12 January 2012

Bad Thinking

This time from John Hawkins:

If you want to see a great example of how weak kneed much of the conservative movement has become, look back to the Bush years when the GOP controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House. What did the GOP do to move the country to the Right? Nothing of consequence besides the Bush tax cuts, which weren't even permanent. In fact, you could make a good argument that the most significant piece of legislation during the Bush years was Medicare Part D, which moved the country to the LEFT, not the right. During the Bush years, there was even a push for comprehensive immigration reform, which was a politically suicidal attempt to pass legislation that was anathema to conservatives, would have hurt America, and would have handed several million additional votes to the Democratic Party. That is how cowed and intimidated many conservatives have become.

There are two things worth noting.

First, there seems to be some conflation between “GOP” and “conservative.”  Hawkins complains that the GOP doesn’t behave conservatively, which should generally indicate that the GOP either isn’t conservative or that “conservative” is synonymous with “liberal.”  I’m not sure which of the two preceding assertions is correct, but neither reflects well on conservatives.  If “GOP” is not synonymous with “conservative,” then conservatives are simply fools who place their faith in liberal charlatans.  Alternatively, if “conservative” is actually synonymous with “liberal” (hence the reason why those who represent conservatives act liberal), than conservatives are nothing more than a subset of liberals, having different priorities and goals.

Second, the idea that the GOP could shift the country rightward seems a little ludicrous.  Social change is generally bottom up, but this is not to say that the government has no influence over culture.  Individual beliefs, in the collective, form general cultural consensus, and this consensus is generally reflected by the government—at least in a democracy.  When there is a social shift, this shift is represented in the government, and reinforces the underlying social shift, which is further reflected in the government, which further reinforces the social shift, ad infinitum.  Basically, it’s self-reinforcing feedback loop.

Since the strength and depth of this feedback loop is not built up overnight, it stands to reason that it won’t be undone overnight either.  As such, the expectation that a couple years of nominally conservative leadership will be enough to fix the culture is, simply, absurd.

Anyhow, this simply goes to show that conservatism, for all intents and purposes, will be intellectually dead until conservatives sharpen their thinking.  Also, it wouldn’t hurt to quite relying on the GOP as the vehicle of change.


  1. Epic rant is Epic.

    I await your post on the Tea Party vs. the GOP.

  2. It would help if politicians were principled and honest about their beliefs... *snrk*

  3. @Borepatch- Thanks. There's not to say about the nominal Tea Party versus the GOP. Their principles are supposedly different, but most of the RL Tea Party members I know are fond of Rick Romgrinch. Which is to say that most of the RL Tea Party members I know are mostly anti-Obama, and not really pro-anything.

    @conservativewerewolf- that'll be the day...