David Frum is asking for a “one-sentence description of a modernized, reformed conservatism”.
The title of this post is my entry. What’s yours?
I don’t mean the title to be snarky or mean. I just believe that conservatism — at least as it currently exists — belongs in the dust bin of history, along with communism and various other ideologies that made some kind of sense intellectually but were utter disasters in practice.
What I have is mine, what you have is mine.
“We’ll throw away any pretense at ethics or morality if we can kill brown people.”
That’s pretty catchy, and unlike DougJ’s attempt, I think that’s actually something that conservatives would agree is a great thing.
Can we stop pretending now that David Frum is a reasonable conservative? All he cares about is marketing of conservatism, not the flawed ideas. He’s just afraid that if Republicans continue down this road, he won’t be able to pursue his agenda, which is Israel and his neocon agenda.
Conservatism: whatever liberalism happens today, but opposite.
You betcha, also too.
I feel compelled to state that the ideology of liberty is an ideology that could never belong to the dustbin history, but rather will be forevermore the torch for all mankind.
And yeah, Frum is an idiot.
“Now with 20% more starbursts!”
licensed to kill time
I’ll take Insane Clown Car Posse for $200, Alex.
I’ve got mine, fuck you.
For me, that’s conservatism in a nutshell. All the Jesus and snowflake baby bullshit is to get enough rubes to vote for policies that only favor the top 5%.
How about: The flaming trainwreck of ideologies, or; a crime scene marked by the slow retreating shambles of once-proud conservative intellectuals.
I’ll go with:
The Reverend Lowdown
modernized, reformed conservatism: “look mom, no hands”…followed by the inevitable sound of something crashing.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Okay. I read Frum’s post, and I still want to know: What “reforms” is he proposing? I was glad to see him talk about “reality/evidence based” thinking, but modern Republicans (taken collectively) are incoherent and frequently dishonest on foreign policy (“axis of evil”, to pick an example at random) and relentlessly, deliberately dishonest on domestic policy, from immigration to budgets to social issues. They operate in an accountability-free zone, thanks to the media. How does Frum want to fix that?
Seems to me it was just three or four years ago that the reforms Frum was proposing was to be more like George W Bush, who was “The Right Man”
I like Frum Forum a lot. I don’t know what to make of David Frum as a person but he’s created the one conservative site worth reading.
Isn’t conservatism antithetical to modernization and reforming, like by its very nature?
Anyway, FYIGM seems about the best description.
Corporatism hides in the cloak of “conservatism.”
crazy faithful, praying to tax cut jesus and blaming everyone else when it doesn’t work out.
various other ideologies that made some kind of sense intellectually but were utter disasters in practice.
I agree with this except for the implication that modern conservatism makes some kind of sense intellectually.
It’s thoroughly dishonest, represented as one set of ideas to the initiates, the rubes who are supposed to vote for it and a completely different set to the leaders.
My one-sentence description would be “The Other Scientology of pure greed.”
As long as the richest are getting more and the poorest are getting less, leave the rest alone.
More tax cuts for the rich, de-regulation and privatization of everything.
Oh, wait. Wasn’t that the old modernized conservatism?
i can do it in one word: ~liberal
or, for those of you who don’t grok the boolean: today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today: updated daily.
or: cowardly authoritarians pretending to be individualists.
or: the cynical leading the stupid.
or: I Got Mine
or: who said we weren’t tolerant? we tolerate racists just fine!
Aside from the bit about specifically being an American-led world order, that really just sounds like democrats. Or at least what many democrats would like their party to be. But I don’t see how any of those descriptors applies in any way to conservatives.
@John Cole: I agree that Frum is a nicer right-wing partisan, and I took on some of the bullshit he was spewing at Sullivan’s place over at my blog: http://levsarea.blogspot.com/2010/07/wtf-frum.html
On economics, he is no different from Grover Norquist.
DougJ heres mine
i just don’t think the whole “taking back culture” thing is gonna work.
