What Conservatives Really Want

Just as I was researching for a similar article on this topic, not surprisingly Professor George Lakoff comes out with an excellent post about it. Good read.

What conservatives really want.


About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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69 Responses to What Conservatives Really Want

  1. dcpetterson says:

    That is a brilliant article. It should be required reading. It describes perfectly the conservative mindset, and the disaster that conservatives have visited upon America. It describes also the way we have allowed this conservative madness to dominate our political speech, and, thus, our political thinking.

    It is indeed time to stand up to this insanity. It is time to make America once more into what it was, and what it can be, and what it should be. It is time to make America into America.

  2. For what it’s worth, a considerable percentage of our nation’s population likes that paternalistic model. To those people, the maternalistic model of the liberal wing is truly frightening, in the same way that the paternalistic model is scary to liberals.

  3. Mr. Universe says:

    Oops. Sorry about the double negative.

  4. dcpetterson says:

    Clearly you’re correct, Michael, because that is the way so many people vote. Lakoff seems to explain the viewpoint better than I have seen before.

  5. Mainer says:

    Great article. Unfortunatly it does not go far enough.

  6. Gator says:

    What a load of crap. How about an actual conservative explaining the conservative mindset. As opposed to a far left cheerleader.

    You gonna post a treatise on how the liberal mindset works by say… Limbaugh, or maybe Glenn Reynolds. You do know that he’s a college professor as well.

    Maybe we should have a man write a dissertation on what it feels like to be a woman.

    What steaming pile of equine excrement.

  7. rgbact says:

    The notion that GOP is the daddy party and the Dems are the mommy party isn’t exactly original.

    Then there’s the typical cluster of falsehoods….we don’t want to cut the military (we do)….we love corporate welfare (we hate it)……we’re against regulation,unions, and courts (thats govt’s role is to be the impartial “referee”).

  8. Number Seven says:

    Great article but I don’t really need to know what or how ‘conservatives’ think. I see the results of their actions over the last thirty years every day. Sadder still, I see few ‘liberals’ in office doing every thing they can to stop this slide into the pit.

  9. Mainer,
    In what way does it not go far enough?

  10. Gator,
    There have been a number of good studies done that bear out the mindset elements of the article. Though I doubt that most conservatives believe the dystopian conclusions, I have a hard time seeing how a government made up of 100% GOP wouldn’t end up looking exactly like that. Please explain in what ways I’m wrong.

    rgbact,

    Then there’s the typical cluster of falsehoods….we don’t want to cut the military (we do)….we love corporate welfare (we hate it)……we’re against regulation,unions, and courts (thats govt’s role is to be the impartial “referee”).

    Except that when push comes to shove, Repubicans in office have opposed cutting the military, opposed cutting corporate welfare, opposed regulation, opposed unions, and opposed an apolitical court system. Why the disconnect?

  11. rgbact says:

    The problem is the Dems have not pushed the GOP on those issues, which goes back to “framing the debate”. Of course, the GOP won’t pick the military as their first thing to cut. But I don’t see any Dems out there making a compelling case for specific areas in the military that need cutting. If they did, they would put the GOP on the defensive.

    As for corporate welfare, Dems are much more for things like TARP/the Fed/Auto Bailout/green product subsidies/Insurance mandate. They are the party of corporate welfare.

    As for unions, I think its more public unions that we bash. I don’t see the GOP really bashing private unions. Although all unions give 95% to the Dems, so you can make a strong case that they have an agenda beyond just helping workers.

  12. rgbact,
    You may do well to do a little more research.

    True, Democrats are more in favor of Keynesian measures of economic stabilization than are Republicans, and are also more in favor of environmental protections. But they far prefer the option of health insurance provided by the government, which is hardly corporate welfare.

    Suggesting that Democrats are in favor of the Federal Reserve, while Republicans are against it, is a facile statement at best, and utterly wrong when you delve into the details. What do you think the Republicans want in place of the Fed?

    Finally, it’s not just public unions that Republicans bash. It’s anything to do with unions. And, yes, the primary motivator there is money. Get rid of unions, and you get rid of a lot of financial support for Democrats. I find it impossible to believe that if unions were donating 95% to Republicans that they’d find themselves spoken about with anything but revered tones by Republican candidates. Of course, this wouldn’t happen, since Republicans by design represent the employer over the employee.

