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The Death of Conservatism?

(Photo by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with author Sam Tanenhaus about his new book, The Death of Conservatism, and the current state of America’s conservative movement.

Tanenhaus suggested that today’s conservatism is mostly bereft of substantive ideas and instead consists of extreme reactions against the liberal social and policy agenda. He said:

“These radical people on the right – and they include intellectuals and the kinds of personalities we’re seeing on television and radio and also to some extent people marching in the streets – think America has gotten away from them. Theirs is a politics of reclamation and restoration... If you are a free-marketeer, or an evangelical, or a social conservative, or even an authoritarian conservative, you can all agree on one thing: you hate the liberals that are out to destroy us. That’s a very useful form of political organization. I’m not sure it contributes much to our government and society, but it’s politically useful and we’re seeing it again today... The paradox of conservatism is that it gives the overt signs of energy and vitality, but the rigor mortis I described is still there. As a philosophy, as a system of government that all of us can learn from as a means of evaluating ourselves, our social responsibilities, [and] our personal obligations and responsibilities, it has – right now – nothing to offer.”

Reviewing Tanenhaus’ book in THE NEW CRITERION magazine, Manhattan Institute senior fellow James Piereson argued that Tanenhaus ignores much conservative thought while castigating conservatives for failings that are also common among liberals. He wrote:

“Tanenhaus does not inquire seriously into the reasons why conservatives are uneasy with the welfare state, why some see in it a threat to liberty and others an encouragement to the breakdown of the family and self-government... He acknowledges that there is an important role for conservatism, but it must be a ‘genuine’ conservatism that preserves but does not seek to overturn liberal gains... Many of the sins Tanenhaus attributes to conservatives – overly zealous attachment to principle or ideology, unwillingness to adapt to change, impatience with popular opinion – are on display as much or more among liberals. If Tanenhaus or anyone else wishes to see liberalism in action, he might venture on to an elite college campus where only liberal and leftist views are permitted peaceful expression, or out to Sacramento or up to Albany where liberal Democrats, long in control, have spent their states into near bankruptcy... If conservatism is dead, in short, then so is liberalism, and much else besides.”

What do you think?

  • Does today’s conservatism, as Tanenhaus suggests, currently have “nothing to offer?” Why or why not?

  • Do you agree with Piereson that today’s liberals have similar flaws to those Tanenhaus describes in conservatives? Explain.

  • Do you expect conservatives to make a comeback in the next few election cycles?


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    Comments

    I believe that there is a concept upon which both liberals and conservatives can agree.
    In fact, if carefully studied, it can be proven that conservatives and liberals want the same thing; a healthy middle class and a unified American spirit.
    There is a way to achieve that relatively quickly.
    ONE SMALL TWEAK TO OUR TAX LAWS CAN QUICKLY UNIFY LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES.

    A PROFIT-SHARING TAX CREDIT would allow businesses to plow up to 20% of net profits back to employees on a regular basis. It would then give that business a tax credit for sharing the profits. This profit-sharing tax credit will quickly increase household income, substantially if there are 2 working adults.
    John Huddleston, former Chief of the Budget and Planning Division at the International Monetary Fund says, “It (THE PROFITSHARING TAX CREDIT) may be the most practical way to get Congress engaged.”
    It allows bottom-line employees to keep a fair share of the fruits of their labor before the banks, CEOs, government, or stockholders can waste it elsewhere. This is NOT a deferred “savings” plan, nor is it a mere tax credit. It is frequent cash-back profitsharing.
    It targets no special group. It rewards all working Americans who help produce profits.
    It is a decentralized, built-in, equitable distribution of capital to the people who create the wealth. It is the missing link of conservative supply-side theory as well as the missing link of liberal economic democracy. Even Ronald Reagan was a strong advocate of profit-sharing as a means for “ expanded capital ownership that can bring economic betterment to the people.”
    SEE (P. 36 Payback a free online treatise about real profit-sharing. www.profitsharinguprising.com)
    This profit-sharing tax credit quickly puts money in the pockets of working American families and will make healthcare premiums and mortgages easier to manage.
    For businesses, it is the equivalent of a tax cut. For government, it is an investment in the
    most powerful economic engine in the world. An investment which will pay for itself from increased productivity and a wider tax base. An investment that reinforces success and profit.
    It is literally a built-in, economic stimulus, regularly increasing supply as well as demand.
    More jobs are the inevitable result of increased demand.
    Old low-paying jobs are transformed into better-paid, partnership-like positions. These new jobs will motivate the unemployed and the unrecorded unemployed, as well as older workers,
    who in the past have seen mostly dead-end positions that would not support a family.
    More jobs will create a wider tax base and additional federal revenue; non-tax revenue.
    It will also replenish the Social Security and Medicare coffers, via increased withholdings.
    For the unemployed, it makes achieving economic self-sufficiency easier to achieve
    “ on-the-street”, without additional education, thereby easing the strain on our safety net programs, and on our national budget.
    When good paying jobs are available, they compete with the “guns and drugs” underground economy; thereby reducing crime.
    The profit-sharing tax credit regulates free enterprise with incentives rather than penalties.
    It will restore moral leadership to America by refining capitalism into a more efficient and just model for the rest of the world. As this model is adopted by other nations, it will accelerate them to become more self-sufficient national economies. This new model may even eliminate extremism, which is really born of economic injustice more than it is motivated by ideology or religion. This model has a stabilizing effect as well as a stimulating effect on economies.

    It can be tested on a trial basis at the state level for a year. A Governor can be given the authority to implement it as economic “disaster relief”. Yet no federal money is needed up front. Only the authority to implement the profit-sharing tax credit.
    Please help us restore economic prosperity to the world with the Profit-sharing tax credit.

    1)Tanenhaus suggests "nothing to offer"; I say why offer anything? Do or do not, words our empty if there is no action; whether conservative or liberal does the voter really know. Your hear and read about the left and right or center left and center right frankly most voters haven't a clue. For most center would be the popular position on an issue, with left and right being the extreme opposite view of the center position. (lost you yet?)So to put it in perspective: Liberal (Left) and conservative (right) the rest are somewhere in the middle; and that is about all (both) have to offer an opposing argument (nothing).
    2) I dis-agree, with Piereson. As I stated above, liberals offer only the opposite and unchecked will be far left of center and not what the voter wanted or counted on.

    3) Yes, and not because they are better or not; but because the "teeter-totter effect of left, center, and right; back and forth; its their turn at bat.

