RE: MD moral clarity!?

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Sep 29 2002 - 19:52:45 BST

Roger and all MOQers:

Roger said:
The argument has always been that the BUSH IS STUPID
position says a heck of a lot more about those that
write it than about the intended target. I REPEAT, I
know nothing of the man's intelligence, I don't
especially respect many of the decisions he has made,
but the HE IS AN EVIL STUPID DICK level of
argumentation is way, way below the expected level of
discourse from this or any other forum. It is simply
childish. Could we try to take it up a notch? Squonk?

DMB says:
To anyone who read my post, which included a ton of quotes, examples and
explanations, your charge that I've engaged in nothing more that childish
name-calling must seem pretty ridiculous. Except for a single insult
contained in the post script, your response totally fails to address the
main point of that post; that conservatism represents social values in the
conflict between levels. Who needs to bring it up a notch?

Roger said:
Now, let me address David's attempt to equate
conservatism with anti-intellect.

No, I associate conservatism with social values, which often manifests
itself in anti-intellectual attitudes. And even then, I didn't EQUATE the
two. Victorian attitudes, fascist views, fundamentalist beliefs, fame,
fortune and a great number of other value systems are also associated with
the social level. The point is that we can see this titanic conflict right
now in today's headlines, in today's social, cultural and political battles.
The point is to use Pirsig's MOQ to explain our world.

Roger said... However, there is something important that
David completely misses. Namely that the intellectually
inspired ideas of the past become the conventional
social patterns of the present. As such, CONSERVATIVES
of later eras BY DEFINITION are fighting to preserve
such INTELLECTUALLY-driven, SOCIALLY proven ideas as:

DMB says:
Oh, I see. Conservatives are really liberals because they want to conserve
the liberal progress gained in the past. Your entire response was equally
specious. Where I used a ton of historical examples, you relied on the most
generic and abstract meaning of the words "liberal" and "conservative". To
quote John McInroe "You Cannot be Serious"! Let's get specific and talk
about the contemporary American Republican party, which certainly CLAIMS to
honor Enlightenment ideals, but here's what is really going on...

Ever since Reagan was elected, even before, the Republican party has been
made up of a powerful coalition of religious conservatives and economic
conservatives. In previous decades the religious folks were very suspicious
of materialism. To them it was just another godless feature of modernity.
And likewise, the free marketers and those in the business class were
hostile to organized religion. Then the architects of the present
conservative movement pulled off a pretty amazing trick. They reconciled
these viewpoints. They mixed oil and water.

The trick was to treat the marketplace as a kind of divine force, one that
motivated people to do the moral thing, that rewards moral behavior. It was
Adam Smith's "invisible hand" combined with bible-thumping dogma. It was
brilliant because it not only unite both kinds of conservatives, but it also
painted any kind of socialism, liberalism or market regulation as some kind
of ungodly evil, an arrogant bureaucrat who would defy god's will. God is a
capitalist through and through, and in all probability a Republican too.
This is moral clarity?

And its pretty clear to me that Roger has been able to latch on to this
ideological monstrosity by equating this theologized "invisible hand" with
Pirsig's DQ. (There's some truth to it, but that's a whole other

Roger said:
In summary, CONSERVATIVE is a term with an evolving
definition. It refers both to that generic political
philosophy defending static patterns, as well as to the
particular defended patterns of the time.

DMB says:
Well, over the centuries all words evolve, but your definition of
CONSERVATIVE seems to "evolve" in the blink of an eye. In any case, my post
focused on the 20th century by necessity, that's when the hurricane hit.
This is when social level values become dangerous and inadequate, when they
begin to try to assert themselves over intellectual values. That's the
definition of "reactionary".

Roger said:
David could improve his argument if he changed it from
intellectual vs anti-intellectual to one of static vs

DMB says:
Its all about these "days of evolutionary transformation". That's how I
opened the post. If that's not about the static/dynamic split, I don't know
what is. Honestly, Roger, did you even read my post? I think your response
totally failed to address anything I said and your political views have
almost nothing to do with the MOQ. I hate to think this lapse is sincere
because of the implications.

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