Editor’s note: “American progressivism: an epic failure,” according to a post on hard-right blogger George Rebane’s website this morning.
To lend some balance, here’s “Why conservatism fails” by a commentator named Justin from New York. The commentary is here. It helps explain why people “in the middle” struggle with politically extreme views such as George’s, which occupy inordinate air time on KVMR and in The Union. It’s astonishing. Back at you, George et al!
“There are 3 components of American political philosophies: social policy, economic policy and foreign policy. Modern conservatism is a theoretical failure in each. I say this as a former conservative, and as someone who has no sympathy for ideological liberalism (but that is another article).
I talk here of conservatism, as a political ideology or philosophy. Not the Republican party or its policies, which may or may not be truly “conservative.”
It is in social matters that conservatism most clearly seeks to “conserve” tradition and established norms. Often this effort at conservation is based not on any rational thinking, but on the perceived value of keeping tradition alive for its own sake.
This idea is destructive and necessarily inhibitive of human progress.
Tradition does not have value in its own right. If it did, then the modern American conservative must explain why he supports women’s right to vote, since this is a concept totally at odds with almost all human tradition, including his own society’s tradition until the early 20th century.
Conservatism defers to the free market, against “big government,” excessive regulation or high taxation, and in favor of “consumer choice” and “business freedom.”
The assumptions of modern economics are astonishingly unrealistic. This makes any free market capitalist dogma just as naive as Marxist utopianism.
Any ideology that sees free market capitalism as the sole requirement for human prosperity leads to a pie-in-the-sky faith in the free market and an excessively negative attitude toward government action.
Economic conservatism (not to be confused with fiscal conservatism or good fiscal management, which both Republicans and Democrats have failed miserably at in recent years) is a theoretical and practical failure.
Foreign policy conservatism is based on the fantastic premise that the US is such an inherently good country that any American military or diplomatic action abroad is ultimately to the benefit of the whole world. Basically, America can do no wrong. If this sounds like a simplistic characterization, I invite the reader to suggest one major military intervention that conservatives disapprove of in recent history.
The default position of conservatism is toward more American involvement in other countries, more military interventionism–not less.
Filed under: Uncategorized