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Positive Depictions of Conservatism

Discussion in 'News and Politics' started by Hostarius, Dec 11, 2020.

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  1. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    If only it were that simple. It's not like many of us don't have conservative friends and family members that we love.
     
  2. Wyote

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    It really is that simple, but circumstances are complex
     
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  3. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    If circumstances are complex then none of it is really that simple lol. But I don't think love is all you need to fix anything. How do you show people they don't need to be afraid?
     
  4. Wyote

    Wyote ┄⍹┄
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    That's also a can of complexity. I didn't say any of this was easy :laughing:
     
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  5. niar

    niar Regular Poster

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    The main feature of conservatism is opposition to change, progress and innovation. There's nothing good about it, it's a ploy to maintain the status quo, and that always goes against the best interests of the society. The smartest thing conservatism ever did was tie itself to tradition and national identity and be the false victim of anyone counter opposing regression thereafter.
     
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  6. John K

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    The trouble is that the term conservatism has become so loaded with political overtones that it's impossible to have a discussion about it that isn't contaminated with unconditional value judgements. The word has had it's meaning altered maybe irrevocably now. When I was a child the word gay meant carefree and happy, but again it's almost impossible to use it in that sense now - a similar sort of process. These changes are sad, but it's just life.

    To my mind, the concept of environmental conservatism is an example of a very positive use of the term. This embraces the idea of preserving those aspects of our environment that are beneficial to the world, and whose loss would be harmful to it. The idea of limiting carbon dioxide emissions to levels that maintain the world's temperature at 20th Century values is a quintessentially conservative policy. Even with something as obvious as this there is controversy though, because different people will have competing views on what environmental aspects should be preserved and how to go about preserving them.

    When it comes to what aspects of our societies' institutions should be preserved, it's far harder still and the innocent / neutral concept becomes polluted by people who want to preserve religious or racial purity, or impose their way of life on others, etc.
     
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    #26 John K, Dec 11, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2020
  7. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome
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    Tradition, ritual, customs, culture, heritage, folklore, ghost stories, and folk music are all conservatism.
    Christmas is conservatism.
    Cooking a dish the way your mother did it, and the way her mother did it, is conservatism.
    Meeting up with friends every Labor Day weekend to play tag football is conservatism.
    Museums full of Renaissance paintings are conservatism.
    Preserving the Pyramids in Egypt is conservatism.

    I'd actually argue that language is not conservative, @Hostarius. It is in constant flux.
     
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  8. OP
    Hostarius

    Hostarius Dad Bodinem

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    Lol.

    Hey, I'm not sure that I claimed that this was a panacea, lol.

    Because that's what people who are committed to healing do. It's a personal responsibility - you can't just load it all on to the other side and stay in your own little aggrieved box, screaming 'it's all their fault!'. The gap will be bridged by acts of mature leadership and courage on both sides.

    No, not centrism as a political position exactly. I'm not advocating here for some kind of Clinton/Blair Third Wayism, I'm talking about a re-cultivating a deeper civic commitment to the centre space of compromise.

    'The Centre' is where we all live, but it's not where our opinions have to be. It just represents the shared space that we create through our political processes, and I think the difficulty of understanding this distinction speaks somewhat to the state we're in (at least in the US) - people have forgotten what a comittment to the social contract feels like.

    See above.

    It wouldn't render the terms meaningless, because like you intimate it's true that we can be 'progressive' about some policies and 'conservative' about others, and if people weren't hoovered into one camp or another they'd be able to explore that more freely.

    I'm not sure this makes much sense at all. 'Stability' or 'status quo' is often like good parenting - we establish a set of rules by which the child then learns to navigate the world, and changing these rules overmuch is a form of abuse; it becomes an arbitrary use of power.

    In the same way, some form of 'status quo' is necessary for people to be able to make proper, informed decisions about their lives and plan accordingly.

    Exactly.

    OK, so here's the thing about this semantic/linguistic evolution argument...

    There seems to be the belief that we're just subject to these 'natural' patterns of linguistic evolution, and that they can't be directed, guided, or otherwise influenced by our own choices. That we simply must 'accept' the new connotations and symbolic associations that words accrete over time. First of all, this isn't true, and second of all the 'connotations' are precisely why a 'rehabilitative' effort like this has any measure of power to heal the rifts that divide us.

    Polarisation is a process of categorisation, whereby symbols are progressively hoovered into one camp or another. In the 'social balance theory' of Fritz Heider et al, the major principle of action here is essentially individuals attempting to avoid congnitive dissonances invoked by liking things that their enemies like, or disliking things their allies like, and it's worth noting that, very often, there's nothing 'essential' about why a symbol/thing should belong to one category or the other.

