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Commie Need Conservatives Advice (Conservatives Only)

Discussion in 'Conservative Only' started by Laika, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    hey. I'm currently considering whether to take up some left-wing conservative views.

    *pauses for uncomfortable silence*

    In the US conservatives is typically associated with both Capitalism, Christianity and (debatably) Libertarianism. So it may come as a surprise that in many respects Communists historically shared conservative views. Here are a few examples;
    • Prohibition of Alcohol
    • Criminalisation of Drug use
    • Support for the Death Penalty
    • Prohibiting Abortion (to increase population growth)
    • Criminalising Homosexuality
    • Gun Control
    • Militarism, including "wars of liberation" to spread *cough* their way of life.
    • Fighting Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Central Asia. (Just worth mentioning ;) )
    • Patriotism (although based on social system rather than national identity)
    • Invasions of privacy to combat the threat of terrorism and counter revolutionary activities.
    • Widespread Censorship including banning Jazz music as western cultural influence.
    • Use of monetary incentives and competition within the workplace to increase productivity (North Korea went as far to offically abolish income tax in the 70's)...
    • Opposing inflationary deficit spending and having a balanced budget...
    Err... I think you get the idea.

    At the heart of the issue is the fact that Communists do not recognise a separation between the law and morality, or public and private spheres of activity (such as within an individual's household and family). This means they resemble theocratic and social conservative attitudes rather than liberal-progressives on many issues (the major exception being the separation of church and state). They also shared a deep scepticism of individual liberty as potentially an "irrational" factor within a planned socio-economic system.

    This is all rather... Alien... as someone who was extremely liberal. Besides a vague awareness of the debates between Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine as an origin of conflicts between liberals and conservatives, this is a completely new way of thinking for me.

    If you have some resources or links (a few good Wikipedia pages would be OK) just to introduce what it means to be a conservative that would be really useful. I am willing to read capitalist and Christian conservative works and hear it out as it may provide some clarity or inspiration. I am just exploring and keep an open mind to suggestions. If I am under some deep illusions about what conservativism is, your welcome to point those out too.

    The main thing I want to ask is how you deal with the often knee-jerk "more freedom is better" intellectual climate and how to make a rational case for conservativism.

    As for all my liberal RF friends reading this, you can stop laughing. *blushes*
     
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  2. Sees

    Sees Dragonslayer

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    Hmmmm...

    I know for me I'm against most of that list. Most of the Christian conservatives I know are also - which is the vast majority of people I know altogether. There are folks I call "extremely Churchy" who sorta fit the mold but they are very rare even among Southerners.
     
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  3. Terese

    Terese Mangalam Pundarikakshah
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    Hot damn do I hate censorship.
     
  4. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    I'll note that, if you go back to the Political Compass thread, almost all of these items you mention are on the "social" and not "economic" axis. Support of these tends to put one in the top half of the chart, the Authoritarian half, in favor of tighter control of individual behavior by society. It appears to me that the underlying reasoning behind this position is that individuals, when left to their own devices, are basically bad and do things that are not in the interests of society (as assessed from a certain position in relation to that society), and therefore need to be forcibly controlled, prevented from pursuing individual interests, and to do this the state/society must impose an order on its members. Individuals must be prevented from pursuing their own desires, wants, and needs, and be forced to pursue the wants and needs of the society/state.

    Personally, I think it's an error to think it must be EITHER total freedom for the individual to pursue whatever hare-brained thing they desire, OR total domination of individual rights by the society/state; the best systems will balance between the two extremes...
     
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  5. Sees

    Sees Dragonslayer

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    And of course the majority of conservatives and liberals will be rather close to each other out there in the wild. We (normal-ish folks) only feel a disturbance in the Force if someone is drastically on the far reaches of X category.
     
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  6. BSM1

    BSM1 What? Me worry?

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    Not sure I am following your thinking. Are you saying less freedom is better?
     
  7. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    Part of the problem, as I see it, is that people nowadays have this peculiar notion that political ideas are firmly entrenched in one camp or another. Obviously, this is true in some cases, but in a whole range of areas there is considerable bleed-through between perspectives. Things get even muddier from country to country. For me, as a Canadian conservative, perhaps the most important aspect of being a conservative is the protection of the rights of the individual FROM the state. As indicated above, this is not a blind appeal to allow the individual the right to do whatever they please, but only within reasonable guidelines.
    Those guidelines are:
    as long as the pursuit of happiness does not harm another
    as long as the pursuit of happiness is not contrary to the existing laws of the land
    as long as the pursuit of happiness does not pose a significant danger to the individual themselves


    I might add more when my brain is fully awake. Coffee!
     
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  8. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    Sometimes. Yes. But it really should be decided based on evidence rather than principles alone. Having never really looked at arguments against many civil liberties I have simply accepted the pro-freedom ideological consensus (outside of economic liberties anyway).

