Looking Left and Right: Going Back To Where?

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Most conservatives, if pressed on these matters, would concede the propriety of some government role in helping create the conditions necessary for individuals and institutions to succeed. For too many in the libertarian and Tea Party wings of the GOP, however, such concessions are at best made grudgingly. These conservatives, if left to their own devices, would say almost nothing about these matters. And so crucial realities — the fact of increasing inequality and decreasing social mobility — tend to be swept under the rug. For too many, government’s obligation to protect individual liberty comes first, second, and last, while concepts such as the common good, despite bearing their own conservative pedigree, are regarded as so much liberal claptrap.
Protecting individual liberty is indeed an indispensable role of government. But it is not the only role.

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Looking Left and Right: Pointless Abstractions

 

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Today’s sharply polarized and strategically focused political parties fit poorly with a constitutional system that anticipates collaboration as well as competition within and across separated institutions. As we initially wrote, parliamentary-style parties in a separation-of-powers government are a formula for willful obstruction and policy irresolution. The continuation of divided party government and the promiscuous use of the filibuster after the 2012 election have largely frustrated the policy direction affirmed by majority electorates and supported in polls of voters taken since the election.

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Looking Left and Right: Fighting The Inevitable

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The typical conservative is indeed usually a man of very strong moral convictions. What I mean is that he has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions. It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society
The acceptance of such principles means that we agree to tolerate much that we dislike.

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Electing Trump: What Happens Then? Pt 4

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Donald Trump’s increasingly grotesque behavior is not just the defining aspect of his presidential campaign, it’s an ongoing test of character for the elected Republicans who have endorsed him.

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Looking Left and Right: Different Choices? Pt 5

 

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I’d like to continue with more observations and commentary on the conservative principles described in the essayThe Essence of Conservatism” by conservative icon Russell Kirk. As I noted in the last post, current events make clear that Kirk’s understandings are still as valid today as they were decades ago when first shared. 

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Life Will Answer: Religion & Politics Pt 10

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Our Constitution granted each and every one of us the freedom to believe or not believe as we decide. That protection applies to all of us. When one group has decided by some form of spiritual osmosis that their version of the unverifiable and occasionally insane has been decreed to be the new Law, and thus their political mission is to ensure that is so, then it is up to the rest of us to put that crazy back where it belongs: away from public influence.
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Looking Left and Right: Different Choices? Pt 4

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In my last two posts, I’ve shared quotes/comments from the essayThe Essence of Conservatism” by conservative icon Russell Kirk. As previously noted, there are a number of additional explanations for and about the foundations of the conservative personality worth considering as well. Current events make clear that Kirk’s understandings are still as valid today as they were decades ago when first shared. [Quotes that follow are all from the referenced essay.]

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Looking Left and Right: Is Polarization Our Best Choice? Pt 2

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For the first time in our history,’ says [Jonathan] Haidt, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, ‘the parties are not agglomerations of financial or material interest groups, they’re agglomerations of personality styles and lifestyles. And this is really dangerous. Because if it’s just that you have different interests, that doesn’t mean I’m going to hate you. It just means that we’ve got to negotiate, I want to win, but we can negotiate. If it’s now that “You people on the other side, you’re really different from me, you live in a different way, you pray in a different way, you eat different foods than I do,” it’s much easier to hate those people. And that’s where we are.’

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Looking Left and Right: Different Choices? Pt 2

 

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Conservatives are too prone to engage in zero-sum thinking (either I keep my money or the government takes it). They fail to appreciate the possibility of positive sum solutions to social conflicts.
Conservatives hold the laissez-faire ‘minimal-state’ view that, although we have a moral obligation to refrain from hurting others, we have no obligation to help others. Conservatives cling to the comforting moral illusion that there is a sharp distinction between allowing people to suffer and making people suffer.

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Looking Left and Right: Different Choices? Pt 1

 

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Conservatives tend to be pessimistic because they doubt that more possibilities will make lives on the whole better. They believe that there are obstacles that stand in the way of the permanent overall improvement of the human condition.

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