    Take NASCAR, for example, or pick-up trucks... there's no reason why a 'pick-up truck' necessarily has to be symbolically associated with 'the right', and yet people will accept the polarisation and act accordingly to either adopt or avoid the symbol as to their taste... except in cases where people realise that it's just a useful kind of vehicle for particular tasks and so use it anyway.

    In other words, we have a bunch of symbols here dividing us (and really pick-up trucks are an innocuous example) that have no reason to be.

    Part of the 'work' of 'depolarisation' is in deconstructing these symbolic complexes and shearing them of their divisive power. 'Conservative' simply happens to be a particularly potent example, highly tribalised. When we bring this term into ourselves (or 'progressive', for the other side, however it might be), we simultaneously bring along all of its accreted symbolic associations. When this gap is bridged, and the symbol makes its transit from one side to the other, it is, almost automatically, shorn of its false connotations, like passing through a sieve, and in doing that, you've managed to achieve some actual, real depolarisation.

    This is necessary because the problem is not just political, of course; the whole culture has been polarising for a while, and it doesn't need to be. The American tribes are entrenching and becoming increasingly dissimilar on a whole range of fronts.

    Now thankfully, ironically, the very processes of polarisation itself as they occur in representative democracies presents us with a functional mechanism through which to achieve this very 'depolarisation': leadership.

    Because the symbolic associations of the whole clique tend to attach to a central, symbolic figurehead (in the US, a president or presidential candidate for his or her party), that individual has enormous control and influence of the very sate of these symbolic associations themselves. He can entrench or retrench them at will (Trump), or detrench them with the same directiveness (McCain).

    Biden is now, or will be, in this position to pass the symbols that divide us 'through the sieve'. Imagine a speech (by Biden) that goes something like this:

    'I am a proud conservative. [examples: church? family?]. I am also a proud progressive. [examples: race relations?]. I believe that there is no shame in either of these approaches to politics, and nor should we, as Americans. If you are a Democrat, you should be able to look over at your conservative neighbour and know that his conservatism is just as noble as your progressivism... [&c.]'

    It's possible. It's been done. Nelson Mandela, upon achieving power, is one example, and in fact the poor leadership we've seen in South Africa recently is a counterexample of what happens when politicians invest in polarisation rather than trying to deconstruct it for the sake of the common good.

    There is perhaps something Hegelian about what I'm saying here, but nonetheless it works, and has worked many times before. It simply takes mature leaders committed to more transcendent values... and for individuals to be committed to the same cause.


    @Lady Jolanda I think this process might actually be similar if not the same as what you said about 'rendering the terms meaningless'.
     
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    #28 Hostarius, Dec 12, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2020
  9. Maikl Jexocuha

    Maikl Jexocuha Space Cowboy
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    “Politics is more dangerous than war, for in war you are only killed once.” - Winston Churchill, the Conservative Party.

    0_V-Sign.jpg
     
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  10. Cornerstone

    Cornerstone Well-known member

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    It seems, based on several posts in this thread at least, that there has been a conflation of the terms 'conservative' and 'reactionary'. I remember, years ago, the comedian Chris Rock had a bit about it being stupid to decide your position before hearing the issue and that he was liberal about some things and conservative about other things. The examples @Asa gave were perfect examples of innocuous conservatism. However, given that the term is inextricably linked to specific political parties, I don't think it is salvageable anymore than the word 'gay' can mean happy and carefree again as @John K said. I don't agree that someone who engages in and embraces the two-party system can or has any real motivation to bridge that gap. It's sad, but Labour must villainise the Conservatives and vice-versa.

    That being said, I do believe it can be accomplished at a more local level. Brighton Pavilion have elected Caroline Lucas of the Green Party since 2010. Okay, it's Brighton, not Bradford, but nonetheless it is significant. What is perhaps required, I think, is to use synonyms like, for example, prudence or providence, rather than conservatism. It is clear to me that elections are not rational events but it is possible to play that game without being overtly exploitative. It would have to be a long-term approach by a group with little-to-nothing to lose (but a world to win - uh oh).

    It's absurd to think that you can undo the dualistic thinking which has prevailed for, at the very least, quite a long time, within a term of office or two. The surrendering of dualistic thinking by the masses is a paradigm shift which it is worth embracing because it is inevitable but that doesn't mean it can't be set back for another century or so if you don't empathise with those who cling to it desperately and, sometimes, a bit obnoxiously. I think they're more like to cling to it violently if they are not met at least halfway.
     
