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05/10/2009

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Wisconsin Reader

A "real Conservative" would be a Libertarian today!

The current Republican Party is dominated by those who would defer to Authority rather than fight for the individual. . . The Church - The Corporation - The President - The health insurance company - Wall Street . . . In every case those Authority figures are deemed all powerful and all knowing by "Conservative Republicans." (Note the Supreme Court
"Big Five" always siding with Authority over individual rights.). . . The Church believes abortion is wrong so to hell with a woman's right to control her own body - The Church believes gays are bad so to hell with their civil and property rights - the Church believes birth control is bad so to hell with . . . you get the idea. . .

Today Liberals fight for individual rights. The ACLU . . . Southern Poverty Center . . . Unions . . . ACORN . . . Glen Greenwald . . . Jane Hamsher . . . Paul Krugman et.al.

Jack

Hmmmm, since both Becker's and Posner's threads contain so many posts related to the theoretical issues of Roe-Wade, now three decades old, I wonder if this might be a time to get some idea of a model law "conservatives" would like to legislate for their individual states should Roe Wade be overturned?

Could a few of the voice for "it should be banned" come forth with at least the skeleton of the laws they'd like to implement? Who goes to jail? Restrictions on travel to other venues? "Drug war" approaches to morning after pills?

And those who favor allowing abortions in the case of incest, rape, or health/life of the mother, could you sketch out the process you have in mind? A new and quite large bureaucracy? Or? Ha! a quick court process??? with DNA tests and testimony of an objective doctor? or team of doctors?

Thanks! as I never see much detail in the general caterwauling.

MNPundit

"The Democratic Party is now fairly well united in the belief that governments frequently do better than private decision makers in both the economic and social spheres."

This is not entirely correct. It has become very clear recently that private actors often have short sighted narrow interest goals. So government should take the longer view to restrain private action in a way that reduces volatility. It's not that the government makes better decisions that private actors, it's that government must make decisions in the economic sector that private actors are uninterested in making.

Jim

If I were a "conservative" I would begin the abortion discussion by "intellectually" looking at the corallary issues of eugenics, euthanasia and other end of life issues ( 80 billion spent by Medicare in the last year of life). But no one wants to discuss that because it would complicate the abortion discussion which is based on political considerations alone and in many cases is used as a form of birth control. BUT, not to worry. In 30 or 40 years at our present birth rates in western societies, our cultures will be completely dominated by the Muslim population (growing 8 times faster than ours) in which case abortion will be outlawed under the Sharia system. In that scenario, I would say that the "conservatives" will have made a comeback!

Miguel

"The roots of conservatism go back to philosophers of the 17 and 18th centuries, such as John Locke, David Hume, and Adam Smith. They opposed big government, and favored private decision-making, primarily because they argued that individuals were generally better able to protect their interests than could government officials tied down by bureaucracy and special interests. They claimed further that making decisions for oneself and suffering the consequences were usually good for people, even when these decisions led to bad outcomes, because learning from one's own mistakes helps improve future choices."

I think that Posner was confunding "conservatism" with (classical) "liberalism".

The roots of conservatism was the philospphers who defendend the King, the Church and the hereditary aristocracy against the XIX century revolutions.

I think that «The other pillars of modern conservatism are aggressive foreign policy to promote democracy in other countries, and government actions to further various social goals, such as fewer abortions or outlawing gay "marriage"» fits very well with the conservative tradition; the strange "conservatives" are the defender of free markets

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Bryan Willman

In the end, of course, "republican" is the name of a "team" that contests for power in politics, and its main function is to be "not the democrats". (The reverse of course applies the democrats.)

"Conservative" is a word that in modern use is a kind of insult - as "liberal" has become in some contexts.

In any case, the real question is not "can the republican party be repaired?" but rather "by what means shall believers in limited government, and individual freedom, gather to contest for seats in government?" - put another way - perhaps time to put the Republican Party out of its misery and replace it with something new?

Nessie

>Reagan was very religious. He prayed often

Actually, he just kept forgetting that he'd already prayed.

RichB


Jack, as far as a legislative program is concerned, I propose a judicial or constitutional recognition of the right to life for the unborn. If such a recognized right were to conflict, as inevitably it would, with other rights, there would have to be additional adjudication, legislative or judicial, but the right to life, being fundamental, ought to be accorded a very high degree of deference.

I would envision an evolving legislative and judicial process to accommodate this right to life, a process that would attempt to be as sensitive as possible to the needs and rights of all involved, not some once for all decree (e.g., “all aborting mothers get ten years”).

I don’t have a daughter, but if my wife, sister, or niece were—God forbid—raped and became pregnant, I would relentlessly seek justice and wholeheartedly offer all the support and compassion I could summon. I would also encourage them to carry the baby to term and then seek adoptive parents for the child. I would counsel my wife, sister, or niece that the child should not be punished with the ultimate punishment for the sins of the father. I would also encourage her not to see the pregnancy as an additional affront to her own dignity, but rather as an opportunity for something good and beautiful to come from something bad, an opportunity for redemption and healing in the midst of suffering, an opportunity to invalidate evil by embracing kindness.

