Daniel Larison wrote a post explaining how The Professor’s understanding of foreign policy and the problems facing the world is an endless stream of dangerous bat-shit crazy thinking. It is spot on, but Newt’s world view is shared by pretty much every Republican running for office (and most of wingnutopia). Newt gets the attention because he is rising in the polls, but his views are not very different from any American Conservative. They all crave simple answers, simple villians and simple talking points and share Newt’s passion for replacing reality and critical thinking with nonsense.
Into this mix comes Andrew Sullivan. He cites a bit from Larson’s piece commenting on Newt’s idea that America lacks a “unified grand strategy for defeating radical Islamism”. It is more of the crazy talk one expects to hear from conservatives these days. It is all they know. Sullivan calls out Newt’s crazy talk, but does so with some deep magical thinking about the definition of “conservative”. I felt sorry for him as he tried to make the case that Gingrich’s world view is anti-conservative:
Which makes him the perfect antithesis of conservatism. Conservatism is concerned with reality, which it understands shifts with culture, history, region and all the immense complexities of human life. When a conservative approaches a problem like Jihadist violent Islam, he will seek first a grasp of its divisions, analyze the most effective way of defusing and disarming and fighting it, ensure that a strategy in one part of the world is not necessarily salient to another, grapple with unintended consequences, and so on. What Gingrich does is the opposite. What he always longs for is the absolute, eternal principle, the clarifying concept, the rhetorical rallying cry that speaks to the ideological gut rather than the reality-based frontal cortex. And Gingrich’s notion of foreign policy – making John Bolton his secretary of state – is essentially a policy of open hostility to the entire world, including allies who differ, and a maximalist military solution to most problems.
Saddest of all, was Sullivan clinging to the notion that “Conservatism is concerned with reality”. Perhaps that is how Conservatives think across the pond, but not here. In America, reality has a Liberal bias and any Conservative embracing reality is likely to face primary challenge. I think is is impossible to name a conservative of note in America who thinks about issues with an understanding of “shifts with culture, history, region and all the immense complexities of human life”. It just isn’t done. An occasional blogger may flirt with reality and a column here and there from a conservative pundit might brush against the real world for a turn of a phrase or two, but that’s about as close as it gets. When Newt is the nominee they will all fall in line–reality be damned.
Sullivan’s notion that his definition of “conservative” is shared by ANY self-described conservative in the Republican Party or the modern American Conservative movement is magical thinking. As Joe Scarborough showed yesterday the new meme is that Gingrich is the ONLY Republican hero since Reagan.
The term “Conservative” used to have meaning, but that is no longer the case in America. Here it is just a mask for grifters. And while I appreciate Sullivan’s effort to reclaim the term, it is a losing battle. American conservatives celebrate grifters, illusions and reward appeals to their fear. They celebrate Newt Gingrich as a hero. Sullivan’s hope that Wingnutopia will embrace his definition of “conservative” is just magical thinking, but I guess everybody needs a Grail.
Perhaps that is how Conservatives think across the pond, but not here.
Sure they think that way here, but what they mean by “reality” isn’t, you know, facts and stuff.
“They all crave simple answers, simple villians…”
That’s pretty funny when juxtaposed with the rest of your post.
I think a hundred years ago it did and maybe Sullivan’s definition spring from that idealized time, but since the term was appropriated by modern grifters it has lost all meaning.
How the fuck does anyone who writes about politics and current events for a living come out with a sentence like that and ever expect to be taken seriously? If he had written “should be” instead of “is” he would have been OK. Maybe conservatives have a different definition of “is?”
Special Patrol Group
When a conservative approaches a problem like Jihadist violent Islam, he will
seek first a grasp of its divisions, analyze the most effective way of defusing and disarming and fighting it, ensure that a strategy in one part of the world is not necessarily salient to another, grapple with unintended consequences, and so onimmediately accuse liberals of being sympathetic to the Jihadist cause and suggest that liberals “may well mount a fifth column”.
@Xecky Gilchrist: Yep. As Karl Rove told Suskind:
Sullivan’s idea that words have meaning does not stand a chance against these guys….
Sweet Zombie Jesus that man is fucking obsessed with that word. I know people with bad cases of OCD that are less obsessed than Sully is with the word ‘conservative’. If he doesn’t post a lengthy diatribe on the meaning of that word once a week I get the feeling the world will crash around him and he’ll turn into a dribbling mess muttering to himself in a padded cell. It’s the most pretentious thing about him. And that’s saying quite a lot, in between his Palin obsession, his outright misogyny, the long,wet sloppy kisses he gives to Jon Huntsman, his strange respect for the crank Ron Paul and his mind-numbing refusal to drop The Bell Curve like a bad habit. He’s an incredibly strange individual.
Political conservatism is all about claiming ownership of universal values, and Sullivan is a relentless practitioner of the art.
Conservatism is about supporting the family. Okay, raise your hand if you oppose families.
Conservatism is about personal responsibility. Okay, raise your hand if you oppose personal responsibility.
And so on. Conservatism is about reality! Even on their best days, oh please, nobody gets to claim reality (although the other side is permitted to disavow it). And these are definitely not their best days.
I feel for Sully. I still rebel at “joyful” no longer being the default meaning for the word “gay”. I accept that it’s a lost cause, but I don’t have to like it.
if Newt is the ONLY Republican Hero, can we safely denounce the rest of them as villians?
Why is this blog obsessed with Sullivan?
Villago Delenda Est
Across the Pond, back in the old country, the “Conservatives” embrace fantasy as much as anyone else. Note that Margaret Thatcher wailed that there was no such thing as “society” in her nihilist tantrums.
There are most certainly no “conservatives” around this country, and in Britain they’re a dying breed as well, except that they defend still defend privilege (particularly inherited privilege) at all costs, to include taking tumbrel rides in a fit of “take that, you DFHs!” and as their fortunes are confiscated and their heads roll around in the wicker basket, they still defy reality in any way they can.
@Special Patrol Group:
Yup, bears repeating again and again. Sullivan was being “conservative” when he was cheerleading an utterly illegal, immoral war of aggression, the first one launched by a major power since 1939.
Daniel “League of the South” Larison, and Andrew “Bell Curve” Sullivan say that Newt is crazy? Takes one to know one, I guess.
Mike in NC
Begging them on my freakin’ knees to nominate this squeaky-voiced scumbag misanthrope and misogynist to be their candidate in 2012. It’ll be a GOP bloodbath of historic proportions.
James E. Powell
What has conservative meant anything other than justifications for the privileged?
For some years now,Sullivan has been writing/describing a group of people who don’t actually exist in the real world. In Sullyland, Conservatives are intellectually rigorous, see the real world and are able to apply conservative solutions to complex problems creating the best outcomes for the most people. In short, the exact opposite of actual real life American Conservatism.
That’s because he is crazy. Sullivan is a lick-spittle and a toady and a nasty poisonous centipede fit only for squashing with the nearest brick or copy of The Bell Curve.
He is not just filled with nostalgia for a lost Oakshottian world of silver cream jugs beneath the cedar trees…poor silly old queen…rather, he’s providing the thinnest of threadbare intellectual cover for actually existing conservatism….because he is a knowing, winking, smirking part of the con, part of the bezzle, part of the grift.
To resort to my usual style of speech, fuck him with a rusty red-hot cold chisel.
@ Dengre – Yup. That Rove quote pretty much encapsulates that “conservatism” is a relative perspective, not an absolute.
Conservatism is an ideology of protecting the internal and external structures that defend a single person’s self-interests, whether they be noble or otherwise. The BS flows from the idea that taking the label “conservative” imbues the holder with values greater than that of self-preservation. Conservatism is not an inherent good. That’s where the branding BS has shaded our collective cultural eyes.
Sully’s an idiot for falling for the tale that being conservative is inherently good, hence his desire to defend the brand and cast off those that make it look bad. Sully is looking after Sully’s interests (and brand), not ours. Bin Laden had conservative views for “defending” his ideas about Islam. Bashir al Asad is a conservative for defending his regime with the blood of the “radicals” that wish to see the current power structure overthrown. Neither of those conservative viewpoints is noble, inherently good, or better for mankind because they are “conservative.”
Replace “conservative” with self-interested and the whole paradigm falls into place.
The reason we don’t have any conservative conservatives in this country is that they all left for Canada during or right after the revolution.
We do have conservative liberals, however, because liberalism is the mainstream American way of life, and some people are trying to conserve it. Like the president.
That’s a bit oversimplified but there’s a lot of truth in it.
After Reagan incited the riotous looting of Social Security in order to double-down on the Commies nuclear threat, he became the putative hero who, single-handedly defeated that ischemic boogeyman.
It had been anti-climactic for conservatives since then. I almost felt sorry for their absence of purpose in political terms until they discovered another Golem.