  13. Gator says:

    MW

    This is nothing but a left talking points screed and as such warrants no discussion. Have a great afternoon.

  14. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Gator,

    You are a wuss of major proportions when you make a definitive statement, as you did, then simply state “It’s obvious!” when challenged to demonstrate the point you attempted to make, then cut and run.

    You have decried the treatment of Bart here,, but similar action on your part will get similar results.

    And VERY little respect.

  15. rgbact says:

    MW-

    Medicare is also corporate welfare. Witness the recent $200M Medicare fraud case. If Medicare were abolished, there would be alot of unhappy corporations/private providers that make alot of $$ off it.

    The Fed was started under the first progressive Dem president and expanded with the FOMC under the 2nd progressive Dem prez. Big govts have always been in favor of loose money.

    I’ll agree that there is likely an unhealthy bias against the employee. Unions haven’t helped by focusing more on politics and less on promoting their member’s skills.

  16. GROG says:

    @Gator,

    Agreed. You know the article is going to be a false regurgitation of leftwing talking points as soon as read statements like this:

    “The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women’s rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting, and on and on.

    Or this:

    Budget deficits are a ruse, as we’ve seen in Wisconsin, where the governor turned a surplus into a deficit by providing corporate tax breaks, and then used the deficit as a ploy to break the unions, not just in Wisconsin, but seeking to be the first domino in a nationwide conservative movement.

    That lie has been repeated for the last couple days on leftwing website, but it has been debunked. Walker did not turn a surplus into a deficit in six weeks.

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/109275069.html

  17. Gator says:

    Max

    I’m OK with that. Post something that isn’t left wing propoganda and we’ll talk. I won’t discuss this foolishness. If that makes a me a wimp so be it.
    This is a blog that maybe 30 or 40 people read. I don’t take that as seriously as some of you seem to. I’ll argue or discuss when there is something worthy of discussion.
    Have a good afternoon.

  18. Mainer says:

    Michael again a very interesting article so don’t let my comments detract from that. Gator, I really hope you have hung around there is much to look at here and not the least are the perceptions from both sides that can be both right and wrong but that in many ways are getting in the way of our moving forward.

    I read the article and I can think of far too many people that presently call themselves Conservatives that this fits to a tee. At the same time I can think of other conservatives that it does not fit very well at all. So the question should then be how can I say right on with some and way off with others and this Gator may be one of the areas where you and I could end up in fundamental agreement again. I grew up in an age when real conservatives were not necessarily reactionary or regressive, in fact some very progressive people in my formative years were in actuality conservatives. I would put my father and mother in that group as well as a number of political figures they knew. These were people that had survived the Depression and WWII and they were worked so hard for all the lost time of their lives and to make sure that my generation might not have to endure the same things they had.

    Now to my parents government had a very real duty and function to promote the general welfare as well as its mission to protect the society from all enemies foreign and domestic. They were in my way of thinking advocates of government not intruding into our personal lives (small government) and government providing the functions necessary to give every one an equal opportunity, advance our capabilities as a nation and keep our economic system in a state of balance so that we got as many of the benefits of our capitalist system as was possible with out ever revisiting the economic anarchy they had experienced in their youth.

    What they could not have envisioned or accepted was a movement that is now all about instituting one groups social positions over all other groups. For back when they were fiscal conservatives that were not afraid of progress. They understood that it took investment from every one and every thing in a society to move that society ahead. My father went to every ribbon cutting event that was held when another stretch of the Inter state system was built, he worked with industry and the government to rebuild our ports as he knew that neither one could do it on their own. Dad was in effect a pragmatic conservative as much as he was a progressive that wanted to see every dime spent well and with purpose and the government keptout of areas where they didn’t belong.

    So what do many of us see as left of the conservative movement in this country? We see what this article talks about. The term conservative as become so bastardized as to be nearly meaningless. I keep thinking of Bart’s constant “I’m a Libertarian” blat. One of our Maine humorists is fond of saying that “Just because the cat has kittens in the oven doesn’t make them bisquits.” In politics just because some one says they are a conservative doesn’t make it so.

    Maybe we are at a point in time when we should have 3 political titles. Progressive, reactionary and regressive. Social conservative, neo-con, Liberal, Fiscal conservative have all been ruined. This article speaks to the regressive corporrative social conservative movement in this country. I don’t even want to think about the whole crowd that are regressive corporrative social conservatives but this article seems to put a marker on many of them.

