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The silence...

Political Conservatives

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1codyed
Jan 9, 2011, 12:48am Top

...is deafening. It's a great metaphor for the state of contemporary conservatism.

2barney67
Jan 9, 2011, 1:49pm Top

Been watching football.

As for your dumb comment...Did you forget we won the House?

3codyed
Jan 9, 2011, 3:11pm Top

Great. We get to kill more Muslims!

4Makifat
Jan 13, 2011, 8:04pm Top

...is golden.

Seriously, I will credit most of the LT conservatives as being too smart to fall for the Palin/Beck demagoguery now holding "conservatism" captive.

For whatever reason, conservatives are loathe to air their dirty laundry in public. I wonder if the contributions would pick up if the group became private?

5lawecon
Jan 26, 2011, 11:57pm Top

I can think of at least one contributor to this thread who has been talking to himself and the ghost of Russell Kirk for decades now. Private enough?

6barney67
Jan 27, 2011, 11:39am Top

And I can think of one contributor to this thread who has been singing praise for decades to the ghost of Barry Goldwater. And who continues to sully the group with his rudeness and insults. That may be one reason why people avoid this group.

7lawecon
Jan 29, 2011, 3:21pm Top

~6

Kettle, pot.

8barney67
Jan 30, 2011, 9:22pm Top

False.

9labwriter
Feb 6, 2011, 7:32am Top

Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness--so in the interest of getting some sort of activity on this thread, I'd be interested to know what people here are reading/have recently read/plan to read.

I'm interested in Hayak although I haven't read anything by him. What should I read? I'm thinking Road to Serfdom??

10lawecon
Edited: Feb 6, 2011, 9:35pm Top

It is Hayek, not Hayak. Specificallly, Frederick August von Hayek. Here's a biography that isn't bad:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek

The Road To Serfdom is also not bad, but has to be read in the era in which it was written. By far the best edition, and, strangely, the cheapest edition, is the one edited by Bruce Caldwell in the Collected Works of Frederick A. Hayek. It sells new in paperback for around $11.00 from Amazon. There is also a Reader's Digest Condensed Version on line free, but if you read that one I suggest that you skip the Preface and Introduction.

I very much recommend against you reading Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty, except for the Appendix entitled "Why I am Not a conservative." This by far Hayek's worst work.

His three volume Law, Liberty and Legislation has considerable fascinating material, but is hard going. His best writings are collected in his Individualism And Economic Order, but that also requires some background.

I do know that there is a volume entitled The Essence of Hayek by Chiaki Nishiyama and Kurt Leube that is reputed to be quite good, but I have not read it myself.

If you need something more specific, please ask.

11labwriter
Feb 6, 2011, 10:40pm Top

Hayek, got it, thanks for the correction. The one I have is on my Kindle, U of Chicago P, 2007, "The Definitive Edition." I'll give this a try. Thank you.

12lawecon
Feb 7, 2011, 7:48am Top

I think that is the one. Don't be overwhelmed by the detail, but if you get deeper into this you'll find it is nice to have those appendices. Let me know if you like it, and I can help out with further suggestions.

13labwriter
Edited: Feb 7, 2011, 7:51am Top

>12 lawecon:. Thanks very much. This book was highly recommended to me, so I think it's time I give it a try.

Reading through some of the threads here, this seems like sort of a crabby group. According to the stats on this group, there are 500+ members. Where is everybody?

>4 Makifat: says the silence is because conservatives "are loathe to air their dirty laundry in public." So why must the discussion only be about "dirty laundry"? Isn't anyone reading anything worthwhile that they might like to discuss and/or recommend? It would seem like this group would be a good place for that. I'm a member of the 75 Group, which is a nice group of people, but if I so much as post the title of a book that is in any way political, they all run from my thread like their hair is on fire. I was hoping this might be a place where people were discussing what they're reading.

14Carnophile
Feb 7, 2011, 8:27am Top

This group goes through cycles. Mostly it's more fun to crash into lefties at Pro & Con.

Regarding #4, that's Makifat, who is most definitely not a conservative and is just here to get a rise out of us. (Hi, Maki.)

15labwriter
Feb 7, 2011, 9:52am Top

OK--heh. Thanks for the tip.

16barney67
Edited: Feb 7, 2011, 12:00pm Top

There aren't many conservatives on this site, despite what the group members stat suggests. And most of the people who consider themselves conservatives are really libertarians. That's true of some of the liberals as well. They just don't know it.

These are important distinctions, but not enough people are aware of them and I don't want to argue them again, having done so many times over the past four or five years. Because of the ignorance of these distinctions, I find that there aren't many people I'd like to talk to when it comes to politics and political philosophy. There are some people out there who've read what I have, but generally they don't participate in Talk. Out making a living, I imagine, or no interest in the social aspects of a site in which they are vastly outnumbered.

I have also somewhat lost my desire for debate. That's for several reasons, I think. One simply comes with aging and the desire to spend one's time wisely. Debate I see is carried on at such a superficial level, and with such rudeness and hostility, that it's not even worth participating in. Another is the impossibility of persuasion. By a certain age -- I don't know when -- people are entrenched in their positions and are unlikely to change. At some age they have ceased to question the foundations of their thoughts, which is understandable, and have agreed to settle some things in their mind without constant self-questioning. The younger the person, the more likely he is to change his mind because there is much less at stake. The older the person, the more likely he is to remain entrenched.