As far as the infighting of factions in conservative and GOP circles goes, no one should be dismayed, or suppose the observation profound or even portentous. Conservatism, according to James W. Ceaser, is a coalition of different factions that do not always agree on first principles. Libertarians, neo-conservatives, traditionalists, and religious conservatives all need each other in order to win elections, govern, and curtail liberal excess. Do we need a revitalization of intellectual conservatism? Yes. Can those newly minted intellectuals afford to excommunicate religious conservatives? Not if they want to govern. Instead those intellectuals should winsomely present (i.e. teach) their ideas to the other factions of the conservative movement.

Jack

RichB: Well at least you took a swipe at the problem of enacting a ban, but it is far too long on philosophy/theocracy and lacking the pesky details.

I'll not comment on what you would do or favor as that is your choice and legal under both current law and a ban.

Not sure if you lived through the 50's, before "the pill" and pre Roe, but let's say "all was NOT well". Since that era when some young women took prop planes to Japan, wealthier and perhaps older women, "well connected" had "DNC's" while those of little means were victims of back alley horror stories most of us have heard. Death was not an uncommon result.

Today? Travel is much easier and relatively cheaper. There are more options such as "morning after pills" that would be ideal for underground trafficking, while technology has made it a simpler procedure that a nurser or even lay person could likely master in a short time.

Since many would seek abortions have they have for many centuries it would seem you'd have an impossible task of enforcing the ban. I'd think that hopping on a plane would take precedence over a most likely costly appearance in court or before a bureaucratically run tribunal.

So, would your ban be one of those "send a message" deals that no one expects to enforce? Or would you actually engage in checking traveling women of child bearing age for fetuses both out bound and in bound?

As for resurrecting the GOP the Nixon-Falwel "southern strategy" that was enhanced by the backlash from Dixiecrats bolting after LBJ twisted arms to pass the Voting Rights Act perhaps has run its course.

Before that era Republicans did get elected by appealing to a broader, and more moderate spectrum. At Presidential level, Ike for example and Nixon, were he not "Nixon" should have been able to beat Humphrey or McGovern handily after the melt down of the Demo Convention and McGovern seen as "too radical" by even the union guys, w/o the "southern strategy".

"Social conservatism" does swing votes in certain districts (at times even one section of a city but not the other.) but in "times like these" I suspect economic, peace, and survival issues trump the typical wedge issues. Republicans (or real conservatives of principle) might study both Clinton and Carter's wins as neither were the darlings of the left and both went on to win in the general as little more than moderate Republicans. For my part I'd LIKE to see a reinvigorated and far more rational GOP that could engage in the national debate and limit the excesses that are likely with one party rule......... as we saw for the first six years of the Bush admin.

kevin

I don't know about Locke, but the liberals definitely get to keep Hume. Smith is for everybody. You guys can have Burke.

Chris Graves

I appreciate Professor Becker's basic premisses of political philosophy borrowed from Adam Smith, David Hume, and John Locke. The Founders of the United States worked from these fundamental assumptions as well. Anglo-American conservatism originating from the writings of British Parliamentarian Edmund Burke seeks to "conserve" (as in 'preserve') fundamental institutions of Western Civilization in light of a commitment to individual liberty as understood by classical liberal theorists such as Locke. (Pay special attention here, Kevin)

Where I have problems with Professor Becker's analysis is in his confused analysis of social conservatism. Consider the following statements from this week's post:

"They [Locke, Hume, Smith] claimed further that making decisions for oneself and suffering the consequences were usually good for people, even when these decisions led to bad outcomes, because learning from one's own mistakes helps improve future choices."

Later Professor Becker says:

"Classical conservatives would argue that governments are no more effective at interventions internationally or on social issues than they are on economic matters. So governments should usually not get involved in such issues, except when its intervention has enough benefits to compensate for governmental inefficiency and ineffectiveness. This usually is not the case."

So, why is it that Professor Becker argues in favor of allowing businesses to fail that try certain practices that do not work whereas social deviance that does not work should be subsidized and supported by state action that violates the rights of the individual as the deviant practices tear down the society? The whole idea of liberty is not that people can do whatever they see fit and the rest of us have to bail them out when they reap the natural consequences of their actions. But that is exactly what homosexual "rights" and "Gay marriage" involve--forced association and forcing communities to approve actions and relationships that most people find disgusting and dangerous. In addition, electorally, the homosexual rights position has been proven to be a consistent loser.

