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05/10/2009

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» Another Thoughtful Posner Blog from The Political Pragmatist
Posner’s conclusions about where Bush went too far are compatible with my own, but I disagree that the conservative economic plan was any good from the beginning. Once again, even one of the strongest conservative intellectuals fails to address ... [Read More]

» More on the Woes of the GOP from PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts
Richard Posner: By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party. That, in two sentences, sums up the basic situation with the Republican Party at the moment. a... [Read More]

» Daily Affirmations 5/12 from The Plank
Today, putting aside childish things, I'm giving daily affirmations entirely to conservatives. 1 [Read More]

» Yglesias on Posner and the Conservative Movement from ProfessorBainbridge.com
Richard Posner blogs on what he calls "the intellectual decline of conservatism," which prompts some gleeful ruminations from Yglesias. The trouble with this (and it's a trope that's bound to be repeated elsewhere on the left) is Yglesias' claim that P... [Read More]

» Conservatism Is At Lowest Ebb Since 1964, But Some Find Hope in Obama's Vulnerabilities from The Buie Knife
After successfully shifting the center of American politics and social thought to the right over four decades, conservatism is at its weakest point since Barry Goldwater's landslide defeat in 1964, Richard Posner writes. The author of A Failure of Capi... [Read More]

» Beldar on Posner on conservatism from BeldarBlog
U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit is a fine jurist, and a profound thinker and writer on matters legal and economic. To the extent he and Barack Obama rubbed an occasional elbow as part-time faculty at Chicago Law School, he's pr... [Read More]

» The Intellectual Deterioration Of Politics from Right Wing News
Richard Posner has gotten a bit of attention on the Right for writing a piece bemoaning the intellectual deterioration of the conservative movement. Here's an excerpt, I sense intellectual deterioration of the once-vital conservative movement in the Un... [Read More]

» Wake-Up Time from Random Thoughts
Richard Posner, a Reagan judicial appointee, writes: My theme is the intellectual decline of conservatism, and it is notable that the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellect... [Read More]

» Watcher's council special - who shall lead? from Soccer Dad
The Watcher of Weasels put out the following question (and explanation) to the rest of the Watcher's council. I am looking to counter the argument that the movement no longer has big thinkers such as William F. Buckley and as such will lead to its ulti... [Read More]

» At least it wasn't haiku from Political Animal
AT LEAST IT WASN'T HAIKU.... Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) has decided to join the conservative attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That's not terribly surprising. What is surprising is the preferred medium for Huckabee. In all seriousness,... [Read More]

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Fred

In response to "Reader" who said: "The family has functions basic to society which are intrinsically heterosexual - procreation, child-rearing, and vital importance of tying males to marital responsibilities"

1) marriage is about more than procreation, and please note that we allow marriage for post-menaposal women, sterile people, and people who simply don't want to have children.

2) if marriage and family are good for society, then perhaps it is good for society to encourage homosexuals to settle down in a committed relationship with another person with all the responsibilities that brings. by banning same-sex marriage, we are making it more difficult for long-term monogamy.

so, assuming promiscuity and lack of more serious commitment is harmful for society, it follows that it is good for society to encourage same-sex marriage.

Golden Boy

Interesting piece. Some of the user-comments are thoughtful too.

Sullivan

While I agree that the GOP has lost all touch with intellectual conservatism, I don't see any particularly intellectual leanings in the current Democratic party either, even if they continue to enjoy the votes of the academic elite. This isn't the shift of a single party, but of the entirety of American political discourse. Smartypants eggheads don't win you elections in this country, no matter how well reasoned their theories or arguments. Mostly, it seems, you win because of emotional reactions AGAINST the other party.

Tyler

Here we have a well-written and insightful piece about how the conservative movement is being harmed by pre-occupation with emotional issues, religious issues, and scientific ignorance. And it is followed by pages upon pages of angry rants by fellow conservatives almost exclusively about abortion and climate change denial. This is truly irony at its finest.

Wayne Lively

"While I agree that the GOP has lost all touch with intellectual conservatism, I don't see any particularly intellectual leanings in the current Democratic party either, even if they continue to enjoy the votes of the academic elite. This isn't the shift of a single party, but of the entirety of American political discourse. Smartypants eggheads don't win you elections in this country, no matter how well reasoned their theories or arguments. Mostly, it seems, you win because of emotional reactions AGAINST the other party."

True, and a legacy of the conservative movement more interested in winning elections (to support their ideology) than in the best interests of the country. Getting people to vote against their economic interests is truly anti-intellectual.

Wayne Lively

Where the Judge and I disagree is on the validity of the conservative economic theory itself. Trickle-down did not work. In Sunday's NYT, in the 1970s, American workers saved 14% of income. In 2005, the savings rate was negative 2.5%. The conservative economic theory decimated the middle class and Judge Posner's post does not address that fact.

This is the biggest problem conservatives face. How do they get back credibility with the middle class who are not Southerners?