    So Gator would you in reality be a fiscally prudent progressive? I think I probably am.

  19. parksie555 says:

    I agree with Gator that this article is garbage.

    It is intellectually on the same level as my 15 year old son calling his younger brother “stupid” for changing the TV channel.

    The only fact I saw referenced in the article was that we have 147 military bases around the world.

    Everything else was opinion, pseudo-theories, and a ridiculous amount of generalization about what conservatives think and their effect on governance.

    About on the same level as the crap that Paul Krugman puts out every few days, except that at least Krugman occasionally places a fact or two in his column.

  20. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Let’s pick one out for now: “Budget deficits are a ruse

    Reagan, 1980: “Reagan promised a balanced budget within three years” Fact: Reagan TRIPLED the debt in his eight years in office.

    G H W Bush 1988: Bush nearly DOUBLED the Debt in his four years.

    GW Bush, 2000: Bush II DOUBLED, again, the debt in his eight years. And, in a confrontation between Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O’neill and VP Cheny:
    O’Neill, fired in a shakeup of Bush’s economic team in December 2002, raised objections to a new round of tax cuts and said the president balked at his more aggressive plan to combat corporate crime after a string of accounting scandals because of opposition from “the corporate crowd,” a key constituency.
    O’Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. “You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: “We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due.” A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.

    Empirical evidence that the GOP has consistently USED deficits and debt as a ruse to throw red meat to the base, and then do something very different in terms of fiscal responsibility.

  21. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    Except that the piece you linked to doesn’t mention Walker’s give-away to corporations, which added some hundred million to the Wisconsin deficit — and turned a tiny surplus (according to official budget figures) this year into a deficit. So it doesn’t debunk anything. If anything it buttresses the GOP’s penchant for cutting taxes while pretending to wring their hands over the budget, as if only spending cuts can eliminate a difference between income and outgo.

    You appear to want to ignore that and instead talk about the projected future budget shortfal, which is another matter. Even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that the projections by the outgoing administration were too rosy, it does not follow that Walker didn’t make it worse.

    Please note that a big part of the shortfall is due to Medical Assistance (see the above link as well), which cannot be laid at the doorstep of the public employee unions.

    So we have conservatives trying to eliminate the ability of the public employees to form a group for their own safety while grouping them into a collective for the purpose of blaming them for the budget problems — problems the conservatives have made worse by their own actions.

  22. mclever says:

    I think Professor George Lakoff is oversimplifying and exaggerating to make his point.

    Some conservatives fit the mold he has designed, but I would venture that it’s a fairly rough casting for most conservatives. The “mommy” party and “daddy” party concepts aren’t new, but I think one needs to be careful about over-projecting that analogy. Yes, many fundamentalist conservatives find comfort in an authoritative form of government, and many agnostic liberals are more comfortable with a cooperative style of government, but that doesn’t necessarily hold across the board for conservatives or liberals of all stripes.

    However, I find his points about framing the discussion and word usage to be compelling. He is absolutely right that our word choices shape our thoughts. (Psychologists have shown this through studies.) That’s part of how “cognitive therapy” and other behavioral adjustment therapies work, by changing how you frame your situation.

    Perhaps Democrats are in need of some good cognitive adjustment therapy to cast off the Republican memes.

  23. mclever says:

    I think some of the conservative commentators could be a little more patient before blowing off a thread. A lot of folks don’t have time during the day to contribute to the conversation, so a lot of the best give-n-take happens in the early evening. If folks are abandoning a thread before 3PM, then they’re gone before they’ve really given it a chance.

  24. Mainer says:

    mclever, for what it is worth I’m still here. I think the Democrats will never be at a par on the message war as long as the media thinks a Republican spouting talking points is an informative intrview and as long as they pretty much demand to think and speak for themselves. For the Republicans, Luntz tells them what to say and they plug it into every sentence.

    I fear for our system, I really do.

  25. shortchain says:

    I’m not sure George Lakoff, for whom I have a modicum of respect but retain some doubt. However, about those who are backing Scott Walker I can be pretty sure of, since they really haven’t hidden their desires well.

    These are the wellsprings of the modern conservative movement, folks. Take a good look.

