Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Talkers vs. Thinkers: The Real Battle for Conservatism

I have one final post up at Upturned Earth before John returns to his throne, in which I take a somewhat different take on the battle royale set to rock the Republican Party. In my story, the battle is not an issue of purging any particular strand of philosophical conservatism or libertarianism, but is instead an issue of overcoming so-called "movement," or talkshow, conservatism (which I have separately referenced as "pu-pu platter" conservatism).

Key section:

What I mean is that the problem is not one of which version of conservative philosophy is to blame - the varying strains of conservatism have managed to coexist, successfully, in the same coalition for decades. Instead, the problem is the way in which specific policy prescriptions have come to be synonymous with all groups fitting within the broad umbrella of “conservatism” thanks to their association with the GOP. These policy prescriptions are not dictated by any one form of conservatism; indeed, I’m not certain that any given form of conservatism is inherently irreconcilable with most policy prescriptions since political philosophy is inherently a mode of looking at the world.

The problem, as I see it, is that these policy prescriptions - which have no coherent philosophical underpinning when viewed as a whole - have in many ways actually become the philosophy of the GOP and, as importantly, of “movement” conservatism (most represented by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.). When policy prescriptions become the actual philosophy of a group, failure to adhere to those prescriptions becomes apostasy; moreover, the policy prescriptions do not change over time because those prescriptions have become the group’s very raison d’etre. And so dogma winds up dictating viewpoints that are trapped in one moment of

Read the whole thing here.