    Several years ago I received a request to donate to the Democratic Party. MY reply was that neither party gets it: The Republicans stance-at least until recently-is that if we ignore the problem it will go away and the Democratic position is if we throw enough money at the problem that will solve it and obviously neither approach has worked so far. Both parties want control without responsibility. How far we have slipped in 200+ years!


    Jack Martin,

    Thanks.

    It is heartening to see an emotional post from the usually understated Douglas Field, and on a subject other than the legal rights of our over-sized prison population.

    Nlf, who unjustly lost a needed job in Arizona, is understandably depressed and feels abandoned. It is startling how we find our country has no safety net in our times of greatest need. Nlf has retained the presence of mind to state a case against the injustices of "fire at will" and "right to work", always to the advantage of exploitative employers but couched in the guise of individual freedom. Even upper-class corporate President Franklin Roosevelt enumerated the cruel individualistic freedoms: The rights to starve, freeze, remain idle and uneducated, die in untreated agonizing pain... Roosevelt presented a remedy that has not yet been implemented. It is outlined in the Rights of Mankind at the UN, often draped when "dark lords" address the Assembly. Knowledge that others have had the same insights and share an advocacy for the same urgent solutions is empowering. Pass it on.

    Things always change Nlf, and where is this mysterious middle class? Extinct?

    Douglas Field,

    That is why I predict, nothing will change. The only way will be when the middle class and the poor rise up in arms to demand better wages and not work for minimum wage. And until, just like the Tartas, Monguls, Romans and the British get wiped out by their own greed, will this ever change.

    Jessie ofner,

    I think i spoke too soon,
    if I had mistaken some of my comments against you, please note.

    Both parties, Republican and Democrat, sold out a long time ago. They don't believe in values, or America. They believe in power and wealth.

    Posted by: beecham

    Let's not forget "fame".

    The shift in the past couple of days in "priorities" is PROOF, as far as I'm concerned, that what you discerned, Beecham, is indeed "real".

    And there are no rules...even any mention of a time and place when people knew enough to have rules is breezily dismissed with "...this is the 21st century...all we need is a list categorizing someone as "anti" or "pro"..."

    What is your definition of Conservative?

    Rush Limbaugh is not a conservative.

    Neither is John McCain.

    They are Neocons, who have virtually no connection with traditional republican values.

    Almost the entire Republican party has no connection with straditional republican values.

    Both parties, Republican and Democrat, sold out a long time ago. They don't believe in values, or America. They believe in power and wealth.

    I must admit that I enjoy the "silent" debate taking place here. The voices of dissent and consent, despite the tone, is at least not blaring. Isn't that, perhaps, what Mr. Tanenhaus wishes for, no matter who is bestowed the grave marker in the end? Perhaps we need more civil silence instead of civil discourse?

    Jesse Ofner,

    The conservatives are in disagreement on anything that the liberals do or say. just look at the few that come on TV and express their views, after the President's Health Care talk. Michael Steel appeared on CBS after the President and said that the president said nothing new. Did the CBS host question what New details did the Conservatives have or why for the last 8 years they did nothing about it.

    Does today’s conservatism, as Tanenhaus suggests, currently have “nothing to offer?” Why or why not?

    You know if it does, you don't hear about it much. The only thing that seems to be coming from conservatives these days is either, A) Free Market or B) Obama is a socialist or some other turretesque outburst. The problem with the conservatives is that they only seem to stand for being against the democrats.

    They are not giving independent, rational thinkers a choice. There is either the liberal point of view or the view that the liberal view is wrong. For me the only thing conservatives offer is that Government is bad, and there are only two solutions to any given problem, either God will fix it, or the free market will fix it.

    Do you agree with Piereson that today’s liberals have similar flaws to those Tanenhaus describes in conservatives? Explain.

    I think that many liberals are just as guilty as the conservatives are in hiding behind poor ideology. They want to government to do too much and are too afraid of allowing market forces to work to help solve problems. I do however, feel that liberals at least are trying to solve problems and at least are not afraid of attempting to offer solutions. That's more that I can see coming from the conservative side.

    Do you expect conservatives to make a comeback in the next few election cycles?

    It depends on who is voting. The problem is that the political process is not producing anyone worth voting for, and those of us who take the time to learn the issues feel as we are more tuned in than the people who we are supposed to vote for. I think that you have a large number of people who are so turned off by Washington these days that the people voting are going to be the ones who are most influenced by advertising.

    In the next wad of elections, the option of not voting for any of the above should still be available. Meaning, we call all write in our own names for the position.

    Let's see what the Supreme Court does with "constitutional rights" when there is no one who gets the amount of votes needed to "win".

    I realize that by writing this on this blog, a holier-than-thou movement will rise up overnight whose mono-cause mission will be in doing away with the option of writing in a candidate's name, but so be it. Let's see what crawls out of the woodwork...

    I always thought that with the internet, we could list the people in our towns, counties, state, etc. that are QUALIFIED by having successful LIFE experience in engineering, technical matters, education, arts, etc. - REAL life maintenance skills - and ask them if they are interested in "serving" in politics. If more than one person accepts a two year term of service in a needed skill (ie. if the town is in the middle of a sewer project, you don't want a lawyer in that seat), then you can have a local vote to choose one winner among the volunteers. And this whole process of getting the right people in the right place at the right time should take no more than 3-6 months total.

    There should be no such "job" as a "professional" politician. Especially is this true when the politician is bought and paid for by megascams (NO VALUE ADDED TO LIFE MAINTENANCE) such as "health insurance" companies.

    On a humorous note, check out the cover of Time magazine this week. If that isn't the quintessential image of modern conservatism
    than nothing is. Thank you Glen Beck!

    Mr. Tannenhaus comes across as a person attempting to assassinate the entire conservative movement.

    During his interview he repeated the assertion that the U.S. Supreme Court stole the 2000 presidential election away from Al Gore and threw it to George Bush. If he wants to belive that the highest court in this nation would throw away more than 200 years of adhering to the constitution in ruling on this one issue, I suggest that there are a lot of constitutional scholars who would disagree with him.

    It is too bad that Mr. Tannenhaus believes that this is the case. I recall that both sides of this issue were arguing about ridiculous things such as the definition of a hanging chad, while the members of the Court continued to ask where the constitutional issues were.

    As long as Mr. Tannenhaus is so far off base concerning this issue, he has a long way to go to establish credibility with me on other topics.