  26. Mr. Universe says:

    Article must’ve hit a nerve. Sent the conservatives running to the hills.

    Here’s another way to look at it. Conservatives are like the Agent Smith’s from the Matrix. Everything is fine as long as the illusion of democracy exists for liberals. Once they resist, however, they are losers, un-American.

    This country needs a big conservative enema.

  27. Mainer says:

    Might I suggest that instead of soapy water we use a Draino slurry. Can you say squeeky or screaming clean?

    I read that with kind of eyes wide open after talking to a friend today. It seems he hails from Wisconsin and still has considerable family there. He is not surprised by any of this and opined that Wisconsin has lead the nation in progressive moves such as unionism, workers rights and a host of other things in large part as a back lash to elements such as the ones in that bio. I had no idea what he was talking about……ok now I guess I do.

    The real problem is going to be how to stop them and put any semblance of balance back into the system. I fear we could well be consumed by Citizen United in my life time. A sad legacy I leave my sons and grandsons.

    Oh Wisconsin teachers are so over paid……….well not exactly if one just goes and checks what teachers are paid. Starting salary for teachers is 25,222 and the average pay for all teachers is 46,290. Not exactly fat city for people with college and advanced degrees and an educational system that is about number 2 in the country. Walker postures about improving the business climate in the state. In most states that would mean along with other things making sure that there was a well educated work force. So to make the state better for business lets see if we can drive out a slug of the best teachers……yeah that should work.

  28. rgbact says:

    Didn’t hit a nerve. The essay is more just useless lashing out……which is getting very common among even “smart” libs lately. Rather sad. I agree, very Krugman-like. Crazy rambling disguised as academic thought. Hard to respond to something like that.
    What thought deserves a response?

    Speaking of the left lashing out…..which MSNBC host will be sent to the loony bin next? Its getting scary over there. I’m left with watching Maddow’s snarkfest just to get something approaching sane liberal thought.

  29. Mr. Universe says:

    Speaking of the left lashing out…..which MSNBC host will be sent to the loony bin next?

    Suspect there may be some boardroom meeting backlash for Ed Shultz calling Limbaugh a fat ass on the air Friday night. Personally, I hope Rachel leaves after her contract is up and joins Keith at the new network.

  30. GROG says:

    Mr. U,

    There’s no running for the hills. The article is the same exact thing I’ve been reading on 538 for the past 2 years. Nothing new. Conservatives are terrible and progressives are great. It doesn’t make the talking points anymore credible because they came from a partisan hack on Huffington Post.

    How many times do I need to defend myself against the accusation that my being for the rights of unborn life, I’m against women’s rights? I guess I’m also against the right of a woman to physically abuse her 2 year old child. So I must be anti woman. Whatever. There’s no sense in arguing it anymore.

  31. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    Since you are “for the rights of unborn life” — does that include the carbon in the charcoal that you use when you barbecue? Because, you know, some of it is going to get into the food you eat and become life. Hence, it is “unborn life”.

  32. GROG says:

    If you don’t comprehend the differene between charcoal and a human life with fingers and hands, and feet and toes, and a beating heart, then I’m not sure it’s worth debating the issue with you.

  33. rgbact says:

    SC-

    Call Huffington Post. You may be the new intellectual pro-abortion wrter they’ve been looking for. You’ll do for abortion what Krugman has done for economics.

  34. Mr. Universe says:

    very Krugman-like. Crazy rambling disguised as academic thought. Hard to respond to something like that.

    Truth hurts, eh?

  35. Mainer says:

    Nice talking point……slide in that some one is pro-abortion. Freaking programed right wing loser.

    Progressives good /Conservatives bad…….no not quite. Progressives mostly good Conservatives suck.

    So boys when you tank every thing this time what is the end game? The rich and famous going to throw you a rope on their way out in their yacht? Be careful around here that would be called trolling.

  36. shortchain says:

    I’m just saying that “unborn life” isn’t exactly a precise and exclusive category.

    Conservatives generally talk and act as if they are gifted with the absolute certainty that they are correct, but, when you ask them what they mean or intend, you find that they often cannot even define, let alone coherently defend, their positions.

    Push them on it and they retreat into dogma or insults.

  37. GROG says:

    shortchain,

    You didn’t realize I was talking about unborn human life? Really?