Teh MOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSLIMS !!!!
Just like Shickelgruber, they must have an external, dehumanized focus in order to feel right with the World.
Poor Andrew. I read him daily as he has many enjoyable ‘links’….
He spends a lot of time alone in a small room under the stairwell writing and seemingly sorting things out-is he Margaret Thatcher or Thomas Merton? Or their most impossible fantasy child who daily reaffirms that such an offspring would be something called a conservative and would marry another man.
The Other Chuck
I don’t think conservatism is even fueled by rationalizing one’s self-interest anymore. I think the conservative banner in the USA is organized under a very simple principle: spite. Whatever does maximum damage to the most number of people is not only tolerated, but something to be wished for, as long as it upsets a liberal.
And, his punishment would be…?
@Benjamin Franklin: I thought “in the eye” went without saying. I see my dear readers are too, too sweetly kind and simply overflow with forebearance.
My mind, par contra, would be at home in a Neil Gaiman short story. I’m specially thinking of the hell in “Other People”, because I don’t think it would work on Republicans. Which is actually just fine with me, because then their torments really would last for ever.
In recent weeks we’ve seen the DNC and the Obambi Administration pile on the man they fear the most, Mitt Romney. In a desperate gamble to hide Obambi’s failed economic “stimulus”, they have launched a dirty and coordinated attack on their strongest general election opponent.
It wont work.
Mitt is the nominee.
“I think is is impossible to name a conservative of note in America who thinks about issues with an understanding of “shifts with culture, history, region and all the immense complexities of human life””
Ironic indeed that you would make this assertion in a post that takes as its starting point the writing of someone whose body of work eviscerates your hypothesis.
If you want two more, there are Bruce Bartlett and Jack Goldsmith.
Conservatism isn’t a failure. It’s people who fail conservatism. Sullivan couldn’t live with himself if he thought otherwise.
Although he’s perfectly consistent in saying
which simultaneously defies and is perfectly consistent with
That is, my reality is the correct psychohistorical and Manichean worldview. Yours is not.
I don’t think about conservatives grasp of reality often, but when I do, I always turn to a gay British Oakshottian Tory who harbors crypto-nazi racial theories to explain it to me.
“After Reagan incited the riotous looting of Social Security”
There is plenty to dislike about Reagan without fabricating other things.
Is it just me or did Sullivan copy his little screed from Stephen Colbert’s infamous White House Press Association performance. Its a scary world when reality starts chasing satire.
Shorter Andrew Sullivan:
Villago Delenda Est
Hmmm…WP just swallowed a comment.
Hope WP enjoys the taste.
I note that UnrealityCheck is still obsessed with the buttsex. Is it getting stuffy in that closet?
Is Sullivan doing anything other than throwing a No True Scotsman fallacy out there when he defends conservatism this way? It’s a variation on the “conservatism never fails, it can only be failed” routine.
You guys try to make politics too complicated. Everyone knows that everything good in this world is a conservative value. Honesty, responsibility, paying your bills on time, not stealing, loving your children, doing the right thing, serving your country, giving to charity…these are all exclusively conservative values, just ask them. Everything else is a librul value.
Speaking of magical thinking, I see DougJ is showing his true colors crying because of perceived sellout by Obama on
healthcare gay rights black helicopters shutting down OWSteen pregnancy.
Why do idiots like DougJ, Cenk, Naomi Wolf, Micheal Moore, Jan Hamsher etc. constantly have to embarrass the left?
Not that I think DougJ is nearly as profitable pretending to be outraged as the rest of the people I mentioned.
They are all just embarassing. I consider myself a die hard liberal but I don’t want to be associated with these morons because they are as bad as the Tealiban in many ways.
Larison @ The Week:
In other words, it seems like Larison thinks Gingrich combines the worst aspects of both W and Cheney.
Sounds about right.
Not to be overly simplistic, I think most concepts can be broken down to foundation.
Conservative- disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
Sullivan; ” Conservatism is concerned with reality, which it understands shifts with culture, history, region and all the immense complexities of human life.”
Either he is using a scrying mirror or a philosophers stone to reach that hyperbolic bit of prose, or his penchance for justifying continued embrace of a philosophy that is so far afield from his notion of reality, has him giving sophistry a good name. Conservatism IS the Status Quo. It is regressive, in it’s present state, but It never had the flexibility to incorporate culture into its; mix, unless it is the culture of static energy.
In this country, today, what the word “conservative” means is “reactionary”.
They don’t want reality, they want a way-back machine.
That’s a question I ask myself every time one of Sullivan’s columns gets front-paged.
I don’t get the freaking deal with Sullivan. He’s a crank. He’s the crazy asshole at the end of the bar ranting about the good old days.
Buy the man a drink, call a cab to drive him home, and move on.
What are you talking about?
Bobo on Newt:
Aww, don’t sell yourself short, Bobo. Newt doesn’t come close to your viewpoint despite “erratically shifting views and odd phases”, but because of them.
More Bobo on Newt:
My god, you can’t even parody Brooks. He does all the work for you. I mean, “Hayekian modesty”?
I figure you are deliberately trolling with your anti-apostrophe litany?
As a semi-“Obambi”bot, I say, bring either Mitt or Newt on.
And what fun that you actually wrote “dastardly” about campaign shit that’s being flung to and fro by both sides.
Both Mitt and Newt are Dastardly Whiplash given their whipping back-and-forth from one “Will you love me now?” because, yo, I said this today, to “Cough, cough, didn’t mean that thing I did or said–“Nope, never meant that; I’ve changed.”
True candidates of change, both of them.
Villago Delenda Est
The most telling thing about “conservatives” is that they loathe conservation. They want to rape the environment for quick short term profit, with no regard to even the medium term sustaining of human life. They dismiss energy conservation (there’s that word again!) as not nearly as important as “drill baby drill”, probably because using energy more efficiently has a negative impact on their greed.
In foreign policy, they see war as the first option, not the last, and they disparage diplomacy as not “manly” enough for them. Not surprisingly, when it came time for them to participate in their own generation’s war, they found excuses not to put their own precious assess on the line. George W. Bush…champagne national guard unit that he eventually deserted from…peace time service cramped his style too much. DIck Cheney, five deferments. MItt Romney, busy in France with missionary work. Newt Gingrich, also dodging the draft as ably as he could.
They have no outlook, no perspective aside from their own short term gratification.
Well at least Bobo admits that Newt is lacking in modesty. Parody does have to include a smidge of truth.
Have we made it nearly an entire day now without a link to Charles Pierce front paged on BJ?
Death Panel Truck
“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.”
–John Kenneth Galbraith
Grifters gon grift.
What Larison (one of the few sane conservatives) fails to grasp is the simple fact that the American establishment, including the U.S. foreign policy elites and the U.S. military, have merely swapped the label “radical Islam” for “communist” in their 60-year-old threat-of-the-monolithic-global-communist-conspiracy plans.
Everything America does militarily and in its foreign policy was, for 60 years, based on the threat-of-the-monolithic-global-communist-conspiracy. When that threat suddenly disappeared, courtesy of the implosion of the former Soviet Union, it became necessary to find a new global evil arch-enemy to justify the limitless military spending, the endless foreign wars, the relentless militarization of U.S. society, the continued erosion of the constitution. Fortunately, they found one: radical Islam.
Of course, radical islam isn’t monolithic, isn’t a global conspiracy, and presents to substantive danger to America, but why let reality stand in the way?
Far from representing a wild fringe viewpoint, Newt Gingrich’s apocalyptic warnings about the mythical dangers of a nonexistent global radical Islamic conspiracy represents the view of the moderate center of the entire U.S. government policy apparatus.
The perfect example of this delusional but convenient worldview comes from Tom Friedman, who wrote on September 12 2001:
Yes, America faces an existential threat from EVERY SINGLE MUSLIM ON EARTH. And they’re all out to kill us. Personally. And it’s WORLD WAR THREE!
Source: “World War Three,”, Tom Friedman, The New York Times,, 12 September 2001.
Tom Friedman is widely respected and considered sensible and wise. How is what he says any different from the stuff Newt Gingrich is gibbering today?
@carpeduum: Still cheering over the Harper interregnum eh?
@MikeJ: SSHHH!! You’re gonna jinx us!
I’d revise that to “restore traditional ones as they are remembered, regardless of whether they actually existed in that form.” I don’t think that’s a modern aberration, I think it’s always been part of conservatism. The modern aberration is making it entirely about a deliberately distorted past, so the appeal to the idealized past can serve the purpose of creating an extreme reactionary future.
I actually gained a new understanding of Sullivan from another of his posts today.
