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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 dru
          • 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 ass. On what grounds do you claim Wikipedia entries are not a strictly personal set of assertions?

              But try this: make a Venn diagram of (civil or economic) "conservatism", "libertarianism", and "liberalism", and then let's talk about whether "the modern U.S. term "conservative" is primarily a reference to libertarian ideals of small government".

              I need no diagram to know that the overwhelming majority of today's conservatives do, indeed, adhere to the libertarian ideals of small government. Unfortunately, the percentages flip if you're talking about self-professed conservatives in the U.S. Congress.

              Does yesterday's abolitionists refer to slavery abolitionists around the time of Lincoln? I did not know they were considered conservatives.

              They weren't. That's what I said. They were considered liberal. But today, those same people would be considered conservative. Strong federal government, but only within its Constitutional authority, with the rest of power going to the states; strong protection for the rights of minority groups, but no special rights (the abolitionists also started the women's rights issue); and so on. And they were today's "social conservatives" too, as these same abolitionists were the people who pushed for prohibition. All of these are by their standards very liberal, but by today's standards very conservative, causes.

              against succession

              Secession.

              and Lincoln was annoyed by how the constitution made it difficult to end slavery when that became his goal in order to punish those states that insisted on succession

              No, his goal was not to punish states that insisted on secession. He tried to avoid Civil War up until the point where secession had already happened, and he did not exercise his war power to free the slaves until after the War was already engaged, in earnest.

              And he was not annoyed by the Constitutional prohibition, either. He respected the Constitution and its provisions, and wanted to abolish slavery legally, by containing it in the South, and changing attitudes, and thus reality, over time.

              The status of slavery in the new territories was actually a much bigger issue for Republicans than the abolition of slavery where it already existed.

              Right, but Republicans != abolitionists. Lincoln was no abolitionist, but he was the favored President of the abolitionists.

              I truly am curious to see evidence (citations are nice), that conservatives agree that conservatives are libertarians.

              As this is superfluous to the point, I won't provide it. What matters is not what people consider to be similar, but whether they are in fact similar.

              However, anecdotally, I have met hundreds of people -- mostly Republicans, but not all -- who self-identify as both.

              For example, is the Republican party platform measurably more libertarian than 30 years ago?

              That's uninteresting, for three primary reasons. First, as I noted, the current GOP in the U.S. Congress is not strongly conservative. It was in 1994, but it is not today, and this significantly influences the platform. Second, Republican platforms have a history of being vague anyway. Saying things like "we stand for improved access to health care" without giving specifics, such that even Democrats would agree with much of it. Third, and most importantly, I am talking about conservatives, not Republicans. I don't know why you insist on assuming conservative == Republican.

              That said, there are marked differences. The 1972 platform, for example (a good place to start since it too marked the year of a GOP presidential re-election campaign) had a heck of a lot in there about federal government welfare programs for the poor, something thankfully less evident in 2004's platform.

              Basically, I think the problem we are having here is that conservative is not well defined. Like pornography, we will know it when we see it. But since everyone has a different definition, it does not pay to discuss differences.

              The problem is that most people do NOT know it when they see it. They think Nixon was conservative; he was not. They think Bush is conservative; he is not.

              And I did well-define conservatism, though in historical terms, not ideological. But the history informs the search for ideology.

              From what I hear, Buckley once opposed drug legalization, but apparently at some time in his past he realized the error of his ways and became a conservative and supported drug legalization.

              No, he was a conservative while he opposed drug legalization. He started National Review in the 50s and did not favor drug legalization until the mid-70s. He was simply, as many people do, in the process of developing his thoughts.

              He was a conservative and libertarian in 1965 when he ran for mayor of New York City, and opposed drug legalization because -- at least, in the case of the drugs being discussed at the time -- drugs were a gregarious activity, and he likened the use of them to a contagious disease (prompting longtime friend, prominent economist Milton Friedman [a self-professed libertarian and Republican]) to wonder if the police should be summoned if it were established that keeping company with Buckley were a contagious activity.

              Like many people, he was attempting to justify holding on to a view that he liked, even though he recognized it contradicted his other views. He recognized, in his words, that we should give deference to the notion that we should not engage in "outlawing any activity potentially harmful only to the person who engages in that activity," so we should not require motorcycle helmets. But he believed -- and not incorrectly -- that drug use also harmed others. And, therefore, he believed the government had an interest in outlawing it.

              About 10 years later, he recognized that outlawing drugs simply isn't practical, and that the harm done in outlawing it outweighs the harm done in allowing it.