Author Topic: Are social conservatives always wrong?  (Read 25042 times)

GuitarStv

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Are social conservatives always wrong?
« on: June 11, 2019, 01:09:31 PM »
I'm thinking back through history at causes that social conservatives have supported . . .  slavery, prohibition, the war on drugs, etc.  and then thinking back at all the things that they've opposed . . . democracy, women's rights, civil rights, gay rights, interracial marriage, immigration, freedom of religion, clothing to wear, etc.

Despite the furor, social conservatives historically always lose in the end . . . but often they manage to cause a lot of pain and suffering before they finally do capitulate.  So what exactly is the draw to the movement?  What are it's long term goals?

Kris

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2019, 01:43:24 PM »
Well, considering I literally just saw this article in The American Conservative, arguing that believing that This Is How Things Are Done is preserving our safety and the Very Foundations Of Our Society...

Which is pretty much the argument every pro-slavery, pro-prohibition, pro-war-on-drugs, anti-women's rights, anti-civil rights, anti-gay rights, anti-interracial marriage, anti-immigration anti-freedom of religion, makes and pretty much always has made...

I think they would say they've always been right right, because they I guess would rather we go back to the time when straight white dudes were the only ones with 100% freedom of agency and most of the decision/law making power. They would say it was better back then.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/roger-scruton-time-the-way-things-are-done/?fbclid=IwAR1N9ymCN5KF5MuEz-D3JOhxSB_y5fIvbHuaYrHrUWEEkcLBR-oGe4z5_iE

I don't really think they care about other people's freedoms. And frankly, I think more of them than would admit it would rather that other people have fewer rights than they do.

madgeylou

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 01:43:44 PM »
Yes. Lol

iris lily

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 01:50:15 PM »
Yes. Lol

This is the only acceptable answer, on this board anyway.

madgeylou

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 01:57:31 PM »
Yes. Lol

This is the only acceptable answer, on this board anyway.

I mean, you could address OP’s questions if you think social conservatives are sometimes right?

BicycleB

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 02:00:58 PM »
No, social conservatives are not always wrong.

I'm mostly trying to avoid obviously provocative threads, but I will offer a Devil's Advocate view or two here. I can't speak for any whole conservative movement, just offering a couple of personal views & experiences. Fwiw, I'm mostly liberal, but find the topic just as offensive as the anti-liberal libertarian screeds and don't-use-ACA-it's-supposed-to-be-a-handout vitriol that pops up. Not being personal here... @GuitarStv's jokes are often some of the forum's funniest.

1. Modern consumerist culture is often hollow and lacking in humanity, using people as economic animals to manipulate instead of human beings. There's a loving thread of social conservatism that will fight modern consumerism to its dying day, and I respect that thread will all my heart.
2. One strand of that loving conservatism a religious one that emphasizes family, kindness, community, alms as contradictions to Madison Avenue's manipulations and Hollywood's stream of literally soulless crap.
3. There is a strength, very similar to Stoicism or the Way of the Mustache, that occurs when a person or family or community establishes self-reliance through thrift and work.  There is a further strength when that self-reliance multiplies into wealth through wise investment. Anything that interferes with this developmental process hinders the full development of a person. If you recognize that some people have a lazy tendency, the opportunity to avoid this developmental process by relying on social benefits is bad, hence social benefit systems can have a negative effect.
4. If UBI existed, I'd be a good example of point 3.
5. Personal opinion here: there's something deep about sex. Modern consumerist culture ignores that, cheapens relationships, and worst of all leaves young people adrift in a sea of temptation without giving them the grounding to maintain a wise moderation in sexual matters.
6. Arguably in its rush to maximize individual rights, secular society detracts from the solid enduring relationships that most naturally form around a sexual connection.
7. Relationships are hard. Traditional forms such as marriage push people to overcome the difficulty, harvesting an enduring peace, strength and wisdom after persisting. Thoughtless sexual flings and overly easy divorces prompt people to avoid the hard work that leads to the deepest and most fulfilling relationships.

Not even married myself here, just offering thoughts that I suspect. It appears to me that many social conservatives would agree with these. If so, maybe there's some good in the socially conservative movement. I've certainly known social conservatives who led excellent lives and treated many people well.

Re goals, the conservatives I've known sought to have quality relationships, a society where individuals had satisfying roles to play in a harmonious society, and to fulfill God's will. As an atheist, I acknowledge that the final motivation I listed won't seem valid to a fellow atheist, but if you want to honestly understand social conservatives, you'd be a fool to ignore it. Especially since historically, belief in God motivated many people to fight against slavery, for democracy, sometimes even for freedom of religion.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 02:13:09 PM by BicycleB »

dcheesi

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2019, 02:28:10 PM »
Definitionally, conservatives resist change (they seek to "conserve" the status quo, as they perceive it). If we re-frame the question as "do all social changes that earn broad support ultimately succeed?", then the answer is obviously "no". Therefore, conservatives are not "always wrong".

In terms of our own perception of these things, I think there's some survivorship bias at work. Failed social experiments can sometimes be rolled back, but just as often they lead to a collapse of the society implementing them. The fact that our society is still relatively whole and functional suggests that most of our past social changes have been successful to date. The fall of the USSR, on the other hand, suggests that at least some of theirs were not.

The fact is that our current Western culture exists in large part because it changed in the right ways at the right times, at least relative to other competing cultures. But, just as in the stock market, "Past Performance Is No Guarantee of Future Results"...

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GuitarStv

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 02:50:41 PM »
1. Modern consumerist culture is often hollow and lacking in humanity, using people as economic animals to manipulate instead of human beings. There's a loving thread of social conservatism that will fight modern consumerism to its dying day, and I respect that thread will all my heart.
2. One strand of that loving conservatism a religious one that emphasizes family, kindness, community, alms as contradictions to Madison Avenue's manipulations and Hollywood's stream of literally soulless crap.

I'm not arguing that people who support social conservatism are incapable of doing good.  Just that social conservatism itself always appears opposed to good.  But let's look at current fiscal conservative hot button topics.  How are family, kindness, and community enhanced by preventing a trans-gendered person from using the bathroom of his/her choosing?


3. There is a strength, very similar to Stoicism or the Way of the Mustache, that occurs when a person or family or community establishes self-reliance through thrift and work.  There is a further strength when that self-reliance multiplies into wealth through wise investment. Anything that interferes with this developmental process hinders the full development of a person. If you recognize that some people have a lazy tendency, the opportunity to avoid this developmental process by relying on social benefits is bad, hence social benefit systems can have a negative effect.

This sounds more like an argument in favor of fiscal conservatism with which I have no real problem.  One of the current hot topic issues for social conservatism is preventing abortion . . . which completely opposes what you're describing above.  Someone concerned with the importance of self-reliance would be happy to leave a fetus to make it's own way based on it's own strength.


4. If UBI existed, I'd be a good example of point 3.

Again, I believe that you are mixing up fiscal and social conservatism.  UBI was originally conceived as a fiscal conservative replacement for government programs.


5. Personal opinion here: there's something deep about sex. Modern consumerist culture ignores that, cheapens relationships, and worst of all leaves young people adrift in a sea of temptation without giving them the grounding to maintain a wise moderation in sexual matters.

I agree with you.  But I'm not sure that the social conservative approach of trying to hide information about sex from children and young adults through misinformation, religious indoctrination/shame, and campaigning against sex ed makes things any better.  I'm not sure how fighting to prevent access to birth control or condoms makes things any better.

It would seem that a much better approach would have nothing to do with social conservatism or liberalism.  Tell children the truth when they ask about it, and teach respect for other's bodies by being a good example yourself.


6. Arguably in its rush to maximize individual rights, secular society detracts from the solid enduring relationships that most naturally form around a sexual connection.

First of all, it's a mistake to believe that someone has to be socially conservative to be religious.  (In fact, many religious people opposed the social conservative movement to keep slaves because of their religion.)

If solid enduring relationships naturally form around a sexual connection, then I don't really understand what your concern is here.  If it naturally forms, why is religion necessary?


7. Relationships are hard. Traditional forms such as marriage push people to overcome the difficulty, harvesting an enduring peace, strength and wisdom after persisting. Thoughtless sexual flings and overly easy divorces prompt people to avoid the hard work that leads to the deepest and most fulfilling relationships.

Not even married myself here, just offering thoughts that I suspect. It appears to me that many social conservatives would agree with these. If so, maybe there's some good in the socially conservative movement. I've certainly known social conservatives who led excellent lives and treated many people well.

Yeah, I have no issue with social conservatives who see marriage as important and good.  I have issue with social conservatives who see marriage as important and good, so they want to deny it to others.  In the past because of race or country of origin and currently because of sex.  That's a fucked up viewpoint to hold.


