View Poll Results: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

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  • William F. Buckley Jr.

    13 24.53%
  • Pat Buchanan

    1 1.89%
  • Ronald Reagan

    9 16.98%
  • Dick Cheney

    17 32.08%
  • George W. Bush

    4 7.55%
  • Glenn Beck

    4 7.55%
  • Rush Limbaugh

    4 7.55%
  • Michelle Bachman

    2 3.77%
  • Newt Gingrich

    5 9.43%
  • Ron Paul

    12 22.64%
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Thread: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

  1. #11
    Sage

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    Re: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Conservatism or American conservatism?

    Conservatism, Edmund Burke.

    American conservatism, probably Rush Limbaugh.
    Limbaugh is NOT a conservative first and foremost. He is a Republican first and foremost. And then he is a conservative leaning Republican.
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  2. #12
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    Re: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

    I won't taint the poll for you, but I would likewise question the authenticity of the question, considering conservatism, like any broad-ideology, is rather difficult to nail down throughout American history. I suppose it would fit to find out what conservatives feel is their man or woman, but as far as what "best" represents conservatism will be something easily argued, because in many respects, you could hold that entirely different views are still conservative (for instance, big government vs. small government, Republicanism vs. Mass Democracy).

    Lately, those perhaps called paleoconservatives or libertarians have really tried to argue that X, Y, and Z are what can only define conservatism, which is rather flawed. Neoconservatives have likewise tried to do the same thing lately with regard to foreign affairs, because they find that paleoconservatives or libertarians greatly differ in conclusions, and found that to a significant degree liberals or new-leftists agree with many of the propositions of paleoconservatives and libertarians. This is not altogether different as to how neoconservatives viewed themselves with regard to domestic policy or political philosophy decades ago. They saw themselves as not really American conservative because to them, American conservatives at that point in time represented X, Y, Z, whereas they felt that they were finding other conservative truths that meshed well but did not quite fit with American conservatism at that point, or, in fact, came to conservative views that were prior to 18th century liberalism of the Enlightenment era (perhaps as far back as Aristotle or Plato's views of the City, and so forth).
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 01-29-11 at 06:30 PM.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

  3. #13
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    Re: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    I won't taint the poll for you, but I would likewise question the authenticity of the question, considering conservatism, like any broad-ideology, is rather difficult to define throughout American history.
    I think you could ask most people "who is the ideal conservative/liberal" they'd say "Me!"
    You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

  4. #14
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    Re: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by ksu_aviator View Post
    I think you could ask most people "who is the ideal conservative/liberal" they'd say "Me!"
    Well, especially if they find a resurgence of ideas that take hold of such a label with such force and pride.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

  5. #15
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    Re: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    I won't taint the poll for you, but I would likewise question the authenticity of the question, considering conservatism, like any broad-ideology, is rather difficult to nail down throughout American history. I suppose it would fit to find out what conservatives feel is their man or woman, but as far as what "best" represents conservatism will be something easily argued, because in many respects, you could hold that entirely different views are still conservative (for instance, big government vs. small government, Republicanism vs. Mass Democracy).

    Lately, those perhaps called paleoconservatives or libertarians have really tried to argue that X, Y, and Z are what can only define conservatism, which is rather flawed. Neoconservatives have likewise tried to do the same thing lately with regard to foreign affairs, because they find that paleoconservatives or libertarians greatly differ in conclusions, and found that to a significant degree liberals or new-leftists agree with many of the propositions of paleoconservatives and libertarians. This is not altogether different as to how neoconservatives viewed themselves with regard to domestic policy or political philosophy decades ago. They saw themselves as not really American conservative because to them, American conservatives at that point in time represented X, Y, Z, whereas they felt that they were finding other conservative truths that meshed well but did not quite fit with American conservatism at that point, or, in fact, came to conservative views that were prior to 18th century liberalism of the Enlightenment era (perhaps as far back as Aristotle or Plato's views of the City, and so forth).
    Interesting that you would bring up Plato, since the Neoconservative concept of "Noble Lies" was actually created by him.
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  6. #16
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    Re: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    Interesting that you would bring up Plato, since the Neoconservative concept of "Noble Lies" was actually created by him.
    Was that supposed to be an indictment of conservatism? If it was, it was a very pathetic one...no supporting evidence, no logical correlation, just a simple and baseless attack.
    You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

  7. #17
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    Re: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

    He will quickly reply that neoconservatives believe in the concept of the noble lie, in which rulers are encouraged to lie to the polis. It's a simplistic reading, most likely not questioned.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

  8. #18
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    Re: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

    I voted Ronald Reagan and Ron Paul. I don't agree with all of Paul's ideas and in fact, some of them are downright looney (IMHO) but a lot of what he does stand for, is to me - good old fashioned conservative ideals.

