Monday, May 04, 2009

The big tent

Although, as a libertarian conservative, I have some fairly extreme views on the importance of free speech and minimum government, I extend great tolerance towards people whom I partly disagree with. I doubt that I have ever written anything critical of a fellow conservative or libertarian. Many conservatives, for instance, regard Christianity as central to conservatism and I certainly do not. I nonetheless always write supportively of Christians.

Factionalism is however very common on the Left -- witness the icepick in the head that Trotsky got courtesy of Stalin. Very few of the old Bolsheviks lived for long after the revolution, in fact. And Lenin was just as bad as Stalin. In a 1920 pamphlet you find a contempt for some of his fellow Leftists that is probably greater than anything he ever wrote about the Tsar. It is in describing his fellow revolutionaries (Kautsky and others) that Lenin spoke swingeingly of "the full depth of their stupidity, pedantry, baseness and betrayal of working-class interests".

But Leftism is founded on hate and I think we conservatives should be able to rise above that. And I think we mostly do. The concept of the big tent has long been basic to GOP strategy. I actually think the tent could be broader than it is, even. I myself am certainly outside the tent because I sometimes mention certain psychometric facts about race. Given the Leftist dominance of public discourse, however, I can well understand why I am outside the tent under those circumstances. Conservatives do have to bow down to the Left in many ways if they are to get any hearing at all.

Currying favour with the Left is however in my view contemptible and that seems to me to be the motivation of many RINOs. Though whether Arlen Specter ever had any convictions about anything at all is in my view questionable. I was appalled when GWB endorsed him.

But currying favour with the Left now seems to have seeped into the blogosphere. Charles Johnson of LGF seems to think that he can win favour if he balances his criticisms of Islam with condemnations of other critics of Islam -- such as the heroic Geert Wilders -- as "Fascist". He is particularly critical of the small and desperate band of Europeans who criticize Islam and he regularly quotes unbalanced European Leftist attacks on them. He is really quite pathetic and one conservative of European origin has recently told him that at length.

Being my big-tent self, however, I wonder if CJ's problem may be more benign than at first appears. Maybe he just doesn't understand European conservatism. I barely understand it myself. It is certainly different from conservatism as we know it in the Anglosphere. From what I have seen of the European Right, it is much more in favour of a powerful State, largely Catholic and and more antisemitic. Jacques Chirac was after all a conservative in French terms. What the European Right seems to have in common with Anglo-Saxon conservatism seems mainly to be a high degree of realism, which leads in turn to a rejection of revolutionary change and a respect for private property and what has worked in the past.

And if a failure to comprehend that difference is CJ's problem he is not alone. It confuses other American bloggers too. "Rusty" of The Jawa Report also finds Fascist tendencies in Geert Wilders. Jewish Odysseus however has replied to Rusty and supplied some of the necessary perspective and Rusty has updated his post in what largely amounts to a backdown.

The problem for Americans is that Wilders believes in free speech in general but opposes free speech for Muslims. He rightly says that the Koran is worse than Mein Kampf in what it says and wants it banned. Jewish Odysseus rightly points out however that if you had suffered the immense harm and suffering that Nazism inflicted on Europe (including Germany itself), you would want Nazism banned too -- and it is therefore consistent to want a ban on a present-day ideology that is just as dangerous as Nazism.

And the essence of conservatism is that it is not rigid and doctinaire. It is always ready to make compromises with the realities of its day. In that it differs from libertarianism, which has rules that libertarians believe to be universal and immutable. And I am a conservative rather than a libertarian in this matter even though I am pretty fanatical about free speech. I even believe that a man who shouts "Fire!" in a crowded theatre is to be commended (any libertarian can tell you why). But I nonetheless recognize that all rules have exceptions and it gives me little heartburn (though I disagree with it) that Europeans want to ban all expressions of Nazism and related ideologies. The big problem is getting them to acknowledge that Islam and Nazism are related ideologies.

So I hope that CJ is not just pandering to the Left for the sake of popularity and approval but is in fact genuinely caught in a misunderstanding of European conservatism. Tolerance of difference would become him.


