Left Vs Right

Left Right

Iain Hall’s introductory piece for this blog titled “Conservatism 101″ is written as a personal testimony of his own conversion. It appears that at some time he was a social progressive who was advantaged by Gough Whitlam free tertiary education but had some sort of cathartic experience that led to conservatism.This is not a critique of his work but rather an attempt to put an alternative progressive view. What Iain says helps by highlighting some major differences between social progressives like myself ,conservatives like Iain and neo conservatives. Iain asks a number of questions and I throw in my two bobs worth.

He asks: What is a conservative?

I would say that Conservatives (LNP) believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty and traditional values. They believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasise empowerment of the individual to solve problems. And they are cautious about change or innovation, typically in politics or religion.

What is a neo conservative?

Neo conservatism goes back to the 30s however in its modern form it is identified with George W Bush who embraced unbridled capitalism, corporate greed together with literalist Christianity to form a modern neo conservatism. Carl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld and others added global superiority to the mix believing that America in all aspects was above the rest of the world. A further element in this mix is Tea Party Republican politics.

Iain asks: What is a social progressive?

My view is that Social democrats (Labor) believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. That it is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights thus believing the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. Progressive policies generally emphasise the need for the government to solve problems.

Iain asks: What are the three top conservative values?

He lists them as. Firstly, personal liberty and autonomy. Secondly, social civility and good manners. Thirdly, there is the importance of family and the biological imperative to make and nurture our children.

I was puzzled as to why he felt that conservatives like him should identify these particular virtues as being “conservative values” as opposed to being universal ones. Is he suggesting that social democrats like me don’t have similar values and practice them?

This issue of the rights of the individual is another puzzle. Why do conservatives place so much importance on it? I pose one example where I think it falls down. I would argue that there needs to be a drastic reduction in the amount of salt, sugar and fat in processed food if we are to avoid an epidemic of obesity and diabetes. Conservatives are against government regulation because they say it takes away the individuals right of choice. In this case without regulation the cost, in the future will be beyond our health services capacity to cope. It’s a case where the individuals rights are outweighed by the common good. So individual freedom is self-defeating. Safety belts and tobacco smoking are but two other examples of where government can change society for the better. I would have thought that the highest value any ideology has would involve the common good, and that a measure of that value might be related to how it best served the most disadvantaged in the community. Government is best placed to achieve this.

Civility and good manners go hand in hand although discerning the difference is always important. Why does Iain think it is a value important only to conservatives. Mind you he doesn’t actually say this but he seems to be implying it. And the same applies to family and procreation. I would strongly suggest that pro creation is the purpose of life and not necessarily a value in itself.

Iain then asks: Is conservatism the opposite of progressiveness?

With this question Iain addresses the conservatives reluctance for change. I am he says, a very strong advocate for the “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it” school of thought and to my mind progressives are the ultimate example of “built in obsolescence”.

I have never understood this reluctance for change. My view is that conservatives dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that they can make permanent that which makes them feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence. I think I have probably seen more change in my lifetime time that any other period in history. Often worthwhile change comes with short-term controversy but the pain is worth it for long-term prosperity. And change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making with Its own inevitability. Change is in fact one of the only constants in life. Conservatives often become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that they never see better ways of doing things. Science has made in my lifetime the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and benefited by all sections of society and none of it could have come about without constant change. Resisting change can be folly and one of the best examples is the denial of climate science. Take this quote from the Courier Mail 25 Oct:

“Queensland consumers should be worried about rising electricity prices. But they should be more concerned about a government that clings to a century old energy system, is relying on short-term band-aid solutions such as price freezes, and is refusing to adopt or embrace to the new technologies and business models that will deliver the cost-effective solutions of the future”.

Why is that conservatives live in some sort of time warp and resist change until it gets to uncomfortable to stay the same? Or it is forced on them? Iain also suggests that it is a good thing that our health system has survived but fails to acknowledge that it is always the social progressives that bring about major reform. The “if it ain’t broke” comment is often applied to Australian republicanism. The fact is that until we have an Australian as our head of state, the system is broke.