There are some posts in this thread--you've seen them-- which reveal the futility of trying to discuss politics on this site. If you really want a glimpse of idiocy, try Pro and Con.

17labwriter
Edited: Feb 7, 2011, 5:15pm Top

>16 barney67:. Thanks for your thoughtful post. I guess what I'm looking for is a group that discusses the conservative (or even libertarian) books that are out there--what's new, what's useful, what's not, etc.--just like we discuss other books at LT. I'm honestly not looking for a place where people are debating the issues; there are plenty of other websites where I can find that sort of thing. In the other LT group where I belong, people make great suggestions and we have good discussions about fiction, for example. Yet members of that group become so uncomfortable if I ever make mention of even something as benign as, "I'm reading Laura Bush's memoir." A comment like that can shut down traffic to my thread for a week.

I'm looking for a place where can people discuss something like their five favorite conservative books for 2010, for example. I'm not looking to change anyone's mind but instead simply hoping to find somewhat like-mined people who want to share ideas about books we're reading.

From my experience here at LT, starting in January of last year, I'm beginning to question, "Don't conservatives read?" Why are the conservatives on this site so outnumbered? I realize that they are, but I don't understand why. I'm out there "making a living," and so are most of the very chatty people on the Left in the other group I'm a part of. So what gives? Surely conservatives aren't frightened away by being outnumbered?

Ed for speling.

18barney67
Edited: Feb 7, 2011, 7:17pm Top

One of the reasons I haven't participated much is that during the past year I rediscovered fiction after a long, long spell of reading nothing but nonfiction. I'd like to think the fiction I read is consistent with a conservative world view, but most of the time, when it comes to fiction, I'm hoping to find something apolitical that will hold my interest.

I continue to read the fantasy/sci-fi/mystery/horror of Gene Wolfe (touchstones not working, still). Interestingly enough, Wolfe has called himself a conservative on National Review Online. Check out the John J. Miller section called Between The Covers for brief audio interviews with authors. http://radio.nationalreview.com/betweenthecovers/

I recently finished a fine historical novel by Jeff Shaara about WW1, called To The Last Man. Two other excellent fiction books I read last year were by conservative Mark Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War and The Pacific and Other Stories which contains an interesting response to 9/11. See also his book on copyright, Digital Barbarism. Another favorite from last year was Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, a novel about the decline of the small, family farm.

Do conservatives read? I have often wondered about that myself. If they do, they're not here. A little bit more literature and fewer business books might have a dramatic difference on the conservative movement. We were told, after all, that 9/11 happened due a failure of…imagination. It needs to be cultivated. I worry that conservatives really do fall into the stereotype of caring only about money and less for what Russell Kirk called "the permanent things." I hope not.

19lawecon
Feb 7, 2011, 8:30pm Top

>4 Makifat: says the silence is because conservatives "are loathe to air their dirty laundry in public." So why must the discussion only be about "dirty laundry"? Isn't anyone reading anything worthwhile that they might like to discuss and/or recommend? It would seem like this group would be a good place for that. I'm a member of the 75 Group, which is a nice group of people, but if I so much as post the title of a book that is in any way political, they all run from my thread like their hair is on fire. I was hoping this might be a place where people were discussing what they're reading.
=============================

I think that the problem is that "conservative" means radically different things to different people in contemporary America.

50 years ago, there wasn't much difference between American conservatism and what would have been known as "classical liberalism" in Europe, with the possible exception that Americans were still suffering from their previous two overseas crusades against Ultimate Evil. Classical liberals had no such delusions, and simply noted that some people had reached a stage of liberty and some hadn't.

What happened around that time was that there was an intellectual invasion of conservatism by European tories. It is that sort of conservative that Hayek, who was an expatriot Austrian with British citizenship, had in mind when he wrote this essay: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/hayek1.html

You might also find this essay to be informative: http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj26n3/cj26n3-13.pdf

Since that time, of course, "conservative" has further morphed to include "neoconservatives," who are, in fact, the resurrection of Teddy Roosevelt and use to be called "Progressives".

20barney67
Edited: Feb 7, 2011, 10:11pm Top

A creative reading of history, esp. the mocking part about the world wars being "crusades" in which you marginalize yourself with a minority, isolationist view. I know when lewrockwell.com gets quoted, there's nonsense on the way. Lew Rockwell is not a conservative. I'm not sure what he is and I don't think he does either.

There was no intellectual invasion of European tories. It's a moronic thing to say. But if you agree with Hayek, you must be admitting that you are not a conservative. And yet you continue to post to a forum that is named Political Conservatives only to complain about "contemporary" conservatives and Republicans. You reserve a special place in your heart for, of all people, the lunatic Ron Paul, previously a member of the Libertarian Party who ran as a Republican so that he could get elected.