Big Hollywood Failblog.
membah, these guys hated Avatar (the highest grossing movie of all time) too.
i just don’t think “middle america” cares much about conservative message discipline anymore.
Jay in Oregon
Did it ever occur to Frum that you can’t “modernize” an ideology that is concerned with resisting progress?
So I’ll go with:
“Modern conservativism: an oxymoron”
The Other Scientology is pure WIN. I’m so using that!
Jay in Oregon
@licensed to kill time:
I expect to see “Insane Clown Car Posse” as a Balloon Juice tag very soon now. Well said!
While originally following the legacy of a former actor turned president, the ideology has been lost without a man on white steed with a persona that could melt the cold steel soul of those dark, depraved, un-american liberals who permeate the landscape with their facts, logic, and problem solving skills that run counter to the political philosophy of the rich, white, and totally non-racists who exist on the other end of the political spectrum, who’s only apparent problem solving skills involve tax cuts for the wealthy and… more tax cuts for the very much deserving children of the wealth who obviously would create 2 million jobs if they only got their hands on $20 million more inheritance and WHY ISN’T ANYONE TAKING THIS IDEOLOGY SERIOUS ANYMORE?
Epic delusional circle jerk of failure.
@Jay in Oregon:
a.k.a. George Will
As for my one-line description, “Meet the new boss…” is about as cliche as it gets, but it’s what first came to mind.
Free Markets Solve Everything!
It’s the reaction, the last bulwark against a leftism that no longer exists.
Why do we have to have an “American-led” world order? And what happens if we don’t GET an American-led world order — do we blow more shit up?
Time for us to tend our own backyards.
Power for the sake of power…plus more upper bracket tax cuts.
Conservatism: There are no mirrors in our house.
Conservatism: a postmodern cargo cult – any day now Saint Ronnie will land on our island and deliver presents to all the good little girls and boys, and lumps of coal to the rest who aren’t worthy enough.
ETA: but only if we cut taxes. Saint Ronnie doesn’t visit islands where they don’t cut taxes.
GOP: No We Can’t !
GOP: Creating the deficits that we blame on the Democrats, since 1980.
GOP: Bring us your scared, your confused, your ignorant and proud of it masses yearning to play the victim.
GOP: we’re the opposite of what we tell you the Democrats are!
the other scientology is pretty good.
“sanity is overrated”
“it’s all about the oil, stupid!”
“because progress is a four-letter word”
“lalalalala i can’t hear you”
“facts are ugly”
“my imaginary [penis, flag, gun, jesus] is bigger than your real one”
“civilization is for sissies”
“what do you mean it’s not 1953?”
edit: “moderation? we don’t need no stinking moderation!”
More a successful marketing campaign, than a failed ideology. Tax cuts for the rich and deregulation of industry aren’t an ideology. And all the rest of “conservatism” was just catnip for the rubes.
Conservatism – standing athwart history, yelling “Kill All The Muslims!”
Compassionate Conservatism – We don’t want the blacks in chains anymore, we just want them to starve to death.
The GOP – It’s all right, ’cause it’s all white.
wow that is very good.
ill have to think about the cognitive anthropology implications of that.
here’s what i think…..consider the last 50 years of memetic selection in the conservative base.
Selection for voters who can be scammed into voting against their economic self-interest, who are sufficiently undereducated to not understand ToE and basic meiosis, who are highly xenophobic, who despise science, intellectuals and acadame and whose religiosity index is extremely high.
Its like biomemetic engineering to produce a tractable population that is extremely permeable to fearmongering and demagoguery…indeed, that ONLY responds to fear and sloganeering.
Another bit of utter horse-shit is that ‘conservatives’ who support the most reactionary authoritarianism, state repression of abortion, the vast protection of their chosen industries, and bombing the shit out of any brown people they don’t like respect ‘liberty’.
‘Conservatives’ love liberty like vultures love carrion.
Liberty: for me but not for thee.