What I also found disconcerting in Iain’s article was the absence of economics. Surely capitalism is central to conservatism. Conservatives believe In the free market system, competitive capitalism, and that private enterprise creates the greatest opportunity and the highest standard of living for all. They believe that free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation.

Conversely, Social Democrats believe in the same free market system but one which government regulates. That government must protect its citizens from the greed of big business. Unlike the private sector, the government is motivated by public interest. Government regulation in all areas of the economy is needed to level the playing field and bring about social equity.

It well may be that capitalism over time has won the economic argument and is used by most ideologies. However, unbridled unregulated capitalism as favoured by Conservatives has, as recently been evidenced with the global financial crisis, proven to be corrupt. Without regulation it is a failed system.Capitalism does not allow for an equitable flow of economic resources. With this system a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. Margaret Thatcher’s theory that “There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. That the poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich” (Paraphrased) has been proven to be wrong. The rich of the world are becoming more so. In fact beyond imagination.

Iain asks: Can one be a secular conservative or atheist conservative? And in doing so makes the following statement: ” . . . at the core of most of the great faiths is a template for a “just society”. It can be argued that some churches do good works for society. However, on the other hand it must be said that historically the great religions have been, and still are the greatest forces for “injustice” the world has ever see. One only has to look at the comparative behaviours of militant Islam, the invasion of Republican politics in the US by literalist evangelicals and the practiced evil of the Catholic Church. The simple answer to his question is obvious: Yes. Personally I have come to the conclusion that one of the truly bad effects religion (any religion) has on people is that it teaches that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.

Ian also makes this statement: “Mainly though we conservatives think that making the most of how things are now trumps the empty promises of a “better future” that never seem to arrive”. Surely this is the statement of a patronising Luddite? In recent years I have had bowel cancer and suffered a heart attack. Is he suggesting I should have made the most of how things were instead of the hope of a better future? Which I now have. I can further assure him that from the poverty of my upbringing a better future did arrive. I find that to be one of the most dank and demonstratively negative statements I have ever heard.

I welcome Iain Hall’s contributions to this blog and I understand he is not speaking for all conservatives. But there is little we would agree on if this is his own understanding of Conservative ideology. Well except for good manners and civility.

About these ads


Categories: Society

58 replies

  1. John, your articulate, intelligent perspective is always reasonable and measured.

    I have many conservative friends and we agree on 80% of issues as they are moderate and love Australia without flag waving racist nationalism.

    Hall epitomises the division of a “us and them” mentality because he is not a true conservative. He has displayed hateful sexism and racism consistently, at odds with conservatism, more akin to radical neoconservatism.

    Conservatives; as you so rightly point out do not have exclusivity on decency and moral values. There is nothing wrong with a free market, when it is actually a free. The idea of free market economies are destroyed by politicians who display favor which produce a destructive , uneven market without social conscience, like News, Woolworths ect……

    You are spot on about Hall being a luddite, if fact he is the worst kind. An obstinate luddite blinkered by politically advantageous ideology. Many of my conservative friends are horrified by Abbott and this opposition at odds with their conservative ideals, more importantly their morality as I am horrified by Hall.

    Great article, again you nailed it :-)
    Ricky

  2. It’s not so much conservatism in general I detest necessarily, just policy driven by ideology alone without regard to circumstance. The kind that is radical in form. To me for a long time there has a been a degree of political consensus on social support mechanisms. Sure there has been tinkering around the edges and moves to compensate via the tax system rather than traditional sources of social support (Centrelink and it’s predecessor Social Security).
    But now there seems to be an ideological imperative to declare those in need of such support as having a ‘sense of entitlement’. That it’s now too costly to provide social support at the current levels because it’s ultimately unsustainable according to the sums in terms of an economy. So let’s, in Australia, mimic the UK’s approach and sit around wondering why the economy would so slow to pick up after an enforced recession because cash has been sucked out of it. (I understand things are more complicated than and usually an economy can bounce back to fill that void, but how is that travelling in terms of UK and wider Europe.)
    It’s this paranoid obsession with government being the ‘problem’ that is something that will ultimately come back to haunt conservative political forces in the future when or if they are given the chance to implement such approaches after September 14 2013.
    We have economic success here based on balancing out government involvement and free markets….siding with one over the other isn’t the answer. Rampant free market ideology will cause serious social dislocation.