    First I would like to applaud all fine people who marched and supported the TEA PARTY MARCH.It is mostly made up of conservatives but I wonder where these people stood when (BUSH)started wars on lies and took our jobs and privacy away and only helped the wealthy 1%.He did nothing about healthcare& jobs.All he did was run the U.S. into the ground.Where was the march then? That being said I think AMERICANS no matter what religion,color,party should stand up and let there voice be heard.Lets go AMERICA SPEAK UP AND VOTE.

    In light of your program on class and working class identity, why not interview the founders of the Working Families Party in New York who are working to mobilize working people into an influential entity which is having some effects on the voting in New York. Both your guests spoke as academics who are very theoretical but not actively involved in the real world of the working people. Can your guests point to any results other than their published work?

    I'm sending Joe Wilson to see if Tara Davies was seeking a candy cane, in Niger!! I guess that's her version of personal healthcare. Anyway, she never tells us if she has that big, delux executive policy, non-excissionable, with no deductables, and no pre-existing condition clause from Snotboogie Inc.
    (He snatches up the pot every time but we have to let him play because he is a corporate personality, and this is America, Man!)

    Jane,

    Do you know, with all your intelligent posts, what Humanitarian Health Care is?. Almost, Every other country that is civilized has health care and that is just human nature.

    Unions, are the prime source of Democracy in these UNITED STATES?. And there is no such thing as BIG GOVERNMENT. You all that speak in forked tongues should go back to England and learn the language again.

    Democrats are the new conservatives. Sadly, it is liberalism that has died.

    Tara L Daves:

    Hmmm, highly organized- by whom? Where's the headquarters? Who's the ringleader? What's the source of funding?

    That would be Dick Armey's army of dicks.
    http://www.freedomworks.org/

    http://www.examiner.com/x-16973-San-Jose-Independent-Examiner~y2009m9d14-FreedomWorks-is-the-new-Klu-Klux-Klan

    Tanenhaus presented an acutely articulate perspective of the lunacy that the extreme right wing is feeding itself with. They create feedback loop which is consciously destructive.

    Tanenhaus does not inquire seriously into the reasons why conservatives are uneasy with the welfare state, why some see in it a threat to liberty and others an encouragement to the breakdown of the family and self-government...

    Why should Tanenhaus enquire seriously into what are quite likely just irrational perceptions by paranoid conservatives? It's people like Pierson who have to demonstrate that these fears are grounded in some kind of reality.

    It was fun and interesting to watch the "Death of Conservatism" interiew, particularly when the author flatly stated that the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people participating the T.E.A. Party movement are "highly organized radicals." I would have been laughing out loud if it hadn't been such an ignorant and blind thing for him to say. Hmmm, highly organized- by whom? Where's the headquarters? Who's the ringleader? What's the source of funding? I challenge ANYONE to answer these questions with anything except, "Uh, I dunno, but it must exist." Why must a "highly organized" structure exist- just because we're loud and angry and the movement is spreading like wildfire? As for the "radical" label, just read the Declaration of Independence and tell me it wasn't radical in its day.

    And to another comment by the author regarding the "radical" idea that our country has been taken away from us, it absolutely has, and shame on us for being apolitically quiet since the Great Depression. We all grew up in a socialized society, where both the choices and the responsibilities of governance, spending, and charity are mostly out of our hands, and we were just going to work every day, feeding our families, blissfully unaware of the grave we were allowing to be dug for our republic. Shame on us! Shame, shame, I say!

    Regarding future interviews, I have a suggestion: I would love to see Bill Moyers speak with someone from Project 21 (The National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives), and try to call them "radical" or even "racist" for opposing HR 3200 and the president's plan for nationalized health insurance. (I am a white woman who was engaged to a black man from Africa- I didn't break it off because of his skin color, but because he was a jerk! Many, many white people voted for Obama, some of whom are now participating in this "radical" movement. It's inconceivable that they all just woke up one day and said, "what was I thinking, voting for a (half) black man?"

    Just an observation in contrast behavior allowed at Bush or Cheney Speaking engagements versus behavior allowed at Obama engagements: In my area of Southeastern Pennsylvania both Bush and Cheney made multiple speaking engagements. While Air Force One... idled at the end of runways at Willow Grove Naval Air Station or Lehigh Valley International, both men spoke before invited audiences with protesters miles away or detained by local police. In one such meeting about 3 miles from my house an invited Republican guest peacefully challenged Bush war policies. The hosts grabbed her by her hair and thus dragged her out of the room. In stark contrast a protester outside of an Obama engagement is found to have two conealed weapons. Upon producing a concealed weapons carrying permit, he's allowed to remain just outside the hall in a crowd. I guess some lives are valuble than others - - frightening.Read More

    I thought realist conservatism (Goldwater conservatism) pretty much die back in the 90’s, about the same time when Gingrich introduced the Contract with America. This is about when the Republicans became the “don’t tax and spend” party. With realist conservatism dead, the only strain left is revanchist conservatism or neoconservatism.

    So, Tanenhaus must be referring to neoconservatism when he says conservatism is dead. He’s not alone because I’ve been hearing a lot comments on several different shows (even Olbermann’s) where they are saying the same thing.

    How naïve can we be? Yeah right, conservatism is dead or dying. I know it has been a long 3 or 4 years since Dixie Chicking was flourishing, but come on. So since conservatism is dead, does this also mean that the Project for the New Americana Century (PNAC) is also dead? (Why did PNAC change Americana to American? Why do I ponder this crap?)

    If you don’t already know, PNAC is the global branch for neoconservatism and was founded but William Kristol, who happens to be the son of Irving Kristol, the Godfather of Neoconservatism. PNAC’s cast of characters includes Jeb, Cheney and Rumsfeld, and here’s a line from one of their pre-9/11 reports:

    Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor. http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

    Now these a-holes really know the value of a catastrophic event. Look at what happened because of 9/11: Bush’s approval rating went from a slumping 54% to an 89; the Patriot Act was passed; dissent was attack by the media and their drones (teabaggers of today); and they even used it to invade Iraq. I don’t know folks, but do you think this sped up the “process of transformation?” duh.

    Today we have Cheney running around telling us how safe he and Bush kept us and how Obama is opening the door for an attack. So, coupled with blaming Obama for the economy, these guys know that they are only one catastrophic event from being popular again. Jeb is in the bullpen just waiting to save America.

    Conservatism isn’t dead; it’s just taking a step backwards before it takes another 10 forward.