Re goals, the conservatives I've known sought to have quality relationships, a society where individuals had satisfying roles to play in a harmonious society, and to fulfill God's will. As an atheist, I acknowledge that the final motivation I listed won't seem valid to a fellow atheist, but if you want to honestly understand social conservatives, you'd be a fool to ignore it. Especially since historically, belief in God motivated many people to fight against slavery, for democracy, sometimes even for freedom of religion.

Again, I think you're confusing social conservatism with being religious.  They're sometimes (often these days?) related, but not always.

BicycleB

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2019, 03:09:55 PM »
My post is in response to the thread title "Are social conservatives always wrong." I offered examples in which, from my viewpoint, it would be incorrect to claim that "social conservatives are always wrong."

You can argue all you want if your goal in this thread is a special space to vent your personal diatribe against every detail of every policy supported by the people you label social conservatives, while excluding every good act or thought by conservatives on the ground that you don't want to include them as "social conservatives." That's not an argument I'm interested in having. I just feel that endless vituperative attacks on people who disagree is part of the problem our society has right now, and seeing the points where there is humanity on the other side is a useful path towards a healthier society. I have done my part to increase understanding. You can ignore it if you like.

Kris

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2019, 03:42:05 PM »
Huh.

I mean, I can sort of see a few of your points here? But I also kind of think many of them make a false equivalency between conservatism and anti-capitalism. Which is quite puzzling given the way contemporary social conservatism/evangelical prosperity gospel expresses itself currently in the United States, especially.

And many of the others seem to make a false dichotomy between a supposed conservative strength of character and a...??? liberal laxness/lack of moral commitment to institutions, I guess? Which I also find sort of non-convincing.
 

No, social conservatives are not always wrong.

I'm mostly trying to avoid obviously provocative threads, but I will offer a Devil's Advocate view or two here. I can't speak for any whole conservative movement, just offering a couple of personal views & experiences. Fwiw, I'm mostly liberal, but find the topic just as offensive as the anti-liberal libertarian screeds and don't-use-ACA-it's-supposed-to-be-a-handout vitriol that pops up. Not being personal here... @GuitarStv's jokes are often some of the forum's funniest.

1. Modern consumerist culture is often hollow and lacking in humanity, using people as economic animals to manipulate instead of human beings. There's a loving thread of social conservatism that will fight modern consumerism to its dying day, and I respect that thread will all my heart. I haven't seen much of this thread of social conservatism any time in recent memory. See "prosperity gospel" above, and its seeming stranglehold on American conservatism.

2. One strand of that loving conservatism a religious one that emphasizes family, kindness, community, alms as contradictions to Madison Avenue's manipulations and Hollywood's stream of literally soulless crap. One particular kind of family (heterosexual, uniracial, uni-religious), that is. And some pretty severe limits to their beliefs on who deserves kindness, who deserves to be included in community. (And again here, I am sensing an unstated but nevertheless present dichotomy between this so-called kind, loving conservatism and a debauched, soulless Hollywood that I guess is supposed to be a stand-in for liberalism? I know you say you're mostly liberal. But I think your nostalgia for a particular Rockwell-sepia-toned conservatism is maybe a little misplaced?)

3. There is a strength, very similar to Stoicism or the Way of the Mustache, that occurs when a person or family or community establishes self-reliance through thrift and work.  There is a further strength when that self-reliance multiplies into wealth through wise investment. Anything that interferes with this developmental process hinders the full development of a person. If you recognize that some people have a lazy tendency, the opportunity to avoid this developmental process by relying on social benefits is bad, hence social benefit systems can have a negative effect.
Sure. I was raised protestant. And I recognize the pull of that work ethic. I am very culturally protestant in that way, too. But I also recognize how easily and quickly the fetishization of "self-reliance" and bootstrap-ism can turn into bigotry when that gaze is turned upon "others" whom we evaluate as "lazy" -- it's a great argument for not helping other people -- a very lack of the principles of kindness, compassion, and community you extolled above.

4. If UBI existed, I'd be a good example of point 3.

5. Personal opinion here: there's something deep about sex. Modern consumerist culture ignores that, cheapens relationships, and worst of all leaves young people adrift in a sea of temptation without giving them the grounding to maintain a wise moderation in sexual matters.
I agree with this in many ways. But I'm still not convinced that social conservatism is the answer, because it tends to only want/nurture/accept certain kinds of sex, and certain kinds of relationships. So I find a hypocrisy there. Also: recent studies suggest that millennials and Generation Z are not only decidedly more liberal than previous generations, but also having sex later and having fewer partners than Boomers and Gen Xers.

6. Arguably in its rush to maximize individual rights, secular society detracts from the solid enduring relationships that most naturally form around a sexual connection.
I'm going to mostly back away from this. The one thing I will say is that as a woman, I personally am very, very glad that I was raised in a society that didn't push me early on into marriage, as women of previous generations in my family have told me their marriages -- which prioritized their commitment to starting and raising a family instead of their individual desires -- also led them to push away their individual dreams because they were expected to care more about becoming wives and mothers than they were anything else. And their husbands, they felt, did not suffer the same limitations as a result of marriage.

7. Relationships are hard. Traditional forms such as marriage push people to overcome the difficulty, harvesting an enduring peace, strength and wisdom after persisting. Thoughtless sexual flings and overly easy divorces prompt people to avoid the hard work that leads to the deepest and most fulfilling relationships.
And yet, divorce rates are higher in red states. Which has always puzzled me.

Not even married myself here, just offering thoughts that I suspect. It appears to me that many social conservatives would agree with these. If so, maybe there's some good in the socially conservative movement. I've certainly known social conservatives who led excellent lives and treated many people well.

Re goals, the conservatives I've known sought to have quality relationships, a society where individuals had satisfying roles to play in a harmonious society, and to fulfill God's will. As an atheist, I acknowledge that the final motivation I listed won't seem valid to a fellow atheist, but if you want to honestly understand social conservatives, you'd be a fool to ignore it. Especially since historically, belief in God motivated many people to fight against slavery, for democracy, sometimes even for freedom of religion.
And also, motivated many people to fight for slavery, against democracy, and against freedom of religion, precisely in the name of their own personal god. Honestly, religion is not equal to conservatism. It was, generally speaking, the more liberal congregations/religious associations that fought for these freedoms, historically.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 04:02:29 PM by Kris »

FINate

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2019, 04:17:47 PM »
I'm thinking back through history at causes that social conservatives have supported . . .  slavery, prohibition, the war on drugs, etc.  and then thinking back at all the things that they've opposed . . . democracy, women's rights, civil rights, gay rights, interracial marriage, immigration, freedom of religion, clothing to wear, etc?

If you define "social conservatives" as those in opposition only to everything you agree with, and vice versa, then by definition they are always wrong. But is that a meaningful designation? I honestly don't know what the definition is these days.

When I was a kid it was mainly conservative churches (e.g. filled with social conservatives) that were opposed to smoking and drinking. We now know how bad smoking is and how many millions it has killed. And we also now know that alcohol is a carcinogen and also responsible for the death of many millions, along with many other social problems. I'm not a teetotaler, my only objection to alcohol is the culture we've created around it. And I enjoy a pipe/cigar from time to time. But there's no denying that these are unhealthy.

Those who are conservative (socially or otherwise) tend to be skeptical of change. Yes, this can express itself in malignant ways. But so too can unbridled optimism in the name of progress. I long for the day when issues can be discussed on their merits, without first pigeonholing people into one category or another, and without each "side" staking out whichever ideological hill they chose to die on. Maybe this is naive on my part, but I still have hope that we can some day engage with each other with empathy, embracing what others have to bring to the table even if we don't agree, accepting that we need checks and balances to both conservatism and progress.

Interesting and related: https://quillette.com/2019/06/06/the-fallacy-of-techno-optimism/

sol

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2019, 04:42:36 PM »
I still have hope that we can some day engage with each other with empathy, embracing what others have to bring to the table even if we don't agree, accepting that we need checks and balances to both conservatism and progress.

That's going to be a hard sell to social conservatives, who base their entire belief system on the foundational understanding that other people are less deserving than they are because they don't embrace their grandparent's mores.  How do you ask someone to extend empathy when he's arguing to deny his opponent basic human rights? 


FINate

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2019, 05:02:11 PM »
That's going to be a hard sell to social conservatives, who base their entire belief system on the foundational understanding that other people are less deserving than they are because they don't embrace their grandparent's mores.  How do you ask someone to extend empathy when he's arguing to deny his opponent basic human rights?

Having empathy doesn't necessarily mean agreeing with someone. Nor am I necessarily arguing for compromise (though that is often the right thing). In the context of discourse it means understanding where they're coming from,  their motivations and values, and being able to put yourself in their position even though you disagree with it. It's one of the great debating skills we seem to have lost as a society, the ability to argue for a point one disagrees with. Because even if you disagree vehemently, they are human. When we reduce people to nothing more than caricatures it is usually followed by dehumanization. It's propaganda 101. If we can only empathize with those we agree with this is not empathy, but rather group think.

