I was perusing through the conservatarian thread and started to become overwhelmed with all the bullshit in there.
It seems to me that there is an overarching attitude, not only in this forum but just in society in general, that the problems of the world or of the country are the result of bad forms of gov’t and the inherent malignancy in their various forms upon which Polybius expounded.
But this misses an even more important element, the citizen. The gov’t is nothing more than a collection of citizens, created by citizens, chosen from amongst citizens, and maintained by citizens. So any form of gov’t needs to be examined not necessarily in terms of the form itself, but rather in such a way that asks why citizens could reason that a failed form of gov’t could work in the first place.
Under what kinds of conditions could a group of citizens think that communism or direct democracy could work? What about that society leads otherwise rational people to arrive at such conclusions? What type of society is it that produces such citizens?
I think if we look at it in those terms, we’ll engender a much larger sense of personal responsibility, rather than falling victim to the same bullshit copout that it’s all government’s fault. The problems in this country and in this world are not a result of the form of gov’ts we assign the blame to, or the way we label and compartmentalize different political views.
As far as the ideal citizen goes, I tend to lean toward the idea that the citizen has certain rights AND certain responsibilities. I suppose the fatal flaw in modern liberalism is that these responsibilities tend to become coercive law instead, which turns a responsibility into a burden. I suppose the fatal flaw in modern conservatism is that there is a highly diminished sense of responsibility toward society.
I pretty much agree with your entire post except the last sentence.
I don’t think modern conservatism fails to be responsible toward society but rather our entire social structure is so heavily based on government fixing everything that conservatism doesn’t have the chance to do so.
I suppose I can’t help separating modern conservatism from Ayn Rand. Obviously, there are huge swaths of conservatives who DO feel and act upon a sense of responsibility toward society, just like there are, allegedly, liberals who do not feel that the gov’t is a tool for social “equality”.
But I can never get past the overwhelming impression I am left with after reading a Rand essay: poor people are a problem for the rest of society. There doesn’t seem to be the same attention paid to the causes of poverty as there is toward the potential the potential for their own drop in living standards.[/quote]
Huh? Don’t conflate Rand with conservatism.
It’s hard not to. I generally conflate her with ignorance, contradictions, poor scholarship, plagiarism, a dearth of a priori knowledge, the use of inductive logic to arrive at solid truths despite inductive logic being inappropriate for such an endeavor, a lack of citations in her essays despite repeated claims about the statements of other philosophers (I suppose that’s the same as poor scholarship), and atheism.
But the only people I’ve ever heard espouse her are libertarians, conservatives, or some combination of the two. I’m not sure who I despise more, those who claim she is the most influential philosopher of the last 50 years (how that can be possible when we have Obama in the White House and Ted Cruz and Rand Paul don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of winning more than maybe 2 or 3 primaries, I don’t know), or those who claim to adhere to her philosophies and still believe in God. I’m not sure how people can profess belief in the same flawed system of logic that produces both objectivism and atheism when they aren’t atheists themselves.