On Replacing One of the Three "Pillars of Conservatism"

Consider this definition of social conservatism:

Traditional values, customs and ways of viewing the world have withstood the test of time, hence they should be given deferential treatment over newer values or customs that have not survived the same level of temporal scrutiny.  Moreover social change often leads to unintended consequences, most of the time deleterious ones, so change by itself should be regarded skeptically and, if deemed beneficial, should happen slowly, cautiously and methodically, so that any unintended consequences can be recognized and overcome.  Finally, individual liberty is only beneficially meaningful when it is conjoined with a moral people; hence policies that promote moral clarity should be favored over those that create moral obfuscation or relativism.

Where in this definition do you see the word government power? In other words, if there is social freedom, won't the rewards and punishments of cultural markets be enough to let some behaviors/traditions “survive” and others fail? Won't cultural evolution proceed by Darwinian processes, rather than Intelligent Design (read: inculcation by bureaucrats with a bible under one arm and the Complete Works of Edmund Burke under the other?) 

Customs survive or go extinct in one of two ways—either a) they’re protected by the force of powerful elites (witness slavery, Jim Crow), or b) because they ‘work’ within the environment in which they attempt to function. You may call b) relativism. So be it. But a) gets to be called “moral” by those who hold the power. It’s no different from leftish moralists with some “social justice” bee in their bonnets.

In any case: nothing under a liberty umbrella precludes social conservatism from being a personal cultural disposition that we all, as members of a free society, must tolerate -- like any other disposition or form of expression.

But that’s a far cry from being forced to espouse or embrace your version of the moral, or his, or hers, or mine. After all, you can go celibate, frown on sodomy and forego the marijuana cigarettes without government’s help. But don't force me to. (San Fransisco is more likely to crumble from earthquakes or socialism than the acts of pink-bedizzened playboys, so I don't buy the "Fall of Rome" story.)

Indeed, if "the Right" itself is to survive, I argue that the virtue of toleration should replace social conservatism as a political platform. If anything, the left pays lip-service to toleration, then abandons it at almost every turn. Recall bans of certain kinds of speech on college campuses, smoking in private establishments, attempts to subsidize certain groups or behaviors, or the last conversation you had with a leftist about being, well, a conservative. This is not toleration—or at least not “liberal” toleration in the Rawlsian or Millian senses.

If we take back toleration, we have a moral high ground that is both appealing to younger generations who have become more tolerant anyway (racially, sexually, etc.), and we righties don’t have to live with contradictions between ‘cultural’ social engineering on the one hand and half-hearted deference to individual liberty on the other. Social conservatism gets to stick around and survive – and even win – that is, if it's indeed at the top of the cultural food chain. If not, then it looks like the conservative thesis given above fails on empirical grounds.

For the a new generation, liberty is the unifying principle. Not errant moralism built on what your grandpa was whipped into believing, or your government forced you to believe in the schools. Thus, The Next Right is about the virtue of toleration, plus the principle of liberty, plus a willingness to defend both.

So in answer to some questions in light of this…

What is the philosophical basis for the brand of conservatism that you wish to see adopted?  If you think e.g. Social Conservatism has got to go, what do you see as replacing it (if anything), and why?”

Asked and answered, above. Unless you want a name for it... It's called classical liberalism. 

On this questions…

In the new conservatism that you envision, how do you plan on differentiating it from the philosophical basis of liberalism that the Democrats offer?

With toleration as a pillar, the difference between advocates of liberty and what Jonah Goldberg calls Liberal Fascists becomes pretty darn clear. Currently I think it’s much muddier, as cultural conservatives control your bedroom while left liberals control your wallet. How is this a coherent political system? Two rival gangs fighting over two different aspects of your life?

On this question…

Democrats propose that "greed" and "deregulation" are what caused our current financial mess.  In your view, what should be the conservative response, and why?

I’ve done my part to answer, this, question… Have you?

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<<Democrats propose that

<<Democrats propose that "greed" and "deregulation" are what caused our current financial mess.">>

This is so easy. ADDRESS THE ISSUES

If Bush talks of "free trade is good." Then deal with the factories closing.

If you have tax cuts (which is only borrowed money from other countries) is it filtering down to the middle class. For the last 8 years, I think not. At least with factories closing and the loss of healthcare and pensions.

