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Monday, February 27, 2012

What Am I to Call Me?

People like labels for political positions. Whenever talk of politics comes up, they'd usually like to know what to call you. Well, sometimes I'm inclined to say, "I'm a conservative." The problem with that is, it makes people think I am somehow aligned with nutjobs like Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh. Do I have time to explain to my interlocutors that Gingrich, Limbaugh et al. are not conservatives?
There’s a lot to admire about conservatives. By conservatives, I mean people who believe that when you cast aside the inherited wisdom of past generations in a bid to make society dramatically better, you usually make it worse. The problem with many in today’s Republican Party isn’t that they share this skepticism about change. It’s that they apply it selectively. When conservative principles restrain their country, their religion, their class, today’s conservative leaders cast them aside.

12 comments:

  1. Reactionary

    You can't really reclaim conservatism from the Republicans unless you are willing to become a monarchist.

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  2. The term "brights" sounds good.

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  3. But, PS, I can't call myself a plural term!

    August, is that a joke?

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  4. Yes, but it is still sound advice, if you really want the label.

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  5. I might classify you as a Burkean conservative if someone asked me about you, although I'm certain you're about to tell me that you aren't a Burkean conservative.

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  6. What's wrong with reactionary? In the confused modern political taxonomy, it's sufficiently weird that anyone who wants to know how you came by your ideas will have to look around a bit and educate themselves, instead of just putting you in group they learned about on TV.

    Also, I submit that in modern times any man of good will must be reactionary about at least some things.

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  7. Ryan, that's not a bad ballpark estimate.

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  8. Gabe, reactionary was made up by the Marxists to describe those working against the progressive tide of history that led towards full communism. I've always felt that to use it is to endorse that whole narrative.

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  9. The fate of being named by your enemies has a noble pedigree. Anyway, I'd prefer a label that was simply made up by dirty commies to one that has been distorted to the point of meaninglessness with their help. The modifier Burkean will only help with a person who already knows Limbaugh et al. are frauds, because they all genuflect in Burke's direction, so you're back where you started.

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  10. "The modifier Burkean will only help with a person who already knows Limbaugh et al. are frauds..."

    That was Ryan's idea, not mine. I just remarked it was in the ballpark.

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  11. I was going to suggest Burkean conservative too, but didn't because, like Ryan, I thought you'd reject it.

    Your short description certainly made me think of you as a Burkean conservative. It has some Hayekian qualities too.

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  12. "I was going to suggest Burkean conservative too, but didn't because, like Ryan, I thought you'd reject it."

    Well, I'd *prefer* no label, but as labels go, that isn't bad.

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