Skip to comments.The most inane criticism that reform conservatives hear
Posted on 04/03/2015 1:55:56 PM PDT by annalex
A group of intellectuals known as reform conservatives or "reformocons" (in which I count myself) has pointed to the breakdown of the working class family as one of the most significant socioeconomic problems in America. It's a largely unseen but highly potent contributor to social stratification, growing inequality, social anomie, and just generally immense suffering for countless people riven by divorce or cohabitation, especially children who have to grow up without a mother and a father in the home.
Reformocons get a bad rap from both sides of the aisle. Many proponents of a more individualistic brand of conservatism are wary of the idea of a more pro-family agenda and believe everything will be cured by more supply-side tax cuts and deregulation. (Reformocons agree that these things are good they just think they're not the answer to every problem in the world.)
But the oddest criticism of the reform conservative tendency comes from the left. The critique boils down to this: Yes, liberals grudgingly grant, the evidence that family breakdown has disastrous consequences is overwhelming, but reform conservatives should shut up because they don't have a policy agenda and instead offer nothing but "preaching" to working-class families to get their houses in order. If reform conservatives really cared about the family, these critics hint, they would opt for the kind of redistributive programs of the post-War era and European social democracies that give people the financial resources necessary to build strong and stable families.
(It's worth noting the parallels between the criticism from the left and from the right: In both cases, there's nothing that won't be fixed with a little cash. The two sides just disagree with how to get the cash into the working class's hands, whether through trickle-down economics or trickle-down government. In a better world, everyone would understand human nature enough to know how self-refuting this is.)
The progressive critique is doubly wrong.
First, the idea that reform conservatives don't have an agenda (beyond expanding the child tax credit, they sometimes grant) is, frankly, disconnected from reality. It should be remembered that the reform conservative movement got started, before it was known as such, by the 2008 book Grand New Party by Reihan Salam and Ross Douthat, a policy-heavy tome with literally hundreds of pages of policy ideas focused on the working class in general and the working class family in particular, down to infrastructure policy (shortening that two-hour commute so parents can spend more time with their kids is a family value!). National Affairs, the dense policy journal of reform conservative ideas, is not exactly full of vacuous moral preaching. We live in a shallow world and so the zeitgeist has latched on to the child tax credit as "the" reformocon idea. While it's certainly a great idea, it is merely the most visible part of an agenda that, frankly, is deeper and better thought through than the platform of either major party.
But, secondly, the progressive idea that the only alternative to passing bills is "preaching" is wrong. The critics are right that reformocons don't believe that policy alone will fix things. That's because reformocons live in the real world, not the world of Vulgar Marxism.
It shouldn't have to be stated, but here we go: Cultural movements exist.
History is full of examples of society being changed not by passing bills, but by cultural movements and shifts in outlook. And in many cases, the passings of bills by legislatures were a consequence, not a result, of cultural change.
The paradox is that so many of these recent cultural movements have benefited the left. The same-sex marriage movement is a paradigmatic example of how it was a change in culture that wrought major policy and lifestyle changes. But there's also temperance; the societal turn against smoking (and towards pot); the rise of eugenics (a progressive victory) and its fall (a conservative victory); the rise of racism and its decline; and, of course, the Sexual Revolution itself.
These are just a few examples of movements that changed how people view the world and how people think and act and live (and, therefore, changed policy), that were and are fundamentally cultural in nature.
Cultural movements how they arise, what causes them, how they work are mysterious, but it does not mean they're impotent. In fact they might ultimately be the most powerful social force there is.
In this article, I think, he missed a larger point. He is entirely right, in my opinion, that cultural movements are "the most powerful social force there is", and that the conservative political agenda is substantive and practical. But it seems to me, he failed to notice that the leftist argument about us wanting to preach to the poor is not really an argument from practicality.
To a leftist, preaching is not merely something impractical; it is a code word for religion in general. While there are religious people on the Left, -- fewer and fewer, -- the leftwing ideology has taken an undeniable atheistic turn. The argument about "preaching" is not simply inane or ill-informed policy argument. It expresses a firm axiomatic belief of the Left that religion of any kind is their enemy. On that score, they are not silly at all.
If you want to be on this right wing, monarchy, paleolibertarianism and nationalism ping list, but are not, please let me know. If you are on it and want to be off, also let me know. This ping list is not used for Catholic-Protestant debates; all confessions are welcome.
Liberals WANT to destroy the family, and replace it with government.