  3. Thanks Ricky. Appreciate your thoughts.

  4. John
    I found your argument quite amusing.and even though I don’t agree with much of it I very much appreciate the way that you have made your argument, Maybe I shall prepare a detailed response if you don’t mind.

    Ricky
    You really do have a bee in your bonnet about me don’t you?

    I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a Luddite its just that I am a very discerning user/consumer of technology who is very sceptical about the claims of just how wonderful things will be until I see the pudding before me. The NBN may well prove to be all that its proponents claim for it but then again it may end up being a most expensive pale pachyderm. Only time will tell and the sooner you stop whining because some of us are yet to be convinced of its virtues the more your commentary on the subject (in which you have a vested interest) will be respected.

  5. You really do have a bee in your bonnet about me don’t you?

    After the comments you directed at him previously, which don’t tend to support your ‘conservative’ trait of ‘social civility and good manners’, I don’t blame him.

  6. “But now there seems to be an ideological imperative to declare those in need of such support as having a ‘sense of entitlement’. That it’s now too costly to provide social support at the current levels because it’s ultimately unsustainable according to the sums in terms of an economy. So let’s, in Australia, mimic the UK’s ”

    Sense of entitlement to what.

    Entitlement to be given the support to get into the workforce, to be provided with training.

    Entitlement to expect the government provides the framework for business to thrive

    Yes, income support is a necessary part of the package, but should one expect to be able to live on it indefinitely.

    Mr..Howard used to spruik about not all needing to go to Uni, that trade courses would serve much better.

    Mr, Howard got it wrong, as we need the skills of all that went to Uni.

    He should have been looking for the tradesmaen from further down the social ladder.

    He should have put effort in, getting all those who were leaving school with low levels of achievement, encouragement to go back to the education system.

    Unemployment benefits should only be seen as emergency measures, to get one past the crisis, back into work, or better still, further training.

    The future productivity and growth of the country, depends on this.

    It is very short sighted of the Coalition states to make the cuts to education and TAFE, as they have been doing.

    With the massive changes occurring in technology, any country that does not train for the future will be left behind.

    I have heard the mining heads gloating that we are on the verge of having fully automatic mines. No place for untrained workers there. I heard one representative say, there will be no need to employ any workers here. All can be done from overseas.

    This is the new global world, we will have to survive in.

  7. Sense of entitlement to what.

    I’ll kick off Catching Up, perhaps a sense of entitlement that you won’t say that my political opinion of Gillard is based on her being a woman, and perhaps an entitlement to have your comment about “discredited” being either justified or withdrawn.

  8. to have your comment about “discredited” being either justified or withdrawn.

    There have been several comments over there discrediting your claims, it’s no-one elses fault that you ignore them.

  9. Tom R

    Civility and good manners do not require one to be be at all caring and compassionate to those who constantly attack you personally. I have on more than one occasion offered to “ignore” Ricky and he has on innumerable occasions insisted that he will act as If I don’t exist, however every time I pop into a thread or write a piece here there he is like a foul miasma once again reiterating the same plaintive cry about how nasty I was to be unkind about his heart troubles. Frankly his constant bleating about one off hand comment shows what a petty little man he is.

  10. Tom, if I said the NBN was the biggest fraud this country has seen, you would be disagreeing with me.

    There is a limit to how many times one answers what you demand.

    Tom, name one here, that has agreed with you.

    Sorry, I will not be doing as you demand. Your sense of entitlement seems to indicate, I must fall in line with you.

    Comments finish.