    Mr. Tanenhouse contradicts himself. On the program, he said that the Bush years marked the end of conservatism, but then, seconds later, he labeled the Bush administration as not being conservative at all, saying that it was "radical". So, in other words, the Bush years should mark the end of radicalism, rather than conservatism.

    I am a proud adherent of the common sense ideology, with an admixture of conservative and libertarian ideas -- all of which, I believe, makes up a sound mixture of what conservatism should really be about.

    I don't believe that Glenn Beck is a conservative. He is a category unto himself, as is Rush Limbaugh and the other screaming (and often infantile) loudmouths.

    David Frum, for example, represents my kind of conservatism quite well, and it is this kind of conservatism that is far from dying, and will never die in fact.

    As a book in Canada recently pointed out, it's demographics that will kill Big Government and socialism (at least in Canada), starting as soon as in or around 2011. With the demographic changes we're going through, Big Government, socialist, left-wing and liberal ideas will no longer be affordable for the state.

    So, as a warning to Mr. Tanenhaus, it's not (proper) conservatism that's dying, but left-wingism in general.

    I am an independent voter-I vote in total disregard to part lines. I have been aware since the 1970's that our US is not anywhere near a true democracy with only 2 parties in dominance. And in this age of computers, there is really no excuse for a 2-party version as 1 vote-1 person is obviously attainable today in it's purest concept.

    In the early '70's Nixon tried to pass HR1 legislation which would have made mandatory for every person receiving a dollar of food stamps, assistance, or SSI disability to work at any position handed to them for $1.50 an hour - I read it myself! It shocked me to readily discern this as the beginning of Nixon and his supporters creating a legalized slave state! It also introduced me to the class wars that have continually pervaded our country since, like, forever! Thank goodness HR1 did not pass!

    Yet, look at what's passing now! The real issue facing us is the unveiling of the current class wars and where it has left our US. Does 'The Emperor's New Clothes' resonate with anyone? The focus on political partylines is irrelevant to this real and crucial issue at the root of our current 'evils', as the rich in both parties are complicit bedfellows.

    Let's see how this has unfolded. The rich corporate owners have never stomached well the rights gained by our US union struggles-won by ordinary people like you and I putting their lives on the line to gain the 40 hour week, safe working places, and time-off 2 days a week. All of this is verifiable US history. We started hearing about how the US would now exist and even flourish as a 'service economy'. Next, our US billionaires unilaterally pulled their factories out of the US and set up in countries like Korea and China where they could freely exploit workers. Then the 'service-oriented' companies who could not follow suit began 'out-sourcing' entry-level jobs to exploit cheap labor. While all this was going on, Virginia, we had the rise of the '90's stock market when we heard again and again to invest, invest-it's safe and everyone wins! What a perfect introduction for the rise of the financial conglomerates, the housing boom, illegal mortgage peddling, the creation of the derivitives markets, and sky-rocketing CEO salaries. And what did these billionaires and wealthy boards say when these salaries were exposed and called irresponsible, immoral, and bad business? "Well, everyone's doing it....." True enough - both parties were hogging out at the trough!

    Let's all have a big wake up here, Virginia - there is no Santa Claus! We need to stop talking about party divisions and start constantly and repetitively talking about what is completely erroding the future promise of our dear US. No one can correct a problem until it is discovered, talked about and analyzed. We need to measure the length, breadth and width of this monster, discern all it's connections and blood-giving lifelines. Then we need to do everything we can to eliminate it. Our democracy hangs in the balance.

    Mr. Moyers,

    I wonder why we elect a President then slowly destroy him from the get go? Why do we not hold ALL the members in congress accountable to solving problems rather than bickering? Why do we not have Congressional term limits as we have for the President? Lastly, it is said that "evil thrives when good people do nothing" and when we cannot discuss issues in a constructive, respectful manner with the goal of real solutions we have all already lost! Giving voices to the likes of Rush Limbaugh & Glenn Beck & the kind of angry / hateful gatherings looped over and over again on the media is allowing evil to thrive! Are we not sending young men and women in Afghanistan & Iraq to fight the kind of radical views that is being espoused by the radical right?

    Ahh--The Death of Conservatism--if only it were so!

    "yes, liberals, all conservatives are fascists or brainwashed idiots, and none of them have any valid points worth thinking about, and you are totally right. Remind me again why you guys are always congratulating yourselves on how smart and open-minded you are...

    Posted by: mike" |

    It's precisely rants like this that do make us believe consrvatives are uneducated bufoons! Mike- you'd do better on SFgate. Join the anti- alien immigrant and anti-Obama, ranters there.

    Jane, you write: "Ben, the conservatives have/had made numerous attempts to voice their ideas to health-care. It is the liberal administration that will not alllow/invite them to the table."

    This is a complete, blatant lie. Obama, perhaps more than any president in recent memory, has made efforts to include members of the opposition party in the development of his policies. But he has absolutely no requirement to acquiesce to demands to do the exact opposite of what he campaigned on, and what he wants to do. It's absolutely preposterous to claim otherwise.

    And while we're on the topic, what are these "ideas" that conservatives are espousing for health care reform? Tort reform? Fine, but that's a drop in the bucket compared to the larger issues at hand, and they know it. Co-ops? Just another variant on the system we have no, another way to maintain the status quo.

    The "movement' with which you align yourself is intellectually bankrupt, Jane. You cry about not being invited to the table to participate, and when you are invited proceed to oppose whatever is presented . That is not an alternative idea, that is an opposition and a contradiction.

    When conservatives actually come forward with a plan that addresses runaway health costs and provides access to adequate coverage for every single American, come back to me. Until then, yours is but another angry voice, echoing around the chamber and clamoring for a return to an America you never had.

    Big brained book men once again read words & insightly see the light that will set us free. Where might these bbb men be found? Try some TV talk show.

    Would journalism & mankind be better served by boots in the streets rather shinny, pants seats giving a book report on old times?

    Jimmy Carter thinks opposition to Obama is racially motivated, BUT, Jimmy over looks the hard, recent election facts, of the strong racial bias FOR Obama---even Jimmy is given to bias & tells the "hole" truth.

    Bias is part of men (&women)so it just has to be factored in & controlled, why shouldn't blacks be free to vote for a black man (or woman)?

    Mainstreet needs no more fire side chats! We demand Accountability & Responsibility of all citizens & esp. leaders in govt. & private companies.
    AND quit giving away our hard earned resource!