    My understanding was that conservativism is an attitude rather than necessarily an ideology which tries to conserve different institutions. In that sense it is applicable to "conserving" soviet institutions. At the same time I would have understood it to be restricting some liberties to preserve traditional instuitions and ensure social stability. Again, there is a degree of relativism there. Your description of scepticism of individual freedom and rationality is the impression I was under when I think of the word "conservative". Beyond very vague sterotypes, I have not really heard conservativism (in its pre-regean/thatcher sense) so this is a blind spot on my part.

    you're essentially right in that I am looking to explore the authoritarian social axis on the political compass without reducing it to propaganda (which is hard to avoid given the direction I am coming from). Typically the left is portrayed as liberal (particularly the New Left) but the Soviet variety "breaks the rules" of western political behaviour. There aren't many sources I could turn to for an explanation so I have to improvise and essentially "import" other ideas and see what fits in the ideology, reconstruct their positions and weigh how much evidence there is to support it.

    Very true. The dark side is strong in this one. ;)

    That would strike me as essentially a liberal view (based on classical liberalism from the enlightenment that the only limited to liberty should be not denying the liberties of others). So my definitions are definitely different in relation to your post.
    Both You and Sees are right in that the camp mentality between liberals and conservatives ignores a great deal of shared values and common ground.
     
  9. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    Busted! I was a card carrying member of the Liberal Party of Canada for a few decades... until they lost their way in the wilderness of graft and corruption.
    And yes, in American terms, I would be a right-wing Democrat or a left-wing Republican... but would lean toward the Republicans.

    In fiscal matters I am very hawkish and am all for audited accountability. I honestly believe in a strong military, but that military cannot be used against the civilian population - for any reason. The military can help in times of disaster though as they are members of the community. I do not believe in conscription but mainly because it introduces elements into the armed forces that would probably be better off elsewhere - but far away from weapons.

    On the subject of gun control, I'm very much in favor of meaningful background checks. No one needs a gun tomorrow. If you have to wait a week or two, big hairy deal. Use that time to hone your hand to hand skills. :) It should be mandatory that anyone on a "no fly" list be excluded from purchasing any kind of firearm. If you've managed to get on such a list then you probably should be on such a list. For those who are mistakenly added to such lists then you can jolly well wait for your new Glok. (I am not a gun owner, gun fan or ever plan on owning a gun.)

    On alcohol consumption. My thinking is that if you are old enough to join the military and be sent off to die for your country then you ought to be able to guy buy some beers. (I am not a drinker and if you opened a pub near me you would likely go broke before you saw me come in through your door.)

    On drugs... (Like, who isn't nowadays... I digress...) I do believe in the prohibition of certain drugs that are demonstrably harmful for the user outside of direct medical supervision. See section on pursuit of happiness "does not pose a significant danger to the individual themselves". I would also include several designer drugs as well as popularly abused pharmaceutical drugs like Fentanyl in this group. After many years now into the mismanaged "war on drugs" it might be time to spend more resources on helping people to feel better about themselves so that they do not feel a need to blow their brains out with the chemical de jour. And yes, pot should be legalized and the sale to adults shouldn't be an issue, though I would be inclined to warn users about the dangers of psychological dependency that can form.

    I have to go cut the grass now... No. Real grass, as in lawn... :)
     
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  10. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    Sorry, just noticed this is a "Conservative Only" forum...although I guess my comments were acceptable for the purpose of this discussion....but as I don't self-identify as conservative on most issues, I really shouldn't be posting here...
     
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  11. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    That and propaganda.
     
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  12. MysticSang'ha

    MysticSang'ha Big Squishy Hugger
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    That's true @beenherebeforeagain

    We can leave them up though as part of the conversation if Laika and other Conservatives don't mind.
     
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  13. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    I have no problems with it as @beenherebeforeagain made a valuable contribution. Thanks for that. :) It was a bit of a coin toss between whether this went in the main forums or not but as conservatives on RF are fairly rare it made sense to post it here.
     
  14. Sultan Of Swing

    Sultan Of Swing Well-Known Member

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    Well conservatives generally aren't fans of big states.

    Really depends on whether you're 'neoconservative' or not. Some like all that invading privacy stuff, others vehemently don't.

    Some like invading countries to spread democracy, others (in my opinion rightly) see that as an offshoot of utopian leftist ideology that we can somehow spread around our ideals and make the world a better place. I like that you've identified interventionism in your own assessment of communism.

    One of the big differences between conservatives and liberals is what human rights are, as explained by thinkers like Edmund Burke.

    For the revolutionary French state, which Burke criticised, human rights were some special gift given by the state to the individual. For Burke, human rights were not given by the state but given by God.

    Okay you may say... but what the heck is the practical difference? The practical difference is that these rights are no longer given by the state, but these rights bind and limit the state themselves. Human rights are no longer some jolly sentimental immaterial piffle that the government gives you (and the UN followed the French model, sadly), but they are like a rope that binds up government and limits them. In the Anglo-American system, rights weren't vague things like "everyone has the right to freedom of expression", but were specific restrictions on government, such as in the 1689 British bill of rights.