You put policies in place, then you go to laissez-faire. You need management. Of course there are those on the right that says this is government intervention or big government. And that is baloney. CEO's manage, managers manage, coaches manages, you manage your household. Since when does a president does not manage.

But as always, the republicans neglect the middle class. Hence, the party for the rich.



Jumpin' jehosiphat. This comment is the problem with the Republican party. Do you really believe this In Between?

"You put policies in place, then you go to laissez-faire. You need management. Of course there are those on the right that says this is government intervention or big government. And that is baloney. CEO's manage, managers manage, coaches manages, you manage your household. Since when does a president does not manage."

Yikes. Even right wingers think that you can "fix" an ecosystem and "run" an economy. Its the planner's fallacy, but it's right here on the Next Right. I give up. 

We saw the deficits and debt

We saw the deficits and debt years ago. Nothing done.

We saw the factories close and nothing done.

We see the middle class losing jobs, healthcare, and pensions. Nothing done.

We see cities and states going broke as factories close. Nothing done.

Programs need fixing. Nothing done.

The only planners fallacy, I have seen on Next Right is tax cuts. Now what is that? Is that your only solution?

I will exclude healthcare on this site as that is presently being talked about. But after 8 years, I have seen nothing. 

I agree with you on the

I agree with you on the concept of toleration as an alternative pillar, but seriously doubt it would ever be given serious consideration in today's GOP. 

I am pro-life but do not believe that is inconsistent with the concept of toleration, as my support for efforts to end abortion is based as much on the concepts of natural rights and law-and-order as my personal morals; the taking of another's life is murder and murder is against the law.  I don't see a pro-life position as dependent on so-called social conservatism and enforcement of one person's morals over another; I see it as consistency in application of  our laws to the unborn in the same manner as the born.  I also oppose the death penalty because I don't believe the government should have authority to take a life in my name any more than it should be funding abortions in my name.

As you expressed, I see several other elements of the so-con agenda as nothing more than attempts to legislate and gain government control of individuals' bodies, bedrooms and beliefs.  I support stem cell research, gay marriage, contraceptive education and the end of the failed War on Drugs -- all of these views would define me as a RINO if I had remained registered Republican.   


Tolerence tends to be a virtue only among the disenfranchised.

Once they get in power? Suddenly "protecting" "our" "values" becomes the most important thing in the world.

True enough, I suppose. 

True enough, I suppose.  That's why I feel the best I can hope for is a healthy left-right balance of power, rather than complete domination of one party over another for any extended time.  That's what brought me here, to look for signs the GOP will find its bearing in time to avoid irrelevancy for a generation or more.

Great Point

Pro-life/Pro-choose is the category killer for toleration. Not sure what to do about that one. Some controversies are just intractable and I understand why you would not be willing to toleration abortion if you thought it was murder.

toleration in this is simple:

you act as best you can to prevent as many abortions as you can. Not by trying to outlaw it, but by changing the system so that there is no longer any need to outlaw it. Picture a place where women are paid full room and board whenever they are with child. (since I'm talking to republicans, i'll take the moment to stipulate that it is a private institution). Then there is no need for a woman to abort a child because of economic circumstances.

Picture a society where being an unwed mother is not stigmatized, and people act in such a way to preserve the mother's dignity.

unacceptable solution

At first you write "you act as best you can to prevent as many abortions as you can", and I'm totally with you.  (Does that mean I can expect to see you at the next abortion clinic protest?)  But then you write "Picture a society where being an unwed mother is not stigmatized" and, dude, you blew it.  Single parenthood as a purposeful choice should be stigmatized because, on balance, it's not good for the kids.  The best arrangement for kids is a stable two-parent family.  Of course we should be kind and compassionate towards single parents, but that doesn't mean we should promote it, either intentionally or unintentionally by the incentives in the system.  After all, as Reagan said, "if you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it."

Given our nation's experience with the Great Society, I always find it puzzling when liberals claim the way to uplift families is through more social welfare.


Can I expect to see you at the next IVF clinic protest?

Can I expect to see you at the next IVF clinic protest?  Roe v. Wade stands in the way of closing abortion clinics but there is nothing analogous for IVF, so what are you waiting for??


