Sunday, April 27, 2008

Thoughts about the state of ideology in America



I've taken political philosophy this semester and in addition to discussing politics with another guy of like mind. I've concluded that conservatism and liberalism are brands. See when we think of conservatives often we think of Republicans and Democrats we mostly think liberals.

When you vote for either/or you generally know what you're getting. The problem is neither side exactly lives up to what they purport to stand for. Someone votes for a Republican because they don't want a Democrat to get election and vice versa for a Democrat who'll vote that way because they don't want a Republican to win. Hey that was the school a former teacher of mine had just before Republicans apparently swept into power in Illinois and in Washington, DC.

Anyway sometimes such a vote is mistaken and almost a knee-jerk reaction. At times it's certainly not smart especially if you'll come to regret your vote later. I'll even question how some Republicans might be upset about John McCain getting the nomination and they hope that in another four years they can vote in someone more palatable. The sad thing is that it doesn't always work that way.

The party might go on a downward slide while you allow a person to move ahead that you know isn't the best choice. Largely you do this because you really don't want the other guys to get in. Hopefully you do this with the understanding of the positions of the opposition but certainly never with this idea that no matter what the opposition is bad. Such a position is certainly irrational.

You know when I started this blog I considered myself a conservative, I don't not so much. For the most part conservatism has some things I agree with, which is why I held those views at the same time as time went on there are some things I don't support as far as conservatism. I can support limited government, lower taxes, policies that encourage business activity, or being anti-abortion. However I've come to the conclusion lately that some conservative positions aren't for me.

For instance I'm not pro-gay marriage, but I would certainly support taking government out of the marriage equation. Let more private interests determine who can or can't get married (i.e. a church). For that reason I had an issue with this idea of amending the federal constitution or even the state constitution to ban gay-marriages. Obviously my feeling is that social policy shouldn't be written into a constitution or at least that's how I read it. Although this seems to have been done very often.

In any case in light of the loss Republicans had in 2006 has led me to believe that conservatism isn't what many think it is. Depending on the steward conservatism can be watered down to the point where it can be used for a person to get elected and once s/he is they govern differently than what they profess. I could say the same for the liberals.

Let me just state that in observing politics today and reading about politics of the past, the parties have always had factions. Would it sound strange to you to hear that there are conservative Democrats or liberal Republicans? Well there are and understand that the majors parties in this country have one goal to increase their power and in doing so they appeal to their bases. The bases might be regional in nature or it could be based on ideology. Generally the Republicans are considered the more family values and evangelical type party. The Democrats are generally considered the more minority friendly and their more aligned with organized labor.

Still at times we see the failures of either party to be able to do the bidding of these groups in order to be successful in delivering the goods, whatever they may be, to their respective bases. Some of that certainly could be pandering to the base got them what they wanted an electoral win so beyond that what's the point. In some instances it could be about the status quo. Besides some of these groups have representatives at the table and indeed they have their interest in maintaining their power and prestige.

Anyway I've had to figure out my own way. It certainly shouldn't be seen as the best way, but it is my way. I look forward to reading more or looking up more material on this subject. This article on classical liberalism should be of interest to you as it is to me. I hope it opens your mind as to what it's about and hopefully you can incorporate that into your own lives.

Also the video I have up top is a discussion about libertarianism not being anything related to conservatism. Some good points were made in the vid and I hope that it opens your mind as to the nature of libertarianism or conservatism. Hopefully more on political philosophy later, just because the semester is over doesn't mean I can't keep reading up on these things or ponder different ideas.

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