Okay, first of all, it’s a pretty ballsy callback to once again refer to “the left” as residing in “enclaves”. Or, in his vernacular, it comes “from the annals of chutzpah”.
When you combine this insistence on the existence of a significant “intolerant left” with his constant wishings for a sane conservatism, you see what he really is: a guy who’s still living in the glory days of high school.
In his mind, there used to be a high-minded, Very Serious conservatism and a decadent, intolerant left. Those were his good ol’ days. To his credit, he’s capable of seeing that those days are gone (not that they ever truly existed). But just like any modern conservative, he desperately wants to bring them back. To return to old, comfortable prejudices.
He is intellectually honest enough to realize that Obama-style Democrats are the best choice for his policy preferences. But it pains him to criticize the right. He’d really rather be kicking the dirty hippies. But gosh darn it! They hardly ever give him any opportunities.
Sullivan is simply pleading: Can’t we just go back to conservatives being sane and lefties being loony? Pleeeeease?
It’s kind of sad, but also kind of hilarious.
I’m sorry, but he’s a cunty git.
Today in a post about Perry’s No Homo ad, Sir Milky Loads dropped this aside:
More “DFHs are the fifth column traitor” horseshit for from this cumfunnel.
What a fucking suppurating boil on the overfucked ass of conservative America.
Villago Delenda Est
Because while many Americans claim to be “Christians”, they are, in fact, Mammon worshipers. The entire “Prosperity Gospel” movement is outright slavish worshiping of Mammon. Go to an Amway meeting to see the cadences of the old time gospel tent show recreated in the service of the worship of money.
Luther was bad enough by taking the “faith not works” paradigm to ridiculous extremes based on the corruption of “works” by the Catholic Church of his day, but Calvin turned this bullshit up to 11, and we’re all paying the price for it.
@sfinny: True, dat.
Ah, yes, From The Annals Of Chutzpah. A porn classic if ever there was one, the first santorum fetish film.
OMG, TG Chicago you owe me a Coke. Great minds, etc….
TEHRAN — Iran displayed an aircraft Thursday that it said was a U.S. spy drone brought down last week by an “electronic ambush,” a feat that prompted boasts of Iranian technological prowess in the face of increased hostility from the West.
operator error is no longer operative.
Nice, a series of gay slurs. You’re very witty. It must have been tough not to just call him a faggot like you obviously really wanted to.
@Trainrunner: Not only is he wrong, but more importantly, he’s a big ol’ homo. Got it.
Karl Rove gets a byline on the FoxNews.com front page:
Newt Gingrich’s Campaign Is Poorly Organized
The story is tagged with his name, because look, a lot of average TV-watchers on the right love Karl Rove for saying the things he says as a talking head, love him for his hits on us, love him in secret or openly for representing the Presidency of George W. Bush, just as they loved Nixon’s men. Both may still poll poorly but the Republicans truly believe that ultimately, the Left screwed both of those men, and betrayed America to boot.
But anyway. Severe kneecap on Gingrich directly from Rove, care of Ailes, care of Murdoch, although I doubt he cares much at this point. Honestly, I believe Rove knows he’s burning political capital for a hard shot, knows that he himself looks a little less credible to ideological conservatives every time he acknowledges his Putin-Medvedev relationship with Romney. I don’t think Rove is much of a conservative. He’s more concerned with seizing power behind the right mask – more of a fascist, really.
What really pisses me off about Sullivan’s comments is that his description of a “conservative” is nothing but a list of things an intelligent person would do.
I know conservatives and liberals both – along with those in the centre – who would read that description and say it applied to themselves. That, though, is to say nothing more than they are smart (or hope they are, at least).
“Newt can’t be a conservative because conservatives aren’t dumb”, is basically what he’s saying. He’s also saying that such in-depth, considered analysis is somehow something conservatives own, ergo by extension, it’s lacking in liberal thought.
And that’s why he can go fuck himself.
West of the Cascades
@carpeduum: I disagree with the President’s decision (and frankly the Secretary deserves the real blame here), but I also sort of understand how he feels personally on the issue. He has two daughters who are or will soon be in the age group who he decided need to have their parents’ permission to get Plan B. In his family circumstances, I can see why he would want (as a parent) the ability to discuss unexpected and unprotected sex with his daughter, and (after a stern professorial rebuke likely involving a discussion of both sides of the issue) readily give his approval (and God knows what order to the Secret Service or DHS regarding the boy involved).
Unfortunately since the President’s family is probably the exception rather than the norm, he and Sec. Sibelius made the wrong call. But at least in terms of what his personal considerations on the issue (likely) are, I can see where he was coming from.
West of the Cascades
It’s pretty telling that we’re well into 60 comments on this post and not a single person has taken up Dengre’s challenge to name a “conservative of note in America who thinks about issues with an understanding of ‘shifts with culture, history, re[li]gion and all the immense complexities of human life.'” I sure can’t. Maybe Richard Lugar did at one time, at least with respect to foreign policy, but since he’s become part of the Obstructionist Bloc he’s lost any credibility he might have had.
1. So you think this is going to be a low-turnout caucus, TB? Based on what?
2 The third and fourth place finishers? Really! Wow! And I think we all remember how Fred Thompson catapulted into the hearts of Americans after squeaking one out over someone named John McCain.
Also also, many readers will look at that headline and think, “Gee, Newt isn’t even well organized and he’s beating Mitt. Just imagine what he could do with a real ground game!”
More Notes on Newts.
Psst. There’s a better way to help Obama, Candace. I’ll give you a hint: You’re related to him.
Andrew Sullivan is hopelessly besotted with a beautiful boy named Conservatism, whom he idealizes beyond reason, to whose flaws he is willfully blind, from whose company he would exclude every one he deems unworthy. I think it’s really no more complicated than that.
@West of the Cascades: While we are conducting thought experiments in search of a reasonable conservative, imagine the last 60 years as if William F. Buckley had never been born. Without his project to refine and focus conservatism along cultural and financial issues, it would have been all Goldwater/Rand Paul, all the time.
Anything that can even, for a time, fake reasonable conservatism, is an unnatural fluke and just a transient phenomenon.
@Amir Khalid: no, you and Dennis are both terribly wrong.
Conservatism is maintenance of the status quo as risk management.
Even if the status quo is a PROVEN FAIL.
For 50 years American foreign policy in the ME was largely “Searching for
Mr. GoodbarAtaturk”. Thus Mubarak, Saleh, the Shah, King Abullah, Ben Ali, etc. etc. The idea that a benevolent despot would create another westernized Kemalist dictatorship like Turkey to make nice with Israel.
Unfortunately Turkey is increasingly alienated from AmerIsrael and the AKP tries to vote shariah into the constitution every two years, while Erdogan openly supports Palestinian statehood and is making noises about expelling Israeli diplomats.
Yet America is still funding SCAF while students and liberal secualrists are being killed in Tahir protesting military rule.
Am I? You, meine Liebe, are not even on topic.
@West of the Cascades: no conservatism is maintenance of the status quo. it is a simple idea.
Buckley was all about that– standing athwart history yelling stop and similar bullshytt.
Consider America’s foreign policy in the ME over the last 10 years post 9/11.
Sully links the Father of Lies saying COIN is here to stay.
But….COIN DIDNT WORK.
COIN is just the Bush Doctrine cut down to village size.
It failed epically in Iraq, resulting in America getting the bum’s rush out of Iraq in December, and is failing equally horribly in Afghanistan.
@Amir Khalid: sure i am on topic.
im defining what conservatism really is with empirical examples of the last 50 years of foreign policy.
as we see UPON OBSERVATION in Egypt, Morrocco and Tunisia America is simply unable to “defeat radical Islam”.
That is the beauty of democracy– when muslims are democratically empowered to vote they vote for more Islam, not less, and never for Bush-style missionary democracy.
The reason there was a positive outcome in Libya is that America was on the side of the Islamists for once. Our ONLY success in the ME came from Obama abandoning the conservative strategies of COIN and Searching for Atatturk.
if you want a nice example of magical thinking, Dennis, check out the grunts and their “we almost won Viet Nam” on Exum’s thread.
Only for a very narrow definition of conservatism that does not overlap with reaction (is reactionaryism a word?) or revanchism. This type of ‘conservatism’ (which Sullivan invokes) is a willow-the-wisp, as the status quo ante constantly changes over even short periods of history.
There is a logical consistency to it, but it really amounts to nothing in such a dynamic context as modern, post-cold war politics. It is just a rhetorical pose.
IMHO instead of funding SCAF to bust heads in service of a Failed Strategy, America should be supporting a Tunisian style transition by threatening to cut off SCAF fundage if they dont abdicate control to a civilian government.
A 21st Century Social Contract
The more America tries to keep the MB out, the stronger the Nour party will get.
@Xenos: im explaining what American conservatism is IN PRACTICE.