You continue to make the argument that your brand of conservatism is older and therefore more valid and pure than conservatism after 1960 or so. In your view no one today or in the past 50 years is conservative except those who call themselves libertarian, who claim to be the fairest of them all. And yet instead of calling yourself libertarian, you insist on the term conservative.

A congeries of contradictions.

This is why you have me on Ignore. Because you can't come out where the big boys play. And you lack the guts to enter Pro and Con to take on the liberals as I have.

22Carnophile
Feb 7, 2011, 10:18pm Top

I worry that conservatives really do fall into the stereotype of caring only about money and less for what Russell Kirk called "the permanent things."

That seems way off to me. In fact it sounds like the leftist caricature of conservatism.

23lawecon
Edited: Feb 8, 2011, 8:35am Top

Deniro is, of course, unable to distinguish between libertarians and classical liberals, just as was his hero, Russell Kirk. He is apparently, now also unable to distinguish between Lew Rockwell and Hayek. Of course, he does not recognize an essay by Hayek and thinks it is an essay by Rockwell, since he has never before read anything by Hayek.

I don't know of one other person who claims expertise about American intellectual history or the American political spectrum since the Revolution who believes that the roots of Americanism are not found in acknowledged liberals like John Milton, Edward Coke, Algernon Sidney, John Locke, and Adam Smith. (For a more full background see most of the volumes here http://www.libertyfund.org/books.aspx ) Nor does anyone other than Kirk and Deniro believe that the confused pro-socialist John Stuart Mill, was the ultimate representative of classical liberalism or was somehow in bed with Murray Rothbard - albeit they lived 100 years apart from one another.

Such comments simply display ignorance of history.

24lawecon
Feb 8, 2011, 12:44am Top

I guess what I'm looking for is a group that discusses the conservative (or even libertarian) books that are out there--what's new, what's useful, what's not, etc.-
===========================

There have been, and technically still are, several such sites on librarything. All the ones I know are, however, currently inactive. For something related, you might want to look at a previous thread in this very Group entitled Periodicals On The Right. "Right" and "conservative" are not, of course, synonymous, but there are a number of good sources identified in that thread.

Beyond that, my paradoxical conclusion from another thread on religion that just concluded is that many of the people who participate in these librarything groups don't read on the topic of the group. The religious thread in question was simply vicious in tone, but when you asked for coherency or looked at the libraries of those participating you couldn't help but note that there was nothing foundational on theology or comparative religion. Everyone "had an opinion" in the sense of a series of bumpersticker slogans, but only a small minority had done anything to test their opinions against either intellectual history or the opinions of current experts.

You, to the contrary, seem to be reaching out and exploring before "having an opinion." That is a very positive sign. Whatever I can do to help, please let me know.

25codyed
Feb 8, 2011, 2:12am Top

I like my conservative sources to be free of the stultifying taint of leftism, however slight. Nothing says useful and illuminating like purity.

26barney67
Feb 8, 2011, 11:18am Top

22 -- Well, I said, "I worry that…" not "I believe that…"

23 -- I did not say it was an essay by Lew Rockwell. I said that if it appears on Lew Rockwell's site it is probably nonsense. Which it is. If you agree with Hayek, you cannot consider yourself a conservative, as Hayek did not.

25 -- Don't know what you're referring to.

27Makifat
Feb 8, 2011, 12:40pm Top

Compare Post 16 ("If you really want a glimpse of idiocy, try Pro and Con.") with Post 20 ("And you lack the guts to enter Pro and Con to take on the liberals as I have.") for an interesting self revelation.

20
This is why you have me on Ignore. Because you can't come out where the big boys play.

Also interesting. I wonder if this is why deniro has me on ignore? Or maybe he's just too busy "taking on" the liberals. Although I don't see how ignoring them is "taking them on".

28Doug1943
Feb 11, 2011, 12:53pm Top

When I first joined LibraryThing and found the Political Conservatives Group, there were lots of interesting people posting on it, mostly but not exclusively, some sort of self-described conservative.

There were some very interesting discussions, which revealed the wide range of opinions within American conservatism.

But even these people found it impossible to be civil with each other, although most of the incivility was fired back and forth across the Left/Right barricades.

Then one of the Progressive side formed Pro-and-Con so we could fight on more neutral ground, and that worked for a while, then it too died away.

I suspect one reason is that liberals/Progressives are demoralized by the failures of liberalism, and conservatives are demoralzed by the failures of capitalism. We don't reckon that the Other Side has anything to teach us, and will just laugh at our discomfiture.

I would much prefer the Political Conservatives Group to be a conservatives (broadly defined, to include both Deniro and Lawecon)-only group, and put the vitriol-spraying discussions into Pro and Con. But this would require a Self-Denying Ordinance on the part of the Pro's. On the other hand, they would then get to see us air our dirty laundry in "public," so it might be worth it.

The revolution in Egypt, by the way, will prove a real test of conservatism. It is the pure triumph of the Bush Doctrine, which conservatives abandoned years ago assuming they every held it. What a shame.

29timspalding
Feb 11, 2011, 4:22pm Top

>28 Doug1943:

Stuff waxes and wanes. It's the way of groups on the internet. It'll wax again.

