Well, without beating a dead horse, my comment stands. Conservatism IS largely a Christian belief system. Last time I looked, the Jewish population was about 2% of the total, while Christians are at about 85%, which is, again, not to knock Jewish participation in the group.
The general category of non-religious citizens is at about 10%, of which about 2% are recorded atheists. So, one just might ask where the real power of the vote lies? It isn't in fringe groups.Comment Posted By mannning On 14.01.2010 @ 22:16
I see that CT is totally unfamiliar with the full concept of Natural Law. That must mean that he is also either atheistic or agnostic. Read up!
That someone is one or the other---agnostic or atheist--- does not mean a thing with regard to their citizenship ot rights, RB. What it does do is take away one of the underpinnings of conventional conservatism, and thus provides for an edgy membership in a heavily Christian-based group such as conservatives. You positioned yourself very far from this group in the first place, which tells all that anyone needs to know.Comment Posted By mannning On 14.01.2010 @ 21:00
It appears that the conservative tenet you are looking for is simply to explore the universe of ideas and try them on to see if they fit, or should be made to fit, the conservative game plan. If this is the case, it is so obvious that at least I missed your point, because what else do rational and reasoning people do? Testing and modifying the tenets of your belief system to "fit" is an on-going process, or should be. So is simply accepting a rational idea on its merits if it does no harm to conservatism. But...
If what you are saying is that conservatives must research, analyze, and then accept some specific set of ideas as tenets that they long since have rejected because they do not fit, and will never fit the conservative mold, then I think you are reaching for a Utopian ideal that is attempting to blend a dash of progressive liberalism with libertarianism and hide-bound, fiscal and social conservatism, which tends to be an explosive mix.
Perhaps the core of your discontent with many conservatives lies with your atheism and secularism, since I suggest that it would be very hard for an atheist to accept the full scale of Natural Law, with its decidedly spiritual content. Thus you are at odds with perhaps 90% of all conservatives to begin with, so you want them to explore the tenets of...atheism, among other systems of thought, which would necessarity include some of the "litmus test" subjects such as abortion, same sex marriage, etc.? Most of us fought that battle, or those battles, before we were 21 or so, and rejected them then.
Are you saying that conservatives should reject some of their religious beliefs in order to sort of blend in with those who support such irreligious ideas; in other words, to catch up with the "modern" (hedonistic) crowd that has tossed their religious beliefs out of the window? This is not on!Comment Posted By mannning On 14.01.2010 @ 14:14
Perhaps I need to turn the crank much slower to recognize where some people declare that conservatism is “unhinged”. It seems to me that most of the criticism is about fringe groups and the strange positions a few that call themselves conservative take that are simply wrong, just as you will find in every movement of any size.
The conservatives that I know closely hold to what I consider to be classical beliefs of conservatism, but those are rather nicely ameliorated by their understanding of today’s political scene and the state of the union.
One criticism that I have heard a number of times is that of some conservatives insisting on smaller government. What they mean, I believe, is less government intrusion into our private lives, and more government concentration on its constitutional obligations.
We do have far more agencies and such than anyone can understand, and they all vie to make their ideas of governance take hold, with ever bigger budgets and mission creep to match. This is quite often at cross purposes with one or more other government agencies, and the people are caught in between. So there is a need to examine very carefully each and every government organization in order to remove duplication of functions and decision powers, and to insist upon a valid and stable mission, while saving the taxpayer some money.
It is a sad fact that much of the legislation of the past century carries the government beyond its mandated Constitutional functions and areas of responsibility, in order to meet what some insist is a crying need or even right. This creeping evolution of our government towards socialism or totalitarianism is not what our Fathers had in mind, and it is not what our middle of the road conservatives have in mind for “right-sized” government.
There is little reason to insist that as our population grows and diversifies, the government should grow proportionately as well. It should grow only so far that it meets its constitutional obligations to the people.
There is a right size for government that can cope with even a much larger population, especially when they employ modern tools of IT and automation.
There is also a right set of government responsibilities and duties, beyond which it is the states, the localities and the citizenry that must stand up and cope for themselves, and not turn to the federal government in every instance. This right set is first outlined in our Constitution, and that set is amplified by existing legislation and laws in force at several levels---federal, state and local—which should be examined for savings as well by their respective legislators and administrations.
Each state has its own Constitution and laws that parallel the national set, but with some significant differences. There seems to be a movement to centralize all lawmaking in the federal government, and to downplay state and local legal preferences.