  38. Gator says:

    Treme

    Page views do not equal unique visitors. Unique IP addies are what you look at, and I doubt there are more than 50-150 a day. But more power to you guys. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 or 10,000… partisan hackery is not worth arguing.

    You take a piece like this and the debate is already framed. Conservatives are bad. Libertarians are bad. Republicans are bad. Dems are good. What is there to argue or discuss when that foolishness is already written into the narrative? Why would a conservative poster want to start a discusssion when they are already at an overwhelming disadvantage simply because they AUTOMATICALLY must begin by defending against scurrilous attacks before the discussion is even begun? And why do the liberals on here need to build in an inherent advantage if you are so sure of your position? Why are you afraid of framing a debate in neutral terms?

    No matter how many may be enjoying this vicariously, it isn’t enough to make me debate about utter partisan nonsense.

  39. This was excellent—and quite accurate. Echoes of many conversations with some friends who self-identify as conservatives resonated in my mind while I was reading this article.

  40. rgbact says:

    Gator-

    The sad thing is its a Phd. I mean I’d expect as much thought from a Michael Moore essay. No real facts or concepts that offer insight. Just hackery. Going back to Krugman again—I guess he made alot of academics jealous by gaining fame for his “intellectual hackery”. Now they all want to jump in.

  41. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    Only by relying on modern biology and modern medicine can your statement be made sensible — but you can only believe that “unborn human life” is as precious as a living, breathing human by rejecting, philosophically, both modern biology and modern medicine.

    Ergo, incoherent. Dogma.

  42. dcpetterson says:

    It’s amusing that a couple of conservative commenters have claimed the Lakoff piece is nonsense — yet have not voiced disagreement with any of the particular stances he attributes to conservatives. Nor offered any evidence to support their contention that conservatives, as a general rule, disagree with the positions he describes.

    Let’s have a conservative here, for example, voice support for public worker unions, and tell us that Governor Walker is wrong to try to destroy their rights of collective bargaining. Then defend that position, and explain why the protections provided by unions throughout the last centry of American history are a good idea. That would be a good start.

  43. rgbact,

    Medicare is also corporate welfare. Witness the recent $200M Medicare fraud case.

    A truly absurd assertion. Medicare’s purpose is not to support healthcare professionals who aren’t doing their jobs. That may be a side effect for some, but it is hardly the purpose. And Medicare’s waste is well below that of private insurers.

    The Fed was started under the first progressive Dem president and expanded with the FOMC under the 2nd progressive Dem prez.

    The Federal Reserve system was created as a compromise between progressives and laissez-faire industrialists. It’s not really a very progressive institution by any standard. But you sidestepped my earlier question about it: what’s wrong with it, and with what should it be replaced? This is a very important question for you to answer, as I’m otherwise shadow boxing.

  44. parksie,

    Everything else was opinion, pseudo-theories, and a ridiculous amount of generalization about what conservatives think and their effect on governance.

    Except that those opinions, pseudo-theories, and generalizations have been borne out in repeated research. The conservative daddy/liberal mommy notion has yet to show any convincing counterstudies.

    Now, this doesn’t mean that every conservative is a “daddy,” or that every liberal is a “mommy,” but those traits are dominant in each side of the aisle. Generalizations of a collective do not equate to defining each member of a collective. But to then claim that the generalization is garbage because it doesn’t apply to all members of the collective is to miss the point. It’s the same mistake as confusing weather with climate.

  45. Gator,

    You take a piece like this and the debate is already framed.

    You had a perfect opportunity to take that piece and run with a counterpoint of what the US would look like if it were run entirely by “mommy” liberals. While I don’t think it would end up quite as dystopian, it would most likely be pretty far from ideal.

    On a related note, to the audience in general, where on the political spectrum would you place Singapore?

  46. rgbact,
    Even PhDs can write opinion pieces without attribution…though I agree that it would have been a more robust argument with some significant hyperlinking. That’s something the Internet makes possible, and I wish more people would do it as part of their arguments in articles or editorials. It makes it easier to validate (or refute) their hypotheses and conclusions.

  47. parksie555 says:

    A few treats from this steaming pile…

    “citizens caring for each other, both social and personal responsibility — acting on that care, and an ethic of excellence. From these, our freedoms and our way of life follow, as does the role of government: to protect and empower everyone equally. Protection includes safety, health, the environment, pensions and empowerment starts with education and infrastructure. No one can be free without these, and without a commitment to care and act on that care by one’s fellow citizens.”

