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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Myth of Compassionate Conservatism
lilBuddha
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I am not saying an individual cannot be both, but that as a political philolosphy is is functionally impossible.
It is my contention that, if one cares about one's fellow humans' health and welfare, conservatism is a total failure.
The othe component of this is why do people whose own health and welfare, and those of their peers, vote conservative? Talking beyond the racists and xenophobia.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Dafyd
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I can see why someone might be a compassionate conservative. (In terms of the five factor personality model, traditionalism and agreeability are distinct and orthogonal character traits.) One might very well think that change in society, even with the best of intentions, uproots stable communities and casts out those who can't take advantage of change who relied upon the community for support. I think community support was not nearly as reliable as state provision, but I can see someone might believe it.

What I can't see is a compassionate neoliberalism. You can't simultaneously cheer the winds of competition getting rid of the dead wood and also care for the wood that's being got rid of. One or the other has to take precedence.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Nicolemr
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LilBuddha, I totally agree.

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

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Lamb Chopped
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You really need to define conservatism. Where would you put me, for instance? (On the Ship I'm generally feeling like neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring)

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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quetzalcoatl
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Very good point by Dafyd, that compassionate neo-liberalism doesn't really make sense.

But I suppose most conservatives and Conservatives have accepted neo-lib? Actually, so has the Labour party, except Corbs.

As to old-fashioned compassionate conservatism, I find it puzzling. I guess that the circle can be squared, in terms of the wealth needed to help the poor - how is this to be created? By wealth creators, obviously.

But when the chips are down, it's the poor who tend to get hammered, and the rich get their taxes cut. So I suppose there is compassion towards the rich! Hurrah!

That will feel good when I'm dying in a hospital corridor, on a trolley, at least I'm helping someone buy a new yacht, or swell their off-shore account.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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lilBuddha
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Compassionate Conservatism.

I think it best summed by by Bill Clinton
quote:
This 'compassionate conservatism' has a great ring to it, you know? It sounds so good. And I've really worked hard to try to figure out what it means... I made an honest effort, and near as I can tell, here's what it means: It means, 'I like you. I do. And I would like to be for the patients' bill of rights and I'd like to be for closing the gun show loophole, and I'd like not to squander the surplus and, you know, save Social Security and Medicare for the next generation. I'd like to raise the minimum wage. I'd like to do these things. But I just can't, and I feel terrible about it.


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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

What I can't see is a compassionate neoliberalism. You can't simultaneously cheer the winds of competition getting rid of the dead wood and also care for the wood that's being got rid of. One or the other has to take precedence.

You don't think neolib with a safety-net exists? I rather think it does, and would seem to come close to "compassionate neoliberalism".

Or what about people who are basically classical or neo-liberals, and support a citizen's basic income?

Maybe they're not true neo-liberals ;-)

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lilBuddha
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It isn't about whether ther are individuals who fit the criteria, that is a red herring. It is whether a government will fit.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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quetzalcoatl
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I think when there is a boom, there is often some support for the poor, and for welfare. Thus, from 2000, there was a boom, and Blair injected money into the NHS, and there were other benefits.

However, after the crash, austerity became the watchword, and the poor and the disabled were hit, and the NHS squeezed.

Somebody has to pay for the tax cuts for the rich, after all.

But then you have the bizarre if not revolting spectacle of Theresa May talking of her care for the poor. Yeah, right.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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mark_in_manchester

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I certainly think one can be a doctrinaire left- *or* right- wing c*nt. The flavour will be different, but the spirit will be the same. This makes me suspect that if compassionate lefties are a real thing, then compassionate righties are, also.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
I certainly think one can be a doctrinaire left- *or* right- wing c*nt. The flavour will be different, but the spirit will be the same. This makes me suspect that if compassionate lefties are a real thing, then compassionate righties are, also.

