In this weeks Newsweek, there were three interesting articles. I’ll put them forth and express my opinion as well.
Requiem for the Right
This article talks about how the political right must do some drastic changes or else the Republican party will soon die out. In a way, I can see it, but I think Tanenhaus misses the larger picture. The GOP might die, but conservativism never will. Conservativism has been around since Edmund Burke and it’s been very dynamic over the years. In fact, if an institution wants to survive, it must change to meet the demanding times. This is probably why Obama won and McCain lost. Obama said “I will do this, I will do that.” He put up an agenda. McCain didn’t really have an agenda; he mainly put forth things that he wouldn’t do, which isn’t what the public wants to hear.
How can they be organized? All organizations need a leader, and the conservative party became chaotic when they lost William F. Buckley Jr. In other words, the conservative party needs a new leader, and fast if they expect to gain something. Tanenhaus also mentions that language plays a big role in forming a party. It could, but leadership is an all-important concept. It’s also important to note that a great leader makes sure that s/he never allows fringes into the party, or even recognizes them. That’s what made Buckley so great: he denounced the John Birch Society, and he basically said that Ayn Rand wasn’t that great. At the same time, he solidified the great conservatives of the time: Barry Goldwater (who in my opinion is the last great conservative we’ve had), Ronald Reagan, and John Tower. If the leader of conservativism comes down to people like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin, conservativism will either split or move more toward the right. Either way, it’s a disaster. Remember, Teddy Roosevelt was the first to sponsor national health care, and Reagan voted for FDR. . . all four times.
The Five Biggest Lies on the Health Care Debate
Need I say more? Why won’t these myths die? It’s as if people are following an ideology instead of going where the evidence takes them. It’s just a simple fallacy of appeal to the consequences of beliefs.
Why Obama Should Learn to Love the Bomb
An interesting title. Basically, the article is stating that having nuclear bombs is actually a great deterrence and that might actually make the world a safer place. The article points out that since Pakistan got the bomb, they haven’t had any major wars with India ever sense. That may be true, but I’ve always found deterrence a weird concept. Basically, you’re doing a certain action to prevent others from doing the same action. But that seems odd. It’s like saying you’re punishing a child in order to teach other children that they shouldn’t do that same action. I’ve always thought that punishments were done because some action was wrong, not because of some deterrence effect. At any rate, I can’t let this go and may embracing the bomb might be the best strategy after all. At least, my realism in me says so.
REALLY interesting article about nukes. I’ve always been in favor of all out disarmament, but that’s a tough argument to keep with this articel in mind. I guess as Americans we tend to think less of nukes since we’ve actually used them and we have weapons that are far more effective. I think your thinking of a different kind of deterence here. Nukes force people to think logically. The only problem with this argument I can think of is that as time progresses, nuclear technology will become more and more prevelant, and the more accessible the technology becomes, the likelihood of somebody that truly doesn’t care about consequences getting a nuke becomes more real. Presidents aren’t assasinated by people who consider consequences. Car bombs aren’t detonated by logical thinkers. It’s just a matter of time.
All three of those articles are good. Thanks for posting.
I’ve found a link that talks more about the Death of Conservativism with an interview of the author here. What I found fascinating is that he’s an old-school, Burkian type of conservative: we hold on to traditions, which is why President Eisenhower was so great but Bush Jr. wasn’t. Think of Eisenhower. He basically inherited the New Deal from five previous terms of Democrats. He’s not just going to get rid of the New Deal because the people already liked it. Thus, there is already a precedent, a tradition about the New Deal. Thus, the proper conservative response isn’t to roll back or limit the New Deal, but to have a conservative response to it by accepting it as tradition. We can do this with any issue. The Civil Rights movement was basically an idea from the democrats. But I can’t think of any (mainstream) conservatives that wants to get rid of it. Why? It’s because it’s part of our tradition, people have accepted it and it’s now part of our cultural framework. People like Regan saw that there was a problem with Carter and so the correct response was to change his approach.
Sigh. I wish conservativism held on to this idea. Many people have lost great conservative intellectuals like William F. Buckley Jr. Right now, George Will is a great conservative intellectual, but his voice gets drowned out by people like Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. By the way, since when did conservativism and intellectuals become enemies? They need each other. If conservatives lose intellectuals, that system is going to die. Intellectuals provide substance and a rational debate behind their ideals and principles. Remember, Buckley thought that Bill O’Reilly was basically a bully: O’Reilly doesn’t listen. He’s holding on to his principles no matter what. You want a great debate between an two opposing intellectuals? Look up Buckley debate Noam Chomsky in youtube. That’s a serious debate. It seems that Huxley was right: intellectual voices get drowned out by the loudest voices.