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Author Topic: Whatever happened to economic conservatism
caladbolg1125
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Ok, so you know how in elementary school they oversimplify things. It seems to me that one case in particular is not so much an oversimplification as much as it is wrong. This regards the very general principles of our two main political parties. The Democrats were described to me as economic socialists. I think that's correct as far as it goes. Lots of government regulation and assistance.

The Republicans were described to me as capitalists in the sense that they wanted small government with little or no regulation or assistance. Let the market do what it does seemed to be the general philosophy. The ones who are the best will rise to prominence.

However, this doesn't seem to be the case anymore. GWB expanded the power of the president like no one else before him and had a major role in handing out the recent bailout. These seem to me to be anathema to the Republican philosophy I was taught ten+ years ago.

When did this change happen? I would guess that it is the gradual culmination of circumstances, but I missed out on it due to rampant apathy in my adolescence.

Of course, since the Republicans are all about making money I suppose it was inevitable that this happen. The classic Republicans wanted limited governmental control so that they could make as much money as possible through trusts and monopolies and other such tactics to protect the honest businessman from the unscrupulous consumer. (Ok recalibrate irony detectors, I don't expect that to happen again.)

Then, when it seemed that the government was going to step in and provide some oversight regardless of the Republicans' wishes they had to come up with a new strategy. These Neo Republicans (I'm sure I've seen this phrase before but I'm not sure if my usage is novel or fits the meaning) simply used the government to continue their money making activities amassing ever greater wealth.

I'd especially like to hear from munga as someone who was recently disillusioned with the Republican Party and with an economic background to help me sort through these issues.

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flydye45
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Short answer. Republicans forgot it and Democrats never had it.
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munga
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calad, I will write you a thoughtful answer today, but I've got some things to do right now.

Nice to meet you, munga

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Storm Saxon
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I don't think Republicans were ever for 'small government'. Ever. They were just against policies that did not help their base/their supporters.

Dems the same way.

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Pinochio
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quote:
Originally posted by flydye45:
Short answer. Republicans forgot it and Democrats never had it.

Agreed. When did fiscal conservatives ever have any control or power in congress? Never! The few true fiscal conservatives have either had to fight with a liberal congress or among their own party.

Its a shame that people who dont know better confuse the term Republicans with Fiscal Conservatives. Conservatives is a very specific moral code that all decisions and policy are based on. Republican is nothing more than [R]in front of someone's name.

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Daruma28
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Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin, offering the illusion of difference and change...so that every four years, we can "throw the bums out" while the real agenda continues inexorably onward.
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caladbolg1125
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quote:
Originally posted by munga:
calad, I will write you a thoughtful answer today, but I've got some things to do right now.

Nice to meet you, munga

You too, munga, though I think we did meet in passing as it were before I dropped off the fora for a few months. Get to it whenever you get the chance. I don't post more than a few times a day myself anymore.

quote:
Its a shame that people who dont know better confuse the term Republicans with Fiscal Conservatives. Conservatives is a very specific moral code that all decisions and policy are based on. Republican is nothing more than [R]in front of someone's name.
I hope you'll excuse my ignorance, but I never claimed to know much about this anyway. That is, I'm not ashamed of my ignorance, especially when I go to lengths to correct it. I was pointing out this obvious mismatch between my education, limited as it is, and my observation of what Republicans do.

I have no side to argue. I think fiscal conservatives have some good ideas that I don't necessarily subscribe to. Republican seems to mean social conservative if it means anything these days. As for the individuals who hold these titles, well, I don't claim to know which aspects of their titles they actually believe and which are ascribed to them because they hold those titles. I like speaking generally as opposed to about specific people. I reserve that talk as much as possible for when the person is there to talk for himself.

[ November 18, 2008, 02:52 PM: Message edited by: caladbolg1125 ]

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Pinochio
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There is never a reason to excuse yourself for admitted ignorance. We all have this worldly trait. If I can ever help explain to you the policies of 'fiscal conservativism' please dont hesitate to ask. The fact is that most critics dont even understand the specifics. As for what liberals think - I'm very ignorant myself. From what I view as an outsider all I see is emotion rather than logic.
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flydye45
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quote:
Originally posted by Storm Saxon:
I don't think Republicans were ever for 'small government'. Ever. They were just against policies that did not help their base/their supporters.

Dems the same way.

Then you are misinformed. That was specifically what the Reagan revolution was about. It changed the dynamic so much so that Clinton ran on the same agenda, albeit his governmental "cuts" all had military green on them.
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caladbolg1125
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You may be right, in that economically liberal people may have an emotional motivation for their position. But I don't think logic and emotion are entirely seperate.