It seems that the writer believes that government is still the answer. Government is the problem. Keep your Frogblogger and his pro-state piffle.
And more broadly, for the idea that people have some control over and responsibility for their circumstances - which would mean that government is not the whole answer.
True. The whole idea that the Left is interested in helping families of the working class is false. But the left lives by deception, and argues deceptively.
Based on anything you read in his article, or his French name, or?
Which is a statement of faith, at least in Christianity, but I suspect also in any Abrahamic religion. An Atheist thinks we are made by random chance.
Reform Conservatives have to bear multiple crosses, and they are often created by leftist mythology.
The beleif that the Nationalists Socialists of 1928 Germany were “ober conservatives” is one such historical myth. They were actually leftists who propounded a Utopia and imposed it on the placid middle classes.And so it came to be that when these Nationalist Socialist encountered resistance to their Utopia, they attacked and destroyed based upon their ideas of superior morality, and superior racial characteristics, while claiming historical justice.
This is exactly what America’s reform conservatives are facing, and the sooner they get rough about it, and attack in return, the better.
This article describes much of the current dynamic:
Barrack Obama , The Quintessential Fascist:
I was traveling with the laptop, which had an older version of the ping list. I am pinging from my master-list. If you got pinged twice, my apologies. If you were pinged this time but not on #2, — you are on and here is the article.
Yes and no. They were indeed socialists, so by definition they were leftist. But they were also nationalists, and that is a conservative principle. Most modern leftists are internationalists.
I would instead propose to you that the cross we do bear is that the horrors of Nazism put a negative connotation on all forms of nationalism. There is a task in front of us: to free nationalism from this connotation. It is possible and even a duty to serve your country and love your country, recognizing its national cultural treasure. It is a part of being a defender of property rights and individual rights. Nationalism is incompatible with racial hatred and military aggression. It is socialism that defined the Nazis, not their love for Germany.
Sprading the over simplification of nationalism yet again. Obama is a nationalist. Not a US nationalist but a nationalist who is building a national hegemony through demographic warfare against America, to establish a nation of alleged post colonial racial minorities, supported by illegal aliens. That’s nationalism, and Obama is not a conservative.
Gee whiz! How did that come about?
No way that nationalism is the strict purview of conservatives.
Secondly, nationalism is not all bad.It never was. Patriotism is a sub set of nationalism, and it has built a wonderful nation in the USA.
When nationalism is 1) race based, when it is joined with the concepts of 2) historic justice and the 3)redistribution of wealth you achieve fascism. That’s what Obama is about.Not all nationalism leads to fascism. It needs these three ingredients bent on a false Utopia unreachable but for totalitarian control ( in Obama’s case..executive orders and extortion).
Barrack Obama, The Quintessential Fascist:
No, that is not nationalism. It is certainly not American nationalism, and he is the president in The United States of America, not a non-existent "nation of alleged post colonial racial minorities". What you are doing is stretching one word, "nationalism" to include coalition building of many nations and minorities. He could, perhaps be called some kind of Kenian nationalist if he lived in Kenia, but he is not a nationalist for America where he lives and governs.
Conservatives are two kinds: strict libertarian capitalists and those who recognize that in addition to private property there is a cultural national property, just as much in need of protection. That second kind, usually called cultural conservatives, are nationalist conservatives because they believe in the need to conserve the national institutions. You are right: it is not bad at all.
You are insulting religion. There is nothing culturally coherent, historically permanent, spiritually elevating in leftism. It is a cheap mix of common passions: greed, lust, and sloth; that is the opposite of religion.
NAtionalism does not depend on ones orifice,elected or appointed.
It is a social movement based on culture.
Obama is a minority nationalist. He says so himself.
Why in old hell do you think we have thousands of Latin children streaming across our Southern Border? Are they coming just to buy bubble gum and go home? Or are you just a theorist who cannot understand the context? Se puedo, se puedo!
Nationalism creates a nation. A nation is being created within the United States. We are no longer a melting pot. And Obama the minority nationalist is doing it.
The leftist/Marxists I know are atheists. They see socialism/Marxism and government as a means to perfect mankind. Could this be classified as an amorphous religious worldview since it is based upon belief?
What do you consider to be the “Abrahamic” religions?
Nationalism is based on a nation. There is no such thing as “minority nationalism” because there is no nation of Minority. Obama said that? Did he go to school? Maybe it was a Minority school?
The significance of holding office is that when one is holding office in nation A but has allegiance to nations X, Y, and Z, then that is called treason.
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