En Tequila Es Verdad/progressive conservatism/post/2009/01/19/0704
January 19, 2009 7:04 AM - Mike
Mike at The Big Stick said...
… I'm thinking it's more likely that liberals are more likely to perceive the problems with the status quo than are conservatives -- not so much "boredom" as (a) being less able to brush off suffering in others,and/or (b) possibly being in less ideal circumstances themselves, where they see those circumstances as being the result of failures of the system -- violations of social contracts or basic rules of fairness. (Conservatives like to blame the victim for everything, and hence are unsympathetic to either of these ideas.)
I would take that one step further and suggest that conservatives tend to dispel the notion of ‘victims’ in general. I’m primarily referring to economics here, but I would say that the difference between the two sides is that conservatives tend to see the people who go through the system and succeed as evidence that the system works and tend to place the blame for a lack of success on the individual. Liberals see people who went through the system and didn’t succeed as evidence the system is flawed and say the individual is a victim.
I would contend that while the conservative opinion may sound harsh it is the more optimistic of the too in that it elevates human potential. The liberal position tends to under-estimate human potential and so there is a constant push to make the playing field more level. While this may be an admirable goal on the surface there is all kinds of ancillary fallout from competition being squashed to unqualified individuals being placed in jobs, etc.
"there are some circumstances... where conservatives DO offer ‘progressive’ solutions that move us forward...: I think I can even offer a class of examples in which this is true. Liberals tend to dislike Big Engineering solutions to things, or at least did when I was growing up -- one particular incident which comes to mind was the protests against the launch of some interplanetary probes, some time in the 1980s iirc (because of the "deadly plutonium" it had on board as a power supply and the consequent risk of environmental contamination if the launch failed and it crashed), protests against huge hydroelectric dams (ecologically disruptive).
That is a very interesting point that I hadn’t really thought of. It also of course validates my original thesis which is that conservatives can be progressive therefore the ‘progressive’ label is not the exclusive domain of the left (i.e. a synonym for liberalism as is the common usage today.) Progressivism is a more of a mindset within the larger political sphere and while it may flourish on the Left and have a smaller following on the Right… it does exist on both ends.
It will be interesting to see how your statement above plays out under an Obama administration that is planning a lot of ‘Big Engineering’ solutions. Nuclear power may be another example of what you’re talking about. Conservatives tend to like it more than liberals because it’s cheaper and more efficient and as a bonus it has far less immediate impact on the environment (all progressive goals). I also think that infrastructure spending is a fantastic idea and support it completely, but I also believe it may be conservatives, who tend to have a better ‘business sense’, that end up partnering with an Obama administration to divert money from liberal pet projects like light rail to less sexy but more economically significant projects like increasing heavy rail capacity through major industrial centers.
"we want just want the Left to be open to the idea that there are conservatives who are seeking change that is not based on just hitting the rewind button.": I'm certainly open to that idea, but I have yet to see it in action... lately, anyhow.
Hence my original statement cautioning you to not cite conservatism or liberalism in practice but to think of a more ‘idealized’ version of both.
"So then why are you so offended by the notion that abortion is used as ‘birth control’..." I was expecting that question...
4. Because (as I gradually figured out while responding to you) it's a maddeningly vague accusation -- perhaps even impossible to disprove, depending on what you mean by it...
I mean literally what I said, which is that abortion is used in this country as a tool to stop unwanted births i.e. birth control. Since all statistics indicate that well over 90% are using it for social reasons, then I think that’s a fair assessment. I point to the reasons for having the abortion as evidence for it being classified as ‘birth control’ while you point to the possibilities (maddeningly vague?) that there was a lack of understanding of other birth control methods that somehow puts this beyond the standard birth control toolkit (by today’s standard).
Doesn’t your opinion that this is somehow more culturally significant than taking a pill daily or putting on a condom presume that the people seeking abortions do so with ‘heavy hearts’ ? I know liberals like data so do you have any that demonstrates most (over 50%) of the women seeking abortions regret the decision at that time? And if so, why the regret? If there is a level of doubt in their minds as to the morality behind their decision, then doesn’t that make them culpable, regardless of the science?
I guess the real question is that if you yourself believe that a first trimester abortion is no different that using a condom or taking the pill, what evidence do you have to prove most others getting abortions don’t feel the same way?
Personally I believe the only reason liberals elevate abortion beyond other types of birth control is because of the very real fact that most women that get abortions struggle with the morality behind their decision at some point. I don’t think liberals really believe that those women made a bad decision, but they are sympathetic to her anguish because it becomes a mental health issue for them. The most often heard retort these days to criticism that liberals don’t care about human lives is, “What about the suffering of the woman who has to make this decision…This isn’t an easy decision….etc” They de-emphasize the humanity of the fetus and over-emphasize the moral dilemma of the mother as a sort of trade-off. “You give us the abortion and we will promise you a lifetime of remorse. “
This also sort of becomes moot when so many liberals dismiss a conservative emphasis on adoption because it’s too hard on the mother mentally. (Obama mentions abortion in his ‘Blueprint for Change’ more than once and never uses the word ‘adoption’)
You haven't answered my key question, though: how many times must a woman successfully use contraception before being able to seek abortion without being accused of "using abortion as contraception"?
So long as there are other options that would pose no long-term burden on the mother (adoption, adoption, adoption) then the mother is in fact practicing ‘birth control’. She isn’t doing it to avoid a lifetime of legal and financial obligations…she’s doing it to avoid 9 months of discomfort and a difficult action at the end. That is ‘birth control’.
Under what circumstances can a woman legitimately seek an abortion just because she doesn't want to have a baby, according to you?
Big three exceptions (rape, incest, health of the mother)
What abortion scenarios do you accept as not being "abortion used as contraception"?
Big three exceptions (rape, incest, health of the mother)
And for that matter, are "progressive conservatives" fighting against abstinence-based non-education, creationism, and other backwards nonsense? Do they favor stem-cell research and other medical advances? Mandatory sex education, free contraception (take away every excuse for being "irresponsible")?
I don’t believe in abstinence-only education, though I see no problem with holding it up as the most ideal solution. It’s just like drinking. I tell my daughter, “You shouldn’t drink because you’re underage, it’s dangerous, etc….but if you’re going to, call me so I can bring you home safe.” Maybe that sends a contradictory message, but I would feel very irresponsible if I did not emphasize the best course of action for her.
On the flip side though, many schools DO offer sex education. I received it in Catholic school. My daughter has received it in public school. Most of my adult friends received it as well. So why is this liberal approach not working either?
My contention is that all the education in the world will not change cultural norms. Right now the norm among teens is ‘hooking up’ and out-of-wedlock births are so commonplace (70% in the black community) that there is no social stigma, hence no pressure for them to decline. You can spend billions on education and condoms but until you address the real source of the problem, liberal solutions are no better than conservative ones. The only difference is, liberals offer the option to fix their mistakes with an outpatient procedure while conservatives ask for 9 months and some courage at the end.