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The Avenger

Location: New Jersey
Member Since: Thu Dec 02, 2021
In Reply To

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Subj: Re: Illiberal upstarts reinvent conservatism
Posted: Mon May 16, 2022 at 04:08:34 pm EDT (Viewed 154 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Illiberal upstarts reinvent conservatism
Posted: Mon May 16, 2022 at 10:05:46 am EDT (Viewed 153 times)

    Pessimism or realism depending on the point of view. I think it is more a realization that the if we are talking politics within the US in particular that at almost any level I have just seem too many things needed die or never get traction while things that are more "culture wars" and surface dressing get pushes and do little other than divide.

    It would depend on what you mean goals and on what level. Do you mean like things we should strive for as humans?


    The question of what can we do to, in the sense of what would we be able to do, is a depressing one to me. As at the moment I would say not much.

That's the vibe I was getting from you. OK.


      I, for my part, readily assume that positive goals can be achieved and positive values can be fulfilled. Not perfection - there is no perfection on the earth - but perfection has never been necessary.

    I do not think there needs to be perfection, but am more in the camp that I do not see much good coming out of any front on most issues.

I continue to think you don't see much good because you confuse the good with the perfect. I take the view that a thousand things can be wrong, but if one thing is right, that's good. If two things are right, that's better.

But more to the point, I take realism as a spectrum. One one end is unrealistic optimism. On the other end is unrealistic pessimism. At the center is a balance of realistic optimism and realistic pessimism: a balance we can consciously maintain. We'll know we've achieved a realistic balance when we clearly see good reasons both for optimism and pessimism. For example, I'm realistically pessimistic about ever eliminating the nonsense of Christian sexual morality from American culture as a whole, but I'm realistically optimistic about eventually eliminating it from the culture of the Northeastern American states, where I live.


      As for which goals are positive - I admire and support any goal that incorporates the values of freedom, innovation, integrity, health, and joy. Where these five values are held high, humanity will rise and advance. Nor does everyone need to agree on the details of these five values. There is no uniformity of purpose or method where freedom reigns. But uniformity has never been necessary.

    Those would be good goals I think, but I would probably add environment in it for me. For me as a person it is a positive goal because at best it touches on health and some of the others in addition to improving the world we live in. In practical terms it improves many debates we are currently having at the Federal and State levels, as they will get worse otherwise.

Why does the environment matter to you? What's the core value? There may be more than one, for you. From what you say above, human health is one core value underpinning your environmentalism. Is it the only one or are there others?

Environmentalism was becoming a stable, normalized concern in America, where reasonable people on both sides of the question could find a balanced middle ground - and then global warming took over green activism, and suddenly we were back to an unstable, abnormal polarity of extremes, with one side wanting to dismantle modern civilization to save endangered species, while the other side seems hellbent on ignoring green concerns entirely, since no compromise seems possible. Whenever we see politics polarizing us with no possibility of compromise, we can be sure we're being manipulated.

    However, based on experience within the US political system I am also of the mind that the chances of any action being taken and then being upheld are near zero.

The first step toward finding solutions will be to categorically reject a no-compromise mentality on either side of the question. Dismantling civilization is out of the question. Allowing a mass extinction event is likewise out of the question. Compromise is mandatory. The enemy of progress is the no-compromise mentality. It must be quashed.

    In abstract terms I can come up with a list of what the priorities should be and it probably would not be that different from you in the end. I am just skeptical that anything gets done on those fronts given history. It usually takes some major political will to accomplish anything and the context of how it was done is often fought about for ages after.

By negotiation or by warfare, humanity will always return to homeostasis. The only question is which of the two it will take. Negotiation is better. Warfare may be unavoidable. The United States, beset by a difference of opinion regarding slavery, had to fight a civil war to achieve homeostasis. With prohibition of alcohol, we did better. We didn't quite have to fight a civil war. Gangsters and cops fought their own, more limited, bloody struggle, and then sanity regained the ascendancy. Both of those fights were about freedom. In the end, freedom, our own or that of other people, is the one thing many of us are willing to die for.

    So, pessimism covers me well I suppose. Sort of like you can tell with freedom discussions. I am all for freedom and liberty. I just think it gets complicated to determine what to do in given situations when two people's liberty or freedom collide. My impulse would be all things being equal to the one that does the most good or harms the fewest in society. Since the former moral judgement is hard to capture and is not often a good way to legislate as it often defines things as good vs evil. And more realistically in the system we have power is most important. It feels like too much is done because one can or pure politics as opposed to actually doing much to help somebody.

Sounds like you subscribe to utilitarianism. Many people do. Even Mister Spock. Utilitarianism is color-blind and class-blind, so it frustrates both the left and the right. A centrist party could rise up, grounded in utilitarianism. They'd get my vote. But only if they included freedom as a form of the good.

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