocate is movement conservatism.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        Seriously, all Art’s points had currency somewhere in the last stages of Great Society liberalism. After that, not so much.

        You’ve not been paying attention. One thing you notice about American politics is the issues are abiding.

        1. It can refer to provincial government, but need not. It can refer to contentions historical questions but need not.

        a. I grew up in a county with no history of formal segregation, but local politics has still been reduced to a pantomime, to the point where a city school commissioner said there was not much point in discussing questions of policy because elected boards had no authority over policy. The decisions were made in Albany. Addressing matters at the state level still leaves unaddressed the manipulations of federal officials (federal judges in particular) and gets you into the weeds of interest-group politics manifested in guilds and unions.

        b. The county government is largely a conduit for state aid, so has no real discretion over three-quarters of its budget. There is quite a bit of contention over property tax rates there, which is ironic because the county legislature’s discretion is so vitiated.

        2. I would refer you to some of the writings of Christopher Lasch on this subject. To some extent, the deterioration in parental discretion has reached a plateau, but at an unacceptable level. The situation is not nearly so wretched in the United States as it is in Sweden, but you trip over people in the social work and mental health trade who wish to make it so. Consider:

        a. Compulsory school attendance, but in a context where school boards have been neutered in favor of professional guilds, courts, and local and state bureaucracies.

        b. Push the envelope and try-every-door behavior by the social work guild. An example of that would be the minister in Massachusetts who’s oldest child was seized by a state social worker (on the grounds he had taken a belt to the kid, a fairly unremarkable disciplinary method in my lifetime).

        c. (What was more prominent in the 1970s) – a culture which promotes the fancied wisdom of the mental health trade.

        d. Changes in matrimonial law which promote divorce – which undermines the authority of parents generally, but particularly fathers. Auxilliary to this are procedures which can and do place parents (particularly fathers) under the inspection of members of the mental health and social work trades (as well as attorneys, natch).

        My concern here goes back to a conversation I had with an aspirant mental health tradesman around about 1979, when he says to me well it is a wonderful thing we are moving from a model where parents ‘own’ their children to one where they are subcontracted their children subject to the supervision of ‘experts’. In the intervening years, said tradesman has acquired youngsters of his own (and no doubt does not think he needs supervision by outsiders). His crazy-as-a-tick grandfather had a set of kids that compared favorably to his kids, but he does not reflect on that.

        3. [multiple points]

        a. Because it is an expressive association concerned with political matters, you might still be able to. With reference to Scott Lively’s legal problems, if your association is formed in opposition to certain favored mascot groups, you cannot anymore unless you can afford the fees.

        b. Things like athletic clubs are actually constrained in autonomy over their membership criteria, as they have been ruled as constituting a ‘public accommodation’.

        c. Keep in mind also that philanthropies have various ministries subject to regulation. Catholic Charities has had to shut down one program after another because they do not conform to the ideology which prevails among attorneys and social workers re the value of sodomy and the nexus of social relations which surrounds it.

        4. Gimme a break.

        a. Liberal protestant denominations have an idiom of expression that is historical. They are otherwise vapid and any activities they undertake are derivative of cues sent by the secular culture. They ‘lead the fight’ on no subject and are largely concerned with their mundane activities and intramural disputes over their legacy properties.

        b. “Marriage equality” doe not have a bleeding thing to do with dignity. It is a burlesque.

        c. The mental health trade are (while pretending not to be) bearers of certain understandings about the proper norms of human behavior. They do it with public subsidies and on the insurance company dime. Still a problem in the 21st century.

        5. That is what is known as a tu quoque argument. It is invalid in any case. Aside from that, building patron-client relationships to business sectors – while a characteristic of all factions of the regime class – is more vigorous in the Democratic Party, so even were the argument valid it does not properly apply. Your argument is also non sequitur. I am not advocating crony capitalism, and you would be hard put to identify anyone who does who was not talking book. I am offering a complaint about its auxilliary, crony philanthropy. Milton Friedman was offering fragmentary critiques of this phenomenon as early as 1962, and we have not made much progress in the intervening years.Report

      • Avatar Dave says:

        With reference to Scott Lively’s legal problems, if your association is formed in opposition to certain favored mascot groups, you cannot anymore unless you can afford the fees.