BicycleB

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2019, 05:44:13 PM »

2. One strand of that loving conservatism a religious one that emphasizes family, kindness, community, alms as contradictions to Madison Avenue's manipulations and Hollywood's stream of literally soulless crap. One particular kind of family (heterosexual, uniracial, uni-religious), that is. And some pretty severe limits to their beliefs on who deserves kindness, who deserves to be included in community. (And again here, I am sensing an unstated but nevertheless present dichotomy between this so-called kind, loving conservatism and a debauched, soulless Hollywood that I guess is supposed to be a stand-in for liberalism? I know you say you're mostly liberal. But I think your nostalgia for a particular Rockwell-sepia-toned conservatism is maybe a little misplaced?)

Not my nostalgia. I was trying to express feelings that friends I've had seemed to feel. Specifically, a sincere passionate belief that life is better when people have warm secure relationships; that families should provide them; that communities should support them.

Do I agree that their expected means of providing these warm relationships is the only way? Hell no. Especially if it goes too far - scorning relationships that don't follow some religious format, for example. Have I argued with some of them about gay relationships, or asked probing questions to determine the source of their feelings? Hell yes. There's a difference between understanding and espousing. I prefer to support all healthy relationships, not just ones that look like Norman Rockwell. Looking forward to First Gentleman Chasten Buttigieg...

Personally, I've noticed that it's easy to go too far when criticizing. From either side. So in this thread, I'm asking my friends to reach for understanding.

PS. Oops, lost the first part of this post. Glad @Kris quoted it below.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 06:08:45 PM by BicycleB »

Kris

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2019, 05:54:01 PM »
Huh.

Thank you! You're thinking about what I wrote, not reacting in attack mode. Thank you!!!!   :)

(I often see you very thoughtful elsewhere in the forums. Just happy in this thread that people are pondering rather than attacking for their "side".)


I mean, I can sort of see a few of your points here? But I also kind of think many of them make a false equivalency between conservatism and anti-capitalism.

Based on the conservatives I have known personally in multiple states and contexts, there are huge numbers of social conservatives who are lukewarm at best about capitalism, and quite a few who agree with some anti-capitalist positions.

If I were trying to claim that all convervatives think like this, I agree it would be a false equivalency. But I'm not claiming that. As I mentioned to GuitarStv, my post is simply a response to the thread title's question "Are social conservatives always wrong?" Some of them are not wrong sometimes. That's enough to answer "no" to the title.

Putting the above paragraph another way, I'm not trying to prove social conservatives are always right. What I really want is peace, love and understanding. We probably need to start with the understanding that some social conservatives have legitimate reasons for espousing conservative views. I gave examples based on people who I personally know, like and respect.

I appreciate your saying so, BicycleB. I’ve been attacked here a few times recently, and I don’t feel like those attacks are justified. But it’s nice to have some affirmation of that.

I think there’s a disconnect because the title of this thread is asking whether conservatives are “always wrong” but the OP asks a different question... which is, do conservatives always lose in the end?

I ask that question, and to me it means, are conservatives always on the wrong side of history?

I recognize that these questions are probably not the same. But this post addresses them as if they were. So we may be arguing at cross purposes in this thread.

I find contemporary conservative arguments mostly hypocritical, for the reasons I outlined above. I wish they weren’t. Hypocrisy helps no one.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 05:57:19 PM by Kris »

FIREstache

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2019, 05:56:04 PM »
Yes. Lol

This is the only acceptable answer, on this board anyway.

Yes, this isn't the best place to discuss these things.  I come here to discuss early retirement.

Kris

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2019, 06:03:02 PM »
Yes. Lol

This is the only acceptable answer, on this board anyway.

Yes, this isn't the best place to discuss these things.  I come here to discuss early retirement.

 Yeah. But this is the off-topic forum. So... :shrugs:

EricL

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2019, 06:14:43 PM »
Yes. Lol

This is the only acceptable answer, on this board anyway.

Yes, this isn't the best place to discuss these things.  I come here to discuss early retirement.

It is the place “Off Topic” is just that.  Sports, TV, politics, everything.  Other areas of the forum swim with retirement info. 

Social conservatives aren’t always wrong.  The sad truth is some progressive movements are a tad premature and disruptive of society.  Alcohol and tobacco were worth resisting.  But social conservatives will always be handicapped by the fact their intent is always motivated by fear and authoritarian or near authoritarian control as their remedy.  Their resistance takes what might be a bad progressive transition is instead turned into a shit show.  Consider just freeing America’s black slaves to fend for themselves vs. the Civil War.  Banning alcohol and tobacco by sour faced Puritanical types just made them “cool.”

BicycleB

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2019, 06:22:55 PM »

I think there’s a disconnect because the title of this thread is asking whether conservatives are “always wrong” but the OP asks a different question... which is, do conservatives always lose in the end?

I ask that question, and to me it means, are conservatives always on the wrong side of history?

Mmm, the question from the original post and your restatement of it are good questions.

I don't have a definitive answer of course, but I have an opinion. Roughly:
1. The conservatives listed in the OP from history were generally wrong, I agree.
2. I disagree with conservatives on the current issues listed, so... well, I have my hopes.
3. Always is a high bar, and conservatives are more likely to be right on issues excluded than included.
4. Often, conservatives are thinking of something that's true, but a policy that takes something too far looks bad later.
5. Much later, an approach better than either side emerges, and it includes some truth from the conservative view as well as the liberal.
6. On policy questions, I trust the Society of Friends Service Committee more than just about anyone
7. Society of Friends' Committee on National Legislation isn't bad either
8. Anybody can make mistakes
9. We're all in this together, understanding is better than attacks

One example is drug policy. Jailing drug users en masse is probably bad, frowning at them maybe bad too. But there was a time when the liberal position appeared to be "free drugs, free love, tell the man to f--- off is the way to the heaven on earth" and it's not. Some discretion is advisable. Some prompts from society to balance out the gap between "feels great right now" and "is very wise twenty years later" is probably good.

Makes me think of the video a friend sent me today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SOQduoLgRw

BicycleB

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2019, 06:39:41 PM »


5. Personal opinion here: there's something deep about sex. Modern consumerist culture ignores that, cheapens relationships, and worst of all leaves young people adrift in a sea of temptation without giving them the grounding to maintain a wise moderation in sexual matters.
I agree with this in many ways. But I'm still not convinced that social conservatism is the answer, because it tends to only want/nurture/accept certain kinds of sex, and certain kinds of relationships. So I find a hypocrisy there.

Agreed.



6. Arguably in its rush to maximize individual rights, secular society detracts from the solid enduring relationships that most naturally form around a sexual connection.
I'm going to mostly back away from this. The one thing I will say is that as a woman, I personally am very, very glad that I was raised in a society that didn't push me early on into marriage, as women of previous generations in my family have told me their marriages -- which prioritized their commitment to starting and raising a family instead of their individual desires -- also led them to push away their individual dreams because they were expected to care more about becoming wives and mothers than they were anything else. And their husbands, they felt, did not suffer the same limitations as a result of marriage.

Agreed that old school marriages routinely in practice oppressed women and pooped on their dreams. Bad. I strongly agree on not pushing women into marriage.

Yet I still feel that today's individualist, social media based, corporate property mediated, advertise-everything-with-a-pretty-woman-and-make-porn-available-to-12-year-olds society also pressures young women into sex, sexual display, and sexual identity too quickly, with too little community support. I don't know how to make that community support. I just feel like the pressure's there and isn't right either.

As stated previously, not arguing All Conservatives Good. Relationships need better support than old school marriages gave women. Better than a lot of marriages give women now. Better than a lot of gay marriages get now, too.

That said, the conservatives I've met were sincere in wanting secure and productive relationships for all. I differed with them on means. Perhaps with a more understanding society, we can get agreement on means that produces support for a wider range of relationships. To get agreement from Unenlightened People Who Need to Listen To Us, we too need understanding. Maybe even empathy.

Easy for me to say, not being the oppressed party? You nailed it. I will exit.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 06:49:02 PM by BicycleB »

GuitarStv

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2019, 06:49:45 PM »
My post is in response to the thread title "Are social conservatives always wrong." I offered examples in which, from my viewpoint, it would be incorrect to claim that "social conservatives are always wrong."

Right.  And then I brought examples of social conservatism that don't really jive with what you were saying, or examples of where you appeared to be conflating social conservatism with fiscal conservatism.  Stating a case, building evidence, and making arguments to support one cause or the other is generally how a debate goes.


You can argue all you want if your goal in this thread is a special space to vent your personal diatribe against every detail of every policy supported by the people you label social conservatives, while excluding every good act or thought by conservatives on the ground that you don't want to include them as "social conservatives." That's not an argument I'm interested in having. I just feel that endless vituperative attacks on people who disagree is part of the problem our society has right now, and seeing the points where there is humanity on the other side is a useful path towards a healthier society. I have done my part to increase understanding. You can ignore it if you like.

