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Skepticism: the political opportunity
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, August 31, 2007

National Review's Campaign Spot notes an intriguing point from a recent article in The Economist...
Americans remain sceptical about the Democrats' favourite tool for improving the world—government action. A Democracy Corps poll found that Americans believe by a majority of 57% to 29% that government makes it harder for people to get ahead in life. The same poll found that 83% of people believe that, if the government had more money, it would probably waste it, the highest level of anti-government sentiment in a decade. America is not entering into a new era of liberal activism.
Therein lies the future of the Republican Party. If they can grasp it.
 
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as in the days of Goldwater, it is necessary for republicans to have the hard core conservatives in their party, but impossible for them to win without the limited government types.

In reality MOST Americans are libertarian to some extent, even if they do not acknowledge it. The problem lies in decades of indoctrination by the liberal elites and the mass media that government action is the solution (or first response) to any problem.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Anyone want to take odds on whether Republicans will blow it?

Look at the way we are responding to the housing decline. The general belief will fall to the crises of the moment. Down the road when we don’t like the result Republicans will have squandered the long term benefit of not doing something for the short term benefit of being percieved as doing something. Of course the Democrats will up the ante anyway.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
I’ll tell you where government makes it hardest for people to get ahead in life: at the local level. In New York State especially, because the state legislature is so in bed with the teachers unions that local property taxes have skyrocketed. I believe that this is the case in many states.

A person who has been turned into a serf on his own property by the state is most definitely a person who is not getting ahead in life.

Remember that one of the big moments in the conservative movement came in the 1970s when the late Harold Jarvis led a property tax revolt in California. It was called Proposition 13.

And it became a national grass roots rallying cry against the takings of government. I forget how involved Reagan got with that, but it definitely fed his anti-tax message.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Correction: That’s Howard Jarvis, not Harold.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Therein lies the future of the Republican Party. If they can grasp it.
They can’t, and they won’t. Instead they’ll keep bashing queers, p*ssing off minorities, and generally milk the fact that they’re not Democrats until they reach their level of incompetence, get kicked out of office, and then start the process all over again. Reagan gave us so much hope, in spite of his flaws, but now look at the Republicans: fifteen years after his presidency and there’s not a Reagan II on the radar.

For the life of me I don’t understand why the liberal capitalist majority (evidenced by these Democracy Corps numbers and many others) is so oblivious to the idea of forming a new political party with the goal of displacing one or the other of the major parties. Neither has ever been so vulnerable. Most third parties in the US are made up of theocratic anti-abortionists or the shrinking population of radical leftists, and the Libertarians with their oaths and isolationism have already shown us how exactly NOT to run a party. How long are we going to tolerate rule by the fringes?

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
Peter Jackson writes:
For the life of me I don’t understand why the liberal capitalist majority (evidenced by these Democracy Corps numbers and many others) is so oblivious to the idea of forming a new political party with the goal of displacing one or the other of the major parties.
The poll gives a sense of a background feeling that "we’re from the government and we’re here to help" stands the hair up on the back of the American neck.

But the funny thing about these polls about public sentiment is that next week we’ll get one telling us how much "universal health care coverage" is universally desired.

You start out your post by bashing cultural conservatives far more easily than cultural conservatives "bash queers." Most of the bashing, if you look at public schools, the universities, the media, the entertainment culture, goes the other way, with "queers" achieving the status of a secular priesthood. The only pushback on that for thirty years has come on the marriage issue, where a line has been drawn in the sand in the face of what was thought, by some, inevitable. Those opposed to "gay marriage" are far more recognizably in the majority than "liberal capitalists." They’ve actually gone out and nailed down the meaning of marriage in something like thirty states, already.

In Massachusetts the legislature, hard under the influence of the aforesaid secular priesthood, declined to give the public an opportunity to vote on the marriage question. So, who is bashing whom?

About political parties in the U.S.: they are coalitions of factions. The GOP is a coalition of national security hawks, pro-business interests, social conservatives and cultural conservatives. That coalition actually makes for a good distinction between libertarianist inclinations and libertine-ist inclinations. The social and cultural conservatives are often more interested in free market solutions than are the business interests, because too many businesses have loose morals when it comes to rent-seeking (I hate that term).

"Liberal capitalism" is not a stand-alone value, because the underlying freedom that makes it possible is not, culturally, "anything goes." Liberty has its own logic, but it must be correctly ordered to make sense. Vice and virtue exist, and correctly ordered liberty is virtuous, and it is not just possible to make distinctions between vice and virtue, right and wrong, it is essential, and I would say that cultural conservatives can teach "liberal capitalists" more about tolerance, and what it really is and how far it can go before it lapses into dissolution, than the other way around.

Great societies are never destroyed from without, they commit suicide. We can have liberal capitalism coming out our bodily orifices, but the most powerful force in a society is its culture, and this is a culture that appears to want to put a gun to its own head, but hasn’t quite gotten there, yet. (Europeans have solved that problem by agreeing to be euthanized while they’re not looking.)
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Reagan gave us so much hope, in spite of his flaws, but now look at the Republicans: fifteen years after his presidency and there’s not a Reagan II on the radar.
Actually, Peter, it’s going on nineteen years now with no Reagan II, and I cannot point that out without remembering this.

