Thursday, May 1, 2008

Progress Report on My Conversion to Conservatism

Man, I’ve been learning a lot reading these, whatcha call conservative political blogs lately. I've been learning what’s right and what’s wrong and what a good American is supposed to believe. I must confess, there are still a few things that I get hung up on but I’m sure that’s just me. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed by any means. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

It’s ok for politicians to be affiliated with religions that have cult-like roots, bizarre separatist rituals, a record of institutional racism, and/or systematic protocols to cover up sexual abuse;


It’s not ok for politicians to have a church pastor that dares to speak out about the U.S. Government’s foreign and domestic policies, or it's record on human rights. That is just wrong because it is hateful and divisive.


It’s ok to use the church pulpit to speak out against the evils of homosexuality, the Nation of Islam, feminism, and liberalism in general. The Bible tells us it’s ok to hate “sin”;


It’s not ok “that a minister would use the sacred Christian pulpit to push his politically driven agenda and use rhetorical techniques to whip up negative and destructive emotions in his congregation” (sacred words of Janice Shaw Crouse not mine). God forbid this ever happens!


Its ok to use acceptable methods of supporting U.S. troops such as displaying yellow ribbon magnets on the backs of SUVs and voting for candidates that support the war effort.


It’s not ok to support our troops by advocating, promoting, or fighting for peace in any organized fashion. Such futile endeavors demoralize our soldiers and annoy those that would otherwise steer our nation in an unobstructed path toward economic superiority.


It’s ok to advocate for tougher immigration laws to keep those undesirable Latin American aliens out of our country.


It’s not ok to criticize the economic policies, consumerist principles, and dependence on cheap labor that created the opportunities for immigrants in the first place.


It’s ok to be extremely skeptical of any scientific research that would support the existence of global warming and to scoff at those that believe the future of our planet is in jeopardy. Such belief is simply reactionary and alarmist and supports a subversive agenda.


It’s not ok to criticize the EPA or any government sanctioned scientific body that would have the where-with-all or political motivation to falsify any research that might threaten this country’s economic agenda. They are simply the best and most independent group of scientific minds in the world. Just ask them.


Ok, that’s enough for one day. I’m sorry if I got any of this wrong. I’m still learning all these conservative principles so please cut me some slack. I’ve been told that I can learn even more, at a quicker pace, if I tune in to AM radio stations owned by Clear Channel Communications. I think I’ll try that. Maybe then some of these universal truths can sink in better. I hear they've got some damn fine radios for cheap over at the Wal Mart. I’m there. Later,

Peace, er… War I mean,



RPB said...

I just ran across this post while looking for something else. Here's a very quick response from a conservative which might help you to "learn conservative principles," assuming you actually had any desire to do so, which appears doubtful.

1) I believe the basis for the Moromon religion is hilarious. (See e.g., South Park, All About Mormons.) However, Mormons have at least made an attempt to disavow their "cult-like roots, bizarre separatist rituals, ... institutional racism, and/or systematic protocols to cover up sexual abuse." Jeremiah Wright, on the other hand, has made no attempt whatsoever to disavow statements he has made which show that he is, today, a hate filled bigot. Which is worse?

2) Janice Shaw Crouse. Sorry -- couldn't access the link, don't know this person. I do know that some Christians say "hate the sin, love the sinner." So what?

Is homosexuality a sin? I don't know. Is there a plausible basis for arguing that it is, biblically? I think so. Should this argument be dismissed as bigotry? I'm not sure -- but if you think that arguing that homosexuality is sinful is tantamount to bigotry, then what exactly is wrong with the "systematic protocols to cover up sexual abuse" to which you referred in the preceding section? I assume (perhaps incorrectly) you're referring to polygamy and underage marriage which the Mormons at one time espoused (so to speak). If all participants consent to an underage polygamous marriage, how does a moral argument opposing this arrangement differ from a moral argument opposing homosexuality?

Additionally, are you seriously arguing that criticism of the Nation of Islam is undesirable? Are you into numerology, or anti-semitism, by any chance? If Mormons were crackpots, what are members of the Nation of Islam?

3) An "unobstructed path to economic superiority" must be a horrible thing, I suppose. Perhaps we should shoot for an unobstructed path to economic inferiority. Or maybe an obstructed path to economic superiority would do.

But the second option already exists. It's called free market competition, and it works better than any other method that has ever been attempted in advancing the standard of living of everyone on the planet. For example, note the standard of living of the poorest quintile of the world prior to the age of capitalism, and compare it with the acceleration in their standard of living afterward. That group has made more progress in the last 300 years than in the preceding 2000. Also, compare the standard of living of the poorest quintile in communist and socialist countries vs. capitalist countries.

