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View Diary: The lost conservative (really) (74 comments)

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  •  your "lost conservative" is a myth (11+ / 0-)

    In all times and places the conservative is first and always a defender of privilege; there is nothing more to the philosophy than that.  Whatever progress humanity has made it has made in spite of conservatives.

    Their skepticism of people, of institutions, and of power is self-servingly selective.  They have absolute faith in people of privilege, in the institutions that promote and defend privilege, and wish to grant to these people and institutions overwhelming power over everyone and everything else.

    •  Maybe the exception proves the rule, but the (7+ / 0-)

      founding fathers of our Republic were actually pretty conservative. For example, their complaint about the king was that he was acting contrary to settled law; further, the constitution they ended up drafting is based  upon the belief in original sin; ie., that humans may want to be good but basically are rotten and selfish. So they designed a government with enough internal controls that it would be hard for corruption and tyranny to take root.

      Yet, at the same time they were sufficiently progressive to believe in a better future and in humanity's role in making that better future. They were very liberal in introducing the idea of natural rights into government --- but the idea had already been floating around for several hundred years (since the sixteenth century).

      In the end, I believe all political terms and labels are transitory and contextual. The conservatives of the current era, for example, bear a striking likeness to the Southern conservatives after the Civil War, in wanting to return to an idealized past.

    •  I disagree (4+ / 0-)

      Your terms are nebulous to some degree. After all, we can identify "power" and "prestige" in the extant or the emergent or the winner or the losing position in an ideological crisis. However, we would usually associate it best with particular ideological content.

      In 1700, for example, the conservative and progressive were split. (See Michael McKeon, The Origins of the English Novel, 1986.) One conservative -- the actual ideology of power -- was a belief in emanence and paternalism. This was a belief in knowledge by nature and being: the best were born as the best because it was intended. The old emergent position was empiricist: the best were those who had the most money, because their virtue is shown by their work's rewards, and so stock men were better than nobles. The skeptical conservative position was that there was no emanence: the aristocrats are not good because of their birth, nor do titles confer value, but simple material acquisition was no measure, either, since it only attested to a virtue at making money. The skeptical progressive view was that those with value were measured by performance in a field that could be measured empirically (i.e. testing).

      Did prestige and power belong to the nobility, or to the "middle class" stock traders who were much wealthier than the nobles?

      In 2000, was power located in the United States with the military industrial complex, the energy sector, finance, or manufacturing? The conservatives serve which? The liberals serve which? The tacit assumptions of value are located in the individual by both sides, you might say, but is that true?

      I would argue that your declaration is too broad and blunt to serve, and we need skeptics.

      Everyone is innocent of some crime.

      by The Geogre on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:25:54 PM PDT

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      •  I don't think "emanence" is a word (0+ / 0-)

        Do you mean eminence? Or immanence? They're words.

        "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

        by Dbug on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:19:45 PM PDT

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        •  I refudiate your dictionary! (1+ / 0-)
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          Actually, I did mean emanence, but it's a coinage. The word comes from a specialized Marxist discussion and may have never gotten wider traction. The idea behind it was "belief in a value that shines out from within the individual." e- out, rather than im- inward.

          Everyone is innocent of some crime.

          by The Geogre on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 05:41:11 AM PDT

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          •  if so, that's backwards (1+ / 0-)
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            The Geogre

            Usually immanent refers to the idea of the divine (thus value) as present in the world: the antonym of 'transcendent'.  "Inner light" would ironically be a better interpretation than the emanate "outer light" of a god beyond matter, space, and time, such that any divine spark within is really just a pale reflection like the moon.

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