That is not a logical statement and it is irrelevant. Again, this is not about individuals, but governments.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Albertus
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I'm with dafyd. It all depends what you mean by conservatism. Most people who call themselves conservatives in the Anglosphere are actually liberals of one kind or another- mostly economic. If you believe in society as an organic whole, bound by ties of affinity across economic status and generation; if you are naturally suspicious of innovation, especially innovation that is touted as being a panacea; if you think that the 'little platoons' are essential to a healthy society; if you prefer 'slow and steady' and believe that what you see as the practical experience of humankind accumulated over generations is to be valued above theory : then I think you can call yourself a conservative. And all of that can be consistent with compassion and fellow-feeling: more so, in fact, than most kinds of liberalism, even (especially?) of the left, which is a more egocentric creed and can easily descend into compassion of a rather generalised and impersonal kind.
But conservatives of this kind do not find it necessary to talk about being compassionate. Most talk of compassionate conservatism seems IME to fall into the 'all the easy speeches/ which comfort cruel men' basket.

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rolyn
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The compassion bait allowed New Labour to blow out the Tories in 97. The Tories stole the banner back to win in 2010 aided by a remoulded Conservative compassion theme.
With Labour looking decidedly unelectable for the foreseeable, it will soon be a case of to what extent the Tory is pepared to have mercy on the poor as opposed to getting all cuddly in order to win an Election.

With continual negative stuff in the news about the NHS it is no longer a matter of if it will be privatised but when.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
I certainly think one can be a doctrinaire left- *or* right- wing c*nt. The flavour will be different, but the spirit will be the same. This makes me suspect that if compassionate lefties are a real thing, then compassionate righties are, also.

That is not a logical statement and it is irrelevant. Again, this is not about individuals, but governments.
I can accept that you disagree with it, but why is it an illogical statement?

And why is it more logical to expect compassion from governments rather than people. After all, governments do not have hearts capable of being compassionate. Only people do.

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lilBuddha
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His statement is not a logical one because it assume if a thing exists, its opposite must as well.
Governments are people. At least until the Singularity.
My focus on government as a whole is that it is irrelevant if individuals might be conservative and compassionate if, as a group, they legislate differently.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Horseman Bree
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If conservatism means that "I've got mine, and I expect you to find your own", then it cannot be compassionate.
If "compassionate conservatism" means "something that will sound good on the campaign trail, but which must not get in the way of the main idea (which is tax cuts and favoritism towards the rich)", then it is a lie, a lie which is known to be a lie by the liar.

Unfortunately, too many of the dupes refuse to believe that this particular thing IS a lie. Sort of like a nominal Christian supporting Trump, who exemplifies every one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

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It's Not That Simple

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
It isn't about whether ther are individuals who fit the criteria, that is a red herring. It is whether a government will fit.

Nonsense. If some individuals fit the criteria, it is possible for lots of individuals to fit the criteria, and it is possible for a government to be made up of a lot of such individuals.

The question "does compassionate conservatism / neoliberalism / whatever exist" is very different from either "is this particular government compassionate" or "is a government formed by this political party likely to be compassionate".

If some people are compassionate neolibs, and are not intellectually incoherent, then compassionate neoliberalism exists as a practical philosophy. Whether it is sufficiently popular to get elected to power is a different question.

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Anglican_Brat
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Compassionate conservatism as presented by George W Bush carried the belief that social works of mercy and help should be done at the local level, by ordinary people in the private and voluntary sector and not by handing out handouts of tax payer money (i.e. welfare) and believing that spending other people's money magically eliminates poverty.

The problem is that it assumes a caricature of liberalism and social democracy. No liberal or social democrat opposes people privately giving to charity and volunteering to help people in need. The liberal welfare state was developed because charity was simply insufficient.

Some conservative Christians maintain that helping the poor is the church's duty, not the state. However there are some things that the church cannot do. The church cannot provide health care insurance for everyone, nor can it house everyone. Some things do require the role of government.

Or to sum up "Just because government can't do everything does not mean government can't do some things."

