Conservative and Liberal Conflicts of Vision
This is a simple dialog I jumped into on a site on political economics. I just wanted to test the argument with some liberals.The full posting can be found here:
Sadly, cynical satire, irony, and highlighting flaws in logical reasoning and objective fact just doesn’t fly between the coasts. Nope, it seems that one needs to use shamless demagoguery combined with outright lies to rally the peoples support.
Posted by: Robert
February 8, 2006
Who’s Hormonal? Hillary or Dick?
By MAUREEN DOWD
The Republicans succeed because they keep it simple, ruthless and mythic.
In 2000 and 2004, G.O.P. gunslingers played into the Western myth and mined images of manliness, feminizing Al Gore as a Beta Tree-Hugger, John Kerry as a Waffling War Wimp With a Hectoring Wife and John Edwards as his true bride, the Breck Girl.
Now, in the distaff version of Swift-boating, they are casting Hillary Clinton as an Angry Woman, a she-monster melding images of Medea, the Furies, harpies, a knife-wielding Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction” and a snarling Scarlett Johansson in “Match Point.” (How many pregnant mistresses does Woody Allen have to kill off in movies before he feels he’s reversed Dostoyevsky and proved that if the crime is worth it, there should be no punishment?)
Republicans think that men who already have nagging, bitter women in their lives will not want for president the sort of woman who gave W. a dyspeptic smile or eye-rolling appraisal during State of the Union addresses.
In “Commander in Chief,” writers were careful to make Geena Davis’s chief executive calm and controlled under pressure ? even when her rival, played by Donald Sutherland, made an insulting menopause crack.
The hit on Hillary may seem crude and transparent. But in the void created by dormant Democrats, crouching in what Barack Obama calls “a reactive posture,” crude and transparent ploys work for the Republicans. Just look at how far the Bushies’ sulfurous scaremongering on terror, and cynical linkage of Saddam and Osama, have gotten them.
The gambit handcuffs Hillary: If she doesn’t speak out strongly against President Bush, she’s timid and girlie. If she does, she’s a witch and a shrew. That plays particularly well in the South, where it would be hard for an uppity Hillary to capture many more Bubbas than the one she already has….
Posted by: anne
I landed here quite by accident, but, if one compares conservative and liberal postings, chat, articles, speeches, talk radio and news media, it is hardly the conservative branch that is devoid of fact. To each side the other sounds childish and foolish. When in fact, the differences are substantially in how they interpret facts as they relate to the broader questions at hand. Conservatives believe that everything is scarce and that we should manage that scarcity, even if it involves social and economic coercion. Liberals believe little if anything is scarce, and that no social coordination is necessary, except that of money and property. These are both forms of coercion. The difference is that the conservatives will let all people do with their resources what they wish, and liberals will happily take from whomever they can to fulfill popular whim.
All differences between the left and right are no more than this.
Posted by: Curt Doolittle
“The difference is that the conservatives will let all people do with their resources what they wish, and liberals will happily take from whomever they can to fulfill popular whim.”
Neither sounds completely Christ-like, the guy that encourages every one to happily share their resources.
Posted by: Winslow R.
Whoa…. Curt you seem to have come through some sort of time warp…. how did you manage that?
Posted by: Winslow R.
So Curt would that be the liberal schemata or the conservative?
-I appreciate Winslow’s dragging Jesus into this. I do.
Posted by: calmo
>>”Neither sounds completely Christ-like, the guy that encourages every one to happily share their resources.”
Assuming the circumstances applied, if they used the name Daedalus or Hermes instead of Christ, in order to show “what happens when you do such a thing over a long period of time” would that make any difference? Substantially, this is a difference in language.
These people use mythological constructs to convey the interaction of humans to describe what happens to humans over long periods of time. As a methodological program for prescribing human behavior alone, this method is superior to those that prescribe behaviors that one can experience the outcome of directly. These two competing ideological methods are simply tools. But they depend on differences in how we see the world. But that world view is completely different. Methuselah would see the process of human life differently from the child and the child different from the mayfly, simply because of the knowledge that they can derive from experience. Conservatives rely less on direct experience and more on the wisdom handed to them by Methuselagh. This is a form of intellectual humility. Unfortunately, the Zoroastrian idea of revealed wisdom has replaced the typically Proto-European polytheism. If one separates the wisdom from the Jewish-Zoroastrian vehicle, the basic ideas inside this mythology are an economic model. That economic model is the source of nearly all human prosperity: overproduction, savings, delaying gratification, technical craftsmanship, and material innovation. It also contains what people rail against: hierarchical social orders, expansionist militarism, social coordination through economic inclusion or exclusion.
Unfortunately, the rise of the scientific method has led to an attempt on both sides to treat this mythology, which contains many very good ideas, as a science, and this has hurt the interests of both sides.
Realistically, the division of labor is a division of knowledge, and there is value for humanity for some people to have long term visions, and some to have shorter. The conflict between those visions only comes about because of a democratic government and the ability of that government, mostly through the control of schools, to impose a philosophy on the population. In effect to prescribe a single way of thought and action.
