Monday, September 04, 2006


I'm going to paraphrase something I just read from an email list of which I am a member:

Progressives aren't necessarily bad people. They might be good people, who have come to believe some very bad things.

I like that. It's quite true. I wonder how many progressives/liberals could say the same thing about conservatives.


mrc said...

As a self-identified progressive, I definitely hold that conservatives are good people who have come to believe some bad things. The important humanitarian work done by conservative groups is impossible to ignore. But then again, I'm not as interested in judging people as I am in finding solutions that work for today's social problems.

Anonymous said...

I can, and often do.

Darren said...

MRC, herein lies the rub. I don't see the same social problems that you do. I guess it *could*, but won't, go without saying that I therefore don't like your (the left's) solutions, either.

allen said...

It's not so much a question of good people believing in bad things as it is people who believe themselves, by virtue of whatever rationalization is currently in fashion, innately fit to rule.

Back in the day you were fit to rule if you were of the blood royal regardless of your fitness to do much of anything. Then fitness to rule was measured by the overt and noisy rejection of royalty in favor of singular ordinariness or seeming ordinariness. Hence the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dreamy justness that liberals who are cursed to live in the U.S. see in them.

Regardless of the rationale, fitness to rule was not determined by the governed but by access to political/military power in which case the governed don't have much to say about anything. If the head commissar or the bey wants someone's opinion he'll tell them what it is.

Progressives, liberals, lefties, whatever, have determined their fitness to rule is due to their compassion, intelligence, impeccable justness, environmental responsibility and sense of style. Disagreement is, quite naturally, evidence of stupidity, insanity or evil.

Of course, the superiority of natural rulers exempts them from the rules they must set for the lower orders. Being on a more rarified plane of existance, far above the aspirations of "the masses", the exemption from those rules is merely a matter of a degree of common sense so mundane that even "the masses" must appreciate it.

David said...

Lionel Trilling once spoke of "the moral obligation to be intelligent." Left or Right, one is a good person only as long as one strives to observe reality honestly and interpret it rationally.

In the wake of the Lexington airline crash, people concerned with aviation safety have been talking about "confirmation bias." This could mean, for example, that if a pilot thinks he's on runway 22 and is actually on 26, where there are no runway lights, he might tend to confirm his hypothesis by remembering that there is construction going on at the airport, and that might explain the lighting situation. People tend to look for data and chains of logic to confirm what they already believe. Confirmation bias happens in politics, too, and the results can be even more serious than an airline crash.

(To clarify, I'm making a point about political thinking and conceptual traps, and not implying any conclusions about cause or fault in the Lexington tragedy.)

Cameron said...

"I wonder how many progressives/liberals could say the same thing about conservatives."

Anyone could say that about any party. It's not a particularly original statement. "I don't like your ideas!" is basically the reason there's the need for political parties in the first place. I don't believe that conservatives are inherently "bad".

Darren said...

Good for you, Cameron. There's hope for you after all!


Anonymous said...

What exactly is "bad" about progressive ideas? I can understand disagreement, but to say that progressive ideas are BAD doesn't seems a little odd to me. What Progressive ideas do you believe are BAD?

I could be classified as Liberal. I don't even necessarily see conservative views as "very bad"; I just believe that Progressive ideas do help and can a difference. (What's the downside - higher taxes?)
I won't get started on the war or the way Republicans use social issues as a political tool, but since your quote says "Progressive", I would think you're discussing the economic issues.

Anonymous said...

Well me for starters. I think the President is a total idiot, who believes "bad" things and does "bad" acts. John McCain, on the other hand, I do like. I think he is a free mind, someone who does what THEY think is right rather than what the party wants—or whatnot. And you, Mr. Miller, seem to have some pretty dumb ideas, which is not to say that all of your views of dumb (in my opinion). A lot of my friends (and my parents) find some of my political and social views to be idiotic and such.

But then again, isn't that what makes the country go around? The Liberals think the Conservatives are redneck-gun toting-war mongers. The Conservatives think the Liberals are pansy-tree hugging-enviro freaks.

Or something like that.

Ah, democracy.

Darren said...

Progressive/liberal ideas, exemplified by socialism, ignore human nature. They ignore the drive that humans have; in fact, they subvert that drive and make everyone a ward of the state. Cradle to grave "care" may sound nice to the nursery school crowd, but it shouldn't sit well with adults who should know better.

Socialized medicine is one *very* bad idea. Just look where it's been tried. Tell me you'd rather have your health care in Britain or Canada than here in the US. Bad, bad, bad. And dangerous.

I like the President's war on terror but not many of his other policies. John McCain, however, is an idiot. Maverick? Hell, he doesn't stand for anything other than John McCain.

And name one dumb idea I have, other than tolerating your comments here in *my* house! =)

Abe said...