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
It isn't about whether ther are individuals who fit the criteria, that is a red herring. It is whether a government will fit.

Nonsense. If some individuals fit the criteria, it is possible for lots of individuals to fit the criteria, and it is possible for a government to be made up of a lot of such individuals.
A lot of things are possible, but not very likely, and this is one.
quote:

The question "does compassionate conservatism / neoliberalism / whatever exist" is very different from either "is this particular government compassionate" or "is a government formed by this political party likely to be compassionate".

Yes, it is government which tears down social support.
quote:

If some people are compassionate neolibs, and are not intellectually incoherent, then compassionate neoliberalism exists as a practical philosophy.

It is a practical philosophy when it returns a real result to the body politic.
quote:

Whether it is sufficiently popular to get elected to power is a different question.

The Tories have invested a lot of rhetoric in the opposite direction, so not much chance.
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
The liberal welfare state was developed because charity was simply insufficient.

This is the heart of it. We have some government assistance programmes and private charity, and it is still not enough. How does anyone think that removing the government would make an already inadequate system better?

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
It is a practical philosophy when it returns a real result to the body politic.

I don't think I agree with this. Consider a different example. There are a large number of different vote-counting systems for both single-member constituencies and multi-member constituencies. These systems and their advantages and disadvantages are largely understood. They are all practical voting methods, despite the fact that only a small fraction of them are actually used by any political body anywhere. The fact that a system has not been used doesn't make it impractical.

I will concede, though, that if people keep trying to implement some system, but end up doing something different, it's probably a sign that it's not a practical system.

So perhaps compassionate conservatism and their cousins are impractical on these grounds - that they are vulnerable to attack from parasite non-compassionate but we lie about it conservatism.

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simontoad
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I think you've framed this debate in a way that favors the answer "no", lilBhudda.

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Human

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anteater

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lilBuddha:

Are you unwilling to define what you mean by Conservative or incapable? Because until you do, this is just another "No true Scotsman" debate which is pointless.

So you need to argue along the lines of:

1. To be classed as Conservative, a government must have the following types of guiding principle

2. For reasons x, y, and z these will inevitably cancel out any feeling of compassion that an individual member of said government might feel.

It's easy to argue at the level of political slogans: Conservative are hard-nosed meanies, socialists don't believe in freedom. Much easier than doing the hard work of careful argumentation.

I am a MOTR Tory, and think using any expressions that imply virtue, like "compassionate conservatives", or "ethical foreign policy" is likely to blow up in your face.

And I agree that lack of compassion is the danger faced by right of centre governments, but unlike you I see nothing inevitable

Just like the danger of left of centre governments is lack of prosperity and over-interference in people's lives. Again, not inevitable.

Also Albertus is on the money. If you doubt that, read Quentin Hogg's book: The case for conservatism.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
His statement is not a logical one because it assume if a thing exists, its opposite must as well.

But I don't think that's what he's saying. First, I read him as saying he's encountered doctrinaire people of low personal calibre from both ends of the ideological spectrum. Then he's saying that this makes him suspect that if there can be people on the left who are personally compassionate, then it's just as possible that there should be such on the right. What I suspect he's questioning, is your assumption that if a person has compassion, that must automatically incline them to the left.

If so I agree with him. It has not been my experience that there has been much of a link between a person's being compassionate and the political ideology they follow, or for that matter, whether they believe in political ideologies at all. I'd actually go further, and say that over the years I've tended to encounter a negative correlation between belief in a political ideology, irrespective of which one, and personal compassion. It seems to me that belief in a political ideology, or for that matter an economic or social one, has a disturbing tendency to swamp a person's sense of compassion.

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
If you believe in society as an organic whole, bound by ties of affinity across economic status and generation; if you are naturally suspicious of innovation, especially innovation that is touted as being a panacea; if you think that the 'little platoons' are essential to a healthy society; if you prefer 'slow and steady' and believe that what you see as the practical experience of humankind accumulated over generations is to be valued above theory : then I think you can call yourself a conservative.

