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Posts tagged Conservatives

Friday Lazy Linking

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<li><p><a href="http://blog.ianbicking.org/2010/08/18/net-neutrality-forcing-companies-to-pay-attention-to-their-networks/">Net Neutrality: forcing companies to pay attention to their networks. <cite>Ian Bicking: a blog</cite> (2010-08-18)</a>. I absolutely reject any proposal that Net Neturality ought to be enforced through government regulations; but this is as good a short explanation as I've read of why it <b>is</b> a good ideal for us to insist on, non-coercively, as a basic requirement for acceptable service from a network operator. <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2010-08-18.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/radleybalko/~3/kztcxEqy0kE/">??Guys in Jail Are Going To Rape You? Radley Balko, <cite>The Agitator</cite> (2010-08-18)</a>. <q>An undercover New York City cop threatens a man taking cell phone video with arrest for being disrespectful. He then explains that an arrest means a weekend in jail, where he??ll probably be raped. The confrontation appears to have occurred during an undercover bust of a suspected ??illegal social club,?...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2010-08-18.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://sheldonfreeassociation.blogspot.com/2010/08/contradiction-of-conservative-continued.html">The Contradiction of a Conservative, continued. Sheldon Richman, <cite>Free Association</cite> (2010-08-18)</a>. <q>News Corp. (Murdoch, WSJ, Fox) gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association because the company "has always believed in the power of free markets and in organizations like the RGA, which have a pro-business agenda...."Not only are those not the same things, they are in conflict with each other....</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2010-08-20.)</em></p></li>

Monday Lazy Linking

Against fiscal conservatism: on inpropriating the expropriators

(Via Lew @ The LRC Blog.)

In which Chairman Ron does his bit to fill the coffers of the U.S. Department of the Treasury:

Like him or hate him, Dr. Ron Paul doesn’t just talk a big game about fiscal conservatism, he lives it. In 2008, his congressional office returned $58,000 to the Treasury. In 2009, his office returned $90,000. Now, according to an official press release, Dr. Ron Paul’s congressional office has just paid back $100,000.

— Ryan Jaroncyk, California Independent Voter Network (2010-03-01): Congressman Ron Paul returns a whopping $100,000 of his office budget to the US Treasury

… And that’s why I’m against fiscal conservatism. Why the fuck would I think it’s a good thing for the U.S. government to get back $100,000 more to spend on bailing out failed bankers or on hurting and killing innocent people? What I’d like most is for that money to get back into the hands of innocent working people (whether under the cover of Congressional featherbedding, or by any other means). But failing that, we’d still all be better off if Ron Paul took the $100,000, piled it up on the National Mall, and set it all on fire, rather than giving it back to the United States Treasury.

At a time when Wall St is running wild, the national debt is $14 trillion, and the federal government is running $1.4 trillion deficits, Dr. Ron Paul’s congressional office is running a surplus and paying back the American people.

No, he isn’t.

He’s paying the American government. The American people, if that means American people like you and me and our neighbors, will get back not one cent of it. Instead, the money will go directly into the operational budget of the government that oppresses and robs us.

Of course, none of this is to say that I like big government spending. But the problem with government spending is not the fact that money goes out of the Treasury; it’s that government spending is financed by expropriation from working people (whether through direct taxation or through the effects of the financial-political complex’s coercive money monopoly). And that government spending goes to fund more expropriation and more violence — in the form of government wars, government borders, government surveillance, forced development schemes and eminent domain seizures, police brutality, prisons, tax-men, hang-men, or the arming, training, and employment of government law-enforcers to inflict their myriad unjust laws on the rest of us without our consent. The problem, in short, is not government spending at all; it’s government violence. But just giving surplus money back to the government, without doing anything to constrain the violence that the state commits — going out of your way to help government balance its budgets and get leaner and meaner in the use of the resources that it has on hand — is as nice an example as you could want of exactly the kind of stupid conservative trap that limited-statism passes off as if it had something to do with freedom.

See also:

Conservatism Vs. The Past

Over at PajamasMedia, Mary Grabar tells us that Libertarians Need to Rethink Support for Drug Legalization, thus:

Libertarians are fond of pointing to the wreckage caused by the abuse of alcohol: deterioration of health, traffic deaths, and domestic violence. This is true, but it is an analogy that emerges from an abstraction. Libertarians argue that the only difference between the two is traditional: we have stamped alcohol consumption with a seal of social approval.

But I would argue that tradition should be a reason for its continued legal status and for denying legal status to marijuana.

… But I would argue that it should, not only from my position as a Christian, but from my position as a citizen of a country whose foundational values spring from the Judeo-Christian heritage. The sanction for alcohol use has lasted for millennia. It has become part of our rituals at meals, celebrations, and religious services. That is a large part of why Prohibition failed.

Marijuana, in contrast, has always been counter-cultural in the West. Every toke symbolizes a thumb in the eye of Western values. So it follows that in order to maintain our culture, we need to criminalize this drug.

The prohibition against marijuana is one brick in the foundation of our society.

— Mary Grabar, PajamasMedia (2009-12-22): Libertarians Need to Rethink Support for Drug Legalization

This is an idiotic argument logically. Factually, it’s an exercise in politico-historical fantasy. The prohibition against marijuana in the United States dates back to A.D. 1937; my grandparents were older than marijuana prohibition. There is no such thing as a tradition of criminalizing pot; cannabis was well known throughout the Fertile Crescent, Central Asia, and the Far East for millennia, and it was completely legal everywhere in the world throughout all of human history, right up until a couple of decades into the 20th century.

Of course, the main thing to say here is really that maintaining our [sic] culture is not a good enough reason for criminalizing nonviolent people. If your culture can only be maintained at the point of a gun, then your culture sucks, and the sooner you stop maintaining it on the backs of harmless pot-smokers, the better.

But if you’re a frequent reader here, that much should, really, go without saying. Apply the usual libertarian defense of the liberty to decide how you use your own damned body, and the usual anarchist indictment of legally sanctioning police violence against harmless people.

The reason that I mention the story here[*] is that it’s another fine illustration of the mindset of a certain sort of conservative — for whom tradition means invincible ignorance about what actually happened in the past, for whom conservatism means a felt need to pretend that the peculiar legal conditions and parenting panics of your own childhood years are really civilizational norms stretching back into time out of mind, and for whom politics is the belligerent expression of an urge to use absolutely any means at your disposal, no matter how intrusive, police-statist or violent, to politically march us all back into a past which, fortunately for the people of Antiquity, never existed in the first place.

* Well, the main reason for most of it. The pull-quote about every toke being a thumb in the eye of Western civilization is something I just threw in for laughs.

Semantic quibbles #3: Conservatism

Here’s Mike Tennant at LewRockwell.com Blog, quasi-approvingly quoting Jacob Heilbrunn’s summary of Bill Buckley:

Jacob Heilbrunn writes: Buckley wasn’t a radical conservative. He didn’t believe in trying to destroy the Eastern Establishment; instead, he wanted to reform it. Therein lies the entire problem.

Hold up. I’m lost.

In what possible sense of the word conservative is it a genuine conservative’s goal either to smash or to reform the ancien régime?

Maybe this political debate is really about something other than what Tennant, or Heilbrunn, or for that matter Buckley, thinks it is about.

Further reading:

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