    Billy Bob, Florida

    Consider this quote:
    "The National parties and their presidential candidates, with the Eastern Establishment assiduously fostering the process behind the scenes, moved closer together and nearly met in the center with almost identical candidates and platforms, although the process was concealed as much as possible, by the revival of obsolescent or meaningless war cries and slogans (often going back to the Civil War). ... The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy. ... Either party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies."
    --Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (New York: Macmillan, 1966), pp. 1247-1248.

    While I'd agree with Sam Tan. real conservatives have no voice in power, the folks are out there and growing--they've just been so silent so long it's too late. If Libertarians weren't willing to fight, whoops.
    Bill has been so frustrated the last few weeks, his liberal side is exploding out---he might as well go back to "NOW."
    Even the unions (same show), as all others in power or who have a voice do, want what the paid leaders want. The people will always be damned. That's why Jefferson said we needed to repeat revolutions; ironically Mao basically had the same concept. No human in power stays clean, and in today's scientific high-tech corruption & media manipulation, the milder ignorant folks are overrun. My local PBS keeps moving and misnaming the nearest thing they have to a balanced show, "McLaughlin Group." And I'm tired of the lies that PBS is non-profit, baloney, not since Sesame Street.
    I like what Sam Tan. said about conservatives living on the paranoid edge. But we all know, you're not paranoid when they're really after you. No one in power from any side wants a discussion; they want absolute power, whether a corp becoming monopoly, or a "Party" using the taxes to subsidize & protect their positions.

    It was interesting to hear Tanenhaus' view that the right has envisioned a philosophy as the thing that should replace government...to a large extent. Some of us liberals probably have similar hopes, whereas with us...we merely hope that our philosophy will provide a better setting in which government can function.

    I am not so sure it is time to prepare of the big funeral. Listening to the BBC's World Service, one hears about anti-minority vigilantes all over.

    At first glance it may seem strange that high power PR firms must depend on scapegoat naming radio talk-show hosts, but, on 2nd thought, one realizes: when they have to elevate or embroider specious notions into high-sounding-principle status...the powers have very, very often resorted to the bottom feeders. Just as in this "Mission Song" novel I finished last wk by LeCarre. The noble excuses. Which conservatives wish to attribute to philosophy! [not any matter of political means, mind you]

    cont below

    cont from above

    Perhaps it's a matter of: Wherever there's a lively discussion about politics...it's on some conservative media (medium). The misc and nostalgic world of PBS TV and/or weekend wee-hour NPR I cannot even begin to fathom. Just turn the juice off overnight on the wkends, NPR (after PHC). True, the liberal philosophy envisions the pace of Walden Pond eg, but in these times it is as though we have to keep studying a large Gordian Knot when there is no sword available. It is as though we must do this all the time, leaving NO time for the pond or the plants.

    The grand noble plurality of better mousetraps all over the place never existed [no, I didn't mean "plethora"; conservatives are hoping to replace "plurality" with this plethora of things...so I use the "plurality" they mean]. Suppliers drum up gizmos, then create demand fully dependent on mimetic rivalry. The plurality should be amongst people. There is no cornucopia of diverse products. All must have the one hot item. So, give up on that lie. Finding inspiring plurality and diversity should be a matter of people and society, not products. Whereas goverment and laws should be transparent and TEACHABLE TO STUDENTS, not the Byzantine labyrinths NAFTA buffs, libertarians, and shadow economies love so much. It should not take 6 yrs of college and yrs practicing corporate law [or yrs & yrs & yrs of extracircular reading] to be able to understand our law; but indeed it has been your reclaiming of "naturalness", my fellow & sister conservative citizens...that has brought all this about.

    cont below

    "We have met the enemy and he (she) is us"
    – Walt Kelly

    cont from above

    The right wing wishes to "reclaim" a simpler society without the convoluted mechinations of big government, but...my fellow and sister conservative citizens...please LOOK at what has gone down.

    In the name of "no restraints" [no restraints devilishly and arcanely wangled only for those with connections]...for the sake of "freer" trade...we have had tribunals set up where disputing nations go to resolve things via WTO regulations...a body of law imbuing a massive bureacracy with guiding principles that NO ONE can understand. You said "the inivisible hand" was a thing synched in with nature, but when you tried to make room for it...it only turned out to be a big nightmare full of the things you had hoped to avoid.

    Meanwhile, the camps squabble, arguing all issues in separate bubbles just like the "experts" media serves up. Single-payer in Japan helped Toyota turn way more profit per vehicle ea yr than Detroit could manage. But even if miraculously all birthers embraced single-payer...there would still remain the bigger-than-Roosevelt-scale public works necessary to CREATE JOBS HERE they would need to accept as well.

    BTW, the usual Journal Friday Night time slot on Channel 8 out of Phoenix, AZ was changed. They aired Tavis Smiley instead.

    Anyone who still wears the label of Conservative or Liberal is crazier than a football fan on crystal meth.

    Posted by: Grady Lee Howard

    Thanks for the geneology lesson :-)

    It got me thinking about how all the record keeping of birth and deaths and "geneology" were systematically destroyed in order to enter my family into international "slave class" status. All I have is some verbal info and even that becomes more garbled in 70 years because of the language of the "ism" that cleaned the records in the first place.

    So all I am now is being documented in some WHC (watch her closely) file that, increasingly, becomes fiction specifically crafted by the same people who burnt the REAL records. Blow up her house, snap the photo, and there's factual visual proof that she's a nut job.

    Not hard to psychologically figure out why, under such conditions of force and fraud by "ism" governments, that the DNA strand in my eggs of "justice and fairness" ultimately decided that it has no ethical or moral obligation to kiss the a-- of the psycho/sadist in order to "thrive".

    Must be nice to have "proof" of your superior "genes", Grady.

    The English commedian John Cleese used to quip that before American sports teams were declared "World Champions," they needed to actually invite other nations in the world to play. Same principle here: listening to a New York Times liberal opine from his lofty perch about the death of conservatism was laughable. Next time, invite some conservatives. We'll all take the discussion much more seriously. Or, conversely, you can have Bill Bennett or David Horowitz on to discuss just what's wrong with liberalism today. THAT I'd pay to watch!

    Peace and all good,

    MJCIV

    yes, liberals, all conservatives are fascists or brainwashed idiots, and none of them have any valid points worth thinking about, and you are totally right. Remind me again why you guys are always congratulating yourselves on how smart and open-minded you are...

    "The men of Left make the error of claiming for certain economic techniques a magic prestige which belongs in reality to the realm of ideas: public ownership or full employment must be judged by their efficacy not by their theoretical moral validity" Aron, "The Opium of the intellectuals". How is that your liberal guests conveniantly ignore the fact that the principles of economic justice have caused more death and destruction of human life than any other political movement. What leftests really want is a world without human beings, without human nature. Then everything will be perfect!

