Thursday, July 14, 2005

Is The WISH List just wishful thinking?

It may or may not surprise some people that I used to be a Republican. But I no longer identify myself as one (although I'm not a Democrat either). But the thing is, I don't think my own values have changed much. I think it's the values of the Republican party that have changed.

For example, there used to be room for feminists in the Republican party. Does anyone think an over-achieving, capitalist, career-focused woman could be a true Democrat? You could bring up Hillary Clinton, but even she professes support for free markets. And politicians don't count anyway, since it's usually unclear what they really think. I'm talking more about the business woman feminist, who stands in stark contrast to the pacifist/hippie/socialist/granola feminist who thinks it's politically incorrect to make too much money.

Yet the business woman also stands in stark contrast to the social conservative who thinks it's 'unnatural' or 'ungodly' for her to have a career. You know, the traditionalist who blames all of society's ills on the fact that women have entered the workforce. So what's a career bitch to do?

Well, she could be a Republican -- if only they'd get back to their core principles as outlined by The WISH List:
  • Individual freedoms and responsibilities;
  • A sound economy;
  • Limited government;
  • Healthy communities;
  • An educated citizenry; and
  • A strong and secure nation.

  • Unfortunately, the GOP has figured out that it's completely okay to sell out the principles of individual freedom and limited government as long as they're the ones in charge. I'll name just a few offenses: The Patriot Act, Conscience Clauses, the FCC crackdown on speech, and the even more overreaching FDA. If that wasn't bad enough, there's even a female Republican Senator who is opposed to a woman's right to vote. And I'm not even going to mention the debt, the deficit, or Bush's spending. Oops...

    I understand that Christians have their values and want to live by them. But why do they need the government involved? If they're pissed off about immoral television, then I support their right to protest, boycott, or write letters to a network. If Christian pharmacists are opposed to birth control, then I support their right to find employment with like-minded businesses. And if Christian women are against voting and working, then I support their right to not vote or work. None of this is rocket science, is it?

    Republicans don't need my advice. They are doing quite well catering to the fundies. But I think this success will be short-lived. Eventually, they'll be begging all those limited government advocates -- and perhaps even the career bitches -- to come back to the GOP.

    Comments:
    If I remember correctly, you're fairly young, right (like 18 or 19)? Has it occurred to you that perhaps the Republicans never changed, you just become more aware of where they were?
     
    I'm not THAT young, but yeah I'm pretty young. It's possible that my perception of Republicans was wrong when I was a teen. But doesn't it seem like things have gotten worse since 2000? Or did Republicans just spew small government rhetoric because Clinton was in charge? If so, I guess I fell for it.

    I don't remember Bush 41 being the fundie that his son is. I also wouldn't consider Bush 41 to be a 'neocon'. But his son? Yeah, definitely.

    I can remember other Republicans running on princinples of limited government and free markets. But lately all I hear from Republicans are 'family values'... as if we need the state to define those for us.
     
    Does anyone think an over-achieving, capitalist, career-focused woman could be a true Democrat?

    Maybe I'm missing something, but I do. Are you characterizing "true" democrats as borerline socialists? Cause I don't think that's true. I'm certainly not even close to one. Although I'm slightly left of center in terms of contemporary economic approaches, I think if I were voting purely on economics I could find room among the moderates in the Republican Party. I mean I like low taxes and I'm not big on govt. programs, but at the same time I consider myself pretty pragmatic, and the economic ideologues in the Republican Party with their Biblical faith in slashing taxes strike me as kind of insane. I would think anyone with a reasonable approach to fiscal policy would be comfortable in the Democratic Party, despite the present of a small group of extreme lefties.

    But I don't really identify with the Democratic Party that strongly either. And I actually used to be a Republican too. Though my conversion was probably slightly different than yours, though similar in the sense that it was the cultural right that really made it impossible for me to be a Republican.
     
    I understand that Christians have their values and want to live by them. But why do they need the government involved?

    It’s really a mirror image of lefty types…a statist is a statist.