I don't think protests serve the pro-life agenda very well.

they make folks like me want to dig in my heels and TUG!

In many societies, it was commonplace for women to raise children by themselves. Roman Military families saw their father maybe once every four to ten years, depending on the campaign. Likewise, many pioneer families would send the dad over to America to work, and he would send for his kids and wife later, as money allowed. In Mexico, oftentimes it is the men who illegally immigrate to America, sending money home to feed their family.

I do not agree that single parenthood is a priori bad for kids. That is simply not true. Where it does fall down, strategically, is if the parent gets hurt/sick/dies. Then, there is no safety net of another parent.

Now, after that shpiel, yeah, it would be better if there weren't single parents, in a perfect world. However, I believe that divorce is often a net good for the family.

I'd love to know what incentives/disincentives you would make for single parenthood... (aside from the current economic situation, which appears to be making people fight over who -doesn't- get their house... and consequent debt).


I see that you are united with birdmojo in thinking that "liberty" means "what I think it means".

Lot's of people have conceptions of liberty very different from the libertarian one. For instance, both liberals and conservatives do.

You seem to have missed this somehow, but the state is very much involved in cultural matters - on the side of the left.

The assumption...

That there is your, true and honest definition of liberty that comes from deep study of great texts and everyone elses which is based upon what they had for breakfast that morning strikes me as uncharitable to the point where I'm surprised it hasn't occured to you that, maybe, they have a thought process and even a set of premises behind the conclusions they've reached.

It makes you sound cranky.

Don't be dense.

 your, true and honest definition of liberty

You have not understood a single thing I've written, have you? I keep telling you that there is no one true and honest definition of liberty.


It makes you sound cranky.

Your stubborn stupidity would make a saint cranky. I spent a couple of hours going over this ground with you last night and you don't have the foggest idea what I said, even though I used simple sentences.

"there is no one true and honest definition of liberty."

Let's say that I agreed with that as far as it went.

Why do you go from there to assume that my definition of "liberty" is "whatever I want it to mean" rather than something that follows logically from, say, Natural Rights or from, say, God As I Understand Him, or even based on a Randian "It's not who will let me, it's who will stop me" kinda theory?

You just jump over all that stuff and say that it means "whatever I want it to mean" and then go from there to say that there is no one true and honest definition of liberty and then go straight from *THERE*, apparently, to some weird pragmatism that says that liberty is nothing more than what I can get 66%+1 of the people to agree that it is. And even if it *IS* the pragmatic "whatever the mob says it is, it is", then we're in a meme battleground where the best meme will survive and the less fit ones will die off and you rely primarily on personal attacks and going out of your way to point out exactly how much patience and forebearance you're showing by even deigning to point out how dumb I must be.

Dude. I don't know about everyone else, but I am rarely convinced by the guy most likely to point out how dumb his opposition is as a first resort.


Let's say that I agreed with that as far as it went.

Then why did you just accuse me of saying the exact opposite?


Why do you go from there to assume that my definition of "liberty" is "whatever I want it to mean"

Because at the end of the day all conceptions of liberty come down to just that. This is not a matter that can be resolved via science or logic. People begin with certain axioms and proceed from there.  God and/or Natural Rights are two such examples of axioms. But people disagree about the nature of these things and even about whether they really exist.

You just jump over all that stuff ..

I guess I just covered that stuff. But if you really want I can go on in much greater detail.


 .. and then go from there to say that there is no one true and honest definition of liberty ..

That's the consequence of what I'm arguing, yes. Just like there is no "one and true honest definition" of what is good music.


  .. then go straight from *THERE*, apparently, to some weird pragmatism that says that liberty is nothing more than what I can get 66%+1 of the people to agree that it is.

Liberty is whatever the majority of the people in a certain geographic area think it is. Why is there such a thing as "freedom of speech" in America and not in other countries? Because Americans think there should be, and other people don't. Where did the Constitution come from? The majority voted for it and so it became the law. That same majority you're always so worried about. This is not "weird pragmatism", this is reality. If the majority decide tomorrow - "no more free speech" - then guess what? No more free speech. Do you actually think otherwise?


And even if it *IS* the pragmatic "whatever the mob says it is, it is", then we're in a meme battleground where the best meme will survive and the less fit ones will die off

Perhaps. Or different understandings of liberty can continue to exist in different places. But within a single political unit only one understanding at a time can be in control. By the way, that "mob" is what gave you the freedoms you love so much.


