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Sun, 17 Oct 2004 12:51:21

Label Club

Labels.  Republican.  Democrat.  Conservative.  Liberal.  Hawk.  Dove.  Hippy.  Redneck.  These things are getting thrown around a lot these days.  Let;s have a little fun with them.

1. First rule of Label Club is, you must talk about Label Club.  Link to this post!
2. Second rule of Label Club is, YOU MUST TALK ABOUT LABEL CLUB.
3. Third rule is, you will not start a flame war in this discussion.  You will be civilized, you will keep it impersonal, meaning no targeting a specific commenter with derogatory or antagonistic replies
4. The fourth rule is, comments will go on as long as they have to.
5. The fifth rule is, if you have an example, you have to post it. ;)

I’m your host, Tyler Durden.

OK, first up: Conservative.  For the sake of completion and the inevitable, I will include the term “neo-con” as well.  If someone is a conservative or a neo-con, what are some thing that either 1) You assume about them, or 2) if you are one, things that others assume about you.  They can be true or false, we’re not just talking incorrect assumptions.  For example, people assume that as a conservative/neo-con I am in favor of lowering taxes on citizens and corporations.  They are correct.  :)

Annnnnnd...GO!


Posted by JimK at 12:51 PM on October 17, 2004
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Comments:

#1  Posted by the UNPOPULIST United States on 10/17 at 02:28 PM -

To clarify: Neo-Cons are people who like to poke poor people in the eye with a stick. Paleo-Cons like to do it with a rock.

(Do I have this?)

Now then, as I am a neo-conservative, it is assumed correctly that I think most of what’s bad about America was realized in the Presidency of Jimmy Carter, most of what’s good about America was realized in the presidency of Ronald Reagan, and everything that is dangerous about passive sensitivity I realized on 9-11.

I am a globalist and an exceptionalist.

It would be incorrect to assume I know what someone’s talking about when they use the phrase “family values.”

#2  Posted by davidst United States on 10/17 at 02:38 PM -

“If someone is a conservative or a neo-con, what are some thing that either:”

“2) if you are one, things that others assume about you.”

Others assume (upon finding out that I’m conservative or that I vote Republican) that I’m either selfish and evil or ignorant and religious (or possibly a little of both).  If I’m either, then it’s selfish and evil because I’m surely not religious.  They also assume that I’m against abortion and stem cell research (I’m logically opposed to abortion but support stem cell research).  Politically, they probably think that I’m anti-environment, anti-taxes, anti-government etc.  I am.  However, not necessarily to the extreme.  There is a place for sensible environmental protection, but it should be ascertained to be entirely necessary first and it should be phased in slowly enough so as not to cause significant harm to any economy.  They probably think I’m intolerant.  And I am.  I’m intolerant of stupidity and loose cannon emotionalism.  I’m also intolerant of certain aspects of some cultures (but am completely neutral toward the races those cultures are usually associated with).  More than anything, I feel that I’m misunderstood.

#3  Posted by Drumwaster United States on 10/17 at 02:55 PM -

If people hear that I am a registered Republican, they would automatically assume that I am:

1) “Pro-life”
2) In favor of censorship
3) Heavily religious
4) rich
5) racist
6) bigoted
7) homophobic
8) a “chickenhawk” (in favor of drafting others to fight my wars)
9) misogynistic (wife must be barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen)
10) all of the above

None of the above actually apply to me. I have “nuances” on most positions, and the only reason I usually vote Republican is because Democrats cannot be trusted with the security of our nation, any more than a cat burglar could be trusted as a bank security guard.

Below the national level, I vote ‘D’ as often as I vote ‘R’…

Joe R.#4  Posted by Joe R. United States on 10/17 at 03:07 PM -

Doesn’t neo-con imply Jewish?

#5  Posted by fangbeer United States on 10/17 at 03:09 PM -

As a republican I tend to believe personal empowerment and the ability of the individual breeds greater success than the regulated cooperation of expansive government.  I believe that competition is a healthy and necessary driving force for advancement.  I believe that a society founded on entitlement breeds contempt, sloth, and waste.  I believe that personal compassion will never be outdone by institutional compassion. 

Most of all I believe that government’s sole purpose is to empower and protect the people, not empower and protect itself.