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  11. Professor Snep

    Professor Snep Smart. Sexy. Snep.

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    How about we sacrifice someone to be posessed by the spirit of Benjamin Disraeli and ask him how he feels about this particular topic?

    Edit: prolly just the opposite of whatever reanimated Gladstone says
     
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  12. John K

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    I don't know if there is a generic term for it but I have a lot of suspicion of 'ism-ising' and 'ist-ising concepts. You take a word that has a reasonably well defined and neutral meaning and add these suffixes, and they get overlaid with emotionally charged obfuscating concepts that move their meaning far away from its roots - adjectives like conservative, social, national, racial, existential, etc. Like you, I wonder whether it's worth the effort to try and rehabilitate these words once they have been distorted, or simply find some other generic term to express the same neutral meaning.

    In the UK, our current ruling party is called The Conservative and Unionist Party, which is using some pretty radical policies at the moment and seems anything but conservative in the traditional sense - I'm thinking of Brexit and climate change policy here for example (the policies themselves are radical though the goals here are of course conservative). At the same time in political tribal terms, in the UK everyone thinks of socialism or nationalism as the opposite of conservatism, and it would be hard to change those views unless the major parties re-branded themselves.

    I think that the admirable aspects of social and political conservation that you talk about @Hostarius may be more easily brought together and promoted as components of a policy philosophy under a different catchword or catch phrase rather than trying to rehabilitate clapped out old ones. I think that the great majority of folks in a modern liberal democracy would have little trouble agreeing in principle with most of the sort of ideas you and others here have described.
     
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  13. larry806q

    larry806q Regular Poster

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    It's the weekend - you are all bored (yes that is an assumption AND an assinging by moi), so I thought I'd brighten your day. As per usual this is directed at no one.
    The easiest way to describe the difference is that "Conservatives" believe the U.S. Constitution means what it says and that what was written then still holds to be true and legal today.
    The "left/progressives/Democrats" (however you care to label that faction) believes the U.S. Constitution is a living and breathing document that is/was intended to be interpreted in real time (currently).

    For a number of the claims I thought I would do a bit of research and here is what I found. (I only used left leaning sources).

    Racism:

    CNN (Business/Video and printed) 9/6/19 "Black Unemployment to Record Low" /Hispanic tied to Record Low

    CNBC 10/4/19 "Black and Hispanic Unemployment is at Record Low."

    Black Enterprise 9/10/19 "Record Unemployment"

    Sorry, I did not take a note as to what year this starts however, it goes to the current time. This covers all CIVILIAN unemployment and is broken down by groups. The previous articles are all based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics and here is the actual site.
    www.bls.gov/charts/employment-situation/civilian-unemployment-rate.htm

    Washington Examiner 12/12/2020 on black Unemployment

    Here is one that I found particularly interesting. The intent was to make the case that Trump hasn't done what he says he's done (including graphs). The website is Black Demographics 8/28/2020 where they show and stipulate that Obama lowered black unemployment by 53.2% and that Trump only reduced it by 31.3%. Fair enough - except Obama had 8 years and Trump (when this was printed) had less than 4. Beyond the obvious fact Obama had larger numbers to improve making the larger percentages look better.

    Here is a website that is not the government, showing unemployment from 1929-2019 with editorial notes. the balance.com/unemployment-rate-by-year-3305506

    Moving on to politics i.e. Venezuela (however you care to define their politics vs a Democratic Republic.

    CNN 5/29/2019 "Venezuela gives a rare look at its economy". "It's an ugly, ugly picture."

    CNBC 8/3/2019 "Venezuela hyper inflation hits 10 MILLION (emphasis mine) percent. Sorry but, one can't even get their head around 10 million percent inflation (unless you are there).

    NBC News has a video website with a number of stories at: "Venezuela Crisis"; and if I read things correctly it may be their Latino Division.

    L.A. Times 4/21/2019 Op-Ed, "In Venezuela, life has gone from bad to worse." (statistics included)

    Wikipedia: History of Venezuela (1999-Present)

    Moving on to global warming.

    Daily Wire 2/12/2020 "United States Led Entire World in reducing CO2 emissions in 2019.

    Hot Air 8/21/2018 "Shocker: U.S. Leading all Paris Accord Signatories in Emissions Reductions".

    NPR 11/28/2018 (I found this article particularly entertaining since the intent of the writing is to make the case that Trump is Satan re-incarnated and in point of fact if one were to read the entire piece makes the case that he has done a good job - it is quite funny really). "Fact Check: Trump's Claims about 'Record Clean' U.S. Air". Her note that 2014-2016 were not good years was poignant.