This is not what the Constitution specifies, but it is what liberals appear to want, because it makes it easier to impose their kind of thinking on the entire nation and every person in it through congressional legislation or from legislation from the bench. This direction most conservatives object to very strongly.
What are the guidelines or tenets that most conservatives sign up to? It is a simple set to write down, but far from simple to live by:
1. Follow Natural Law and all of the moral obligations, duties and responsibilities that are inferred from this law, both for government and for citizens.
2. Uphold the Constitution and the civil laws derived from it, from both inside and outside threats to its sanctity. Show faith in these prescriptions.
3. Uphold State and Local Laws, but resist the temptation to legislate every aspect of society, which would create massively more difficulties than it would solve.
4. Maintain Traditions, Customs, Conventions and Institutions that have been established over the 230-odd years of the nation’s existence, and not change them without just cause, and due deliberation by all concerned.
5. Cope with Change, since change is inevitable, but truly needed changes must be carefully controlled and implemented so as to minimize later unpleasant and unforeseen effects on the people, the society, and the nation.
6. Defense of the Nation. A strong defense is most necessary. It must be maintained to keep our sovereignty, and to survive and prosper in this imperfect world, populated as it is by imperfect men and imperfect nations.
7. Maintain Law and Order, both nationally (such as for our borders), state-wise, and locally. Apply our laws evenly and fully.
8. Promote Mixed Capitalism, largely free market based, but carefully and minimally regulated by the government to ensure fair play. It is apparent that the government must not be in competition with the private sector for business and profit.
9. Fair Taxation, where every citizen makes a contribution. The definition of what is “fair” for all is not a simple challenge, but it is one that must be answered satisfactorily. Excessive taxation demotes business and promotes spending for pork projects.
10. Maintain the Right to Private Property, since it has been shown that freedom and liberty are tremendously enhanced by private ownership.
11. Fiscal Responsibility, which means careful budgeting, living within our means, control of spending, and fiscally responsible legislation to name a few aspects. This is needed more than ever to rein in the spending that is killing our economy. We must return to fiscal responsibility.
12. Promote Science, Technology and Engineering, since our modern world is massively dependent upon these efforts to maintain and better our way of life. Conversely, we must reject fantasy science and unproven assertions from pseudo-scientists bent upon their own gain, either alone or in collusion with others.
13. Assure American Cultural Goals, which must include assimilation of diverse cultures into our American society, integration by means of a common language--English--non-discrimination before the law, and proper education of all our people to assume their roles and responsibilities in the American Republic. Support to families and their values should be integral to our governance.
14. Freedom Must be Preferred over Equality, because we must not legislate for equality, only to find that we have legislated against freedom and liberty, and thus have seriously damaged or destroyed our republic.
Given the above tenets, which I believe most conservatives sign up to, even TP'ers, just where exactly is mainline conservatism going astray?
Is it in 'peripheral' issues? Which ones?Comment Posted By mannning On 13.01.2010 @ 23:13
Yes, indeed, that is the problem! You don't believe you are running the nation into the ground! But, there are those of us that do believe it with all our hearts.
May God be kind to us all!Comment Posted By mannning On 13.01.2010 @ 19:53
Most commentators from the Right are apparently looking for the sensational, the appalling, and the frightening to report on about our condition here in the US. Those stories build audiences. The unfortunate thing is, they find such true and frustrating stories day after day when observing the throes of liberal government and the antics of other political animals in the DC zoo. The Left feeds the sensationalism!
The picture they present is of a failing nation, and failing politicos, and then sometimes provide their version of a solution to this or that, which quite often does not ring true. Or, it rings true, but in the prevailing scene, their solution is virtually impossible to implement without a major revolution.
If you integrate over their years of pontification, and filter out the over-the-top comments, some sense of a real conservative attitude and direction emerges, but to take their instant prescriptions as gospel is a schoolboy mistake.
I claim that many, if not most, listeners use their common sense and their filters to come to rational conclusions about our problems, and I do not believe that all that many of them consider any of these commentators to be honest-to-God wise leaders of the conservative movement---merely entertaining spokesmen that do pinpoint quite well certain areas created by the Left that do need our serious attention. Thus leftist tempers rise!
The meme that Rush leads the movement is a typical Leftist attempt to trivialize the Right, and, to be honest, it is somewhat effective. But, his audience of millions have not validated this meme, because they know his real status all too well, and Rush himself has rejected the meme as silly.
