Sunday, January 15, 2012

Plank One vs. Plank Two: A bridge they do not make

The problem for contemporary self proclaimed conservatives is that the two primary planks in their platform are at odds with each other, so much so that they cannot hold.
Plank one demands radical freedom from government regulation and oversight so that personal autonomy can be enjoyed to the greatest degree possible. 
Plank two demands that a bundle of particular social values be enacted into law and rigidly enforced. 
The dominant figure in favor of plank one is Ron Paul who, quite accurately, notes that he cannot endorse much of anything in plank two.  That makes him unacceptable to a majority of those claiming to be conservative. 
The dominant figure in favor of plank two is Rick Santorum who, quite accurately, notes that he cannot endorse much of anything in plank one. That makes him unacceptable to a majority of those claiming to be conservative. 
In the meantime, it appears that most so called conservatives are simply unaware of the unbridgeable conflict between the two.  What they want is a government that will leave them alone to live as they like within a society that reflects their social values, forcefully rejecting any others.  The closest we’ve come to that in American history are the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies whose leaders demanded the autonomy to live as they pleased, and what they pleased was to outlaw any way of life that deviated from their own.  I suppose the modern nation that comes closest would be Saudi Arabia.  I wouldn’t much care to live in either.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on the mark! What the most "conservative" Republicans want is two mutually incompatible programs; and, as you point out, the programs once applied in this country were those of the New England Puritans, who wanted "freedom" from kings and bishops so that they could set up an order in a New World where they could deprive everone but themselves of freedom! Dr B

Anonymous said...

Further thoughts on the two planks, but of the far left wing: total personal freedom from all regulations and restrictions, attractive to adolescents, where most leftists start out, and total economic equality (Rousseau and Marx). To achieve the latter takes total government control of the economy to keep the wealth redistributed,and total loss of economic freedom, then total loss of all the heady persoal freedom of speech, press, behavior to that same government control. After brief anarchy (the Paris Commune of 1870 in France), total repression (the Soviet Union in the 1920s and then 1930s). Total economic freedom, on the other hand (the robber barons of 19th century capitlism, unrestricted) makes the many wage slaves to the few! Carolo Collodi in 19th century Italy wrote the moral tale "Pinocchio", where the children are beguiled by candy and carnival rides and no school or discipline on Donkey Island by the evil Fox and the Cat, and then are turned into donkeys, slaving away in mills and weeping for being the fools they were. The moral: those children who skipped school and who never acquired a work ethic fall to the bottom of the economic order and have to take nasty low wage jobs and live in poverty! So the two planks of total persoma; freedom and total economic freedom are incompatible on the liberal side as they are on the conservative side! I worry those young people who follow the libertarian wing of the Republicans, attracted by both the personal freedoms and the free enterprise planks do not see the inner contradictions there. Dr B

Country Parson said...

Bill,
I recall my far left friends of the 60s and early 70s who did not want "the man" telling them what to do in any way, shape or form, but did want "the man" to do everything for them that they desired. They were a lot like today's Tea Partiers, and I wonder if some of the T.P. types have old, dilapidated, psychedelic vans stashed out behind the barn.
CP

Dianna Woolley said...

Excellent comments Dr. B and CP.

I don't believe Ron Paul's followers give any more thought to their blind capitulation to Paul's rhetoric than Michelle Bachmann's did - holy cow voters scare me!