    Your guest waxes nostalgic for the good old days when rightwingers were of the well-spoken upper classes, and he harrumphs about the riff-raff now peopling cable TV and taking to the streets. He smooths over the old right's brutality and makes excuses for its blatant racism and marginalization of poor people (that you let him get away with this is another matter). The greatest achievement and the legacy of the old pseudointellectual right was getting poor people to hate themselves and all of the structures in place to help them--unions, welfare, government-guaranteed student loans, and so on.
    Galbraith was right: following Reagan's policies would eventually lead us to be a nation of 'private affluence and public squalor'. We have arrived and the likes of Tanenhaus should be asking our forgiveness not plugging revisionist books about the old rightists who wrecked this country.
    So, the obituary is premature: conservatism isn't dead; it merely morphed into popular fascism while Mr. Tanenhaus was at a Manhattan cocktail party.

    Jane, the Weathermen were not made up of right-wingers? No kidding?

    The point was, neo-conservatives are radically as far to the right, as the Weathermen were radically far to the left. In other words, reasonably conservative and reasonably liberal are pretty close to the same place. I understand not everyone thinks this way; but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Going more extreme in either direction, right or left, is radical. Radical could be just a far-flung view, but at some point in either direction, it gets to where anyone who disagrees is wrong, and exteme radical is where anyone who disagrees must be exterminated.

    Dear Bill,
    As you and your guest divided up our Democracy into more and more micrcosms of uncertain lines and blurred definitions, many before us fought to hold the union together; the strength of Lincoln comes to mind. And what of the power of King? He spoke of truth, of light, of unity, of equality which is our right, our Democratic Freedom. I think you should do a show about self-evident truth, we so need it today.
    Thanks,

    =
    MJA

    Thank you, Mr Moyers, for another great show. A lot to think about! It was very interesting. Thanks again!

    I take exception with Tanenhaus' analysis of the 60s as being followed by a needed "restoration" of civil order by conservatism.

    Yes, the 60s scared conservatives into united action. So they gave us Nixon and Watergate, Reagan and Iran-Contra, and G.W. Bush and disaster. Those were restorations of lawlessness that make the 60s pale in comparison.

    The most helpful lessons are that conservatives had to link up with southern racists and Bush showed us that Reagan's economic plan, which Bush used, does not work. I heard no evidence that Tanenhaus acknowledges those lessons. Hence his declaration of conservatism's death is most unseemly. Would it were so.

    chmoore....Who were members of the Weathermen??That extreme radical group was not made up of right-wingers. Check your facts. Please tell me why every Liberal is so dam angry. What a sad way to live...

    PS.......Ben, the conservatives have/had made numerous attempts to voice their ideas to health-care. It is the liberal administration that will not alllow/invite them to the table.The report about the metro system was not a proven fact just like the report of the number of folks attending. Every crowd has "misfits" but 99% were there to voice their opinion. Their last invite was back in April from obama to the Repulican's

    Ben.....Obviously you have never taken any time to listen to conservatives. Yes, they vote negative to big Government as they realize one can make themselves worthy by taking responsibility for their own lifes without hand-outs. The march last weekend was done for that reason. The reports about the march were all negative coming from the left and from the media, It was made quite clear we are sick of all the spending from both parties but, those facts were not reported. Give me one government hand-out program that has worked to help people. People used and abused all help handed them and actually made many lifes unbearable to the point where sitting on a couch was better then making a honest living for themselves and families. That is what Conservatives believe in. Take responsibility for your life. People were marching for all the corruption going on for years and also for the corrupt people, as we speak, in DC right now. Conservatives love this country and are willing, no matter what, to keep it safe and honest.

    In agreement with Tanenhaus - today's conservatism does not have anything to offer. This is because today's conservatism is not actually conservative in the true sense. A true conservative today is an endangered species. Since true conservatives today are close to extinction, whatever they have to say is unfortunately, buried under the noise of what we know as neoconservatism, which doesn't actually conserve anything.

    Their goal, as PNAC once so proudly and bluntly put it, is to re-establish America's dominance in the world by engaging in multiple wars in multiple theaters. Yes, PNAC actually said that.

    I don't know much of Piereson, but in the writing in this post, he doesn't seem to know what the hell he's talking about. In THE NEW CRITERION magazine article, he proves it with no less than 18 full paragraphs of 2-dimensional thinking; much of which is based on the assumption that liberal and conservative are necessarily opposite each other.

    Try this on for size, Jimmy. From time to time we actually hear the phrase 'right-wing-conservative'. What a load of crap. To be conservative would likely not be out on the wing of anything. An authoritarian right-winger is, you guessed it, a radical, equally as much as anyone who ever signed up for the Weathermen Underground.

    Meanwhile, a reasonably and conservatively thoughtful person with a reasonably liberal consideration of others, is actually what the true middle of the road is; which probably amounts to what we might call, a conservative liberal.

    Jane, I'm sorry, but could you possibly be any more stereotypical? Complaining of someone from NYC daring to espouse opinion on the current state of the conservative movement--and of course throwing in the now-obligatory reference to the fact that said discussion took place on a publicly funded television station.

    Please. You are like recent DC tea-party folk attendees, who spent a weekend railing against government spending and then had the audacity to complain about an inferior experience with DC's publicly funded transit system. Such a response is simply programmatic--if the pundit is from New York, he cannot possibly have any credentials to discuss the conservative movement. How pedantic.

    As to the comments that one could simply change a few words of Mr. Tanehaus's statement to reflect upon the liberal movement, that may be true to a certain extent with one glaring exception: it is the liberal movement that is advancing ideas and causes, and the conservative movement which exists for seemingly no other reason than to rise up in arms against those causes. The key point, in other words, is the absolute bankruptcy of any legitimate ideas emanating from popular conservative circles today. Note that this does not mean to say that there are not conservative ideas worthy of consideration; rather, it is to say that the leaders of today's conservative "movement" (a term which I use loosely) have built a movement based solely upon opposition, rather than any unifying set of ideals. One need look no further than the broad swath of opinions espoused at last weekend's tea party "protest" to grasp the extent to which conservatives and Republicans have effectively branded their movement as the party of opposition to whatever the other guy is doing.

    Mr. Tanenhaus reminds me of the weatherman who has all this sophisticated equipment at his disposal but doesn't look out the window.