Not sully’s fantasy theory.
There you have a point. To the degree we have a clash of civilizations both sides ought to adopt the strategies that worked for the West in the cold war – containment, cooptation, waiting for a couple generations for a generation to come along that can seek peace.
conservatism is when you want a king and it doesn’t goddamn exist anymore
Please click on Ron Paul to proceed.
“Had”. It’s over now. The Muslim Brotherhood are now the global political middle.
@Xenos: in a clash of civilizations America has already lost. And containment cant work because of Israel and oil.
The reason the Japan/Germany model failed in the ME is because Islam is an EGT uninvadable strategy.
missionary democracy cant get a toe in the door.
the whole idea of counter-insurgency is anti-democratic i think…..going against the will of the people.
@AA+ Bonds: yup, and the more America funds SCAF the stronger the Nour party will get. It will pull the MB to the radical right.
the specific gravity of radical Islamism, hahaha
man that’s a depressing link, Exum quoting Ignatius,
How the fuck do you write that first sentence and then write that second sentence. “Viet Nam was a terrible mistake. But we must never make the mistake of not fighting more Viet Nams”
I’m failing to see the difference between that and conservatives Christians voting for more Christian fundamentalism here in America. Or why I should think either is a good thing.
SCAF did one thing smart, they went for the judges.
@JGabriel: the difference is the rule of law. the rule of law in America is secular– in majority muslim countries the rule of law is shariah.
For example, in the KSA, the constitution IS the Quran.
I find myself unable to understand how SCAF can be maintained in the government without a civil war. It will probably just be a quiet one like all our men in South America in the 1970s.
The American government will have absolutely zero problem with the street arrest and execution of Salafis.
@AA+ Bonds: as badly as America wants to stop it, shariah will be part of the new egyptian constitution. Like it is part of the Iraqi constitution, and will eventually be part of the Turkish constitution.
It is the consent of the governed when the governed are muslims.
the article i linked about Tunisia is interesting– you should read it.
except they would have BEEG TRUBLE in the age of social media, cell phones and al-Jazeera.
Plus that would destabilize the Saud monarchy.
I agree and it’s dark comedy for us with our objectively anti-secular policy of creative violent anarchy. I think it was pretty funny when Bush had to more or less take credit for a Hamas victory. I will definitely read the Tunisia article
I just try to think of how SCAF could possibly even use the judiciary to stop people who are both adept at democracy and ready to supersede it. I have a lot of trouble figuring it out. They are a really weak army to attempt some sort of Pakistan-style system. It seems they will have to use guns or risk being executed.
conservatism in action. conservatism is anti-empirical.
And Exum is a COINdinista– that is how he made his bones.
he is wholly invested in COIN.
I think their best bet is maybe to get a bunch of people with cameraphones to follow them around as they smash up the same Coptic Christian neighborhood week after week.
@AA+ Bonds: what will be hilarious is if Willard did get elected– like I pointed out, the Quran IS the constitution of KSA.
That means neither missionaries or bibles can enter the Kingdom, so Willard couldn’t go to Riyadh and hold hands with Prince Bandar like Bush did.
KSA is having Arab Spring problems of its own-– they just dont get covered in Western media because it would spike the price of oil.
@AA+ Bonds: the Copts violated the rule of law. They started building churches after the revolution they helped support.
That is illegal under the current egyptian constitution.
and c’mon Dennis.
Daniel “League of the South” Larison and Sully are both batshit crazy conservative shills.
You guys fall for this everytime– they crit one of the craziest of their own so they seem relatively sane by comparison.
Couldn’t agree more that if the folks want their theocracy they sure ought to get it – along with the shit stained sink hole of power mongering that every one of them manages to become with their foot on the neck of the folks who wanted it so badly. Go ahead and show me where given any time that isn’t how it worked out – Christians, Muslims, all the rest of them.
Fucking fucking Newt Gingrich. I really really hope he is the nominee. It will be so delicious to see Obama politely take his sorry ass apart, piece by piece.
Popular wisdom these days is Newt embodies the nastiness of what the republican party has become, and that his supporters wax nostalgic for those heady impeachment dayz and the unique brand of political nastiness Gingrich helped usher in during that time because they just hate Obama so much, they want the nastiest guy available to go on the attack.
It would be wonderful to watch the Harvard Law prof take apart the lesser professorial gasbag opportunist. But I thot republicans didn’t like condescending, elite, intellectual types. Go figure.
Michael Steele says Newt is not the Newt of the 1990’s. From what I can tell he is spewing the same exact warmed-over bullshit now as he did back then. It’s just a re-vomiting of the old welfare queen concept and it sounds exactly the same. You might as well just watch old footage of Newt back in the day, he hasn’t changed one bit except for being a hell of a lot richer now then he was then.
(I know, I’m sorry, I guess I can’t expect anybody to keep reading past “Michael Steele says”)
Welllll…. fatter, more married, and more Catholicky
I think it is way more complicated than that. I would prefer to put it the other way around: The reason the German/Japanese model succeeded, is because Germany and Japan were already modern “westernized” scientifically and industrially advanced countries before WWII started.
In a sense the allies conquering them, completed their evolution into modern, liberal societies.
By contrast Afghanistan, in particular, is a far-less modern agrarian society. Even Iraq was at a very much earlier stage of cultural development, although advancing fast with petrodollar income paying for modernization, until Saddam decided to spend the national budget trying to conquer his neighbors.
Quite simply: trying to modernize pre-industrial societies is a far more difficult task than fixing up already-modern nations.
Buckley’s (in)famous descriptor still applies, although it has been updated slightly:
“Modern” Conservatism stands athwart Reality, yelling “Leave me alo-o-o-o-o-ne!!!!!”
Well, either that or “La-la-la-la-la-la-I-can’t-HEAR-you!”
Someone should ask Lil Andy to identify one American conservative currently in office or running for office that shares his definition.
This is all part of the grift. You hold up a pretty, shiny work of art and declare it your raison d’etre. Then you go about stealing everything that is not nailed down and breaking everything that is. If caught all the other grifters will claim you are not a real conservative because real conservatives live by that pretty piece of art.
Its never pointed out that none of them even try to. Not a one, not ever in the last 20 years at least.
You young ‘uns, FSM bless you! Why, I remember Tricky Dick, back in aught-six, doin’ this same stuff. ‘Cept then, a lot more people knew he was a lyin’, evil prick. But they wasn’t all like him.
Nowadays, almost all of them are lying, evil pricks, who would fuck over their entire family to keep their hands on the reins of power just a little bit longer. (“Almost all”, because I’ll allow that there may be a conservative out there who isn’t. I ain’t a-found him yet, but he may be out there, hiding from Newtie or Pammy Geller. And the “he”/”him” usage is meant as a placeholder, although I guess “it” might be closer to reality.)
Daniel Larison joined a hate group. Is that sane behavior?
Lots of people want to see themselves as strong willed and highly reasoning individuals, and that this is what conservatives are and that liberals are not this — either weak willed or unwilling to face the logical consequences of their reasoning, however cruel the reasoned answer might be to some weaker individuals.
That’s what Sullivan’s like. He’s on the hero’s side who have the gutsiness to follow reason and evidence and say those things the weak-willed liberals won’t, like, we’ve got to kill radical Islam, or, we’re going to have to face the fact that lots of brown people seem dumber than whites, or, leftists are traitors who want Stalin to smother us.
That seems to me to be the obsession with “conservative” as a moniker.
KSA seems pretty committed to Kufrul-Istibdal, just not the democratic flavor.
I don’t think Sullivan took too much care in writing this. First, he’s contrasting a person (Gingrich) with a political philosophy (conservatism), which is kind of sloppy. Second, if he really thinks Gingrich is the perfect antithesis of conservatism, then he’s created a spectrum on which any Democrat you can name is more conservative than Gingrich. Sullivan is being Humpty-Dumpty here.
The answer to this has been explained to you before. The Mittster was a missionary in the past. If, [insert deity of choice] forbid, he would be elected President and chose, as President to accept the invitation of the Saudis, he would go there as the head of state of the United States, not as a missionary. Also, he wouldn’t go through customs so, if he chose to bring a Bible no one would do shit about it.
@AA+ Bonds: Mostly we went on a rampage of hiring subfascist “counter-insurgencies” rather than fighting them directly. Why get your hands dirty when you can just get lots of 3rd world creeps to slaughter the people you don’t like?
Originally Reagan wanted to invade Nicaragua rather than hiring people to overthrow democracy. Looking at Iraq, I don’t think the Nicaraguans would’ve preferred that.
Was there ever a time when conservatism was not about culture wars, about the longing to be dominant once more, about the utter fascination with violence, about the restoration of the old regime of hierarchies? Read Corey Robin’s The Reactionary Mind and you’ll quickly disabuse yourself of the notion that conservatism has been anything but those things from the very beginning… including Burke.