I am rarely convinced by the guy most likely to point out how dumb his opposition is as a first resort.

A first resort? I spent hours going over this same ground with you last night, and then you show up here and accuse me of having exactly the opposite position than the one I do have.


When one says something to the effect of "there is no one true definition of X", it is usually in service to one of two (and, oddly, sometimes both of these) arguments.

1) X is a meaningless concept.

2) You shouldn't use your definition of X, you should use mine.

If, say, my viewpoint was that Human Beings have certain Rights that are emergent properties... from God, whatever, and that The State (or other people) could violate these rights but the act of violation was not the same thing as making these rights disappear... that's an argument that you should be familiar enough with to not automatically assume that someone using a different definition of Liberty than you is saying "liberty means whatever I want it to mean!"

Hate to break it to you.

But the problem wasn't that you were casting pearls of wisdom before swine. The problem was, and remains, that you're a complete fucking retard who doesn't understand libertarianism, liberty, or much of anything else.



... is next to my dirty socks; so don't go there.

Let us engage in the Philadelphia model of brotherly love rather than the San Francisco model, and mug each other for our wallets.


Ok, so I'm being silly, but serious at he same time. 

you mean Killadelphia?

Murder Count 9 this year, courtesy of Field Negro

Like you'd know.

What exactly does a "fucking retard" like you know about libertaranism? I'll be more than happy to match my knowledge of it against yours.


I was speaking at FedSoc functions when your mother was still picking the corn out of your soiled diapers.  Your knowledge of libertarianism, to judge from the nonsense you've posted on this site, would fit inside a thimble with room left over.  You couldn't follow a reasoned argument if you had it on a leash.

I take to heart the old aphorism never to argue with a moron, because they'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.  So if I want to hear from a brainless asshole, I'll just take a noisy shit rather than listen to you try to match my knowledge of, well, anything. 

Great post...

but I'm not entirely convinced that tolerance needs to be the hammer that we use to pound liberty's nail.  I don't embrace a philosophy of liberty out of tolerance, or generosity, or altruism, or idealism.  On the contrary, I'm completely convinced that most of my fellow humans are wastes of oxygen with utterly odious personal habits and lifestyle choices, who could improve the planet immeasurably by setting themselves on fire.

I embrace a philosophy of liberty out of self-interest.  I want to be left alone; therefore I leave others alone in the hope they'll reciprocate.  I do not want to be stolen from; therefore I decline to steal from others in the hope they'll reciprocate.  Also, if they refuse to reciprocate, liberty permits me to keep the means with which to shoot the bastards.

You can certainly take the idealistic road, but I think the misanthropic one might actually hit people closer to where they live.

social conservatism and the virtue of tolerance

Mr. Borders,

Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply.  I never expected think-tank bigshots or publication editors to offer serious reflection based on my work, so I'm honored by your presence.  I mean that in all sincerity.

First, I just want to point out that I don't really consider myself a hard-core social conservative.  I am pro-life, but for secular humanist reasons and not religious-based ones; I'm opposed to the death penalty; I don't have a big problem with gay marriage; and I frown on state censorship in all but the most egregious cases.  So I apologize if the definition I offered above isn't intellectually complete.

Your argument is persuasive to me, and my libertarian soul wants to believe you, but yet I have nagging doubts.  Here is a question and a concern:

1. Is there a connection between fiscal conservatism and social conservatism?  My gut feeling tells me that there is, but I can't rigorously prove it.  I see traditional values such as self-reliance, individual responsibility, and prudence to be far more in tune with fiscal conservatism than with fiscal liberalism.  After all if everyone looks to government for a handout rather than looking to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, it won't be long before the free market vanishes.

2. Even if the Republican Party were to adopt the "virtue of tolerance", it doesn't mean that the social conservatives will go away.  They will still be campaigning to end abortion and ban gay marriage.  And, they are still going to be associated with the Republican Party because it is the conservative party in America.  So my fear is that the GOP's image will be more-or-less unchanged, and it will therefore be nearly as unappealing to the hip, tolerant younger voters as it is today.  (Plus, the Democrats and their MSM allies will waste no time in characterizing the GOP's move as nothing more than a cynical PR stunt.)  But, if you think the real problem is the tactics associated with social conservatism then I can agree with that.  I think any honest pro-life activist will tell you that a national ban on abortion won't work if the people don't fundamentally agree with it, and so IMO it should be the social conservatives' goal to change the hearts and minds of individuals rather than focusing all their energy on national campaign strategies.