I also do not understand the hostile remarks concerning religion. On purely pragmatic grounds religion contributes to persons' health and happiness. People who believe in God and are aware at the moment of their belief that God is watching them act more compassionately and ethically. George Washington, as did most of the Founders, emphasized this tie between religion, morality, and the public good. If people lived by the Ten Commandments, we would all be better off. As you will see below, this was a point made by James Madison. Philosophically, our entire political and legal system is founded upon the idea that God created humans in his own image and endowed them with rights. If you try reading Locke's *Second Treatise on Civil Government,* you cannot go more than a page or two without references to the Bible or God.

Certainly, the Founders were all social conservatives and believed that if liberty were to produce a viable social order, a free society must be characterized by moral self-restraint. Consider the following quotes:

"We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."--James Madison

"Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate for any other."--John Adams

And the founding father of conservatism, Edmund Burke observed: "Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites; in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption. . ."

If people cannot or will not control themselves, then government must step in just as in any other market failure. To prevent this step from occurring, we should first try to revert to holding individuals responsible for their own actions, encourage religious belief while allowing the individual to work out his own relationship with God, allowing voluntary and organic associations and organizations to monitor and sanction irresponsible behavior.

Luca

Sir,

I agree with you, save for the caveat that I think Abortion is murder the same way that infanticide is and should be treated as such by the law.

I am a great admirer of yours, and wish that This Week would replace Paul Krugman with you.

Sincerely,


Luca

Jack

Chris: Interesting theory:

"On purely pragmatic grounds religion contributes to persons' health and happiness. People who believe in God and are aware at the moment of their belief that God is watching them act more compassionately and ethically."

MS has the highest rate of church participation with 92%, while AL, OK and other southern states are in the range of 80%. OR, WA, and AK have the lowest rate of church participation at 50%.

The "health" part of the equation is out of the question and is worse in the rural areas where church attendance is even higher than in the state as a whole. Crime is higher in the church going states than in OR or WA and similar to the wild frontier of Alaska.

I don't want to try to make the case that the church going states are still more oppressive to minorities (though I strongly suspect that is the case) but I have wondered just how the extreme resistance to the civil rights struggles of the 60's squared with Christianity or other church groups.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Luca! Perhaps you are the conservative who'll be the first to put forth a model abortion law, should Roe be overturned?

Let's suppose you've gotten your wishes and outlawed abortions. The next day you find that the Mom of five other kids, possible having fallen on hard times as is the case for so many these days, is on unemployment or welfare, has traveled to Las Vegas? Canada? and obtained an abortion. What are you going to do with, or to, her?

Chris Graves

Dear Jack:
Thanks for your questions and comments. As for the health benefits of religions, there are a number of studies that have found that relationship. For example take a look at this review of more than 40 studies on the emotional and physical health benefits of religious belief.

http://www.webmd.com/news/20000809/religious-people-live-longer-than-nonbelievers

The same article discusses the ethical and social benefits of religion reviewing 42 studies on that aspect of the practical aspects of religious belief. The folks with health problems in a number of states can better be traced to class, race, and education rather than religion.

As for believers acting more kindly and fairer toward others when reminded of their own belief that God is watching them, University of British Columbia psychologist Ara Norenzayan found this result in his 2008 study.

http://www2.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=2f608f0e-0cd2-451c-bf24-1c40aae3b7b1&k=86929

As I suggested in my previous post, I see civil rights laws as both unconstitutional and immoral since they involve forced association. It is also doubtful that forced integration has benefited anyone except lawyers litigating civil rights cases. Consider Judge Posner's excellent decision ending forced school integration in Rockford, Illinois. A growing number of legal and social theorists have called into question the tack taken in Brown v. Board including black left liberal law professor Derrick Bell. So, that line of argument leaves me a bit cold.

Joe F

"This involves confidence in the capacity of individuals to make decisions not only in their own interests, but also usually in the interests of society at large."

It is the last part of that quote which gives me pause. It is a clear admission that human nature may and indeed will intervene in the market against society's best interest. It is hard to think that Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Maddoff, Richard Schrushy, et al, as well as many others who acted legally did so with any thought whatsoever of the greater societal impacts.

What is even more casual in that quote is that it does not even give thought to how often individual actions would be against the greater good and by what order of magnitude would the economy be affected.

Do not get me wrong, I am no proponent of large scale federal government involvement in anything other than national defense, but establishing a political philosophy which is only predicated on two actors, the individual and government, ignores the power and strength of corporations. These corporations are massive models of the human spirit, both the good and the bad. The individual has no power against these entities on their own, so they naturally turn to the government as a counter balance.

It has been agreed by all power centers for over a century that they will be government involvement in financial markets. Past fraud and individual misdeed (manifest in corporate policy) has shown the market vulnerability to activities that are undertaken for individual good, without regard for impact on larger society.

It has also been observed that those actors who amass the power and wealth necessary to negatively impact an entire nation's economy are large corporations.

So the questions is no longer whether government belongs in private markets, but what role are they to play.

