Tag: Conservatism

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Sorry, the post’s title is something of joke, I really just wanted your attention.  Rather than bicker back and forth over “virtue,” “liberty,” or any of the other myriad terms we use here, I put forward the following real world exercise in governing.  The Real World is far more nuanced and complex than can be […]

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Secular Conservatism, Libertarians, Progressives, and Marriage


I take conservatism to be an appreciation and defense of what has been proven to work, and which benefits society and the individual in a balance.

If that seems overly-broad, let me provide an example.  Morality is effective in curbing largely destructive impulses and reactions, therefore morality is worth defending in principle, with some room for debate on many fronts.  Not all morality is the same, and it is not always helpful in the particulars.  But to hold that morality is not a necessary part of society is anti-conservative in my view, as morality is the most tested method for a society to control its own behavior with respect for the society and the individual in balance. 

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“Gospel” means “good news”. Like Christians, conservatives in general have a worldview and a way of being which we believe is liberating and fulfilling when fully embraced. Sadly, that good news is not always accepted. Why not? The following parable seems as applicable to conservative outreach as to Christian evangelism.  Preview Open

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An Officer’s Lament


shutterstock_123247681One of my good friends serves as a police officer here in the Pacific Northwest. Over time, he’s been frustrated. About a month ago, he expressed his frustrations thusly:

Dear Conservative Ideology — There is no easy way to say this, so I am just going to say it. I’m breaking up with you. I know what you are thinking. No I am not seeing anyone else. I am not going to remove my conservative sign and replace it with a liberal one. Right now, I’m just going to stand on my own. Ironically, the thing that has pushed you away from me is the one thing that has always kept me far away from liberal ideology … anti-police rhetoric.

He goes on:

Would You Read Conservative Fiction?


NR Cover 2014.07.07National Review’s current cover story makes for an interesting companion to our discussion last week about what makes for great fiction. In it, book publisher Adam Bellow suggests that conservatives open a new front in the culture war: prose fiction.

To hear some conservatives talk you’d think movies were the Holy Grail, the golden passkey to the collective unconscious. This gets things precisely backwards…

Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis both produced big-budget movies that reached millions of people with what most of us would probably agree is a subtly conservative message. Yet both of these successful movie franchises ultimately pale in comparison with the impact of the books. Even at their best, movies are essentially cartoons and their effects are superficial and fleeting. Books engage the reader much more deeply, at a level of identification with the characters and plot that can instruct the soul and edify the mind. A hundred years from now, moreover, these classic books will still be read all over the world in dozens of languages when the films on which they are based are long forgotten or superseded by new forms of entertainment.

The First Paycheck of the Summer, or, a Conservative is Born


shutterstock_183463727An email from Nico Robinson, age 19, who, today, opening the first paycheck from his summer job, suddenly discovered withholding taxes:

As I open the letter, I see the first line reading Direct Deposit Voucher, immediately skim to the bottom, expecting my full paycheck, and I notice something amiss. Rather than the figure I was expecting, I only see merely a much smaller figure, mocking me. I still have yet to grasp the concept of what withholdings are and why the feds can take my money — money that I don’t even owe them yet!

Welcome to the world of grownups, son. (He’s not smiling now.)

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  (Note: For entertainment purposes only. – DD) The family I grew up in, like so many American families, was divided politically. On one side there was my mom and two brothers (the conservatives) and on the other there was my dad, sister and me (the right-wing nut jobs). As an adult, the milieu I […]

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Government, Marriage, and the Future: A Conservative Response


shutterstock_148021259Fred Cole suggests that conservatives and libertarians reach a compromise: get the government out of marriage. From a conservative perspective, the idea is a political long-shot with some substantive disadvantages. But there is, I believe, a conservative case — maybe even a Burkean one — for it on philosophical grounds.

Marriage is a covenant “before God and these witnesses.” A man and woman marry by committing to each other for life before God and their community; they don’t need the government to give them permission. Marriage was established by God before human government and does not intrinsically require legal recognition.

Still, we have had laws recognizing and supporting marriage for a number of years now, and have built a tax system and family law around it. Perhaps we could question whether moving marriage into the legal realm allowed us to imagine that the law could define marriage, thus contributing to the current situation. But as a conservative, I generally respect the wisdom of our ancestors in such areas and resist hasty changes. Ideally, I’d prefer to keep legal recognition of marriage.

Is “The Hunger Games” Conservative?


Hunger-Games-Katniss-Everdeen-1Some say the blockbuster Hunger Games series of books and films displays a world in which capitalism is bad and socialism is good while others say it illustrates the inequality and abuse of a “command economy.” The poverty of the districts isn’t the result of greedy capitalists but of a totalitarian state. 

Trading markets for a command economy and trading democracy for a dictatorship may lead to hunger for the Districts, but it hampered the growth available at the top of society as well. Though they may not realize it, the wealthy citizens of the Capitol were living like beggars compared to the wealth of a free and peaceful society.

Erik Kain at Forbes is right. The economics of the Hunger Games can hardly be described as free-market capitalism. Yet, some insist that this is exactly the cause of Panem’s suffering: “The Hunger Games shows us how to play and alter the rules in a game for survival; instead of showing us a victory of capitalism, however, the actual hunger games shows us in metaphor a socialist’s perspective on the ‘brutality’ of a free-market economy by replacing businesses with children.” An article at the Huffington Post echoes this sentiment: The Hunger Games is “an allegory about cashing in on the next generation’s future hopes and dreams.”

Yuval Levin on Edmund Burke’s Example for Modern Conservatives


In the clip I posted yesterday from the Uncommon Knowledge interview with Yuval Levin about his book, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of the Right and LeftYuval clarified where Burke fit in the context of his own time. Today, a different focus: how Burke fits in ours.

Below, Yuval explains how the lessons of Burke can offer a corrective for modern conservative excesses:

Remembering Who We Are—D.C. McAllister


When I heard Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s comments about African Americans and their dependence on government, I reacted the same way as I imagine many of you did. “Oh no. . . just what we need. . . . now we’re all racists.”

Many on the right have been rallying around Bundy and his stand against the federal government over grazing rights, but when he made a speech this week comparing the condition of blacks under slavery to their dependency on the government, several GOP politicians distanced themselves from him. Who can blame them, given this politically correct environment? 

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Alternate-Side Parking is a semi-regular, once or twice a week, podcast. Each episode lasts approximately as long as it takes for me to find a new alternate-side parking space in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, plus however long I feel like sitting in the driver’s seat. In today’s special Sunday going-to-Pep-Boys-oops-it’s-closed-I-guess-I’ll-go-to-Autozone episode I talk […]

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Does Mike Lee’s Reform Agenda Focus Too Much on Equality and Not Enough on Liberty? — DC McAllister


In a recent episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter Robinson talked with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) about his Conservative Reform Agenda and creating policies that best meet the “needs of today.” 

Lee thinks the primary problem in America is economic—a “growing crisis of stagnation and sclerosis.” Most of us would agree with this assessment. But is there another issue—one more fundamental to the very nature of our Republic—that is just as important? One so essential that we forget it at our own peril?