Americans still seem to believe that the trend is in favor of democracy in the Muslim world. I mean, I am not Samara, I am in favor of Kufrul-Istihlaal, of a cafeteria Islam that celebrates alcohol and pornography. But it is totally foolish to think that’s the way things are headed. We have done everything in our power to prevent it.
American news coverage continues of course to make its same single constant mistake: the AP (or NPR) interviews an English-comfortable student about democracy, and then quotes (or plays) a second-hand and alien-sounding translation of a statement from Nour or someone similar. Bonus points if it’s scratchy audio recorded off a radio set, dubbed over by a stern and strident sounding Brit.
As for the young English speaking student, it’s a running joke that you’re far more likely to hear a young Marxist from the Middle East in Western media than a young Marxist from the West, even though their relevance is similarly marginal.
This is much like wire coverage of Venezuela, which depends largely on quotes from extremely anti-Chavez expats – when we’re lucky! I remember a few years back stumbling across an Associated Press story where the sole local comment on Chavez’s policies came under the family name of “Goldberg”, no doubt a traditional Venezuelan surname found in villages across rural Zulia.
If I ever needed confirmation that Andrew Sullivan was full of shit, that quote did it. Clearly he has not devoted all that much attention to the current crop of Republican presidential candidates, who comprise an All-Star lineup of charlatans, wingnuts and grifters – sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Each and every one of them has been vying to outdo the others on the authenticity of his or her “conservative” credentials. Sullivan does not want to face the ‘reality’ that conservatism has become a Humpty-Dumpty word – it means exactly what the speaker chooses, neither more nor less.
They are all doubling down on teh crazy because Republican primary voters, who think of themselves as “conservatives”, believe that George W. Bush wasn’t conservative enough. Ergo, to win their support, you have to espouse policies to the right – far to the right – of W’s. Naturally, this is because W’s “conservative” policies were such a resounding success…I keep going back to the 27% Crazification Factor.
To me the only real important development there is that nowadays Republicans consider Mankiw to be a Communist.
That is a huge fucking deal. It indicates that the current Republican Party has as much to do with Reagan as the man in the moon.
Paul in KY
He’s talking about a Britsh Conservative or an American one pre-Goldwater.
Paul in KY
@schrodinger’s cat: I have no idea. To me, he’s one of the worst courtiers as he gives a ‘serious’ patina to many of their shitty ideas/personalities.
For instance, W. Bush’s Keynesians argued that income tax credits are preferable to unemployment benefits to achieve the same goals, for behavioral reasons: people who receive unemployment benefits take longer to find jobs. (Note that I am not endorsing this point of view!)
Today’s Republicans, all of three years later, believe stridently that unemployment benefits are actually different from tax cuts in a functional sense. That is a very bizarre point of view and a radical departure from almost all economists. It’s far beyond the “confidence fairy” of Europe as Krugman puts it. Without overdrawing the analogy, it’s a little like global warming denial in the strong sense, where you’re actively doubting that temperatures are even rising.
I love the Digby definition of conservative.
“Conservative” is a magic word that applies to those who are in other conservatives’ good graces. Until they aren’t. At which point they are liberals.
Paul in KY
@THE: I think your take is correct here.
Maybe a mathematician better than me can express this simple axiom as an equation – the 27% who are essentially authoritarian fascists plus the other 14% who don’t agree with them but will follow the fascists in order to keep libruls from winning (which would give headaches to the 1%) make up “the base” (Al Quaeda). After that, the job is to use the 14% to make the thing look palatable to the 7-10% that isn’t locked into an ideology.
After we come up with an equation, we can discuss that the real change has come from the fact that the 27% has come to conclude that they make up far more of the population than they really do – and THAT is the stuff from which civil wars are concocted.
@Omnes Omnibus: the bot does not learn
You credit Buckley for that? I always thought it was Nixon’s doing. Buckley seemed like the same upper class, pseudo-intellectual, unrelatable rhetoric that sounded great to country club Republicans but doomed the GOP in general elections before Nixon and Reagan started dog-whistling.
@Omnes Omnibus: like i explained to you before, Bandar and Abdullah dont give a shit about Willards missionariism like they didnt give a shit about Bush’s WEC evangelism.
But the mutaween and the Salafists and Wahabbists will.
And social media will ENSURE that the citizens of the Kingdom know all about it, even if western media politely wont mention it.
Its hard enough for the Kingdom to stay on AmerIsraels side already.
You simply have no idea how much muslims hate missionaries.
Christofascist fear of creeping shariah is weak in comparison.
@Yevgraf: the Sunnis in Iraq thought that too.
Neither you nor Omnes seems to grasp Samara’s point which is that this legalist rationalization is all well and good for you and for the Mercedes set in Saudi Arabia but it will piss off Salafis and many other Muslims in the extreme
I wonder what counterinsurgency tactics he thinks we learned from Vietnam. Call me crazy, but the outcome of that war would seem to suggest that whatever we were doing over there was working somewhat less than perfectly.
Paul in KY
@Samara Morgan: I think the religious wackos there will know not to cause embarrasment to the House of Saud if (God forbid) Pres. Romney came calling.
Somewhat OT. I’ve recommended BJers to read Making Light, the blog of Teresa and Patrick Neilsen Hayden.
Today I highly recommend it. Teresa has written a post (Krugman is from Trantor; Gingrich ain’t) that is pertinent and relevant to this post and politics in general.
There is another post, also by Teresa, concerning PayPal that BJers might find interesting: Regretsy and the Insane PayPal Clusterf*ck.
Go read them.
I have errands to run outside (– at least I’ll be away from the jackhammering over my head) — so I won’t be around to connect in a non-choatic way with discussions for a few hours.
Paul in KY
@AA+ Bonds: It will, but they will know (IMO) that they have to allow the Pres (if Romney) in for some diplomatic hoohaw & raising a big stink about it would probably only bring down the wrath of the government upon them.
Samara is quite right that it is probably not even supposed to make sense. Ignatius appears to argue that the best way to learn from the failure of counterinsurgency is to refuse to learn from it.
Yeah, I expect that’s exactly the model we’ll fall back on in the immediate future, actually. With the added dimension that this time around, you can hire Blackwater/DynCorp style American contractors to do your dirty work too.
There’s a news story about this about this roughly every month and still too many people in America don’t get it. Large numbers of Iraqis take it for granted that American soldiers have a mission to convert Muslims, and tell pollsters this every time they’re asked, and there are of course enough American soldiers who work hard to support that idea.
so? you cant claim the mantle of Defender of the Faithful and go against quranic law.
So tell that to the mutaween.
Also you cant be a citizen of KSA unless you are a muslim.
Think of the money America has poured into the ME– they hate us worse today than ever.
Why? Because America was stupid enough to try to change the religion of over a billion adherents. and yes we tried to change their religion. Islam is a theocracy, no separation of church and state. America tried to impose/install/implant secularism ON FOREIGN NATIONS with +90% muslim populations. secularism << religious faith.
it cant be done.
@Chuck Butcher: So? we cant do anything about it. We have been trying for 50 years. From Operation Ajax to the epically stupid Freedom Agenda.
The tragic flaw of democracy promotion is that when muslims are DEMOCRATICALLY empowered to vote, they vote for more Islam, not less, and never for Bush-style missionary democracy.
Before my reversion my friend Ali Eteraz told me that muslims like Islam and will consistently vote for shariah when given a chance to vote. He said that three years ago, and it is OBSERVABLY true.
Well, like I said, that kind of “Islam” seemed an extremely unlikely development back in 2000, and now it’s an utter joke thanks to U.S. policies, a practical impossibility.
Yet the Western press narrative, especially among liberals, is that it’s always right around the corner.
I’m just wishing on stars :( I’m not deluded like the New York Times.
@Paul in KY: tell that to the mutaween. like i said to AA, you cant claim the mantle of Defender of the Faithful and go against quranic law.
@Paul in KY: Spock conveniently forgets that we outlawed the japanese religion of emperor worship, and outlawed naziism.
the reason for this is western meddling, imperialism and colonialism. defense against proselytization is in mutawatir (still sending, still in continuous transmission). Resistance to proselytizing is an EGT defensive reflex.
It is a proportionate response.
The mufassirs cannot abrogate it as long as there are hundreds of thousands of missionaries with guns in MENA, or as long as the US props dictators and military juntas against the democratic will of the people.
And you are right.
Not understanding Islam has caused the epic fail of American FP in MENA– but continuing to attempt the same failed policies time and time again while expecting somehow a different outcome is pure conservatism.
Its also one definition of insanity, isnt it?
