Understanding Conservatism : The long con

Why do you say it’s an assumption? Why can’t it be a conclusion arrived after an examination of Republican policies in the last 10 years, their stated agenda, and the extremely mendacious way they are campaigning?

Well, cause frankly dude, I don’t think you actually have enough first hand knowledge of that stuff to draw such a certain conclusion about something as broad as an entire half of an axis of the political spectrum… which would suggest that you’re actually just basing your opinion upon what others have told you.

Is it at all possible that maybe, just maybe, they presented a certain subset of reality in order to create a specific impression upon you? That perhaps the entirety of conservatism, and the motivations of the millions of people who classify themselves as such, are perhaps more complex than the understanding you have of them.

But, again, you wouldn’t really get much of a chance to explore that possibility, if you go into any discussion with a conservative with the belief that he is either stupid or evil. That belief precludes any meaningful exchange of ideas. Everything he says will be tainted by your preconception of his motivations

So, the article that kicked this off is just bullshit? Or is the liberal version of fundraising so insidiously clever that it has escaped notice?
Also, what is this bullshit arguing that you two are coming out with. Please point out where I have broadly stated that conservatives are stupid or evil. The background for the article seems to be researched well enough. You come in with the response that both sides are as bad as each other. I ask for you to point out where the liberal equivalent is and then suddenly you are flapping your hands saying that I’m not worth answering because I’m judging 50% of the population. Pathetic.

It’s the same thing Timex was doing in the other thread, only replace “publicly calling for people to be killed” with “systematically swindling gullible people.”

(1) Article presents evidence that some portion of the conservative establishment profits by systematically swindling gullible people.
(2) Timex points out that once, some guy on a forum hurt his feelings by calling conservatives dumb.
(3) Therefore, liberals are just as bad as conservatives and how dare you call them evil even though you didn’t.
(4) P.S. did I mention that “stealing money” and “being mean on internet forums” are exactly the same thing? Well they are. For reals, you guys.

Why? Come on americans, you know why. Profit. That is the be all and end all, the american way etc.

This response is the best confirmation I could imagine supporting Perlstein’s hypothesis. The liberal asks for confirming evidence, and the defender of contemporary, rabid Republican-style conservatism* claims that his unwillingness to or more likely inability to provide evidence is actually a badge of intellectual/moral superiority.

Now there’s an assumption! Actually multiple assumptions; firstly that the current republican policy set represents half of the political spectrum, second that somehow I might not have enough info to take a well reasoned position, thirdly that we are even talking about me at all.

Is it at all possible that maybe, just maybe, they presented a certain subset of reality in order to create a specific impression upon you? That perhaps the entirety of conservatism, and the motivations of the millions of people who classify themselves as such, are perhaps more complex than the understanding you have of them.

Well the entirety of conservatism would be a different thing; I think we are talking just about people who would support Romney for president. Personally though I think there is a third category of voter beyond the dupes and dupers, and that is the pragmatist who holds his/her nose to vote for Romney because they feel it is the lesser of two evils. Some would probably say they have been duped also, but I think they are well aware.

But, again, you wouldn’t really get much of a chance to explore that possibility, if you go into any discussion with a conservative with the belief that he is either stupid or evil. That belief precludes any meaningful exchange of ideas. Everything he says will be tainted by your preconception of his motivations

If your opponent cannot or will not argue in good faith, then a meaningful exchange of ideas is not possible.

Here’s the thing:

No one–and I mean no one–has studied political movement ideology over the last 50 years more than Rick Pearlstein. Is his bias that of a liberal? I suppose it is…but his takedowns of liberal smugness and failure to act are as devastating as his takedowns on conservatism.

If you want to refute him, you’d better do so with evidence and not feigned outrage.

But isn’t feigned outrage a core tenet of the conservative platform these days? ;-)

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

I thought feigned outrage was more of a liberal thing, and conservatives were associated with actual outrage against math, science, and women.

Huh, I dunno, since the science and math are actually based things like facts, i’d think outrage against them would be ignoring such facts and therefore feigned.

Well, I think that perhaps you may be giving Pearlstein a bit more credit than he deserves to suggest that he is somehow the ultimate authority on such things… You suppose that he has a liberal bias? Just a little bit, eh?

Regardless, his piece is what I would expect. But I think that what conservatives may find offensive about this thread isn’t even that article… but rather the fact that the article was then twisted into an even more offensive form in this thread. The title of this thread is even more slanted than the original article… the first comment is, “Yeah, ALL conservatives are either idiots or evil… It’s funny to wonder which one your conservative friends are!” I’m guessing you don’t actually have any conservative friends, if that is actually your opinion… because most folks aren’t friends with people that they think are stupid/evil.

Regarding Pearlstein’s article, there are parts of it which are just weird… like this part:

In an alternate universe where Coulter would be capable of rational self-reflection, it would be fascinating to ask her what she thinks about, say, the layout of HumanEvents.com on the day it featured an article headlined “Ideas Will Drive Conservatives’ Revival.” Two inches beneath that bold pronouncement, a box headed “Health News” included the headlines “Reverse Crippling Arthritis in 2 Days,” “Clear Clogged Arteries Safely & Easily—without drugs, without surgery, and without a radical diet,” and “High Blood Pressure Cured in 3 Minutes . . . Drop Measurement 60 Points.” It would be interesting, that is, to ask Coulter about the reflex of lying that’s now sutured into the modern conservative movement’s DNA—and to get her candid assessment of why conservative leaders treat their constituents like suckers.

