Discussion: Conservatism

Let us discuss conservatism – people who openly state they are “Conservative” and hold to that political standpoint, no matter what.

Statement from our “Targets” page:

– Being conservative should never be something to be proud of. It should be something to avoid. Conservatism is anti-progress, anti-evolution, anti-intelligence. It is complete BULLSHIT. If everyone in history had been conservative and so unreasonably attached to the past, many great things would never have happened. Very little would ever have changed.

To elaborate; consider if no white man had ever been radical, if every white man had been conservative. No one would have stood up for the rights of the black slaves, and slavery would not have ended. This is a slightly lame example, but do you see what I mean? We need CHANGE. Our values and laws must constantly change to adapt to our changing society & way of life. If nothing CHANGES, we will live in the past. The laws and values of the past are not always valid & useful for the PRESENT. To have CHANGE in our laws and our societies, we must have CHANGE in the minds of its people. We must have radicals, we must have those who are willing to CHALLENGE outdated beliefs & practices.

Ideally, we must have no one who is conservative. Every person should always be striving for ways to change things for the better. Every person should be striving for new ways to do things (science is wonderful), new ways to behave, new ways to THINK, which will further our movement, our evolution, and our technological & spiritual advancements.

When in history has anything monumental in any field been achieved by a conservative-minded person in that field? Radicalism is progress. New ideas are progress. Thinking outside the box is progress. Remember this.

Motspur

P.S:  I leave you with a quote from the great Utah Phillips:

“”Shopped around for a party….   Well, I looked at the Republicans… decided that talking to a conservative is a bit like talking to your refrigerator… you know, the light goes on, the light goes off, but it’s not going to do anything that isn’t built into it.”

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9 responses to “Discussion: Conservatism

  1. thenaturallawyer

    Motspur: I found your site! Hopefully I’ll be a frequent visitor…

    Interesting post… Problem is, your description of conservatism is contrary to the conservatives of whom you speak.

    “We need CHANGE. Our values and laws must constantly change to adapt to our changing society & way of life.”
    Would you identify the so-called “anti-abortion” crowd as conservative? Don’t they want to change society and way of life for the better (as they see it)? I’d say they want to radically change society (abortion is a pretty common activity). Defining conservatives as people who oppose change, as such, is simply incorrect.

    “Radicalism is progress. New ideas are progress. Thinking outside the box is progress. Remember this.”
    Sure, radicalism is progress, but progressing toward what? I hate to bring up a tired example (I really should learn more history so I can come up with less pejorative analogies), but Nazism was at one time radical, a “new idea”, and “thinking outside the box”. That worked out well, eh?

    Progress, as such, is not necessarily good. It depends on what you are progressing toward. Sometimes it’s an outstanding end; sometimes it’s a scary and evil one. As someone who would probably be identified as a conservative by most people (though I certainly don’t let that label do my thinking for me), I can tell you that I hope I’d have been one of the liberals fighting against slavery a couple centuries ago. That was good progress. The attempt at abolition in America was bad progress, even though it was a liberal (in the sense of progressive) attempt to make the country better. Clearly, that didn’t work (nor was it morally necessary)…

    The issues are almost never simply change v. non-change. It’s “the end product of change” v. “the end product of not changing, or changing in a different way” in almost every political battle. I’ve never heard anyone on either side exclaim, “we should change our policy because change is valuable!” or “we shouldn’t change our policies because change sucks!” The disagreement is over what is good for society. So you can’t pick on conservatives or republicans or whoever just by calling them “anti-change.” That’s simply incorrect and unfair.

  2. p.s… When I said “The attempt at abolition in America was bad progress”, I meant the “abolitionists movement” (i.e. the successful attempt to make alcoholic beverages illegal in America), not the abolition of slavery. The abolition of alcohol sales was a pretty bad failure.
    I obviously didn’t mean the abolition of slavery. That was an excellent and noble example of progress.

  3. OK, that should’ve been “prohibition” (re alcohol), not “abolition”. It’s been a long day…

  4. Interesting… thankyou for your comments. I suppose I should be more careful of how I use the words “conservative” and “change”. When I said “we need CHANGE” of course I was referring to a lot of the specific issues in our society which I believe need change – I don’t think anyone who says “we need change” actually means “everything needs to change!”

    And by conservative, I was referring more to people who are conservative by today’s standards… of course you would not have seemed so conservative when fighting against slavery way back when.

    I apologise for my generalisation of conservative = against change, but so often, sadly, this generalisation is true, and also, so often, in relation to so many issues, I believe change is what is needed. The majority of conservative people who I have seen have acquired their views from religion, and hold to the past in unnecessary ways which seem to me to be blind to what is needed in today’s world.

