Thursday, August 19, 2004

What is Conservatism

Here is an article that is certain to make some blood boil. I saw it in a post from Rory Litwin on the Yahoo Group Conservativelib.

"What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It" by Philip E Agre.

There are certainly some provocative statements:

"Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world."

A theme that he presents throughout the article.

I do find his description of how conservatives have co-opted liberal language to be interesting.

I think it is a mistake to take various historical movements and lump them into one clay statue called "Conservatism". But that is the Historian talking.


I'm Baaaack

Well, I survived. Five pounds less and a blister on my left heel the size of a Fifty-Cent piece. Waldo Lake is a beautiful area, although you have to hike through a few miles of a previous forest fire to get to the good stuff. Evidently the lake is one of the clearest in Oregon, and the second largest natural lake (after Crater Lake). I didn't see much in the way of wildlife, although I had fun feeding the Clark's Jays, or, as they are more commonly know as, Camp Robbers.

Sunday, August 01, 2004


I watched Outfoxed on DVD the other night. Most certainly is not a great... well, I don't know what I would call it. It's not really a documentary, but more of a propaganda piece. It is very unapologetically left wing. Which is fine by me. If you're either a big fan of Fox, or a Republican, you are not going to find much cheer in this film. It is a tad, just a tad, one sided, and is clearly designed to encourage the troops: feed 'em a little red meat, and then point 'em in the Right direction.

Having said that, there is some good you can glean from Outfoxed. I think it raises some very good questions, although not new, about the conflict between Corporate concern with the bottom line, and the role of an unfettered Journalism Corp (necessary in a democracy for an informed citizenry). Too much concern for profit can change the News into just one more entertainment program. The focus was on Fox (portrayed as the Network of Darkness and Evil), but a few oblique comments intimated that the others are not far behind.

The dumbing down of politics

As usual, Paul Krugman has written another excellent article, titled "Triumph of the Trivial". What is funny, is that he is not carried in my paper very often. Which is too bad, because I think he is the most succinct and insightful of the liberal columnists. A few of the gems:

Under the headline "Voters Want Specifics From Kerry," The Washington Post recently quoted a voter demanding that John Kerry and John Edwards talk about "what they plan on doing about health care for middle-income or lower-income people. I have to face the fact that I will never be able to have health insurance, the way things are now. And these millionaires don't seem to address that."

Mr. Kerry proposes spending $650 billion extending health insurance to lower- and middle-income families. Whether you approve or not, you can't say he hasn't addressed the issue. Why hasn't this voter heard about it?


Somewhere along the line, TV news stopped reporting on candidates' policies, and turned instead to trivia that supposedly reveal their personalities. We hear about Mr. Kerry's haircuts, not his health care proposals. We hear about George Bush's brush-cutting, not his environmental policies.

Much of what you read today, is too partisan, and does not attempt to provide any sort of balanced view, or get to any broader truth, except that the candidate they don't like is Satan in disguise. Not, mind you, that I haven't been guilty of that before myself, but it is nice to see someone step back a little and take a look at da Big Picture.