September 28, 2010

Conservative "orthodoxy" equals ... communism?

Heard on Al Mascitti's WDEL show (circa 9:25am): The difference between liberals and conservatives is that for the former, "their ideas don't have to meet a test of orthodoxy."

Oh, really?

C'mon. The premise is laughable on its face. Just off the top of my head I could ask "Ever been on an American campus?" Don't tell me there's "no test of orthodoxy" among the left there. Just scour FIRE's archives for myriad instances of such. And anyone recall the imbroglio over the University of Delaware's "Residence Life" program? Yeah, "no test of orthodoxy there," either.

Wanna run for [higher] Democrat office? Better be pro-choice. Better be for affirmative action. Better be for gun control. Etc, etc.

OK, you might wanna quibble that such "progressive" stances don't necessarily equate to "Democrat." True. But much more often than not they do.

Mascitti also quoted from China-loving NY Times columnist Tom Friedman's latest China-praising column and argued that pure, laissez-faire capitalism isn't necessarily superior, as the world's most populous nation has shown. (Friedman cites numerous examples of how China is prospering, doing things quickly, and leading the way in certain areas of innovation.) However, conservatives, according to Mascitti, will refuse to accept this due to their ingrained [capitalist] dogma.

Except that, let's take a gander:

  • Empire State Building: 410 days to build.
  • Rockefeller Center (14 buildings): nine years—of which Radio City Music Hall was done in the first two years and 30 Rock in three.
  • Golden Gate Bridge: four years.
  • Hoover Dam: five years.
  • North American P-51 Mustang fighter: 119 days.
  • The Pentagon: two years.
  • Manhattan Project: three years.
  • Gateway Arch: two years.
  • Apollo Program: eight years.

Note, some of these are private, some are government-built, some are private contractors building for the government. So that's not the key vector, is it? So, Friedman, what's the key factor here? Might it be regulation and the ability of small groups to tie up large projects through politics? If so, how do you square that with your advocacy of an increasingly large, progressive state? Or do you think our already large state just needs more power and will? If that's the case, how do you disentangle yourself from association with the Continental, particularly German political-philosophical schools who followed that to some very troubling ends in Germany, Russia, Italy, etc.?

Indeed, as noted above, it seems the US is already making use of varying manifestations of capitalism and/or socialism (for lack of a better term) and has been for decades, despite Mascitti's contention that Republicans' desire for only the former is somehow stagnating our country when it comes to competing with China. I mean, also as noted above, might the culprit not be "regulation and the ability of small groups to tie up large projects through politics?" The difference between China and us in this regard is that the former's government doesn't give a sh** about any of that when it comes to doing something and getting it done. The US can't -- and won't -- not give a sh** about because the very structure of our politcal system won't allow it. And even so -- which philosophy favors increased regulation and the ability of small groups to so influence [economic] projects? It sure ain't the conservative/Republican one, that's for sure.

Lastly, Mascitti laughingly ascribed the supposed conservative/GOP rigid orthodoxy as being analogous to ... communism. That's right -- because nothing in the old Soviet Union was permissible unless it met the strict philosophical guidelines of the Politburo. Of course, as just outlined, what's more communistic -- innumerable barriers to growth and advancement ... or less? And which political party favors which approach here?

I wrote two months ago that Al is essentially "forcing it" -- he's trying too hard to be a rigid progressive and it really doesn't suit him. Making ridiculous comments like conservative orthodoxy = communism ... well, that's LGOMB stuff.

Posted by Hube at September 28, 2010 05:48 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

You're right about darn it, those commies get stuff done. How many people died to get the Beijing olympic stadium built, how many people were injured or paralyzed getting ready for the opening ceremonies? I'm afraid the labor conditions would not meet osha approval. Coulda been ten or two, depending on who is investigating. I shudder when anyone suggests emulating China.

Posted by: Miss AO at September 28, 2010 11:52 PM

Al unfortunately is severely inclined to incessant straw man construct/destruct monologues when it comes to conservatives/Republicans/teapartiers (or whomever is the anti-leftist target du jour).

It's a shame that his substantial talent for weaving nuanced often-clever counterpoints and expositive arguments are wasted on largely fictional premises or all too conveniently two dimensional broad brush caricatures of those he purports to dissect.

Al invariably omits or skips right past what are fundamental aspects of ideologies he seeks to paint as inconsistent, incoherent, or hypocritical by weaving laborious but superficial analogies with a dash of pseudo-psychology thrown.

Kind of like: "The teapartiers act on the impulses of disempowered reactionaries lashing out against perceived enemies as they demand ever more ideological purity...just like the Nazis of the early 1930's!"

That the teapartiers central ideological tenet is the primacy of individual liberty as the proper object of state power, versus the nazis' belief in the primacy of German nationalism and Aryan racial purity as the object of state power would not warrant attention because it exposes the underlying fundamental distinction that renders the previous comparison a meaningless smear, though perhaps superficially correct.

Where AL always always always will fail in his attempts to imply that conservatives are no better than any other ideological authoritarians is on the question of coercion.

No one has to have their own liberty imposed upon them -- a critical point Al will never mention when he tries to lump liberty-loving opponents of government with any other manner of strident rigid ideologue.

This is pure sophistry that can be summed up as Al's efforts to trick his listeners into believing there is nothing incoherent about his raising the alarm about all those 'authoritarians for liberty'!

Posted by: TPN at September 30, 2010 06:49 PM