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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Pudge said: "Historical perspective: the modern U.S. term "conservative" is primarily a reference to libertarian ideals of small government"

    As a starting point (or I will consider your starting point), how about:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarians [wikipedia.org]

    So would the small government of your conservatism keep itself out of gay marriage, recreational drug use, prostitution, and such? Or just keep itself out of gun control?
    • So would the small government of your conservatism keep itself out of gay marriage, recreational drug use, prostitution, and such? Or just keep itself out of gun control?

      Insofar as they are unrelated to the government and do not harm other people, yes. Obviously, gay marriage -- as an issue -- is closely related to the government, since what is desired is a sanctioning of a particular type of a union by the government. It's extraordinarily specious to frame gay marriage as a private, personal issue, since
      • When

        Pudge said: "Historical perspective: the modern U.S. term "conservative" is primarily a reference to libertarian ideals of small government"

        I guess I should have said:

        Are you crazy? How can you say that the modern U.S. term "conservative" is primarily a reference to libertarian ideals of small government? Do you think legalizing recreational drug use, prostitution, and gay marriage are "conservative" goals of US conservatives?

        It seems to me that you equated conservatism in large part with libertariani
        • Are you crazy?

          No.

          How can you say that the modern U.S. term "conservative" is primarily a reference to libertarian ideals of small government?

          Because it is.

          Do you think legalizing recreational drug use, prostitution, and gay marriage are "conservative" goals of US conservatives?

          Broadly and vaguely, yes.

          Question: what is almost universally regarded as the premier journal of conservative thought of American conservatism? The easy and obviously true answer is National Review, which has come out in favor of drug legalization for years, and whose editors (some of them, anyway) have many times come out in favor of legalizing prostitution and some form of rights for homosexual couples (even if not marriage, such as I described as my own view).

          It seems to me that you equated conservatism in large part with libertarianism.

          That's because it is. William F. Buckley, the main proponent and symbol of modern conservatism, founder of National Review, proponent of legalizing marijuana, was called a libertarian back before there was any Libertarian Party. And he still, correctly, uses the terms interchangably to describe himself (as he did when he wrote one of his many books, 10 or so years ago, "Reflections of a Libertarian Journalist").

          I suppose you could argue against WFB being a conservative, or against his being a libertarian, but that would be rather silly, in either case.

          But it seems to me the main rule of conservatism is "to conserve"- to stick with the old, to change slowly.

          It seems to you incorrectly. Conservatives do want change, when it comes, to happen slowly, so it can be properly absorbed without considerable upheaval. Of course, that is reflective of the Constitution itself, which intended to make it difficult to change the law.

          But they do not want to necessarily stick to the old. Today's conservatives were yesterday's abolitionists, for example.

          The main rule of libertarianism is "liberty"- don't bug me (as you say, until my fist meets your nose, or my bullet enters your chest).

          Yes, as is also the primary purpose of conservatives. Read NR sometime. Individual liberty is the primary guiding principle behind most of what is written there.

          [ As an interesting -- to me, anyway -- side note, former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork recently wrote in NR that restrictions are necessary to preserve liberty, and used as his example some of the more offensive features of modern culture; as culture becomes more offensive, more people are driven away from it, back into their homes, and therefore have less freedom.

          Just yesterday I was in a grocery store and I saw a fine example: someone had gone to the magazine rack, and turned around those magazines that featured nearly-naked greased-up women on the covers. Certainly it can be said that a family that reasonably does not want their children to see such things loses a big chunk of its liberty if it cannot go to a grocery store for fear of exposing the children to soft core porn. I don't agree with Bork that therefore such things should be legislated against, and most prominent conservatives also do not agree with him -- we would prefer this be left up to the free market -- but even within the context of restricting liberty, the clear and true goal is to promote liberty. ]

          Now, you personally seem to agree with many libertarian conclusions, but your agreeing with them does not necessarily make them conservative.

          Correct. However, the premiere conservative voice of the country for the last 50 years agreeing with them DOES make them conservative.

          If you call yourself a conservative, and you find yourself in agreement with libertarian conclusions, that does by itself not make libertarian close to conservative. Maybe it means that you are not really conservative.

          True, but you are mistaken in believing these are not conservative ideals.

          What's more true is that most politicians who label themselves conservatives -- Bush, for example -- are not. Or they are, but only in part.

          For example, President Bush has very conservative/libertarian economic policy, but very liberal social policy. Few longtime conservatives call Bush a conservative. Fred Barnes, himself mostly conservative, just wrote a book that attempted to prove to conservatives that Bush really really is a gosh darn honest-to-God conservative. It didn't work.

          Go out and ask longtime conservatives -- by long time, I mean 30+ years -- and ask them if they believe the President and U.S. Congress today properly represent conservative values. Few, if any, will agree that they do.

          Also, as an added bonus, there is not necessarily one possible conservative view on a given issue. Take abortion. What's the libertarian position on abortion? It depends entirely on a belief that is separate from your political and economic beliefs: namely, whether the life in the womb has human rights, and whether they are to be respected just as any other human's. If so, then abortion-on-demand is wrong; if not, then banning abortion is wrong.

          It's similar with some of these issues. What is the proper conservative position on gay marriage? It depends on how you define the purpose of marriage, how you see the government's interests in it. What about drug use? It is the balance of the societal ills caused by drug use, versus the societal ills caused by criminalizing it. What is the proper conservative view on soft core porn out in the open in a grocery store? And so on.
          • Ah, the logic.

            Buckley is conservative, Buckley espouses libertarian views, therefore conservative is libertarian.

            s/Buckley/Pudge/g
            s/Pudge/jDavidb/g

            At least jDavidb in citing his own post recognizes that libertarian is a better label than conservative for views such as his and supporting gays in the military.

            In citing Wikipedia's entries on conservatism and libertarianism, I hoped to get away from a strictly personal set of assertions. I note that Wikipedia presently describes "National Review" as a conserv
            • Buckley is conservative, Buckley espouses libertarian views, therefore conservative is libertarian.

              I didn't say that, of course. What I said was that the two have been, for many decades, been used interchangably with a certain form of conservativsm. And I offered evidence of it, and I favorably compared the views of each.

              Nice straw man, though. Logic, my ass.

              In citing Wikipedia's entries on conservatism and libertarianism, I hoped to get away from a strictly personal set of assertions.

              Again: logic, my as