Thursday, September 2, 2010

Correspondence

A liberal reader, in response to my previous post, argues that it's not long time horizons that explain conservative positions, but rather the desire to protect wealth and privilege.

This is a common narrative among liberals regarding conservative opposition to their policies. And in some ways it further proves FLG's point. Unable to see the long term, or at least value the long term, they search for explanations that make sense in the short-term. Thus, they arrive at a sort of static analysis that says conservatives have short run and cynical reasons, fear of losing their current wealth and privilege.

While there probably is some truth to this, FLG thinks this is more a failure of liberals to understand that conservatives value the future more than they do. Conservatives really mean it when they worry about their children and grandchildren having to bear the burden for our current fiscal ineptitude.

And to choose another illustration, FLG thinks the Iraq War offers a good example of this. Liberals focused and still focus on the short-term pros and cons of the Iraq War. Saddam wasn't involved in 9/11. He seemed to be contained. Lots of people died and were injured. We spent trillions that could've been spent elsewhere.

Conservatives were worried that the will to contain Saddam was breaking down. Many believed the long-term solution to terrorism was to create democracy in the Arab World. Therefore, this war was about dealing with Saddam before he became a larger threat and to create a democratic beacon in the Middle East. Both of these presented short term costs, the same short term costs liberals worried about, and the benefits would only be reaped far in the future.

6 comments:

The Ancient said...

Conservatives were worried that the will to contain Saddam was breaking down. Many believed the long-term solution to terrorism was to create democracy in the Arab World. Therefore, this war was about dealing with Saddam before he became a larger threat and to create a democratic beacon in the Middle East.

1) And yet these same conservatives somehow failed to see that Saddam was a vital -- perhaps essential -- counterweight to Iran's hegemonic ambitions. And now we are about to reap the consequences.*

(I sometimes wonder if history's ultimate judgment on this misadventure will begin with W's indignant "He tried to kill my Dad")
________________
*Liberals were no better, of course. I can remember a younger Nina Easton dining in my garden, fiercely defending the Iranian Revolution.

2) “Democrats used to be the voice of the common man in America, not his dictator,” Caddell laments. “Now, with Wall Street, their mantra is, ‘We’ll take your money, but we won’t kiss.’ The people who own the party — George Soros, the Center for American Progress, the public-employee union bosses, rich folks flying private jets to ‘ideas festivals’ in Aspen — they’re Obama’s base.”

Read it all:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/245438/caddell-midterm-elections-robert-costa

Anonymous said...

Ancient, would Saddam have remained a vital counterweight? He was one but would he have stayed one? Did you catch DHenninger this morning?

And if McCain had been elected, would we be *out* of Iraq today?

I read the Pat Caddell piece -thanks. I think it was during the Healthcare Shove when Caddell wrote an open letter to Dems in the WSJ telling them what would happen if they did this and to not do it. What he predicted has pretty much come true.

Oh- a fascinating nugget to recall in the coming weeks - in '94 Gallup had it at 46%/46% Rep/Dems the day before election. Michael Barone back in June I think said 2010 was shaping up to be more like 1946 than 1994.


Mrs. P

The Ancient said...

would Saddam have remained a vital counterweight? He was one but would he have stayed one?

Do I think that the Baathists would still be in charge had we not invaded? Absolutely.

Would the Iraqi state still be mortally opposed to Iran? Of course.

And I expect McCain would be doing more or less what Obama is doing -- with one crucial difference: He wouldn't be issuing specific deadlines or exit schedules. (In other words, Petraeus would be running the war without the intrusion of political stunts aimed at a domestic audience.)

I think it's hard to look at the Middle East and not see something very, very bad slouching our way.

(The Iranians are playing their game much better than we're playing ours.)

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you say especially the slouching towards us and Iran playing their game better than ours. I will only add a President McCain would've been at the very least more vocal about the need of not letting Iran go nuclear plus he'd be playing much nicer with Israel and then there's Uday and Cusay.

We're dancing on the heads of pins now but I wonder what the boys would've have done once Papa assumed room temp by more natural methods?

Even the noted Foreign Policy expert and willingly waterboarded Hitch was none too pleased with what was going to happen in the middle east with them running the show.


Mrs. P

FLG said...

The Ancient:

But the logic went that the only long term solution was democracy. In this view, Iran's regional ambitions were only problematic in the short to medium run. That is to say until the theocracy was replaced by a democracy.

The Ancient said...

FLG --

1) Well, Michael Gerson wrote that, and George Bush once read it aloud, but did anyone anywhere ever actually believe it?

2) I never thought for a minute that there was enough fundamental tolerance in Iraq for democracy to be possible.

 
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