I think it is a good point though that for instance the Japanese system of civic representation continued mostly unbroken through the war and became the foundation of succession among Lib Dems in the postwar period.
As in, the foundation of parliamentary politics in, say, 1990-2000s Japan was there for a century or so before Pearl Harbor.
There was a lot of social technology for us to work with in Japan and Germany and corresponding expectations among the locals and yet the common wisdom in America is that Americans built those institutions, at least in Japan, and that we can just build them wherever we want if we have Strong Will.
Paul in KY
@Samara Morgan: Do the mutaween want to languish in a dank (or maybe sandy) dungeon cell?
As for Germany/Japan, they were ‘advanced’ enough that they didn’t raise a big stink about us banning those 2 cults. That’s one of the points ‘Spock’ was trying to make (IMO).
Islam isn’t a cult, but like some of our extreme forms of Protestantism, it does have some ‘cultish’ quirks (IMO).
the people here dont get it.
i don’t know what’s sillier, bobo’s talk of ‘hayekian modesty’ or newtie’s suggestion that flying laser space frisbees are totes a great way to light our nation’s highways at night.
I did not know about Krugman’s roots as a fan of al-Qaeda, excuse me, The Foundation. That’s interesting stuff and I guess I’m not surprised at all.
@Paul in KY: Islam is a religion….with 1.7 billion adherents. one in five humans is muslim. And it is a religion that evolved in situ to be be immune to memetic mutations.
If the US could have outlawed Islam like it outlawed emperor-worship and naziism, then perhaps Iraq and Afghanistan could have successfully secularized.
As it is, America slammed shut the doors of ijitihad for another half century at least.
All by her bigself.
Liberals seem to dislike talking about Islam. They seem to think it’s “only fair” to pretend that religion is always like American Christianity, even as they gawk slack-jawed at African Christianity and other evidence that the local version of religion they denounce as extremist is actually extremely liberal.
@Paul in KY: lol, the mutaween wont be jailed! the Saudi situation is analogous to the white christian GOP. Having pretended to be the Defender of the Faithful and the custodians of Mecca and Media, ignoring quranic law would provoke a national revolt against the monarchy.
Just like GOP candidates are forced to embrace theocracy in America to run.
Paul in KY
@Samara Morgan: Not even GWB/Cheney would be stupid enough to try and outlaw Islam. They might have been stupid enough to try and create a ‘reformation’ in Islam (in those countries).
IMO, we never really controlled Iraq/Afganistan like we controlled W. Germany/Japan after the end of WW II. Which is due to fact that they (Germany/Japan) were defeated belligerents & we ostensibly went in to Iraq/Afganistan to ‘liberate’ them.
Can you give me a definition for ‘ijitihad’?
Paul in KY
@Samara Morgan: The Saudi king is as you say ‘defender of the faith’, etc.
Who do you think the police/military will listen to when it comes time for evaluating the competing interpretations of what is permitted/not permitted within Saudi Arabia? The king or some dusty killjoy ‘mutaween’?
@AA+ Bonds: Islam is hugely different from xianity. the people here are very resistant to that.
im not sure the people here are liberals tho.
look at this thread for instance. im just explaining that conservatism is defense of the status quo, even when the status quo doesnt work. i used COIN and Searching for Ataturk as two examples of failed strategies that continue to receive conservative support like from Sully and Exum.
and it has devolved into another juicitariat hatin’ on “radical islamism” thread.
There’s an old joke where a guy goes into a store wanting to buy a cheap suit. He tries one on at the salesman’s urgings, and as he spots flaw after flaw in the suit, the salesman suggests ever-larger contortions to cover the flaws in the suit. With large misgivings, the guy buys the suit anyway,and wears it out of the store, doing all to contortions to cover the flaws in the suit.
Sullivan is the guy, today’s conservatism is the suit, and Sullivan’s a dipshit who clings to this party saying it should be what he wants it to be, so that he still belongs to it.
@Paul in KY:
I caution against the fantasy that we “controlled” Japan into forming a one-party parliamentary state. There was not some sort of Faisal situation going on in Japan before we got there. Japanese assembled dutifully into civic organizations to defend local interests in a national system long before the 1947 constitution.
@Paul in KY: ijitihad
@Paul in KY: again, you do not understand how Islam works. The King will use the mutaween to crack skulls when the citizens of the Kingdom object to hosting a missionary….if he dares.
Again, you simply do not understand how much muslims hate missionaries.
You think they shouldn’t…you think that is irrational.
But faith is irrational.
It has turned out to be an interesting discussion regardless and I thank you for elevating the discourse here
@Paul in KY:
the King is not permitted to interpret. only the mufassir. see what i mean? you simply cant get your head around the differences between christianity and al-Islam.
Paul in KY
@AA+ Bonds: See your point. I was thinking that we never controlled Iraq/Afganistan to the same thourough degree that MacArthur controlled Japan for a couple of years. Thus, we couldn’t even try any whacky ‘Islamic Reformations’ in those countries.
IMO, even if we had controlled Iraq/Afganistan like we controlled Germany/Japan for a few years, attempts to ‘reform’ Islam would have been a complete disaster (mostly for reasons Samara exhaustively recaps again & again & again).
Paul in KY
@Samara Morgan: Do you think the King would have any way of influencing a ‘mufassir’?
It is interesting to think about resistance to proselytism in terms of EGT and I wondered if you might expound a little bit on that
Shorter everything Sully writes on this topic: Blah blah blah Oakeshott blah blah blah No True Conservative, etc.
But US left the emperor as a constitutional monarch. Japan had already experimented with democracy in the Taisho period, but the militarists ended it after the economic crisis of 1929.
And in case you didn’t notice, Nazism only lasted 12 years. Before that Germany was a constitutional democracy already. Germany was already the largest scientific and industrial power in Europe before WW1. It wasn’t as if we were trying to impose something Germany had never heard of before.
@m_c: The statement to which I objected was that Romney would not be able to enter KSA. This statement is false. The fact that his entry into the country would hugely unpopular is one I am perfectly willing to accept. Any bitching at me based on the second is disingenuous.
What??? The British Fucking Empire is responsible for most of the tensions in its ex-colonies in the Middle East. They made countries up seeming without regard to tribal or religous differences of the people who would govern or be goverened.
The decline of the British Fucking Empire is full of magical thinking.
Conservatism is nothing but magical thinking as it tries to maintain the status quo even as facts on ground point to the status quo being unmaintainable and after a huge cultural shift they long for a return to the past even as its now impossible to.
@Paul in KY: nope.
no true islamic scholar would deny the Noble Quran. That is denying the First Pillar of Islam.
@Omnes Omnibus: my statement was that UNDER THE SAUDI CONSTITUTION Willard cannot enter the Kingdom,
And that is a true statement because the Saudi constitution IS the uncreated, revealed Quran.
@Paul in KY:
I believe that one of the fundamental errors of the invasions of Afghanistan of Iraq (or at least one way it was justified) is the belief that the Japanese Lib Dem system was invented by America and implemented by MacArthur.
We don’t actually have the social and political technology to build a system like that where it doesn’t already exist, certainly not in two years. I’d argue that one way to see neoconservatism is as the product of the very wrong idea that we created Japan’s civic institutions and that we can recreate them in the Muslim world. Very stupid.
Honestly, I see this belief as a legacy of anti-Japanese racism in America because there’s no similar question about Germany. Our histories see Nazism as a glitch in Germany’s history and we kept Nazi judges in power after the end of the war to preserve continuity of institutions. Japan also preserved continuity, with our help. That’s why their neighborhood organizations quickly became the basis for Lib Dem leadership and support. The change was not nearly as drastic as neoconservatives claim.
But this is also true of Japan. I think you are saying this anyway so I am just agreeing with you.
Paul in KY
@Samara Morgan: Is it the general consensus among islamic scholars that once someone is a ‘missionary’, that they are a missionary-for-life?
@AA+ Bonds: In his excellent book Evolution and the Theory of Games John Maynard-Smith defines an ESS as an evolutionarily stable strategy– meaning impenetrable to out-group strategies, and no mutant strategy can arise from with the population, if infinite or sufficiently large. Dawkins refined the ESS to a CSS, a culturally stable strategy.
Islam is an uninvadable CSS under that definition.
@Paul in KY: oh yes, all mormons are technically missionaries. it is a core part of their liturgy.
Paul in KY
@AA+ Bonds: I understand this. Japan had a parlimentary system many years prior to 1945.
I just think we had an overwhelming military/political presence there in 1946 – 1947 that we never had in either Iraq or Afganistan (IMO).
Also, since these nations (Germany/Japan) were defeated enemies (and they acknowledged that fact), we were able to operate in ways that we have been unable/unwilling to do in Iraq/Afganistan since we were not ‘at war’ with those nations (in Iraq’s case, trying to rid them of the evil that was Saddam & in Afganistan’s case, trying to root out Al Quaida/Taliban).