I'm poster #8, so we're clear. Thanks for tolerating me. :)

I like to think that Socialism takes the emphasis off of working to earn money and puts it on family, education, sports, art, reading, social work, religion, etc. That "human drive" is subverted when people are distracted from the opportunity to achieve something because they don't have the money to provide healthcare, education, etc. for themselves.

I don't possibly see how national medicine would be bad. Just like public education doesn't prevent private schools, national medicine wouldn't prevent private hospitals from competing in the same way they do now. The U.S. is the only developed nation in the world to have not adopted some sort of national medicine plan. The World Health Organization ranks us 72nd in health level.

I disagree with the general idea that you seem to have that Liberals are nonreligious, unpatriotic, evil people who side with the terrorists more than our government. I also disagree with the post, " Clinton Had Bin Laden?". Read
It's a great website otherwise.

Darren said...

Abe, if only your thoughts about socialism were true. Unfortunately, there's no basis for believing that. Socialism puts the focus on family? Not in Europe, with its declining population. Socialized health care would be good? Not in Canada, Britain, or France, where healthy people like me have to subsidize the health care of drug addicts, alcoholics, and smokers, and waits for basic procedures are in the months. Do you really want the same type of people who run the DMV--or the Transportation Security Administration--to be in charge of your health care? And you asked "what's the downside, higher taxes?" That's one of many, and I've pointed out others above.

Socialism taxes people so much that prosperity wanes. I believe in the trickle down theory, and that a rising tide raises all boats. Let's face it, in the US even our poor people are fat and have color tv's.

As for your last paragraph--Joe Lieberman is a liberal. Why Republicans are flocking to his side right now, I don't know. He's a flaming liberal; probably has a rating of over 90% from every liberal rating firm in the country. But he's religious, and he's patriotic. I don't see it in other prominent liberal politicians. Look who the American Left trots out in front of tv cameras--I honestly think they want bad things to happen to our soldiers so they can score political hay from it. THAT is unpatriotic. I calls 'em as I sees 'em; if liberals don't want me to think they're unpatriotic, they should stop acting that way.

As for the Clinton/bin Laden thing, I'm not jumping into that fray any more than I already have. If you want to try to pass Clinton off as a terrorist fighting hero, try the next customer--'cause I'm not buying it!

You know what I do like, though, Abe? We can both be direct in our comments and still not resort to personal attacks. We're not going to agree, but we can be civil. I *do* appreciate that, and I probably don't point that out on here enough.

Abe said...

Agree do disagree about Socialism. I don't like it either; I just defend it because it seems like the Republicans like to use it as a scare tactic as they continue to move right. The far right scares me more than far left.

You said Progressive/liberal ideas are exemplified by Socialsim. In our social studies class, we are learning about the Progressive Era. Although I don't have it, I do know that the textbook said that Progressives and Socialists were very different in that time period. Progressives wanted to eliminate corruption in the government, protect the environment, break up monopolies, and work to improve conditions and wages for the working class. The Socialists represented what we have been talking about, but never really gained as much support.

Now I don't know as much what Progressive means now, but I do believe that the old Progressive ideals were very good for our country and still would be. Do you also believe Progressive ideals are "bad", or are you attacking Socialism?

Darren said...

Abe, you defend something you disagree with (socialism) because you don't like the other people who attack it? In other words, the enemy of my enemy is my friend? That doesn't seem too--how shall I put it--intellectually capable to me.

Today, the liberals use the term "Progressive" because "liberal" has acquired a negative connotation--their ideas have been too easy to attack for the past quarter century! Just like the Democrats used to bill themselves as the White Man's Party back in the 1890s doesn't mean they still do today, and what was considered a Progressive back then is different than one today. Today, liberals call themselves "progressives", somehow thinking that socialism is progress.

Liberals want socialism. That's what makes the liberalism bad. Socialism is inherently an unworkable philosphy amongst humans because it is devoid of human nature. In a previous comment you said that socialism takes the emphasis off earning money and moves it to other things. I disagree--it requires you to make money for the state, which then takes that money and gives you what it thinks you need. See, you don't take care of yourself anymore. You're not an independent adult under socialism, you're merely a cog in the bureaucracy. And libs think they're for "the people"! How can they be for "the people" when all they really want is more government?

Where we'll really disagree is on who's worse. I'm not a fan of the far left or the far right, because by definition, nutjobs are nutjobs. But what about the far left doesn't scare you? Honestly, the far left is the most intolerant, hateful, controlling group around. Don't believe me? Try this thought experiment. Go into an evangelical Christian church and openly admit to being gay--note the responses. Then walk down Market Street in San Francisco with my "Imagine No Liberals" t-shirt, and note the responses. The left is violent, the right is not. Have you ever seen the American Right hold a protest march?

That's all for now. Thanks for posting--I like comments that make me think a bit! Anyone who can talk about what was in their history book, rather than just spouting out cliches, is OK in book.