Years ago, my husband and I were sitting in a Subway having lunch and listening to the radio when the announcer used that often-heard flourish to introduce a song: "On this day in 19xx, this song was released and went straight to the top of the charts..."

Both the song and the mention of the year brought back all sorts of memories and got me to reminiscing along the lines of, "Wow. 19xx. Could nine years really have passed? On the one hand, college, a whole lifetime ago, but then, that song makes it seem like the day before yesterday... Nine years. Practically a decade. Where did the time go... blah, blah, blah."

My husband listened attentively to all this and seemed to consider my words carefully as he chewed his sandwich. When I finished he swallowed, wiped his napkin across his mouth and said something I will never forget: "Linda, 1975 was nineteen years ago. Not nine. Nineteen."
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Linda!

I lose decades all the time. I wish it were due to the fact that I’m so crappy at math I can’t even count by tens, but unfortunately it’s merely because I’m getting old. I can’t wait until I start forgetting generations.

The other day I saw a car I recognized a Ford Falcon from the year of my birth, 1965 and pointed it out to my eleven year-old son. He thought it was pretty cool and it was; it had been beautifully restored. but as we passed it I noticed the Honda Element in front of it. Seeing the two side by side I realized that the Falcon was a dinosaur that I would be very reluctant to ever let my son drive when he gets his license in a few years.

Apparently life, although wonderful, is shorter than our damn pinkies.


Mr. McPhillips!

Societies that really do commit suicide do so not by being free, but by embracing stasis in an ever-changing world, especially that within their very own borders. Following the Civil War, the Republican Party, realizing the necessity of enshrining the principle of equality before the law to avoid the national suicide of which you speak, ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Although it’s arguable that we were already on the path to extending the full protection of the laws to every adult in our society, I happily believe that the Fourteenth Amendment accelerated the process, the separate but equal era notwithstanding.

I must admit, it is very frustrating watching social conservatives pull out all of the stops to legally prohibit homosexual Americans from living more socially conservative lives. But more exasperating is listening to social conservatives try to make the argument that social conservatism IS conservatism and the locus of virtue of modern conservatism. World history is replete with iterations of socially conservative societies. In fact, we are locked in mortal combat with a very backward socially conservative international political movement at this very moment. And if that history teaches us anything, it teaches that societies which try to enforce a particular blueprint for social virtue fail. Some may last longer than others, but none of them ever last; they always over-reach in their consolidation of power and soon attract to that power’s levers the worst amongst them.

The United States is unique in that our society is predicated on liberty instead of social virtue. And I submit that it is not a coincidence that we have also happened to become, the strongest, wealthiest, happiest, and most just nation in the history of history. By being free we are free to learn and adapt as a nation and a culture. We are better able to continuously sift the true from the false and improve ourselves with our new knowledge, whereas a socially conservative society that rigidly embraces form over function goes nowhere, decays, and eventually disappears.

Just so you know, liberal capitalism (which Brink Lindsay refers to as "soft libertarianism") is also a political meta-perspective, a coalition of classical liberals, capitalists and Jacksonians. We are mostly consequentialist and in no way support policies plausibly characterized as "anything goes."

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
The questions, as listed, are too general to draw any serious conclusions from. As an example;
Americans believe by a majority of 57% to 29% that government makes it harder for people to get ahead in life.
So, does that mean that government is interfering too much or not enough? After all, hasn’t the cry of the democrat been that we’re making things too difficult for poor people and should have more government largess to solve the problem?

Similarly;
83% of people believe that, if the government had more money, it would probably waste it.
Define waste, in context.

I think I can practically guarantee you that the majority of the leftists would consider the military to be a waste of government money, money that should be spent on government largess.

Put another way, is this antigovernment sentiment. per se’, or is this simply objection to the current implementation?

As a parlallel;
Consider the current disapproval ratings for the democrat Congress; with something like 85% of the country disapproving of Congress, and yet the D’s and R’s running at about 50/50, we must assume that the objection from the left is as regards effectiveness of implementation of leftist ideals, not what role the government should be playing.

This is not the opportunity it’s being made out as, here.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
The other day I saw a car I recognized a Ford Falcon from the year of my birth, 1965 and pointed it out to my eleven year-old son. He thought it was pretty cool and it was; it had been beautifully restored. but as we passed it I noticed the Honda Element in front of it. Seeing the two side by side I realized that the Falcon was a dinosaur that I would be very reluctant to ever let my son drive when he gets his license in a few years.
With a recent EFI 5.0 and T5 transmission, the Falcon will match the Element’s gas mileage and blow its doors off. There are bolt-on kits for 4 wheel 4 piston disk brakes and improved suspension; with its lower center of gravity the Falcon will thusly be a safer car to drive in the twisties.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
Bithead is right about John Henke’s generalizations.

There is FAR too little detail in that passage (and in the parent article)
to form conclusion about the popularity and public appeal of libertarianism.

A poll that asks a SPECIFIC question, e.g., "SHOULD WE LOWER TAXES?", would be FAR more useful than that the one John Henke references.
 
Written By: bomba923
URL: http://

 
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