One school of thought views the government as serving a role of recourse for the individual against corporate leverage. The write rules, investigate individual claims, and punish violators. This provides recourse when individual actions are taken which negatively manipulate regular market functions.

The only problem with government of recourse alone, is that often the shit which cannot be put back in the pony is so large and stinky, that is must be prevented from being passed in the first place.

The Depression and today's current economic condition provide the amplest evidence that the individual citizen wants its government to use its leverage against individual malfeasance in the markets. The impacts are too grave for government to assume an arbiter after the fact role, it must use its role to prevent acts which carry systemic risk, while not unnecessarily interfering in regular market activities.

It is a tough balance and is constantly being refined as events dictate lessons. Unfortunately for the unfettered market proponents, past and recent events only reinforce the need for a regulatory structure to restrain bad behavior. And because government is by nature inefficient, there will be collateral impacts on private enterprise.

Hellmut

Many Democrats are just as skeptical of government as you are, Mr. Becker, but we have to balance that concern with the need to minimize market failure.

After all, it is the state that upholds property rights in the first place. It does so imperfectly but without the state, there would neither be sustainable property rights nor large scale markets.

If we had allowed skepticism to preclude government actions then we would not be enjoying the benefits of markets in the first place.

Rather than doing nothing, skepticism ought to constrain government such that we can reverse measures when they prove to be ineffective or unjust.

Glenn S

"...would you actually engage in checking traveling women of child bearing age for fetuses both out bound and in bound?"

I think Jack hits the nail on the head. If a fetus is given the constitutional rights of a person the mother must have her rights limited. She would have to be prevented from engaging in known dangers to the fetus, such as smoking or drinking, and potential dangers such as snow skiing or scuba diving. Anything less would fail to protect the life she carries.

Such a law would be impossible to enforce if it could be drafted and passed at all.

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Jason B

Though most of the post was thought-provoking and insightful, I felt that there was some revisionist history in trying to make Reagan into Eisenhower II.

Wasn't there a military build-up under Reagan? And an aggressive stance toward the Soviets that had the liberals wetting themselves? "Tear down this wall" and all that? The invasion of Grenada? The promotion of freedom abroad?

As for social issues, was Reagan really "neutral" on redefining marriage? Was it true that Reagan had no "strong views" on abortion rights? So why did he write a piece for "Human
Life Review " lamenting the "nationwide policy of abortion-on-demand through all nine
months of pregnancy was neither voted for by our people nor enacted by our legislators" and the "more than 15 million unborn children have had their lives snuffed out by legalized abortions"?

Becker has some interesting points to make, but he'll have to do it without Reagan.

Jack

Chris: Whew! First thing we have to straighten out is your seeing "....civil rights laws as both unconstitutional and immoral since they involve forced association."

Just about any civil rights historian or the minorities involved can tell you that the struggle was not about "integration" but desegregation. There is quite a bit of difference as desegregation only gave the same rights to all of our public institutions to ALL of our citizens and did not "force" association.

There was no legislative effect on freedom of association, and though a bit disgusting to me, even today there are country clubs, colleges such as Bob Jones U. and other groups who use unscientific concepts of "race", religion and ethnicity as reasons to ban some from membership. I, and I believe, the Constitution are tolerant of such policies in private groups, though in such cases as, say an all male Elks group being the de facto old boys club of business that denies economic equality for women, things get a bit fuzzy.

(BTW, I've still not found how BJU or others, fairly, enforces their "ban on interracial dating". I suppose that with DNA being useless in defining "race" that they rely on the old "pencil test?" or "skin darker than a paper bag" test? but wonder just what constitutes "dating" these days?}

As for your attempt to make a case for religion offering better health or a higher morality, I'd agree that religion, meditation, yoga, martial arts, study, music or many other disciplines can be paths to living one's life on a higher plane, but, as I posted, I doubt that you can make a statistical claim that areas of high church attendance do any better than other areas.

As for "poverty" as a cause of a less honorable life; having spent time in both OR and OK, I'd point out that despite similar incomes, both having a few urban areas and a lot of rural areas, that crime, homicide, the "meth" problems are much worse in "church going" OK than in OR that has one of the lowest rates of church attendance in the nation. Poor health and obesity are also higher in OK as is the case for many other southern states of high rates of church membership.

Beyond that, I suppose things get too subjective, but Europe where church going is very low, homicide is a fifth to a tenth that of the US, they've a longer life span, and appear to have a (higher order?) diplomatic approach to solving our problems than our nation in general and the higher church membership areas in particular.