Thanks again for your contributions.

think-tank bigshots

I don't think this guy is a think-tank bigshot. And I'be be very alarmed if such was the case.

Is this big-shot enough for you?


Even assuming it's him, that don't impress me much. 

I will go on an agreement on

I will go on an agreement on needing social conservatives. Although personally, I could do without them. And the analogy is this. The Pope has his conservative issues, and that is the ground he stands for. Without that stand, then being Pope would be worthless.

Half of catholics don't care about abortion, but we have a pope that stands his ground. And a person has to respect him for that. 

I respect him more for ideological consistency

the prolife, death penalty stuff gets on my nerves.

Reply to chemjeff

Hey ChemJeff,I think you make a good point with Number 2. And indeed, I wouldn't want to marginalize social conservatives. I would hope, rather, that they see the folly in trying to legislate or inculcate morality via the state--that they see moral choices beyond harm-oriented choices (theft, fraud, murder, etc.) as being a part of the private sphere. 

I can see from the peanut gallery that many conservatives don't even like the word toleration. But political toleration is the sinew that holds any freedom project together. If you're going to live in free society, you've got to tolerate people that are different from you in their ideas of happiness and the good. Period. Toleration precludes state-enforced personal morality, which I think you see.

In any case, I really appreciate both your post and your reply. Please keep it up. These are serious questions our movement has to come to terms with, notwithstanding the peanut gallery.

yes, toleration is a political essential.

this is why the Social Conservatives must be removed from your party. They do not play nice with others... And, worst of all, the American public at large knows it.

Toleration of what?

Indeed, if "the Right" itself is to survive, I argue that the virtue of toleration should replace social conservatism as a political platform.

And intoleration of what, since advocates for tolerance are always pretty intolerant people. Tolerance is as meaningless as word as "liberty" in this context.


Won't cultural evolution proceed by Darwinian processes, rather than Intelligent Design (read: inculcation by bureaucrats with a bible under one arm and the Complete Works of Edmund Burke under the other?) 

Spare me the leftist twaddle. The government bureaucrats are hard at work as we speak, driving cultural evolution in a distinctly statist direction. And people like you are lying awake at night worrying about ID.  

Libertarian Twaddle, you mean

Deleted duplicate post. Not sure how that happened.

Libertarian Twaddle, you mean

I think the nuances of these points have escaped you:

1) The whole idea of a free society is that you have to tolerate people with different conceptions of the good life and happiness. Jews tolerate Christians. We tolerate speech we don't agree with. We should also tolerate people who choose different lifestyles than we do, or embrace different faiths. This virtue is what keeps the Republic from getting taken over by a "moral majority" on the left or right. The Founders understood this.

2. The point about survival of the fittest cultural norm is not that I'm making fun of Intelligent Design, it's that I'm mocking people who honestly think they can legislate morality from Washington. The Soviets tried to force the Estonians to be atheists, but they secretly had Christmas in their homes. Likewise, homosexuals carried on with their lives despite anti-sodomy laws and Jerry Falwell. I'm sorry if this troubles you. But if conservatives don't lose the notion that the state should protect their idea of the right and the good, they're going to lose the next generation, which is, in reality, very tolerant of difference. Now, you may be right about what the left is doing from the top and that's precisely why we need to take toleration back. The LEFT IS NOT TOLERANT. They are statists and they will use state power to further their ends--liberty be damned. If we're more tolerant, we can win the next generation by taking the moral highground that we should be owning anyway.

Look, I'm not lying awake at night worried about ID. I don't really care about that debate. I was making an analogy that probably offended you, but my point is that 'culture' survives due to being "fit" in the cultural environment of today, or through the imposition of government power.

tell me when you write your rant on statist insurance companies

oh, wait, you're such a beloved capitalist that you support corporations interfering in our government for their own interests and not the interests of society

Libertarian twaddle

The whole idea of a free society is that you have to tolerate people with different conceptions of the good life and happiness.