    Best explained by Peter Hitchens, really, one of the last conservative voices in Britain. Given such a fundamental part of conservative values is limiting and binding the state, there would be a hesitance toward many of the policies you have suggested.

    And it's a darned shame that conservatism always has to be confused with Thatcherism. Thatcherism is a radical ideology that took precedence in the last few decades, and went on a privatising rampage. This did not 'conserve' anything. It was new, and out of step with the conservatism of prior years.

    Left-wing economics with socially conservative values, like on mass immigration (which Labour used to oppose as a threat to workers' wages, which it still is) could very well be a winning formula for electoral success.

    A case in point is the Law and Justice party in Poland that has brought together both social conservatism and left-wing economics, and is now in government.

    Peter Hitchens has also hoped for such a party, not that he personally is a big fan of left-wing economics but that it would create a formidable alliance of the working class and social conservatives, both of whom have been left behind by Labour and the Tories, and together perhaps would be unstoppable.
     
  15. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    Lol. That's fair enough.:D America could use a few left leaning republicans and centrists. It looks so dam polarised.

    My own politics are in overhaul so I really don't have any solid convictions. Rather I have blown my old ones up and the space to explore just keep getting bigger and interesting.

    On the military, I think there are some circumstances where the military can be used against the civilian population to preserve order and protect the state. Really when you are on the verge of civil war or open rebellion. I wouldn't expect a self-interested state to sit back and let people overthrow it. Even a benign state will have to put its foot down at some point. I don't know how far I would take though.

    The U.K. Has pretty strict gun laws so gun control isn't an issue over here the same as it is in the US, or even Canada but I agree with you about people not needing a gun tomorrow. On the no-fly list, I agree but hypothetically it probably depends how people end up on the list.

    On Alcohol, I'm a non drinker; partly because drink and depression don't mix and partly because I think if I need to be drunk to have a good time I'm doing something wrong. Not sure on prohibition (it's not an urgent issue) but its failure in the US and the USSR aren't encouraging.

    On drugs I don't know. I believe Portugal went ahead with full legalisation with extra medical care and it will be good to see how that turns out as an experiment. On paper I can see the point of legalisation but it rings alarm bells because it is really substituting the market for the state as a mechanism for control. As a socialist, that raises issues about commercialisation in the way alcohol and tobacco have been both legal and lethal. I really don't know what to make of it.
     
  16. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    Communists have a long history of waging "revolutionary wars" and given the goal (even under Stalin) was world revolution, war became an extension of the revolutionary policy of the state to one extent or another. There is an idea that many neo-conservatives were ex-Trotskyists and simply took the goal of world revolution with them. The only Trotskyist I can name who became a conservative is James burnham:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Burnham

    Burnhams book shares similarities with Hayeks road to serfdom and was an influence on Orwells 1984. I am not 100% if it is true that Trotskyists had a direct influence on new-conservativism but certainly "spreading freedom and democracy" by violence is not a position very compatible with ideals of individual or national self-determination. It is very much treating freedom as a property of a state and not of the individual.

    What you say about Edmund Burkes theory of rights is very interesting. As a Marxist, I would be of the French Revolutionary model (rights originate from the state) than thinking rights originate from God. The "liberal" understanding is one where God is sort of blurred by a secularist amnesia into an intrinsic and vague quality of nature or humanity, but as an atheist- no god means no "natural" rights. Rights would logically be man made and must originate from either the individual themselves or the state. It was this view that made me think about conservativism- primarily as a series of arguments justifying greater state intervention in areas commonly protected by the belief in "natural" rights.

    Peter Hitchens article describes it really well and I am familiar with variations of his arguments; the problem for me is that the moment I recognise that there is no God, there is no power higher than the state to judge or to place restrictions on its actions. It' is only by a slight of hand that individual liberty exists at all by a "social contract" between government and the governed on the basis of the rule of law (Mentioning jean Jaques Rousseau may be useful here in contrast to John Locke with his influence on both English and American concept of rights). This therefore turns natural rights into an illusion and dependent only on the power to enforce them. My impression of conservativism was of restrictions on individual rights rather than on the state (which I would have regarded as a liberal position).

    The combination of left wing economics and social conservativism is one that is reoccurring through communists and nazi politics (with substantive differences in approach between them). I may be using conservativism to refer to something very different than both you and Peter Hitchens have in mind because of how I would treat the view of natural rights as a liberal one. It is perhaps something which I am wrong on given that natural rights have their source from God, and exclusively attributing such rights to liberalism is a myth built on the secular-enlightenment and its amnesia of its Christian roots.

    What you have said so far strongly suggests that it is not conservativism I am thinking of, but a form of authoritarianism derived from the French revolutionary model (which Socialism and Marxism do have connections to the jacobin period and the revolutionary terror). So I am more in the tradition of Robespierre than of Burke. *gets chills*
     
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