Friday, July 15, 2005

Orwell, ever prescient - the quote of the day

"All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side ... The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them." - George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism


gawker said...

That is exactly why I find conservatism as a movement illogical. Because it is not a universal ideology. How can you be in favor of a conservative government in your own country and in favor of a liberal government in say Iraq or Iran?

Hume's Ghost said...

To tell you the truth, I don't recognize conservatism as a movement at all. Let me explain: I recognize positions that are called conservative or are associated with being conservative, but I don't see them as springing from a coherent conservative philosophy. I defer to F.A. Hayek -

See, I view liberal vs. conservative as a false dichotomy; I've never seen why a liberal person could not arrive at conservative positions if that is where their reasoning took them.

John Lombard said...

But there *is* a very real conservative movement -- a very doctrinaire one. But I would also distinguish it from conservatism, which isn't really an ideology (is that what you mean when you say it's not a movement?). Liberalism is a set of ideas -- conservatism is more a way of looking at the world, hesitancy about change, etc.

Anyway: in answer to your frustration over the Novak case, I posted a bullshit-free synopsis of what probably happened on the Comm board. Here's the relevant part if you miss the post:

Novak in his original story claimed he had two White House sources. Rove told the special prosecutor (saith the AP) that he was told Plame's identity by Novak -- not vice-versa -- and then mentioned it to two journalists. Rove has said he didn't leak Plame's identity. Novak has said that he didn't "dig up" Plame's identity -- he claims he was told by someone.

Now, suppose all that's true (and nobody's wrong/lying). Then someone who isn't Rove (Scooter?) leaked the information to Novak. Novak then contacted Rove for confirmation. Rove then spoke with two journalists -- likely Miller and Matthews. Rove may be guilty of a federal crime -- it depends on the twists of the law.

Hume's Ghost said...

The Hayek article sums up what I'm getting at better than I think I could express it. I basically see 3 types of conservatism:
1.Edmund Burke style conservatism
2.Barry Goldwater style conservatism
3.proto fascist/authoritarian conservatism

1. is what I don't see as a movement, but a reaction.
2. Is what the Hayek essay deals with, and while this I believe can be a legitimate position, I don't see really why there is a need to distinguish it from being liberal. Also, there don't really seem to be many of these type conservatives around - McCain would seem like one to me.
3. This one I just don't get. There doesn't seem to be any coherent framework to understand this one other than I suppose something like Lakoff's patriarchal model. People in this category will claim to stand for the things category 2 is supposed to be for, but will contradict themselves and not notice the difference

I guess there is also economic conservative and economic liberal, but all this tends to get to confusing for me. When it gets down to it I'd rather just hear a person's view and judge whether or not I agree with them than with the label which may or may not appropriately represent their views.