Epistemology Political philosophy

It’s important to

know that there are two main differences between Conservative and Liberal ideology: One is that Conservatives are basically British Empiricists while Liberals are at heart Continental Rationalists.

That is something I have talked about before, and you can bet that I will again. Not now, however. I’m focused on something else. But without that basic understand the whole intellectual endeavor is fraught with anger and misunderstanding.

But there is another: Conservatives seek a restoration of things that have, in the past, been known to work. Broadly, Conservatives want to keep what has been demonstrated in the past to be good. THAT is what is being conserved. Liberals, on the other hand, want to destroy everything and start anew.

It’s related, since we have empirical evidence about what has worked in the past and what hasn’t. But it’s not really the same thing as Empiricism as a foundational ethic. But the Conservative impulse is indeed to keep what has been shown to work, and avoid thinking that you know so much that you can (and should) re-create society according to your lights.

Modern Liberals almost always see themselves as iconoclasts, and seek to utterly destroy the things of the past and start again. The wrecking ball and sledge hammer are never far from their hands. Thus, their focus is famously on the “new man” and “Heaven on earth.”

In other words, modern Liberals are not interested in remodeling society. Their goal is not to “bring it up to code,” it is to tear down the whole thing and build anew (most often in their own image). 

Whereas the Conservative says, “Yeah, it needs some sprucing up but the ‘bones’ are good,” the Liberal says, “Nothing is worth preserving—let’s just tear the whole thing down and build it anew. We’ll build it better this time, because we are so dang smart and awesome that we can do that sort of thing, while the benighted racists/sexists/homophobes/morons/bigots of the past got it all wrong–WE know better now!”

This “take” is not at all controversial. I really doubt even hard Leftists would disagree. It is merely a statement of fact–there IS no value-judgment necessarily attached to it. Liberals want to tear the whole thing down and build anew, while Conservatives want to preserve the historical basic structure.

Hence, the Leftist impulse is to destroy in many areas (such as abortion, BLM, reliance on force, etc.), because such destruction is part and parcel of the whole Lefty worldview. On the other side, the Conservative impulse is to preserve (preserve life, peace, moral agency/freedom, etc.).

Political philosophy

Well, people DO

have their quasi-religious political beliefs:

Political philosophy

See, the basic

problem is that Lefties are, at heart, Continental Rationalists while Conservatives strongly tend to be in the tradition of the British Empiricists.

There are many examples of this, and it is a strong thread that runs throughout both of these political philosophies. It is also why most often Conservatives and Leftists talk passed each other.

Let me take only one example: Gun Control.

The Leftist has many theoretical reasons for gun control. It “just makes sense” that if there were no guns available in general, there would be no gun crime. Rational, eh?

But the Conservative points out that the data show that the more guns carried by regular people, the LESS gun crime there is. Sure, we can think about why that might be, but empirically we know what actually is.

Thus we see the conflict: The Leftist wants to talk about what makes sense, while the Conservative talks about observed outcomes, regardless of intention.

So basically, the Leftist says, “It’s so beautiful!” while the Conservative brusquely says, “Yeah, but it is a dog that don’t hunt–it doesn’t work.”

Yes, Rationalism vs. Empiricism. Tale as old as time…

Current Events Political philosophy

Yes, that is

undoubtedly true. And Democrats should be crappin’ bricks over this.

But that’s just the starting point for the transformation that is occurring. The numbers below the fold evince a lot of upside that hasn’t been realized yet in terms of party politics.

…. (Texas Hispanic) Respondents gave the Republican Party a 15-point lead over Democrats as the party more associated with “hard work,” an 8-point lead as the party more supportive of small businesses, and a 7-point lead as the party better for fixing the immigration system.

Political philosophy

Things really ARE

different now. In the past, the Left have taken the (needed) role of reformers. In terms of homes, they thought the “bones” were good–we just needed to remodel the kitchen and the bathrooms. You know, add a bathroom and maybe even a sunroom. Clear out the old plumbing that leaks and put new stuff in. Bring the electrical up to snuff.

And most of us were onboard with that. I myself have voted for Democrat reformers. Yeah, that was in the early 90s. Why only back then?

Because modern Leftists are NOT reformers, they are iconoclasts. They do not want to remodel, they want to destroy the whole thing and start re-building. They want the wrecking ball now, not the wrench.

And most of us are NOT on board for that!

I didn’t leave them, they left me. I remained the same–they changed.

It’s the same difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

In the American Revolution, the American patriots considered themselves to be Englishmen, first and foremost. They certainly were not trying to destroy the system–they were angry that according to the system they were being deprived of their rights!