*waves from over here* - "England is the country and the country is England" said a very wise man...

[ 16. January 2017, 08:54: Message edited by: betjemaniac ]

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And is it true? For if it is....

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:

If you believe in society as an organic whole, bound by ties of affinity across economic status and generation; if you are naturally suspicious of innovation, especially innovation that is touted as being a panacea; if you think that the 'little platoons' are essential to a healthy society; if you prefer 'slow and steady' and believe that what you see as the practical experience of humankind accumulated over generations is to be valued above theory :

I do not think that these in and of themselves define conservativism necessarily (there are variants of what you call the left that would also have these as values, but would come to radically differing policy solutions).

These positions can also be articulated in both a positive and negative sense (the paragraph only covers the former), which leads to the conclusion that by this measure there are hardly any on the contemporary right who are 'true conservatives'.

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Jane R
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Anglican Brat:
quote:
Compassionate conservatism as presented by George W Bush carried the belief that social works of mercy and help should be done at the local level, by ordinary people in the private and voluntary sector and not by handing out handouts of tax payer money (i.e. welfare) and believing that spending other people's money magically eliminates poverty.

The problem is that it assumes a caricature of liberalism and social democracy. No liberal or social democrat opposes people privately giving to charity and volunteering to help people in need. The liberal welfare state was developed because charity was simply insufficient.

Actually the problem is summed up rather neatly by the late Terry Pratchett, who wrote "There are more poor people than rich people and it's easier to get money out of them."

In other words, welfare that relies exclusively on the generosity of private individuals allows the rich to become richer while the (relatively) poor spend any spare money they have on helping each other. That's even before you get onto the subject of the 'deserving' vs. 'undeserving' poor. Charities for helping small children or cute furry animals find it much easier to raise money than charities for rehabilitating prisoners or saving reptiles from extinction.

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Boogie

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Absolutely - rich people are rich because they are so keen to hold on to their money.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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In my neck of the woods, conservatism is defined as lower taxes, reduces government services that go with the taxation, private versus public services, reduced regulation of everything financial and marketplace. All of which is joined to rural farm families ideologically. Yet it seems practically joined to large companies and corporations which do well when gov'ts reduce regulation and taxes.

To further the argument, the large corps do pseudo-compassion by attaching their names to public buildings and programs, such that the MRI scan and hospital are adverts for X and Z companies, which extract resources via mining and oil. Both also aren't really doing anything compassionate because the sponsorship and naming is a pittance compared to total profits, and they also directly deduct the costs from taxes payable. So the average person actually pays for it all.

Compassionate conservatives "give back to the community", and the truly compassionate just give. I think the "give back" is akin to clicking "like" on things like Facebook, which doesn't cost much either.

[ 16. January 2017, 12:42: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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Alt Wally

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The best measure of compassion is to look individually at how people contribute their time and money freely. You can look at that regionally and by political affiliation. You can also look at how people raise their children. We have compassion for our children by showing them that their goals in life are things like working hard, doing something of value, attending a good school, and so on. To tell our children otherwise would be a profound lack of compassion for their well being.

Government cannot exercise "compassion". It can formulate and enforce policy and it can dispense with services. Most importantly it can and should protect individual rights.

The safety net exists not out of compassion, but out of the interest of maintaining the common good. Our social compact is threatened without it.

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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quote:
First, I read him as saying he's encountered doctrinaire people of low personal calibre...
Thanks Enoch, not only did you expand my point more clearly than I did; you are a classier poster than me [Smile]

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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quote:
That's even before you get onto the subject of the 'deserving' vs. 'undeserving' poor. Charities for helping small children or cute furry animals find it much easier to raise money than charities for rehabilitating prisoners
I've volunteered (in education) with a charity which works towards rehab for ex-prisoners for over 25 years. I incline to the left. But I sure see 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor folks in the course of that work - people who piss away finite charitable resources in personal waste and low-level fraud, and people who don't, for instance.