That said, how exactly did the Iraq War (to which it appears that you refer) contribute to "an unobstructed path toward economic superiority?" How was it intended to do so? How was the war in Afghanistan intended to do so?

Conservatives do not believe that the point of either war was to somehow steal the resources of some other nation. Nor do I believe that any serious argument can be made that this sort of "theft" has occurred, or will occur.

I believe most conservatives who support both wars (as many did not support them) believe that the point of the war in Afghanistan was to crush a state actor which was clearly supporting Al Qaeda, thereby protecting the American public.

There were several reasons for the war in Iraq, only one of which was based on an incorrect conclusion which the CIA and foreign intelligence agencies had reached (i.e., Hussein's stockpiling of WMD's. However -- note that several million pounds of yellow cake uranium which Hussein had amassed prior to the war were removed from Iraq within the last 12 months.) One of the most important other reasons for the Iraq war was to eliminate a hostile, terror supporting regime (e.g., Hussein's $25K per Palestinian suicide bomber) in the heart of the middle east which was still at war with the U.S. following Desert Storm, and replace it with a functioning democracy which in turn might form a strategic alliance with the U.S. It appears there is a chance that the U.S. might succeed in this goal, and may perhaps thereby be able to check Iran's support for international terrorist acts, and prevent or delay a nuclear confrontation between Iran and Israel. How is this a bad thing?

4) Legal immigration is fine, and a wonderful thing. We wouldn't exist without it.

Illegal immigration is just that -- illegal. If we want to open the borders, we should have a political debate about it, and pass a law opening the borders after that side wins the argument and gets the votes. Until then, the law should be upheld. Lawlessness begets lawlessness. (Cf., broken window theory of policing.) For most conservatives, the most important reasons for opposing illegal immigration are: 1) legality; 2) national security; and 3) assimilation.

5) I'm sorry, but I do not understand your point. I'll freely admit that I believe that those who call for radical economic change in order to prevent catastrophic global warming are completely full of crap -- I believe their ideas will end up costing us far more than if we do nothing. But many in the EPA support this nonsense, and I have never believed they are "the best an most independent ... (etc)." This is why I can't understand what you're saying.

I believe that your side puts far, far too much faith in scientists who are hopelessly compromised. These university professors who are holding up the banner of climate change are just whores for grant money. The left always sees the bias of oil industry scientists, but they never follow the money on the other side of the argument.

So long, yet too brief. Ah well. Such is life.

Mephisto Phil said...

Dear RPB

Methinks you missed both point and intent on numerous counts based on your somewhat rambling and less than coherent comments. Regardless, from the tone of your epistle, I will venture the following advice:
It's humor dude! Lighten up and don't be so offended when your sacred conservative beliefs are made light of. No one has cornered the market on truth regardless of what the conservative political pundits of the propagandist media would have us believe.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and good luck on that sence of humor.


RPB said...

My God! I hadn't realized it until now, but you're right, of course. Stodgy, humorless conservatives like me are incapable of recognizing the wit and wisdom of superior thinkers such as yourself. We are only capable of laughter if we're drinking martinis while watching police shoot poor minorities for no reason.

Really -- unbelievable as it may seem -- I understood your intent. In fact, your post was funny ... in an ironic, rolling the eyes, shaking the head, "there they go again" way. Nevertheless, I'll take your kind advice and work on my sense of humor.

Now here's my advice to you. Write what you know. You don't know conservatism. What you wrote is undoubtedly funny (even in a non-ironic way) to people who, like you, understand only a caricature of conservative thought. People like me read posts like the one you wrote, and occasionally get the crazy idea that we might be able to help you understand what you're apparently not getting.

Clearly, we're wrong.

So that you may continue mocking me to the delight of your pals, I'll go back to my normal daily routine -- stoning homosexuals, intentionally destroying the environment, exploiting third world countries ... you know. All that good stuff.

Mephisto Phil said...

Bravo. Much better. I knew you could do it. All it took was a little prodding :=)

And just one last side note. I do not dare make assumptions in regard to your credentials or qualifications to speak on behalf of conservatism. I would ask the same sensitivity of you so as to avoid such pitfalls as mistaking me for a liberal. Labels, generalizations, stereotypes and the like are useful tools in my attempts to provoke thought and yank reader's (such as yourself) proverbial chains. Those that are familiar with the theme and intent of this blog know my mantra to be that of Abbie Hoffman's old adage: "Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger".

In reality, I have been a student of political theory, domestic and international, for many years and have worked within numerous political administrations both liberal and conservative. Believe me, I delight in celebrating the absurdity of both schools of thought.

Peace be with you and godspeed in your battles with the uninformed.

Mephisto Phil