Domingo, 19 de Abril de 2009

The conservative soul

"Why have conservatives been in favor of free markets historically? And I would posit the following:

 

The critical argument behind free markets is that markets devolve decisionmaking to the people closest to the activities involved, and those people have the most knowledge and understanding of what they are doing. The closer you are to what you are dealing with, the more likely you are to know what you are doing. And the further away you are from those particular interactions on the ground, the more likely you are to get it wrong.

 

And so conservatism in the 20th century had a very powerful critique, from Hayek to Oakeshott, of the insanity of governments and of central authorities dictating to large, complex, organic, dynamic groups of people what was the right way to order their economies or societies.

 

Why? Because one individual, one expert, is often wrong. Not only that; when people become certain that they are right, they can create great damage to the fabric of society. This was the essence of Burke’s critique of the French Revolution: You are messing with things you do not understand. French society is too complex for one human mind, however brilliant, to master.

 

Michael Oakeshott had a great metaphor for this particular issue. He called it governing by the book. When Oakeshott spoke of “the book,” he was speaking primarily of the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, of the great era of liberal triumphalism: We have figured it all out. We know how to make society wealthy. We will abolish poverty. We will be rid of war. We have figured it all out at Harvard, and we are just going to implement it all upon the world.

 

Oakeshott said no at a time when it was very unpopular and difficult to say no. But he said no for a very simple and powerful purpose. He said: If you are governing a society by a book, and you are actually having to govern as you are reading and understanding and writing that book, every now and again you are going to have to look up from the book just to make sure that people are behaving according to plan. And very soon after you have written that book and you have your idea of what the world should be like, you will look up and realize there are people misbehaving. They are not following the rules in the book. If you are going to govern them, you are going to have to keep looking up from the book just to keep them all in line. And eventually you are going to be looking up from the book so often that there will come a moment when you will have to close the book."

 

Andrew Sullivan [um excelente profile de Sullivan pode ser encontrado aqui]

publicado por Jorge A. às 09:43
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Quinta-feira, 30 de Outubro de 2008

Contra McCain

A Closed Theory Case Study, por Julian Sanchez:

I’ve never classed myself as a proper conservative of any sort, and indeed, over the last eight years my tendency has been to increasingly see allies on the left, if only as a counterweight to the monstrous excesses of the Bush administration. But unlike my friends who march under the progressive banner, I have no desire to see the Republican party relegated to permanent—or even persistent—irrelevance. 

 

I’m going to cheer their coming defeat at the polls precisely because it’s clear that a corrective is in order: They need a time-out to think about what they’ve done. But I’m terrified they’ll spend the next two-to-four years concluding that they erred only in not indulging resentment and celebrating ignorance enough, in not being intransigent enough, in not demonizing their opponents enough. Because if they do, we’re looking at eight years of Democratic supermajorities in Congress under a Democratic executive.

 

I’m not going to pretend that the political answer is to tack hard libertarian—I have no illusions that the right policy agenda is, by some sort of wonderous Leibnizinan coincidence, also a big electoral winner. But if the shrinking conservative remnant believes that it’s only libertarians and latte-sippers who’ve been turned off by the trifecta of crude populism, fundamentalism, and militarism that has recently been ascendant, they’re in for a still ruder awakening in 2012.

publicado por Jorge A. às 23:52
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Quarta-feira, 15 de Outubro de 2008

I Haven't Left the Republican Party. It Left Me.

É pena que nem todos tenham a mesma clarividência (embora a avaliar pela última sondagem da CBS/New York Times que garante uma vantagem nacional para Obama de 14% face a McCain, as coisas estejam a caminhar no bom sentido), mas vale mesmo a pena ler o que diz  Christopher Buckley (filho do icon conservador William Buckley fundador da National Review e recentemente falecido) que concedeu o seu apoio a Obama:

My point, simply, is that William F. Buckley held to rigorous standards, and if those were met by members of the other side rather than by his own camp, he said as much. My father was also unpredictable, which tends to keep things fresh and lively and on-their-feet. He came out for legalization of drugs once he decided that the war on drugs was largely counterproductive. Hardly a conservative position. Finally, and hardly least, he was fun. God, he was fun. He liked to mix it up.

 

So, I have been effectively fatwahed (is that how you spell it?) by the conservative movement, and the magazine that my father founded must now distance itself from me. But then, conservatives have always had a bit of trouble with the concept of diversity. The GOP likes to say it’s a big-tent. Looks more like a yurt to me.

 

While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.

 

So, to paraphrase a real conservative, Ronald Reagan: I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me.

É com tristeza que penso no que foi a National Review e ao que a mesma está remetida nos dias de hoje, como pode ser verifado pelo que vai sendo dito aqui. O apoio de Christopher Buckley junta-se ao de outros conservadores moderados conhecidos como Susan Eisenhower. Os republicanos estão dominados e minados por um pequeno grupo de fundamentalistas - e o actual candidato republicano nada fez para contrariar isso, antes pelo contrário, ficou refém das suas tácticas e técnicas argumentativas. John McCain perdeu-se no momento em que nomeou Palin, um golpe tão rude quanto aquele que Ferreira Leite deve esperar com a sua cedência perante Santana Lopes. Repare-se que digo que o candidato perdeu-se, mas a campanha por sí (mesmo tendo em conta as sondagens) não está perdida. O que já está é evidente a quem será prestada vassalagem em caso de vitória de McCain, só por isso, mais do que no inicio desta campanha, a mudança não só é desejada, mas obrigatória.

publicado por Jorge A. às 00:14
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Sábado, 30 de Agosto de 2008

Conservadorismo

Hoje alguém comentava comigo que a escolha de Sarah Palin era negativa porque a mesma ainda era mais conservadora do que McCain (tinha sabido da má nova num debate ontem na sic noticias com o Rui Tavares, o Luis Costa Ribas e o Luis Delgado). Começei então por lhe perguntar se achava que os homossexuais deviam poder casar? A resposta foi um imediato e sem pestanejar, não. Por mim, eu gosto muito do conservadorismo fiscal de Palin, mas não concordo com a visão social conservadora que tem da sociedade, mas não se deve dar uma conotação negativa a uma palavra (e ao que a mesma se refere) só porque certos opinion makers de televisão lhe dão essa mesma conotação e se mostram muito indignados com o conservadorismo de alguns.

publicado por Jorge A. às 15:05
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