    As a native southerner, I live among, and am related to, ‘Christians’ that see government as a means to an end, so long as it’s their end. In the south generally and Atlanta in particular, both sides of the aisle like to mix politics with religion. For example, the KKK and MLK used the Bible to justify their actions and to support their arguments. Now, I’m not equating the two morally, as southern racists are little more than insecure thugs. That said, the modern NAACP preaches an ‘equality’ that much more reminiscent of Marx than of Jefferson.

    My point is this: government is a convenient tool—used by various groups—to suppress ‘the enemy’, while promulgating ‘our’ agenda. I say a pox on all their houses. The state ought to be neutral…or non-existent.
     
    The religious populists who have the GOP in their grip and the 60's counter-culture types who have the DNC in their grip are ensuring that two things are going to happen. The first is that the Democratic party will probably never again be a majority party. The second is that, as the threat of the left regaining control of the government is realized to no longer exist, the GOP will fracture into libertarian and neo-con. It's been a long time since we saw the birth of a new party in this country, but I think it's not far off now.

    By the way Red, George H.W. Bush is what is typically referred to as a paleo-conservative (i.e. pre-Reagan, pre the original neo-cons). The GOP of the 1990's is definitely not the GOP of the 2000's. W and the rest of them are not neo-cons in the original sense of the term, they have usurped it. What we really need, but won't get until the party is forced to it, is a resurgence of the Goldwater/Reagan Republicans. Reagan did manage to eliminate an entire Federal Dept while he was President, which is something that was entirely unprecedented. What's happening is that all the small government types who were inspired in the 60's, 70's, 80's (and even a bit in the 90's) by the likes of Goldwater, Reagan, and others are totally disgusted with the venality of the GOP leadership now that we've given them the government they always said we had to have to bring about change.
     
    "Family values" has been bandied about a lot in the past few years, north of the border. In the early 90s the major party less out of favour with the populace (centrist Liberals) adopted a very fiscally conservative approach (they almost had to - our financial house was not in order.) So what are the right wingers supposed to do?

    A right wing party had sprung up, fuelled by western alienation (westerners who didn't actually want the party to form a government but wanted the current gov to know how pissed they were) and hardcore religious folk. The new party swallowed up the old Progressive Conservative party.

    The new Conservative party is vastly different than the ruling Liberal party due to its social conservatism; anti-abortion, anti-same-sex marriage, anti-immigration... They have tried to don the image of a socially moderate party but the voters just aren't buying it (and well we shouldn't. The party is still run by Christian fundamentalists.) They are downright scary, even compared to our reluctantly socially liberal Prime Minister. So now we have voters of a fiscally conservative mindset shunning the Conservative party because the voters are gay, or women, or visible minorities. The Conservative party knows it needs to attract more moderates to win an election, but those are the exact people the core of the party seek to oppress.

    My uneducated perception is that politics in North America just took one wholesale step to the right.
     
    "A statist is a statist"

    Robert, I really agree with that statement as well. I used to identify myself more as a Republican but now find myself unable to support their socially conservative initiatives. Nowadays I'm more libertarian, still generally pro-business, and still socially liberal.

    I find almost no answers in the Democratic party for myself either. Coming at it from the other side, extreme Leftists champion their own set of "values" that they would also love to cram down our throats with government regulations. Anything from gun control, to speech codes, to enforced vegetarianism, higher taxes, etc. There's no freedom to be found there. It's like the Who song: meet the new boss, same as the old boss. I think the Reform Party could have done more, if it had been based more around an ideology and less around a cult of personality. I don't know, maybe there is a change coming in terms of the political parties in this country. Until then, I see alot of blindly Democratic and Republican supporters on both sides.
     
    You're beating a strawman to death, honey. The "social conservative" you mention hardly exists, and poses absolutely no threat to you. Many, if not most, businesswomen that I know are, infact, social conservatives.

    I live in Woodstock, NY and have an apartment in New York City.

    You really need to dump the feminist religion, kid. You don't know much about the world, and you clearly don't know what you are talking about.

    Nobody is trying to keep women from having a job. That's just a paranoid fantasy.

    My sister is an evangelical preacher, believe it or not. She's also a professor of nursing at the University of Hawaii.