Our tendency to bond to each other is an emotional occurance that has a very broad, indeed, evolutionary logic that is consistant with survival. From this perspective I would say that the tendency towards socialism is quite logical even if it can be difficult to pin down why.

That's not to say capitalism is wrong of course. Competition is a powerful driving force for progress.

The difference is a matter of degree then. A very strong minded fiscal conservative may still support socialist measures, but simply oppose the idea that the populace has a "right" to such assistance. OTOH, a socialist may fight passionately for antitrust legislation on the basis that a competitive market is a healthy, innovative, and productive market. (I think a socialist may fight this anyway for different reasons of course but this one speaks to my point.)

[ November 18, 2008, 03:32 PM: Message edited by: caladbolg1125 ]

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Pinochio
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quote:

The difference is a matter of degree then. A very strong minded fiscal conservative may still support socialist measures, but simply oppose the idea that the populace has a "right" to such assistance. OTOH, a socialist may fight passionately for antitrust legislation on the basis that a competitive market is a healthy, innovative, and productive market. (I think a socialist may fight this anyway for different reasons of course but this one speaks to my point.) [/QB]

A very well thought out quote based on logic - NOT EMOTION [Big Grin]

[ November 18, 2008, 03:39 PM: Message edited by: Pinochio ]

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Storm Saxon
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quote:
Originally posted by flydye45:
quote:
Originally posted by Storm Saxon:
I don't think Republicans were ever for 'small government'. Ever. They were just against policies that did not help their base/their supporters.

Dems the same way.

Then you are misinformed. That was specifically what the Reagan revolution was about. It changed the dynamic so much so that Clinton ran on the same agenda, albeit his governmental "cuts" all had military green on them.
You mean the Reagan that was a Republican president with a Dem majority, that was a president after Dems had been in control of congress for years previous, that slashed programs for Dem constitutents? The one that ran on there being actually more money for government programs because of tax cuts?
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0Megabyte
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Pinochio - without emotion to drive it, logic is a worthless endeavor.

After all, based on their premises, the Nazi's beliefs dictated a rather logical course of action... and people such as Himmler and Goebbels, people such as some of the leaders of the very movement, even stated outright that they were being practical and not emotional. They praised their actions based on their logic, and their ability to past emotions.

Incidentally, Trotsky spoke in a similar vein, as he placed machine guns at the back of Soviet lines during their revolution, to kill any soldiers who didn't charge to their deaths.

Take it as me losing the argument if you will.

But the point is, the point I'm trying to get across is, forgoing emotions seems patently dangerous.

And though the Nazis praised cold-bloodedness as a virtue, I'm fairly sure it isn't.

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cb
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quote:
Our tendency to bond to each other is an emotional occurance that has a very broad, indeed, evolutionary logic that is consistant with survival. From this perspective I would say that the tendency towards socialism is quite logical even if it can be difficult to pin down why.
It isn't difficult to pin down why Socialism is attractive to the masses; Socialism is – at its core – an incredibly viable and efficient system. The state owns everything and fairly and proficiently doles back to the workers (who are viewed as the most important cog in the mechanism of their society and are treated as such) equal amounts of the wealth of the country which they helped produce. No one is ultra rich, no one is deathly poor. Sounds wonderful, huh?!? Unfortunately, for the system to work properly, the state must be run by honest, caring, fair leaders who truly recognize the importance of the individual. Also, the workers would have to accept the auspice of the state without question and without envy or desire for more than their allotment. In other words, altruism must prevail.

There has only been a few examples of societies that managed that kind of altruism.

That's because it’s a part of our human nature to always want more than we have and to seek power over and above seeking the public good. There are many people who fight these natural tendencies. Those few are the givers, the philanthropists of our society. Regrettably, there will always be those who seek to rule and get gain and these are often the ones who seek political office. That is why Socialism has always failed and why it will always fail.

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Rallan
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quote:
Originally posted by flydye45:
Short answer. Republicans forgot it and Democrats never had it.

Short answer 2. Nobody's as unpopular as an economic conservative during a recession. It's very very hard to convince people that government regulation is a bad thing when an unregulated market has just tanked, or that government intervention and spending are bad things when government intervention and spending might help generate jobs or keep property values up.
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Pinochio
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quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:
Pinochio - without emotion to drive it, logic is a worthless endeavor.

I think your confusing emotion with values and morality. "With without values to drive it, logic is a worthless endeavor." Thats a valid statement that I can agree with.

I totally disagree with your statement about emotion as you stated it above. Blind emotion driving policy making has caused its share of misery throughout the world as well.

