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jdavidb (1361)

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J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Tuesday May 17, 2005
07:17 AM

Death of "conservatism"

[ #24732 ]

Hot on the heels of my controversial journal entry yesterday comes a link to this article by Patrick Buchanan, who says that the American Conservative movement has dispersed, died, and lost its battles.

Now what Buchanan means by "conservative" is different from what I always meant, but it seems to be exactly what my libertarian and liberal friends seem to mean. Buchanan identifies conservatism primarily with what he calls the "culture war." From that standpoint I cannot participate in "conservatism," because I do not view the power of government as an appropriate tool to use in the so-called "culture war." As far as that "war" is concerned, I believe I'm empowered to use only the tool of persuasive speech and writing which was so harped on in my government-provided public school education. (In Texas at the time I graduated high school, you were required to write a "persuasive essay" in order to pass the state achievement exam and graduate. Teachers agonized over our ability to perform this relatively simple task. I mention this only because some people view persuasive speech in the context I am using it as an immoral activity. If so I'd like to know why the schools insisted on trying to teach it to me.)

I grew up with a different definition of conservatism. I constantly heard my father refer to Barry Goldwater as the "founder of modern conservatism." What little reading I did on Goldwater seemed to have little to do with culture issues and more to do with the size of government. In fact, Goldwater was in favor of allowing homosexuals in the military (interesting second link), at a time when that subject was anathema to "conservatism." I note that in this article, Buchanan identifies Goldwater as more of a libertarian. I suppose that helps explain why today in addition to the lable of "conservative," I find more identification in labels like "libertarian."

BTW, in case anyone wants to flame me merely for posting this link, I hope its obvious that I don't agree with Buchanan here.

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  • If so I'd like to know why the schools insisted on trying to teach it to me.

    The same reason they will try to teach everything else -- their jobs depend on how well your measurements come out.

    If teachers were required to have 3/5th of their class pass a height requirement by 12th grade, they'd be feeding children growth hormones. If teachers were required to teach children demonstrably false information on a regular basis, they'd do that too.

    They believe their job is important, and it is; but it's n


    You are what you think.
    • What I'm saying is that persuasive speech is non-coercive and not "evil," and that it is is some way legitimized by the fact that the state of Texas deems it important enough to include on an exit examination. I'm well aware of why the teachers taught the subject, and anything else on the test. I'm talking at a higher level, and talking about why we as a society (or as the society of the state of Texas) force the teachers to do that.

      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • I think conservatism has been co-opted by social conservatives/neo-cons. I would consider myself a fiscal conservative, I don't like deficits. However, I am socially liberal. I'm sort of libertarian in general.

    I would say Buchanan is definitely a fiscal conservative (and a size-of-government conservative) with some oddball social conservatism thrown in just for fun.

    It sort of scares me when I agree with Pat because I disagree with about everything else he says. That's the joy of our country. I don't have
  • I think we should let gays in the military. It's security risk otherwise. When people are hiding the fact they are gay it gives the bad guys something they can use for blackmail. I suppose that could be said for most security sensitive positions in the government in general.