        I don’t see groups like the National Organization of Marriage of Focus on the Family, groups that have been staunch opponents of gay rights under the same legal microscope. Then again, neither of these groups are alleged to have played a part in the repression of LGBT groups in Uganda. At the end of the day, he may have a valid First Amendment argument depending on what facts are uncovered during discovery, but his case is a definite outlier.

        Lively’s legal problems are a result of his alleged actions, not his association.Report

      • Avatar Soi-disant Liberal says:

        You have identified where you think policy is wrong- Except you aren’t showing where liberals and conservatives are divided on this.
        1. Is it really only liberals who want to trample on state’s rights? When California and Oregon wanted to enact local laws on fuel standards and euthenasia, where did Burkean conservatives stand? Google Terry Schiavo.

        2. Somebody was disciplined for whipping their kid with a belt? Thats your example?

        3. The Catholic Church was forced to shut down because of sodomy? The jokes, here, they write themselves.

        4. “The mental health trade are … bearers of certain understandings about the proper norms of human behavior.” Switch “mental health trade” for “Churches and schools” and you have an sentence Wm. F. Buckley would be comfortable with. Enforcing norms of behavior is exactly what movement conservatism claims to do; you just don’t like it when other norms are more popular than yours.

        5. Tu quoque is, I believe, Latin for “How Inconvenient”; As in, “how inconvenient” crony capitalism is a chief component of movement conservatism. You are just complaining that twig in our eye is somehow bad, while the log in yours is nevermind.

        You are taking mundane and petty disagreements about policies- anti-discimination policy, marriage equality, family law- and trumping them up into Grand First Principle disagreements to make them sound more sober and give them a gravitas they don’t merit. Its like these guys who bitch endlessly about societies war on men, when really, they just got the wrong end of a divorce agreement.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        Dave, you never get tired of defending lawfare frauds.

        The man is a common-and-garden pastor in Massachusetts who has a letterhead organization, a blog, and (about 20 years ago) was co-author of a book with a rather arresting and debatable thesis about Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. His activities in Uganda consisted of giving a presentation and then going home. He does not even qualify as an enthusiast of various legislative proposals offered there.

        This is an asinine SLAPP suit financed by the Sorosphere and no one with an ounce of integrity would defend it. In our time, the list of gauchistes with integrity has contracted to Harold Pollack and a handful of others.Report

      • Avatar Dave says:

        Dave, you never get tired of defending lawfare frauds.

        My comment about the lawsuit was not a defense of the case on its merits.

        You said: With reference to Scott Lively’s legal problems, if your association is formed in opposition to certain favored mascot groups, you cannot anymore unless you can afford the fees.

        You are running with the wrong poster child here. Scott Lively isn’t being sued for his associations, despite what you wrongly think.

        The man is a common-and-garden pastor in Massachusetts who has a letterhead organization, a blog, and (about 20 years ago) was co-author of a book with a rather arresting and debatable thesis about Adolf Hitler’s inner circle.

        The man is a bigot son-of-a-bitch whose First Amendment right to speak like a bigot-son-of-a-bitch is something that I will defend. From what I understand, his book about gays and the Nazis has strong appeal amongst a very limited audience. It’s been widely panned by serious historians.

        His activities in Uganda consisted of giving a presentation and then going home.

        He had more contact with people over there than that.

        He does not even qualify as an enthusiast of various legislative proposals offered there.

        This does not mean that he opposes criminalizing homosexuality. It just means he believes the death penalty is too harsh a sentence. That doesn’t help his case one bit.

        This is an asinine SLAPP suit financed by the Sorosphere

        But of course

        and no one with an ounce of integrity would defend it.

        I’m more than willing to set aside the fact that he’s a bigot son of a bitch to defend him if the facts of the case warrant it. I’m not rooting for him to be found liable. I don’t play that way.Report

  6. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Some speculations from a non-movement conservative:

    1. In any representative democracy, most political parties and people are going to say or believe they are on the side of freedom, liberty, and democracy. There are not many paths to electoral victory for saying the opposite.