Chris Graves

Jack, I am afraid that civil rights laws and court decisions relating to racial and gender segregation go beyond mere desegregation. If that were all that these legal measures did, then we would have moved from a de jure system of segregation to a de facto system of segregation. We can observe what people tend to do when they are free to associate with whomever they choose and the social patterns that result tend to be quite segregated. So, to the degree that we see integration in the workplace, I think it is clear that this integration was brought about against most people's will produced by coercive measures taken by the state. The broad range of civil rights laws do force people to associate with others since they outlaw such activities as an individual or corporation ( a voluntary collection of individuals) hiring whomever they so choose or an apartment complex or even an individual renting a house or a garage apartment to whomever they so choose or an individual or family in conjunction with a real estate agent selling their house to whomever they so choose. Affirmative action accentuates these efforts by government to fit people into an integrated social and economic pattern. Forced busing and other such racial "remedies" in education and the workplace were moves by the state to engineer an integrated society. In fact, when the Supreme Court moved to a color blind public school assignment program in 2007, the civil rights community denounced such a change in understanding of Brown v. Board. Clearly, the practical ramifications of the change are quite different from the policies that attempted to desegregate "with all deliberate speed." Judge Posner's decision on the Rockford school district was denounced as "racist" by the pro-integration litigants. Concerning homosexual "rights," similar formulas of forced association are in the works.

While I do not want to get bogged down on this issue right now since the topic this week is broader than this one controversy, I do think that conservatism in the Burkean sense has quite a different vision on race and ethnicity than does the left liberal vision that many conservatives have now bought into. I think that this present discussion of conservatism is the place to bring up the underlying philosophy that offers a very different take on race than we are used to hearing.

As you may know, Edmund Burke argued that each particular culture and nationality has its own niche in the world. Each racial/ethnic grouping has developed in a unique way that has allowed it to thrive in its own time and place. Burke opposed imperialism since foreign involvement disrupted this spontaneous social evolution that fostered a multiplicity of ways of life that are singular for each tribe and tongue. Each are equally deserving of respect and appreciation on their own terms. I am afraid that the left's understanding of how to show respect for all has relegated all who oppose its vision to being misunderstood as "racist." That is a shame. Paradoxically, multiculturalism is a roundabout way of getting at what Burke envisioned. I hope that we can build on this alternative to the integrationist model as a constructive way to move forward on race relations in the United States and in the world.

As for your reply on the health benefits associated with religious belief, I would refer to the studies that I cited in my last post. I do not think that the murderers and the drug addicts you are referring to are representative of the religiously observant. You might be falling into the fallacy of division in your analysis here.

Thanks again for your comments.

Jack

Chris, I guess I disagree with most of what you post and am a bit surprised that such views exist at this late date. Let's take a look:

Jack, I am afraid that civil rights laws and court decisions relating to racial and gender segregation go beyond mere desegregation. If that were all that these legal measures did, then we would have moved from a de jure system of segregation to a de facto system of segregation.

************** To what end??


We can observe what people tend to do when they are free to associate with whomever they choose and the social patterns that result tend to be quite segregated.

********** "they" We? are free to associate as we please.

So, to the degree that we see integration in the workplace,

*********** WE see desegregation in the workplace.......... much of the time.

I think it is clear that this integration was brought about against most people's will produced by coercive measures taken by the state.

*********** Indeed, the DESEGREGATION came about as a matter of Constitutional law and morality, and not by popular vote among the states most affected. You'll recall that after having fought in WWII and spending time in Europe it was difficult to "come home" only to have access to separate but very unequal schools and public facilities. I suspect it WAS the will of the majority of our nation's people to finally rid ourselves of this last vestige of enslavement.

The broad range of civil rights laws do force people to associate with others since they outlaw such activities as an individual or corporation ( a voluntary collection of individuals) hiring whomever they so choose or an apartment complex

************ Shall we agree that a corporation IS a public company with duties and obligations balancing the unique advantages granted them by society in general?

or even an individual renting a house or a garage apartment to whomever they so choose or an individual or family

*********** Well, No. That's not the case.


in conjunction with a real estate agent selling their house to whomever they so choose.

********** A realtor is simply an agent charged with bringing the best offer to the seller who employs the agent. Under what possible theory would you favor a seller's agent discriminating on a basis of skin color or other outward appearances?????

Affirmative action accentuates these efforts by government to fit people into an integrated social and economic pattern.

*********** Yep! Seems to have worked fairly well too. It was rare in my youth to see the "black" innovators of R&B, Jazz and rock on TV. And seeing "blacks" and other minorities in differing roles has surely helped to reduce stereotypes and further the goals of DESEGREGATION.

Forced busing and other such racial "remedies" in education and the workplace were moves by the state to engineer an integrated society.

*********** Hmmm... No similar laments about the "engineering" indeed freeway building, of white flight, red-lining and other innovations meant to quarantine "blacks" in the left behind areas that are giving us so much trouble today?????

In fact, when the Supreme Court moved to a color blind public school assignment program in 2007, the civil rights community denounced such a change in understanding of Brown v. Board. Clearly, the practical ramifications of the change are quite different from the policies that attempted to desegregate "with all deliberate speed."