  11. Yes, Tom, I am fast coming to the belief, that many make their judgement of the PM, not on what she does, but because she is a woman.

    Many do not accept her lifestyle. This in spite of the fact, that large numbers of women today, live similar lifestyles.

    Tom, before you begin another battle royal, keep in mind, you brought the subject up.

    Tom, it is your choice if you want to continue in this vein.

  12. Tom, it is your choice if you want to continue in this vein.

    Catching Up, you should avoid getting all personal, and tehn trying to suggest that someone else is “continuing”

    You have plenty of form in doing that. I’m always willing to let bygones be bygones. So should you.

  13. Hall I have said this before about you and I will say it again, and I think other here agree with me.

    “That is the thing Hall, your views of past and present view who you are today, your past has everything to do with this topic, the past says who you are more than anything else.”

  14. Paul
    Your mangling of the English language says more about you than I care to contemplate. :roll:

  15. You should talk, I read Miglo have to correct spelling mistakes in your article.

  16. Tom, read what you saId.

  17. and I believe he replied, saying he did make spelling mistakes.

    Tom, let it be.

  18. Your mangling of the English language says more about you than I care to contemplate.

    As does your past about you

  19. Catching Up, you have so far said that I formed my opinion of Gillard based on her sex. This is an outrageous and unjustified claim. You claimed that some of my comments were discredited.

    Can you show any similar claims I’ve made to you/

    Please either justify this, or stop posting replies.

  20. Tom, please stick to what I write. Cease putting your own meaning into my words.

    Yes, once I did ask you if you might be dishonest with yourself, that this could be the case.

    How in the hell do I know what makes you tick.

    Just let it go.

  21. You should talk, I read Miglo have(sic) to correct spelling mistakes in your article.

    Still mangled Paul :roll:

    I make spelling mistakes, as most of us do but I do not constantly use the wrong common words as you do repeatedly, it may be “auto complete” in action on your phone but even if it is that the fact that you don’t care enough about the things you post to check them before you press the “post comment” button shows what a sloppy debater you are.

  22. Yes I know, I put it there just for you Hall, :lol: :lol:

    You should Talk.

  23. ToM said:

    I’ll kick off Catching Up, perhaps a sense of entitlement that you won’t say that my political opinion of Gillard is based on her being a woman, and perhaps an entitlement to have your comment about “discredited” being either justified or withdrawn.

    Then Fed up said:

    Tom, if I said the NBN was the biggest fraud this country has seen, you would be disagreeing with me.

    There is a limit to how many times one answers what you demand.

    Tom, name one here, that has agreed with you.

    Sorry, I will not be doing as you demand. Your sense of entitlement seems to indicate, I must fall in line with you.

    Comments finish.

    Despite this plea, ToM comes back with:

    You have plenty of form in doing that. I’m always willing to let bygones be bygones. So should you.

    To which Fu replied:

    Tom, let it be.

    And ToM comes back again with:

    Catching Up, you have so far said that I formed my opinion of Gillard based on her sex. This is an outrageous and unjustified claim. You claimed that some of my comments were discredited.

    Can you show any similar claims I’ve made to you/

    Please either justify this, or stop posting replies.

    And again Fu rightly says:

    Just let it go.

    I can see you the protagonist is. ToM, give it a break please. Nobody is interested in your little games.

  24. I’m always willing to accept different perspectives Miglo, but I’m suggesting that Catching Up should exercise some care in dishing out the insults and broad brush characterisations.

  25. Like I said before and reiterate, this is a great article by an articulate man steeped in fact. John Lord demonstrates to people like Hall who claim falsely to be conservatives, what a true conservative actually is.

    They are certainly not sexist, racist and black of heart. They most certainly do not wish others malice when others point out their intellectual shortcomings by asking to provide fact to support their baseless assertions.

    What you are informs how people perceive your posts. The fact that Hall has no answer other than to say John is “amusing” and he does not agree speaks volumes of his faux condescension. Hall is an attention whore who fumes on and avoids anyone who questions his opinion. I suggest that this behaviour is mirroring the antics of the current opposition or Piers Akkerman.