    You might want to talk and write less, until you learn something.

    Been anywhere besides your home town?
     
    Forget to add:

    Those women you want to fight with at the Independent Women's Forum all have good jobs, and make more money than you can dream of.

    They're not against women having jobs. Virtually nobody is.

    Where in the world did you get the idea that somebody in this world wants to prevent you from getting a job and making money?
     
    Now you say your a feminist. That being said do you think a women can do everything a man can do and in most cases do them better? I have a feeling you will say yes. That being the case why don't you go and get me some coffee. Women do that much better then men.


    Just kidding just have some fun. Interesting stuff. I'll swing by again when I have more time to read it. Peace.
     
    Stephen, I'm sure you know all about Redneck America... living in New York and all.

    I was raised by fundamentalist, socially conservative parents who not only opposed women having a career, but also opposed birth control and college education for women. I had to attend college my first year on the sly just to avoid severe beatings (or at least get them less often). I was under 18 so I couldn't just pack up and leave. Yeah, that's how 'spoiled' I was.

    I also attended a religious high school. The mentality was all the same: no birth control, no career for women. This was not one or two people -- this was an entire culture.

    Do I think all social conservatives are trying to ban women completely from the workforce? No. But many, including the IWF, support legal restrictions on certain jobs for women. I don't support affirmative action or special treatment for women, so it's pointless to throw that in my face. And, to concede to a point you made, of course the IWF ladies are rich. Why else would they feel entitled to taunt lowly flight attendants?

    Fundies have also been instrumental in legal restrictions on birth control. I'm not even talking about abortion here, just birth control. And that certainly has an affect on a woman's ability to plan her career and family life. But more to the point, why do they want the state to restrict it? I'm talking about both the FDA and the mandatory conscience clauses. If you're unsure of what those issues are about, links are provided in my post.

    But don't take my word for it. Head on over to World Net Daily's site if you want to see exactly why the fundies don't think women should have careers. It just isn't 'natural' you know, it's not how God made us. Of course, I support the fundies' rights to free speech and religion. But I'll be damned if I'm going to VOTE for them.

    Which reminds me... there's a female Republican Senator (Kay O'Connor) who is opposed to women having the right to vote. So basically, she thinks it's okay for HER to have a career and be in office, but the rest of us ladies should just take it up the ass. Hey, at least she's consistent (or not).

    I also would argue that someone who believes it's okay for a woman to have a career isn't a true conservative per the definition below.

    con•serv•a•tive

    —adj.
    1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.

    Alas, it is pointless to try to tell me what to do or think. I'm not going to obey. Doesn't that just piss you off?
     
    Rob-

    The real answer is that it depends on the man and woman in question.

    I'm not offended too easily, unless someone is being a real douchebag. And even then I tend to go easy on the cute ones. ;)
     
    Well it's good you've purged yourself of that particulare hayseedism. It'd prolly do you good to purge yourself of your hayseed views of Democrats, as well, though. It's the same mentality that'd beat you for going to college that creates the liberal bogeyman that strikes fear in the heart.

    Though I do take a perverse pleasure in reading the backwoods nitwittery of those who rail against the 60's counter-culture. Reminds me of my frisco days of sucking dick and tossing aids tainted blood at tourists and calling it "performance art" for the sake of nea grants. ahh good times.
     
    Oh Jed, I'm not afraid of the liberal bogeyman. I'm aware it's just a creation of the far-right wingnuts, which they use to avoid personal responsibility.
     
    Well, now we're getting somewhere.

    Do you know that the leftist side of the world, at its extremes, has tremendous problems?

    I was born in a town of 5,000 people in farming country in Illinois. As you grow older, I think that you will find that your parents truly cared for you. You are very fortunate that they gave you a religious education and discipline. You may not be old enough yet to really understand what they did or what they want for you. Keep the good parts, don't fight with them too much about the ways in which you want to be different and live the life you want to live.

    In Woodstock, you'll see the opposite extreme... kids raised (if you can call it that) by hippie meatheads who refuse to engage in discipline, and are too busy ingesting drugs and sleeping around to bother much.

