Do it yourself politics
Posted by aogFriday, 16 May 2008 at 09:59 TrackBack Ping URL

This post at Instapundit made me think about the longer term implications of this election, in particular the strong shift toward Socialism. Rather than a somewhat conservative candidate against a pretending to be conservative candidate, we have a moderate Democratic Party candidate vs. a socialist and a Marxist. I understand why we should vote for the (unofficial) Democratic Party candidate, but isn’t it a bit worrying that that’s the most conservative option available?

It’s also a bit odd, given how at a Congressional level the actual Democratic Party is having success with conservative candidates, as we can see from the last three special elections. Why is conservatism attractive locally but not nationally?

That does lead me on to another point from another Instapundit post about how people at an NRA conference were mostly upbeat, despite this political climate. Most of that seems to be that even the Democratic Party feels the need to run pro-gun (or at least actively not anti-gun) candidates to get elected. So, from the NRA point of view, things are going great. Now, this has happened with at best tepid support from the Bush administration if not opposition (e.g. the Heller case). The lesson would seem to be it doesn’t much matter who is President, it’s grass roots political action that works, so why bother supporting the GOP candidate for President? I think this is an overlooked aspect of Bush’s lack of leadership in damaging the GOP party apparatus. The last four years have been a lesson for conservative over and over, that depending on a President is the wrong thing to do if you want to achieve your policy goals. Lack of support for the current candidate is a natural response, and one McCain doesn’t seem to mind much, given his spasmodic yet desultory efforts at motivating the conservatives.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Bret Friday, 16 May 2008 at 16:02

While I agree that McCain isn’t particularly conservative, I don’t think of him as a Democrat either.

Brad S Friday, 16 May 2008 at 18:07

“The lesson would seem to be it doesn’t much matter who is President, it’s grass roots political action that works,”

Yes, and any Pro-Lifer could’ve told you this. While it’s great that George Bush speaks for us every now and then, we Pro-Lifers still have to make the case in front of the culture. Considering the successes of Bella, Juno, and Knocked Up, the Pro-Life side is just as upbeat as the NRA folks.

So maybe the real lesson for conservatives is while you can elect your favorite GOP candidate, you can’t expect that GOP elected official to do your political dirty work for you, while you sit on the sidelines and carp at that GOP elected official’s poor communication skills. Heck, even Dems/media in the late ‘40s-early ‘50s found it within themselves to provide some support to a notoriously poor communicator like Truman.

How bad do you want change that favors you, conservatives? What are you willing to bring to the table to effect that change?

Gronker Saturday, 17 May 2008 at 15:55

I hate this constant tieing of Pro-life, and by extension religion, to conservatism and the Republican Party. True conservatism really is more about individual rights and responsibilities, small governement, laissez faire economic policies, free markets and putting the interests of the US above the interests of the world. Though the intersection of religious leanings and conservatism considerable, it is by no means congruent.

I think it is a mistake for either the GOP or religious groups to tie themselves to closely to each other. Rove and the gang saw that this was a winning move in 2000, but that was a special case. Both groups need to realize that, though their interests may parallel against the liberals, they need to remain independant.

If the republican party, and specifically their presidential canidate, would stand up and really communicate what conservatism is and what it stands for, and truely draw that differential line between the parties, it would be a landslide victory. But politicians are bred to hedge, to try to find middle ground, to negotiate and cajole. Itll never happen.

Gideon7 Monday, 19 May 2008 at 04:04

Socialism tends to cycle about 30-40 years; previously peaking in the 1930s and again in the 1960s/70s. Apparently each generation needs to relearn the failed lessions of socialism by direct experience. Either that or our historical education is lousy.

Steven Wood Monday, 19 May 2008 at 14:54

Greetings AOG - i see your rantings have attracted pro-lifers !! Joining the french hating( despite discovering and naming the state in which i live) brigade. All I can say is move with the times. I thought of a question which led me back to you blog regarding the right to bear arms (this is a right that i assume you support, if not then please forgive me), how come any psycho in the US can buy a gun but Iran can’t have a nuke ? If you can provide a comprehensive argument in support of these apparantly contradictory positions I’d love to hear them since to me I can’t quite figure it out.

