En Tequila Es Verdad/progressive conservatism/post/2009/01/16/1223

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January 16, 2009 12:23 PM - Woozle

Woozle said...

I'm not sure we need to agree on the model; in any case, regardless of whether the philosophy I'm defending/advocating is classical liberalism or something else, I'm speaking only for myself (except as noted). I may try to defend "liberal" points with which I don't particularly agree, but don't assume that I do.

Your restatements of my definitions seem basically on target; I'll address any problematic nuances as they come up.

Yes, liberalism is essentially progressive, and most liberals (though not all) tend towards progressivity. (The back-to-nature types and the Sacred Crystal Energy worshippers, maybe not. I'd argue that those are actually distant variants of conservatism, with a frosting of liberal tropes... but I digress.)


Conservative progressiveness and schools, redux: It is possible for a conservative approach to lead to [what I would call] progress.

However, there's a difference between (a) continuing using elements of ideas that have worked because they've worked and (b) rejecting new ideas essentially because they're new and/or clinging to traditional ideas because they're traditional.

It's great that your neo-traditional schools are producing better results than them newfangled librul schools, but that doesn't mean that all liberal ideas about education are invalid. Which specific traditional ideas are your schools embracing, and which specific liberal ideas seem to be failing?

Around here, we have a charter school set up by liberals. It uses public school funds and has to work with many of the restrictions the public schools face (including some extra restrictions only imposed on charter schools), yet they do a much better job than the mainstream public schools do. So whatever your school system may have proven, it isn't that we need to abandon all liberal ideas about schooling.

"Accountability from teachers" is a double-edged sword -- look at how "No Child Left Behind", with its apparently forward-looking attempts to tie school budgets to academic performance, has backfired. (If we can figure out why "conservatives" liked this seemingly forward-looking, somewhat radical and risky idea and "liberals" didn't, that may help us understand the difference between "ideal" conservatism and actual American conservatism.)


I'll have to research the issue with regard to the New Deal (some links to suggested reading material would be helpful) -- but the sentence "Conservatives were the ones that got the welfare system back on track with the demands they placed on Clinton" strikes me as one which needs to be examined with great skepticism. Conservatives generally behaved like total assholes to Clinton, and are still doing it; I'd be greatly surprised to find anything constructive buried within all the BS that was manufactured to throw at him.


Abortion, round 3(?):

Re your disagreement with Rule 2 -- 'the more likely attitude among those having abortions is, “I will attempt to use the pill / condom / etc but if that fails, I’ll just get an abortion.”'

What alternative would you propose?

And a key question: How many prior successful uses of contraception does it take before a pregnant woman can be cleared of the accusation of "using abortion as contraception"?

"I think the 47% of women who are getting abortions for a second time backs up that thinking." Not without further evidence it doesn't; I already answered that point.

You are correct that I don't see a fetus in the first trimester as a person. The brain has only just barely begun ticking over at the end of the first trimester (week 12), and it's extremely doubtful that it is capable of anything resembling thinking or feeling at that point.

Re your disagreement with Rule 3 -- "I can tell you that the vast majority of kids get pregnant because they’re just irresponsible."

Look, maybe your anecdotal data is 100% accurate, but maybe it's biased by the way you see things (ever hear of "confirmation bias"?). I want some numbers and methodology applied to that question before I go agreeing with you, and especially before we go basing national policy on the observations of one or two people.

The only person I know personally who got pregnant without meaning to was being responsible at the time -- she was apparently just extremely fertile.

Also, remember that there are two issues here -- (a) whether abortion is being used as contraception, and (b) whether access to abortion is too easy. I've been mainly addressing (a), because none of your arguments have addressed the main objections to (b).


Thank you for mentioning Guttmacher. From what I can tell (mainly for the benefit of anyone else reading this), they do in fact seem to be pro-family-planning (they're an offshoot of Planned Parenthood, an organization much maligned by anti-abortionists) and not a religious right front organization.

Your supplemental facts seem to have come from this page. I have contacted them to see if they can shed any light on the question of "abortion being used as birth control", and will report on what I get back from them (if anything).