*********** Yeah, seems in an earlier decision that Sandra Day O'conner in her moderating wisdom DECIDED that our racially torn nation would benefit from affirmative action for about another generation. If your views are, somehow, passed on, I suppose a future court may have to extend it again.


Judge Posner's decision on the Rockford school district was denounced as "racist" by the pro-integration litigants. Concerning homosexual "rights," similar formulas of forced association are in the works.

************ Hmmmm....... I wonder if you might reread the Constitution and perhaps develop a better understanding of "association?" You'll recall the Boy Scouts opting to become a private club so as to protect their right to reject homosexuals who are honest about their status?

While I do not want to get bogged down on this issue right now since the topic this week is broader than this one controversy, I do think that conservatism in the Burkean sense has quite a different vision on race and ethnicity than does the left liberal vision that many conservatives have now bought into.

************* Hmmm........ do you think your brand of "conservatism" has some convoluted intellectual basis in racism? anti-semitism?


I think that this present discussion of conservatism is the place to bring up the underlying philosophy that offers a very different take on race than we are used to hearing.

************ Oh? As a practical matter w/o all the tap dancing and hrsht, do you long for the racial policies of any previous era of America's sordid history?

As you may know, Edmund Burke argued that each particular culture and nationality has its own niche in the world.

*********** Burke lived in a decidedly slave owning era, having passed on over half a century before the enslavement of human beings "gave us" our bloodiest and most divisive war.


Each racial/ethnic grouping has developed in a unique way that has allowed it to thrive in its own time and place.

************ Oh?

Burke opposed imperialism since foreign involvement disrupted this spontaneous social evolution that fostered a multiplicity of ways of life that are singular for each tribe and tongue. Each are equally deserving of respect and appreciation on their own terms.

*********** Oh? Well there weren't many Jews here in Burke's day but if he had lived another 150 years do you think the wise jurist would have still favored "them" building their own country club? And "blacks" being justifiably relegated to the back of the bus?

I am afraid that the left's understanding of how to show respect for all has relegated all who oppose its vision to being misunderstood as "racist." That is a shame. Paradoxically, multiculturalism is a roundabout way of getting at what Burke envisioned. I hope that we can build on this alternative to the integrationist model as a constructive way to move forward on race relations in the United States and in the world.

********** I see; so you're not "really a racist" but a relic of the sort retrograde "not now, not that way, no disruption of the status quo" cast of the fifties?

As for your reply on the health benefits associated with religious belief, I would refer to the studies that I cited in my last post.

********** Yes, repeating such is about all that is possible.

I do not think that the murderers and the drug addicts you are referring to are representative of the religiously observant. You might be falling into the fallacy of division in your analysis here.

********** It is not me proclaiming an analysis here. If your theory has any validity it should be fairly easy for you to demonstrate a positive correlation between states of high churchiness and your claims of better health, at least, and perhaps your, claimed, better treatment of their fellow citizens. Surely if the "religiously observant" were a higher percentage of the population of a state, and murderers, and druggies are not in that subset, such a state SHOULD have lower percentages. But! such is not reflected by comparing crime rates of churchy states vs other states. Any explanation?

Thanks again for your comments.

Thanks to you too, it takes courage to put forth views, let's say, not widely held. Jack

Chris Graves

Jack, overall, I see your post as smart alecky and smug as well as unsupported with evidence or logic. You might want to consider taking an introductory course in logic.

Now to specific replies to your contemptuous reply to my earlier reply to you. My comments you have excerpted in your post directly above this one are preceded by an OCG followed by your marking your reply with a string of ********. My latest reply will be introduced by CGLR.

OCG: Jack, I am afraid that civil rights laws and court decisions relating to racial and gender segregation go beyond mere desegregation. If that were all that these legal measures did, then we would have moved from a de jure system of segregation to a de facto system of segregation.

************** To what end??

CGLR: I am not sure that your question means. The move from a de jure form of segregation to a de facto is what is likely to have occurred in the 1950's and thereafter if we had simply desegregated schools at that time. In fact, it happened to a large extent anyway due to white flight and the destruction of settled in-town communities. We shall see for sure in the coming years since the 2007 Supreme Court decision on school desegregation stemming from cases originating in Louisville, Kentucky and Seattle, Washington has moved to the race-neutral approach to school assignments. The current policy strikes me as desegregation while the forced busing and other elaborate schemes that followed Brown were attempts at forced integration.


CGO:; We can observe what people tend to do when they are free to associate with whomever they choose and the social patterns that result tend to be quite segregated.

********** "they" We? are free to associate as we please.

CGLR: To some extent, yes. But we are not in the cases that I mentioned in my previous post. You might want to read David Burnstein's book on how anti-discrimination laws interfere with individual liberty. I cite his book below as well as provide a link to an essay of his on the subject.