All the best from Scotland, Steve.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 19 May 2008 at 15:44

Mr. Wood;

Well, it’s not the case that any psycho in the USA can legally buy a gun. Psychiatric disorder is a reason for denying a permit. Convicted felons cannot legally buy guns either. I would say that, in the community of nations, Iran is disqualified on both counts.

Steven Wood Monday, 19 May 2008 at 15:57

Ah - but you probably need to be conivicted of a crime which entitles you to the term “pyschiatric” before this right is revoked. Now - it seems to me that you may be of the position that if those who had the right to bear arms, bore them, it would be ok, since the good guys could shoot the bad guys before they caused any harm. Am i wrong ? Also - would you have the nerve to call yourself “pro life” ??

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 19 May 2008 at 16:22

Yes, but Iran stands convicted as far as I am concerned, and I think the USA, given that Iran has been labeled as a sponsor of terrorism. Is your view that it’s unproven that Iran is not a liberal democracy?

if those who had the right to bear arms, bore them, it would be ok, since the good guys could shoot the bad guys before they caused any harm

I don’t quite understand what you mean by this. I think it is OK for “good guys” to bear arms because it is the natural right of any human to be able to defend himself, his family, and his property. It’s certainly not the case that such bearing of arms will stop the “bad guys” before they do harm. It will, over the long term, reduce the amount of damage done by bad actors, which is good but not the primary reason I support the right to bear arms.

As for “pro-life”, I don’t call myself that, not because of lack of nerve but because that would be inaccurate.

Steven Wood Monday, 19 May 2008 at 16:34

If we assume that the moajortiy of the popultation of the country of Iran disagree with George Bush’s label, then we can fairly assume that they do not agree that their country should be stopped from procuring nuclear weapons. If we assume that the spreading of muntions around the globe to despotic, fundamentalist regiemes is an indication of “bad guy” status then again by this measure the US trumps Iran. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to manufacture whatever kind of they weapon they feel like ? After all, they sell less weapons to maniacs than the US does.

remember this - if the whole world fulfulled their economic potential and implemented the liberal free market policies you’d have us believe would bring about life changing wealth, we’d need 6 planets. It’s not realistic, and it’s time you admitted as much. Either you admit that your political philosophy is abouth keeping wealth where it has already been accumlated or you can it.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 19 May 2008 at 18:28

Your obsession with President Bush seems a bit unhealthy to me, you might want to have it looked at.

Why would we presume that the majority of Iranians disagree that their nation sponsors terrorism? The majority of Soviet subjects didn’t disagree with former President Reagan’s view of the USSR as an Evil Empire. Further, it is not possible for them to disagree with “George Bush’s label” since it’s not Bush’s label, but the view of the USA State Department, from a time pre-dating Bush’s election. Do you actually read any history on this subject?

If we assume that the spreading of muntions around the globe to despotic, fundamentalist regiemes is an indication of “bad guy” status

What about actually being a despotic, fundamentalist regime? Not that I am willing to make that assumption in the first place. I have already stated my criteria.

Why shouldn’t they [the Iranian mullahocracy] be allowed to manufacture whatever kind of they weapon they feel like?

This kind of attitude is quite a puzzle to me. Here is a despotic, fundamentalist regime, whose leaders have openly embraced committing nuclear genocide, and you can’t see any reason they shouldn’t have whatever weapons they want. I also think they sell weapons to a lot more maniacs, and far more crazy maniacs, than the USA does. I would take any USA client over Hamas and Hizb’allah. Care to name your examples?

if the whole world fulfulled their economic potential and implemented the liberal free market policies you’d have us believe would bring about life changing wealth, we’d need 6 planets

Uh, there are 8 planets. So we’re all set. Per aspera ad astra!

you admit that your political philosophy is abouth keeping wealth where it has already been accumlated or you can it.

This is wrong in so many ways it’s hard to know where to start.

