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Critique of the conservative doctrine

The inconsistency of the conservative doctrine seems to many inconsistent with the fact that they’re still around, and so the doctrine must be consistent, or at least as consistent as any other theory ... Or so it would seem. For, there exists a loophole around this logic. But first let us set out why exactly the conservative doctrine is inconsistent, for it is contradictory on many levels. Let us begin with the economic theory as it is largely believed in political science circles that success or failure of any political theory comes to rest solely on the economic model it purports. I would of course disagree as I look about with worried distraction and I mutter a few things about education. However, let us for the time being, and perhaps all of time, humour these so called political scientists who sit around in their solitary towers of stone while lightning strikes all around them as the experiment with their primitive lego societies.

The economic theory conservatism employs is what is commonly known as free market capitalism. The idea is that inefficiency is generally caused by government interference in the market place. This theory breaks down readily, first and foremost with national defense:

If ‘national defense’ or ‘general area defense’ was placed on the free market, free market capitalism predicts that the most efficient general defense will ensue, based on the fact that it is in the best interest of people to buy into this defense. However, it is likely that some people will not pay, and so these people that didn’t pay would be at an economic advantage (as they have less overhead).

There are then two possibilities:

1. The people that pay for general area defense will use those companies to force the people that don’t pay to pay. Such an action would qualify as a government.

2. The people that pay for general area defense won’t use those companies to force the people that don’t pay to pay. However, with their lower over head, the people that don’t pay will eventually dominate the market place, and so the total amount of funds going into general area defense will approach a minimum (zero). The general area will forgo defense and will most likely fall prey to an invading force, which would impose a government (as they most likely followed condition 1).

No one disputes this, which is why conservatism includes this limit on the free market. After long drawn out speeches they quickly append to their rhetoric in a low voice: except national defense. However, if this limit upon the free market exists, how do we know there are no other limits in other sectors? Their general mistake being that the “equations†(which to a mathematician seem over simplistic I assure you) they employ to prove their points are based on the condition that there are infinite transactions, infinite companies and all consequences are instantaneous. Unfortunately, these conditions do not approximate the universe.

For instance, free market economics predicts that the best way to help the poor is to not help them, thus encouraging them to work. However, what if someone, call this one person A, was living under the following conditions:

3: A job is available, but one has not enough funds to get to work, or to sustain oneself for the time it would take this employment to become self sustaining (as in paying for food, shelter, transportation and anything else necessary to continue employment).

This is known as a poverty trap. One way to continue to uphold free market economics is to claim that this condition can never arise. Unfortunately, no intelligent person would claim such. The other answer it, ‘too bad for person living under condition 3’.

However, what if 4: if A was able to overcome condition 3, it would benefit the economy to a greater extent than if A was not able.

If 4 is ever true, then it is in the best interest of society to help A overcome condition 3. One way to continue upholding free market economics is to claim that 4 would never arise. However, this is also unintelligible. For instance, what if one, say B, was an extreme nuclear physicist (a nuclear physicist that for some reason needs to perform complex aerobatic maneuvers, often on dirt bikes over shark tanks), and B suffers a debilitating injury, and neither B nor the company B works for can afford to repair B, but it was in the best of the economy that B return to do the work, for otherwise it is likely the nuclear plant would explode.

This of course is not a situation we would expect to encounter. Where do we draw the line. If we made less and less extreme examples, when would it suddenly become not in the best interest of society to repair B. This inflection of the condition happens only on the two extremes. Clearly, it is not in the best interest of society to spend all of societies resources to mend a single person, but when one considers what the average person contributes to the GDP, the investment in education society has made, and the persons role in society outside employment, a person becomes worth a fairly substantial sum. So even in this ‘mechanical’ view of the person, universal ‘health care’ is economically derivable under normal conditions (as in conditions that readily exist in our society).

As for the other extreme, a person C can exist which it can be argued will never contribute to the economy. Society has two choices: it can not care for this person at all, for it is a poor investment, or it can care for this person, for whatever reason. Some have their reasons for caring and other’s have their reasons for not caring; however, ‘caring’ is inconsistent with the privatization of health care, and ‘not caring’ is, as we shall see, inconsistent with other ‘sectors’ of the conservative doctrine (as a prelude, Christianity is rarely argued to preach: “leave ‘defective’ humans to die in the gutter, or throw them off a bridge†, or, “do not aid the poor, you are only encouraging them to continue being poor†).

Furthermore, free market capitalism essentially states that pollution is caused by government (for it certainly cannot be caused by the part of economy that is allowed to be free). This is also unintelligible, and needs little elaboration.

The other major limit, the most major, is education. Essentially, if someone, D, is the most capable for some education or training (as in the person that will improve the most under this education or training), and D cannot afford this education or training, is it not in the best interest of society to supply it? The answer is of course yes, for the more capable every individual in society becomes the more capable society becomes, the adaptive, and the less likely to perish.

Then the argument goes, well what if D was second best and it would be valuable for society to have at least two people knowledgeable in such and such? And, well, what if D was third, or fourth and so on and so forth. We eventually come to the conclusion that the only limiting factor on education or training should be capability. Having any further limiting factor, such as the wealth of one’s parents, will intrinsically lead to inefficiency.