    “Conservatives reject all that”

    Really? Show me a study that proves conservatives reject

    a) Excellence
    or…
    b) Personal responsibility
    or…
    c) Empowerment

    “to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required. Only then will children develop the internal discipline to become moral beings.”

    Really? All conservatives believe in physically disciplining their children?

    I’ll bet conservatives kick little puppies too, and don’t believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny.

    C’mon MWeiss, you are too smart to be defending a piece of partisan hackery like this article.

    The only worthwhile point in the article is about the maldistribution of wealth in this country, which is a problem, but not for the reasons that Lakoff describes.

  48. Gator says:

    MW

    You may feel that this is worthy of rebuttal. I do not.

    you said:”You had a perfect opportunity to take that piece and run with a counterpoint of what the US would look like if it were run entirely by “mommy” liberals. ”

    So I should counter foolishness by spewing more foolishness? I’ll treat this as I would a dog turd in my path… I’ll try to avoid the smelly mess, but if I slip and accidentally step into it, I’ll quietly scrape it off of my shoe and move along. Nothing would be accomplished by arguing with a turd. When you’re done it still just a big smelly turd.

  49. Mainer says:

    Parksie you and I would then both agree that the maldistribution of wealth is a serious and growing issue for this country. Cool that is a starting point. Scaes the hell out of me to be honest. So if this article is so wrong what then are the causes and remidies for the problem?

    I have this gnawing concern that we have an ever narrowing window to address this issue before we reach a point of no easy return. So what do we do? I know some of the steps I would take but what would you see as driving this?

  50. Number Seven says:

    Ah yes, the usual Public Con tactic. When unable to debate, turn the issue into abortion.

    What is happening in Wisconson is what is known as the Two Santa Theory. It began under Reagan and, since proven sucessful, is now being tried out on the state level.

    It basically works like this: When the Public Cons get elected, spend spend spend like crazy. Then when the Democant’s get back in, raise a big stink about the debt, blaiming it on the cost of having a social safty net (unions, social security, etc). The Democant’s, being the wusses they are, do what the Public Cons want and cut into the social safty net ‘because their hands are tied by the amount of debt’. The public gets angry because of the economy and puts the Public Cons back into power.

    Rinse, lather, repeat.

  51. parksie,
    There’s more worthwhile in there than you see. Yes, I agree that he goes too far with his conclusions. But the Democrat=collective/Republican=individual meme is accurate in broad brush strokes.

    All conservatives believe in physically disciplining their children?

    No, we already covered this. The point isn’t “all,” the point is “generally speaking.” Generally speaking, conservatives are far more likely to physically discipline their children. I can track down the studies if you doubt this, but I can assure you I’m not making this up.

    the maldistribution of wealth in this country, which is a problem, but not for the reasons that Lakoff describes.

    So what are the reasons? And what would you do about them?

  52. dcpetterson says:

    I note that none of the conservative here have taken up my challenge of disputing any of the attitudes Lakoff describes as being those of conservatives, or offering any counter examples. Most specifically, none have disputed the described attitudes toward unions, especially not public worker unions. Instead, there have merely been continued complaints that he wasn’t being fair.

    Harry Truman said, “They think I give ’em hell. I just tell the truth about ’em, and they think it’s hell.”

    Show us where Lakoff is wrong, instead of just complaining that he hurt your feelings.

  53. mclever says:

    dc,

    Since none of the conservatives are saying anything, I’ll say that Lakoff’s opinion that Conservatives don’t care about helping others is a mischaracterization. They just feel that such help should be on an individual, one-on-one basis (or through churches or charities where the individual has the choice to give) rather than through collective, government programs where someone else is deciding how to spend the money. Conservatives can be very generous to churches and other charities, just not always to the same ones that liberals value most.