Please don't lump fiscal conservatives together with social conservatives.  Doing so is a mistake.  Although there can be overlap, they're not the same at all.

I have no issue with fiscal conservative because although I generally disagree with the theories I have had enough explained of it to see that there does exist a logical framework of reasoning behind it.  The same has never really happened for me with social conservatism.  It doesn't make sense to me, and what I see ends up seeming pretty distasteful most of the time.  Hence my question.

GuitarStv

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2019, 07:07:05 PM »
I'm thinking back through history at causes that social conservatives have supported . . .  slavery, prohibition, the war on drugs, etc.  and then thinking back at all the things that they've opposed . . . democracy, women's rights, civil rights, gay rights, interracial marriage, immigration, freedom of religion, clothing to wear, etc?

If you define "social conservatives" as those in opposition only to everything you agree with, and vice versa, then by definition they are always wrong. But is that a meaningful designation? I honestly don't know what the definition is these days.

When I was a kid it was mainly conservative churches (e.g. filled with social conservatives) that were opposed to smoking and drinking. We now know how bad smoking is and how many millions it has killed. And we also now know that alcohol is a carcinogen and also responsible for the death of many millions, along with many other social problems. I'm not a teetotaler, my only objection to alcohol is the culture we've created around it. And I enjoy a pipe/cigar from time to time. But there's no denying that these are unhealthy.

Those who are conservative (socially or otherwise) tend to be skeptical of change. Yes, this can express itself in malignant ways. But so too can unbridled optimism in the name of progress. I long for the day when issues can be discussed on their merits, without first pigeonholing people into one category or another, and without each "side" staking out whichever ideological hill they chose to die on. Maybe this is naive on my part, but I still have hope that we can some day engage with each other with empathy, embracing what others have to bring to the table even if we don't agree, accepting that we need checks and balances to both conservatism and progress.

Interesting and related: https://quillette.com/2019/06/06/the-fallacy-of-techno-optimism/

What would you say the top defining issues for social conservatives in the United States today are?

To me at the moment they kinda appear to be (in no particular order):
- Anti-homosexuality
- Anti-sex ed
- Anti-theory of evolution
- Anti-abortion
- Anti-religion (other religions than what the social conservative believes)
- Pro-religion (but only the personal interpretation of the religion or a small tight knit group of religions that the social conservative believes are acceptable)
- Anti-transgender
- Anti-racial equality

Those are all pretty awful.  So what are the "good" hot button issues that social conservatives get worked up about . . . the ones that I can cheer for too?

You mentioned that being against smoking and drinking is a good thing.  But the anti-drinking manifested in prohibition . . . which was a total disaster.  The war on drugs currently underway is maybe an important issue to social conservatives . . . but appears to be a total failure as well.  It's almost like forcing people to do what you think is good doesn't work very well.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 07:12:25 PM by GuitarStv »

BicycleB

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2019, 07:07:07 PM »
My post is in response to the thread title "Are social conservatives always wrong." I offered examples in which, from my viewpoint, it would be incorrect to claim that "social conservatives are always wrong."

Right.  And then I brought examples of social conservatism that don't really jive with what you were saying, or examples of where you appeared to be conflating social conservatism with fiscal conservatism.  Stating a case, building evidence, and making arguments to support one cause or the other is generally how a debate goes.

That may be, but I'm not seeking a debate.

I do think my counterexamples are sufficient to make the case that social conservatives aren't always wrong. Your examples suggest that social conservatives are at least sometimes wrong. I agree that's true. But your title says "always." A single counterexample is sufficient to disprove that from a debate view.

What I'd rather have is understanding. I seem to be more familiar with individual conservatives, so one way to take my examples is as clues to investigate.


Please don't lump fiscal conservatives together with social conservatives.  Doing so is a mistake.  Although there can be overlap, they're not the same at all.

I have no issue with fiscal conservative because although I generally disagree with the theories I have had enough explained of it to see that there does exist a logical framework of reasoning behind it.  The same has never really happened for me with social conservatism.  It doesn't make sense to me, and what I see ends up seeming pretty distasteful most of the time.  Hence my question.

I agree that plenty of policies espoused by social conservatives are distateful. To make sense of them... not sure how to get there, but I got there by listening, eating dinner with people after work, asking questions, visiting churches, etc. (Growing up in America's Bible Belt probably helped too!) If you would like a shortcut, my original long post is as honest a summary of feelings from real people I've met that I can provide. Maybe ponder it rather than argue against it would help?

Fwiw, the video I posted above (bottom of reply 19) is in point re how liberals can understand conservatives. Not sure if it helps though. My personal experience does support the idea that there is a sort of logical framework behind social conservatism too, though. Just a different logic than you or I would probably use - different predicates, and possibly different criteria for determining truth.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 07:12:10 PM by BicycleB »

FINate

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2019, 08:59:00 PM »
What would you say the top defining issues for social conservatives in the United States today are?

To me at the moment they kinda appear to be (in no particular order):
- Anti-homosexuality
- Anti-sex ed
- Anti-theory of evolution
- Anti-abortion
- Anti-religion (other religions than what the social conservative believes)
- Pro-religion (but only the personal interpretation of the religion or a small tight knit group of religions that the social conservative believes are acceptable)
- Anti-transgender
- Anti-racial equality

Those are all pretty awful.  So what are the "good" hot button issues that social conservatives get worked up about . . . the ones that I can cheer for too?

You mentioned that being against smoking and drinking is a good thing.  But the anti-drinking manifested in prohibition . . . which was a total disaster.  The war on drugs currently underway is maybe an important issue to social conservatives . . . but appears to be a total failure as well.  It's almost like forcing people to do what you think is good doesn't work very well.

I'm socially conservative in some ways, but not others. I don't think I know anyone that would fit the parade of horrors you list, at least not as starkly as implied. So I don't know that I, or anyone really, is qualified to speak for a large and diverse group in such broad terms. Again, I think a lot of this is a caricature that comes down to defining a category for what one might consider "evil" or "wrong". But hey, I'll do my best to address some of your points, keeping in mind that this is one person's perspective...

Going with one of your examples: I think it's possible for a "social conservative" to adhere to a traditional religious sexual ethic (Judaeo-Christian and Islamic come to mind), yet have no expectation that others live by their mores. Some even support LGBTQ rights (as I do) as these are seen as basic human rights at a civic level and because ultimately their faith isn't about "following rules". Yet they see the wisdom of their ethic within their own community and life.

This is related to the topic of sex-ed. We essentially started talking with our kids about sex almost from birth, being very open talking about our bodies and using anatomically correct labels, and then we started talking with them in detail about the act of sex starting at about age 5-6 and have continued these conversations over the years. In our view sex is very good, but it's also very powerful. The great irony of our culture is that it elevates sex to such a high level of importance, so important that we talk about it as identity, but then so often we treat it casually. So we don't want "the talk" to just be about mechanics or a sense that "it's natural, just go for it." So for us the issue is not sex ed per se, but rather the values attached to various expressions of sex ed.

Evolution is an interesting one. I happen to be pro evolution, but against the notion that "evolution disproves your scriptures" (yes, I've encountered this personally), which is essentially a form of cultural imperialism.

I agree that prohibition was a disaster, but so too was the blasé attitude about drugs in the 60-70s. While I have zero interest in prohibiting alcohol, I do support policies to reduce binge drinking and to limit the commercialism and advertising that encourages a lot of destructive behavior. It's not an either/or issue, and as a society we need to have discussions about the interleaving details.

jeninco

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2019, 09:06:39 PM »

I think there’s a disconnect because the title of this thread is asking whether conservatives are “always wrong” but the OP asks a different question... which is, do conservatives always lose in the end?

I ask that question, and to me it means, are conservatives always on the wrong side of history?

Mmm, the question from the original post and your restatement of it are good questions.

I don't have a definitive answer of course, but I have an opinion. Roughly:
1. The conservatives listed in the OP from history were generally wrong, I agree.
2. I disagree with conservatives on the current issues listed, so... well, I have my hopes.
3. Always is a high bar, and conservatives are more likely to be right on issues excluded than included.
4. Often, conservatives are thinking of something that's true, but a policy that takes something too far looks bad later.
5. Much later, an approach better than either side emerges, and it includes some truth from the conservative view as well as the liberal.
6. On policy questions, I trust the Society of Friends Service Committee more than just about anyone
7. Society of Friends' Committee on National Legislation isn't bad either
8. Anybody can make mistakes
9. We're all in this together, understanding is better than attacks

One example is drug policy. Jailing drug users en masse is probably bad, frowning at them maybe bad too. But there was a time when the liberal position appeared to be "free drugs, free love, tell the man to f--- off is the way to the heaven on earth" and it's not. Some discretion is advisable. Some prompts from society to balance out the gap between "feels great right now" and "is very wise twenty years later" is probably good.