Paul in KY
@Samara Morgan: How about a Methodist missionary, or someone who is a Methodist & did missionary work somewhere back in the day?
@Paul in KY:
Romney’s church called upon him (and every man of the same age) to petition to become a missionary and then the President of the Church wrote him a letter telling him that it was now his duty to become one. He then did missionary work for two years. This would set him apart from Presidents in recent history when it comes to stepping off a plane onto land controlled by the government that defends Mecca, a responsibility it claims to all Muslims everywhere and a responsibility that Muslims will hold it to.
@AA+ Bonds: the only way we could have done that in Iraq and A-stan would have been to let islamic jurists remain in control of the villages and structures of government.
In Japan and Germany we successfully bricolaged the existing structures to some extent.
In A-stan and Iraq we sought to replace them, because we viewed “radical Islam” as our enemy post 9/11.
Thing is…radical Islam is non-separable from Islam in general.
And 9/11 was a response, not an initiative.
That fundamental error probably comes from the fact that the U.S. did in fact invest itself significantly in helping the LDP get to power and stay there (e.g. CIA financing in not-inconsiderable sums of money). It was basically the same thing we did in France and Italy with the financing of anti-communist parties during that same era.
But yeah… like you said (in all three cases), it’s not like we invented the system from scratch (we were allying with political elements that already existed), and it’s not like we implemented it all by our lonesomes.
@Paul in KY: They would also have a constitutional problem with entering the Kingdom.
Again, this was not a problem before the enforced transparency of the Arab Spring.
This is a significant point, thanks
Yeah I think that’s the difference, that Twitter would absolutely explode over President/Missionary Romney waving and stepping on a plane to Riyadh, someone would get their hands on a PDF of Romney’s mission letter and soon there’d be thousands of hosted copies
@Chris: we were able to bricolage existing structures.
In Iraq and A-stan there were no secular structures. The rule of law is shariah law, and the clergy is the judiciary.
The charitable way to read Sullivan when he talks about the “real nature” of conservatism is that he’s being normative, rather than descriptive (that is, he’s making an argument about what conservatism OUGHT to be, rather than actually is). Compare this with his arguments about true Christianity vs. Christianism, and the real nature of the “gay identity.” You’re reading him far too narrowly if you just think he’s claiming that most people who self-identify as conservatives are Burkean.
Haha and imagine saying that out loud to an American general or politician in 2002 or 2003… so painful to think about how dedicated we were to fucking up “in the right way”
Paul in KY
@AA+ Bonds: Well if the horror that would be Pres. Romney ever came to pass, it would be funny watching him/the king trying to finesse it.
Probably he would never visit KSA & the king would come over here.
@AA+ Bonds: yup. and here we go back full circle to the anti-empiricism problem of conservatism.
The status quo must be maintained as risk management.
Even if it has never worked in the past.
That is why social media and the flattening of information due to the web spells the eventual death of conservatism– anyone can be a sage, and the population can see where the oligarchs are lying.
That is, if you want to look.
The other thing that is killing conservatism is the demographic timer.
Demographics is destiny, like Nate Silver says.
hes just arguing theory vs. practice.
@Paul in KY: even then, it would be fuel for the continuing fires of the Arab Spring.
No probs – here’s the New York Times article from the early 1990s that originally broke the story, if you’re interested.
@AA+ Bonds: i think that is why Jindal cant ever run either. He wrote a paper on exorcism and helped perform one.
There would be thousands of copies of that too.
Thanks, I was a child back when the LDP’s grip first broke and it is kind of interesting to see the confidence of this 1994 NYT writer that there would be no LDP resurgence
All you juicers that claim the GOP has “changed” from “intellectual” Buckley’s day…stfu please.
The conservative party is STILL standing athwart history hollering stop.
Not a viable position in the Age of Information, imho.
Jindal has also said some straight up NASTY things about Protestantism when talking about his conversion, and when I was younger and dumber and writing on DKos and they were all just FREAKING out about how he was definitely gonna run I pointed out that no Republican backer was going to put those statements up against local AM Christian radio
Paul in KY
@Samara Morgan: I can see that any photo of the king & Pres. Romney holding hands (or shaking hands) would be volitile in KSA (and other Arab parts of Islamic world).
Paul in KY
@Samara Morgan: Being elected President in the U.S. (or running) is usually not determined by whether you can safely visit KSA or not ;-)
imo, the more conservatives try to define conservatism beyond the simplistic limited government, free market, traditional values memes, the deeper they get mired in murky weeds in dogged attempts to make bricks out of straw.
Villago Delenda Est
That explains why Sunnis and Shiites dance cheek to cheek all the time.
Islam is no more monolithic than Christianity is.
@Paul in KY: but its telling this is not even a consideration. likewise no one will talk about the Mormon Factor…not even the Great Nate Silver.
Its not PC.
@Villago Delenda Est: sure it is. the first pillar is avowed by ALL muslims, all schools. The unifying principle is the Generous Quran.
In a theocracy, the rule of law is shariah law.
Shariah is quranic exegesis or islamic jurisprudence.
Christianity and Islam?
One of these things is not like the other. ;)
BTW thanks for this, I am reading my way through a tiny bit of the literature here on the way to Dawkins. Dennett mentions resistance to proselytism in an extremely tentative way in some stuff I have read and I probably have so far missed the more relevant stuff of his.
This is a goofy little meaningless thing but I like to show it to people
Villago Delenda Est
OK, they agree on a marketing slogan.
Then you get into the details, and the knives come out.
You are still an obtuse git.
@Villago Delenda Est: the sunni shi’ia argument is about succession.
That is all.
not about the Quran or the prophecy of Muhammed.
@Villago Delenda Est: why is it so important to you?
like i said, sunni/shi’ia is about succession.
Not about the Quran being the uncreated revealed word of god.
no muslim disputes that.
@AA+ Bonds: you should just read Maynard Smith.
the maths in the appendices are splendid.
its kind of fun for me to trace the evolution of Islam in EGT speak.
In the beginning there were the jews, birthright membership and some bride capture. The next evolution of monotheism improved on that with proselytizing as an EGT strat for acquiring reps, plus birthright. Much easier to become a christian.
Then came Islam, and Muhammed studied both christianity and judaism, and argued with their sages.
Islam assimilates both– parts of the bible and torah are incorporated in the Quran. Christians believe their god == the jewish god– jews dont believe that. Muslims believe Allah == the jewish god == the christian god. Muhammed co-opted the prophets– including Issa.
Islam is a superset of monotheism. ;)
Defense against proselytization reflex locks down mutawatir— the current spacetime interpretation of the Quran cant be changed.
The memetic hygiene of the hadith and sunnah, and the injunction against translation, prevents the kind of memetic mutation you see in christianity (snake handlers, prosperity gospel) and in judaism (jews for jesus).
@Villago Delenda Est: If you think the first pillar of Islam is a marketing slogan……..the git is not thee whom you call a git but thee are indeed a twit.
Paul in KY
@Samara Morgan: I think that for the average Repub primary voter, Mitt’s situation would be a reason to vote for him.
Pissing off brown people (a billion of them) is a plus (in their eyes).
@Paul in KY: i think it might be just possible to explain the correlation in Saudi stability and the price of oil to them.
just barely. ;)
You make it sound like you think monotheism is a good thing. Some of us don’t agree with that.
i.e If mono- is an improvement on poly-, then a- is an improvement on both.
This is just so awesome.
you have become such a moral scold.
you know perfectly well why atheism isnt competitive with religion.
the entry cost in IQ and education is too high, and occurs too late in life.
atheism has no killer app to make reps.
@El Cid: it is, isnt it? Every westerner that has tried to translate the Quran has reverted, Pickthall, Asad, Sells.
Its like many worlds theory.
The uncreated revealed Quran is outside of spacetime, and so has to contain every possible interpretation. But the true exegesis can only be unlocked by correct islamic scholarship in the relevent frame of spacetime.
When Islam is under attack the defense against proselytization reflex kicks in and freezes the interpretation. bam, no memetic mutation, no Kufrul-Istihlaal, no ijitihad.
I’m not a moral scold. I’m just telling you I don’t agree with you.
And even if the whole human race believes that shit (and they don’t there are non-theistic religions.) I freakin’ don’t.
I didn’t say I don’t believe in religion. I just don’t believe in god. I’m OK with ancestor worship, sun worship, dna worship, jedi force worship. Buddhism. Life force worship and of course the Tao.
Villago Delenda Est
It’s a marketing slogan. Every one of these idiotic belief systems are about controlling and fleecing the flock. Islam is no different than Christianity in that respect.