    The world I live in ridicules women for wanting to stay home with their children, stigmatizes hetero white men as the cause of all evil and paints religious people as insane and dangerous.

    Please take my advice, honey. It's hard earned. My parents were a lot like yours and they were great people. Change your life in the ways that make you happy. Don't beat them up with it. They've worked hard to create a responsible, intelligent young woman. They did the best they could, according to what they knew.

    I really think you would learn a lot by visting my site and learning about my wife, who died 10 months ago. She was a Filipina, born in a thatched hut on the edge of the Pacific, and a very religious woman. At the time of her death she was training manager for an international corporate law firm, in charge of offices in 10 cities throughout the Northeast.

    Keep an open mind.
     
    drumgurl: "It's possible that my perception of Republicans was wrong when I was a teen. But doesn't it seem like things have gotten worse since 2000? Or did Republicans just spew small government rhetoric because Clinton was in charge? If so, I guess I fell for it."

    Well, I definitely remember a shift but I think it was probably earlier: certain members of the Republican leadership (e.g. Gingrich, Dole) were never anything other than opportunists, and the ideological foot soldiers' focus seemed to shift heavily from any kind of principled opposition to big government to pure Clinton hatred somewhere around 1996 or 1997. (The Dole presidential campaign, for example, put about as much of an emphasis on smaller government as a convention of education bureaucrats.) By 2000 W. had made it pretty clear that support for the welfare state would be a key part of the electoral strategy and after 9/11/2001, rabid support for the State pretty clearly became the defining feature of the American Right.

    On the other hand, it's worth wondering how seriously committed Republicans ever were to smaller government, even back around 1994. I mean, yes, they asked for lower taxes, less federal welfare, and less federal control over education. But I remember that other big rallying cries included the push to expand State power in (1) cracking down on immigration, (2) harsher criminal approaches to victimless "crimes" such as drug use and homelessness, and (3) prohibiting abortion wherever possible. So there were small government elements involved but it also seems like there were substantial elements of the movement calling for a harsher, bigger police state when it could be directed against social "undesirables." (I suspect because the Republican upswing in 1994 had little to do with small-government principles and a lot to do with the politics of white male rage: that is, substituting stick-based statism for carrot-based statism.)

    Eric: "By the way Red, George H.W. Bush is what is typically referred to as a paleo-conservative (i.e. pre-Reagan, pre the original neo-cons)."

    Well, no, he's not. H. W. was a dyed-in-the-wool, realist / internationalist, establishment conservative, committed to some mild rollbacks of the welfare state and regulation along with a mildly pro-trade economic policy and a belligerent foreign policy allegedly based on realpolitik rather than ideological crusades. He's much more like, say, Bill Buckley (who, like H. W., is widely despised by paleos) or Henry Kissinger. Paleoconservatives--such as Pat Buchanan, and the folks at The American Conservative--are often opposed to international free trade agreements, and sharply opposed to foreign interventions. (They call themselves "paleos" not just because they oppose the "neos," but also because they think they hark back to the Old Right of the 1930s and 1940s, which opposed the U.S.'s entry into World War II; they also, as it happens, had their first major political break over establishment conservatism when Buchanan led a vocal opposition against H. W.'s war on Iraq.) So H.W. is properly neither a paleo (who are isolationists) nor a neo (who are idealist internationalists); he was just a jerk for his own reasons.

    Robert: "My point is this: government is a convenient tool—used by various groups—to suppress 'the enemy', while promulgating 'our' agenda. I say a pox on all their houses. The state ought to be neutral...or non-existent."

    Since there is no such thing as a neutral government (any state requires coercively diverting resources from voluntary agreements at some point or another), this seems to entail (by a disjunctive syllogism) that the state ought to be non-existent. I don't have a problem with that, but I wonder if you're willing to draw the conclusion also. If not, you may want to reconsider the premises.

    drumgurl: "I had to attend college my first year on the sly just to avoid severe beatings (or at least get them less often)."

    Stephen: "I was born in a town of 5,000 people in farming country in Illinois. As you grow older, I think that you will find that your parents truly cared for you."

    By giving her severe beatings and trying to stop her from attending college?