    That is all the time I felt like spending.......so now YOU can have fun destroying the articles (and who wants to be the first to call me some negative name?)

    Enjoy,

    Larry
     
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  14. OP
    Hostarius

    Hostarius Dad Bodinem

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    I've been disappointed, but not entirely surprised by, some of the reactions to this thread; as if respect and a commitment to civic values are some kind of pie-in-the-sky optimism with no place among real political discourse. As if it hasn't before lifted countless nations from the precipice of catastrophe and disintegration.

    And we ought to be struck by the sheer incongruity of these sentiments when compared with the world we actually find ourselves in. A world where we rest - cocooned - from mass violence, from ignorance, and from death and disease at the doing of countless causes. Where we can expect - for the most part - a fair hearing in courts, and have no experience or collective recognition of arbitrary power or real tyranny.

    Then, as the US teeters on the brink of a breakdown of public life, it must surely fill us with disgust that it is apparently impossible for the beneficiaries of this great machine of civilisation to show an iota of respect or tolerance for their compatriots who just happen to disagree with them on some issue or another; as if the whole of the great edifice itself wasn't built on compromise, accord, and faith.

    It is true - Westerners are petulant; they are entitled; they are incapable of simultaneously holding both the problems and the boons of their societies within the scope of a single vision.

    And they ought to be ashamed of this; doubly ashamed because they live through the very real consequences of a breakdown in these same civic values - institutions threatened, violence threatened.

    If the most powerful nation on earth is not able to heal itself from its petty divisions, I do not know how all of us will fare in the coming decades and centuries as we enter an age which demands unprecedented cooperation to save the planet. Liberal democracies and repressive autocracies will have to come to the table together; secular states and theocracies; conservatives and socialists. If this is the best we can do, then we better start praying because we certainly can't save ourselves.
     
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  15. sammy90

    sammy90 Newbie

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    sadly true...
    I really feel to have explored till touching the borders in all directions of the different topics concerning the ecology and the future of mankind and more(geopolitics etc)...
    first of all methodology as a mental and conventional scheme to renovate exists, but we must fix that...
    it was just a one-time result of my logic and thinking juice but I guess that methodology is the keyword and concept, matter to deeply study and fix, to readapt to our present day, since the 1700-1800 AD that is in desperate need of fixing...
    later well it's like a domino puzzle, so the other pieces will subsequently fall in line and I lost track of how that makes sense, but I trust myself on this...

    vegans for example are not really objective but emotionally involved...
    and many ecologists don't think clearly even if they are right on so many things...
    the same thing happened with feminism that has become since day 2, as activism and conventional movement, more toxic than capitalism...
    but it's a common scheme that has since adam and eve with all religion always repeated itself...
    and what about masons and the freemasonry and so on, there is huge stuff to study and look at and not easy at all because it all intricated with all, and more...
    it is never good or bad assertive truth you can ever pull out from the history as the present day, not so easily, never about that... because it reflects the human nature which is uncommonly turbulent and we should keep studying it as the present day is constantly developing before our eyes as all is unwritten...

    Next year however will be an unloyal and non-conservative one, really a year that will break with the past...
    so be prepared...
     
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  16. Professor Snep

    Professor Snep Smart. Sexy. Snep.

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    No such thing was implied. Also, please define "real" political discourse.
     
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  17. Sometimes Yeah

    Sometimes Yeah Community Member

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    The conservative mindset seems to allow a generation to generation development of intergenerational culture, which is an accrual of collective wisdom.

    For example, my father occasionally spoke about some insights and customs he learnt from his father, and explained the principles behind his priorities in life.

    I learnt from my father through both imitation and these insights, making sure good lessons learnt generations ago aren't lost, or forgotten.

    ...

    The contrary mindset, progressivism seems reactionary, like burning all history, and seeking to learn what is already understood, by making random mistakes and discoveries.
     
  18. OP
    Hostarius

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    Well progressivism is vital, too, otherwise we'd still have a bunch of truly inhuman institutions, like slavery, or capitalism.
     
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  19. Wyote

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  20. niar

    niar Regular Poster

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    I'm not sure the examples you have in mind are good examples of conservatism. Tradition and heritage is NOT conservatism. Conservatism is adherence to traditional values and ideas and opposition to change. As I've already said, conservatives hijack tradition and heritage to market conservatism and preserve the hierarchy [if they're not mainstream] or a hierarchy [if they are]. I'm not sure what kind of power structure needs no modifications or improvement as time goes by. A child grows up, and bedtime isn't nine pm anymore.
     
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