In one sentence, you still can’t beat John Kenneth Galbraith’s assessment: “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
Sorry but I have to disagree here. At various times in history both liberal and conservative labels have been co-opted by poisonous ideologies. Some of you may remember when “liberalism” was co-opted in the 70’s by terrorists who were more interested in spitting on American troops and blowing shit up in the name of peace than liberal political philosophy – I’ve only read about this well document episode in American history. Right now conservatism as a term has been adopted by a vile alliance of warmongers and racists who don’t really stand on any conservative principles. It doesn’t seem that much different from where i sit.
Conservatism will be toxic for a few decades then someone will come out who actually stands on ideas of individual economic freedom and responsible non-intrusive government. This will conveniently happen around the same time as the term “liberal” is being adopted by some group of fringe nutters. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The New Conservatism™ — Reinventing the past to meet current greeds.
and DougJ you are right….conservatism is obsolete, and on its deathbed.
The rise of the third culture is one thing that is killing it.
the right can’t get “culturally modern” because all their ideology is based on dead white guy philosophy.
there are not any third culture intellectuals on the right.
The new conservatism: Same stinky turd, this time with pretty ribbons and bows!
wrong. the pendulum won’t swing back again because of the demographic timer on non-hispanic caucs.
See, half of homo sap. inclines conservative, half liberal. but the darkskinned natural conservatives will never vote conservative….at least not for a loooong time. and then ….there is parental voting influence effect to keep them voting liberal possibly forever.
Bullshit. Didn’t happen. You’re telling lies or confusing a fantasy (specifically Rambo) with reality. Which is another good one sentence description of conservatism.
Scott de B.
They’ll be the first, then.
same old thing in brand new drag
I got mine, fuck you.
It’s actually the opposite of “well-documented.” The whole spitting on troops thing is a myth.
The Weathermen did try to blow shit up, but they succeeded in mostly killing themselves. And they had about 1/10000 the cache in modern liberalism that right-wing terrorists like Army of Life and Eric Rudolph have had in modern conservatism.
“Putting on the Ring and becoming Gollum”
or (of course!)
“Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed.”
Wow….I vote for “A postmodern cargo cult” as well. That’s awesome and apt for a group of people who like the junk they get from government a lot, but don’t see why it should cost them any money.
“I’ve got mine, fuck you.” is a strong-second place (I was going to post that one, but I was way too late…I need to stop doing stuff like preparing meals and spend more time monitoring posts here…).
Then there’s “Boundless dishonesty in pursuit of boundless power”
Me Me Me.
Conservatism is 99 and 44/100% pure bullshit.
@malraux: yep, bullshytt.
what actually is happening is evolution.
the savannah principle
“All through the day, I me mine I me mine I me mine.”
The Sammy Glick of the modern gated community demographic. “In the
filmpolitics industry, Manheim remarks at one point in the novel, it is the rule rather than the exception that “convictions are for sale,” with people double-crossing each other whenever the slightest chance presents itself to them… “
How about “Scientology for ugly people”?
“Praise Jesus, cut taxes, and kick ass!”
A pretend ideology for people who are embarrassed by real conservatives but who still cling to outmoded, misguided and nonsensical dogmas nonetheless.
Modernity is to conservatism what diaper rash is to a baby.
The fifties, fuck yeah!
I hope you’re just trolling, but yeah, the whole “spitting on troops” thing is a myth, and the left-wing fringe that existed in the 60s and 70s was just that, a fringe. If anything, what they despised was the mainstream liberal establishment, because at that point conservatism was not the dominant force in politics.
In 1972, the Democrats nominated a liberal anti-war candidate, George McGovern, but he was a World War II veteran elected senator by those famous communists of South Dakota. 4 years later, chastened by their loss, Democrats nominated a moderate Southern Baptist preacher as their candidate.
What destroyed liberalism in the 70s was not a bunch of dirty hippies who somehow took over the Democratic national convention. It was stagflation and racial issues.
Republicans don’t like to talk about the “Southern strategy,” their use of racial animosity to gain political strength, so they concocted a wild story about Jane Fonda taking over the Democratic party and driving away middle America.