Makes me think of the video a friend sent me today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SOQduoLgRw

The Society of Friends is hardly conservative in any way whatsoever -- so if that's what you have in mind as representatives of "social conservatism", I'm pretty sure this discussion is not based on the same foundational assumptions. I suspect it's likely that a random southern evangelical wouldn't even recognize a Friend as being a good enough Christian to count.  (I need a smiley face emoji here, or some other way to communicate goodwill.)

I like to think of Quakers as "disorganized religion", to differentiate them from the "organized religion" kind. (I'm developing a strong antipathy for "organized religion" as I get older...based on current events.)  But my family background is Hicksite, so that might explain a few of my biases...

I know a few other retro-hippies who are anti-consumerism and pro-do-shit-yourself, and devoted to social justice and working for good causes. Possibly because I live in Hippistan, they're pretty much all liberal, and of varying degrees of (liberal) religiosity. So, although I associate "social conservatives" with members of Evangelical mega-churches, I have warm fuzzier for some of the more liberal churchgoers who are out there making the world a genuinely better place.

Anyhow, my answer to the original question is "no..." for some of the reasons @BicycleB enumerated: there's an antipathy to the giant push toward consumerism and treating people as nothing but consumers that I have in common with some older (somewhat) conservatives I've met. Unfortunately, it frequently comes packaged with assuming people should fit into little traditional boxes that are BS.

sol

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2019, 09:13:40 PM »
I happen to be pro evolution, but against the notion that "evolution disproves your scriptures" (yes, I've encountered this personally), which is essentially a form of cultural imperialism.

I'm not sure that cultural imperialism is an accurate description of paleontology, but whatever you need to tell yourself is fine with me. 

Evolution isn't culture, it's science.  Geochronology is not religion.  There is no conquest involved in publishing established fact.  If an ancient scroll says the world was created in six days, it is factually incorrect.  It can still be a beautiful story worth sharing for other reasons, but not because it is true.

FINate

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2019, 09:22:48 PM »
I happen to be pro evolution, but against the notion that "evolution disproves your scriptures" (yes, I've encountered this personally), which is essentially a form of cultural imperialism.

I'm not sure that cultural imperialism is an accurate description of paleontology, but whatever you need to tell yourself is fine with me. 

Evolution isn't culture, it's science.  Geochronology is not religion.  There is no conquest involved in publishing established fact.  If an ancient scroll says the world was created in six days, it is factually incorrect.  It can still be a beautiful story worth sharing for other reasons, but not because it is true.

Truth != fact...there's an important difference. Imposing Western positivism on ancient cultures and thereby declaring their written and/or oral tradition false is cultural imperialism.

BicycleB

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2019, 09:58:31 PM »

I think there’s a disconnect because the title of this thread is asking whether conservatives are “always wrong” but the OP asks a different question... which is, do conservatives always lose in the end?

I ask that question, and to me it means, are conservatives always on the wrong side of history?

Mmm, the question from the original post and your restatement of it are good questions.

I don't have a definitive answer of course, but I have an opinion. Roughly:
1. The conservatives listed in the OP from history were generally wrong, I agree.
2. I disagree with conservatives on the current issues listed, so... well, I have my hopes.
3. Always is a high bar, and conservatives are more likely to be right on issues excluded than included.
4. Often, conservatives are thinking of something that's true, but a policy that takes something too far looks bad later.
5. Much later, an approach better than either side emerges, and it includes some truth from the conservative view as well as the liberal.
6. On policy questions, I trust the Society of Friends Service Committee more than just about anyone
7. Society of Friends' Committee on National Legislation isn't bad either
8. Anybody can make mistakes
9. We're all in this together, understanding is better than attacks

One example is drug policy. Jailing drug users en masse is probably bad, frowning at them maybe bad too. But there was a time when the liberal position appeared to be "free drugs, free love, tell the man to f--- off is the way to the heaven on earth" and it's not. Some discretion is advisable. Some prompts from society to balance out the gap between "feels great right now" and "is very wise twenty years later" is probably good.

Makes me think of the video a friend sent me today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SOQduoLgRw

The Society of Friends is hardly conservative in any way whatsoever -- so if that's what you have in mind as representatives of "social conservatism", I'm pretty sure this discussion is not based on the same foundational assumptions. I suspect it's likely that a random southern evangelical wouldn't even recognize a Friend as being a good enough Christian to count.  (I need a smiley face emoji here, or some other way to communicate goodwill.)

I like to think of Quakers as "disorganized religion", to differentiate them from the "organized religion" kind. (I'm developing a strong antipathy for "organized religion" as I get older...based on current events.)  But my family background is Hicksite, so that might explain a few of my biases...

I know a few other retro-hippies who are anti-consumerism and pro-do-shit-yourself, and devoted to social justice and working for good causes. Possibly because I live in Hippistan, they're pretty much all liberal, and of varying degrees of (liberal) religiosity. So, although I associate "social conservatives" with members of Evangelical mega-churches, I have warm fuzzier for some of the more liberal churchgoers who are out there making the world a genuinely better place.

Anyhow, my answer to the original question is "no..." for some of the reasons @BicycleB enumerated: there's an antipathy to the giant push toward consumerism and treating people as nothing but consumers that I have in common with some older (somewhat) conservatives I've met. Unfortunately, it frequently comes packaged with assuming people should fit into little traditional boxes that are BS.

You heard me! No, they're not conservative. They've been about 40 years ahead of the zeitgeist for much of the past couple centuries, in ways that history (and I suspect GuitarStv) mostly look upon kindly. Quakers with stations on the Underground Railroad, etc.

So as I keep repeating, I am pretty liberal (points 6 and 7). I just...don't personally believe... that social conservatives are always wrong... (and don't think that rehearsing rhetoric that says they are builds a better society. So I am offering an alternative thought process. Hoping to build a better society. One thought at a time. Such as "social conservatives have something useful to say sometimes too, and even if not, we're better off understanding than castigating.")

Yes, I know DIY churchy liberal hippies too. And gay-welcoming dry churchy liberals, as a bonus. I don't confuse them with right wing social conservatives. I do think there's more connection than a lot of people recognize. And that dividing them along these basically partisan lines is exactly what a wise conservative AND a wise liberal would oppose. Exactly what the Putins and other anti-democratic provocateurs want. Hence my wading so deeply into this thread.

« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 10:00:50 PM by BicycleB »

sol

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2019, 10:35:07 PM »
Imposing Western positivism on ancient cultures and thereby declaring their written and/or oral tradition false is cultural imperialism.

I'm not imposing anything.  If your scripture says the world was created in six days, it is wrong.  There is no room for written and/or oral tradition in that assessment, the scripture is either mistaken or deliberately lying or both. 

Sometimes we tell ourselves beautiful lies for good reasons (see: all modern fiction) but it's not cultural imperialism to note that they are lies.  I'm not suppressing your stories.  I'm not supplanting your myths.  I'm noting that they are factually incorrect, and as such should be kept distinctly separate from what we teach children about the real history of our planet. 

Scripture belongs in the literature section, not the geology section.  By all means study it and teach it, just don't call it fact.

FrugalToque

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2019, 04:51:26 AM »
I'm thinking back through history at causes that social conservatives have supported . . .  slavery, prohibition, the war on drugs, etc.  and then thinking back at all the things that they've opposed . . . democracy, women's rights, civil rights, gay rights, interracial marriage, immigration, freedom of religion, clothing to wear, etc.

Despite the furor, social conservatives historically always lose in the end . . . but often they manage to cause a lot of pain and suffering before they finally do capitulate.  So what exactly is the draw to the movement?  What are it's long term goals?

I would answer this question with, "No."

True, many of the major advances in human rights have occurred against the social conservative status quo.  That's what happens when rich people in politics use social conservatives against the forward progress of morality and science.  So you have a bunch of jackasses telling you gay people aren't human or women belong in the home.

But if you separate social conservatism from the politics of social conservatism, I don't think the movement is always wrong.

Should 10 year olds have cell phones that turn them into little fronds waving in the sea of even more peer pressure than we ever had to deal with when we were kids?  Clearly: no.

I imagine I could come up with more questions to which social conservatives have correct or healthier views.

This may be a case of "counting the hits and not the misses" because the failures of social conservatives to get it right on gay rights, racial equality, sexual equality and other such issues are so much more prominent than any useful successes.

Toque.

Malkynn

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2019, 06:24:25 AM »
I don't necessarily see any particular views as socially conservative.

Social conservatism is about a resistance to social change, so it will resist whatever the major progressive movements of the day happen to be.

As a result, history will always generally be unkind to conservatives, because historically, they will typically end up on the wrong end of successful social movements.

However, that resistance also plays a critical role in tempering and moderating social change. Not all social progress is good, not all preservation of cultural norms is bad.

The frankenmonster of "Conservative" horrors happening today is not necessarily a traditional social conservative construct, it's actually a rather extreme social movement, which in a way is promoting radical social progress in a terrifying direction.

