Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Heritage Fund on National Health Service as Conservative Reform

Paul Krugman has the Heritage Fund smoked out on this one. In response to my earlier post, a friend emails:
I attended a closed Heritage briefing in the middle 1980s where they argued that, allegedly as in Britain and Australia, a national health service would be a great conservative reform in the US.


  1. Bob,

    Don't use the word conservative for the imperial right Heritage foundation. Or, for that matter, the word liberal for the imperial left.

    The operative word in both cases is IMPERIAL.

    Some muddled pseudointellectuals would have you believe that conservative is automatically "authoritarian" (confusing authority with authoritarian) and then draw a straight line from that to fascism.

    This is bogus thinking, feeding off ignorance and bad faith.

    A true conservative, like a true liberal, is a FRIEND of liberty.

    Market literalists are not classical liberals/libertarians.

    They are apologists for corporatism....and for the money power...which does indeed equate to fascism today.

    You can tell how "libertarian" some people are by the way they praise tribal authoritarian societies, while denoucing conservatives for being "authoritarian".

    The failure in analysis is to forget that conservatives today are NOT conservatives.
    Burkean conservatives would never have got us into this mess.

    This is the result of the new conservatives, who are descended from the LEFT - intellectually.

    I doubt these analysts of Burke have ever read Burke.

  2. Lila, take your obscurantist bullshit out of here. Clever sleight of hand there, saying "Oh, but authority is not the same thing as authoritarianism." Don't make me laugh. Really, I'm not buying it.

    Burke was once one of the good guys, but as soon as he got into parliament he tried to cover his ass, saying "Oh, but I didn't MEAN anything I said in A Vindication of Natural Society."

    Finally, let me conclude by actually...apologizing for the earlier comments. Sorry, this is a touchy issue for me. Let me explain.

    There are three primary values in political philosophy: Order, Equality, and Liberty. Conservative's primary value is order, stability, and continuity. This isn't bad, nor does it mean that a conservative doesn't care about either equality or liberty. But order is the primary value.

    Roughly speaking, the progressive (which covers a wide swath of competing views) holds equality as a primary value. This doesn't mean that order or liberty isn't important to a given progressive, but equality takes priority.

    A liberal-whether classical, social, libertarian, or anti-state-holds liberty as the primary value. Again, order and equality are not unvalued by me, but liberty will always get first priority. And where either equality or order conflict with freedom, it will be order and equality that would have to yield in my moral calculus.

    Again, sorry for the emotion outburst earlier. But, this news has also been floating around for four years. It is consistent with a strain in conservative thought called "Red Toryism". Basically, social conservatism combined with welfarism (out of noblige oblidge) and economic interventionism (usually on the basis that a particular act of commerce 'debases' some musty tradition or another.)

    Besides, beware the No-True-Scotsman fallacy folks. Heritage is as conservative as they come, and they advocated on completely conservative grounds. A socialist plan would be nationalization. A conservative one is essentially one where people are mandated to buy something out of 'personal responsibility', because people acting freely produce some sort of collectively bad outcome.

  3. Null Void-

    I was about to jump your ass for your first sentence, since Lila is FAR from "obscurantist"- actually, her independent thinking, coming from a deep-seeded love of liberty, forces us to keep on our toes when our paradigms lead us to indefensible assumptions. Thanks for apologizing and keeping it civil.

    No one would argue that Ron Paul isn't a conservative. He promotes true family values, opposes coerced education, doesn't drink, smoke or do drugs- but at the same time he is the epitome of classic liberalism, and opposes laws that put drug users in jail, or prevent gay marriage, or compulsory public schooling.

    The two aren't mutually exclusive.

    Lila- you hit the nail on the head- IMPERIAL is the best word to describe these people. Brava!

  4. @Null void:

    Did you read what I wrote or did you read INTO IT what you think is conservative?
    Where, sir, did I support

    1. Welfarism out of noblesse oblige?
    I did not..

    (Noblesse oblige, since you don't seem to know, has nothing to do with state mandated welfare - it is SOCIAL obligation arising out of conscience)

    2. Where do I support economic interventionism in favor of "MUSTY TRADITION"? I do not.

    [And why is tradition necessarily "musty"? There are good and bad traditions and there is good and bad progress. For every musty tradition, there is fustian progress.