    I am a former GOP'er who lost faith in that organization after Reagan. Since that time, the GOP has lost their vision of conservatism. Hence my Libertarian label.
    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice....shame on me.

  9. #19
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    Re: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by ksu_aviator View Post
    Was that supposed to be an indictment of conservatism? If it was, it was a very pathetic one...no supporting evidence, no logical correlation, just a simple and baseless attack.
    Not an indictment at all, but the Noble Lie is a cornerstone of Neoconservatism, as opposed to Paleoconservatism, based on the teachings of Leo Strauss, who is regarded as one of the two fathers of Neocon ideology, former Communist Party member Irving Kristol being the other.

    And my post was not an attack on Conservatives at all, since the terms "Neocon" and "Conservative" are mutually exclusive in meaning.
    Last edited by danarhea; 01-30-11 at 07:49 PM.
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  10. #20
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    Re: Who best represents Conservative philosophy?

    Strauss noted that thinkers of the first rank, going back to Plato, had raised the problem of whether good and effective politicians could be completely truthful and still achieve the necessary ends of their society. By implication, Strauss asks his readers to consider whether it is true that noble lies have no role at all to play in uniting and guiding the polis. Are myths needed to give people meaning and purpose and to ensure a stable society? Or can men dedicated to relentlessly examining, in Nietzsche's language, those "deadly truths," flourish freely? Thus, is there a limit to the political, and what can be known absolutely? In The City and Man, Strauss discusses the myths outlined in Plato's Republic that are required for all governments. These include a belief that the state's land belongs to it even though it was likely acquired illegitimately and that citizenship is rooted in something more than the accidents of birth.
    Leo Strauss:
    "We are not permitted to be flatterers of democracy...precisely because we are friends and allies of democracy."
    From Allan Bloom:

    The lie, because it is a lie, points up the problems it is designed to
    solve. Perhaps no rational investigation of them could yield a basis for
    political legitimacy. In any event, the character of men's desires would
    make it impossible for a rational teaching to be the public teaching.
    Today it is generally admitted that every society is based on myths,
    myths which render acceptable the particular form of justice in-
    corporated in the system. Socrates speaks more directly: the myths are
    lies. As such, they are unacceptable to a rational man. But he does not
    hold that because all civil societies need myths about justice, there is no
    rational basis to be found for justice. His teaching cannot serve as an
    excuse for accepting whatever a society asserts is justice. The noble lie
    is precisely an attempt to rationalize the justice of civil society; it is an
    essential part of an attempt to elaborate a regime which most embodies
    the principles of natural justice and hence transcends the false justice of
    other regimes. The thoughtful observer will find that the noble lie is a
    political expression of truths which it itself leads him to consider. In
    other words, there are good reasons for every part of this lie, and that is
    why a rational man would be willing to tell it.

    The Socratic teaching that a good society requires a fundamental
    falsehood is the direct opposite of that of the Enlightenment which
    argued that civil society could dispense with lies and count on selfish
    calculation to make men loyal to it. The difference between the two
    views can be reduced to a difference concerning the importance of
    moderation, both for the preservation of civil society and for the full
    development of individual men's natures. The noble lie is designed to
    give men grounds for resisting, in the name of the common good, their
    powerful desires. The great thinkers of the Enlightenment did not deny
    that such lies are necessary to induce men to sacrifice their desires and
    to care for the common good. They were no more hopeful than Soc-
    rates concerning most men's natural capacity to overcome their
    inclinations and devote themselves to the public welfare. What they in-
    sisted was that it was possible to build a civil society in which men did
    not have to care for the common good, in which desire would be chan-
    neled rather than controlled. A civil society which provided security
    and some prospect of each man's acquiring those possessions he most
    wishes would be both a more simple and more .sure solution than any
    Utopian attempt to make men abandon their selfish wishes. Such a civil
    society could count on men's rational adhesion, for it would be an in-
    strument in procuring their own good as they see it. Therefore modera-
    tion of the appetites would be not only unnecessary but undesirable, for
    it would render a man more independent of the regime whose purpose
    it is to satisfy the appetites.

    The Socratic response to this argument would be twofold. First,
    he would simply deny the possibility of a regime which would never be
    compelled to call for real sacrifices from its citizens. This is particularly
    true in time of war. A man cannot reasonably calculate that dying in
    battle will serve the long-range satisfaction of his desires. Therefore
    every civil society will require myths which can make citizens of
    private men. But in the case of such a selfish society it will be both very
    difficult to provide such myths, and they will be a distasteful parody of
    the reason on which the society prides itself; what pretends to be
    philosophy will have to be propaganda.