Sara

My God "Anonymous", the man is your President. Spell his damn name right! Since you have hijacked the thread with your "since someone mentioned ____, here's my seven paragraph screed on ____(insert Republican talking points, innuendo,and conspiracy theory here), at least spell his name right. It's Barack.

Blair

The sad part about this comment section, is how misguided most of the comments seem to be.

Posner is giving you the Key, the solution to bring Conservatism back to the forefront. The Key to becoming a rational force for change, and a positive one.

And in the face of his gift, the comments have degenerated into Obama bashing and a narrative about all the irrelevant issues that Posner TOLD you to stop focusing on.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5ieXw28ZUpg/SgmX0dTi6GI/AAAAAAAABIM/QJX19BAVlec/s1600-h/colgrad.PNC

Check the link.

arcview

"Here we have a well-written and insightful piece about how the conservative movement is being harmed by pre-occupation with emotional issues, religious issues, and scientific ignorance. And it is followed by pages upon pages of angry rants by fellow conservatives almost exclusively about abortion and climate change denial. This is truly irony at its finest."

was wondering when someone was going to point that out. The far right has pushed reasonable, pragmatic conservatives to the fringe; as a democrat I say well done.

Matt Rigsby

Anonymous. At least learn how to spell your president's name. It's Barack, not "Barrack."

Even liberals agree that a fetus is a fully human person. The question is not whether the fetus has a right to life (of course it does), but rather, does it have the right to use the woman's body in order to sustain that right? Has the woman, through engaging in sexual intercourse, consented use of her womb to the fetus?

Your posts are distracting at best, crippling to the Pro-Life movement at worst.

There is an intelligent debate over consent with respect to abortion; stop muddling it with your asinine, "anonymous" ramblings.

Marie

The Posner piece is excellent. As far as the climate change debate is concerned, though, we have a wee problem. Would it be possible to leave the science debate to the scientists? Discussion of causation, solar cycles, temperature readings, model results etc. should of course be the subject of continued scientific inquiry and research. It is absurd that both Climate Change advocates and Climate Change deniers have made their positions a matter of faith. It's as if the belief systems on both sides are a matter of religion at this point.
The quality of the debate naturally suffers once an issue becomes politicized beyond recognition.

todji

To claim that an embryo is a human life worthy of all the full rights and privileges thus granted is absurd. There is a scientific standard to judge this by- a fetus doesn't develop a central nervous system or have brain function until at least the fifth month of pregnancy. Until then, its just a clump of cells. Living cells, but hardly a "human".

Using brain function for such a determination meshes well with our current legal standards regarding death. A patient without brain function can legally be removed from life support.

To suggest a legal standard of when human life begins that is not based in science would be a violation of the 1st amendment establishment clause.

spike

An intelligent piece by mr. Posner (as usual) marred by the usual asinine comments from what passes as "Conservatives" these days. These are people who just walk around with their hands over their ears all day and make loud nonsense sounds so they will not have to aknowledge reality. How is a new Conservatism to be born from such corrupted soil?

Anonymous

Todji.

For the record, I do not think that a woman consents to pregnancy when she consents to sexual intercourse. Hopefully that helps frame my (above) assertion that a fetus is a fully human person.

I think the debate over personhood is a dead end. It's better to accept the Pro-Life assertion that the fetus is a person, worthy of rights, because it does nothing to damage the Pro-Choice argument that the woman has not consented to pregnancy by consenting to sex. All the personhood argument does is keep the debate in a deadlock.

You're right in everything you said about the nervous system, but to meet the Pro-Lifers halfway by accepting their full-personhood proposal helps advance the argument to a point where religion (and the establishment clause) can no longer be used to buttress the Pro-Life argument. Consent is only a legal issue, not a religious one.

The personhood of a fetus is completely irrelevant when the debate is framed with respect to consent. This concession does much to calm the Pro-Life side.

paul o

At this point, I believe that it is a bed of thorns, not laurels, that today's "conservatism" is resting on.

Anonymous

Also not reported in our media, there is a major rift in the Democrat party forming. There are real anti-war people in this country who thought Obama was anti-war. Obama used these people to politicize war in order to win. Since winning, he has escalated the war in afghanistan and not changed a thing in iraq. Obama has also managed to do some major damage on innocent civilians in Pakistan. And possibly worst of all, Obama increased the military budget by 4% in his first year. All not to shabby for the anti-war candidate who defeated Hillary Clinton in the primary.

There are good honest people out there who feel betrayed by this.

Anonymous

"I think the debate over personhood is a dead end."

Of course it is, which is why i chose not to respond to it. This is just another way for the liberal to sidestep his conscience and avoid the facts.

Ginsburg and the lefty judges call it a "constitutional" definition for life. Same idea as "personhood". Whatever you liberals want to call it, there is no denying this SCIENTIFIC FACT that has 100% consensus from the medical community:

Your policy of carte blanche abortion steals an innocent human life.