    Stephen: "Please take my advice, honey."

    She's not your "honey." Do you address male bloggers you've never met as "sweetcakes?"

    Stephen: "My parents were a lot like yours and they were great people."

    You have absolutely no clue what her parents were like. Judging from the statements in this thread, in fact, it seems like there may be good reason to believe you're positively mistaken about what they were like.

    You condescending twit.
     
    Rad Geek: Since there is no such thing as neutral government (any state requires coercively diverting resources from voluntary agreements at some point or another), this seems to entail (by a disjunctive syllogism) that the state ought to be non-existent. I don't have a problem with that, but I wonder if you're willing to draw the conclusion also. If not, you may want to reconsider the premises.

    First of all, I used a meaning of ‘neutral’ that fits the context of this post. That is, I oppose preferential treatment given to some, at the expense of others (e.g. Partisans immorally promulgating their narrow ideology with state force). Nevertheless, however odious taxation may be, it’s reality and not likely to disappear any time soon.

    With respect to my political philosophy, I’m not an anarchist, and certainly not a Rothbardin…although, many of my friends are anarcho-capitalists. As for me, I’m a minarchist-libertarian.
     
    Man, Everytime I surf the blogs that have caught my eye my brain is always to tired to post an intellectual response. I think from reading the comments on this topic that we may have some closet Libertarians. Feel free to take this very short political quiz and see where it ranks you. http://www.self-gov.org/quiz.html

    Look forward to the update!
     
    Rob,
    That quiz is worded in a way that is specifically designed to create a pro-Libertarian bias. For example:

    Government should not censor speech, press, media or Internet

    could be replaced with:

    Some statements are so inflammatory that no one should use them

    It could be reworded to make you decide you were liberal, conservative, or statist.

    Before you get all upset, I've considered myself a Libertarian long before the internet existed. I do however consider most Libertarians to be unrealistic flakes. The concept is good, but they end up scaring people away from considering it.

    Brad,
    I'm 47, and although I never registered Republican, I frequently voted for them. There are few I would vote for today, and find myself supporting more and more Democrats. Drumgurl is right. They have changed.

    Stephen,
    Rad geek summed it up pretty well.
     
    Stephen, your comments come off as being very condescending. And close-minded.

    Red is a parent, too, so I think she's in a great position to see both sides of the coin. Parental good intentions are still wrong if the means used to apply them are harmful.

    And anything that involves physical violence (Red mentioned severe beatings) is harmful.
     
    Wow. I think you get points for "broadest swatch of the political spectrum commenting." That's got to be good for something.

    Yes, the Republican party has changed, but the real change took place w/ Reagan. He (or his handlers?) added two very powerful ideas to Republican strategic thinking:

    1) Government spending is good provided that a) the money goes to a few rich people instead of a lot of poor people and b) you borrow and spend rather than tax and spend.

    2) If you tell the people lies that the want to believe, they will believe them no matter how bald-faced they might be.

    The US has been living with the consequences of these two ideas ever since, and it has not been pretty.

    So you think, this guy is a raving liberal - ignore him. You'd be about half right. As the Republicans have gone into the toilet, the Democrats seem to have gone right in with them. Somewhere along the line the Democrat's concern for "the least of these" became the notion that we all have a right to just about everything and no responsibilities at all. Somewhere along the line the Democrat's concern for "the workers" turned into protectionism, which by stifling efficiency doesn't benefit any workers here or abroad. Somewhere along the line the Democrat's concern for economic justice turned into the notion that the only thing in the world that is important is economics. Somewhere along the line the Democrats forgot how to stand for anything at all, choosing instead to stand against everything Republican.

    What's interesting is all this is that although I come from a very "liberal" background and you come from a very "conservative" background, both of us have similar WISH lists (aside from that fact that you and I probably have very different notions of what "Limited" government means) and neither of us has a party that even remotely represents us. Could it be time, after 215 years, to adopt a more modern form of democracy? One that allows more than two parties? Not sure, but I'm thinking that it's a moot point, because few Americans nowadays have the appetite for political change that the Founding Fathers had.
     
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