[ November 19, 2008, 01:42 PM: Message edited by: Pinochio ]

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caladbolg1125
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quote:
Originally posted by cb:
quote:
Our tendency to bond to each other is an emotional occurance that has a very broad, indeed, evolutionary logic that is consistant with survival. From this perspective I would say that the tendency towards socialism is quite logical even if it can be difficult to pin down why.
It isn't difficult to pin down why Socialism is attractive to the masses; Socialism is – at its core – an incredibly viable and efficient system. The state owns everything and fairly and proficiently doles back to the workers (who are viewed as the most important cog in the mechanism of their society and are treated as such) equal amounts of the wealth of the country which they helped produce. No one is ultra rich, no one is deathly poor. Sounds wonderful, huh?!? Unfortunately, for the system to work properly, the state must be run by honest, caring, fair leaders who truly recognize the importance of the individual. Also, the workers would have to accept the auspice of the state without question and without envy or desire for more than their allotment. In other words, altruism must prevail.

There has only been a few examples of societies that managed that kind of altruism.

That's because it’s a part of our human nature to always want more than we have and to seek power over and above seeking the public good. There are many people who fight these natural tendencies. Those few are the givers, the philanthropists of our society. Regrettably, there will always be those who seek to rule and get gain and these are often the ones who seek political office. That is why Socialism has always failed and why it will always fail.

I agree with this. I meant that the logic of emotions is sometimes ineffable despite my attempts to eff it anyway.
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caladbolg1125
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quote:
Originally posted by Pinochio:
quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:
Pinochio - without emotion to drive it, logic is a worthless endeavor.

I think your confusing emotion with values and morality. "With without values to drive it, logic is a worthless endeavor." Thats a valid statement that I can agree with.

I totally disagree with your statement about emotion as you stated it above. Blind emotion driving policy making has caused its share of misery throughout the world as well.

I don't think 0MEG said anything about following emotions blindly. His point seems to me to be that you should not discount emotion but not that you should depend solely on emotion either. Emotion is a necessary aspect of cognition and, therefore, policy making and as such should not be ignored but given as much weight as called for.

[ November 20, 2008, 09:52 AM: Message edited by: caladbolg1125 ]

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RickyB
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Eeeeemotional content, not anger!
(that's a movie quote, people. Jesus, will anyone get any of mine? [no, John, you catching a baseball movie reference does not count. [Big Grin] ])

This prattle about fiscal conservatives is a joke. The only real fiscal conservatives never get elected nationally because they say the truth: They want to get rid of entitlements (SS, medicare, medicaid, unemployment) and also of any and all government investment in communities. The honesty is refreshing but this, what to do, is deeply unpopular among the vast majority of the electorate.

[ November 20, 2008, 10:13 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by cb:
It isn't difficult to pin down why Socialism is attractive to the masses; Socialism is – at its core – an incredibly viable and efficient system. The state owns everything and fairly and proficiently doles back to the workers (who are viewed as the most important cog in the mechanism of their society and are treated as such) equal amounts of the wealth of the country which they helped produce. No one is ultra rich, no one is deathly poor. Sounds wonderful, huh?!? Unfortunately, for the system to work properly, the state must be run by honest, caring, fair leaders who truly recognize the importance of the individual. Also, the workers would have to accept the auspice of the state without question and without envy or desire for more than their allotment. In other words, altruism must prevail.

There has only been a few examples of societies that managed that kind of altruism.

That's because it’s a part of our human nature to always want more than we have and to seek power over and above seeking the public good. There are many people who fight these natural tendencies. Those few are the givers, the philanthropists of our society. Regrettably, there will always be those who seek to rule and get gain and these are often the ones who seek political office. That is why Socialism has always failed and why it will always fail.

You are confusing some facts here- what you describe is closer to communism, though communism dispenses with the idea of pay (and money) altogether, assuming that people will fill needs as they arise and not take more than is fair.

Socialism, in any real form, doesn't provide equal pay; it absolutely does reward more difficult work or more skillful work with better pay, but there's only one source for determination of what pay should be (with ultimate authority depending on the type of government, given that socialism can be run with everything from collectivist government to outright dictatorship)

The flaw with it is that there's no competition to drive efficiency or innovation. While there is every opportunity to succeed, there is limited motivation to do so. (Just the opposite of a pure capitalist system where the motivation to succeed is high, but only those with sufficient capital have the opportunity to do so- and even have an active interest in preventing the success of others)

That's why the only viable systems are a balance of traits between the two- a capitalistic baseline that employs some regulation to prevent anti-competitive behavior and ensure that everyone has access to the capital needed to rise in the ranks, while not completely removing the motivation to do so.

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