#6  Posted by Helo United States on 10/17 at 03:34 PM -

I tend to think that we, as NeoCons, are the ones who say, “Well, if it quacks, it’s a duck, and ducks are on the list of ‘bad guys who need to get shot’, so if someone would please pass me a gun...”

In other words, we don’t sit and wait for something bad to happen, or for an immense amount of proof to be brought to the table before we do something, we take action.

I can sum liberals up in one word: Deceptive. They tell you one thing to gain your trust, and then do something that would knock your socks off if you knew that was what you were supporting. Unless you’re a communist. In that case, you’re in there like swimwear.

Democrats (traditional): Pretty normal, level-headed people, as I mention here in my link to Label Club. Most traditional Dems I know absolutely hate what their party has become, because most of them remember the global rise of communism, and fought against it. Now, their party is turning into the thing/idea they hate. But, they also cannot stand the tradition “Paleo-Con” Republicans, so it’ll be a cold day in hell before they switch parties, but I think we might see a lot of them pulling a Zel Miller and voting for our boy this time around.

The 6th Rule of Label Club is, you must cut off the balls of anyone who is perpetrating as a conservative, who is really a liberal, in order to commit fraud (tell lies and give some 3rd party account to trash a party) in order to make their point, and vice versa. I heard Sport Chalet is having a sale on fishing knives.

#7  Posted by fangbeer United States on 10/17 at 07:59 PM -

I think liberals these days have adopted a “whatever it takes” mentality.  It’s a form of elitism founded on the premise that their moral agenda is far more important than personal integrity.  If they have to sacrifice lesser agendas to further the main moral agenda they will do it.  If they have to lie, cheat, steal, or use violence they will do it.  Even if they have to personally violate the main moral agenda they will do it so long as they perceive enforcement of the moral as the end objective.

For example, if they want stricter gun control, they’ll let a bill on stricter gun control die without the slightest fight so that they can complain about how their opposition will not fight for stricter gun control.

If they want to set up a military draft to even out a perceived imbalance between rich soldiers and poor soldiers they’ll slip a bill in and blame their opposition for calling for it.

Throughout the history of politics in America they have painted their opposition as greedy, heartless, lying cheaters who love the rich and hate the poor.  Well look what they have become.

#8  Posted by davidst United States on 10/17 at 09:55 PM -

Hey, we’re not supposed to be talking about liberals yet.

#9  Posted by the UNPOPULIST United States on 10/18 at 12:32 PM -

Nick,

I’ve been looking through, and I can’t figure whose testicles you are tacitly threatening to remove, except my own.

I guess that’s a fairly pointed difference of opinion.

Whoever it is you’re referring to, could you flesh out the distinction? People pretending to be conservative is a whole other labeling issue, isn’t it. Of course, everyone’s had trolls do it.

#10  Posted by et alia United States on 10/18 at 01:38 PM -

As someone who identifies as a leftist (not a liberal), I find the differences I have with principled conservatives are not as striking as the points of agreements we share.  Respect for the individual, an abhorrence of relativism, a commitment to reason, a contempt for dogma--these are part of the Enlightenment heritage, and conservatives who hold these positions and attitudes are ones I respect, and ones with whom I can talk.

In so-called neo-conservativism--specifically, those writers and gov’t officials who trace their intellectual roots to the teachings of Leo Strauss-- I find an ideology that is covertly hostile to all the above while publically proclaiming them to be their guilding principles.  You don’t have to go particularly deep into Strauss to discover this, either.  The first few essays in the collection Liberalism, Ancient and Modern will do.  If you really want to gruesome details, check out Natural Right and History, although the first should suffice for most people.  For those with neither the stomach nor the patience to wade through those texts, consult the article Origin of the Specious from Reason magazine’s archives.

Hostility to reason, elitism, moral nihilism, and even an antagonistic attitude towards the physical sciences--that’s Straussian neo-conservatism.  As befits a doctrine with a horror of social instability, Straussian neo-conservatism is also anti-capitalism; Strauss wanted to sustain a class hierarchy across generations, and the economic mobility provided by entrepreneurial capitalism threatens that.

Therefore, if you are a conservative who belives in the sovereign rational individual as the basic political agent, you have to reject Straussianism.  If you are a conservative who values reason and science and believes they should be value neutral, you have to reject Straussianism.  If you are a conservative who believes in the transformative power of capitalism (which puts you in agreement with Marx, btw), you have to reject Straussianism.  In sum, if you truly accept any of the core principles of honest conservatism, you cannot support Straussian neo-conservatism, period.