But that's greed and sloth as they express in a poor person. In a rich person, it just expresses differently.

--------------------
"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
I think you've framed this debate in a way that favors the answer "no", lilBhudda.

quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
lilBuddha:

Are you unwilling to define what you mean by Conservative

quote:
Compassionate conservatism has been defined as the belief that conservatism and compassion complement each other. A compassionate conservative might see the social problems of the United States, such as health care or immigration, as issues that are better solved through cooperation with private companies, charities and religious institutions rather than directly through government departments. As former Bush chief speechwriter Michael Gerson put it, "Compassionate conservatism is the theory that the government should encourage the effective provision of social services without providing the service itself."
quote:
or incapable?

Public service shifted to the privates sector will focus on profit to the exclusion of benefit to the public. Of, course, the only proof I have of this is history.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
First, I read him as saying he's encountered doctrinaire people of low personal calibre from both ends of the ideological spectrum.

I'd agree that intelligence and compassion flow as equally left as right.
quote:

Then he's saying that this makes him suspect that if there can be people on the left who are personally compassionate, then it's just as possible that there should be such on the right.

OF course there are. However, politics is group dynamics, not individual choice. An individual might wish to bolster the NHS, the group will not.

quote:
What I suspect he's questioning, is your assumption that if a person has compassion, that must automatically incline them to the left.

The left's position is that social support is a responsibility ot the government as a representative of the people. So, the default behaviour is to support this, regardless of compassion. The right's position is that social support can be accomplished by the private sector and this will be the focus regardless of individual compassion.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mousethief

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If the rich are more likely to be right wing, then this may skew the scales.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Kaplan Corday
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# 16119

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
If the rich are more likely to be right wing, then this may skew the scales.

Let's keep in mind that if we are going to talk about 'the rich", then we are talking about 'us', not "them".

None of us might be wealthy by Western standards (though even by that criterion, most of us probably have many compatriots who are worse off than we are) but by global standards, anyone born into a developed country during the second half of the twentieth century has won life's lottery.

This is being brought home to me at the moment because I am heading up for some surgery (no rude speculative comments as to its nature, please!), and I cannot believe that I am getting world-class medical care which will not cost me a cent.

Thank God for the welfare state.

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
quote:
That's even before you get onto the subject of the 'deserving' vs. 'undeserving' poor. Charities for helping small children or cute furry animals find it much easier to raise money than charities for rehabilitating prisoners
I've volunteered (in education) with a charity which works towards rehab for ex-prisoners for over 25 years. I incline to the left. But I sure see 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor folks in the course of that work - people who piss away finite charitable resources in personal waste and low-level fraud, and people who don't, for instance.

But that's greed and sloth as they express in a poor person. In a rich person, it just expresses differently.

Perhaps the distinction there, then, is not between deserving and deserving, but between those whom it is a responsible use of limited resources to help, and those whom it is not. And that is a very micro-level decision. But it does seem reasonable (although never comfortable) to me to say 'you are in need, I see your need and do not judge you in connection with it, but from my knowledge of you I believe that if I were to devote resources to you, you would either misuse them, to the detriment of yourself or [more importantly?} other people, or your circumstances would not change and meanwhile those resources would not be available to this person, to whom I believe they would make a real difference'.

--------------------
My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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That's a nice statement of a position I think I would normally grope unconsciously towards - thanks.

To be more explicit about what I was thinking and why it is not entirely tangential to this thread:

I know a bunch of men in what was until recently 'supported accommodation'. They owe >£1k in utility bills, which they can't pay. They are seeking charitable help with this situation.

My lefty side thinks about withdrawal of support by the local authority, govt cuts to LA funding, fuel poverty etc.

But knowing the circumstances in some detail, my righty side thinks about personal accountability for major expenditure at the bookies and the off-license, and for blase (ab)use of utilities over last summer that makes my (eco-warrior? tight-wad?) eyes water.

