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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

 
Conservative strategery, feature not bug edition

by digby

Late Godfather of the conservative movement Paul Weyrich said it right up front:
"I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

That's from this piece by Rick Perlstein about the differences between conservative and liberal strategy. We libs are "process" people who believe that getting everyone to agree to a common set of rules will deliver the best results for everyone. Conservatives are "goals" people who believe that the end justifies the means. We come at civilization from very different angles.

Perlstein elaborated:

We Americans love to cite the “political spectrum” as the best way to classify ideologies. The metaphor is incorrect: it implies symmetry. But left and right today are not opposites. They are different species. It has to do with core principles. To put it abstractly, the right always has in mind a prescriptive vision of its ideal future world—a normative vision. Unlike the left (at least since Karl Marx neglected to include an actual description of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” within the 2,500 pages of Das Kapital), conservatives have always known what the world would look like after their revolution: hearth, home, church, a businessman’s republic. The dominant strain of the American left, on the other hand, certainly since the decline of the socialist left, fetishizes fairness, openness, and diversity. (Liberals have no problem with home, hearth, and church in themselves; they just see them as one viable life-style option among many.) If the stakes for liberals are fair procedures, the stakes for conservatives are last things: either humanity trends toward Grace, or it hurtles toward Armageddon.

It's about the way we think.

I have, in recent years, rejected some of this proceduralism because I think it's often become a liberal dodge, especially when it comes to war and peace. Just because our government officials dotted the Is and crossed the Ts doesn't make a war just or smart. And simply legalizing immoral acts doesn't make them moral. I think liberals tend to get so lost in our fair procedures sometimes that we forget what it is we're using those procedures to accomplish.

As we observe the new GOP congress do battle with the lame duck Democratic president in anticipation of a presidential election, we should probably keep all that in mind ...