The revolution in Egypt, by the way, will prove a real test of conservatism. It is the pure triumph of the Bush Doctrine, which conservatives abandoned years ago assuming they every held it. What a shame.

Agreed. It nicely splits things because some are worried the Islamic Brotherhood will gain power, and that it puts the peace treaty with Israel at risk. I suspect the risk to Israel is not great and that, over time, everyone is better off with a democratic Egypt. But I have no very strong opinions about it. I studied them at one point, but the relative strength of internal factions in Egypt and the dynamics of power once you have free elections is the sort of question every political pundit has an opinion on, but that very few have a fully-informed one on.

It's worth adding that, while Egypt fell without an American invasion, it doesn't mean that democracy in the middle east is always achievable by peaceful means. Egypt was a relatively liberal authoritarian state. It imprisoned people. Some imprisoned people were mistreated. That's terrible, but I think "protesters" in Saddam's Iraq would have been in a considerably worse position.

30Jesse_wiedinmyer
Feb 11, 2011, 4:34pm Top

It is the pure triumph of the Bush Doctrine

?

Our ally is overthrown by his people, without much violence or our military intervention and this is Bush's triumph how?

31Vanye
Feb 12, 2011, 3:44am Top

I do not think it does cuz I believe that 'W' & the neocons require a war w/the U. S. in order for the 'Bush Doctrine' to work right! Don't they? 8^)

32ben_a
Feb 14, 2011, 10:48am Top

I used to lurk here pretty frequently. I don't anymore for a number of reasons:

a. Intrusion of not very civil or interesting progressives. Just to name a few names: Jesse, Makifat. I don't understand why you come here with the primary goal of snarking at a very superficial level. You're unwelcome. You should leave.

b. The entry of one not very civil conservative (but maybe interesting? I couldn't be bothered to wade through), whom I now block.

c. Less posting by the people I found particularly interesting

As Tim says, these things wax and wane. But there's no doubt that bad behavior has made this particular venue worse.

33barney67
Feb 14, 2011, 2:05pm Top

You make some good points.

34Makifat
Feb 14, 2011, 4:59pm Top

I don't understand why you come here with the primary goal of snarking at a very superficial level.

I come here for the unintentional humor and to help you folks out. Without the loyal opposition, it seems as though this group has trouble getting its threads out of the single digits. Anyway, it's the thin-skinnedness of the folks around here that led to my suggestion that you make the group private.

35Makifat
Feb 14, 2011, 5:02pm Top

You're unwelcome. You should leave.

Well, if you're going to be uncivil, I will withdraw the compliment I made up in post 4.

36Toolroomtrustee
Feb 14, 2011, 6:11pm Top

>34 Makifat:
>>I come here for the unintentional humor and to help you folks out.

Would it be safe to say then, that you haven't any encountered references to books that you otherwise would not have read, or encountered any arguments that you would not have considered if you had spent your time only with leftists?

37Makifat
Feb 14, 2011, 6:22pm Top

I live in Arizona. I don't know any "leftists".

38Toolroomtrustee
Feb 14, 2011, 6:30pm Top

Would it be safe to say then, that you haven't any encountered references to books that you otherwise would not have read, or encountered any arguments that you would not have considered if you had spent your time - online included - only with leftists?

39Makifat
Feb 14, 2011, 6:48pm Top

What, you mean in "Political Conservatives"?

I'm fairly conversant with the Conservative point(s)-of-view. It has been entertaining, in the past, to come here to get a whiff of opinions on current events, and engage in friendly (yes, friendly) debate. Not much of that going on lately. If you buy the argument that most of the members of this group are staying away because of the likes of me and Jesse, I'm a bit incredulous. But I am aware of one member of the group who simply cannot stand to be challenged, even in a lightly teasing sort of way. What can you do with someone like that?

I think anyone who chooses to jump into on-line chatter on controversial topics ought to have at least a bit of a thicker skin with regard to their on-line persona. But then, if one doesn't want debate, doesn't want unwelcome intrusion by smartasses, then the Private Group option, or at least the "join this group to post" option ought to be evaluated.

40Toolroomtrustee
Feb 14, 2011, 7:11pm Top

>39 Makifat:
I'm not asking you to stop arguing with people, and it's not my place to say whether you should "leave".

I find the idea of you and Jesse's involvement extinguishing participation preposterous, and I find the possibility of someone else reducing participation entirely believable (I blocked that person long ago). I see a world of difference between the way you two debate and the way this person debates.

I'll break down my question: what is it about this forum that you find unintentionally humourous? How do you think you have helped out other members of this forum? What problems are certain folks experiencing?

Have you found any interesting books discussed on this forum? Any new ideas?

41Makifat
Feb 14, 2011, 7:20pm Top

I take you questions seriously, and will no doubt get back to you in somewhat more detail.

I will only say, and it may be a shocking admission, that I really have hardly any interest in politics at all. Seriously. But I am VERY interested in human psychology, and it is this interest that makes this a more profitable venue to troll than, for example, The Green Dragon or any of the interminable "Twilight" groups. I happen to also believe that there is nothing that clarifies one's perspective better than having that perspective challenged. You can tell a lot about someone by how they respond to the challenge. You may be surprised to hear that there are some folks whom I simply do not challenge. Why? Well, there are reasons...

