Sunday, December 11, 2005

Are Conservatives "Statists?"

A very interesting article on the support for our Country has some serious flaws, but again is a very interesting read for other reasons.

First a preface on the proper priorities that people should have in their lives. I will state them in two ways, first for the non-theist and then for the theist because that includes everybody.

The first priority for a non-theist should be “His standards of humane treatment of others.” Next should be his family and then his loyalty to his country.

For the Theist it should be almost identical, it should be God, Family, and Country in that order. I also believe if you gave those three items to most Americans and asked them to prioritize them, they would do it in the order I believe is prevalant in this country which is the one of God, Family and then Country.

Now, with that preface, lets analyze the article.

The author starts off with a fallacy in his statement that “If our average conservative happened to be an Iraqi, he would be a cheerleader for Saddam Hussein.”

People always get into trouble when they paint with a broad brush, but lets talk about those he is defaming.

This statement overlooks entirely the order of priorities in most Conservatives, Libertarians, or Liberals that I know. An person who has his priorities straight, as most Americans I know, would not support Saddam just because he was born there, because he would be agreeing with Saddam’s practices of Murder, torture, and rape of his citizens.

No Conservative I know thinks for a moment that those actions are what God would want us to do. And since over 95% of Conservatives believe in God, I think that is a fair statement.

His premise that many people in general would support their Country blindly is probably a true statement, but I don’t believe that even an American Socialist would support Saddam’s actions if he just happened to be born in Iraq. Or as the author puts it “an accident of birth.”

I happen to believe that there is no "accident of birth." We are born where we were supposed to be born, as God put us where our personalities dictate we should be born for proper progress toward our spiritual goals. But then lets examine his article without my beliefs that babies already have individual personalities when they are born and people are not born with "blank slates" for personalities.

The notion of “My Country right or wrong” is ridiculous and ignores the priority of principals over blind obedience. Not all people in Iraq supported Suddam, and I contend the people who had principals didn't support Saddam, and those are the very people who if born in this country would be fine Americans with principals above patriotism. People who supported Saddam, either were too scared to speak out or had no moral compass.

I don’t know anyone who believes “My Country right or wrong.” Or stated more explicitly, "My Country is ALWAYS right." Do you? Ask anybody if they believe that "Their Country is always right." If they do then they have a warped sense of right and wrong and a warped sense of priorities.

Most Americans, let alone Conservatives, believe in principals before patriotism, which makes his assertion incorrect.

Next he thinks that imposing freedom in Iraq is/will be a disaster. Since I am an Isolationist I happen to agree with some of his points about being in Iraq. It is true in my view that “nation building” is in general a bad idea.

However, if you look at Japan, and South Korea, you find that changing them into democracies had positive results and both of those cultures were not normally inclined to democracy and the Administration’s view that having Iraq a Democracy will have lasting benefits may turn out to be correct, but I just happen to think we are on shaky ground to dispose of Saddam the way we did.

A small Commando team may have done it much easier if regime change was the goal. Now that we are there, I don’t want to leave until the job is done, but I was against going to war initially and I respect others for their views prior to the war. Now that we are there we should be united in support of our troops mission so as not to bolden the enemy.

So are Americans Statists? No. Are Conservatives Statists? No. We as a Nation have principals we place before party or Country.

If his assertion were true, then when a liberal was President, all Conservatives would go along with whatever direction he took us because we all blindly follow our Country/leader, even when we disagree with his policies. What nonsense!


At 4:35 AM, Blogger Robosquirrel said...

I have to disagree with priority number one: One's life should be centered on one's principles, which is not necessarily mutually exclusive of humane treatment of others, but I think is much more inclusive of the point you are trying to get across - family, religion, etc. may all be part of that.

I suppose it's mincing words, but I think it's an important distinction to make. Good analysis, otherwise!

At 8:34 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

To me "The Golden Rule" sums up the Christian Principals, and I think that is what a non-theist should place number one in their life as well.

Yep, it is mincing words. Maybe I should have said "The Golden Rule" instead?

You should read my post on ethics and morals and perhaps you will understand my point better.

Anything you can say about principals is pretty much summed up with "how it affects others."

If you were alone on a desert island, would principals matter?

What if you were on the desert island with just your family?

The reason I seperated them is to enable the question, "Which one would you choose, if you had to make a choice between God and Your family?" Or, between family and Country?

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.



At 2:01 PM, Blogger Robosquirrel said...

For me it's pretty simple: family trumps.