Taken to it's logcal conclusion, and that's were you seem to want to take it, that sort of toleration negates the very idea of having any society at all. By definition the members of a society have agreement on some minimal set of ideas was to what their society should be and not be.  If they don't then they are no society at all, free or otherwise.


I'm mocking people who honestly think they can legislate morality from Washington


You come over as mocking the very idea of morality, and specifically that it can be "enforced" in any fashion. And that is plainly incorrect.


if conservatives don't lose the notion that the state should protect their idea of the right and the good,

YOU believe that conservatives should protect YOUR idea of the right and the good. Your post was an argument for them to do exactly that. There will be some idea of the right ad the good, and the state wll uphold it, exactly as it does at present for liberals wthout dreawing your ire.

Pandering to bigotry is not tolerance and calling it that can't make t so. If your young people loath religion than we're screwed in any case.


The Republican party has an image problem. But trying to fix that by tossing out it's core beliefs is what got it into trouble in the first place. Why not just say "this free market obsession is killing us, lets scrap it"?


Vapid claptrap

Your "definition" of social conservatism boils down to: "be careful trying new things".  An actual social conservative, as the term is understood in America today, opposes abortion, same sex marriage, and out of wedlock sex.  On Townhall.com (a reasonable window into social conservative thought) you will find ridicule against women in careers, and even laws against rape. 

If you want to get someone to vote Republican, you will have to talk about real issues -- abortion, violence, prayer in school -- not just offer vapid platitudes about "liberty".

social conservatism

With my definition of 'social conservatism' I was trying to get to the heart of why the social conservative opposes abortion, same-sex marriage, and out-of-wedlock sex.  These positions weren't just picked at random you know. 

conservative means conserving what?

Chemjeff is right. Conservatives are conservative because they wish to conserve something: tradition in this case. Tradition didn't just come out of one of Jerry Falwell's orifices. It is the distilled wisdom of all the generations of people who preceeded us living on this earth. Sure there is some stupidity in it too, but most stupidity was weeded out because in less prosperous times stupidity got you dead.

Now that we're prosperous, the anarchist libertarian crowd thinks that we don't have to take human nature into account when we define liberty. Liberty is, of course, the opposite of slavery. It is that state of affairs in which no person is oppressed by force, or by law backed by force, without rightful and practical ways to overthrow that oppression. Liberty does not flourish in pure anarchy of the sort that some libertarians propose. The proof is easy. Bad people exist. Some of them are strong and use their strength to hurt others, to rob them of property, to enslave them. Without practical opposition, the strongest of the strong become kings among men, and they write laws to seize all the property in their domains. Without some set of laws and a government to enforce the laws equally for all kings will arise on the earth, and they will enslave people by force and steal all their property.

But that is an extreme example. Traditions such as permanent monogamous heterosexual marriage (PMHM henceforth) weren't always traditions. At one time, PMHM was the novelty practiced by the Germanic tribes that gave them the moral strength to conquer Rome. It won out in the contest of ideas and bacame our tradition. Other traditions such as belief in God, opposition to abortion, specialization of labor, free markets, opposition to euthanasia, and the abolition of slavery also won out in the contest of ideas not only because they were right but because they worked better than what came before.

The American tradition started with the founding fathers, who wrote in the Declaration and Constitution the best form of Republican government that had been yet tried. This American experiment was a massive challenge to the ancient regimes in Europe and the rest of the world. It inspired a flawed revolution in France that ended up in a tyranny of the mob instead of the rule of law, and it inspired state socialism in Germany as a reaction to it. It also inspired Marx to his mistaken conclusions. Yet only in America did the formula work the way it was originally designed. Everybody else jiggered it because they couldn't believe that people could survive under the freedoms America allowed, and they didn't succeed as well as America. Starting some time around 1900, thanks to Dewey's widespread educational propaganda and the socialist elite in the country, the US pretty much abandoned its own founding documents and started moving toward state socialism. That's when the American economy stopped its dynamism and stopped growing so quickly. Now it's wounded and sucking wind from all the socialism.