As I say, I'm trying to tear myself away from the keyboard (it's Valentines Day, after all), but I will get back to you.

42Toolroomtrustee
Edited: Feb 14, 2011, 7:44pm Top

>41 Makifat:
>>But I am VERY interested in human psychology

I am too, hence my questions to you.

Here's something to ponder on this Valentine's Day. My daily paper had one of those "man in the street"-style questions with photos of the people being asked. The question was "Should Valentine's Day Be Abolished?"

Huh?

What's more, two young people applied in the affirmative, both giving variations on the "we don't need a special day to be nice to someone, it's just marketing for the X industry, we should focus on universal peace every day instead."

So we "abolish" something? And those who disobey are required to ...?

I would appreciate knowing the psychological explanation behind these sentiments.

43Jesse_wiedinmyer
Feb 14, 2011, 8:03pm Top

Probably no different than the explanation behind the idea that you find abolishing it to be absurd (Note, I'm not taking a stand on the question. Just offering what I might offer as an explanation.)

They feel that undue social pressure is placed upon them to observe a tradition that they believe to be largely meaningless for themselves. You feel that these people are exerting social pressure on you by arguing for the abolition of that holiday.

44Toolroomtrustee
Feb 14, 2011, 9:27pm Top

>43 Jesse_wiedinmyer:

Not that you would know this, but I'm over 40. I feel about as exerted by their social pressure as I feel excited by the latest "unlimited texting" plan in a cell phone ad.

I raised the question in the context of understanding the psychology behind the desire to, it would appear, make the celebration of certain things illegal. These young people would likely recoil in horror at the idea of prohibiting Internet use on Sunday, on the grounds that people could spend more time with their families. Such a law would be easy to disobey and impossible to implement they would rightly say. But they want to abolish the giving of chocolates and cards because they find the practice meaningless themselves?

>>They feel that undue social pressure is placed upon them to observe a tradition that they believe to be largely meaningless for themselves.

Possibly, except it was news to me that today's youth are suffering from having observed such meaningless traditions.

45Jesse_wiedinmyer
Feb 14, 2011, 9:32pm Top

How exactly, does one go about abolishing a holiday, anyway? What does that question even mean?

46lawecon
Feb 14, 2011, 9:44pm Top

~32

It is too bad that you only lurk and snipe. Perhaps if you participated you would improve the tone. Or maybe that wasn't the point of your post?

47Toolroomtrustee
Feb 14, 2011, 11:36pm Top

>45 Jesse_wiedinmyer:
Exactly. The question struck me as ridiculous, but apparently some people took the bait and the journalist clocked his time.

>Probably no different than the explanation behind the idea that you find >abolishing it to be absurd (Note, I'm not taking a stand on the question. Just >offering what I might offer as an explanation.)

I think that it is different. My distaste for the question and their answers doesn't translate to censorship of their answers - or for the newspaper that baited them. It just translates into me asking questions.

48Jesse_wiedinmyer
Feb 14, 2011, 11:38pm Top

I'll admit to being one of those people that find the holiday to be a bit tacky and over-commercialised (mayhap merely jaded from having worked fine dining service for too long), yet I find the concept of "abolishing" the holiday to somewhat idiotic. Then again, I'm not sure what is meant by abolishing a holiday. But I'd assume that it's similar to the brou-ha-ha with those who wish for a simpler, less commercial Christmas.

The whole thing strikes me as rather absurd.

49lawecon
Feb 15, 2011, 8:03am Top

yet I find the concept of "abolishing" the holiday to somewhat idiotic. Then again, I'm not sure what is meant by abolishing a holiday.

=============================

Perhaps it would be a good idea to have some conception of what a contention means before setting out to refute it?

What does any of this have to do with the theme of this thread?

50Carnophile
Edited: Feb 15, 2011, 10:52am Top

Sorry to contribute to topic drift, but didn't someone around the time of England's Interregnum try to outlaw Christmas?

Edit: It was Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans. I didn't bother to check if it was around the time of the Interregnum, but anyone who cares can find out as fast as I found out about Cromwell.

51Toolroomtrustee
Feb 15, 2011, 11:49am Top

>48 Jesse_wiedinmyer:, 50

Bear in mind that Valentine's is not even a "holiday", in that businesses and government offices are required to close, etc. Valentine's Day is no more of an imposition on anyone than St. Patrick's Day; the fact that some people think it is arguably suggests a totalitarian temptation, so it's no surprise to see the similarity with the Puritans. "This makes me feel a certain way. I don't like this feeling. The government must ban this so my feeling will stop."

52Makifat
Edited: Feb 15, 2011, 12:06pm Top

the fact that some people think it is arguably suggests a totalitarian temptation

Uh, what people?

I don't know if the question, with regard to Valentine's Day, ought to be interpreted as "is it more trouble than it's worth?", as opposed to seeing it as some sort of "totalitarian temptation".

Newspapers and TV stations have to fill space and air time, and they tend to fill it with Chicken Little banality (as FOX amply proves when Christmastime rolls around). I'd hardly see questions of this sort as evidence of the decline and collapse of western civilization.

