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« Permanent stagnation? | Main | Uh-huh, right, got it »

October 21, 2011


CK MacLeod

It's not treason to believe that some of us (and in the broad sense "we") must suffer in the short term for the sake of longer term fiscal, political, even moral health.

The American conservative operates according to a coherent ideology, which is not the same as to say that it's fully thought out, or that very many of them are capable of explaining it, or that it makes sense and will work. They are not shy about making its implications, as they see them, obvious. If it's treason, then every act of government, or omission, favoring one sector over another, of the future over the present, would be treason: Government itself would be treason of some kind (this paradox actually does have a function within the philosophical system that underlies our possibly exhausted theories of constitutional governance).

The contemporary left, by contrast, embraces the great muddle, and, bereft of theory, falls back on notions of the grand collective interest... as expressed in plans to put a few hundred thousand government employees to work next year. We might favor the proposal, but no one's going to risk death on the barricades for it. In the meantime, the assertion that we are one seems to be contradicted by the first mildly combative gesture.


Right, CK, so how much are you really suffering right now?

It's easy to cloak yourself in such self-righteous piety when you're not the one unable to find work, afford health insurance, give your kids a nutritious meal, and pay the electric bill.

Most people with some modicum of awareness of what the problems are realize that the all those jobs that have been outsourced overseas are probably never coming back. Still, the government can put in stiffer regulations on the financial sector and on corporate behavior, raise taxes on the wealthy, cut defense, reinvest MAJORLY in education, infrastructure, and public services.

It wouldn't solve everything, but it would certainly help. It would be the truly conservative thing to do.

In the meantime, go ahead and enjoy the view from that pedestal you climbed up on.

CK MacLeod

Seems you're the one intent on adopting a position of moral superiority, Jason. Please tell me what your completely un-self-righteous (not to mention impressively insightful) comment has done to pay someone's electric bill.

Though I don't hold the Republican conservative position, actually, I think I understand it. I also take it as a given in any political disagreement that each side believes a real human cost attaches to the wrong decision. If you're going to escalate to the point of criminalizing, or "virtually" criminalizing such disagreements, on the level of betrayal of country, then you'd better be fighting for something pretty big, because you're calling for "virtual" civil war.

If the left is going to do better politically, I don't think it's going to be by pretending its positions and goals won't involve trade-offs - that is, real suffering by real people for the sake of some perceived greater good. Aside from being childish, such a position would not be very convincing, and would fail on the first contact with human reality.


By the fact of adopting them, all moral positions are believed to be superior by the person adopting them. There's nothing wrong with that. We all do it. In fact, I wish people would be more aware of the moral implications of their political positions.

And yes, I realize that the little comment I was able to squeeze into the comments section of a blog was not exactly "impressively insightful." As if yours was. Just because you wrap yourself in lexical pretense doesn't mean your argument has any more merit. I went to grad school too, buddy, and read my share of theoretical drivel, most of which could have been clearly and succinctly summarized in about three sentences by my old Aunt Betty Lou.

Once again, here is what I find so morally repugnant about your argument. You claim that because times are so tough right now, people are just going to have to suffer, when, in fact, the lower and middle classes wouldn't have to suffer if there were measures put it in place that made things easier for them. Yes, those measures would entail requiring the wealthy to give up a little bit more of their wealth, but that's hardly causing them to suffer. And pointing this out is not declaring "class warfare" (God, serious? That again?). Democracy is a constant exercise in self-correction with the purpose of encouraging a difficult combination of social order, freedom, and greater prosperity for the large majority of the citizenry. Right now things are so out of whack because the middle class and poor are suffering while the wealthy are getting supremely wealthier. and yes, my position does help people pay their electric bills because it would call for such things as subsidies for the actual consumers of that electricity, price regulations, the creation of many more public service jobs (paid for by taxes on the wealthy), and so forth.

I'm glad you don't adopt the "conservative" Republican position (though you coulda' fooled me), because their position is basically thus: Everything I own I DESERVE and goddamn anyone who tries to take it from me.

THAT is a truly childish position, as anyone who teaches preschool would know.

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