    2. I think liberals and conservatives mean very different things in the United States when talking about liberty and freedom. The Puritans believed that freedom was the right to choose God’s Will. Not freedom in the modern sense of the word. Perhaps many social conservatives still believe this. The general focus seems to be that liberals in America use freedom to mean full-participation in civil life and full access to constitutional rights regardless of race, color, ethnicity, gender (or gender non-conformity), religion, creed, etc. Conservatives seem to use freedom to largely focus on economics and business.

    3. The Business Right accusing liberals of being against freedom and liberty since the New Deal at least. Before there was the Tea Party, there was the Liberty League. We have always had a business class of entitled children.

    4. A good example of number 2 is the fight between liberals and some right-leaning people over stuff like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act. We are choosing different liberties. Liberals decided that it is more important for minorities to be able to participate in civil life and be treated as equal citizens. Opponents still talk about how it is extremely offensive that the law requires people to serve minorities against their will.

    5. I honestly have no idea what the American right-wing means when they talk about freedom and liberty. There version is completely alien to me.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      But then shouldn’t conservatives be trying to say that these progressives are not real liberals? The weird thing is that they try to associate liberalism with what is in their minds, the worst aspects of the left and at the same time see nothing wrong with using the word liberal in a completely different way in foreign policy contexts.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        And liberals spend a lot of time talking about how America’s conservatives are not really conservative because they want to tear down institutions that have been a part of everyday life for decades now.

        Yet these radicals are still seen as being conservative in the American view of things.Report

  7. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Freedom of Contract is a good example of the liberal (American-sense) and conservative/libertarian divide.

    Conservatives and Libertarians seem to care a great deal about Freedom of Contract.

    Liberals see it as being part of the worst abuses of the Lochner era. We are skeptical that freedom of contract can exist in situations of disparate bargaining power. Or are at least aware of disparate bargaining power. This seems to be something that conservatives and libertarians ignore or do not think is a problem.

    A CEO or High-skilled employee can have good freedom of contract but this is not most people. Corporations of similar business skills and savvy can have freedom of contract with each other. The average citizen, not so much. This is why liberals traditionally dislike contracts of adhesion and binding arbitration clauses.Report

    • Avatar Dave says:

      I can write a full length post responding to this, but this:

      This seems to be something that conservatives and libertarians ignore or do not think is a problem.

      Is not true, at least not in my case. Anyone with an understanding of how we get to West Coast Hotel v Parrish from Lochner knows this as well as the reasons why. The story gets a little complicated.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        There are obviously exceptions and people who differ. I was being a bit hyperbolic but there are still plenty of “cartoon libertarians” who seem to prove my point.

        IIRC the new head of the AEI came out with a book on reviving the Freedom of Contract and how Lochner was the right decision.

        I would be very interested in reading your post on the the libertarian take on Lochner to Parish and why libertarians should care about the abuses of the Lochner era.Report

      • Avatar Dave says:

        New Dealer,

        I would be very interested in reading your post on the the libertarian take on Lochner to Parish and why libertarians should care about the abuses of the Lochner era.

        IIRC the new head of the AEI came out with a book on reviving the Freedom of Contract and how Lochner was the right decision.

        Are you referring to Rehabilitating Lochner by David Bernstein? He’s a law professor at George Mason. I don’t think he’s the head of the AEI but I haven’t checked in a while.

        I’m currently reading his book in order to help get my own thoughts organized. It’s excellent. While it debunks the narrative about Lochner/freedom of contract being a function of free market ideology or an activist judiciary, his treatment of Justice Harlan’s dissent is such that it shows that the case could have gone either way (both the opinion and dissent were rooted in well-established jurisprudence).

        You’re more than welcome to disagree with my opinion on Lochner but I ask that you hold off until I can put together a post. If you’d like, feel free to list what you think the worst abuses were and I’ll try to address them.

        Bernstein argues that it’s correct as will I. However, I respectfully ask that you withhold your disagreement until I formReport

  8. Avatar Barry says:

    Me: “Bush talked a big game, but was fine with whatever dictators were convenient”

    Jaybird: “I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t criticizing Bush for starting fewer wars than he ought to have.”

    No, it’s pointing out that the right’s alleged and sudden desire for freedom and democracy in other (targeted) countries was no more than a propaganda campaign.Report

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