Do you really worry that "the government" will BAN Valentine's Day? I assume there is a point to your inquiry, besides the expression of a vague feeling of paranoid persecution.

Oh, one other question. Do you consider "St. Valentine's Day" a religious holiday? Do you see the suggesting by some bored newsperson with a finger up their nose as some evidence of religious persecution?

53Toolroomtrustee
Edited: Feb 15, 2011, 12:52pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

54Toolroomtrustee
Feb 15, 2011, 12:46pm Top

>52 Makifat:
>>Uh, what people?

The people I identified in my post. I realize that you can't see the newspaper, and there is no link, so if you don't want to take my word, it's best to ignore my question. Note that I have never referred to these people as "Leftists", just people who want to ban something.

55Toolroomtrustee
Feb 15, 2011, 12:53pm Top

>52 Makifat:
>>I'd hardly see questions of this sort as evidence of the decline and collapse of western civilization.

I wrote "arguably suggests" and "temptation", nothing forthright.

>>Do you really worry that "the government" will BAN Valentine's Day? I assume there is a point to your inquiry, besides the expression of a vague feeling of paranoid persecution.

I don't know if I can make myself clearer than I already have, but I'll try one more time: the point of my enquiry is to ask the reasoning behind someone wanting to abolish a popular set of practices on a given day. And the feeling of paranoid persecution isn't coming from me, it's coming from people who want to abolish this set, according to Jesse, on the grounds that they feel harsh social pressure from it. If governments can't effectively ban drugs or guns, how could they ban chocolates, cards, etc.? What is the psychology of people who think that governments could? Since you are interested in psychology, and practice Valentine traditions, I thought you might comment.

It's not the disappearance of Valentine's that concerns me, it's the method of reasoning I identified in >51 Toolroomtrustee:: "I don't like this, so I want it banned."

>>Oh, one other question. Do you consider "St. Valentine's Day" a religious holiday? Do you see the suggesting by some bored newsperson with a finger up their nose as some evidence of religious persecution?

No to the first question; whatever religiousness might have been associated with "St. Valentine's Day" declined as western societies became more secular in orientation. I don't really understand the second question, but I will say that I don't see how any North American media outlet could engage in religious persecution. Perhaps some coverage is unfair towards certain religious groups, but I'm not the best person to ask on that.

56Makifat
Feb 15, 2011, 5:00pm Top

I can think of a list as long as my arm of things people don't like and want banned. Some I (or you) might agree with, some not. The reasonings as to why they want them banned extend from well-reasoned to ridiculous.

Your Valentine's Day "prohibition" concern seems to derive from some dipshit asking a couple of "young people" if it ought to be abolished, eliciting a response that seems, to me at least, to say "yeah, whatever".

Christ on a pogo stick, and you folks wonder why I find the levels of Chicken Littleism exhibited in the conservative media (and occasionally in this group) hilarious.

57Toolroomtrustee
Feb 15, 2011, 5:06pm Top

>56 Makifat:
Ok, I have a response to this alleged "Chicken Littleism in the conservative media", but I first want to read the comments you said in >41 Makifat: you would present.

58Toolroomtrustee
Feb 15, 2011, 5:06pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

59Makifat
Feb 15, 2011, 5:56pm Top

You might have a long wait. The whole St. Valentines Day massacre tangent has left me in some doubt about the seriousness of your inquiry.

As for the Chicken Littleism, see "O'Reilly, Bill".

60Toolroomtrustee
Feb 15, 2011, 6:11pm Top

Look, my questions in >40 Toolroomtrustee: are entirely reasonable, and you know it. You've read enough of my posts to know I'm serious about ideas and how and why people hold them. Don't use the Valentine's comment to back out, and don't use it to prove that I am not earnest.

And for the record, I have never seen Bill O'Reilly or watched anything at length from Fox News, not only because I have no deep interest in it, but also I can't even access it from where I live. To the extent I study odd claims - from the left wing, the right wing and the no wing- it is for reasons that have nothing to do with the American cable pundits that have sprouted up in the last decade and a half. (Check out my "Science vs. Pseudo-Science" tag).

61AsYouKnow_Bob
Edited: Feb 15, 2011, 6:21pm Top

#60>Look, my questions in >40 Toolroomtrustee: are entirely reasonable, and you know it.

OK, I'll take a stab at it.

I used to read this group (and occasionally post here) because I feel that it's important for left and right to keep the dialog open, and to understand what the opposition is concerned with. Prominent poster Doug1943 was one of the first people I befriended on LT.

And makifat is right: it's sometimes hard for those of us outside the conservative mindset to understand what it is that conservatives are getting themselves worked up about.

62Jesse_wiedinmyer
Feb 15, 2011, 6:25pm Top

I'd still kind of have to say that the question as posed by initial interviewer is somewhat meaningless. As it's answered by the goofballs in the affirmative, it's probably an indication of dissatisfaction with the commercialisation/commodification of romance. These same people might argue that they also dislike the practice of diamond engagement or wedding rings. Or expected tipping. Or, who, like my friends that have been Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate Christmas in the same way that others do, if at all. "Abolishing Valentine's Day" has such little denotative content that the question is pretty absurd in its facility.