I don't know if the Golden Rule cuts it for me, since I would do things to people that I would prefer they not do to me (or before they do them to me) if I had to. But, like I said, I think your basic point is sound and I'm hijacking it by getting into this philosophical discussion.

It's a good blog, I shall blogroll it and direct you all both of my reader who already read you anyway.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


After posting this I got to thinking that maybe atheists would put family first, and that would make sense since there would be no pressure to obey the Golden Rule if you don't believe "The First and Great Commandment is to Love God with all your heart mind and soal, and then love thy nighbor as thyself."

But to people who believe in God, they know that God has make it clear that he is first. From the lesson on that fact with Abraham having to put God before his family, (son), to other references that God comes before anything. Obey God and all else will be given to you.

So, again for non-theists family might be first and then others, and last Country.



At 8:50 PM, Blogger Roseville Conservative said...

Gary, Spot on!!!

This is a dictate on what it means to be a citizen, and a productive person.

At 9:38 PM, Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

FAR: Thanks for the link, I've linked you as well and responded to your comments on my blog.

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Robosquirrel said...

Here's the thing, whether you believe in God or not, or just aren't sure, a principle-centered life is a whole and balanced one.

Principles are self-evident, self-validating natural laws. They don't change or shift... they apply at all times in all places. They are not invented by us or society; they are laws of the universe that pertain to human relationships. Principles are woven into every civilized society, in every family and institution that has endured and prospered. Principles move people forward toward either survival and stability or disintegration and destruction. Principles, unlike values, are objective and external.

I would argue that the Golden Rule is a value, derived from principles, but more subjective and internal. A value is a principle, standard or quality that is learned or taught.

So that's pretty much what my train of thought was.

At 10:00 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


you're inadvertently making the point of the article by talking about the 'proper priorities all people should have'.

To quote the atricle, "Perfect obedience to the will of the ruler on the part of those who are being conquered or manipulated is presupposed by all statists."

Which is precisely what you say when you demand that everyone articulate their priorities, preferably of the sort that you would endorse.

In short, you have flawlessly proved the author's thesis by the way in which you structure your own argument.

:-), StS

At 10:31 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


"Perfect obedience to the will of the ruler"

That is quite a streach and is not even close.

If you noticed my main point was that we have priorities that don't necessarily match those of the "ruler" or President.

You missed the point entirely if you believe that I made his silly argument.

Conservatives don't believe in the Actions of evil people. It is the Muslims in Iraq who were against what evil Saddam was doing that would make good Americans, not the other way around.

Your assertion is so far off base it isn't even funny.

Nice try though.

Do you always take the opposite view just for fun or is there anything someone who is not a socialist can say that you would admit makes sense?



At 10:38 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Just so it is clear.

My point is that people who put their country before principals and family are the "only" ones that fit his criteria, and sice Americans in general believe in doing the right thing before they believe in doing the wrong thing just because their President asks, then his assertion is incorrect.

When Clinton was president, most Conservatives were certianlly not in that catagory of "The President/Country is always right."

Only a closed mind would say that the other side is "Always" wrong.



At 10:43 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Yea, maybe for non-theists their priorities would be, Family, Principals, and then Country.

Good point and good comments.



At 11:21 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


I'm not saying that perfect obedience is the desire of the Bush regency or was that of the Clinton Presidency - though the Bushies harbor fantasies that go in that direction.

Rather, my point is that you yourself presuppose perfect obedience to what you lay out - such as when you say that everyone 'should' - read: must - 'lay out their theistic/non-theistic priorities'.

I am talking about the reasoning you employ and the way you structure your argument. It's about your mindset.

:-), StS

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


I don't think it fits because I am not saying that most people "would" not "should" prioritize in the fashion I presented, and I quote.."I also believe if you gave those three items to most Americans and asked them to prioritize them, they would do it in the order I believe is prevalant in this country which is the one of God, Family and then Country."

Now, as far as "should/must" goes, it again is under the context of having to choose by the daily decisions we make. By our choices we are answering the greatest question of all time...Is there a God?

Get it?



At 10:07 AM, Blogger Robosquirrel said...

A complete tangent that occurred to me...

The Babel Fish is small, yellow, and simultaneously translates from one spoken language to another.
When inserted into the ear, its nutrition processes convert sound waves into brain waves, neatly crossing the language divide between any species you should happen to meet whilst travelling in space.

Some say that the evolution of the Babel fish could not have been accidental, and hence that it proves the non-existence of God.

The argument goes something like this:

"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves that You exist, and so therefore, by Your own arguments, You don't. Q.E.D."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Reign of Reason said...