They built the new government using the British model and the magna carta. The revolution was fundamentally Conservative.

OTOH, the French Revolution was not about reform, it was about destroying the current political arrangement. They didn’t want the king to treat them better, they wanted to destroy the OFFICE of a king.

So Democrats may indeed wonder why moral people reject them now. But it is because they are no longer reformers, but iconoclasts. This isn’t your father’s and grandpa’s Democrat party!

Political philosophy

Words that Lefties

will never hear:

It is NOT low IQ, it is willful ignorance and being a craven simp for the Left…

Epistemology Political philosophy

OK, history geek time!

I know you’ve all been waiting with ‘bated breath for it…

The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was very much in the tradition of Continental Rationalism. And that really stands out in the Declaration. And that was totally appropriate for the Declaration.

But the Declaration was much more a work of persuasion and explanation and ideals, while the (future) Constitution was a nuts-and-bolts manual for how the government should work. So a different animal entirely.

As for the Constitution, Jefferson thought the Constitution should be re-written every 20 years or so. You know, a “living” document. Jefferson’s position has been espoused by and blown up by the Left at least since 1900 or so.

He and Thomas Paine were very much that in that Rationalist tradition. But most of the other founders of the nation were absolutely not–they leaned toward Hume–and they modeled the government on a more ideal form of the British government (though, of course, without a King). They were Empiricists, not Rationalists. They wanted what had been shown to work, not some amalgam of airy-fairy suppositions.

So the Articles of Confederation were too loose, and we needed to turn to Federalism rather than to the previous CONfederacry (just why that is and why it was necessary in order to get all 13 colonies to get on board is a discussion for another day).

So in 1887, the Constitution was adopted. But Jefferson was gone–he was the ambassador (in France?) by then. So it was written by the empiricists who were there. Had Jefferson been involved, it would have looked very different!

So let’s take a moment and be thankful that Jefferson was there to write the sublime Declaration but was gone and therefore couldn’t muck up the Constitution.

Political philosophy

BUT, even with Federalism,

it is just not enough for the Left.

Recently, I saw a bumper sticker that read, “The Constitution: Frustrating Liberals Since 1789.” This is a humorous witticism, but it carries the ring of truth.

… All of which brings us to two conflicting visions of what kind of government we should have. The men and women of the Left are, indeed, frustrated by the Constitution. The amendment process can be long and politically excruciating. The Tenth Amendment specifically says that those things not delegated to the federal government belong to the states. So, finding it difficult to advance its agenda through Congress or state legislatures, liberals have looked to the court to find rights, meanings, and “penumbras, formed by emanations” within the Constitution. In other words, things that are not there. [emphasis added]

This entire debate is further evidence of the widening divide between Left and Right. If liberals want to terminate the existence of states and ditch the Constitution, they should say so. But don’t talk about bigotry, hatred, oppression, or, as President Biden said, a Supreme Court that is “out of control.” The Supreme Court is no longer under liberal control. That is the true source of leftist rage.

Political philosophy

Let me be a little more


I don’t want a Confederation for the U.S., I want a Federal system.

Early on, the Articles of CONfederation were just too weak. The states were pretty fiercely and even belligerently independent. But the central government did NOT have the power to:

–Raise an army by conscription
–Levy taxes
–Have a national judiciary

The central government needed to be strengthened. So we have the (IIRC) 1787 Constitution. Yes, I get that. I am certainly much more of a Federalist than a Confederalist.

BUT, we have gone pretty dang far in the other direction, now. And it is not, IMHO, good.

Political philosophy

If I am Conservative,

Just what am I actually conserving? I think this term gets thrown around most often without even knowing what it actually means. It is not just a name, like “team blue” or “team red.”  

In short, conservatives are conserving what has worked in the past. It is, fundamentally, an empirical issue. This is in contrast to the rigid iconoclasm of the left, which is fundamentally in the Continental Rationalism vein.

There is a willy-nilly drive by the Left to destroy all barriers. But, the Conservative says that we sometimes actually need those barriers. They are there for a dang good reason, and they have been there for centuries. The classic Conservative adage is that You never tear down a fence without first understanding why it was put up in the first place

But the Lefty adage is, Kill it ALL with fire. Their assumption is that they are smarter than everyone that has come before them and so they better see that these restrictions are just stupid and based in nefarious prejudices. In short, Leftism is rooted in overweening arrogance and baseless self-regard. THEY are smarter than your average bear! Yes, a curious mixture of intra-psychic defensiveness, personality rigidity, and self-serving iconoclasm.