As it stands, the whole exchange seems rather pointless. Getting het up about it even more so.

Do we have any ideas as to what percentage of respondents favor the "abolition" of Valentine's Day? How large was the sample size? Were the two people that answered in the affirmative representative of a large portion of the population, or where they there merely to provide the "balance" and "conflict" needed to present the initial question as newsworthy at all? Are their any other holidays that people feel should be "abolished?" St. Pat's? Cinco De Mayo? Halloween? Mother's Day? Martin Luther King day?

If anything, I think the larger question is why do we deem this story as newsworthy in the first place. I can't say it strikes me as particularly hard journalism. And I find it about as interesting as the state of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' relationship.

63Jesse_wiedinmyer
Edited: Feb 15, 2011, 6:33pm Top

Mis-posted.

64drbubbles
Feb 15, 2011, 6:42pm Top

A paper where I used to live had the same kind of person-on-the-street question with three answers. One time one of the local U's fraternities got up to some hijinks (I know, right?), and the next day the question was whether frats should be abolished. (One of the three respondents said something like, 'if people want to look at monkeys they can go to the zoo.')

Point is, in that kind of newspaper thingy, there is absolutely no way to know why the paper runs the responses they do or, as importantly, why the people responded as they did ("Abolish V-day? Yeah, sure; now get away from me, I'm on the phone.") The Onion nails it when they use the same eight or so photos of "respondents" and give them different identities every time.

65Toolroomtrustee
Feb 15, 2011, 6:46pm Top

Could we please move this discussion of holidays and celebrations, officially recognized and otherwise, to another thread? I am much more interested in my initial exchange with Makifat, and had no idea he was going to react that way to my sub-question about Valentine's. Now it seems he's using it as an excuse to avoid what I think are more pertinent questions.

66Makifat
Feb 15, 2011, 6:49pm Top

I think the larger question is whether something ought to be banned (by the government, no less) just because some people "don't like it." (See 55)

I suppose this is why we have ballot referendums.

The particular example given just happens to be goofy enough to prohibit taking the question seriously.

Why not instead choose the examples of gun ownership, religious symbolism on government property, or abortion?

The desire to ban things "people don't like" is not exclusively Left or Right.

67Makifat
Edited: Feb 15, 2011, 6:56pm Top

I am much more interested in my initial exchange with Makifat...

Well, unfortunately, Makifat ain't that much interested in it anymore.

Waddya know? Almost 5:00pm here in the Valley of the Sun, and time for the cocktail hour.

Another afternoon wasted to no discernable purpose.

68Toolroomtrustee
Feb 15, 2011, 7:22pm Top

So let me get this straight: you bail from answering questions you had taken seriously because you think an unrelated question is goofy.

>I think anyone who chooses to jump into on-line chatter on controversial topics ought to have at least a bit of a thicker skin with regard to their on-line persona. But then, if one doesn't want debate, doesn't want unwelcome intrusion by smartasses, then the Private Group option, or at least the "join this group to post" option ought to be evaluated.

Some conservative posters appear to object to your involvement because you ask them questions they dislike. Maybe they are turned off by your tone or manner of asking them.

And, in light of your recent decision to opt out, how can you see yourself as different from their thin-skinnedness?

>>The desire to ban things "people don't like" is not exclusively Left or Right.

Not once did I say this sentiment. I explicitly avoided saying the desire to ban things was exclusively Left or Right, particularly in >54 Toolroomtrustee:.

Again, it's not my place to say you should leave, but your stance that a certain question prevents you from answering others does seem to suggest a lack of seriousness on your part. It does give credence that you are not a member of the "loyal opposition", who is helping the other side from whatever delusions they are under, but that you are just sniping. And it does suggest that what you mean by unintentional hilarity is that you discuss things only if you think there is a joke to be had from it.

If any of this is true, I can't see why anyone in this forum who is serious would want to discuss things with you. Some people in this forum have overstepped the line of civility with insults, but if any of this is true, it shows that unwelcome involvement can take other forms too.

69Makifat
Feb 15, 2011, 7:50pm Top

...but your stance that a certain question prevents you from answering others does seem to suggest a lack of seriousness on your part.

Well, given that of all the possible issues you could raise you choose to raise an eminently silly one makes me somewhat doubt your seriousness.

I also have the sneaking suspicion that you aren't even reading my responses.

70Toolroomtrustee
Edited: Feb 16, 2011, 2:34am Top

>69 Makifat:
>>I also have the sneaking suspicion that you aren't even reading my responses.

Based on what information?

71lawecon
Edited: Feb 16, 2011, 8:15am Top

Again, it's not my place to say you should leave, but your stance that a certain question prevents you from answering others does seem to suggest a lack of seriousness on your part. It does give credence that you are not a member of the "loyal opposition", who is helping the other side from whatever delusions they are under, but that you are just sniping. And it does suggest that what you mean by unintentional hilarity is that you discuss things only if you think there is a joke to be had from it.

=====================

Oh my, there is that "he has an inappropriate attitude" thing again. It is certainly a mark of esteem of this Group that its "regulars" seem to be so very concerned with matters of such substance.