I think a compassionate conservative would come from the second position, but recognise the relevance of issues from the first. A pragmatic socialist would come from the first, but recognise the need to address the second. And doctrinaire...folks... of either persuasion would sit at their respective pole, throw mud at the other, and create perverse outcomes which add further to the mess.

It's for these reasons that my lefty self can't get on with 'righty folks can't be Christians' arguments, and their converse.

--------------------
"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Jane R
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That's a good example, mark_in_manchester. Surely the compassionate conservative and the pragmatic socialist should be able to agree on the following points:

1. The utilities company provided the services and ought to be paid somehow (because if they don't they will have to cover the loss from something else; probably by raising charges for their other customers or cutting operating costs).

2. The charity they have applied to for help should not be expected to help them at the expense (literally) of others who are also in a financial hole.

3. The men in question need to learn how to manage their finances more responsibly.

Can we also agree on:

4. Provided they pay their justly incurred debts and are not struggling with gambling/alcohol addiction, it is not really anybody else's business how they spend the money they have left over, any more than it would be if they were a single mother choosing to spend her money on buying toys and treats for her children.

The compassionate conservative and pragmatic socialist might have different ideas on exactly how to square the circle, but agreement on points 1-3 ought to be fairly easy.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:

This is being brought home to me at the moment because I am heading up for some surgery (no rude speculative comments as to its nature, please!),

I pride myself on having one of the grubbiest minds here and regularly channeling Finbarr Saunders onto the Ship, but that had not occurred to me until you suggested it.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
That's a good example, mark_in_manchester.

It is a great example.....of how to justify ignoring those in need. There are examples in every social strata of people no properly managing resources. It is more noticeable in the poor because they have so few.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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I agree with your last point - the shit doesn't hit the fan quite so quick for Lord Snooty with his head in a bag of coke, and in $$ terms he can of course blow a much, much bigger pile. I'm all for taxing him since the lifestyle he enjoys is predicated on the existence of a multi-layered society which he happens to sit at the top of, and which he has a big stake in paying for however much he likes to think he's a self-made man.

But am I going to use the portion of my income I give away to pay someone's gas bill who would rather spend what they have (sorry, had) at the bookies - well, no, there's no point. I don't much care about the fact of the bookies, I can do nothing about it, but I do dissapprove of someone using essentials money for discretionary spending.

If I didn't, I'd do the same; I'd have nothing to give, and perhaps you could come and bail _me_ out.

I like to think of myself as a pragmatic socialist, but perhaps you'd think of me more as a compassionate conservative... :-)


And Jane - I agree - except that for 3/4 of these guys your point 3) isn't going to happen, which is why paying benefits in whole (including housing benefit) to all recipients and expecting them to budget is not going to work. Some people need a tenner pocket money and all their food, bills and housing paid for them. This institutionalises them; not great, but better than allowing them to fail to budget and starve. That's why they _were_ in supported accomodation - yes, it reduces their dignity (if you're big on dignity = self-determnination) but I restrict my kids' dignity that way all the time.

[ 17. January 2017, 12:08: Message edited by: mark_in_manchester ]

--------------------
"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Jane R
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lil_buddha:
quote:
It is a great example.....of how to justify ignoring those in need.
And how to divide people into deserving and undeserving poor without ever using the D-word (though writing my point 2 without using it WAS difficult). George Orwell would be proud.

But if you are using public money to help people in need you *do* have to choose between different people in need. That's why many expensive new cancer treatments are not available on the NHS; the National Centre for Clinical Excellence decides whether the medical benefits of a new drug justify the expense. Do you spend all your drugs budget to buy a few cancer patients a couple more months or years of life? What happens then to all the people who need antibiotics, or antidepressants...? Many of these have been on the market for years and are therefore cheaper, so you can help far more people for the same amount of money.