The Alt Right, racist, transphobic, anti women's rights bullshit is not trying to preserve anything, they're pushing a modern hate-filled agenda, and placing a lot of us "leftists" into an arguably conservative position of defending what we see as social norms: human dignity and whatnot, pretty old school values.

Defending Roe v Wade can easily be described as a socially conservative position. It's the defense of a longstanding law that had become accepted as an entrenched social construct.

Likewise in Canada, challenging our universal healthcare would be a radical political move against a core societal norm.

Is it really "progressive" to staunchly defend policies from half a century ago???

Most of the people in my world are staunchly conservative and are generally slow to adapt to social change and are extremely cautious in accepting new norms, but they usually come around gradually. They're not hate filled, they're not radical anti-anything, they're just...socially conservative.

I'm not conservative, but I look forward to a day when I am, because it will mean that society has progressed past me. I'm actually getting really sick of always being on the progressive side, I'm ready to start aging into my "well, I'm not quite sure about X social movement, it gives me pause" years.

That's not to say that I don't know some MAGA hat-wearing, vitriol-spewing, hate filled people who identify as socially conservative, but they're generally viewed as large "C" Conservative extremists, not actual conservatives, who are pretty cautious by nature...cuz that's the whole point.

I think if anything, the current frothing political climate has illustrated how outdated those constructs of social conservatism vs social progressivism are. They really don't fit anymore with respect to the actual political system and have lost a lot of their meaning in the context of the clusterfuck within which we live right now.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 06:28:05 AM by Malkynn »

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2019, 07:09:28 AM »
I hate posting about politics on this forum, but I can't resist this one.

***

The original post, of course, presumes that liberals have always been right.  That could not be further from the case.

The easiest example is eugenics.  Progressives believed we could sterilize "morons" (a medical term back in the day) in order to improve society.

The second easiest example is prohibition.  It is laughably oversimplistic to presume that this was a bunch of evangelicals -- the prohibition movement did originate with evangelicals in Ohio, Maine, and Kansas; but by the turn of the century, the movement was largely led by both the Anti-Saloon League (a religious movement) AND progressives, and probably more so progressives, who became very active in regulating individual behavior around this time. We can argue history here, but it is no coincidence that the 18th amendment is smack dab in the middle of a handful of progressive amendments.

Another example is student loans. Progressives wanted everyone to go to college, and thus decided that the federal government, and not banks, should fund college, thus giving colleges a blank check to charge whatever they want. Schools are, in turn, becoming the biggest corporations in their respective states, and it's not close. Nothing has been more responsible for skyrocketing costs of higher education and crippling a generation of Americans than the federal government's involvement in handing out blank checks.  The correlation is astonishing.

I could go on, but there are many examples of progressives attempting to address a social issue and only making it worse. Obviously there are conservative examples of this as well, which gets to my larger point...

***

The greatest failure of progressives is the federalizing of EVERYTHING. It's amazing to me that progressives can largely say "LOL prohibition," and in the same breath think the FEDERAL government is the answer to all of society's ills. Maybe, just maybe, it's not.

The beauty of how this country was supposed to work was that the founders recognized that this was a vast land to be inhabited by people from all religions, cultures, etc. So they established a federalism whereby the local government would be the most important, state governments next, and then a limited federal government. If you wanted to change this, you convinced the country through a democratic process to amend the constitution. This meant we could create a majority out of extreme diversity, and ultimately get along despite our vast differences.

87% of England is English. 93% of Italy is Italians. 94% of China is Chinese.

The Founders realized this type of hegemony was never going to be the case in America, and thus established a federalism whereby these groups could be governed by local governments rather than the federal government. It was basically a predecessor to the EU.

The idea that a person in Maine would have the same view as, say, a person in Texas about a complicated issue like abortion is insane. So the founders created a system whereby different cultures could aggregate in different places, and the federal government would largely stay out of their way. If society had progressed on a certain issue, the constitution could be amended.

The progressives mostly demolished this around the New Deal era. We now live in a world governed largely by:
  • Agencies that are remarkably undemocratic and ignore the constitution's legislative process -- very important rulemaking is supposed to go through the House and Senate, not the whims of the executive branch and the president's appointments;
  • A legislative branch that has far more power (cough Commerce Clause cough) than ever intended;
  • A Supreme Court that is far more powerful than ever intended -- progressives are now ruing how powerful they made the Supreme Court in the 1930s;
  • And a corporate oligarchy that blossomed, mostly, because corporations now only had to lobby one government (the federal government) instead of 50 governments (the states).
     
That *cough* about the Commerce Clause -- using an example here -- conservatives would never have been able to implement the war on drugs had progressives not pushed cases through the Supreme Court in the 1930s vastly, vastly, vastly, vastly increasing Congress's Article I powers. But I digress.

***

I could go on and on, and I don't want to debate any particular issues, but this phrasing, from one of the most intelligent posters on this forum, struck me:

To me at the moment they kinda appear to be (in no particular order):
- Anti-homosexuality
- Anti-sex ed
- Anti-theory of evolution
- Anti-abortion
- Anti-religion (other religions than what the social conservative believes)
- Pro-religion (but only the personal interpretation of the religion or a small tight knit group of religions that the social conservative believes are acceptable)
- Anti-transgender
- Anti-racial equality

Liberals have largely created  caricature of conservatives that are an extreme minority of conservatives.  I do not pretend that the professors and students who took over Evergreen State University represent liberals as a whole, and I just wish liberals would acknowledge the same about conservatives.

Most conservatives I know are not "anti" everything stated, but merely object to the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT being the one to control individual behavior.  The "anti-sex ed" is the easiest one -- most conservatives are not anti-sex ed, but instead believe that the family unit should be the entity informing youth about sex and its implications, not the state.

I could go on with each of these issues, but they all carry largely the same message -- a FEDERAL government is not the answer to these issues.

***

In sum, the idea that conservatives are always wrong is loony; the idea that liberals are always right is equally loony.

Society is extremely complex, and having one party pushing forward with another resisting that push is actually the sign of a healthy democracy, not a bad one.

We are a country of extremely diverse opinions and viewpoints.  I happen to believe a more decentralized government would be the best way to address this type of society, and I thus believe conservatives are correct in their procedural positions as to how society should move forward.

If that makes me "anti anti anti" man, so be it.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 07:11:26 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

GuitarStv

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2019, 07:34:36 AM »
What would you say the top defining issues for social conservatives in the United States today are?

To me at the moment they kinda appear to be (in no particular order):
- Anti-homosexuality
- Anti-sex ed
- Anti-theory of evolution
- Anti-abortion
- Anti-religion (other religions than what the social conservative believes)
- Pro-religion (but only the personal interpretation of the religion or a small tight knit group of religions that the social conservative believes are acceptable)
- Anti-transgender
- Anti-racial equality

Those are all pretty awful.  So what are the "good" hot button issues that social conservatives get worked up about . . . the ones that I can cheer for too?

You mentioned that being against smoking and drinking is a good thing.  But the anti-drinking manifested in prohibition . . . which was a total disaster.  The war on drugs currently underway is maybe an important issue to social conservatives . . . but appears to be a total failure as well.  It's almost like forcing people to do what you think is good doesn't work very well.

I'm socially conservative in some ways, but not others. I don't think I know anyone that would fit the parade of horrors you list, at least not as starkly as implied. So I don't know that I, or anyone really, is qualified to speak for a large and diverse group in such broad terms. Again, I think a lot of this is a caricature that comes down to defining a category for what one might consider "evil" or "wrong". But hey, I'll do my best to address some of your points, keeping in mind that this is one person's perspective...

Going with one of your examples: I think it's possible for a "social conservative" to adhere to a traditional religious sexual ethic (Judaeo-Christian and Islamic come to mind), yet have no expectation that others live by their mores. Some even support LGBTQ rights (as I do) as these are seen as basic human rights at a civic level and because ultimately their faith isn't about "following rules". Yet they see the wisdom of their ethic within their own community and life.

Do you believe that support of LGBTQ is socially conservative?

Because if I'm reading you right, it sounds like what you're saying is that you identify as socially conservative, but don't follow social conservatism on the issue of LGBTQ rights.  Which is fine (and good for you) . . . but your example is notable because it's an exception and an area where you break with social conservatism.


This is related to the topic of sex-ed. We essentially started talking with our kids about sex almost from birth, being very open talking about our bodies and using anatomically correct labels, and then we started talking with them in detail about the act of sex starting at about age 5-6 and have continued these conversations over the years. In our view sex is very good, but it's also very powerful. The great irony of our culture is that it elevates sex to such a high level of importance, so important that we talk about it as identity, but then so often we treat it casually. So we don't want "the talk" to just be about mechanics or a sense that "it's natural, just go for it." So for us the issue is not sex ed per se, but rather the values attached to various expressions of sex ed.