    Hall thinks he is above criticism and never produces facts other than links to Andrew Bolt. It must be a huge reality check to be pegged as a failed writer when he bombs basics; especially in light of his claim of a degree in writing. I have pointed out to Hall constantly that the construction of an argument must have facts to the point of utter frustration.

    Quite simply he made his burning bed, he lies in. Like Tony Abbott, you can’t reinvent yourself by standing somewhere popular and waiving the same pen around proclaiming “I’ve changed”. Hall is never wrong so as consequence he will never be right.

    “the sign of a truly lazy brain is simply dismissing criticism with unsubstantiated opinion”

  26. Pot. Meet kettle.

    ToM, in my opinion John has provided us with a great post and everybody here would appreciate it if you left your pettiness aside and addressed the topic.

    You give me the impression you’re attempting to turn it into something you, and only you, want to talk about.

    Any further attempt to derail the thread will see your comment deleted. I’m sure that John would appreciate that.

  27. I’m just standing back laughing at the childish stupidity of it all.

  28. John Lord said – My view is that Social democrats (Labor) believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all… to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human … Progressive policies generally emphasise the need for the government to solve problems.

    The problem with this comment is the “(Labor)” bit. The evidence is in the policies actually introduced and advocated by the ALP. The contemporary ALP has little resemblance to this.

  29. That’s an understatement John, :-) especially the irony of defining conservatism to a confused faux conservative.

  30. Oh Tom, cmon the modern ALP is right but are you saying the NDIS, Gonski and the NBN are not policies of social equality?

  31. irony of defining conservatism to a confused faux conservative,/i>

    And that is where most of the problems lie I think. The liberals call themselves ‘conservative’, but they don’t really represent conservative policies.

    The Carbon Price and Direct Action is a glaring example. In this, Labor is closest to a truly ‘conservative’ position, although, a true conservative would have neither, apparently, the oil companies will do what is right ;)

  32. the NBN are not policies of social equality

    Apparently, the NBN comes under the heading ‘pork barrelling’ :lol:

  33. I wonder were policies such as Gonski and NDIS fits in with what Tom has said.

    Where does raising the tax free threshold which means one million more people do not have to fill in a tax return.

    Where does the rises given by this governmnent to full pensioners fit in with being against Social democrats principals.

    Does the dumping of WorkChoices, and introduction of FWA conflict with that of Social democrats (Labor).

    Is the removing of upper income rebates and welfare, in conflict with social democrats beliefs.

    The list is endless.

  34. Tom you have lost me, all my conservative friend are in business and applaud the NBN as a necessary piece infrastructure for decentralisation and social advancement essential for future prosperity.

    In regard to the Carbon price a true conservative is in favor of free markets, is global carbon trading not an example of said market forces?

    I have noted Gonski and the NDIS are absent from your answer.

  35. Let’s look at – “ it is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights”…and asylum seekers, for example.

    The most cruel and inhuman policy in Australia’s history is the hallmark of this government.

  36. Do you have a solution Tom.

  37. ToM

    Your faulty thinking on the asylum seeker issue is all about the difference between what you consider to be a “universal” obligation to help all people and the political reality that we elect our government to give precedence to the needs and desires of Australia’s citizens above the other people on the planet.
    You may not like that simple truth but it underlies all of the “hard decisions” made by both Labor and the coalition to discourage irregular arrivals.

  38. I wonder what the plight of these people would be, if we did not move away from the bipartisanship way of dealing with the asylum seekers.

    What is now in place, is not Labor’s preferred model.

    Tom, have you any ideas on how Labor can get to their preferred model.

  39. Oh John you beat me to the punch. The trouble with the ridiculous lie of “boat people” is that Howard had a solution, wrong. The opposition will stop the boats with piece of paper, wrong. Howard was more humane, wrong. The navy will tun back the boats, wrong. Australia can stop oppression and tyranny around the world to stop people coming, wrong. The opposition have an answer to one of the most complex political issues in existence. On thing that is apparent the opposition are the party that politisised this issue and tapped into innate racism to enjoy the political capital.