    The Conservative movement may be intellectually moribund but it seems still capable of influencing the politics of the day in disproportion to its numbers.

    Actually Gouverneur Morris made that comment about a people getting the govt they deserve in Paris in the midst of the French Revolution long before Disraeli, and I'm sure he was not the first. But this man IMHO is a fake, and I might add, I think, a typically NYC type of fake. You would do much better to talk again to Kevin Phillips. No wonder he was so excited to get free publicity here. I am getting tired of seeing so many of them on this program, and have explained the social and psychological divisions in politics far better myself in the pages of this blog.

    There are only three parties, if you will, and always have been: aristocracy, monarchy-democracy, and republicanism. Aristocracy equates to the Tory idea of natural or historical class structure, and, BTW, they are the revanchists, seeking to defend territory. They are, of course, patriarchal and the family is the social unit. Both the old South and the old Arabs are examples. And yes it is not a surprise that many of them flirted with communism because of its connection to a feudal socialism. C B MacPherson and E P Thompson are examples, but also many of the neo-cons. They were the kind of people who attacked Hobbes and Locke for their individualism. Burke was not really one of them. Rather he was a monarchical-democrat. This party represents the polity created when aristocratic feudalism was at an end and the pact the prince made with the commercial interests, i.e., the people, to finish them off or at least head them off as a new commercial aristocracy was being formed. This is Utilitarian, mercantilist, Progressive (in most respects), and it is what we call liberal in this country today. The last category is, of course, the individualism of Hobbes and Locke, which most of the founders embraced, as did Rousseau, Adam Smith and the Manchester School of classic Liberalism. This sees society basically as revocable social contract based on natural law rights, and is enshrined in the Declaration, and really, when it is properly understood, the Constitution. These three categories have religious counterparts in Arianism or Socianism, evangelicalism, and pantheism. And in psychopathology: paranoia, obsession-compulsion, and narcissism. The current crop of writers about civic virtue and civil society are more liberals than anything else, Fukuyama not much different from Daniel Bell, and opposed alike to Toryism and Republicanism.

    Wow... A New York liberal talking about conservatives. PBS/Moyers must really be hard up for "guests" The most pathetic show possible. Who does a jerk like that think he is promoting his radical extreme books and agenda? It is no wonder some folks in this great country are so fearful of this country and the way we are headed with fools like him on a tax paid for TV station blabbing his bias and hateful lies. He didn't even acknowledge Mark Levin's million book sales in the NYT best seller list. As far as unions declining...is because hard-working American's don't care to join such a corrupt group of thugs.

    Libertarianism must be the future conservatism if we are to remain free people. Hopefully neo-conservatism died, just like organized labor did, when it aligned itself with big government, and disregarded personal responsibility and liberties.

    Before Hannah Arendt wrote of the capacity to listen, Bertrand Russell did -- about 50 years earlier.

    Frankly, I see no evidence that Barack Obama is particularly good at listening to, or inhabiting, the position of the other. He is certainly good at convincing people he does so, but if he were indeed doing so, we would not now be seeing the such administration hostility to so large a portion of the electorate so crucial to Obama's win.

    I recommend the work of historian Gabriel Kolko and Ted Honderich, both of whom take a markedly less charitable view of conservatism than Sam Tanenhaus.

    My great-great-grand daddy somewhere back was Hector Heathcote (Older people may have seen films about him.) We lost all our money in the Depression of 1807, fared well as slave-importers in the Depression of 1837, lost it again in 1873 (along with Grant), but fared well as distillers in 1893, only to be hammered by both Prohibition and the Depression in the late 20s. As a boy Steppin Fetchit was my Governess and Daffy Duck was my tutor. The Howards have that long-strand DNA and the strogest genes in the business (Leslie Howard, Moe Howard, Clint Howard and Howard Cosell....).
    Conservative, you bet, with that unopened 1919 bottle of sippin' whiskey in my sideboard.

    Higgy is right about Carter and Clinton being real conservative (when it come to helping people) despite all that lusting and cigar case fornication.
    Clinton can smell big money like a hound dog and Carter a racist like Joe Wilson (not the ambassador married to the CIA lady).

    Anyway,Oliver Wendell Holmes (the Justice) wrote about his father "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table"; so that was conservatism in it's heyday. Conservatism now is Jack Abramoff off the reservation and Tom Delay wrestling on Dancin' with the Stars". But you do know; Liberalism, with it's corporate butt kissing and fixation on GDP, is in the political convalescent home too (Alzheimer's Security Ward, and they never get out).

    Just as clothes do not make the man, or a hat Queen Victoria, actions and not arcane legislative language matter. With my superior mind and bodily constitution, sure to endure as my sperm, I am just the man to which that you must now listen. "Totalitarianism is coming soon (thanks Jack), now you dear old man. Whisper what it'll bring to me, tell me if you can."

    Anyone who still wears the label of Conservative or Liberal is crazier than a football fan on crystal meth.

    So Billy Higgins censored the truth to half-truth but he still couldn't get tenure.

    Leaving out the truths of wealth and power disparity produces an impressionable idealistic mind, but not a critical thinker.

    I look at the Christian Academy up the street and think of its racist origins. The loud muffler kids pour out the driveway at 3pm. Most of them are enslaved at fast foods to pay for their cars. They are the very ones who would submit to sexual harassment and other exploitation on the job. They have been tamed to unquestioning obedience by preachers. When the psycho-feces of confronting reality hits the fan they will be the addicts and abusers. I believe purely religious education with its mercurial morality can produce psychotics. So I am "French" along with Higgins in keeping religious indoctrination out of school, even disregarding the additional handicap of scientific understanding that results from mythic religion.

    But when I hear a union man like Higgins brag that excluding economic philosophy produces a better mind, I wince. (In case he doesn't know it Freudianism is more or less a religion, as is some of Platonism.) Yep, Determined souls like Moyers can overcome their Christian beliefs and make them a strength, but experiential maturity is required. Abstract thinking neglects such development. It is as if you were training soldiers and you never mentioned that they may be shot at.

    My favorite philosopher is Hannah Ahrendt, a woman whose life had many contradictions and intrigues. She was well-versed in the classics and right up to date on the cutting edge of thought. She modeled an ideal democracy on the Greek example without idolizing it, and she explained Nazism as "banal evil": a caution to capitalists. In a William Bennett world of time-capsuled education Ahrendt would be silenced.