CGO: So, to the degree that we see integration in the workplace,

*********** WE see desegregation in the workplace.......... much of the time.

CGLR: No, we see coercive attempts by the state to force companies to hire a certain number of women and selected minorities.


CGO: I think it is clear that this integration was brought about against most people's will produced by coercive measures taken by the state.

*********** Indeed, the DESEGREGATION came about as a matter of Constitutional law and morality, and not by popular vote among the states most affected. You'll recall that after having fought in WWII and spending time in Europe it was difficult to "come home" only to have access to separate but very unequal schools and public facilities. I suspect it WAS the will of the majority of our nation's people to finally rid ourselves of this last vestige of enslavement.

CGLR: People have the right to associate with whomever they so choose. You seem to uphold this principle at times and reject it at other times. The liberal left understanding of this principle is confused at best. It seems that you share in this confusion or, at least, I am not clear about your position on freedom of association. Furthermore, a majority cannot rightfully violate the rights of a minority, so even if a majority supported Brown or the 1964 Civil Rights Act, they have no right to force their views on others. I am disputing the claim that anti-discrimination laws are moral or constitutional. I would suggest consider the views of George Mason University law professor David Bernstein on the matter:

http://www.law.gmu.edu/assets/files/publications/working_papers/00-20.pdf

University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein makes a similar case against anti-discrimination laws in his book, *Forbidden Grounds: The Case Against Employment Discrimination Laws.*

CGO: The broad range of civil rights laws do force people to associate with others since they outlaw such activities as an individual or corporation ( a voluntary collection of individuals) hiring whomever they so choose or an apartment complex

************ Shall we agree that a corporation IS a public company with duties and obligations balancing the unique advantages granted them by society in general?

CGLR: No, I am afraid that we cannot agree here. I would argue that a corporation is a private organization of individuals. Neither the corporation nor the people forming it are agents of the state.

CGO: or even an individual renting a house or a garage apartment to whomever they so choose or an individual or family

*********** Well, No. That's not the case.

CGLR: Notice that you parsed the my sentence here in a way that did not appear in its original context--see below.

CGO: in conjunction with a real estate agent selling their house to whomever they so choose.

********** A realtor is simply an agent charged with bringing the best offer to the seller who employs the agent. Under what possible theory would you favor a seller's agent discriminating on a basis of skin color or other outward appearances?????

CGLR: That is a decision that should be left to the individuals who are seeking to sell or rent their property if you believe in liberty. The realtor is a private agent employed to carry out the wishes of their employer. Not everyone is solely concerned about maximizing their monetary profit.

CGO: Affirmative action accentuates these efforts by government to fit people into an integrated social and economic pattern.

*********** Yep! Seems to have worked fairly well too. It was rare in my youth to see the "black" innovators of R&B, Jazz and rock on TV. And seeing "blacks" and other minorities in differing roles has surely helped to reduce stereotypes and further the goals of DESEGREGATION.

CGLR: These laws are frequently applied to private businesses by government regulation plus threats of law suits by individuals and their lawyers. I refer to detailed discussions of these practices by Bernstein and Epstein listed above. Bernstein's book on the subject has lots of examples of violations of individual liberty in the name of anti-discrimination efforts: *You Can't Say That! The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination Laws.*
In the case of governmental entities, equal protection provisions in the Constitution are violated by affirmative action if one understands 'equality' to mean equality before the law and not equality of result. This is the central issue regarding most of these disputes. The rightist view defines equality in the former terms while the left defines them in the latter terms.


CGO: Forced busing and other such racial "remedies" in education and the workplace were moves by the state to engineer an integrated society.

*********** Hmmm... No similar laments about the "engineering" indeed freeway building, of white flight, red-lining and other innovations meant to quarantine "blacks" in the left behind areas that are giving us so much trouble today?????

CGLR: I guess I do not see building roads as social engineering since people can travel wherever they like. Even Adam Smith saw road building as a legitimate function of government. As long as the government does not determine the destination, people are free to make their own decisions where to live and work. Red lining is a private policy previously used by some lenders to protect their depositors money and to lend responsibly. The attempts to outlaw red-lining in the Community Reinvestment Act contributed to the recent credit debacle.

CGO: In fact, when the Supreme Court moved to a color blind public school assignment program in 2007, the civil rights community denounced such a change in understanding of Brown v. Board. Clearly, the practical ramifications of the change are quite different from the policies that attempted to desegregate "with all deliberate speed."

*********** Yeah, seems in an earlier decision that Sandra Day O'conner in her moderating wisdom DECIDED that our racially torn nation would benefit from affirmative action for about another generation. If your views are, somehow, passed on, I suppose a future court may have to extend it again.

CGLR: I expect the Supreme Court to strike down affirmative action as being unconstitutional in the case of the Firefighters in Connecticut denied promotion in efforts to promote equality of result. We shall see in the upcoming month. If so, the court is moving to defining equality as equality before the law, which I welcome.