  40. Why does one make comments that ones thinking is faulty. Is that not a little arrogant.

    I fail to see what it adds to the debate.

    I hate to say this, but Tom is no less entitled to his view, than you are, without the insults.,

  41. 1. Arguably bipartisanship stopped in 2004, with Gillard, when she announced – “Another boat another policy failure”

    2. A solution? Certainly punishing the innocent in order to send some message to others. Punishing the innocent is regarded as unethical.

    I’ve previously advocated a range of measures that don’t require the draconian approach implemented by this government to appease the rednecks, and I’m not going to repeat them right now.

    But if you see the current policy of the government as an appropriate solution, fine. It’s a question of values.

  42. Ricky

    In regard to the Carbon price a true conservative is in favor of free markets, is global carbon trading not an example of said market forces?

    In fact it is just another dodgy derivatives trading scheme that is very like so many Ponzi schemes: a huge rort that produces nothing by trading a pretend commodities and enriches only the spivs and shysters.

  43. I have yet to see Hall explain this view of his.

    In fact it is just another dodgy derivatives trading scheme that is very like so many Ponzi schemes: a huge rort that produces nothing by trading a pretend commodities and enriches only the spivs and shysters.

    I, for one would like him to explain why it is a huge rort, and it enriches only the spivs and shysters.

    He has never said who these spivs and shysters are.

  44. Yeah good luck with that Hall does not understand economics, my guess is he is paraphrasing me from a comment on whispers where I stated that I hope Carbon trading did not become the next derivatives trading product. He’s not one for originality so don’t expect and explanation Paul.

  45. Reblogged this on dariancase and commented:
    Left vs Right

  46. Ricky, I don’t, have asked this before and his answer was, “If you don’t Know now you never will”

    He is all words and nothing else, pretty pathetic really.

  47. John, thank you for your well written article, once again.

    This one for me, has actually helped me sort out just how & why a conservative like me could have changed my viewpoint. Swinging voters (I was one of them) usually vote one way or the other when Parties veer away from their ideals and policies. When the policies start to affect the living standards of the masses, when the policies espoused by the leaders of the parties take on an extreme hard right (or left) the swinging voter moves to side of a more balanced political viewpoint.

    As I read your article again John, at this point in my life I cannot see how I could ever vote conservative again. LNP policies have strayed too far to the right and look just like the GOP policies of the US for me as I’m sure for many other swinging voters.

  48. Nice post John. l don`t agree that the `republican` arg is simply a conserv/progress issue tho, many more positions exist on that topic.

  49. Thanks Sandra. I understand exactly where you are coming from.

  50. Ricky

    Yeah good luck with that Hall does not understand economics, my guess is he is paraphrasing me from a comment on whispers where I stated that I hope Carbon trading did not become the next derivatives trading product. He’s not one for originality so don’t expect and explanation Paul.

    Why on earth would you think that I am making any reference to your comments at the Cafe , or comments made anywhere else for that matter.

    I have been denouncing both the carbon tax and emission trading schemes for many years and none of those posts cite you as the source of my understanding of the issue.

  51. Iain Hall
    February 27, 2013

    John
    I found your argument quite amusing.and even though I don’t agree with much of it I very much appreciate the way that you have made your argument, Maybe I shall prepare a detailed response if you don’t mind.

    Predictably Hall, all charged up with a literary degree but fails to grasp the basics. Sadly; the only fact Hall inadvertently substantiates is he’s a delusional condescending hack beyond criticism.

    Again, John thanks for a great article. The mark of a good writer is when you enjoy the experience and it enriches you learning.

    Continue your excellent work comrade.I’m done

  52. Yes Hall, you have been doing that, but you still have not stated who these spivs and shysters are, or who is routing the system.

Trackbacks

  1. Conservatism 102 « Iain Hall's SANDPIT

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,071 other followers

%d bloggers like this: