What is a Conservative?

Over the past several days, I have been pondering a question. It seems to be something of a “rabbit hole.”
What is a Conservative? What are the characteristics of a Conservative?
If one takes the definition from a dictionary it seems easy to understand: “Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.”

That has been the meaning for years. Abraham Lincoln observed: “What is conservativism? Is it not the adherence to the old and tried against the new and untried?” Before Lincoln, Benjamin Disraeli commented that “Conservatism discards Prescription, shrinks from Principle, disavows Progress; having rejected all respect for antiquity, it offers no redress for the present, and makes no preparation for the future. ”

Woodrow Wilson opined that “A conservative is someone who makes no changes and consults his grandmother when in doubt.” Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.”
“White collar conservative flashin’ down the street, pointing that plastic finger at me, they all assume my kind will drop and die, but I’m gonna wave my freak flag high.” Even Jimi Hendrix understood something about the conservative persona.

What then is a conservative? “To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.” ― Michael Oakeshott. Bobby Kennedy uttered the now famous words “some people ask why, I ask why not?”

That, however, does not get at my unease with “conservatism” as we have come to know it. What we see today is something more than a desire to turn back the clock to a more familiar time. It is more than wanting to live with familiar instead of stepping out and exploring an unknown tomorrow.

I ran onto a quote from John W. Dean that begins to get at my concern. “Social conservatism and neoconservatism have revived authoritarian conservatism, and not for the better of conservatism or American democracy. True conservatism is cautious and prudent. Authoritarianism is rash and radical. American democracy has benefited from true conservatism, but authoritarianism offers potentially serious trouble for any democracy.” It is what now fills the vacuum between the old conservative movement and what we now have in the self-described conservative camp.

Alexis de Tocqueville spoke to the concern when he stated “I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.” His fear can be seen playing itself out in the revisionists movements today. “Change is not what we expect from religious people. They tend to love the past more than the present or the future.”― Richard Rohr

The natural conservatism of institutions is deeply rooted in the desire to survive, and that desire colors and limits the way they read the Bible and how they see God functioning in the world.” ― Michael Spencer. Two insightful comments.

It seems that we are not dealing with the conservatives of my parents time. No, we are dealing with a very different breed of human conjuring. The desire to rule not govern, the desire to reinvent social contracts with limitation clauses regarding the “undesirables”, as defined by those in control.

Authoritarianism was something I studied in college but never thought I would live to see it threaten the freedoms our Nation was built on.

Some, including myself, have used a worn out label – Fascism – to name these wannabe rulers. Call it what you will – but know it, understand it.
Resolve to defeat it!

Don Nelson

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America the Great … Police State (from @Truthdig)

Truthdig was proud to be the home of Gore Vidal’s essays over the last six years. In a tribute to his legacy, we’ll be rerunning his great works. In this essay, written in 2009, Vidal wants us to accept that the U.S. is no longer a republic, no longer governed by laws—only by armed men and force.

Source: America the Great … Police State (from @Truthdig)

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Donald-Trump-600x325The outlandish populist rhetoric of Republican presidential wildcard Donald Trump has left many journalists at a loss for words—words such as bigotry, xenophobia, racism, sexism and demagoguery. These are the elements of the latest Nativist crusade. – See more at: http://www.politicalresearch.org/2015/10/13/not-fascism-trump-is-a-right-wing-nativist-populist/#.dpuf

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Bengazhi Proved Fruitless for Tea Partiers

All quiet on the Tea Bag front. The banking of Bengazhi has proved fruitless for the Tea Partiers, and they with tails tucked securely between their legs are searching for another non-scandal to scandalize. Like a scalded hound, they were lead astray by their own stupidity and eagerness to get Hillary and lay her campaign low.

What they succeeded in doing was emboldening her campaign and making her look infinitely presidential in the process, while making themselves look crass and ignorant like a bunch of overzealous bullies who, after wasting millions of taxpayers dollars on a political witch hunt only to come across like a bunch of spoiled brats who when they couldn’t get their way decided to take their political football home with them and quit the game.

One could say good riddance, but the machinations of these mentally challenged tea baggers make my (as my mother loved to say) a** crave a dip of snuff. They have no humor in them nor do they have any sense of integrity or even any modicum of intellect that might make them appear they were at least grasping at trying to be statesmen or women, using that term loosely.

Their game of ‘gotcha’ politics was apparent from the outset. That they were so intent at doing damage to Hillary and her campaign for president anyone with half a mind could grasp. They threw caution to the wind and ethics into the shredder and yet the only one’s that wound up with egg on their faces were themselves. And despite all of the world seeing their vicious stupidity and avarice ignorance on display, they never got it.

But what can you say about a movement that was founded upon a false dichotomy? They likened themselves from the first as antecedents of the original Boston Tea Party. But that they got that wrong has proved their whole premise for being wrong on everything that they claim to stand for. They claimed they wanted to take back America and get back to the original premise for our American Revolution. Even in that they were out of touch with reality and our own American History.

Our revolution was about ‘Taxation without representation’. It wasn’t about destroying government nor about not paying any taxes. Our forebears understood the basics and they were never about not having a government. They were about having a say in how our government was run, taxed and what it would need to do to make this nation into a model for the rest of the world.

They made their intentions plain in the Preamble to the Constitution, when they wrote, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The Tea Party idiots just don’t get, nor do they understand what our nation is all about. I fear that they never will! Their grasp of reality is limited by their severe lack of intelligent thinking.

Bob Bearden

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Watch it: Origins

Four years in the making, Origins is a stunningly ambitious new documentary that challenges us to reevaluate our existence in the modern world, and embrace the simplicities that defined the beginnings of our species. “I believe to understand our present and to map our future, we have to go back in time,”says Alan McSmith, an ecology instructor and a key interview subject featured in the film.

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Reproducing Oligarchy: Or, Identifying the New Neoliberal Twist

Originally posted on GCAS--The BLOG:

By Maria Nikolakaki, PhD

Prof. Maria Nikolakaki Prof. Maria Nikolakaki

This week’s feature story in The Economist “America’s New Aristocracy: Education and Class” brings to the fore several problematic issues that need addressing.

It is an interesting and important article for two main reasons: first it baldly acknowledges that the education system reproduces the aristocracy, and the second its diagnoses.  Let’s address these.

1. America’s Aristocratic Education

Now that might seem to be a “progressive” statement, but the reality is that this has always been the case.  In short, The Economist is using common knowledge (of what we already know) to open the ears of the dissidents, the ones who doubt the injustices of the system.

When mass education was introduced, it never meant that the working class would ever get more than the education needed to do its work at the lower rungs of society. Mass higher education was introduced during…

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Bernie Sanders Will Not Hurt Hillary in Oklahoma

I still hear folks say that a vote for Bernie, even though they want to vote Bernie, is gonna hurt Clinton’s chances of winning. Let’s face it, Oklahoma Democrats, voting for Bernie is not going to harm Hillary unless there is a major shift in voting history here, which I hope there will be.

Remember that the state voted Democratic in all but two elections through 1948 but has not gone Democratic since, except in the landslide win for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Due to the redness ’round these parts–and perhaps sadly–we are privileged in our state to be able to vote our conscience. We can vote for whomever. If your conscience says vote for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, vote Sanders. If Clinton, then Clinton. Nationally, Clinton will probably win. In Oklahoma, we will probably still go GOP. We are a bit behind the times here. A vote for Bernie will probably not change things much in Oklahoma. 

But it’s still early. Who knows, Bernie might just win Oklahoma– if you believe in miracles.  Hey, and the people might just win this time– even in Oklahoma. That would be grand. 

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