CGO: Judge Posner's decision on the Rockford school district was denounced as "racist" by the pro-integration litigants. Concerning homosexual "rights," similar formulas of forced association are in the works.

************ Hmmmm....... I wonder if you might reread the Constitution and perhaps develop a better understanding of "association?" You'll recall the Boy Scouts opting to become a private club so as to protect their right to reject homosexuals who are honest about their status?

CGLR: Perhaps you can point me to passages in the Constitution that grant the Federal government the authority to equalize people's wealth and social standing. While you are at it, you can point me to the passage you are referring to above defining inconsistently 'association' as leftists are prone to doing.

CGO: While I do not want to get bogged down on this issue right now since the topic this week is broader than this one controversy, I do think that conservatism in the Burkean sense has quite a different vision on race and ethnicity than does the left liberal vision that many conservatives have now bought into.

************* Hmmm........ do you think your brand of "conservatism" has some convoluted intellectual basis in racism? anti-semitism?

CGLR: I see that we are getting bogged down anyway. I have never heard anyone react to Burke in this way. You are now sinking into Ad hominem smear.

CGO: I think that this present discussion of conservatism is the place to bring up the underlying philosophy that offers a very different take on race than we are used to hearing.

************ Oh? As a practical matter w/o all the tap dancing and hrsht, do you long for the racial policies of any previous era of America's sordid history?

CGLR: more of the same here.

As you may know, Edmund Burke argued that each particular culture and nationality has its own niche in the world.

*********** Burke lived in a decidedly slave owning era, having passed on over half a century before the enslavement of human beings "gave us" our bloodiest and most divisive war.

CGLR: Again, we have character assassination and poor reasoning. When someone lived has little to do with their insights. Should we discount the views of the Founders of the U.S. as well, some of whom owned slaves themselves? More ad hominem abusive and circumstantial.


CGO: Each racial/ethnic grouping has developed in a unique way that has allowed it to thrive in its own time and place.

************ Oh?

CGLR: Yes, or do you believe people are interchangeable?

CGO: Burke opposed imperialism since foreign involvement disrupted this spontaneous social evolution that fostered a multiplicity of ways of life that are singular for each tribe and tongue. Each are equally deserving of respect and appreciation on their own terms.

*********** Oh? Well there weren't many Jews here in Burke's day but if he had lived another 150 years do you think the wise jurist would have still favored "them" building their own country club? And "blacks" being justifiably relegated to the back of the bus?

CGLR: We are really sinking into silliness now.

CGO: I am afraid that the left's understanding of how to show respect for all has relegated all who oppose its vision to being misunderstood as "racist." That is a shame. Paradoxically, multiculturalism is a roundabout way of getting at what Burke envisioned. I hope that we can build on this alternative to the integrationist model as a constructive way to move forward on race relations in the United States and in the world.

********** I see; so you're not "really a racist" but a relic of the sort retrograde "not now, not that way, no disruption of the status quo" cast of the fifties?

CGLR: I am not a leftist. It seems that you are one and one who cannot or will not engage in sound reasoning or respectful engagement with those with whom you disagree.

CGO: As for your reply on the health benefits associated with religious belief, I would refer to the studies that I cited in my last post.

********** Yes, repeating such is about all that is possible.

CGLR: Yes, repeating evidence is all that we have other than your assertions, personal anecdotes, and sloppy reasoning. I have presented evidence for my position with sources, and you have offered us none.

CGO: I do not think that the murderers and the drug addicts you are referring to are representative of the religiously observant. You might be falling into the fallacy of division in your analysis here.

********** It is not me proclaiming an analysis here. If your theory has any validity it should be fairly easy for you to demonstrate a positive correlation between states of high churchiness and your claims of better health, at least, and perhaps your, claimed, better treatment of their fellow citizens. Surely if the "religiously observant" were a higher percentage of the population of a state, and murderers, and druggies are not in that subset, such a state SHOULD have lower percentages. But! such is not reflected by comparing crime rates of churchy states vs other states. Any explanation?

CGLR: Again, you are overaggregating. Not everyone in a state goes to church and is religiously observant as not everyone in other states is a heathen. You observe some quality that is true of the whole and then assume it must be true of each individual who helps compose the whole--in this case, a state is "churchy" so each individual in that state must be "churchy." That is the fallacy of division that I pointed to above. The studies I cited above look at individuals who actually live their religious beliefs, rather than simply live in certain states along with a range of other people. I have evidence; you don't.

CGO: Thanks again for your comments.

*****Thanks to you too, it takes courage to put forth views, let's say, not widely held. Jack

CGLR: Let's also include the authors whom I pointed to above--Bernstein, Epstein, and social capital theorists who emphasize the need for affinity to form social unions. The Supreme Court is also moving to my views on equality.

Anonymous

I have presented evidence for my position with sources, and you have offered us none.

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