    I can see some merit in the individualistic view of helping others, because personal giving where the giver sees the face of the receiver makes it much more meaningful and inspiring, often prompting an even more generous contribution and personal investment in solving the problem. Impersonal giving where it’s just a chunk of your taxes can lead to depersonalization of the issue and a tendency to deny or dismiss the issues of poverty, because there’s no direct contact with it. The problem with the individualistic approach is that it isn’t equitable, and far too many people can’t get the help they need just by relying on the goodwill of neighbors. People surrounded by poverty would inevitably get less help, because there’s no one near them with enough to make a difference. I think there needs to be a balance of a robust and flexible social safety net, plus the goodwill of neighbors willing to lend that personal touch that helps someone get back on their feet permanently.

  54. rgbact says:

    DC-

    I posted a few responses to Lakoff”s mistaken “accusations” in an earlier post. One of you libs should summarize some of the principal points as its clear many of us missed them and think its just a rambling mess.

    As for Walker, I’m probably against his ban on collective bargaining since it sounds like govt essentially admitting they are incompetent at negotiating. I also think he should slow things down so at least unions get a chance to vent some anger. Seems like that is happening.

  55. mclever,

    I can see some merit in the individualistic view of helping others, because personal giving where the giver sees the face of the receiver makes it much more meaningful and inspiring, often prompting an even more generous contribution and personal investment in solving the problem. Impersonal giving where it’s just a chunk of your taxes can lead to depersonalization of the issue and a tendency to deny or dismiss the issues of poverty, because there’s no direct contact with it.

    That’s an excellent insight, and well worth highlighting. People get warm fuzzies from charitable giving, if they have a good sense that it’s going to a good purpose. But that requires direct connections. Taxes don’t provide that, so they feel much more like “taking” than “giving.”

  56. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Gator,
    So I should counter foolishness by spewing more foolishness?

    No, you counter foolishness, by spewing factual arguments that demonstrate the foolishness. Something you have yet to do.

    “I’ll treat this as I would a dog turd in my path… I’ll try to avoid the smelly mess, but if I slip and accidentally step into it, I’ll quietly scrape it off of my shoe and move along. “

    Perhaps, you should DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE TURD instead of ignoring and dancing around it! Maybe that single statement of yours is definitive about the mindset.

  57. Gator says:

    Max I might very well do something about it. If I caught the guy that didn’t pick up after his dog, I’d kick his ass… but I stilll wouldn’t argue with the turd.

  58. Gator says:

    And Max you said: “No, you counter foolishness, by spewing factual arguments that demonstrate the foolishness. Something you have yet to do.”

    I already explained that it was not worthy of my time. Something that has not changed. You may spend all of the time you choose diccussing inane drivel. I have more interesting ways to spend my time.

  59. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Sorry, Gator, but you have lost my respect for you as a source of reasoned debate.

    Your consistent dismissive attitude instead of providing factual counterpoint on the matter accomplishes NOTHING for either your ideological position or your credulity.

    You have sank to Barthood. You drool, slackjawed, instead of speaking with some intelligence. You demonstrate the lowest common denominator of current conservative laziness in intellectual debate. You have gone (somewhat) gently into that good night of liberal preconception of right wing indolence.

    Just stop with the excuses for your deliberative inability and/or laziness.

    Have a good afternoon, my friend.

  60. Gator says:

    Well, I’m distraught over that. Nice chatting with you Max.

  61. parksie555 says:

    MWeiss – To reduce maldistribution of wealth:

    1) Sharply raise the tax rates at the very highest income brackets
    2) Have the Federal gov’t hire some sharp tax attorneys and accountants to specifically reduce loopholes for 1) to try and stay ahead of the top earner’s tax attorneys and accountants.
    3) Massive increase in estate taxes
    4) Kick out illegal aliens and institute real punishments for the companies that get caught employing illegal aliens – maybe something creative like raising the minimum wage requirements for these companies more and more for every violation.

    Damn! I sound like a liberal now! Except for point 4), I guess :).

  62. shortchain says:

    As a good citizen, I I feel I should pick up the stuff (if I have the right equipment) or at least kick it off the path. Probably due to an over-developed sense of responsibility or some other personal failing.

  63. shortchain says:

    Parksie,

    They tried your number four, at least so far as: “Kick out illegal aliens and institute real punishments for the companies that get caught employing illegal aliens ” in Nebraska a few years back. The feds were told to stop by the local businesses.

  64. Mule Rider says:

    “Your consistent dismissive attitude instead of providing factual counterpoint on the matter accomplishes NOTHING for either your ideological position or your credulity.