Posts: 3956 | From: Jorvik | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
anteater

Ship's pest-controller
# 11435

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lilBuddha:
quote:
"Compassionate conservatism is the theory that the government should encourage the effective provision of social services without providing the service itself."
Thanks for that definition, which is clear and frames the discussion. And I assume you accept that especially in Europe, many who would self identify as Conservative would tag GWB as neo-conservation, and far removed from such arch-conservatives as DeGaulle, and in our own day Merkel.

But I accept that your definition is how the term is now understood, as in 'Cameron's Big Society not Big Government' slogan.

I believe you are right in saying ComCon is a myth, in that I don't believe that the motivation in reducing public spending is compassion. It's rather the need to make the economy sound (according to their lights), and that the Big Society idea is the best they can do to plug the gaps.

But I was also thinking along lines well expressed by Art Wally:

quote:
Government cannot exercise "compassion". It can formulate and enforce policy and it can dispense with services. Most importantly it can and should protect individual rights.
I also think people shouldn't get hung up on motives and emotions. Many would think it preferable to found social policy on Justice rather than Compassion, since Justice applies to all, not just to the weak (and sometimes feckless). I also think Compassion works better with people you actually know.


quote:
The safety net exists not out of compassion, but out of the interest of maintaining the common good. Our social compact is threatened without it.
I also agree with this, and would support policies that allow a degree of social parasitism, because once you get draconian, where do you stop? I've had this argument with so many people:

- You should stop all their benefits.
- So they've got no money and are likely to rob.
- So you send them to jail.
- Which is more expensive than the benefits.

Send them to camps, anyone? It's been done. So the safety net works as just hard headed pragmatism. And I agree with those who say that the percentage of abusers of the system is manageable.

--------------------
Schnuffle schnuffle.

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Brenda Clough
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The idea with jacking everyone's health care costs (I am speaking of the US's shambolic system here) is to drive down costs. There is a touching belief in conservative circles that one shops for health care, and I suppose you do if you're getting your face lifted or your tummy tucked.

But if you have a stroke and collapse over your keyboard in five minutes, you have not and could not foresee that and shop for the best provider. Moreover, the cheapest doctor may or may not be near you, and you won't have time to travel. To save your life, they'll need to zoom you to the nearest hospital however spendy it is.

But their concept is called 'skin in the game', which is to say it costs you, quite a lot, and if you can't afford it the pain will force prices down.

--------------------
Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by Alt Wally:
Government cannot exercise "compassion". It can formulate and enforce policy and it can dispense with services. Most importantly it can and should protect individual rights.

The safety net exists not out of compassion, but out of the interest of maintaining the common good. Our social compact is threatened without it.

That the government cannot legislate compassion is true. But it can enact policies which amount to a more civil and kinder society. Where needs are met. I think this is where the currently-unfashionable social gospel came from.

The raising of individual rights in this context is about protecting the assets of those who have more isn't it? Individual rights usually translates into property rights and the desire to keep more income via lower tax rates.

--------------------
Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:

But am I going to use the portion of my income I give away to pay someone's gas bill who would rather spend what they have (sorry, had) at the bookies - well, no, there's no point. I don't much care about the fact of the bookies, I can do nothing about it, but I do dissapprove of someone using essentials money for discretionary spending.

If I didn't, I'd do the same; I'd have nothing to give, and perhaps you could come and bail _me_ out.

As anteater points out above; any system of safety nets will suffer from a certain amount of parasitism and all indications are that absolute percentage of misuse is low. There is also likely to be a certain selection bias here (as you are involved in an organisation that helps such people AIUI).

It is also ironic that you use the term 'bail out', after all the biggest increase in national debt has come about because of a 'bail out' to the banks, which in turn was a bail out to those with financial and other assets - i.e the richer part of society.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
I agree with your last point - the shit doesn't hit the fan quite so quick for Lord Snooty with his head in a bag of coke, and in $$ terms he can of course blow a much, much bigger pile.

Of course, the other major consideration is that Lord Snooty is wasting his own resources, not public ones. His poor choices aren't being funded by the rest of us.