However, what will lead to even further inefficiency, is that if we assume people will tend to associate more with people of the same economic standing, and if we make education hereditary (or at least more hereditary than the only limiting factor being capability), and we further assume education is linked to economic standing, then we will over many generations segregate society into classes (of probable association) based on economic standing. This segregation, among other things, will further lead to impeding the capabilities of society through these ‘communication barriers’ (as in, less knowledge is circulating, up or down the education strata (as proportional to the probable association), and the uneducated eventually have no contact with theoretical understanding, and the educated eventually have no contact with practical understanding; and, unfortunately, possessing one without the other is of little value). Society will eventually break down, will elect someone fairly incompetent to rule, start condoning the torture this ruler promulgates, and not being bothered by massive debt.

For the fundamental contradiction is that we come together as society to cooperate because it is more efficient than living equidistant from each other in the forest (only coming together to conceive we would imagine), and yet conservatives maintain that the best way to cooperate is by not cooperating: everyone looking after their own interests.

But this criticism is unfortunately not enough, for some will still maintain that conservatism is a compassionate theory in that person C and D will be aided through charity. This is of course possible, we can assume some people in C and D’s position will be aided through altruistic feelings. However, according to the free market capitalist theory it is must be bad for the economy for such charity to be dispensed. If it was in the best interest of society that C and D be aided then surely we can expect society as a whole to aid them. And furthermore, if we didn’t possess the previous argument, and we still tried to show that everything would work out for the best through charity, then it would be a valid assumption to assume that some people wouldn’t give charitably, and these latter people would have a lower overhead, and so their economic endeavors would be more likely to succeed; after a certain amount of time the uncharitable would dominate the market place and charity would approach a minimum (zero).

And so concludes the inconsistency of the economic theory at the heart of conservatism.

The alternative to free market economics is that there exists ‘healthy’ competition and ‘unhealthy’ competition, and it is in the best interests of society to cooperate in trying to promote healthy competition, and interfere when unhealthy competition comes about. For instance, if you and I were competing to make the best shoes, I could fulfill this condition by employing my cunning and sweat in the design and fabrication of better and better shoes (which would be good for society), or, rather, I could blow up you and your shoe making facility. This latter case is it not reasonable for society as a whole interfere with what would be called “effective business practices†(if society bought in whole heartedly to free market economics). This particular case is a limit of the free market that is so obvious people forget free market economics doesn’t intrinsically see it as a problem (though more common “unhealthy competition†would be market sharking or advertising: “Who can make the best add campaign†is no longer a competition that benefits society.)

The other part of conservatism is the ‘values’ portion, which is purported to be based on Christianity. Immediately we see that the “tough love, take what you can attitude†of free market economics seems not very Christian like at all.

Consider policies like capital punishment or the joy of punishing criminals attitude in general (as apposed to rehabilitation), spending half of what the world spends on arms, nuclear weapons, economic growth at all costs, taking vengeance upon one’s enemies and so on and so forth. And then consider:

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, have him thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give him that asketh of thee, and from that would borrow of thee turn not away.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Though shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for he maketh the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye solute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.â€

... “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven . Many will say in that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.â€

“Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, do not sound the trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogue and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when though doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth. That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself may shall reward thee openly.

“And when though prayest, though shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corner of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward ye openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.â€

... “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.â€

Like, I didn’t want to be the one that said this but ... yeah ...

On final note, traditionalism obviously makes no sense, which is often thrown into the conservative arsenal of inconsistent theories (for it’s no more contradictory to add one contradictory theory to another). Though I should specify I refer to tradition for the sake of tradition - Language itself can be argued to be “traditional†in a certain sense but not in the sense that no argument exists for making use of and improving the language we have even though we can’t absolutely justify the fact we use one group of sounds over another for any given meaning. But those instances where the only reason for doing something was that it was done before, traditionalism makes so little sense that it’s difficult to even begin arguing against it (wasn’t slavery traditional, beating one’s wife, racism, and so on, and shouldn’t we assume that if our culture still has any “inefficient†paradigms that should be done away with that they would certainly qualify as traditional). But in truth it is not a theory at all but an lazy excuse not to think. So it is quite pointless to go on.

How then has conservatism managed to survive and prosper, even to the veritable heights of ism-hood?

If we imagine that a portion of the population will vote for any party that will uphold certain laws regardless of the other policies or competency of the party, then if there is only one party that has such a policy component, that is the party they shall vote for. From this it is simply a matter of grouping all “non-exclusive†policies into one platform. Thus, say K percent of people will simply vote for any party that is against gay marriage no matter what else the party proposes or how they intend to carry it out, and L percent of the people will simply vote for any party that will give tax breaks. Thus, by grouping these two policies there will then be K+L percent support. Furthermore, for every percent of support a party receives it is augmented further due to the increased capability to sway people who are not really interested in politics at all, call them M.

It is safe to say that M gets divided up between the parties, but it would be a mistake to assume this is done completely proportionally. We cannot assume that if a party N has twenty five percent “hard core†support and there is only one other party O that has twenty five percent, that they will both have equal power to persuade M.

It is this ability to persuade M (the set of people who are not interested in politics but will still vote) that boosts conservatism. For, all “coherent†theories are intrinsically complicated, whereas conservatism is simple. Free market economics (don’t do anything) is an easy concept to grasp, and “this is bad because it is wrong†is also an easy concept to grasp. And so to the uninterested passer-by, conservatism is easier to understand, and so, assuming thought goes no deeper, is more coherent. The alternative of: there all these difficult to quantify factors, possibly more, and many possible consequences that we’re trying to mitigate generally does not represent an “unwavering†position (or commonly: “fanatical†, “strong†, “knows what he believes in†)

Thus, the greater M becomes, the more likely conservatism will gain support. And on a continent in which more than 35 percent of people aren’t even interested enough in politics to bother voting, is it safe to assume the rest are interested enough in what will happen to think about what their doing?


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