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Form versus Outcome in the Polis

September 3rd, 2013 No comments

It would be useful for everyone, liberal, libertarian, and conservative, to confront the issue of which they’d prefer:
1. A dictator with the right policies (welfare state, free market, or promotion of virtue) or
2. A democracy with the wrong policies (free market and traditional values for the liberal, welfare state and traditional values for the libertarian, welfare state for the conservative). Read more…

Just 1/3 of 1% of Social Psychology Scholars Are Conservatives

August 22nd, 2013 1 comment

From “Jonathan Haidt Decodes the Tribal Psychology of Politics,” January 29, 2012:

Haidt works in a field so left-wing that, when he once polled roughly 1,000 colleagues at a social-psychology conference, 80 to 90 percent classified themselves as liberal. Only three people identified as conservative.

Categories: academia, conservatives, liberals Tags:

Conservatives typically define their groups concentrically

August 21st, 2013 No comments
Categories: conservatives, liberals, Sailer, thinking, writing Tags:

Murray’s Cops and Progressives

July 15th, 2013 No comments

Charles Murray has an excellent long essay, “Simple Justice” from about 2005 that is useful for thinking about attitudes towards the Zimmerman case and to self-defense and threat and intimidation statutes generally. He distinguishes between Progressives and Cops. Progressives dislike self-defense, retribution, and punishment generally and who do not like to differentiate people into those who follow rules and those who break them. Read more…

Policy or Power?

July 3rd, 2013 No comments

It would be useful for everyone, liberal, libertarian, and conservative, to confront the issue of which they’d prefer:
1. A dictator with the right policies (welfare state, free market, or promotion of virtue) or
2. A democracy with the wrong policies (free market and traditional values for the liberal, welfare state and traditional values for the libertarian, welfare state for the conservative).

We can up the ante in either case by specifying whether the dictator or democracy uses heavy oppression to maintain itself, e.g. executing 100 political opponents per year (which a democracy is capable of doing, just like a dictatorship).

I think conservatives would have no trouble picking (1), and liberals would have a strong preference for (1) but be ashamed to admit it and so would pick (2). I don’t know about libertarians.

Think Tank Purposes, Left and Right: "more of an echo chamber of Heritage"

March 11th, 2009 No comments

Jonah Goldberg :

[T]his is what you get when you copy the form of, say, the Heritage Foundation, without actually understanding the function. Places like the Center for American Progress ( allegedly “the liberal Heritage Foundation)” were explicitly created to mimic what self-styled progressives believe to be the vast rightwing conspiracy (It was the same agenda that brought us Air America). In one sense, they were great at mimicking all this stuff, but like the aliens in Galaxy Quest they lacked a certain level of understanding of how this stuff works internally to these organizations. For instance, they don’t seem to understand that the purpose of institutions like the Heritage Foundation is to make the White House and Congress more of an echo chamber of Heritage, not the other way around.

Categories: conservatives, liberals, media, politics Tags:

Rush Limbaugh, Disliked Because He Is Not Partisan Enough

March 5th, 2009 No comments

Jay Nordlinger in NR is good on Rush Limbaugh. One reason Limbaugh irritates people, I think, is precisely that he uses remorseless logic to rub it in when liberals go wrong. The other reason is that he uses humor. In both, he doesn’t pull his punches when he decides to go after something, and he has far more substance than more timid pundits. Ann Coulter is much the same in her style, except that she is more pointed and sarcastic. Both are also really unconcerned about winning elections. It is actually the more partisan Republicans who can’t stand them, because the partisans want to sound moderate so as to get swing voters. Also, the partisans think you should never criticize other Republicans.

One thing Rush has always been happy to do is engage with ideas.

Are his critics willing to engage with him? Or just sneer and resent?

Rush has had a considerable influence on people, for the good, I believe. In my time at National Review, I’ve interviewed a lot of young people, for jobs — internships and junior editorships. And I often ask how they became a conservative (presuming they are). And a good many people have said — sometimes sheepishly — “I listened to Rush Limbaugh.” And a good many of those have said, “I listened to Rush behind my parents’ back.”

Are these dumb kids who hate books and long to join up with the Klan? Not on your life — they are among the fanciest: Ivy Leaguers, brainiacs, world-beaters.

Whigs and Tories, Tradition and Progress

February 19th, 2009 No comments

Reading Prof. Henry Smith’s “Community and Custom in Property” working
paper I thought of some different ways of thinking about tradition and
progress. This was shortly after I was grousing yet again about how
badly designed car radios are nowadays compared to the past. With
digital tuning, we don’t have the quick and easy controls of analog
tuning, where the dial was round and quick and the pretuned buttons
stuck out so you could punch them without taking your eyes off the
wheel. I consoled myself with the idea that after 20 years or so the
engineers would figure this out. That made me realize that progress is
just the establishment of tradition– which takes time. Starting from
zero– as one does after an innovation— it takes time to build up a
tradition. Till you have the tradition built up, change is desirable.
Once you have the tradition, it’s time to stop making changes unless
some radically new and good innovation is found. But a fondness for
tradition and a belief in progress are not incompatible.

The four parties of Victorian Britain illustrate different
combinations of liking for tradition and for progress.

The Tories— the mainstream Conservatives— favored no change. They
admired the old and disliked the new.

The Whigs— the mainstream Liberals— favored gradual change. They
were neutral on the old and the new. They liked both tradition and
progress.

The Radicals— the left Liberals— favored big changes. They hated
the old and loved the new.

The Tory Democracy— the “Fourth Party” of Randolph Churchill—
favored big changes. They admired the old, but rather liked the new
too, as supportive of the old. Bismarck would perhaps be in this
category. (They were actually not called the 4th party because of my
categories here, but because the Conservatives, Liberals, and Irish
Nationalists were three parties and Churchill and friends were rather
like Newt Gingrich and the young House Republicans, wanting to be
much more barbed and inconvenient with the ruling Liberals than their
senior party members thought proper.)

I’m a Whig myself. In England, they went over to the Tory PM
Salisbury, if I remember correctly, after Gladstone allied the
Liberals with the Irish Nationalists, and the Whigs were absorbed into
the Conservative Party. Hayek liked to call himself a Whig too.