Fareed Zakaria: How Conservatism Lost Touch with Reality

Party Politics: How Conservatism Lost Touch with Reality – TIME:

“In fact, right now any discussion of government involvement in the economy — even to build vital infrastructure — is impossible because it is a cardinal tenet of the new conservatism that such involvement is always and forever bad. Meanwhile, across the globe, the world’s fastest-growing economy, China, has managed to use government involvement to create growth and jobs for three decades. From Singapore to South Korea to Germany to Canada, evidence abounds that some strategic actions by the government can act as catalysts for free-market growth.”

This is why I don’t have respect for “the new conservatism.”

GOP Is Blowing It by Pandering to Tea Party

GOP Is Blowing It by Pandering to Tea Party:

“So why is it that I have been disdainful of the Tea Party from its first manifestation in early 2009? The main reason is that so many of its members simply don’t know what they are talking about; they seem to think that strong opinions are a substitute for facts, research and analysis. Consequently, many Tea Party members hold views on various topics that are, frankly, nuts, and these views have been embraced by some Republican voters as well.”

(Via Capital Gains and Games | Washington, Wall Street and Everything ….)

Precisely.  I have nothing but contempt for Tea Party politics which to date, as far as I can tell, have been a foul mixture of screaming, hate, stupidity and anger which are neither reasonable nor respectable.  You can’t govern that way, nor do you deserve to.

Why I’m not into Elephants

Are African-Americans ready to embrace the GOP? Part 2

Jeff Booker, who is currently on the Gloucester Township GOP committee and previously served as the Executive Director of Camden County GOP (2002-04) stated, “I believe that the GOP is the party that exemplifies responsibility, small government, liberty, and self-determination. Younger blacks are becoming Republican because they see the negative affect of a large out of control government can be. As you get older, people start to change their views. We are starting to see suspicion in the local Democratic Party. However, our party has not done a good job of recruiting people of color and I am apart [sic] of the effort to do better.”

via Examiner.com.

First let me say Jeff is a good friend and I respect him and his choice to be a Republican.  Even more I applaud his efforts to recruit better.  I have long been suspicious of the party because of it’s deplorable track record regarding race and it’s loud and showy “Christianity” that is short on the values that Jesus taught.  Having said that, GOP ideology when reduced to core principles that can flexibly be expressed in policy are compatible with mine which are generally center left.  If a GOP candidate focused on the following, which generally deals with how the GOP could handle race and religion, I wouldn’t rule out voting for them.  (Hey, after the 2008 campaign where Palinites were shouting, “KILL HIM!” that’s the best I can do.)

  1. You Can Be Tough on Crime…Equally – By the DOJ’s own statistics, blacks in the system face a stacked deck from drug war laws that give poor, lower level criminals longer sentences than the kingpins who supply them to the unequal sentencing of the death penalty to police brutality and murder and racial profiling.
  2. You Have to Have a Job to Have Your Taxes to Cut – It has been scientifically proven that a black man with a clean job history has less of a chance of getting hired than a white ex-con…in New York City.  And that’s in a blue, blue, blue state.  Imagine the red states where the GOP dominates.  You don’t have to be for Affirmative Action.  Craft a policy such as class based affirmative action, that you can prove benefits poor black folks and that your ideology can support.  Bougie Negroes like Jeff and I might not benefit, but so what?  AA wasn’t supposed to be for us anyway!
  3. Come Clean about a Racist Past and THEN Move On (no pun intended) – Ever since Nixon first employed the infamous Southern Strategy, the GOP has used the racial fears and racism in white voters to win elections from Willie Horton to Barack “HUSSEIN” Obama.  And despite Ken Mehlman’s apology to the NAACP, I have not seen any serious attempt to change this.  Painting Obama as an Arab/Muslim was a clear example of this.  Stop providing joy and comfort to racists.  And be public about it.  We don’t trust you otherwise.  It’s that simple.
  4. Know What Christian Values Are and Live Them– Jesus was very specific on being anti-death penalty (John 8:2-11), lending without expectation of repayment (Luke 6:35), giving generously to the poor and uplifting them (Luke 6:20, 18:22), turning the other cheek (Luke 6:29), blessing our enemies (Luke 6:28), providing care to the sick (Matthew 25:34-40), praying in private (Matthew 6:5-6), and visiting prisoners (Matthew 25:34-40).  The party really needs to reconsider it’s pro-war, pro-death penalty, pro-prison, public prayer, anti-poor, anti-healthcare policies before you can claim a lock on Christian values (Matthew 25:41-46).  I mean, really!  (Luke 6:46-49)

So if the party can produce a candidate that seriously deals with the four points above, I don’t see why plenty of black people wouldn’t consider the party myself included.

So No Principles at 60?