Republicans are on the cusp of taking over Congress, just two years after being tossed out by the electorate for driving the country to shambles. Hardly sounds “toxic.”
Lipstick and eyeshadow on a pig.
Conservatism: War and Greed R Us!
I don’t quite understand this line about conservatives loving the 50s. The modern conservative movement sprung up to a reaction to the post-war political consensus, exemplified by Eisenhower.
Obviously they dislike some of the civil rights changes that occurred after the 50s, but do any conservatives want to go back to 90% tax rates, 30% unionization, and heavy government regulation of the economy, even if it means blacks and women get put back in line?
The line that they sell to their base is that they want to go back to the old fashioned values of the 50s, but the policies they implement try to take us back the 1890s.
Conservatism: Because ugly white bastards need slap-and-tickle, too.
Another vote for “I’ve got mine, fuck you”.
“Myles SG”? Oh man, I know that knowing commenter names from other blogs just means I have no life, but oy… if that guy’s hanging out here now, we will all be missing B.O. Bill. Last I saw him, he was mainly going around justifying every fucked-up thing the CIA ever did in the name of anti-communism, in a creepy breezy tone that’s half Tom Clancy and half John Goodman in the “I can get you a toe” speech.
@d.s.: The big issue is that much of the base grew up in the 50’s. So they remember the suburbs as a happy an idyllic place, rather than a specific issue of white flight. Since they were kids then, they don’t remember paying taxes. Its about wanting to return to youth, rather than specifically the 50s.
I thought Balloon Juice was the one conservative blog worth reading.
Frum’s definition is this?
That’s a far more accurate definition of the Democratic Party than anything the GOP has suggested. Fuck, even on the limited government and free market angle, the Dems have the GOP beat. The only argument about the government is *which part* should be big – the GOP says the military, the Dems say the safety nets. As for free market – the GOP is really pushing for a market dominated by large multinationals – which isn’t a free market in any sense. The Dems at least are trying in small measures to create opportunities for small businesses and to restrain the multinationals.
‘We say we love and worship Jesus, but we really worship and secretly admire is Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest”, in fact we love it so much that we wish all that are not “the fittest” (that’s us, of course) would perish as soon as possible.’
Socially inclusive? What the hell is he smoking?
calling all toasters
“Fascism for pussies.”
‘Long Live the Shaw”
Ike would never make it in today’s GOP. This reminds me of a quote from Hunter S. Thompson:
I think that’s why so many conservative pundits slobber over Petraeus, seeing him as a respectable figure to save the party from Sarah and the teabaggers.
“Just another failed ideology”
“The Other Scientology of pure greed.”
“Scientology for ugly people”
Those are phrases, not sentences. To be sentences they would need a subject, e.g., “Conservatism is Scientology for ugly people.”
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
I see what you did there.
If you look at the original quote Frum put down it’s obvious what he’s doing.
“A reality-based, culturally modern, socially inclusive and environmentally responsible politics that supports free markets, limited government and a peaceful American-led world order.”
The bolded part is the important bit. The rest of it is either self-delusion/lies (“environmentally responsible” conservatism? Be serious) or empty signifiers, but those two phrases are doing all the work. Frum has realized too late that he threw his hand in with a bunch of unreconstructed sons of the Confederacy, and he’s afraid that they’re going to take his ideology down with them. He wants American Conservatism without the racists and evangelicals.
So my translation of what Frum wants to say is,
“We have become sufficiently embarrassed by our pet hillbillies to beg other demographics to believe our bad-faith arguments. Pretty please rescue our failed ideology from the idiots we’ve riled up.”
Of course Frum refuses to realize that his suggested movement (fiscal conservatives and military hawks) isn’t large enough to be a working coalition. It never was, which was why the Republicans invited the social conservatives into the tent in the first place.
Dull needle stuck in the same worn out groove: free markets, deregulation, free markets, deregulation…
Reformed conservatism: the extruder-nozzle through which all manner of ideas can be force fed to a delusional public.
