Mudcat Café message #959107 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59921   Message #959107
Posted By: Sam L
25-May-03 - 07:40 PM
Thread Name: BS: Conservative, Liberal, or Human Being?
Subject: RE: BS: Conservative, Liberal, or Human Being?
John H, you've expanded a bit, but I recognize many key points.

Although your explanation seems to really try to be even-handed, and is probably a far far better attempt than anyone else is likely to offer, I still can't understand some of the basic points. I've always considered myself a liberal on most social and economic issues.I don't remember ever thinking that the economy was a limited pie sort of thing. I can take it that you mean that liberals "believe" this--it may be in the sense of an underlying paradigm--but I'm still puzzling a bit. I think in general the economy is "limitless", but not in any particular instance, at any particular time. When I try to apply this idea to a particular resource, product, or business, only the Ponzi pyramid scheme comes to mind. And even the renewable resource that makes that enterprise work seems to always run out sooner or later.

   That the economy is based on "productivity", and can grow--I'd probably disagree but first I'd have to understand what it means. "Productivity" conflates so many different sorts of things under a general heading. Natural resources, and end-products, things for which there is an established market and things for which a market must be created. Deaths, traditional funerals, and life insurance. Solar power, say, and running shoes. T.V. sitcom jokes (you should expect to make about a million a year) and soil quality and climate conditions in the grain belt. I can't figure out how to make the idea work, generally, in any practical way.
   To be fair, it's not liberals but small children and idiots who believe the economy is based on money. Come now. I guess I think that the market can't be relied on to reward genuinely "productive" behavior in any reasonable, proportional, value-based way. It rewards what it rewards, according to it's circumstantial, evolving game-rules, and it rewards behaviors that produce nothing but pleasant distraction as much and more than it rewards providing necessities.

   I don't know what conservatives believe, but it seems to me that many believe that playing the evolving game of the economic market is good, in and of itself, apart from whatever results. The means justifies the ends. I think the market is fun, and spirited, diverting, engrossing, and seductive.

   And I also find it very rare among conservatives to ever even attempt such a thoughtful consideration as you have. It grates on me how conservatives often seem to employ any handy rationale for whatever they want to do, or prefer to think, then another, or okay, or, hey, how bout this one? Like students perpetually asking Is this going to be on the test?--if many liberals may seem merely fashionable, wearing trendy opinions like stylish clothes, many conservatives don't really seem much interested in the subject of economic life. It interupts the game.