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Conservatism in the age of Ideology, which side are you on?

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Drunkenblade of Kay

Conservatism in the age of Ideology, which side are you on?

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I hope you paid close attention to the title of this thread. It is important. Before we begin, ask yourself this question: Why are wars waged today?We live in the Age of Ideology, but in order to understand the implication of this statement we must first understand its origins and the thoughts of the men who gave it form. While we could go all the way back to Socrates, it will be more efficacious to begin with John Locke, the father of liberal democracy. Locke had this idea that every human being is born with certain inalienable rights, maybe you've heard of it? At any rate, this idea derives from the belief that morality exists as some objective reality which can be discovered by means of moral reasoning. Locke fortifies his position by modifying some of the thoughts of his contemporary Thomas Hobbes regarding the Social Contract, which is really just a fancy way to say the tacit agreement of humans to form society and government. So what Locke gave us is the idea that the purpose of government is to protect the natural rights of its citizens. Locke believed that democracy was best suited for this purpose, and it is this particular flavor of democracy which we call liberal democracy.Now that we understand liberal democracy, we can examine the influence it had in the formation of Conservatism. To do this we go to France just prior to the French Revolution. Power in the French government was held almost exclusively by three factions--the monarchy, aristocracy, and the church. However, due to a financial crisis (France was on the verge of Bankruptcy), representatives of the working class came into power and began passing legislation in the name of liberal democracy which fundamentally altered the structure of the government. Because of the instability which ensued, the King and much of the old government were beheaded. Order was not restored until a military leader forcibly subdue the insurgence. That leader was Napolean.This is the context in which true Conservatism was developed by Edward Burke an English statesmen. He viewed the government and society as a biological entity. Each part serves a specific function and is interdependent upon all the functions of all the other parts. He theorized that you cannot radically alter the structure of a government or a without introducing enormous complications. Each aspect of society, whether just or unjust, is inexorably linked to many other parts. We cannot improve society by radically changing its structure any more than we can improve a body by cutting out a lung. Burkes solution to injustice in society was reform rather than fundamental change. He was a realist who believed that the good statesmen must addess the issue of society through the application of prudence and with the resources that are available. Conservatism then is an appeal to tradition and the way things are. The conservative believes that there exists a long history of circumstances which have gone into the formation of society as we see it today and that no single individual is wise enough to comprehend the full extent of the function each part of society serves. Conservatism is anti-revolutionary, anti-ideological even, rather than anti-liberal.So why are wars waged today? I know many of you are going to say for resources and power, but for a moment stop being cynical bastards. Don't look at it from the perspective of an individual, but rather from the perspective of society. Wars are waged today for the supremecy of an ideology--captialism vs. communism vs. Islamicism vs. Judaism vs. Catholocism vs. whatever other set of abstract ideals you want to fight for. How many times have you heard that the 9-11 terrorists were attacking "our way of life?" The present age is characterized by the attempt to see one ideology prevail over another, but according to Burke, this sort of radical transformation of a society can only result in the destruction of its structure followed by violent instability, which in cyclical fashion is seen as the need for more ideological change.Obviously there are ulterior motives involved with the impending conflict with Iraq, but do not be mistaken, it is an ideology that is paving the way.What do you think?(sorry for typo's and crappy writing, i did this extemporaniously)
Kenny Meek

Re:Conservatism in the age of Ideology

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In the Iraq situation, I'm going to have to be the cynical bastard and stick with the resources and power argument for the moment. For one thing, Iraq is a largely secular state, so religious Ideals are hardly appealing as a factor. Second, Saddam is a ruthless murderous dictator true, but he was no less a ruthless murderous dictator twenty years ago when he and Reagan were laying in bed together smoking cigarettes. He was our buddy until he got greedy at the Kuwaiti gas pumps. That was the first of his mistakes, and it left a big mark in the memories of the credulous American population. Now Dubya has that plus the blanket "War on terrorism" thing going on to appeal to the public, even though he has miserably failed to really implicate Saddam as that type of a threat, other than by circumstance. Lets see...rogue state, may have nuclear and chemical weapons... What about the US? The biggest rogue state on the globe, with more nuclear and chemical weapons than Saddam can envision in his wildest dreams. Ask any of the hundreds of thousands of victims of US "humanitarian interventions" as we (and our pal Israel) "defended ourselves from communism" in Central America, the Middle East or Vietnam over the past several decades. I think they might see the big picture a tad more objectively than a grossly propagandized American public. I'm not saying Saddam doesn't need to go down. It's just our penis swinging hypocracy that nauseates me. But what do you expect from a president who can't even pronounce the word "Nuclear." "Nucyaler"....where'd he graduate from?...Yale?
Drunkenblade of Kay

Religion in Iraq

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I dunno, Kenny. Your point is taken, but I think that religion is a significant factor in Iraq.Although members of the ruling Baath Party generally are ideologically committed to secularism, about 95 percent of Iraqis are Muslim and Islam is the officially recognized state religion. Islam came to the region with the victory of the Muslim armies under Caliph Umar over the Sassanians in A.D. 637 at the battle of Al Qadisiyah. The majority of inhabitants soon became Muslim, including the Kurds, although small communities of Christians and Jews remained intact in the area of present-day Iraq. Iraq has been the scene of many important events in the early history of Islam, including the schism over the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad.atheism.about.com/library...qIndex.htmAnd the relationship between the US and Iraq during the Reagan era must take into account the ideological struggles of the Cold War. While we may have had differences with Iraq at that time, perhaps it is more true that necessity makes for strange bedfellows.But don't get me wrong. I believe that resources and power are the ultimate motivation for war and strife, but I believe that it is our ideological tendencies which allow for these motivations to be harmfully justified. It's a pretense which needs to be dispelled, and the modern hijacking of the term "Conservatism" makes such social disillusionment all the more difficult.Good points on the nauseating state of American Foreign policy. How'd a Yaley get into Harvard anyway? Especially with scores in what the 86% percentile? Hell, how'd he get into Yale?I used to hate G.W., thought he was a retarded bigot megalomaniac. I see it differently now. No matter what kind of individual we throw into that office, they are going to fail miserably. Politics are messy on the good days. No single person is able to succeed in that job given the system that exists. G.W. is the result of the kind of system we reward. Americans want to drive big cars, really fast, for long distances, and not have to pay for it. No matter what ideological platform the President is based upon, the shit is going to hit the fan every day of the year. There are just no easy political solutions to these deeply integrated societal problems.Um...sorry for the ramble.-Tim Edited by: Drunkenblade of Kay at: 11/13/02 12:32:19 am
Kenny Meek

Religion in Iraq

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"But don't get me wrong. I believe that resources and power are the ultimate motivation for war and strife, but I believe that it is our ideological tendencies which allow for these motivations to be harmfully justified. It's a pretense which needs to be dispelled, and the modern hijacking of the term "Conservatism" makes such social disillusionment all the more difficult."That was the answer to my next thought...you'll get no argument out of me on that one.
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