Bill E Pilgrim
Or, like now, both things would be true.
Even Hunter couldn’t imagine that small knots of hate-filled Klansmen walled in ghettos would in fact control everything. Blame it on our newfound ability to work remotely.
Let’s see, Eisenhower is now considered basically a Democrat by Wingnut standards, so he DID come back and run as a Democrat really, and thus, the prophecy is retroactively fulfilled.
Frum is too invested in the Republican party to just admit he was wrong in sticking by it, instead he needs to rebrand it and act as if the last 50+ years never happened.
It’s a fantasy, and no sane person will buy it.
@EvanSchenck: I think what Frum is trying to do is even more transparently tactical. In a word, he’s saying “Latinos are the future of politics”, and wrapping everything back around that point. And that really is the bottom line for both parties – given the electoral math, if the GOP loses the border states, and they’ve lost CA and NM, they’ll never hold the Presidency again and they’ll be forever weak in the House. The Senate is clearly the GOPs current tactical plan – there’s a lot of Senators piled up in the small southern and mid-Atlantic states. Not so many in the west.
Conservatives would gladly pay you Tuesday for a missile to kill brown people today; and complain that you don’t have any money in the mean time
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Yup. Frum is DavidBroder 2.0. Or maybe it’s 7.0 by now, I can’t keep track.
As far as Eisenhower and the fifties, I saw an interview with Rachel Maddow last week, can’t remember where, in which she said (IIRC, which I probably don’t) she’s in about 90% agreement with the Republican platforms of 1952 and ’56.
Bill E Pilgrim
“If you just remove the racism and hate and fealty to Rush Limbaugh and devotion to a two-tiered society and slavish devotion to failed ideologies of disgraced philosophers, then it’s really a great party”
A whole sentence? Conservatism isn’t nearly that complex. My entry:
@Anne Laurie: nope.
Scientology for stupid people.
@Bill E Pilgrim:
I wish that had a “Like” button! I’d push it. ;)
@malraux: I’ll agree with that. I’ve come to the conclusion that in this country, we have a conservative party, and a radical, right-wing nationalist party with a taste for authoritarianism and theocracy.
we did it all for the nookie, if by nookie you mean, jesus wants me to have a gun, to keep my job with daddy’s friends away from any of those “others”, and ignore all this new fangled science mumbo jumbo, and to kill people for peace because he loves america, fuck yeah!
Bill E Pilgrim
Actually the more I let that sit, I think Hunter Thompson’s line is just about the perfect description:
That would be the non-reformed version of course, the reformed modern version would be:
Hey, where the hell is Tenguphule when you need him?
Clipped from DKos: What the fuck is going on in Hawaii?
According to the E Pule Kakou official web site, during E Pule Kakou week in 2009, several people were successfully raised from the dead, a man was healed of an incurable blood disease, and, during a church-sponsored Thanksgiving turkey dinner, there was a miraculous, divine multiplication of turkey dinners reminiscent of the multiplication of loaves and fishes described in the New Testament of the Bible.
This might seem silly to secular America, good grist for a hearty mocking by John Stewart or Stephen Colbert. But there are real-world implications to the meteoric rise of the New Apostolic Reformation. If Sarah Palin runs for president in 2012 we could have a New Apostolic Reformation president, and the Medieval, demon haunted movement is really impacting people’s lives.
In Hawaii, for example, the right wing charismatic evangelical churches behind E Pule Kakou also helped put Hawaii’s current governor, Linda Lingle, into power in 2002. On July 6th 2010, immediately before she vetoed a civil unions bill, HB444, that would have allowed same sex couples in Hawaii the same legal rights as opposite-sex married couples, Lingle invited evangelical anti-gay rights pastors into her executive office for a special prayer.
As Hawaii activist Carroll Cox chronicled the event [1, 2], it was reminiscent of the deep South during Segregation except the the state-enforced bigotry was directed not at African-Americans but at gay rights groups – on that day pro-gay right protesters, who were required to get a special use permit and liability insurance to demonstrate in favor of the civil unions bill, were crowded out of an area their permit said they could gather in.