If I give someone money so they can feed their kids, and then five minutes later I see them pissing it away at the bookie or pub, you'd better believe I won't be giving them any more money in future.

--------------------
Hail Gallaxhar

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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quote:
As anteater points out above; any system of safety nets will suffer from a certain amount of parasitism and all indications are that absolute percentage of misuse is low.
I agree. I introduced the example only to illustrate how ISTM folks on L and R might each look at it, and how their resulting actions might fail if they did not take into account the way of thinking more quickly jumped to by the 'other side'. I want to promote that kind of pragmatism, because a hard- -left or -right position looks doomed to make things worse. And therefore I would argue that a thing which might be called 'compassionate conservatism' - or pragmatic socialism - is necessary to actually doing something positive about the problem.

If this thread is about damning right wing positions which are too 'hard' to do this effectively, whilst posing as something softer and more pragmatic - then yes, I agree this approach would fail, as would its left-wing counterpart.

--------------------
"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:

The raising of individual rights in this context is about protecting the assets of those who have more isn't it?

Not always: it's also about the ability of individuals to make reasonable choices rather than have the government make the choice for them.

Consider education, for example. The government provides an education system, paid for out of taxation. Most people don't have a choice about using it, as the alternatives all cost lots of money. So the government is effectively taking your money and forcing you to buy a particular kind of education for your children.

So the question is: is the government any good at choosing what kind of education to buy? If you took the money that the government spent on your children's schooling, could you purchase a different style of education that would be better for your specific children?

A lot of people will answer no - they will say that the average person doesn't have the skills or expertise to evaluate different schools, or what kinds of education are most appropriate for their children.

Other people will answer that they want to have democratic control over what people spend tax money on - to them it doesn't matter who is better at evaluating what is best for children - it matters that it is the elected state authority that has the right to make those choices.

You see a similar range of views on display when it comes to state benefit payments. Some people advocate handing out money, and empowering the poor to make their own choices. Others take the view that if they're providing the money, they're going to ensure that it's spent on something that they consider worthwhile (hence in-kind benefits, food stamps etc.)

But that's an individual rights question. To what extent should government experts constrain or overrule someone's choices? Everybody agrees that there are some choices that should be left to the individual. Everybody agrees that there are some choices that should be constrained. Where you place the bar in the middle is partly a question of how you rank individual rights.

Posts: 4900 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Of course, the other major consideration is that Lord Snooty is wasting his own resources, not public ones. His poor choices aren't being funded by the rest of us.

If I give someone money so they can feed their kids, and then five minutes later I see them pissing it away at the bookie or pub, you'd better believe I won't be giving them any more money in future.

That's very small potatoes. I don't see that sort of thing as frequently as governments handing out millions and sometimes billions, in ways that seem even worse. For example, how is it that banks around the world pretty much failed because they did stupid and possibly illegal things in speculating with money (it was mortgages they knew were worthless, but it could have been coke, it is all blown either way) and then got welfare payments from governments, and they used some of the payment to take bonuses? Perhaps this is the true compassionate conservatism.

--------------------
Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

Posts: 11183 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Crœsos
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# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Consider education, for example. The government provides an education system, paid for out of taxation. Most people don't have a choice about using it, as the alternatives all cost lots of money. So the government is effectively taking your money and forcing you to buy a particular kind of education for your children.

So the question is: is the government any good at choosing what kind of education to buy? If you took the money that the government spent on your children's schooling, could you purchase a different style of education that would be better for your specific children?

Funneling public resources into the pockets of the wealthy usually doesn't qualify as "compassion", even if you launder it through the not-wealthy first. The imperatives of the profit motive dictate providing the minimum amount of service you can get away with. And in education there's automatically a disconnect between the community receiving the service (students) and decision-makers (parents), which will exacerbate accountability problems.

At any rate, claims of compassion on the part of those extracting profits from a situation should be treated with heightened skepticism.

--------------------
Humani nil a me alienum puto

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