Thursday, October 01, 2009

Get A Life

Andrew Sullivan:

Of course, boring politics in Germany is always good news. In successful countries, politics is always boring. It's life that's interesting.

Exactly. Recall Haffner's warning about what happens when politics and the "public sphere" supplant the individual's interior life. This is why much of the anti-Obama extremism is, at its core, hypocritical and ironic. His detractors rail against what they perceive as intrusive and coercive government. But if Washington shut down for good tomorrow, they would be as upset as any career government employee, talk show producer, or K Street lobbyist. The radical Right's lifeblood is now the public sphere -- and, in a non-fiscal sense, they actually see Obama as a symbol of its diminution, especially for his moderation in foreign policy. Without war and torture and chatter about revolution to keep minds and airwaves busy, what do they have left? Do people who sit glued to Hannity and Limbaugh, or hanker to bomb Iran, or show up with weapons at public events strike you as having active interior lives?

18 Comments:

Anonymous Pete said...

Pretty cynical. Conservatives don't need the public sphere to be in an uproar to be relevant. They are overly exercised now due to elitist statists providing chum for savvy capitalists like Beck, Limbaugh and Hannity. Conservatives prefer to be left alone unencumbered by nosy, preening, arrogant busybodies like the current crop of liberals.

10/01/2009 12:33 PM  
Blogger wendyo said...

Pete, I don't know how long you have been reading CR's blog, but "conservative" is a term that has been hijacked by a lot of non-conservatives over the past decade.

Also, what does "liberal" mean to you? These words have lost all meaning in the current political circus.

10/01/2009 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Pete said...

I'm too old to play semantic games. A conservative is a conservative despite how beltway pundits, urban elites and other over educated, self absorbed "experts" define it.

A liberal to me is someone who believes government is the answer to all our problems.

10/01/2009 2:27 PM  
Anonymous outlaw josey wales said...

Conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed.

Is a conservative someone who believes that the "free market" is the answer to all our problems?

10/01/2009 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Pete said...

I wouldn't think so. There is no one best answer to all problems. The free market is the more efficient answer to solving problems when compared to government. Incentives related to personal survival, economic or otherwise, provide better results than incentives related to getting re-elected or feathering one's nest by govt. sanctioned coercion. And how might a government employee be motivated to provide an efficient, effective solution when failure can be blamed on another administration, taxes raised to cover the failure, and then new legislation introduced to correct the earlier failure?

For perspective, I'm not a big fan of large corporations when they lobby govt for regulations and tax breaks which can give them competitive advantage.

When most things get so big they can unfairly tilt the playing field, that is when a correction should be made. Free markets do a much better job.

10/01/2009 4:08 PM  
Anonymous vanya said...

A liberal to me is someone who believes government is the answer to all our problems

There are no liberals who believe that. Liberals actually believe that democratically elected government is one of the few checks people have against the power of the elite, i.e. the people who control capital and resources. Conservatives believe government should represent elite interests, liberals believe government should hold elites in check.

In real word terms conservatives basically believe in rule by majority - whatever 51% of the population believes, or can be convinced to believe, is the only thing that matters and everyone else can go to hell. Liberals believe in defending the rights of the minority - which makes liberals by their nature more likely to defend unpopular positions and, indeed, often leads liberals to take stupid indefensible positions in the name of protecting a minority (i.e. being soft on Communism).

10/01/2009 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Inthon said...

Liberals believe in defending the rights of the minority????

The individual is a minority. Individuals need to shoulder their own costs, not rely on other individuals.

The problems with health care are due to government involvement in all aspects from drug restriction to tort reform. We are nowhere near a free market.

PS Most Democrats voted for the bailout which benefitted the elites.

10/02/2009 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an private American citizen living in Germany Sullivan misses one very important point. The election campaign was boring if you look at it for a US persceptive, but it usually is here. People here feel elections shouldn't just be based on emotions and 30 second tidbits. There are strict campaign laws and TV ads are very limited and only allowed strictly following a code that has nothing to do with money. Actually politics in Germany with its smaller parties including the Left Party is very interesting at the moment. Coalitions have to be formed. There is a on-going debate about health care reform that is constantly being tweaked. Not a once in a lifetime reform, but a never-ending process.
Germany will soon have an openly gay foreign minister (along with the mayors of Berlin and Hamburg). So, no, politics in Germany is not boring but alive.

10/02/2009 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inthon said: "The problems with health care are due to government involvement in all aspects from drug restriction to tort reform."

So the problem is the Fed gov't is too involved with health care, and one way for them to get less involved would be for them to pass laws restricting civil lawsuit pay-outs (i.e., tort reform).

Bit of a contradiction that..

Hankest

10/02/2009 2:10 PM  
Anonymous outlaw josey wales said...

Rational and open minded individuals believe that some combination of free markets and government participation is best. Depending on the area, the balance between the two sides will (and should) vary.

There may be conservatives who believe that, but no Republican who holds any weight at present believes that. That's the point. To most Republican leaders government is per se bad (except when they're in power or it involves some hot button issue). Although to be fair, the same is true of Democrats in other areas (i.e. torture, the wars, etc.)

10/02/2009 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete's the man:

'prefer to be left alone unencumbered by nosy, preening, arrogant busybodies like the current crop of liberals'

Many of the Palin/Hannityites aren't really even conservatives - they are simply pissed off maniacs.

So I agree with both CR and Pete - a neat trick, that

10/02/2009 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The party of individual liberty became the party of war abroad and social values at home. Not much room in that dual platform for anything "individual" anymore.

10/02/2009 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give this a read for some perspective: http://www.oftheeising1776.com/thenewrulingclass

10/03/2009 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this: http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2009/10/02/why-big-government-doesnt-work/

10/03/2009 8:06 AM  
Anonymous merkuri said...

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10/03/2009 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, call Barney Frank or Chris Dodd

10/03/2009 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As an private American citizen living in Germany Sullivan misses one very important point."

What? Andy Sullivan opining about a topic that he's fundamentally ignorant about?!?! Andy Sullivan blithely wrong about the most elementary facts?!?! Shocking!

Aside from your parliamentary systems, one thing I really envy about European political systems is the breadth of opinion that they represent. There simply is no center left (let alone **real** left) in the American political system. The corporatist propaganda effort that's plagued this country since the Sainted Reagan has really paid off that way. (I'll grant that there are deeper cultural forces in play, too. But the narrowing of the American political spectrum really took off with Reagan.)
-- sglover

10/04/2009 1:29 AM  
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