Description of modern conservatism?
“OW! My butt hurts! Because of the blacks/spics/Muslims/homos/poor people/women/liberals!”
Conservatism is oil in the marshes of our future.
Our ideology may be bankrupt but the Democrats are worse.
amg it keeps getting worse.
BULLSHYTT…ok, no idiot, the free market failed because of the dissolution of the White Patriarchy Social Cohesion paradigm. The bankstahs had to go to church every sunday and face up to god and their neighbors. And if they cheated and robbed their peers would shun them.
No, Frum, it wasn’t globalism. it was lassiz faire free market capitalism.
It DOESN’T FUCKING WORK ANYMORE.
Economists seem to have figured out conservatives – John Stuart Mill said, “Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative”
Conservatives: the Free Lunch Party! you’re paying, not me.
Conservatism: “Defending the status quo–from 50 years ago.”
My first impulse was, “Fuck you, I have mine”, and I’m sticking with it. Or, “America, Fuck Yeah!” Whatever the sentence is (or phrase) it has to have the word fuck in it because that’s what the conservatives are trying to do to America.
“A reality-based, culturally modern, socially inclusive and environmentally responsible politics that supports free markets, limited government and a peaceful American-led world order.”
Close, but no cigar. Here’s the actual definition:
“A reality-based global warming denying, culturally modern Reagan-80s-obsessed, socially inclusive white male wealthy and environmentally responsible oil volcano loving politics that supports free markets without penalties for thievery, limited government that tortures and kidnaps and assassinates American citizens and a peaceful American-led world order built on the bleached bones of the poorest people in the world.”
Now that’s modernized conservatism.
Communism an utter failure? I thought China was pwning us?
Bill E Pilgrim
It came to me overnight:
“Libertarianism without the pretending”
Fucking governments, how do they work?
Modernized, reformed conservatism – Leveraging the money you’ll be borrowing to buy the rope you’ll want to hang yourself with when we prove yet again that government does not work.
God Bless America!
Modernized, reformed conservatism – Too dumb to fail.
jake the snake
As my father used to say, “What’s yours is mine, and what’s, mine, I got.”
“Making America’s rednecks feel smug about eating shit”
my favorite comment from the current frumforum thread.
drdredel // Jul 18, 2010 at 5:53 am
“If you run her in 2012 anywhere on the ticket Obama’s base of youth and minorities will come screaming down out of the heavens like a swarm of MQ-9 Reaper drones on an afghan wedding party.”
Oh, boy… that had me wiping a tear from my (right) eye… thanks very much for that much needed morning boost.
I think you need to give David a little bit of space here. He’s someone that has spent a large portion of his adult life (perhaps the whole thing) deeply committed to a cause that has a specific label. Currently he is faced with the, regrettable, reality that he can no longer claim to be an “______” because upon making that claim he might be mistaken for… well… all sorts of things that have nothing whatsoever to do with his points of view.
This is the problem with being a “______”… sooner or later a bunch of people join up and there’s a great probability that they’ll want “______” to be something totally different than what it was when you joined.
Not to date myself, but when I was in High School I used to hang out with the skin heads. At the time, shaving your head meant that you listened to the Sex Pistols and gave people in business suits mean stares. Then, suddenly, as though overnight, having a shaved head meant that you were a neo-nazi. Our identity was hijacked. We had to grow Mohawks (I promptly did).
David… I think it’s time to grow a mohawk. Alternatively, the Frum style conservatives (and I say that with the highest regard) should spearhead a movement to get the Tea Party its own political domain. Then Palin can go be a Party Girl and intelligent conservatives can have their Republican party back. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to vote for whoever appears to resemble a car sales-person LEAST.
How bout “YOU SHOULD JUST SMILE AND BLOW ME!!!”
If there was a vein bulging font I would use that for the above slogan.
The Modern Serf
Modern Reform Conservatism: “There will be foreplay this time before we screw you.”