Now go on and give me a scientific lecture on man-made global warming and try to convince me we need to tax carbon...! Al Gore's fascist tactics are amusing. How many nobel peace prizes has he won for his propaganda...?

The Audacity of the TRUTHHHHHH!!!!

Anonymous

spike wrote:
All the personhood argument does is keep the debate in a deadlock
---------------------------------------
I disagree. At some point we all recognize that the developing child becomes worthy of some legal protections and considerations. The questions is where? Birth? Conception? Viability?

Thus far, the basic legal doctrine has settled on viability. But with advances in technology, there's no reason that in the near future viability couldn't come at conception. Plus, at the time of Roe v. Wade, we didn't have the knowledge we have now about fetal brain/central nervous system development and we hadn't the legal precedents for brain death set by Quinlan and other cases.

The existence of brain function isn't the end of the conversation, but I think it provides a minimum point beyond which abortion can't be restricted without violating the establishment clause. I don't think that it imposes an undue burden on women to terminate their pregnancies before this stage of development, though I'd be open to hearing arguments otherwise.

I'd also possibly allow for abortions after this point of a pregnancy, certainly in cases where the mother's health/life is at stake if not others.

Jack

Anonymous: Quick one: Considering that the US economy has not created enough jobs since 1980 without deficit spending (with perhaps the arguable exception of a couple Clinton years) we may well have entered a "post-Keynesian" era in which all that we need is produced by a falling percentage of the workforce.

Currently, if you've been following along, over the last 40 years virtually ALL of the productivity gains have gone to, shall we say an "owner class" with the result being that fewer and fewer low income families EARN enough to pay for the most basic std of living OR to sop up the excess merchandise the "owner class" must sell if the game is to continue.

"Trickle down" has defied gravity for all of those decades leaving even the median income family with enough discretionary income to buy much of anything from those attempting to sell the stuff.

If you've played a few games of Monopoly what happens in the final rounds is something of a metaphor for what is and has been taking place for a long, long time.

Your talk-radio "advisers" will call the attempt to keep the game going "redistributionist" but if YOU do your OWN fairly simple research you'll quickly learn that "class warfare" took place in the decades since Reagan was elected and the WORKING class lost. Badly.

Think it through, as it is ONLY when "conservatives" learn that ALL of our community has to participate in the wealth generated by our ever increasing productivity that they'll have any narrative likely to return them to power.

Jim

Posner wrote: "The policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings...the inanity of trying to substitute will for intellect, as in the denial of global warming...a continued preoccupation with abortion."

Then, Uzair wrote: "Anthropogenic global warming is not settled fact. It is not even a fact. Mainly because it's not reality."

Then, Anonymous wrote: "Infanticide is the most barbaric practice humanity has witnessed."

I'm starting to see a pattern emerging here - Posner tells conservatives what they can do to win back the trust of the people and all the wingnuts ignore him and keep on with the same tired old arguments that got them comprehensively beaten at the last election.

You can call Barack a murderer, you can blame the Liberal media or you can see that the writing's on the wall. Your choice.

questioner

"Why doesn't someone do a simple survey of the public. One question; "Do you trust the government?"

Posted by Jim at May 12, 2009 8:25 AM | direct link

I think most conservatives would answer "yes"....

Why? What do they want government to finance? Larger police forces, bigger military, more copious prisons, religion in schools and hospitals...all of the things they hold most dear.

HOPEful

If the last 8 years has proven anything it is that any remaining conservative intellectuals are certainly not in power or in a position of prominence. Virtually nothing the GOP has put forth recently has had any relevance or positive effect, ala Palin, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, N. Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, Israel, the Taliban, al Qaeda, the environment, economics (although I am sure Robert Nardelli would disagree), health care, education, civil liberties, the Constitution, crime, human, cultural or religious equality, global financial stability, evolutionary perturbation, and finally, “the only thing we have to fear…”. I hate to say this but bi-partisan politics now represents the relationship between Democrats and Independents.

anonymous

The President of the United States is named Barack Obama. Barrack Obama is probably the name of a military housing facility somewhere, but it is not the name of the President.

Anonymous

What happened to the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness...? I guess the 8.99 month old fetus doesn't get any of these, nor does the born infant who survives a botched abortion according to BARACK Obama.

Overly compassionate when it means keeping white firemen from promotion, but barbaric when it comes to protecting human life.

I need some more science on global warming. We just had the coldest winter since the 1970's, so please let me know all about the Obamination's carbon tax.

RobNYNY1957

Conservatism has bad ideas, policies and execution? Liberals have been saying that for, oh, jeez, centuries? I have to say I'm am pleased and surprised to see that even Milton Friedman's magical thinking (a/k/a "The Longest Running One-Joke Show Since Gilligan's Island) can now be criticized instead of accepted as religious dogma. If conservatives keep making progress like that, they will be in the 21st Century any decade now.

But what you don't see is that a lot of the characteristics that you identify as failures of new conservatism were part of old conservatism, too. Just read through the list again.

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