  • Modern wealth isn’t something that’s accumulated in one place. It’s a dynamic property of a society and its productive capability.
  • Wanting to keep wealth where it has accumulated is considered a hallmark of civilization, where it is called preventing theft. Or can I drop by your house and un-accumulate your wealth?
  • Similarly, on a larger scale, I don’t see Scotland un-accumulating its ill gotten gains.
  • You can’t rationally accuse me of having an unrealistic philosophy that believes wealth can created across the entire planet and wanting only to keep wealth where it is.
  • Since it’s unrealistic to make everyone wealthy, and wrong to keep wealth where it is, your solution is to make everyone poor? And you expect people to support that? I do not think I am the one being unrealistic here.
Bret Monday, 19 May 2008 at 18:30

Steven Wood wrote: “…we’d need 6 planets…

For what?

Gronker Monday, 19 May 2008 at 18:45

Wow, Stevie, what a muddled mess of a post. I cant even really figure out what your trying to say. How about this for a simple response (I doubt you can handle anything more):

The US has determined that it is in its national interests to keep Iran from getting nuclear technology. Why? Because they are likely to use that technology to create weapons of mass destruction. Their current leadership has declared their intent to wipe Isreal off the map. They are also a consistent protector and sponsor of terrorist groups that have declared their intent to destroy western civilization. They are very likely to turn materials and weapons over to terrorists.

What gives the US the right to keep Iran from getting nuclear technology? Well other than the fact Iran signed non proliferation treaty with over 180 countries that are also signatories? Well, nothing. We are free however to work and pressure them to make sure they stand up to their commitments in the treaty. And the UN agrees. Resolution after resolution has been passed to pressure Iran from their path. The IAEA has repeatedly cited specific violations and even the Russians agree that something has to be done.

So get off your whining, pathetic little anti-american rant. Its sad and not very well thought out.

As for your appearant desire to keep the world under developed, I guess by some sort of misguided attempt to save the planet — well, its typical of the type of thinking I expect from those such as yourself. Laissez-faire, free market economies are the way for everyone to bring themselves up based on their ability and worth to society. Im sure you dont want that considering your slightly retarded thought patterns. But for the rest of us, it means the world is not a zero-sum game. Wealth is not finite. And, as some like to say, “a rising tide, lifts all boats”.

Also, the system AOG and most intelligent people support, is the system that has consistantly been responsible for the majority of the world’s scientific discoveries. The things that make the world’s standard of living so much better. And the advancements that will move us past fossil fuels, something Im sure you feel strongly about. Perhaps you even have a save the world bumper sticker on your tricycle?

Steven Wood Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 13:47

This kind of attitude is quite a puzzle to me. Ah - you see though I do not think Iran should have nuclear weapons. Infact there is no doubt they should not. However - what I’m trying to do is to draw a parallel between the right to bear arms (which you defend) and nukes. If you extend the argument I see made so often that if teachers were armed they could have stopped school massacres etc, then the same thing can be applied to nukes. As long as we have the ability to completely destroy them, what does it matter if they have nukes ? If you are saying (quite correctly) that fanatics do not care about the consequences of their actions then again the same thing applies to gun wielding maniacs - they wont be dissuaded from their path by the fact that the people they may to kill are armed too. So why not ban it ?

Laissez-faire, free market economies are the way for everyone to bring themselves up based on their ability and worth to society. So there it is - that’s it then, silly me.

You can’t rationally accuse me of having an unrealistic philosophy that believes wealth can created across the entire planet and wanting only to keep wealth where it is.

Eh…but I amn’t that was the point. I’m suggesting the first is a cover for the second. The fact is that the majority of the worlds wealth is owned by a tiny percentage of its population. This situation is not improving infact practically every study shows that the gap between rich and poor is getting larger. Observe how the world bank and IMF have forced countries to pursue the very policies you still claim are the only answer, with extremely limited success in recent years.

Wanting to keep wealth where it has accumulated is considered hallmark of civilization, where it is called preventing theft. Or can I drop by your house and un-accumulate your wealth?

How about considering for a second how much of that wealth was accumulated ? It would certainly count as theft according to any reasonable persons definition of the word.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 19:52

Mr. Wood;

Your analogy fails in multiple ways.