American traditionalists used to be called classical liberals. In fact, though we are now called conservatives we are the only liberals in this nation. The media-annointed liberals are socialists who believe the nation should be ruled by an elite aristocracy of highly educated technocrats, bankers, professors, and politicians. None of them produce anything you can eat or hold in your hand. Because we believe in the foundations of America we have become traditionalists and conservatives by default. And because we believe in what works, both in the economic sphere and others, we embrace all the traditions that still work. One of them is PMHM. One of them is the part of the traditional Hippocratic oath that forbade physicians from committing homicide, whether it be aborting babies (fetus is from the greek for baby) or euthanizing the old or killing in war.

All the founding fathers said that two things were necessary for our form of government to survive. One is education in the founding truths, especially in economics of the sort that should be familiar to libertarians who have read Rothbard. The other is belief in permanent, unchanging moral truths as established by our Creator. Failure in the first requirement leads to the people voting for state socialism. Failure in the second leads to the expansion of a multitude of laws to replace the moral principles. By their number and stupidity, and by leeway given the courts to interpret them, these new laws create a tyranny of the judiciary.

If we throw out the permanent, unchanging moral truths, the principles that underlie our laws, then we will end up in slavery to the courts.

Woops, we're already there. Conservatives have not been trying to force tradition on everybody else. The courts have been overthrowing tradition by force of their perverse interpretation of the laws.

That's why tradition needs to be a leg of the Republican party. It is self-defense against the depredations of the courts, urged on by socialist idealogues and a feckless legislature that doesn't want to make any hard decisions so they pass them on to the unaccountable courts.

I'll velcro your mouth shut

with what came out of the space program, Herr Kopf. What you communicate with now, it comes out of physics. Transistors. Or are you still using vacuum tubes.

I am gratified to learn that when China or India is on top of the world you will be openly advocating a caste system, that women should commit ritual suicide by burning at the death of their husbands, or that we should expunge god from our society entirely.

Because of you, that time will come soon. I hope you can see it.

Tradition is rape, tradition is multiple marriages to the same woman, tradition is many many things that you would never advocate.

And you mangle the traditions that you do wish to follow, some causing irreparable harm against the people you wish to SAVE from God's own given pleasure.

In Maine, they will shortly pass a law that same sex couples can marry. I wish Bill in Portland Maine a happy wedding day. If you live in Maine you are welcome to hold your legislators accountable.

science is based on the same empirical methods as tradition

Dear RisingTide,

The science that invented velcro, transistors, computers, networks, and the keyboard on which you spill your hateful bile uses the same empirical methods as tradition.

American traditional ways got America to the position of most prosperous nation in the world. If we had embraced all the evils with which you libel tradition we wouldn't have made it. India would never have gained its present prosperity if it hadn't abandoned government enforcement of suttee and the caste system. And China will not reach the heights it could with its massive population until it stops harvesting the organs from its citizens simply for believing in something other than Mao's little red book.

I can't make heads or tails of the rest of your disjointed, hateful spew. I dub you Hatemonger.


I happen to like the Protestant work ethic

and I wish that you would show more of it in attempting to understand my positions.

My position is that your argument is really tired and lame. In our current climate, England has less economic pull than Mexico -- therefore we should accord Mexico more influence on which traditions that we should follow? It is nonsensical!

I understand the people who say "the traditions are whatever Americans believe are traditions" -- but you ain't saying that.

Empiricism did not win Einstein a nobel prize. Radical synthesis did.

The great leap forward is dead.

Looking for a point

So far this last screed looks literally pointless.

Let me summarize. You said these things:

  • I wish you would do blah blah blah...
  • Your argument is tired and lame
  • England vs Mexico therefore US should...
  • Empiricism didn't ...
  • The great leap...

I didn't see any actual arguments that made sense, other than the silly one that because Mexico beats England at some contest unsupported by facts or evidence, therefore US tradition should become more Mexican. Actually, isn't that exactly Aztlan's argument for the reconquista?

Are you saying I should become a Reconquistador now?

you base your argument for purely heterosexual

couplings on the Germanic tribes conquering the Romans.

Ratings of international power and influence are notoriously tricky, it is true. But I'll stand by my claim, and ask you which traditions you want. Clearly you do not believe that any traditions that are not your own will be successful. I find that shortsighted.

The Japanese are a large and successful nation. Should we therefore imitate their ability and belief that it is just kosher to worship as many gods, in as many religions, as we please?