    Today we call one another communists, socialists, fascists without defining the terms. What we deal with as citizens is increasing totalitarianism with various justifications. Burma is in trouble: China is in Trouble: Honduras is in trouble; South Africa is in trouble; and judging from our economic secrecy and dishonesty; the wildly imbalanced questions before our Supreme Court we may be in the biggest trouble. Kids grow up as things worsen materially and ethically. They, not us, have to fix the mess. And William Woods Higgins, union man and retired military officer, heeds the oligarch's whisper: "Don't wake the kids. Let them sleep a little longer. The Sun is rising to reveal the devastation. But don't tell the kids."

    I know you might have heard too much from me already,but Calvin Coolidge was my grandfather's lawyer and best friend. He even allowed my father to drive his limousine to Amherst each semester he made the Deans List. Eisenhouer and Talbut were my babysitters. We've been here since 1740.My grandfather was an infantry officer in WWI, my father a Wave Commander on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, I a member of the USMC 68-70, and my son just finished a five year tour with Special Ops.

    The conservatives I knew, I believe were the type that understand Carter and Clinton were the best Republican Conservatives we have recently elected. Balanced Budgets and no printing and borrowing money(floating bonds to foreign investors)for big business.

    One cardinal rule in our household was never look down upon any person because of race, color, creed or economic status. This was enforced to the point of getting my head broken at the dinner table. This type of conservativism I beleive Tananhaus has in mind. It is respectable, not in any way resembling what is called social conservativism and/or the justification of the ethical principles of an oligarchy.

    All the family money went out the window in the depression, anbd covering the health care costs of an uninsured mentally and physically retarded brother of mine, whio my father paid every dime of medical treatment for out of hisown pocket. By the way none of us ever used the VA or GI Bills...

    Social conservatives today are people who justify greed on individual rights rather than understanding we are all co-dependent and more optimistically an interdependent family-We are all Americans.

    I mean face it 22 million illegal aliens undercutting Americans and small businesses-We do not have an unemployment problem; we have a green card problem. America should remain open for all-legal-rules of order cannot be overlooked. The social consrvatives-Republicans as they call themselves-neo cons-sacrificed enforcement for the vote...

    And somehow it is all Obama's fault...You think liberals control education and the press...You better think again. I am familiar with this at the grass roots level. If you are liberal at all, even a Democrat, you stand little chance...

    You know I like the idea of the stimulus package for the mind, because regardless of our political stances,there is an increasing lack of recognition that what is goodfor the right or the left might not be good for democracy-Our Founding Fathers???

    Then people ask for where has this type of intelligence gone? Adams, Jefferson and the majority of the Founding Fathers were educated in the classics,theology, philosophy, and extent ofthe natural sciences. Only the latter exists in the banal tendency to reduce higher education to job training as kind of an upper class welfare system. We need to institute a courseon ethics which understands the powers of the earth and nature's God in the firstparagraph of the Declaration of Independence is not the Biblical gods, who justified the Divine Rights of Kings.

    Foe instance, why are course on comparative religion, The Bible, The Vedas, Buddhism, The Koran, Summa Theologica, The Republic, Aristotle's Politics, being taught in high schools today. There is no other excuse,other than Judeo-Christian and economic control of education.

    Here's how conservative I am-keep business totally out of education. Let them payfor their own job training. Furnish individuals with basic skills, but do not kill the ideas that are the foundation for democracy.

    We call it the necessity of teaching the 5th Gospel-which basically means do not upset the Christians,Jews or Muslims.

    Robert Bork reviewed my syllabus in ethics once and said it was thwe best course on ethics he had ever heard of, adding the comment he thought every American should take it. We then both laughed understanding a genuine democracy couldnever force individuals to take it. He also told me I was in real trouble for actually going back to basics from Aeschylus (Oresteia), Plato (1st Book Republic) and Aristotle (Nochomachaen Ethics Boos 1,5,10, Aquinas,Locke, Hobbes, Ten Commandments, and even having the class handwrite the Bill of Rights plus 13, and 14.1, along with Freid's Civilzation and its Discontents, prior to analyzing Supreme Court Decisions. Among other written assignments was a paper on the tri-part nature of the mind in Plato, Aristotle and Freud.
    (No Karl Marx or Socialism). Remember this is Robert Bork making the judgment.

    This is not a difficult syllabus. It requires the understanding on the part of the educator that both we and the students are learning (We are teaching not telling). The results were amazing...The result was not...Former students of mine still occasionally see me on the street and say it was one of the best courses they ever have...The other result is not surprising either, after two years I was denied tenure and relieved of my position as a teacher. This is the reality of where 'social conservativism' and theocratic ideologies are leading America. I commend the book, and hope the Obama Administration finds ways to radically balance the Bill Gates type of educational initiative with high school and college curriculums that have as their goal intelligence rather than ostentacious Epicureanism.

    All The Best u

    the tannenhaus quote is pretty true, but what strikes me about his quote is that you could change a few of the words to "left" and some of the interest groups into "environmentalists" and "race baiters" to get an equally true statement about the left in this country coming together by demonizing conservatives. Both sides are equally dishonest and manipulative and the left is even more arrogant than the right is.

    There are lots of us that despise Bush and whats happened to the republicans but also think Obama and the democrats are dead wrong and only working for special interest groups.

    I dunno why Tannenhaus chose to attack only the right and not the left, probably because he's a new york liberal. If he werent so biased he wouldve done a book about "the death of intelligent political argument" or something but I guess that wouldn't sell to his comrades in new york and san francisco. That means he's on the level of Glen Beck in my book and I'm sorry you wasted time with someone of that ilk.

    Pierson makes the best case yet for getting a liberal education. Modern conservatism is suicide bomber, a thirty year old adolescent with no self esteem, wrecking everything and calling it fate. It's an evangelical faith base of prejudice that preys upon the baser traits and fears of the under educated, in a land of the blind the one eyed man is king and myopic. Zombie conservatism is apt, for an ideology that is null and void of any ideal, maybe not dead yet but certainly on life support, for as long as Rush and Newt can keep huffing and puffing.

    I was thinking of a stimulus package, but not the monetary kind. A stimulus package for the mind. A national debate or discussion, maybe along the lines of the Fred Friendly seminars-Ethics in America series with leading thinkers across the political spectrum.

    For those in the know, this would rank up there with the whole 'Stephen Hawkings would be dead if he was born in the UK'. Up until 2009 the New York legislature has been run by the Republicans for something like 40 years, and it has already been wrested back to at best a split.

    This fact makes Mr. Piersons statement seem to contradict itself.

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