    You have sank to Barthood. You drool, slackjawed, instead of speaking with some intelligence. You demonstrate the lowest common denominator of current conservative laziness in intellectual debate.”

    I really wanted to stick with a longer hiatus – and after this response, I’ll quickly get right back to it – but a response like this that is so vapid and mind-numblingly hollow has to be called out….as it illustrates perfectly that far too many on The Left aren’t interested in the least in an honest and intellectual debate but just throw ideological bombs with partisan hackery and sophistry and hide behind whatever inane drivel they spew forth.

    In this case – as in so many others – just just want to draw up a ridiculous caricature of a conservative, one that makes it look like everything he/she stands for is bad/evil and everything that liberals/progressives stand for is good/moral, and then, in a shocking and disgusting display of hubris, have the nerve to ejaculate that drivel and then demand, “Prove _________wrong. And if you can’t prove _______ wrong, YOU’RE the one that’s intellectually lazy!!”

    Bullshit!!

    Bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit!

    I say again, BULLSHIT!

    YOU don’t get to be the one to drag your knuckles, breathe from your mouth, groan and grunt nonsense, and then demand proof to refute it.

    I’m with Gator on this, there’s nothing to refute. It’s garbage. For there to be a “factual counterpoint” there would have to be some semblance of a “factual point” to begin with. Not incoherent ramblings with generalizations and petty partisan gamesmanship. THAT is the height of current liberal laziness and THAT is the lowest common denominator of intellectual debate.

    Pardon me while I scrape the shit off my shoe and move on along with my life.

  65. Mr. Universe says:

    Show us where Lakoff is wrong, instead of just complaining that he hurt your feelings.

    Give ’em hell, DC.

  66. parksie,

    To reduce maldistribution of wealth…

    You do realize that you’re in a tiny minority of Republicans in having the viewpoint that you do for those first three points, correct? Oh, yeah, you do…because you said

    I sound like a liberal now!

    And that’s exactly the point…no true conservative (Scotsman?) has those viewpoints. So it seems to me that your beef with the article is that you self identify as conservative, but you don’t fit the mold as described. I posit that it’s because you’re not a true Republican anymore. Not that you’ve left the party, so much as it is that the party has left you. The Senators from Maine (among others) appear to have the same problem.

  67. Mr. Universe says:

    Truth has a decidedly liberal stance, Mule.

  68. dcpetterson says:

    rgbact –
    I posted a few responses to Lakoff”s mistaken “accusations” in an earlier post.

    He made no “accusations.” Good attempt at framing. He described. It only sounded like “accusations” because his descriptions sounded like Bad Things. I agree. They are Bad Things, and I wish conservatives didn’t feel that way.

    Are these your responses?

    Then there’s the typical cluster of falsehoods….we don’t want to cut the military (we do)….we love corporate welfare (we hate it)……we’re against regulation,unions, and courts (thats govt’s role is to be the impartial “referee”).

    Please provide a list of military programs (other than the VA) or weapons systems that Republicans have suggested we cut, or a list of Republicans who supported an early withdrawal from Iraq. For opposition to corporate welfare, please provide a list of Republicans who are in favor of raising the corporate tax rate. For regulation, please provide a list of Republicans who support the EPA, the recent financial regulatory bill, the FCC, or PPACA. For unions, provide some quotes from Republicans who said nice things about the AFL-CIO. Or, if these specific challenges are too much, see if you can find some equivalents.

    One of you libs should summarize some of the principal points as its clear many of us missed them and think its just a rambling mess.

    Yet you found it specific enough to not like it. Pick something, anything, you thought was inaccurate, and expand upon it in detail, with counter-examples.

    As for Walker, I’m probably against his ban on collective bargaining since it sounds like govt essentially admitting they are incompetent at negotiating.

    Excellent. We agree there.

    I also think he should slow things down so at least unions get a chance to vent some anger. Seems like that is happening.

    Well, of course, he isn’t slowing things down, and he’d speed them up if he could. And the point isn’t to give “unions get a chance to vent some anger.” The point is to stop this assault on workers’ rights, and on the Middle Class. And to stop this far right social agenda dishonestly being presented as a budget issue.

  69. dcpetterson says:

    Mr. U
    Give ‘em hell, DC.

    Well, since the right wing keeps telling lies about us, we’re forced to keep telling the truth about them.

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