The god bothered are the god bothered. They just differ on the precise formulation of the sugar water they hawk.
Consider the statement– there can be no compulsion in religion.
While Islam is under memetic attack, the orthodox interpretation will stand.
BUT…in a future frame of spacetime, when Islam is NOT under memetic attack and fixed in defense against proselytization mode, that could be interpreted differently. I could see proselytization being allowed in some forms. Or interfaith discussion at least.
mutawatir means sending, continuous transmission.
as long as the US tries to impose secular government on islamic nations with force of arms, bribery and propping despots, defense against proselytization will keep sending.
Imam Ghazali once said that humans oppose science from ignorance.
I think this is true.
@THE: pardon but i thought you believed in Evolution.
The trouble with Abrahamics is they think all religions involve personal judgmental gods. They don’t.
There is a whole world of eastern religion and pre-abrahamic western paganism, which is perfectly acceptable to me in its more philosophical/abstract/poetic forms.
Many naturally-evolved native religions are fine with me too. e.g. I love the aboriginal religions of Australia. It is not possible for me to overdose on that stuff. It is both profound and seriously ancient.
I love “village Shinto”. I generally like benign folk-religion.
@Villago Delenda Est: nope, every religion starts as making a recipe for being a good human.
memetic mutation is how religions turn into marketing.
@THE: again, you do not understand al-Islam.
And all paths are the one path.
I think of the Real as a sort of alignment….a flow.
Christians and jews anthropomorphize.
@THE: again, you do not understand Islam.
And all paths are the one path.
I think of the Real as a sort of al1gnment….a flow.
Christians and jews anthropomorphize.
@THE: i admire shamanism just as much as i admire Islam.
No it is you who do not understand. I have no interest in your theologian’s Abrahamic religions.
The truest religions evolve by telling tales around a camp fire for ten thousand years.
EDIT: I’ll take the Rainbow Serpent over Allah or Yahweh any day.
Villago Delenda Est
Once the founder dies, especially with the supernatural obsessed religions, they turn to shit. The various successors see flocks to be controlled and fleeced.
True for Christianity, true for Islam. Islam split in two over the succession. Fell apart faster than Christianity did. Tells you something about it right there.
you are welcome to.
All paths are the One Path.
@Villago Delenda Est: except…Islam hasnt fallen apart. One out of five humans are muslim. In 20 years one out of four humans will be muslim.
How many white christians are there?
The truest religions don’t have prophets, because no-one remembers who first spoke them, sang them or chanted them.
The truest religions have no sacred books, because they are products of the oral tradition.
They are older than writing.
You lie. Your path will never be my path.
@THE: All paths are the One Path.
Andy the Sullivan, a “conservative of note?” Maybe to other pompous twits; the second paragraph shows at least you’re upping your game on that front.
Abrahamic religion is to real religion,
like a plastic flower is to a real flower.
The operative word is: manufactured.
I am particularly referencing the two Abrahamic world-religions here, rather than ethnic Judaism; Which I have far fewer problems with.
IMHO there is a reason why these two religions ended up as the authoritarian, patriarchal, imperialistic systems they became:
i.e. They were designed that way.
its “manufactured” by evolution and darwinian memetics.
i thought you read cavalli-sforza and feldman?
No Samara. You know far too little about the history of religion. e.g. Christianity, as we came to know it, was practically a creation of Constantine’s councils.
Edit: There were several earlier forms of Christianity that were practically driven into extinction. Read the Nag Hammadi literature if you don’t believe me.
marginalized for stating documented facts
Ahhhh, gimme a break. Here’s conservatism.
Okay. Here we go:
Conservatism is biting the heads off live kittens while you explain how much you love animals.
Simple as that.
End of story.
Christianity was FAPP an invention of the government in the late Roman Empire.
It was designed from the get-go to serve as a new state religion.
IMHO it served that purpose very well.
IMHO It still does.
The Protestant Reformation only partly undid what Constantine and the later councils did.
Modern scholarship has unraveled more of the story.
But you couldn’t go back and still have a functioning religion today IMHO.
It wouldn’t be “Christianity”.
e.g. Even the New Testament was compiled by them.
What would be Christianity be before the present New Testament canon was fixed?
We have lost the vast majority of the source texts long ago.
Only a fraction remains as Apocrypha.
@THE: read meh.
@marginalized for stating documented facts: haha, also very true.
/salutes marginalized with respect
I don’t know why I need to read that Samara. I have read original source documents. I used to own a copy of the Nag Hammadi library. I have the New Testament in Greek.
I am familiar with the work of leading Jesus Scholars like Burton Mack and JD Crossan. Jewish scholars like Vermes and Eisenman. The Jesus Seminar is well known to me. I have bookshelves heavy with works on Early Christianity.
Believe it or not there was a time when I was interested in this problem, before I became what I am now.
Now I have better things to do. There are rumors they may have found the Higgs. Better the god particle than god.
@THE: lol, that book is about the evolutionary theory of religion.
im not arguing about what variant is more TRUE– im demonstrating which variant is more darwinianly successful.
and i dont care what you believe….why do you care what i believe?
Samara that is the point. Pascal Boyer’s book is an evolutionary theory.
I am familiar with source documents and evidence and scholarly work about the actual history of the real-life Christian Church.
No matter what your theories say, Christianity had it’s own unique history that led it to be the kind of religion it became. Religions are not merely evolving systems of memes being selected for success.
They are designed systems that are invented and put together to achieve particular goals. If I write a computer program to function as a search engine, does evolution explain that program or is it “intelligent design”?
It may be natural selection that Google’s search engine succeeds and Yahoo’s search engine fails to dominate the market. But the design of search engines is not evolution. It is intelligent design.
Christianity was designed to be 1. Patriarchal. 2. Authoritarian. 3. Imperialistic.
It didn’t acquire these traits at all at once.
I would argue it did it in that order: 1, 2, 3.
But it wasn’t “evolution” that it acquired those characteristics. It was the intentional purpose of the people who controlled the religion. They may have done it to solve particular problems or to achieve particular purposes under the pressing circumstances of the time, but it was design and “will-to-power” not “evolution”.
Christianity became the authoritarian, patriarchal, imperialistic cult that it became, because it was created to be an authoritarian, patriarchal, imperialistic cult, by the authoritarian, patriarchal, imperialistic people who designed it.
You see Samara. History is complicated. Sometimes things succeed for reasons that are entirely accidental and incidental.
Like you might argue that: Sure, Islam and Christianity have been Patriarchal Authoritarian and Imperialistic. But that is what has made them so successful in the Darwinian sense. They are super-competitive.
But I think there are two reasons why you should be deeply suspicious of such a self-serving interpretation.
1. How come all religions aren’t like that?
They aren’t. Patriarchy is common, Authoritarianism not so much and Imperialism is common among states but rare-ish among religions. Especially religions not linked to states.
2. There is the matter of Greek science/reason.
I would argue that the success of Islamic and then Christian imperialism is much more a consequence of technological superiority than religious superiority. As long as they were open to Greek rationality they were able to expand. Once they became scripturally literalistic, closed-minded, rigid and legalistic, they lost the ability to expand.
This is why it is so important for the future of the religious and cultural world that the Abrahamic world religions have now lost their monopoly of Greek science/reason.
Imperialism is no longer quite as profitable a strategy, when your enemies have superior technology to you.
@THE: oh please. Islam is still expanding.
Euro-descent non-hispanic caucasian xianity, not so much.
Reproductive fitness, both memetic and genetic, is ALL ABOUT THE REPS.
Sure atheism is the next evolved stage– but cost of entry is too high, and atheist in-family reproductive rate is too low.
Half of all populations are below the mean of IQ….and atheism only penetrates the upper tail.
There are both biological and environmental reasons for that.
if you want more people to become atheists, raise population IQ.
good luck with that.
Why non-Hispanic? That is a totally artificial boundary to me. Please stop using that term it has no meaning to me. I am not an anglo American. Hispanic is Western to me.
I have told you before that I believe that by the end of this century, I am projecting that Western Civilization will be isomorphic with Western hemisphere.
The population ratio of Western Hemisphere to Eastern Hemisphere, for Western Civ, will be 2:1 by mid century. I count Westerners as all persons culturally Christian. So that includes Russians and “Hispanics”.
Your IQ snark only applies to current US. In Europe all social classes are secularizing, and I believe for various reasons, too complex to discuss here, that this will eventually happen in USA too.
The birthrate thing. So what? By mid century the secular industrial world will include China as well as the West. And possibly 10 times as many robots. I expect people will have a healthy old age. Even if life expectancy doesn’t change. A cure for Alzheimers alone will add huge numbers of people back into active life. We are close, close, close.
Come to think of it Spain is further west (on average) than England. LOL.