BrookesNews Update

Will a tidal wave of red ink sink the American economy?: Obama and his economics advisors — all of whom are Keynesians — are concocting a witches' brew that will wreak havoc with the economy if not countered. Unfortunately there is no way of stopping it. At the moment America is basically one-party state under the Democrats and they are enthusiastically supported by a viciously corrupt media
The Australian economy tanks while our 'free marketeers' flounder: The Australian economy is in recession and manufacturing continues to contract. And all that our so-called free marketeers can do is throw bricks at Rudd. These are the same people who failed to predict the recession, failed to grasp its cause and failed dismally to defend free market principles against its critics
Obama's historical illiteracy is a grave danger to national security: Decades years of 'progressive' ideology has left in its wake the insidious belief that capitalist societies do not deserve to survive — especially the America, the greatest capitalist nation of all. This odious belief is shared by the Democrats' leftwing and America’s treasonous media whose outrageous political bigotry and ingrained mendacity is becoming more and more self-evident by the day
Legally non-binding resolutions and Israel's existence : People's political views are based predominantly on their emotional attachments to their personal upbringing and life experiences and have almost nothing to do with the facts of history, be it ancient or modern, and legality of the issues. And this is certainly the case with Israel
'I told you so!' Obama's a card carrying Muslim! You will see!: We are. As promised, having a great change. We are no longer Judeo-Christian country; our leader is now chasing and pandering to our greatest foe — Islam. It was lovely how he became the first president to criticize America on foreign soil. But worse of all, our 'brother is in the White House is apologizing to the world for who we are because he wants us to change — but to what?
Dems using 'hate crimes' legislation to abolish the Fourteenth Amendment: The Democrats' attacks on the Constitution are relentless. They are now targeting the 14th amendment as well as the 1st amendment. The entire push for federal 'hate crimes' legislation is rooted in fraud
America's Red Sea: a flood of debt and taxes : Obama is driving America into a Marianas Trench of red ink. Cap-and-tax will also clobber manufacturing and heavy-industry jobs. Twenty states get 60-98 per cent of their electricity from coal. They form our manufacturing heartland, and every increase in energy prices will result in more businesses laying off workers. This destructive policy would utterly devastate American industry. And our corrupt mainstream media call this guy smart
The President's Audacity of Hope is that labor unions control the workplace: The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right of association. The Democratic Administration is working to destroy this protection in order to strengthen unionocracy and ensure an even greater flow of funds to the Democrats
Obama's Blame America First mindset: The 62 million Americans who didn't vote for Obama believe, based on history, that kowtowing to dictators is interpreted as a sign of weakness. They believe, based on reality, that all the carrots in the world will not change the minds of enemies dedicated to America's downfall



British government "charity" fraud: "Staff at a government-backed fund supposed to help some of the poorest people in the world have been awarded £65m in bonuses – equivalent to an annual £350,000 per employee. The bonuses have largely come from investments intended to tackle poverty in the developing world. The fund was part of the Department for International Development (DFID) until it was part-privatised in 2004. Charity workers say the government has allowed the fund, Actis, to skew Britain’s priorities overseas in its pursuit of high returns by depriving poor rural communities of investment. Actis manages funds for DFID’s investment body, CDC, tasked with reducing poverty, and has been praised for its success. But it has been awarding staff bonuses of up to £3m out of investments built up over years in developing countries. Average pay for employees in 2007 was on a par with those at Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank. “This is a travesty of CDC’s original mandate,” said John Hilary, head of the charity War on Want. “The bonuses at Actis simply do not square with the job of poverty reduction.”

Britain urged to slash 20% off public spending: "Savage cuts in public spending of more than £130 billion will be needed to solve the growing budget crisis, Tony Blair’s former chief policy adviser claims today. Writing in The Sunday Times, David Halpern, a former senior aide at No 10, says that Britain needs to follow the example of 1990s Canada, which slashed expenditure by 20% to combat a similarly severe deficit. Halpern warns that modest “efficiency gains” being proposed by both Labour and the Conservatives “just don’t deliver what is needed”. In order to control Britain’s £175 billion budget deficit, he argues that government needs to be “reinvented” and some basic services may need to be axed altogether".

Britain ends tank production after 93 years - and future models will have GERMAN guns: "They have fought alongside British soldiers for generations, playing heroic roles on historic battlefields such as the Somme, Cambrai and El Alamein. They have carried famous names such as Centurion, Churchill, Cromwell and Crusader. But now, nearly a century after inventing the first armoured warhorse - to storm through German lines in the First World War - Britain is to stop building its own tanks. BAe Systems, which makes the Army's Challenger 2 tanks, revealed it was closing its tank-making operation at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It is also shutting its armour business at Telford in Shropshire and at other locations because it sees no prospect of new Government orders. The closures could result in 500 job losses and means the Army is likely to go into battle in future with tanks using German guns and Swedish chassis. The last squadron of British Challengers began returning to the UK from Iraq this weekend, with little chance of them being sent to Afghanistan because of the difficult terrain there. Defence Secretary John Hutton has declared 'a rebalancing of investment in technology, equipment and people to meet the challenge of irregular warfare'. He said he planned to strengthen and enlarge Special Forces but gave no hint of even a medium-weight tank in the Army's future." [A British Challenger tank above]

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


1 comment:

Robert said...

With regard to the British ceasing to build their own tanks, I wonder how long it will take them to realize that is a foolish idea. What the long bull market built up (the European Union and its enlargement, and a record long period of peace in Europe), the bear market will tear asunder. It ought to be REAL interesting if tensions arise between England and Germany.