Those aren’t articles on Human Events (which, I honestly had never looked at prior to reading Pearlstein’s article)… or at least, they aren’t something that comes up from searching their website. Based on his description, they are just ads that were showing up while he was looking at the page. He seems to be suggesting that they were actually things that were being pushed forward by the website itself… but we all know that’s not how internet advertising works, right?

I never have advertising crap turned on… my browser blocks it. But hell, let’s go to Mother Jones and turn it off (shudder) and see what pops up…
Ok, we have a creepy freaking ad with some old guy’s head photoshopped onto a body builder selling a site called “Genegetics Institute” and saying “This 72 year old physician used science, nutrition, and exercise to achieve these results… and so can you!”

Does that mean Mother Jones is directly advocating what is obviously as snakeoil site? That they think their readers are a bunch of idiots? No. And make no mistake here, I didn’t have to do any kind of search for that result… I literally went to mother jones, as the FIRST site, and disabled the ad block… and that was what came up immediately.

Seriously, that’s what freaking internet ads ARE. That’s why we all have adblocker installed. That’s why I had to tell my parents, “Look… Just work under this assumption. EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET IS TRYING TO STEAL FROM YOU. Don’t click on anything, ever.”

It just seems ridiculous that Pearlstein would try and link the results of an ad that randomly showed up on the site to the site itself… or worse, to the conservative movement as a whole.

But of course, I am just a liar and/or a fool, being that I would identify myself as a conservative.

Nope:

But back when I was getting emails every day from Newsmax and Townhall, the come-ons were a little bit different.

Does that mean Mother Jones is directly advocating what is obviously as snakeoil site?

No, but NewsMax sure looks like it:

"Dear NewsMax Reader,” this appeal began, leaving no doubt that whatever trust that publication had built with its followers was being rented out wholesale. “Please find below a special message from our sponsor, James Davidson, Editor of Outside the Box. He has some important information to share with you.”

Ann Coulter doesn’t have any sort of out, it’s an explicit endorsement:

The “bottom line,” as they say? Don’t let the Democrats run the country. And don’t let Wall Street frat boys manage your investments. Do it yourself, with the genuinely expert guidance of freedom-loving economist Mark Skousen in Forecasts & Strategies.

That letter is signed by Ann Coulter—and, truth be told, it reads like she wrote it.

In case you need an even more blatantly obvious case, look at Glenn Beck and Ron Paul’s long history of explicitly endorsing rip-off gold sellers. Beck’s friends at Goldline actually had the government come after them for charging double retail price and flat-out lying about government regulation of gold as part of their sales pitch.

“Unless you’re a enormous brand website like CNN you get a lot of shady ads from your ad seller” isn’t what this is about.

That’s not what he’s saying, that’s your braying of false equivalence. Yes, if you go to ANY website on the internet, you’ll be deluged by ads. Especially a political blog.

Pearlstein’s point here is that those who SIGN UP for mailing lists–both snail and email–have their information handed over to the snake oilers for direct mail and email marketing glurges. In other words, people are/were getting these email advertisements pushed to their mailboxes, presented as part and parcel of whatever entity they signed up with.

But of course, I am just a liar and/or a fool, being that I would identify myself as a conservative.

That’s a real chicken-and-egg question. Were you a liar and a fool and thus chose to be conservative, or did you choose conservatism and it made you a liar and fool?

That’s not what he’s saying, that’s your braying of false equivalence. Yes, if you go to ANY website on the internet, you’ll be deluged by ads. Especially a political blog.

Pearlstein’s point here is that those who SIGN UP for mailing lists–both snail and email–have their information handed over to the snake oilers for direct mail and email marketing glurges. In other words, people are/were getting these email advertisements pushed to their mailboxes, presented as part and parcel of whatever entity they signed up with.

That’s fine… I have no idea what those mailings actually contain, or who sends them… But I picked out a specific part of his article which isn’t talking about them. He’s talking about advertisements on humanevents.com, and then faulting their site for them.

And that particular criticism, is exactly equivalent to me pointing to the ad on Mother Jones and criticizing their site for it.

I’m not defending rabid conservatism. You’re obviously missing the point.

So you pick the one criticism which you could somewhat lazily refute in sense of “they do it too” and toss the rest of the aritcle out.

And you wonder why you are suspected of not arguing in good faith…

No, I picked out a part of the article which was ridiculous, but which apparently you didn’t even bother to question.

And it wasn’t refuted in the sense of “they do it too”, because the takeaway isn’t that the fact that Mother Jones has a ridiculous ad on their site means they are trying to rip off their readers. The takeaway is that the specific criticism from the article that I cited was stupid.

Frankly, it does make me question why he would put such a ridiculous criticism into his article. But apparently you don’t question that at all.

I think it’s a perfectly valid criticism. Sites have control over what they are willing to advertise.

So you actually DO criticize Mother Jones then?

I guess that’s fine. For me, I don’t really care that much. I block all the ads. Given how internet advertising works, I understand that a site did not actually pick those random ads that show up.