Right.  What you're doing sounds like a very reasonable way to discuss sex and sex education.  But again, I have to ask . . . would you describe that as being socially conservative?  Because I grew up in a pretty socially liberal household and that's how sex was always approached in our family.


Evolution is an interesting one. I happen to be pro evolution, but against the notion that "evolution disproves your scriptures" (yes, I've encountered this personally), which is essentially a form of cultural imperialism.

If your scriptures say that the Earth was created in a few thousand years, they are empirically factually wrong.  If your scriptures say that God created each animal and no animal has changed since then, that's empirically wrong.  That's not cultural imperialism, it's proven fact.

That said, it doesn't mean that there is no value in the scriptures - the story telling and deciphering parables will obviously still hold tremendous value for answering moral questions or determining the best way to live your life.  But literal interpretation is obviously foolish.  Which makes sense . . . these books were written by fallible humans thousands of years ago, with the knowledge and understanding of fallible humans thousands of years ago.  Of course they will contain mistakes.  That doesn't mean that they're without value, but it does mean that you must interpret them with an understanding of the time that they were written.  Literal interpretation will make you look like a fool when you butt up against conflicting reality.


I agree that prohibition was a disaster, but so too was the blasé attitude about drugs in the 60-70s. While I have zero interest in prohibiting alcohol, I do support policies to reduce binge drinking and to limit the commercialism and advertising that encourages a lot of destructive behavior. It's not an either/or issue, and as a society we need to have discussions about the interleaving details.

This is a perfectly valid and reasonable stance to hold.  (And one that I hold myself.)  But social conservatism does appear to have largely given up on drinking right now . . . and is currently waging a war against drugs.  Particularly in the case of marijuana usage, I don't understand why social conservatives want to continue supporting the failed criminalization rules for this drug.

GuitarStv

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2019, 07:52:43 AM »
I hate posting about politics on this forum, but I can't resist this one.

***

The original post, of course, presumes that liberals have always been right.  That could not be further from the case.

Liberal != social liberal, and conservative != social conservative.


The easiest example is eugenics.  Progressives believed we could sterilize "morons" (a medical term back in the day) in order to improve society.

This is an excellent argument that I'd like to look into further.

Which liberals exactly were supporting this idea?  My understanding was that eugenics was often an argument in favor of socially conservative values . . . such as separating the inferior races.


The second easiest example is prohibition.  It is laughably oversimplistic to presume that this was a bunch of evangelicals -- the prohibition movement did originate with evangelicals in Ohio, Maine, and Kansas; but by the turn of the century, the movement was largely led by both the Anti-Saloon League (a religious movement) AND progressives, and probably more so progressives, who became very active in regulating individual behavior around this time. We can argue history here, but it is no coincidence that the 18th amendment is smack dab in the middle of a handful of progressive amendments.

You believe that limiting access to drink is a predominantly socially liberal policy?  Can you point to any similar socially liberal policies today in a similar vein?


Another example is student loans. Progressives wanted everyone to go to college, and thus decided that the federal government, and not banks, should fund college, thus giving colleges a blank check to charge whatever they want. Schools are, in turn, becoming the biggest corporations in their respective states, and it's not close. Nothing has been more responsible for skyrocketing costs of higher education and crippling a generation of Americans than the federal government's involvement in handing out blank checks.  The correlation is astonishing.

Here you appear to be conflating social liberalism with fiscal liberalism.  They are different.

The greatest failure of progressives is the federalizing of EVERYTHING. It's amazing to me that progressives can largely say "LOL prohibition," and in the same breath think the FEDERAL government is the answer to all of society's ills. Maybe, just maybe, it's not.

Again, social liberalism has little to do with empowering the federal government.  I believe you're confusing social with fiscal liberalism.


I could go on and on, and I don't want to debate any particular issues, but this phrasing, from one of the most intelligent posters on this forum, struck me:

To me at the moment they kinda appear to be (in no particular order):
- Anti-homosexuality
- Anti-sex ed
- Anti-theory of evolution
- Anti-abortion
- Anti-religion (other religions than what the social conservative believes)
- Pro-religion (but only the personal interpretation of the religion or a small tight knit group of religions that the social conservative believes are acceptable)
- Anti-transgender
- Anti-racial equality

Liberals have largely created  caricature of conservatives that are an extreme minority of conservatives.  I do not pretend that the professors and students who took over Evergreen State University represent liberals as a whole, and I just wish liberals would acknowledge the same about conservatives.

Most conservatives I know are not "anti" everything stated, but merely object to the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT being the one to control individual behavior.  The "anti-sex ed" is the easiest one -- most conservatives are not anti-sex ed, but instead believe that the family unit should be the entity informing youth about sex and its implications, not the state.

I could go on with each of these issues, but they all carry largely the same message -- a FEDERAL government is not the answer to these issues.

I believe that part of the problem here is that you are failing to seperate fiscal conservatism (which tends to object to expansion of powers of the federal government and increased government spending) from social conservatism (which tends to focus on limiting freedoms to implement/institute 'moral 'rules).

Most conservatives I know are not anti everything stated.  But those who are passionate about social conservatism typically are.

Part of the problem is that in North America fiscal and social conservatism seems to be lumped together most of the time, so it's easy to get one confused with the other.  They are separate and distinct.  It's possible to be socially conservative and fiscally liberal, and socially liberal and fiscally conservative.



In sum, the idea that conservatives are always wrong is loony; the idea that liberals are always right is equally loony.

Society is extremely complex, and having one party pushing forward with another resisting that push is actually the sign of a healthy democracy, not a bad one.

We are a country of extremely diverse opinions and viewpoints.  I happen to believe a more decentralized government would be the best way to address this type of society, and I thus believe conservatives are correct in their procedural positions as to how society should move forward.

If that makes me "anti anti anti" man, so be it.

I agree, partly.  The idea that 'conservative are always wrong' is loony.  But I'm specifically talking about social conservatism.  I've mentioned several times . . . fiscal conservatism seems to be grounded in reason, and while I don't always agree with the conclusions reached from it's logic, there is certainly value to it.

Malkynn

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2019, 08:02:29 AM »
You seem to want to define "social conservatives" as specifically being people who hold a certain collection of social values.

If that's your definition, then yes, they are always wrong.
Your definition is just tremendously narrow.

You really can't separate fiscal and social policies completely because all fiscal policies are driven by some kind of ideology, and ALL policies either cost or save money.

sherr

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2019, 08:08:42 AM »
I think it's possible for a "social conservative" to adhere to a traditional religious sexual ethic (Judaeo-Christian and Islamic come to mind), yet have no expectation that others live by their mores. Some even support LGBTQ rights (as I do) as these are seen as basic human rights at a civic level and because ultimately their faith isn't about "following rules". Yet they see the wisdom of their ethic within their own community and life.

I disagree actually. "Social conservatives" by definition are trying to impose their conservative values on society. Which means trying to force others to live by their values, which you can see in every example listed in this thread so far. Which is not to say their values are necessarily wrong or undesirable, but that the expectation for others to live by their mores is an inextricable part of social conservatism.

"Social liberals" by contrast always seem to be on the side of allowing "society" the "liberty" of deciding for themselves how they want to live their lives. The only exceptions to this rule that I can think of are marginal cases where the question is "does one person have the liberty to discriminate against another", like cake bakers and gay people for example.

I think if you generally support other's right not to live by your mores you are a de-facto "social liberal", even if that is not what you choose to call yourself or if you disagree with the choices others make.

sol

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2019, 08:11:31 AM »
You really can't separate fiscal and social policies completely because all fiscal policies are driven by some kind of ideology, and ALL policies either cost or save money.

You'll have a hard time convincing me that abortion protesters are the least bit worried about the impact of abortions on the federal budget.

How do we save money by telling trans people which bathroom to use?  By banning rainbow flags over embassies?  By giving tax breaks to churches? 

Malkynn

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2019, 08:15:41 AM »
You really can't separate fiscal and social policies completely because all fiscal policies are driven by some kind of ideology, and ALL policies either cost or save money.

You'll have a hard time convincing me that abortion protesters are the least bit worried about the impact of abortions on the federal budget.

How do we save money by telling trans people which bathroom to use?  By banning rainbow flags over embassies?  By giving tax breaks to churches?

I'm not saying that at all. You're putting words in my mouth.
I'm saying that all policies have some kind of economic impact, not that all policies are driven by economic impact.

I'm saying that you can't 100% separate the ideologies and the finances the way that's trying to be done in this thread.

Student loans are a 100% fiscal policy? There was no social ideology behind it? I don't think so.

sherr

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2019, 08:18:00 AM »
The easiest example is eugenics.  Progressives believed we could sterilize "morons" (a medical term back in the day) in order to improve society.

This is an excellent argument that I'd like to look into further.

Which liberals exactly were supporting this idea?  My understanding was that eugenics was often an argument in favor of socially conservative values . . . such as separating the inferior races.

