Republicans and Greens

Stephen says”, I am sorry to see it come to an abrupt end, particularly given the way many commentators seem to imply that Bryan doesn’t “belong” in the category of the political right. There is much ground to explore here.”

5 thoughts on “Republicans and Greens”

  1. Great! I relish the chance to hear why I may not truly “belong” on the right, and what my philosophies may say about any potential linkages with other parties out there (be they Greens or otherwise).
    Where is it that a person like me can find refuge these days?
    I just returned from a wonderful dinner with my wife’s aunt and uncle. They were children of the 60s and continue to be very liberal. The whole family is for that matter. It was an interesting moment when, fourteen years ago, Amy brought home — gasp — a Republican… it was “guess who’s coming to dinner?” with a twist!
    As I tried to explain to them what I thought of the first debate, and where my current angst lies, I think they really appreciated where they were coming from… it was very subtle, and wrapped up in tell-tale phrases such as “I can really appreciate where you are coming from…” 🙂 It’s a good thing I’m so darn perceptive. We plain donuts tend to be that way.
    Regardless of our continuing differing opinions on things like big government, social welfare programs, progressive tax rates, and judicial activism, we genuinely shared a pessimism for the future and a fear of what may become of our nation if we continue down this path.
    And perhaps for the first time in many years, we seemed to share a deep sense of political compassion for one another… that there was a common ground and that a new possibility for political friendship indeed existed.
    I’ll be honest in saying that it’s not unlike what I have felt with many of you as of late in sharing my thoughts, my angst, and my dissatisfaction.

  2. That’s neat, Bryan, that this campaign is bringing you closer to people rather than further away. I think that says a lot about YOU. 🙂
    The one thing that stands out in my mind, as I reflect back on your list of concerns/issues about governance, is the notion of big vs small government. I understand that a bigger government breeds more bureaucracy, and bureacracy has a boatload of problems. But it also generates JOBS, and these jobs deliver social services to folks that need it.
    Yes, I do think there are too many people out there who need these services, and that’s an outcome of the system as it is. Are there people who take advantage of it? “Free riders?” I have a hard time seeing it. As an interpreter, I am IN the social security office with people, with families when they apply for food stamps and medicare. I see how shoddily they’re treated and how few options they really have. Yes, some of them have learned how to work the system to gain the maximum benefit possible, but who hasn’t done that? The limits are still limits, and they are not exactly what I’d call liveable.
    This seems to me the crux of the difference between so-called “liberals” and so-called “conservatives.” Conservatives have bought (?) the idea of individual merit as the cornerstone of all things democratic, and liberals see (?) that structures prevent merit, and – perhaps – think it’s worthwhile to feed and clothe people irreagrdless of “merit.”
    Help me understand this, would you? Is this the human nature debate? Stephen, I haven’t forgotten. I’ve been mulling it a fair bit, just a matter of time, energy, and coherence to get it posted.

  3. Terrific questions… all of which I’ve begun to formulate responses to and will endeavor to post sometime tommorow.
    I will say this, though… you have followed the common liberal rhetorical strategy (sorry, can’t think of a better phrase to describe it) of posing your questions from a personal point of view. In doing so, it is immediately (and inherently) difficult to offer an answer that will make me sound as if I am anything but uncaring or cold. But I will try nonetheless.
    As I think about what I’m going to write, the thought just hit me: isn’t it funny that liberals always want to defend their structures with discussions of persons while conservatives defend the role of individuality with dicussions of structures? More on that tomorrow… I promise.

  4. I want to pick up the emphasis on individualism for repubs and the idea of choice. I think choice or individualism is one of those hegemonic discourses that needs to have its contradictions shown. Think about it, what choice can you make that doesn’t impact me and similarly me of you?
    Which is why I like Ziarek’s idea of using ethics to balance the “seemingly irreconcilable dilemma of freedom and obligation.” Now I may be interpreting her all wrong b/c I’ll admit right now that I find this a difficult read but I think green politics tries to dispell the myth of the individual and input some other values (like those of future generations, etc. or the interconnectedness of life) into the picture that is soarly missing in liberal or conservative politics. Please don’t equate this with no individual choice is allowed but only that it must be tempered by our obligations and connections (whether people want them or not) to others.
    Also, if I am indicted with not believing that Bryan is a solid member of his party, I’ve been misread. It’s not that I don’t believe he belongs there, but only that his moderate conservative views seem rarer and rarer among his party. He mentioned himself, I believe, that his party has been hi-jacked by neocons.
    My other point is that some of those values sound good on paper but seem to be used in incredibly inhumane and contradictory ways by many members of his party.
    for example:
    big government–((This is where I see some similarities between greens and repubs by the way but only in the end not in the means or ethics.)) This is what I mean by contradictory: who is spending billions on ridiculous endeavors (Star Wars, the Irak war?)
    social welfare programs–(also similarities between greens and progressive Dems who agree they could function better but again different means and ethics for example, this wouldn’t be as costly if investments were made in education and preventative social programs and all but service jobs were not going south or southeast. ) Here is a contradiction: the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, enron, Halley-Burton (or however you spell it.)
    judicial activism–how do you think Bush got “elected”?
    I don’t think Bryan should abandon his party (though I don’t mind advising you not to vote for them this time!!) I do think everyone of those values that you mentioned have to be interrogated as to how they work in the world.
    Greens and Dems must do the same.

  5. Bryan, I relish the chance to have my own rhetorical strategies exposed. 🙂 I think my weakness (in all academic endeavors) is perceiving how my own stances “fit” into larger discursive patterns. I’m intrigued by the interplay of persons/structures, and the different approaches you’ve pegged for liberals and conservatives. There’s something about that juncture that is, I suspect, the “source” of the social construction of reality – where the status quo is maintained or some kind of change is enacted.

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