I think I've been fairly clear in my hatred for the current version of "conservatism". That said, I consider myself to be in many ways a conservative, using a much different definition - I was weaned at the teat of a very different beast, perhaps best described as classical liberalism - but nonetheless a radically different animal from what we currently hear from Rush, Hannity, etc.

As a teenager and young adult I became a big fan of Bill Buckley. I didn't agree with him on every single policy issue, and the leaning back in the chair thing got to be a bit creepy, but above all I admired the respect he showed for those with whom he debated and disagreed, and it was clear that his positions were borne from thought rather than mere reactionary objection to those positions held by "the enemy", to quote a favorite term of today's "conservatives".

Buckley was a class act, an incredibly bright mind, and a man whose vision of conservatism was based on reason, the rule of law, individual liberty. It has/had nothing in common with what we consider "conservatism" today.

Compare these debates vs what you see on today's cable news programming:


Satan said...

A pleasure to watch. Quite a different standard of discussion that Chomsky and Buckley had in 1969 relative to today. They are still ripping each other's throats out, but you have to understand English, the dry ripostes, and you also have to already know something about the issues they're discussing to follow the fight. The other difference is that, unlike most anything on TV today, this is more or less a fair fight.

Sadly, this approach doesn't sell as many ads.

Mauigirl said...

Came here at Satan's recommendation - very impressive. I always thought William Buckley was highly intelligent and admired his way with words.

This civil debate between two highly intelligent, well-educated men is a pleasure to watch. Very refreshing in comparison to the debates we see now which are often shouting matches or obvious, mean-spirited jabs.

And if William Buckley was the conservative of his era, when you compare him to the ones on TV and radio today, it is sad to see how far the conservatives have fallen in almost every way.

FranIAm said...

I too, am here via Satan. Boy- those are words I never thought I would say, go figure.

Great blog you have here CTK.

I am not a conservative myself, but I appreciate what you say about the evolution, or perhaps de-evolution of the word over time. The true spirit of conservatism is not my style but is not repugnant to me either. More contemporary versions are apt to be so however.

Sadly these words have become labels in which to wrap oneself or to hurl at another, which is pointless IMHO.

Frankly democracy must be an active and often churlish meeting between ideologies as solutions are hammered out. I would rather have a conversation with a committed conservative who understood why they claimed that mantle than with a tepid so-called liberal who has no clue.

But hey, that is just me. Here I am a committed Catholic, frequently yukking it up with my new BFF Satan, so what the h-e-double hockey sticks do I know?

Übermilf said...

My impulses are liberal, but I believe the best form of government is one in which people with liberal impulses and conservative impulses get together, discuss things, throw in a lot of "yes, buts" and "what abouts" and "I never thought about thats" and come up with a solution incorporating the best of both ideologies.

We do not have the best form of government now. I think you've aptly demonstrated the difference.

Übermilf said...

You know what else is dead?

This post.