I think it's a fair point in favor of "social conservatives". The argument goes that the people in favor of the eugenics were the "scientists" of the day and people who in favor of "making society progress", whereas the people who were opposed were the religious conservatives who valued "God's plan" and saw it (correctly in this case) as an attack on "the value of human life".

Of course the Nazi's also explicitly used Christianity to make people favor eugenics and hate the Jews, so it's a bit of a murky issue.

Psychstache

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2019, 08:19:46 AM »
Yes. Lol

This is the only acceptable answer, on this board anyway.

Yes, this isn't the best place to discuss these things.  I come here to discuss early retirement.

It is the place “Off Topic” is just that.  Sports, TV, politics, everything.  Other areas of the forum swim with retirement info. 

Social conservatives aren’t always wrong.  The sad truth is some progressive movements are a tad premature and disruptive of society.  Alcohol and tobacco were worth resisting.  But social conservatives will always be handicapped by the fact their intent is always motivated by fear and authoritarian or near authoritarian control as their remedy.  Their resistance takes what might be a bad progressive transition is instead turned into a shit show.  Consider just freeing America’s black slaves to fend for themselves vs. the Civil War.  Banning alcohol and tobacco by sour faced Puritanical types just made them “cool.”

I think I am misunderstanding something. Are you saying that it would have been better to let slavery continue for a while longer to try and be less disruptive of society?

BicycleB

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2019, 08:30:18 AM »
I agree that on both sides of the aisle, there are some individuals who feel more strongly about govt policies, some about public finances/taxes, some about individual impacts. But to say that social and fiscal conservatism are purely separate is baloney. So is the liberal equivalent. There are plenty of people whose views in one area are motivated by their views in another. I know them personally. The different sides of each perspective overlap at the level of individuals, movements, and history.

sol

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #42 on: June 12, 2019, 08:33:52 AM »
I'm not saying that at all. You're putting words in my mouth.

Sorry, that wasn't my intent.

I agree that basically every social policy has some kind of economic impact, I just think the motivation usually falls on the social side and the consequences usually fall on the economic side, not the other way around.  That means discussing the underlying problems with social conservativism can probably be done without considering the economics, since the economics are essentially an afterthought.

For example, the social conservatives who came up with the idea of the US government giving uniquely helpful tax breaks to churches were costing the government money, not saving money, in support of their social positions.

GuitarStv

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #43 on: June 12, 2019, 08:44:57 AM »
I'm not saying that at all. You're putting words in my mouth.

Sorry, that wasn't my intent.

I agree that basically every social policy has some kind of economic impact, I just think the motivation usually falls on the social side and the consequences usually fall on the economic side, not the other way around.  That means discussing the underlying problems with social conservativism can probably be done without considering the economics, since the economics are essentially an afterthought.

For example, the social conservatives who came up with the idea of the US government giving uniquely helpful tax breaks to churches were costing the government money, not saving money, in support of their social positions.



It's certainly possible to be both socially and fiscally conservative.

It's also possible to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative.  Most libertarians (for example) tend to identify in this area.

Fiscal conservatism at it's core is about keeping government less funded and smaller.  As mentioned in your church tax break example, social conservative values often come in conflict with fiscal conservatism.

Therefore social conservatism is not inextricably linked to fiscal conservatism.

There are fiscal consequences of social conservative policies of course, but this is beside the point.

Malkynn

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #44 on: June 12, 2019, 08:51:57 AM »
I'm not saying that at all. You're putting words in my mouth.

Sorry, that wasn't my intent.

I agree that basically every social policy has some kind of economic impact, I just think the motivation usually falls on the social side and the consequences usually fall on the economic side, not the other way around.  That means discussing the underlying problems with social conservativism can probably be done without considering the economics, since the economics are essentially an afterthought.

For example, the social conservatives who came up with the idea of the US government giving uniquely helpful tax breaks to churches were costing the government money, not saving money, in support of their social positions.

Totally 100% agree.

I was just taking issue with other posters examples being rejected as purely fiscal policy examples, which they aren't necessarily.

sherr

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #45 on: June 12, 2019, 08:57:18 AM »
So they established a federalism whereby the local government would be the most important, state governments next, and then a limited federal government.

As an aside @ReadySetMillionaire I think we can empirically establish that this is not in fact what Republicans / conservatives / people who call themselves federalists are actually for. I agree that that would be a logically consistent approach of federalism though, and has a lot to say for it.

In my state (NC) the same people who make a lot of "Federalism / State's Rights" noise also turn around and squash the autonomy of the more local governments at the same time. Ashville can't raise their minimum wage, Holly Springs can't turn on their community fiber they've already laid, coastal communities can't build wind turbines, Chapel Hill is not free to remove confederate statues, etc. The list never ends.

The observable actions of people who call themselves Federalists takes all the wind out of the sails of theoretical Federalism. It's obviously not about principles or a theory of good governance, it's obviously about consolidating power at the state level - and only the state level - because that's where conservatives think they can win. Those "liberal cities" get no power, their vote is gerrymandered away, and the rural conservatives pat themselves on the back for saving the country through "Federalism".

GuitarStv

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #46 on: June 12, 2019, 09:49:22 AM »
Yes. Lol

This is the only acceptable answer, on this board anyway.

Yes, this isn't the best place to discuss these things.  I come here to discuss early retirement.

It is the place “Off Topic” is just that.  Sports, TV, politics, everything.  Other areas of the forum swim with retirement info. 

Social conservatives aren’t always wrong.  The sad truth is some progressive movements are a tad premature and disruptive of society.  Alcohol and tobacco were worth resisting.  But social conservatives will always be handicapped by the fact their intent is always motivated by fear and authoritarian or near authoritarian control as their remedy.  Their resistance takes what might be a bad progressive transition is instead turned into a shit show.  Consider just freeing America’s black slaves to fend for themselves vs. the Civil War.  Banning alcohol and tobacco by sour faced Puritanical types just made them “cool.”

If alcohol and tobacco were well worth resisting, why is that no longer the case?  They are no longer the target of the social conservative movement, so clearly something must have changed.

I also echo Psychstache 's comments and would like to know why you believe that allowing slavery in America to continue would have been better for society.

Noodle

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #47 on: June 12, 2019, 09:50:45 AM »

It is the place “Off Topic” is just that.  Sports, TV, politics, everything.  Other areas of the forum swim with retirement info. 

Social conservatives aren’t always wrong.  The sad truth is some progressive movements are a tad premature and disruptive of society.  Alcohol and tobacco were worth resisting.  But social conservatives will always be handicapped by the fact their intent is always motivated by fear and authoritarian or near authoritarian control as their remedy.  Their resistance takes what might be a bad progressive transition is instead turned into a shit show.  Consider just freeing America’s black slaves to fend for themselves vs. the Civil War.  Banning alcohol and tobacco by sour faced Puritanical types just made them “cool.”

I think I am misunderstanding something. Are you saying that it would have been better to let slavery continue for a while longer to try and be less disruptive of society?
[/quote]

I had to read that a couple times, but I think what was meant was that it would have been better for the South to give up slavery voluntarily as the North had, even though it would likely cause a degree of social/economic disruption, rather than to trigger a war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives and led to the same outcome.

Kris

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #48 on: June 12, 2019, 09:55:07 AM »

It is the place “Off Topic” is just that.  Sports, TV, politics, everything.  Other areas of the forum swim with retirement info. 

Social conservatives aren’t always wrong.  The sad truth is some progressive movements are a tad premature and disruptive of society.  Alcohol and tobacco were worth resisting.  But social conservatives will always be handicapped by the fact their intent is always motivated by fear and authoritarian or near authoritarian control as their remedy.  Their resistance takes what might be a bad progressive transition is instead turned into a shit show.  Consider just freeing America’s black slaves to fend for themselves vs. the Civil War.  Banning alcohol and tobacco by sour faced Puritanical types just made them “cool.”

I think I am misunderstanding something. Are you saying that it would have been better to let slavery continue for a while longer to try and be less disruptive of society?

I had to read that a couple times, but I think what was meant was that it would have been better for the South to give up slavery voluntarily as the North had, even though it would likely cause a degree of social/economic disruption, rather than to trigger a war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives and led to the same outcome.
[/quote]

Except the south was never, ever going to do that. Their whole economy was based on free slave labor. So... I think Psychstache's question kind of still stands.

GuitarStv

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Re: Are social conservatives always wrong?
« Reply #49 on: June 12, 2019, 09:58:36 AM »
I had to read that a couple times, but I think what was meant was that it would have been better for the South to give up slavery voluntarily as the North had, even though it would likely cause a degree of social/economic disruption, rather than to trigger a war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives and led to the same outcome.

That's goofy reasoning though.

It would have been less disruptive if everyone let Hitler take over the world rather than fight back.  I mean, eventually the Nazis would have done the right thing, right?

If the south had any intention of giving up slaves, they had ample opportunity to do so before the civil war.  They didn't, and by that choice caused the civil war.