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Thread: Are we a "center-right" nation?

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  1. #1
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    Default Are we a "center-right" nation?

    Following the election of President Obama, it became fashionable for conservatives to comment that we remain a "center-right" nation. A recent salon.com "Dear Wingnut" column by token right-wing and pseudonymous guest columnist Glenallen Walken underscores the point. Interested readers might find the comments section to be interesting, albeit skewed heavily to the left.

    I added the following comment and am interested to hear what others on the DF think about not only "where" we are with respect to values, but whether or not there's even a "where" to pinpoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach at salon.com
    The notion of a "center-right" country (or "center-left," for that matter) only makes sense if our values somehow lined up on a one-dimensional left-right spectrum.

    They don't.

    In fact, two or even three dimensions aren't nearly enough. Rather, values represent an n-dimensional "space" where n turns out to be a pretty large number.

    I suspect that any one of us would have a hard time mapping where he or she fits in values-space; mapping us all is a fool's errand.

    Of the Wingnut columns, this is by far the most interesting. But as fascinating as it would be to try to map values-space and plot our position within it, the real issue here is one of marketing.

    Author Drew Westen's "The Political Brain" does an excellent job of fleshing out the right's seemingly perpetual dominance in defining the debate. He goes further to suggest approaches to counter this dominance. In my opinion, the real value that the Wingnut column offers is the reminder of the importance not just of the battle of ideas, but the battle of the naming of ideas.

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    Default What "family values" means

    I think that the ridiculous phrase "family values" is code-speak for conservatives. What they intend to mean is anti-gay families. A family can be two people living together with or without children.

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    Default I agree

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Price View Post
    I think that the ridiculous phrase "family values" is code-speak for conservatives. What they intend to mean is anti-gay families. A family can be two people living together with or without children.
    There are two classifications of 'conservatives'

    Fiscal conservatives
    Social conservatives

    One can be either or both so its better to state the adjective to clarity.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    There are two classifications of 'conservatives'

    Fiscal conservatives
    Social conservatives

    One can be either or both so its better to state the adjective to clarity.
    The Neocons aren't dead yet.

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    Default Although Cheney is out

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    The Neocons aren't dead yet.
    I stand corrected...

    Social Conservatives
    Fiscal Conservatives
    Neocons

    And the Neocons scare me the most.

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    Default

    This discussion highlighted for me that "neocon" is one of those words where I understood its essence but couldn't really give a definition.

    This Wikipedia entry helped a bit: Neoconservatism is a political philosophy that emerged in the United States of America, and which supports using American economic and military power to bring liberalism, democracy, and human rights to other countries.

    Good as far as it goes, I guess. A few online dictionaries didn't shed much additional light.

    Then I found this at answers.yahoo.com: The prefix neo- refers to two ways in which neoconservatism was new. First, many of the movement's founders, originally liberals, Democrats or from socialist backgrounds, were new to conservatism. Also, neoconservatism was a comparatively recent strain of conservative socio-political thought. It derived from a variety of intellectual roots in the decades following World War II, including literary criticism and the social sciences.

    Still a bit fuzzy, but the next answers.yahoo.com post came close to nailing it: It has some off the worst aspects of both traditional liberalism and conservatism. It is pro - big government and pro - big spending, while it still insists on cutting revenue. It seems to think that it is OK to spend someone else's money, mainly the kids and grand-kids without properly preparing them to do so. I'll argue that this definition, snarky as it is, might have been perfect had it only included the bit from Wikipedia about the projection of American power.

    Back to the original question: is America center-right, center-left, center by definition, somewhere else on the "spectrum," or is the whole positioning exercise bunk?

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