Many that want to continue to trivialize the Right hammer away at Rush, Sean, and the other's memes, for they believe it helps either the sensible Right, or the giddy Left to know the "truth". Evidently, they resent the fact that these men have found an audience that listens avidly every day, even as these listeners readily discount in their minds that which is impossible and invalid from that which is possible and valid.
We should have more faith in the citizenry on the Right, and some independents, to think things through. Sorry, I cannot say the same for citizens on the left that have helped to push us to the edge of the Obama/Reid/Pelosi--fostered financial cliff--and probably over!Comment Posted By mannning On 13.01.2010 @ 13:25
Perhaps I live in a cloistered world, but even the Tea Baggers I know do not fit the thrust of your post. You have been ranting for months about marginal groups and crazies, not the bread and butter, middle-class conservatives that make up the majority of the "movement".
I think Frank's comment above strikes at the same idea, that you are teeing off on the showboaters, the wannabees, and the nuts that gravitate to any movement, but at the same time, you are seemingly casting aspersions on the majority of good, solid conservatives, who do not understand our current liberal-controlled directions, and do not see the sense in them.
What they do see, and are frightened about, is the national debt projected to top $37 Trillion in 10 years, and there appears to be little the average person can do about it, except to voice their objections by showing up at Tea Parties, writing their congressmen (which most think is ineffective anyway, except in very specific cases in VA now with two Dems as Senators)and talking up alterntives where they can. Their votes will show this year and next, I believe, out of fear for themselves and the nation.
So my circle of conservative friends are looking for fiscal common sense, starting as soon as possible. They are looking for a better way to afford medical care, too, and they do not see emasculating the current triplex of entitlements, SS, Medicare, Medicaid, as a sensible solution either. If there is waste and fraud in these programs, and I know there is, that should be a major point of attack, and it should have been the target for a long, long time. That we have not landed feet-first into this fraud and abuse situation is a sin for both parties and many Presidents. Entitlements will be our downfall if we do not find the right coping strategies very soon!
There is no question that we need sensible regulation of the financial world, but also including relief for the small businessman that is overloaded today with Federal paperwork to little end but losses. The ability of financial gurus to invent mechanisms to increase their profits is legendary, and they do need a braking mechanism, but not a killing one.
Wht I see, then, are ordinary citizens, who are indeed conservative in outlook, wanting our leadership to apply understandable common sense to all of our situations, both domestic and foreign. They do not see it happening now, and dispair of any liberal government showing them such common sense. They are fed up with liberal ideology, the closed- door horsetrading, the say one thing and do the opposite tactics, and with the evils of political correctness.
It is something of a miracle that there hasn't been even greater protests in the streets, and wherever else it would matter. That some resort to overblown signs and rhetoric is a further indication of the frustration and fear that is besetting many citizens today that they are betrayed and in jeopardy of losing their country.
Just maybe, a new set of conservative leaders could set a firmer course, and allay these fears. I hope they emerge real soon now! It is certain that what we have now is simply not up to the job.Comment Posted By mannning On 12.01.2010 @ 23:07
Very interesting comment! Gene transfer via a number of mechanisms, and it directly implicates the comparative similarity of genomes of many animals. How does this relate to the so-called trash DNA sequences, that some believe are not trash at all?
I am still puzzled by the evolution of human consciousness, brain function, and mind, but then, so is everyone. From whence came the spark that clearly separates man from all other animals? It would seem that still other evolutionary mechanisms are at work that we have little knowledge of or scientific explanation for, not yet, anyway. Definitely unsettling!Comment Posted By mannning On 9.01.2010 @ 21:44
Corrections; the concept in my Post #23 was supposed to be "punctuated equilibrium" and its author was S. J. Gould, not Pinker.Comment Posted By mannning On 9.01.2010 @ 15:03
Evolution: Just one of many arguments that need adequate explanation and not merely claiming heaps of evidence that turn out to be irrelevant:
There is no data or valid evidence that the life forms that suddenly appeared in the Cambrian period had any precursors at all, as Darwinism demands. No eons of time to evolve, either; it all happened over some 5 million years, and the forms include the complex mammalian types from which we presumably descended.
This should given rabid Darwinists pause, if they are objective Darwinist scientists, but is that possibly an oxymoron?
Here is where the next phrase is inserted: "Oh, it (the progression of life forms) will be discovered, just give us time!"
OK, but till then, your theory does not hold up well enough against this argument, and hence it is not settled science. So simple is it!Comment Posted By mannning On 9.01.2010 @ 07:37