If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.
–Winston Churchill

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
–Albert Einstein

When speaking on politics and sharing that my conclusions come from a matter of principle, I’ve heard Churchill’s old saw invoked to imply that they are those of some dreamy eyed waif with visions of some utopian paradise. In truth, I’ve tried to take that, frankly lazy, thinking graciously and ask myself, “So at what age is it proper to sacrifice my principles and values?” Because that is exactly what I would be required to do.
I’m only a few years away from 40 and admittedly, as I have gotten older, I have tempered where and when I pick my battles. But what I have found is that my principles burn that more brightly in my world perspective. A good friend, for whom I have tremendous respect and love, once asked me if with the birth of my son had my perspective on social issues, esp. on homosexuality, took on a more conservative bent. I told him no, if anything, I have less patience with conservatives whose political, theological, and social thinking and activities are at odds with my principles and values. Ironically, he was right that I was taking on a more conservative perspective in the way I view conservative ideas.
As many of my friends on Facebook know, I’ve been very vocal on the issue of healthcare. I take a very dim view of our system because it runs counter to deeply held values that are best expressed by my faith in Jesus Christ, something which I take very, very seriously. In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 25 verses 31 to 46, the author has Jesus talking about his return and the judgment of the nations at the Apocalypse. It’s in this section, that we see the phrase “the least of these.” A phrase often taken out of context to connote the sappy compassion of the liberal bleeding heart. Not so in Matthew, it is the love of the righteous as opposed to the wicked. Jesus makes his often heard list:

  • For I was hungry and you gave me food.
  • Thirsty and you gave me…drink.
  • I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
  • I was naked and you clothed me.
  • I was sick and you took care of me.
  • I was in prison and you visited me.

Note that he was talking about doing these things to the “least of these,” meaning the poor, the downtrodden, the vulnerable. The righteous who do these things get eternal life while the wicked receive perdition for refusing to do the same. Whether you read this story as allegorical or literal, it’s very clear how our healthcare system that rations care precisely on one’s ability to pay would fair on the least-of-these scale. Our system is wrong. It should be changed. That’s the liberal 20 year old speaking. As I get older, my epectations on how much things can and will change has been tempered, but never would I suggest that we slow change or conserve the status quo. Even if the goal is unattainable, which in this case it most certainly is not, it’s incumbent on me as a moral and sane person to be an agent of change. That’s the nearing 40 year old speaking.
So, my question to those who would ask me to have a brain once I reach forty and become a conservative. Do I have to trade in my principles, my values, my eternal soul in order to do so? Harshly said I know, but I want to rebut forcefully that sense of false pragmatism that is really disguised cynicism.

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Something To Consider

Something To Consider – Ta-Nehisi Coates:

“It isn’t, for instance, the fact that Sotomayor was raised in an era where government-backed redlining was still legal, it’s the fact that some students at Yale demanded a Chicano history course that’s the issue. Likewise, it isn’t the oppressive identity politics practiced by conservatives for the past 30 years that’s disturbing, but Sotomayor’s response to it. To be a true conservative is to be more disturbed by victimology, than actual victimizing. It is to claim to abhor evil–but to abhor the response to evil even more. It’s like in the NFL–it’s the second [guy sic] who throws the punch who draws the flag. “

(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates.)

Great explanation of why conservatism is morally impoverished. Always standing against change necessarily means you collaborate with evil at some point. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” –Edmund Burke

Why I’m not a Conservative…TNC Style

Some Off The Cuff Analysis – Ta-Nehisi Coates:

“I keep thinking about the big things that have always kept me from being a conservative–the knee-jerk worship of a past that branded me half a man, the elevation of the loud imbeciles who think science teachers should be using the Bible, the toleration and baiting of bigots who cloaked themselves in the garb of ‘States Rights,’ and now run under the garb of ‘protecting marriage.’ The common demonator here is an unreflective veneration of what was, a belief that tradition, no matter how backwards, can heal all.”

(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates.)


Krugman Goes Medieval

A Dark Age of macroeconomics (wonkish) – Paul Krugman Blog – NYTimes.com:

“There’s no ambiguity in either case: both Fama and Cochrane are asserting that desired savings are automatically converted into investment spending, and that any government borrowing must come at the expense of investment — period.
What’s so mind-boggling about this is that it commits one of the most basic fallacies in economics — interpreting an accounting identity as a behavioral relationship…
S + T = I + G
After a change in desired savings or investment something happens to make the accounting identity hold. And if interest rates are fixed, what happens is that GDP changes to make S and I equal.
That’s actually the point of one of the ways multiplier analysis is often presented to freshmen.”

(Via NY Times Blogs.)

Ouch. Fama and Cochrane made a freshman mistake. That’s why political ideology is soft-think.