As usual, I am too busy to read thru this conversation completely, but I have to ask why you believe “the question of god” is the most important?

Some of us don’t care – you either die and that’s it… or you die and you meet your maker.

I don’t live my life worrying about what a potential god is gonna say about my life and how I led it. It is my life, and I lead it according to the principles I’ve learned and accepted.

You continually put people into categories: theists and non-theists as if one group necessarily has superior morals. This simply isn’t true. I have Buddhist friends that don’t believe in god but have, IMHO, the best moral code I’ve seen put to practice.

Most religion, IMO, is a crutch – it provides a spoon-fed morality that people can digest. The only problem is that people who want their principles dictated to them are all to often the ones that can be manipulated into believing anything.

I’ll use reason to figure out what is right/wrong – moral/immoral …

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


The problem of using reason to provide answers to moral questions, it the very fact that there are no "Unchanging high standards."

Your stance one day maight depend upon what side of the bed you got up on.

The reason the Question of God is so important is this:

If God exists and thus we are going to spend eternity based upon our small timeframe on this earth, then most people would say that we should try to do our best so as to do what we are supposed to do.

On the other hand if God doesn't exist, then it doesn't really matter because there will be no justice after you are gone.

Either the theists are right or the non-theists are right, there is no inbetween.

The very fact that we are discussing it proves that we are trying to provide the answer to which one is correct, for we both cannot be correct.

Believing does not "make" one obedient. That is only by choice.

We all choose between rewards or consequences.



At 1:44 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


I happen to agree with Einstien and Hawking that the complexity of the Universe should logically prove to any rational being that God must exist.

Hawking recently said that the "Big Bang" definately happened and that like a watch, it must have an intelligence to wind it up.



At 4:20 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


the problem with your assertion is that most people, if not a vast majority, really don't care about theology as much as you seem to. Certainly, the author of the article you're using as your basis does not.

:-), StS

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


95% of the population believe in God.

But, lets talk about those who don't.

If someone was placed in a situation where they had to choose between Family and Country, which would they choose?

I think most people who do or don't believe in God would choose Family before Country.

Next, having said that, what about the 95% of the Country who profess to believe in God would they Choose their country over God?

I think that answer is just as clear. The only one that would be in doubt would be God or Family.

What if your family were all members of the Mafia, who would you choose, the moral choice or your family?

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


On the last one the Uni-bomber was turned in by his family and most polls that I recall said that the vast majority, (If my memory serves me), It seemed like 89% of the Country agreed that choosing the right thing over family was the proper choice.



At 9:00 PM, Blogger Robosquirrel said...

Well, my last post was a joke of Douglas Adams' from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," but I don't think that science disproves the possible existence of God. Issac Newton was a devout believer in God, as was Charles Darwin. Many scientists see their work as figuring out God's plan, not disproving the existence of God.

My issue is the same as ROR, and the reason my droning on and on about principles. "Principles are self-evident, self-validating natural laws. They don't change or shift... they apply at all times in all places," is what I wrote. There are indeed unchanging high moral standards; principles encompass the concept. People just don't always manage to live up to them. Perhaps that's where a belief in God helps people. You are talking about values and applying your values to others(non-theists), which seems to me to be "painting with a broad brush".

I think it would be scary to a large majority of people to suddenly realize that they are in fact working without a net, there may only be "here" and "now", that we are accountable only to ourselves and we're only getting one shot at this, so it's important to do it right - not because a higher being decrees it, but because it's the right thing to do.

At 5:29 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

"People just don't always manage to live up to them. Perhaps that's where a belief in God helps people."


"You are talking about values and applying your values to others(non-theists)"

On the Non-theists, (5% of population), I may be "speculating" but I am not intentionally "applying."

So again, I ask you if the priorities that I am "speculating on" seem correct if I place them thusly...

Non-theists: Principals, Family and then Country, Or Family, Principals, and then Country.

Theists: God, Family and Country.

Either way the Author was saying that Conservatives would "Blindly" put Country ahead of the other two, to which my main point was that they would not.

They would, just like "most" people, put God/Principals/Family above Country.

Do you agree with that part of my assertion?

The author was generalizing, and so as I stated, so was I, in order to respond to his "Conservative's" would "do this" label.

Words do have meanings and they should be correct, so I thank you for causing me to ponder and to mentally consider your input.

It is much appreciated and valued.



At 7:55 AM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


how do you know about my family? Just kidding.

My point, to restate it, is not percentages - I was expecting that comeback. My point is rather intensity. And here,I think it's entirely clear that most people don't give as much thought as you do to the deity of their preference.