    I apologise to anyone out there who is conservative intelligently (yourself, for example, as I can tell you are certainly not stupid) and of their own accord. Generalisations are handy sometimes I suppose, and sometimes not.

  5. And as for radicalism not always being good – this is true. Not all ideas are good, of course, but I think the vital first step is the opening of our minds TO new ideas, the intention to THINK and the willingness to BE radical, is more what I’m talking about. What the ideas ARE exactly is something to be looked at AFTER the encouragement of the thinking, I believe. First, let’s all THINK. Then we can separate the bad thoughts from the good ones.

    I used “progress” as a positive noun, not in the verb-ular sort of sense of it – for example, change in our society moving towards something like giving everyone a gun is not something I would call “progress”. We might be “progressing” towards something that I might not count as “progress”, does that make sense?

    Sorry, I have difficulty making myself clear sometimes.

  6. Motspur:

    No problem; I’d be lying if I said I’d never used my own (far worse) generalizations. I hope I didn’t come across as nit-picking.

    I see your point on the term “progress.” Of course it’s possible to use the word to say that Nazism is the opposite of “progress” (meaning “a beneficial result”), even though they are “progressing” (in a sequential sense) toward a horrifying result, and you obviously meant the former.

    I can agree that far too many conservatives cling to a fear of change for no good reason, and many have failed to think. So, even as a conservative, I’d agree that that’s a problem (with all humans), and I sometimes end up in arguments with other conservatives because of it.

    For instance, gun control. I think gun control is a problem when it opens the door to greater crime, but if it could be shown to work (by keeping guns out of criminals’ hands rather than creating a black market for guns), why wouldn’t we? I’ve heard a conservatives make the argument that we need to have guns so we could take over the government if we need to, which was the original reason for the American constitutional protection of gun ownership. Umm…the government now has helicopters with missles, and I would hope we don’t think private citizens should have those. Those days of militias taking over the government are over because of weapons advancement. Thus, it is no excuse to oppose gun control.

    That was a really long-winded way of saying, your complaint is not completely without merit. I also agree that thinking must precede positions and arguments. Too many people start with their conclusions (or emotions) and then come up with excuses, rather than arguments. As Monty Python said, “I’d like to buy an argument!”

    Of course, we probably will differ a lot on various social policies, but we clearly both want society to “progress” (in the sense of improve). But we also shouldn’t be afraid to recognize that sometimes, things have gotten worse and we need to go back to something that was better. Again, I’ll use the example of prohibition. The Womens’ Temperance Union convinced America to make alcoholic beverages illegal. When the nation came to its senses, it reversed course and restored things to the way they were because things had gotten worse. As I’m sure you’d agree, thinking people must sometimes argue to return to the past in some cases. But we’d probably often disagree on when that should happen…

    I appreciate your willingness to think carefully and debate fairly. It’s far too uncommon for people on the internet.

  7. I have a great distaste for guns inherently, so I really don’t think I’m the best person to have an opinion on gun control coz I’d rather NOBDOY had guns 😛 Plus I think it is less of a problem here in Australia than it is in America, so I’m really not informed enough to comment on that.

    I’ve never heard about that whole prohibition thing, that is fascinating. I never would have believed that any culture could have banned alcohol completely! That is very interesting, thanks for telling me about it!

    Anyway, yes. Of course, sometimes we have to go back to the past to learn about what is needed now. But we mustn’t live in the past exclusively.

    🙂 I like you very much.

  8. Yeah, I have no desire to own a gun. Unfortunately, I think it’s kind of like nuclear weapons–as soon as one person had one, everyone had to have one, if only to guard himself from the first guy. Not that I need one, and if I could, I would certainly get rid of assault weapons. I don’t have a problem with hunting rifles, though I have no plans to use one–ever.

    With regard to prohibition: bazaar, isn’t it? And a colossal mistake: from what I remember, the mob became even more powerful because it had control of the black market. This history might actually serve as an argument in favor of legalizing certain drugs, though I’m certainly in no hurry to do that. 🙂

  9. Yes… quite interesting.

    I’m really not sure where I stand on the issue of drugs. Perhaps we should just legalise them and see what happens. I believe that it’s a person’s choice to do what they like with their own body, and put into it what they like, and if they decide badly they will suffer the consequences… but I have also seen the effect of drug addiction and how it affects the family & friends of the addict too… terrible stuff. So unfortunately my view of “it’s your body, do what you like with it” doesn’t really swing with the drug issue.

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