    Second, such a civil society can be founded only by changing the
    meaning of rationality. For this society, rationality consists in the
    discovery of the best means of satisfying desires. The irrationality of
    those desires must be neglected; in particular, men must neglect the ir-
    rationality of their unwillingness to face the fact that they must
    die, of their constant search for the means of self-preservation as if they
    could live forever. Socrates teaches that only a man who masters the
    desires of the body can see the true human situation and come to terms
    with it. Such mastery is the precondition of living a rational and satisfy-
    ing life, but it is very difficult to attain, and men need all the help they
    can get if they are to succeed in attaining it. The civil society proposed



    [ 368 ]



    Interpretive Essay



    by the men of the Enlightenment, far from encouraging such modera-
    tion, positively discourages it. It also ridicules those sometimes simple
    beliefs which would help to support a man's self-restraint and remind
    him of his mortality. Such a society would produce a race of self-
    forgetting, philistine men who would demand as their rulers men like
    themselves. According to Socrates, a noble lie is the only way to insure
    that men who love the truth will exist and rule in a society. The noble lie
    was intended to make both warriors and artisans love the city, to assure
    that the ruled would be obedient to the rulers, and, particularly, to pre-
    vent the rulers from abusing their charge. Apparently, though, it is not
    completely successful in overcoming the warriors' temptations. Socrates
    goes yet further: they are deprived of all private property, of everything
    which they might call their own to which they might become privately at-
    tached, particularly money, which admits of infinite increase and extends
    the possibility of private desire. And they are also deprived of privacy;
    they have no place where they might store illegally acquired things or
    enjoy forbidden pleasures. They are always seen by men, if not by gods,
    so that the secrecy needed for successful lawbreaking and the gaining of
    an unfounded good reputation are lacking. Injustice cannot be profit-
    able for them. They are now completely political, the realization of Soc-
    rates' perfect artisan who cares only for what he rules and not at all for
    himself. They can have no concern other than the common good.
    Full text of "Plato's Republic [Allan Bloom's translation]"

    From Robert Kagan:

    But that's not the reason I never became a Straussian. It was because my father explained to me, as well as to Bloom, of course, that Bloom did not understand Plato. This may seem a bit outrageous to many people today, given Bloom's reputation. But I still think my father was right, and at the time I had no doubt that he was right. My father was and is a great arguer, and as a boy I was inclined to believe that he was right about practically everything. So to me, the Kagan-Bloom debates always looked like a complete wipe-out.

    As best I can recall, their biggest point of contention was whether Plato was just kidding in The Republic. Bloom said he was just kidding. I later learned that this idea--that the greatest thinkers in history never mean what they say and are always kidding--is a core principle of Straussianism. My friend, the late Al Bernstein, also taught history at Cornell. He used to tell the story about how one day some students of his, coming directly from one of Bloom's classes, reported that Bloom insisted Plato did not mean what he said in The Republic. To which Bernstein replied: "Ah, Professor Bloom wants you to think that's what he believes. What he really believes is that Plato did mean what he said.

    [..]I learned from my father that the problem with Straussians was that they were ahistorical. They were consumed with the great thinkers and believed the great thinkers were engaged in a dialogue with one another across time. This made Straussians slight the historical circumstances in which great thinkers did their thinking. Indeed, my father, the historian, taught me to mistrust not only Straussians but also political philosophy in general, and I have pretty much done so--though, again, I have to admit it's partly because I find it hard to understand.

    The irony was that my father, who never agreed with the Straussians, spent a good deal of time defending them from attack at the university. In the late 1970s, he tried to save Tom Pangle from getting chased out of Yale by the political science department, many of whose leading lights declared Pangle's views intolerable. (They didn't even know at the time that Straussianism would prove to be the main cause of the Iraq war three decades later--although they may have suspected it.) My dad tried to help not because he agreed with everything Pangle thought but on grounds of academic freedom.

    That episode may explain why even my poor father sometimes gets called a Straussian. But I sometimes fear he is being tarred by his association with me, his Straussian son. Being a gentleman of the old school, he has never felt it necessary or appropriate to correct the record. But I thought I'd better, because this is a different world, one where factual errors whip around the Internet, and no one is ever kidding.

    This article is first in a series. Next: "I am not a Trotskyist."
    I Am Not a Straussian | The Weekly Standard
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 01-30-11 at 09:06 PM.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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