Of course, the price to pay for this intellectual honesty is estrangement from the Republican party.  Can you make that effort?

jo-jo#11  Posted by jo-jo United States on 10/18 at 02:49 PM -

jim is gonna get made because i’m going off topic, but :P

Below the national level, I vote ‘D’ as often as I vote ‘R’…

interesting.  i too vote “R” in elections below the national level, though i wouldn’t say as often as i vote “D,” whereas i have never voted “R” on the national level.  that’s not to say i would never, i just have yet to find an R for president that i would vote for.  (i’ve only been eligible to vote in the 1996 and 2000 elections, to be fair) that’s why i chose to register independant.  while i tend to assocaite more with “D” viewpoints, when it comes down to it, they all suck ;)

#12  Posted by Drumwaster United States on 10/18 at 11:01 PM -

et alia, you don’t get to define a group, and then say that the defined group [I]en masse[/I] are all wrong because of your definition. That’s called “begging the question”.

I dispute a number of points where you define “Conservative” as “Republican”, and bring some guy I’ve never heard of into the mix, and say I have to accept one or the other.

Hostility to reason, elitism, moral nihilism, and even an antagonistic attitude towards the physical sciences--that’s Straussian neo-conservatism.

And so what happens to the non-Straussian neo-conservatives, who happen to like the idea of using Reason to solve problems, don’t consider themselves as an elite, are in favor of a strong moral compass (but not one based on the concept of “sin"), and think that science is pretty cool?

Just as a for instance, when it comes to stem cell research, I encourage it to the fullest extent possible, but I think that not a penny of tax money should be spent on it. Tax credits for sponsoring such efforts, maybe, if the government thought it was important enough research, but not a farthing of support from money collected from people who might not agree with me.

Does that mean I’m not a conservative? Or am I? And what exactly is the defining criteria that made that distinction clear?

#13  Posted by et alia United States on 10/19 at 01:28 AM -

et alia, you don’t get to define a group, and then say that the defined group en masse are all wrong because of your definition. That’s called “begging the question”.

On the contrary; follow the link I gave to Reason magazine, and you’ll find my justification for my definition of Straussian neo-conservatism.  No petito principii where there are justifications.

And so what happens to the non-Straussian neo-conservatives, who happen to like the idea of using Reason to solve problems, don’t consider themselves as an elite, are in favor of a strong moral compass (but not one based on the concept of “sin"), and think that science is pretty cool?

Then you’re certainly not a Straussian neo-con.  My question for you is this: why do you think you need the “Neo” in front of your “conservative?”

#14  Posted by Jessicarrot United States on 10/19 at 03:34 PM -

This may be for any label really, but the most annoying thing that I’ve found people (and by that I mean quite a few of my really good friends) assume that I’m brainwashed.  People assume that since I’ve supported G.W. from the begining I refuse to look into his failings as a human being, that I swallow everything the Republican party puts out whole.  I guess that is the problem with labels though.  Everyone believes in the philosophy of “I’m right and you’re wrong.” Which creates the atmosphere of “Everyone who doesn’t agree with me is an idiot.”

Other things people assume that don’t annoy me:

I support people’s right to have guns
I’m pro life
I’m religious
I support the war
I believe in individual responsibility for most things.

#15  Posted by Drumwaster United States on 10/20 at 01:40 AM -

and you’ll find my justification for my definition of Straussian neo-conservatism.

Great. That doesn’t address the point that there are those of us out there who have nothing to do with that particular flavor of conservatism.

My question for you is this: why do you think you need the “Neo” in front of your “conservative?”

I don’t. You’re the one that said so. I don’t have a great deal in common with the traditional definitions, though, so what language would you prefer the “new” part of the label to be in?

Dutch? ("nieuw")
French? ("nouveau")
Japanese? ("arata")

You tell me what language other than Latin I should use, and I’m there.

Your major assumption is that all “new” conservatives must agree with Strauss, whoever he is. You then proceed to claim that they are therefore “wrong”. That is a false conclusion.

(The actual description of what I have just done is “finding a black swan”.)

(Look it up.)


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