Certainly they make better autos than we do, and their military could beat ours any year.

By your argument, we should adopt the Japanese take on women, relegate them to housework after marriage, and accept a much higher rate of preteen pregnancy. Oh, and any foreign woman who walks into a men's restroom should be raped.

Have I made my point about tradition yet? Many traditions are bad. Many more are nonsensically applied. The tradition of a groom not seeing the bride before they are married was frequently used for the groom's father to copulate with his son's new bride -- before the girl was married.

Whom are you addressing lgm?

Are you addressing me? Its not my definition, as you can see from the quote box.

I think you're restating my point, albeit in snarkier terms. So why "vapid claptrap"? The whole point of the post is to form a unified concept of liberty -- which requires social toleration and fiscal toleration. If you're being a jackass to Chemjeff (whose definition it was), I'll let him defend himself. But be careful when comment lurking... the conversation is between fiscal conservatives (libertarian types) and social conservatives, a point that seems to have escaped you.

Must Be Replaced

It is far easier to replace the plank then it is to replace the 15-20 million voters who will leave the party or process because of your disregard human life, ethics, and morality.

What an ultimately shallow and arrogant "Bird in the bush" approach.

I'm addressing you

What escaped me is your positions on the actual issues.  You need some.  General philosophical principles need to be "instantiated" by specific examples.  Do you hold the libertarian view that gay marriage should have the same status as straight marriage, or do you hold the social conservative view that gay marriage should be illegal? 

Until you get specific, you haven't really said anything.


Marriage, a sacred ritual, should be left to the private sphere, e.g. churches. Civil unions should be a function of contract law or the state when it comes to taxes, etc. and should be apply equally to gays and straights.  There you go.

I 100% agree

As we approached today, I decided to stop calling my self a Democrat.

I notice that just because of the letter next to a person's name we stop listening, look at how pople here talk about Democrats, and look at how Democrats talk about Republicans. nothing gets done.


I decided against using labels and I agree, America is a social contract, our founders understood this. We have to work together and tolerate each other because its the only way our Union continues.

I agree we need limited government the question is how limited?

I don't believe free market principles benefit the poor, through a strictly capitalistic and market view, there is no smart business reason say for a medical company to CURE Aids rather then find away to treat it permantently, you cure it you can't sell treatments. Health insurance only want to deal with the most profitable patients not all patients etc.

I think Government's job is to be that social safety net when the markets can't do it. but I think ideological differences make it so both sides can never sit down and just say ok so how much of a social safety net for government can we all agree on.

instead both sides just want government for their own reasons, both sides would end up restricting freedoms, just different freedoms, and thats what our two parties have become about, which freedoms do you enjoy and which does the other side want to limit.


I agree the first party that grabs that tolerance mantle will get the new generation of voters. (every 4 years, a new group of 18-21 year olds becomes elligle to vote, and i gotta tell you at this point we really just go Reagan who?)

Wrong questions about the free market give useless answers

Free market principles benefit everybody, especially the poor.

You are asking the wrong questions. That's why you haven't come up with the answers.

Big Pharma would rather cure killer diseases than treat them permanently, competition guarantees if one company doesn't then another company will come up with a cure and make the first company's product obsolete. Only a monopoly granting system like the patent system, enforced by the guns of government, can stop free competition from operating like this.

Health care is too expensive. That is the problem, not health insurance, which gets to hide its true cost in monthly pretax deductions to your paycheck. Doctors and hospitals and other health care providers don't have to operate in a free market because the health insurers function as government monopoly replacements for the free market in health care. Compare the cost and quality of lasik procedures for an example of what happens to health care costs in a private market, without health insurance taking the middleman's place. The costs of lasik surgery have gone down as the quality has gone up. And nobody has insurance that pays for it. In fact, the doctors who perform lasik would like insurance to pay for it so they can raise their rates. I guarantee to you that when lasik becomes covered by blue cross it will quickly become unaffordable by anyone without insurance. So the answer to the health insurance problem is not to expand health insurance. That will only make the problem worse. The answer is to get rid of it and force doctors and hospitals to survive in the free market. Some will go out of business because they invested in a business model that depends on health insurance to survive. That's okay. As all people die, so do all businesses go out of business some day.