    This is the trouble with arrogant ideologues, who ALREADY know what someone is saying before they say it, are uninterested in parsing language clearly...and apparently don't even read a text as it is written.

    Authority is NOT authoritarianism.

    By the by, I am NOT a social conservative.
    And Heritage is NOT conservative by the classic definition of the thing.

    The old right is conservative.

    War and welfare mongers, are NOT conservative, though they would love you to think they are.
    They are simply terrified that the old right will waken and convert people to their ranks, leaving the statists without the last vestiges of their imperial langotis (do look that up).

    you wrote:

    "Basically, social conservatism combined with welfarism (out of noblige oblidge) and economic interventionism (usually on the basis that a particular act of commerce 'debases' some musty tradition or another.)"

  5. Red Tories and Crunchy Cons and all their WESTERN variations are naturally and essentially disguises for various expansions of state power.

    Since I wasn't raised in the West, I can come up with my own views of things, thanks, which have nothing to do with either of these variants.

    However, I am not dumb enough to confuse the financial superstate -simply because it opposes the nation state - with the condition of being stateless either.

    Obscurantist, in your vocabular, is apparently only a term of abuse for careful use of language, which pays attention to precisely the subtleties that Leninists of all varieties - including the pseudolibertarian - would love to sweep under the carpet, so they can persuade us that TRADITION, even the good part of it - is the same as fascism and anyone who respects it must necessarily be an Auschwitz guard in the making.

    That may persuade bloviators who have nothing to measure their triviliaties against except their own - or their colleagues' - bloviation. It isn't likely to satisfy anyone else.

  6. Please do describe why AUTHORITY is the same word as AUTHORITARIAN.

    I am eager to find if you are as uninformed as you are quite obviously boorish.

    And no, Indymedia, though often authoritarian in tone, doesn't count as an AUTHORITATIVE source....

    Just saying. Methinks, you've been reading it a bit recently.

  7. @Null and Void

    I reacted to your initial tone. I do see that you apologized and I needn't have retorted as sharply as I did.

    So let me hold my hand out and shake...
    No hard feelings. Just strong ones, as yours are.

  8. Lila Rajiva

    I owe you an apology. Part of this is knowing that you are no johnny-come-lately at all. I am the johnny come lately. After all, you co-wrote a book with Bill Bonner, and your erudite response-clearly well informed-reveals just how little I really know in comparison to how much rhetoric I can spew.

    In the end, I was out of line. I don't want to be your enemy. As one person here said, your independent thinking-and it shows in your response-helps to correct unsupportable assumptions-if there is one thing that is overwhelming in our movement, it's unsupportable assumptions. Especially what you describe as 'market literalists'-libertarians who obsess on economics to the exclusion of other, more important, components of freedom. I have a problem with them.

    I guess I have been seeing so many idiots in the movement, that I ended up being extremely careless. I was rude, and yes, boorish. I can be taught, however.

    Lila, I hope I can make it up to you somehow.

  9. Note to self-

    Do NOT piss Lila off unless I want my ass handed to me!

  10. @Null and Void
    No need to apologize. I was much too sharp.
    You make good points about some tendencies in conservatism..and no doubt they apply to some measure to some strains in my thinking.
    There's a part of me that can easily hoist a black flag and begin slitting throats..
    and enjoy it.

    @Richard D F
    thanks for support but didn't mean to get so ornery...and do apologize.
    Lots of stuff is confused because the language we use isn't clear...which is why I like it when Bob focuses on words and their precise meanings..

  11. In any case, no need for hard feelings and bad blood. The world is too full of such things; no need for me to be adding to it. It's all water under the bridge.

    It is precisely for this reason, on language, that those in this movement of ours should strive toward a more careful use of words. A lot of the problems in this world is due to misunderstandings about the words we use. Who knows how many political alliances for good causes have be thwarted...due to simple misunderstandings.