  1. First, as I noted above, teachers are respected members of a community who have already been specially entrusted. Iran is a rogue nation that is a near pariah.
  2. Guns are precision weapons in skilled hands. Nukes are not. The better analogy would be people arguing for teachers to be armed with grenade launchers to prevent massacres. So the “same thing” cannot be applied to nukes.
  3. Even if the police have the ability to “completely destroy” the crazed ex-killer down the street, people still don’t want him to have a gun, and he is not allowed to do so.
  4. No one claims that maniacs will be dissuaded from their path by the fact that people they may kill are armed. The argument is that the maniacs will be killed by their armed potential victims before they kill more people. Banning guns means the maniacs don’t get killed. It’s hardly a coincidence that gun related massacres occur where people have been disarmed.

I’m suggesting the first is a cover for the second. The fact is that the majority of the worlds wealth is owned by a tiny percentage of its population. This situation is not improving infact practically every study shows that the gap between rich and poor is getting larger. Observe how the world bank and IMF have forced countries to pursue the very policies you still claim are the only answer, with extremely limited success in recent years.

No, the majority of the world’s wealth is not owned “by a tiny percentage”. I would quite like to see what numbers you are using to come to that conclusion. I also don’t care about the gap between rich and poor, as long as the poor are getting wealthier in absolute terms. Otherwise your motive is pure envy without regard to people’s welfare, which seems rather more vicious and callous than a free market.

I think that the World Bank and the IMF should be disbanded because of their negative effects. I don’t think they promote free markets at all. They certainly don’t pursue the policies I support.

How about considering for a second how much of that wealth was accumulated?

I have thought quite deeply about it, and it’s clear that it was accumulated through hard work that, with a legal system that supports several property and (mostly) free trade. It was not accumulated by theft by any rational standard. If it was stolen, from where was it stolen, and when? For instance, from where did Steve Jobs steal his wealth? From where were all the servers that run the Internet looted? You might try thinking deeply enough to come up with questions like that.

Steven Wood Friday, 23 May 2008 at 15:11

First, as I noted above, teachers are respected members of a community who have already been specially entrusted. Iran is a rogue nation that is a near pariah.

The US and its allies (other democracies) are the “teachers” in my analaogy

Even if the police have the ability to “completely destroy” the crazed ex-killer down the street, people still don’t want him to have a gun, and he is not allowed to do so.

He is, so long as he doesn’t let on he is a killer.

No one claims that maniacs will be dissuaded from their path by the fact that people they may kill are armed. The argument is that the maniacs will be killed by their armed potential victims before they kill more people. Banning guns means the maniacs don’t get killed. It’s hardly a coincidence that gun related massacres occur where people have been disarmed.

They appear to me to occur mostly in the US where people have not been disarmed. Even seen through the eyes of fear, it takes some sort of a fool to think that sending teachers to school with pistols in their brief cases would be a desirable situation.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 23 May 2008 at 15:44

The US and its allies (other democracies) are the “teachers” in my analaogy

Then your analogy is extremely poor, as the relationship between nations is far more savage and uncontrolled than any school situation. I suspect that your unawareness of this is a root cause of your failed analysis of international relations.

He is, so long as he doesn’t let on he is a killer.

Yes, but again your analogy fails badly because the Iranian mullahocracy has let on, very clearly and over a period of decades, that it’s a killer.

They [gun related massacres] appear to me to occur mostly in the US where people have not been disarmed. Even seen through the eyes of fear, it takes some sort of a fool to think that sending teachers to school with pistols in their brief cases would be a desirable situation.

Well, no, as noted they almost always occur where people have been disarmed. As for your final assertion, it is just that, for which you have yet to provide any non-easily refuted evidence.

As a matter of policy, I would not encourage arming teachers. I know I will get in trouble for this, but the total number of people killed by gun massacres is a minute fraction of overall murders in the USA and it’s hard for me to see it as a crisis. Therefore, arming teachers is a solution to a non-problem, but I don’t see the advocates of that (of which I am not one) as “fools”. Further, I don’t think gun prohibition on campus, particularly for teachers, accomplishes anything either in terms of student safety.

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