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Pocket Guide to the Culture Wars

Conservatives want to preserve institutions.

People create institutions.

Private urges drive creativity.

Creativity gives birth to the new.

The new gives birth to new institutions.

And that's why conservatives need to be all up in your urges.


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Wow, long posts followed by near-Haiku posts. Nice mixing it up.

Above is all true, but what needs repeating is the fact that in today's world, there's nothing conservative about Wingnuts anymore.

They're downright revolutionary agents, up-is-down, drink the kool-aid. They aim to or inadvertantly destroy institutions (the constitution, cia, un, traditional church forms, post-WWII consensus, Bretton Woods II, you name it). They're wearing me out.

The important thing in todays' world is the political quadrant concept (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolan_chart), with personal freedom on one axis and economic freedom on the other.

Its those on the far side of the social control axis that need to be in your urges.


Heh. I blame it on the Bossa Nova. Or, at least, weather that suggests Rio in January. Which is to say, it's too goddamned hot to blog...

It's an interesting question whether Wingnuts ought to be considered conservatives. You are right about their destruction of institutions, but they would probably tell you these institutions are "of the new" and destroying them is simply returning to A Simpler Time When Institutions Were Men, and Women Were Women, or some such. I'm actually content to accept their self-definition as conservatives. I take their point that the institutions they are trying to destroy are "of the new". I actually consider these people part of an aristocratic faction, but I'm happy to accept them as conservatives if that is what they want to call themselves. I think they do damage to the conservative cause in so-calling themselves, which is fine by me.

It's odd, though, that I am more or less compelled to consider myself a progressive simply because I'm in favoring of keeping institutions that actually work (the Constitution, say, for the most part) but also in favor of replacing or amending failed or creaking institutions (marriage, for example). It seems a perfectly moderate position to me, but because I believe in experimenting with institutions with an eye toward trying to make them better at what they do, I "have" to be called progressive.

Well, that's all right. I like the word.

I agree that it's those "on the far side of the social control axis that need to be in your urges", but how do you account for this need of theirs?

For my part, I originally wrote my Haiku (heh) because earlier that morning I'd read someone in a blog somewhere ask... "What is it with these people, getting in people's personal business like that?" It was in reference to some Wingnut sticking his/her nose into somebody's private beeswax... So I just thought, jeez, it seems obvious to me why they have these needs to mind other people's personal business so much, but maybe others don't see it...? So I just sketched in my view of the thing.

I suspect I'm similar-minded, maybe the term is Pragmatic Progessive. I think what's useful is a sense of paying attention to the feedback of Reality as improvement is sought (remember Ron Susskind's piece in Esquire about the White House!). What's to be avoided is any pie-in-the-sky unsupported by evidence, from either the left or right.

For instance, the church and society could just recognize human nature as what it is, there are some small-ish percentage of people just made gay, for instance, and then adapting to this reality in practical ways.

Small-c conservativism used to be pragmatic about human nature, that's why we have the Enlightenment government structure we have, that's why property rights exist, the rule of law, etc.

The last few years have opened my eyes to the fact that the mid west bank presidents who used to make up the Republicans of my youth (I'm from Chicago originally) have been displaced by superstitious, fire-breathing fantasists. Fox, Limbaugh, Bush, the whole lot of them. They laugh at those old New England or Midwest republicans, but they knew more about human nature than an angry, thrice married drug addict living in a radio studio obviously seems to.

I'm in a bizarre email exchange at the moment with the president of the Project for The New American Century (Go Iraq!), who quickly and personally challenged my letter to the editor of the Weekly Standard regarding the Plame case and Larry Johnson of the CIA by asking me to find one case of two claims I made, that his group backed a con man in Chalibi and argued Saddam was linked to 9/11. He claimed that I had my facts wrong.

These guys actually believe the webs they spin. It took me all of an hour to find pages of direct quotes from the man and about the man that I needed to make my case. Does he not know about Google? Even after reality hit them in the ass, they fight the rearguard action. Like those old Russian peasant ladies waiting for Stalin to return.

The projection and fantasy of the wingnutz has taken over our landscape and is a real threat until some sensible force comes back into America life, which used to thrive on pragmatism and wonder at the ideology and fantasy that spawned all the horrors of the 20th century, from fascism to Stalinism.

As for aristocratic elements, Bush is certainly one, and Richard Mellon Scaife who funds all this shit is another, but they just parasitically ride a revolutionary wave from the bottom I think. Displaced anxiety from god knows where.

Give the US a few more decades with the trends in place now, and that class crap will be a growing force.

Stay cool (I live in London, where its cold and rained all damn day)

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