>>>”you seem to have come through some sort of time warp”
If you mean that my pattern of thought has been developed by the great thinkers over the past two and a half millennia, then that is possible, and comes with all such things entail. But that doesn’t change the fact
that the commentary above claims conservatives do not use facts, and that they are fools, and that in turn, I am making an argument, but you have essentially used name calling, which is, of course, not an argument at all.
It is very interesting, but humor and sarcasm have been used by the peasantry to conduct a non-rational assault on any set of rational ideas for, that I know of, something like three thousand years. The purpose of this is to create common knowledge in a population that disregards the idea, independently of logic of the opponent’s argument. They then rely on the common knowledge to discredit it, rather than learn to analyze the problem on its own.
If one were to compare religious belief systems, and say that one is based upon the experience of generations handed down as myth, some good and some not so, and the other belief system to rely on common knowledge based on such humor and sarcasm, which would be more likely to contain accurate information? In fact, which must contain more accurate information?
Humor and sarcasm deployed in an argument are not rational and not an argument. They are tactics specifically designed to avoid the argument, and call in the consensus of the ignorant to provide collective validity when reason and logic and knowledge are absent.
If a population is taught sophisticated ideas by myth and allegory, because they are young and unable to reason, then learn reason late in life when they are more able, how would they speak? And given a distribution of intelligence in a population, how would people at different points in that population speak of current issues?
On the opposite side, how would people behave if they were not taught such issues? When would they learn about the outcome of long-term human cooperation? It would be later in life. Too late to make use of it.
>>>Revisited: “the guy that encourages every one to happily share their resources”
He says that individuals should be charitable. He specifically admonishes the government and the leaders at the temple for interfering in the people’s use of money. Individuals can judge an occasion for charity, and judge their willingness. The taking of money from people so that it can be distributed by others is not charity, does not teach charity but teaches the opposite. This is quite different. Conservatives want to train the population to conform, be productive, save and materially innovate.
Conservatism, which is an economic strategy, contains the most economically productive ideas in human history. It uses myth and allegory to teach children to think about the long term outcome of their actions, and to delay gratification, to develop discipline, to save, and to produce. The Zoroastrian format of that information that comes from Judaism is an intellectual disease that this underlying philosophy is plagued with. But that underlying philosophy has been the most important one in human history. Unfortunately, it requires social pressure to instill. And these people no longer have enough control of their environment to maintain it. So they do what any group of that nature does: place extraordinary emphasis on it, and shut out those who work against it. Of course, this implies economic peril for the rest of us.
>>>”Would Christ have invaded Iraq”
Christianity, in the sense that you are using it, mixes Jewish mysticism as a religious order with underlying ideas that are entirely Aryan (in the academic sense of the word) Christianity is just a soft wrapper around these ideas. They speak of Christ when they mean the feminine charity of Judaism. They speak of God when they mean the heavy hand of masculine Aryanism – harsh judgment. Zeus is still there behind the medieval Christian robes.
Like any system of thought, this is a bit of a problem because they are arguments to authority. Polytheism lets this happen, and the Jesus (feminine), God (masculine), Mary (maternal), Saints (everything else) structure keeps that multiplicity of authority alive. Not a bad idea though.
So, no, Jesus wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. But God sure would have. And been happy about it.
>>>”would that be the liberal schemata or the conservative”
Again, this is an argument to form, not content, and an attempt at sarcasm or humor rather than reason. You may disagree with my arguments, but the statements you made only prove my assertions.
Again, I will state my original premise, that the reason conservative literature and media is more successful is that it is based on reason even if embedded in myth. The reason that liberal literature and media cannot compete in the same medium is that they are based upon humor. This humor does not contain any substantive theoretical content.
This leads to the question of whether people on the left are poorer based upon what they believe, or believe what they do because they are poorer. Which leads to the fact that having a mutual fund tends to make one vote conservative, and this is what the right means by “ownership society”.
There are many differences in these philosophical structures. The most important one is the absolute nature of property rights. The second most is the temporal index of the theories included. But both epistemic and stylistic differences exist. It’s just that the stylistic ones are what everyone talks about, because that’s the limit of their understanding.
To use the same form of ridicule as an example, the posts above on this topic are the equivalent of “Look Betsy, (expression of shock and awe) isn’t that terrible?” While to the left this sounds like a reasonable statement, “Jesus said so” to the right, sounds like an equally reasonable statement. They are both the same: shorthand messages to those with the same language, same ideas, and same ambitions. It is the underlying physics of human cooperation that we should be debating. Comments on the form of either are simply an admission that one cannot either understand or debate the thing in question.
But liberals should take comfort. This process has been leading to the left for over a hundred years. The Republican Party today is just the Democratic Party of the nineteen eighties, and is just as destructive. And the left is clearly winning the battle in the population. They do so because we are, at least in the short term, wealthy enough that we can tolerate this kind of consumptive activity because the economic impact of those actions is a long time in coming. But this same cycle has happened thirty or so times in human history and I suspect that the painful outcome will be the same.
History will prove that Keynes and Marx got their come-uppance. Well, Marx has gotten his. Time for Keynes.
Posted by: Curt Doolittle | Mar 25, 2006 5:38:25 AM