Perhaps some would feel more comfortable in a land such as Saudi Arabia where things like dress and correct manners are appropriately policed by burly and righteous men with large sticks?

72Makifat
Feb 16, 2011, 9:15am Top

Looking at the 25 most current threads in this group, I can't help noticing that there are only two that have managed to break out of the single digits (and one just barely) without ol' Maki's help. Hell, without me (and Jesse, et al.) this group would die on the vine!

You ought to be down on your knees thanking me! But no, this is the thanks I get.

73Makifat
Feb 16, 2011, 9:18am Top

Oh, pardon. I missed the Goldwater thread, where lawecon was doing the heavy lifting.

As far as the sparking political and cultural analysis that might be occurring if it were not for us rude people, I'll direct you to this Buckleyesque opening shot:

Well, just a few things to say.

Ha.
Ha ha.
hahahahhahahahhahahahahahahah


74Makifat
Feb 16, 2011, 10:41am Top

More hysteria from the Right:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/02/16/bachmann-targets-michelle-obama/...

Kidding, of course. But this really isn't that far removed from the "abolish Valentine's Day" nonsense. In this instance, CNN is playing the part of the nose-picking newsman. But it is interesting that the Right does not seem to have come to grips with how to deal with the Bachmanns, Palins, and Becks, who will pump up any idiotic "controversy" to get their names before the public.

You want me to take the Right seriously, when this is it's public face? William Buckley must be spinning in his grave.

This is what I was getting at way up at post 4. I don't blame "thinking" conservatives for hiding themselves under a rock.

75Makifat
Edited: Feb 16, 2011, 10:47am Top

And, in case I need to point it out, encouraging new mothers to breastfeed as a healthy choice is a far cry from passing a law requiring them to do so.

Of course, there's always that slippery slope to worry about....

76Toolroomtrustee
Edited: Feb 16, 2011, 11:42am Top

A few from across the political board braved the alleged goofiness and offered a couple of comments on Valentine's, it would seem, to no great damage to themselves.

I responded to your questions in >52 Makifat:; I did think the last two, about religiousness and persecution, odd, but I did what I could with them and moved on. I certainly did not bring them to the center of the discussion, nor did I accuse you of anything for asking them.

You may recall from the "Julius Caesar" thread (Jul. 10) our exchange in which I went to the trouble of checking out a reference to respond to something you called me on. But you cling to this idea that I'm not serious because of a question you dislike.

If I had punctuated my serious questions with an insult, which certain other unpopular participants have, I could understand your response. But I hadn't done that.

You are of course entitled to your own definition of what constitutes seriousness and goofiness, and how to respond to the latter. Just don't delude yourself into thinking you are treating me fairly.

What's more, I don't see how anyone with any set of beliefs can know in advance what you think is goofy enough to shut down a discussion. That's a really unreasonable expectation to ask of people you debate with.

You haven't given me any reason to disagree that your participation here is not serious. In fact, your conduct has given me some leads on my original questions to you, so it's not as though I am burning with disappointment over this exchange.

Even if my question is goofy enough to invalidate my seriousness credentials, I have not described my involvement here as pursuing "unintentional hilarity" and as help for others. You have.

77Makifat
Feb 16, 2011, 5:03pm Top

You may recall from the "Julius Caesar" thread (Jul. 10)...

Sorry, I don't. I really don't know much about you at all, nor do I specifically recall having communicated with you.

Are you one of my ex-wives? That would explain your antipathy towards Valentine's Day.

As far as your "seriousness credentials" are concerned, I'm happy to take your word for it. It just seems that the VD thing was an odd choice of a litmus test.

And I don't think I specifically said I wouldn't answer your questions, they have simply slipped in my list of priorities. I am glad you're not "burning with disappointment". That would just be sad.

78Toolroomtrustee
Feb 16, 2011, 5:07pm Top

79Makifat
Feb 16, 2011, 5:09pm Top

Jesus Christ that was quick!

80Makifat
Feb 16, 2011, 5:16pm Top

I am curious about the Julius Caesar thread. Was it a PoliCon thread?

81Toolroomtrustee
Feb 16, 2011, 5:20pm Top

Yes, just scan down by date and you'll find it. July 2010, with a reference to Obama and Caesar.

82Makifat
Feb 16, 2011, 5:28pm Top

Oh, ok. I had X'ed that one for some reason. Odd, since I see that in one instance Doug admitted that he agreed with me. You'd think I would have put that one in the scrapbook......

83lawecon
Feb 16, 2011, 8:17pm Top

You want me to take the Right seriously, when this is it's public face? William Buckley must be spinning in his grave.

===========================

As much as I wasn't a fan of WFB's, you are probably right. He was, after all, somewhat of a gentleman - despite punching Gore Vidal in the nose. And he seemed to have a brain, despite that regrettable degree in journalism.

It is perhaps more revealing of anything else that can be said about "contemporary conservatism" that its advocates are willing to engage in any degree of pandering to the stupid and hate filled, just so long as they "win" and obtain more raw coercive power. What they're winning the world has already experience on at least one occasion.

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