Fatherhood & Conservatism: A Response to Roland Dodds

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Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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16 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    My son is only three, but he’s already a very independent little boy, a quality we encourage.Report

  2. Avatar Roland Dodds
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    says:

    Wonderful response Mike. It is much appreciated. Looking at these changes in my life through the eyes of a father that has come before me is helpful, and I will likely pick your brain in the future.

    I will likely need to better define what “conservatism” looks like in my estimation, as it looks like many people assumed it meant support for bombing Iran or lower tax rates. My growing conservatism” feels perfectly in-line with supporting Bernie Sanders over the other current options, so my change may be more social than political. The fact that the Republican Party has cornered the market on conservatism is an issue.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Roland Dodds
      Ignored
      says:

      My only advice is to resist the urge to define yourself too much. I did a lot of that and, as you have already noticed, it leads people to many many incorrect assumptions. Just be you and own your opinions, even when they don’t fit into a tidy box.Report

  3. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    @mike-dwyer once again, you’re my hero.

    This is pitch perfect. (It’s obvious that your daughters have trained you well!)

    (And are you visiting NH soon?)Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      @zic

      Yes! I will be in New Hampshire for the last two weeks of May and several more weeks throughout the summer. I am really, really looking forward to it (or as much as I can a work trip). The wife is coming up to visit me for a long weekend around Memorial Day and we’re going to try to make it as far as Freeport for one of our day trips. We haven’t been to LL Bean in years and I need a new pair of boots.Report

  4. Avatar ktward
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    says:

    I genuinely appreciate your thoughts, as a parent. As a father. As a mother, I share your sentiments.

    But, this bugged me:

    These days I find myself not leaning leftward but into the libertarian camp. I want my daughters to have every opportunity possible. Not by judicial ruling or from sociological experiments created in think tanks and applied with government grants, but simply by asking that the world get out of their way and let make their own futures.I see wish for a world where I can be left alone and want the same for my girls.I simply want the government to give us the same trust my parents placed in me.

    What kind of future do our children really have if government really does get out of the way?

    What I see, if that happened, is a world completely dominated by corporate interests. Even more than it already is. A world decimated by pollution and every environmental abuse imaginable. Life and our very future sacrificed at the altar of profit. A world I wouldn’t want to live in, much less want my children to live in.

    Government–governance–is admittedly tricky. As every social institution is, it’s every bit as susceptible to corruption as the private sector. However, I remain convinced that democratic government is our last, our best–really our only–hope to responsibly manage the complexities of a world of 7billion+ people.

    After a decade+ of reading the thought leaders of libertarianism, I readily admit libertarians often have very good ideas. Then again, once upon a time I said the same about conservatism. Meanwhile, after decades of watching politics and policy do its thing, it seems pretty obvious to me that it’s only the liberals who at least *say* they stand for the same things I do. Libs are sometimes wrong. Or more often, ineffective. But at least liberals start from the same place I do. Equality, justice, social responsibility, accountability. And seriously, if we want to have even less accountability than we already have, then libertarianism surely is the way to go.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to ktward
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      says:

      I’m in general agreement Ktward, I feel like libertarians are more valuable as a razor or foil than as a freestanding ideology of their own.

      That said one probably needs to admit that from a strictly womens rights stance free markets and corporations are generally highly friendly towards it.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to North
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        says:

        That said one probably needs to admit that from a strictly womens rights stance free markets and corporations are generally highly friendly towards it.

        Are they? Then why are women paid less than men? (Even when we get away from sector-wide comparisons and look at specific comparisons between men and women who are doing the same work and being paid differently – for example, famous leading actresses in a film being paid less than equally-or-less-famous leading actors.)

        The idea that free markets should produce equal wages without gender or racial discrimination is a highly-elucidated economic theory, but it doesn’t actually match the real world.Report

        • Avatar LWA in reply to KatherineMW
          Ignored
          says:

          The idea that free markets should exist is also a highly-elucidated economic theory, but it doesn’t actually match the real world either.

          Markets require governments to operate, and governments require political organization.
          Political organizations will always reflect the cultural biases of those who create them. A culture that devalues women will produce markets which reflect that.

          Therefore, some property claims will be respected, while others not, some contracts will be enforced, and others ignored.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to KatherineMW
          Ignored
          says:

          “Even when we get away from sector-wide comparisons and look at specific comparisons between men and women who are doing the same work and being paid differently – for example, famous leading actresses in a film being paid less than equally-or-less-famous leading actors.)”

          How exactly do you measure fame?

          Could you maybe come up with a better example, here, than something so utterly subjective as “what an actor gets paid to do a movie”?Report

  5. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    An excellent response Mike. I certainly have valued reading your viewpoints here and elsewhere over the years.Report

  6. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ll go ahead and second everyone else here. Both this essay and the one by @roland-dodds that kicked it off were pretty wonderful.Report

  7. Avatar Dennis Sanders
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    says:

    While I found acceptance of gay marriage through my dear friends here like Russell, North and Jason…

    What am I, chopped liver? 🙂

    Interesting that we both find ourselves on Team Libertarian these days, huh?Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Dennis Sanders
      Ignored
      says:

      @dennis-sanders

      Much like any thank you speech, I knew I would leave someone out. My apologies.

      I sometimes feel most ‘real’ libertarians would call me a poser, but I got that for most of the time I was in the conservative camp. At this point I am happy to just take it issue-by-issue.Report

  8. Avatar Kaleberg
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve never noticed children changing people’s politics, at least not in my circle. The liberals stay liberal and the conservatives stay conservative. The former value positive outcomes, the latter value the respect for authority. You’d imagine conservatives would find it easier to control their children, but I’ve discovered that conservative parents seem to have just as much trouble as liberals asserting parental dominance. (As a liberal, I was surprised at how eager young children are for almost fascist dominance. It’s just as well I’m a liberal.)Report

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