That's not a value statement, that's an empirical observation.

I would also argue, again, that your priorities listing for *** all *** is yours and yours alone. Most people, again, would probably have their career, their investments, their education, their club, their hobby, their TV show, their sports team, and so on in that listing as well. Again, most of us don't really spend as much time pondering questions where we'll never know the answers; people are far more practical than that.

:-), StS

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


I can see how someone would have that view, but I didn't think I was speaking for all, just "speculating" about how they would prioritize if faced with the need to make a choice.

See the difference. Sitting around and thinking about it, is not the same as how one would react if confronted with a choice.

I can see I must not have made my point as clear as I thought.

Now, that I have cleared it up, do you agree that most Americans "probably" value principals above country, whether they are Left, right or middle.

Just as most people in Iraq probably didn't support rape, and other henious stuff Saddam did.



At 12:01 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


here's the thing. You're ignoring the contextual dimension to this question. I think most Americans want to generally support the country, as the old adage says, 'right or wrong'. But when the country is doing wrong, as it currently is, Americans tend to dissent after a while.

So I'd say that, as much as you would like to have, there's no hard and fast rule.

:-), StS

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Said: "So I'd say that, as much as you would like to have, there's no hard and fast rule."

Awesome! So, some Conservatives, some Libs, etc, would therefore do different things in your view. Not disagreeing with that at all.

I am just "speculating" that people "in general" will support principles before loyalty to country.

"In General" does not a "hard and fast" rule make.

I try to not use words like, "All, Never, Always, etc." The only thing I said about "All" was that you could divide the whole world into two different people, the Theists, and the non-theists. That would include everybody. But the rest of my post was "speculating" and "generalizing" or at least I meant it to be. If you took it to mean "all Conservatives", or "all this or that", then please accept my clarification now.

It was his contention that "Conservatives in General" would support Country over principles that I was disagreeing with, and I even said "My country right or wrong" is only made by someone who hasn't had to make the choice between "principles and country."

If you think most people of any group would choose Country over Principals then you don't know very many principled people. And anyone who would classify any group, as that stupid would be someone with an agenda against that group.

I think most reading these comments got my main point, which as not about what you perceived to be a rule, but rather again the following:

“Most people will choose Family and Principles before Country” and his assertion that one political group would do otherwise is bigoted.”

That was my main point and you seemed to miss it.



At 3:42 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


You provided the following dichotomy, which presumably separates the 95% from the 5%

"Non-theists: Principals, Family and then Country, Or Family, Principals, and then Country.

Theists: God, Family and Country."

Where do you get this from? This dichotomy is false for several reasons. Many people claim to believe in God or some sort of higher power, but do not take much heed of religion. Just because someone claims to believe in God does not mean that they put "God" first in all they do.

I find it difficult to believe that theists put country last when many so-called theists in America worship GW and his pack of devil worshippers more devoutly than they worship their religion. You can't tell me that a person who has children and leaves them behind to voluntarily enlist in the military puts family before country.

Your dichotomy doesn't fly.

At 10:03 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Being understood makes all the difference in the world.

First, it is important to understand that my premise is based upon my logic that when someone is given a choice he will make the principaled one first.

For example, Most people would choose "what is right" before they would blindly follow Saddam or Clinton or any other leader.

I don't think anyone could argue that if Kerry were President then Conservatives would blindly follow their Commander-in-cheif.

Many people who go off to war believe they are doing it "for their family" and their family's security. They say it all the time.

But if most people found a family memeber was a terrorist, I believe most would turn him in, do you think otherwise? That is because most people believe in principals over family.

Again, it is just my observation and premise, not saying I speak for "most" people at all.

I hope you think my view at least has logic behind it, as I am a very logical person.

I used to lay awake at night thinking about what was important just before I went to vietnam. I realized that God has said to "render unto Cezars, what is Cezars" and I like a lot of people take that to mean "obey the law of the land and serve when you are called."



At 10:11 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Oh, and as to "Just because someone claims to believe in God does not mean that they put "God" first in all they do."

I admit I was "generalizing" about the 80% of the 95% who claim they are church going.

I just think it was unfair for him to say that any Group would "choose to support Saddams Rape Rooms" over principals.

That is what I was trying to convey by presenting my "deep" thoughts about what "choices people in general would make if they had to make the really, really difficult ones."

But to say any group of Americans would Support Saddam just because of where they were born, is bigoted in my view. It completely ignores principals, which I find incrediably short sighted and biased.




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