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Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Old 02-10-13, 01:10 AM
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Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

I have been reading Krugman's The Conscience of a Liberal, and he claims that today Democrats are the true "conservatives." Why? Because they are trying to protect or conserve decades-old critical programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (not to mention public education).

You may be wondering what category Krugman places today's Republicans in. Answer: Radical.

These claims lead to a few questions:
  • What do these terms (conservatism, liberalism, radicalism) mean?
  • Who is who?
  • When it comes to certain issues, is it actually a good thing to hold a "radical" position?

Here's what the term "liberalism" means, according to John Dewey, one of America's most famous philosophers (and a liberal):

Spoiler:
The original use of liberal in anything like a technical sense was in connection with schools and studies, when the word meant that which was adapted to the character and needs of free men in distinction from training that was imposed from without, that was routine and that fitted men for mechanical and subservient pursuits. The association of liberalism with liberty remains a permanent deposit. The historic signification of the word is associated also with liberality and generosity, especially of mind and character. It points to an open mind, to emancipation from bigotry and from domination by prejudice.
The meaning of liberalism has undergone many changes since the word came into vogue not very much more than a century ago. The word came into use to denote a new spirit that grew and spread with the rise of democracy. It implied a new interest in the common man and a new sense that the common man, the representative of the great masses of human beings, had possibilities that had been kept under that had not been allowed to develop, because of institutional and political conditions. This new spirit was liberal in both senses of the word. It was marked by a generous attitude, by sympathy for the underdog, for those who were not given a chance. It was part of a widespread rise of humanitarian philanthropy. It was also liberal in that it aimed at enlarging the scope of free action on the part of those who for ages had had no part in public affairs and no lot in the benefits secured by this participation.
It has been used in connection with what is vaguely called a forward‐looking and progressive attitude, and in opposition to the kind of conservatism that looks back in time to the extent of being reactionary.
What then is the moral attitude towards which liberalism points? Upon the side of even the narrower political movement, we find a clue in the emphasis of liberalism upon the Bill of Rights and civil liberties. The latter are concerned with freedom of belief and thought combined with the right of free expression and communication, limited only by responsibility for anti‐social criminal consequences.
The meaning of liberalism then consists in quiet and patient pursuit of truth, marked by the will to learn from every quarter. Liberalism is humble and persistent, and yet is strong and positive in its faith that the intercourse of free minds will always bring to light an increasing measure of truth.
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Old 02-10-13, 01:28 AM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Liberal and conservative mean whatever you want them to mean. They are pointless catch-all labels.
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Old 02-10-13, 07:08 AM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Paul Krugman is a blithering idiot. Whoever awarded him his degrees should be barred forever from the field of education. The Times is full of his ilk these days.
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Old 02-10-13, 07:59 AM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

The only thing that's certain is that Krugman will receive a temporary ban from the mods.
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Old 02-10-13, 09:01 AM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

What I find amusing is that people think Liberals or Conservatives fight for individual Liberties. Both these parties are out to control you it is just based on their morals and values. They pick and choose who they battle for.

Liberals may fight for someones rights in the case of Abortion or Gay Marriage but they wont in the case of Property Rights, Smokers Rights, Gun Owners or your right to "YOUR" paycheck for that matter.

Conservatives may fight for Gun Owners, Property Rights and your right to "YOUR" paycheck but if you enjoy Strip Bars, Alcohol or Gambling they arent for you.

And neither party seems to be all that great on the Drug issue.

Oh and yea Krugman is an idiot.
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Old 02-10-13, 09:46 AM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
Paul Krugman is a blithering idiot. Whoever awarded him his degrees should be barred forever from the field of education.
What weaknesses do you find in his work on how floating exchange rates can help protect against a speculative attack during a balance of payments crisis?
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Old 02-10-13, 09:59 AM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by dork View Post
What weaknesses do you find in his work on how floating exchange rates can help protect against a speculative attack during a balance of payments crisis?
Who does he think he is, a neurosurgeon?
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Old 02-10-13, 11:20 AM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by BKenn01 View Post
What I find amusing is that people think Liberals or Conservatives fight for individual Liberties. Both these parties are out to control you it is just based on their morals and values. They pick and choose who they battle for.

Liberals may fight for someones rights in the case of Abortion or Gay Marriage but they wont in the case of Property Rights, Smokers Rights, Gun Owners or your right to "YOUR" paycheck for that matter.

Conservatives may fight for Gun Owners, Property Rights and your right to "YOUR" paycheck but if you enjoy Strip Bars, Alcohol or Gambling they arent for you.

And neither party seems to be all that great on the Drug issue.
And then you have the libertarians, who feel we should fight it out amongst ourselves for these things.
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Old 02-10-13, 11:42 AM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

who should libertarians trust to fight for liberty if we can't fight it out amongst ourselves then?
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Old 02-10-13, 01:16 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

I'm sure the French will help us again.
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Old 02-10-13, 02:51 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Krugman is awesome.

I would say most conservatives today are closer to neo-liberals than anything else.
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Old 02-10-13, 03:09 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
Krugman is awesome.I would say most conservatives today are closer to neo-liberals than anything else.
If you believe that no deficit is to big and the economic conditions are never good enough to cut spending.....

Originally Posted by Jason View Post
And then you have the libertarians, who feel we should fight it out amongst ourselves for these things.
There has to be a better way that expecting the govt. to solve our problems at the expense of our liberties.
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Old 02-10-13, 03:28 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
Krugman is awesome.

I would say most conservatives today are closer to neo-liberals than anything else.
So now begins the neo-lib bashing....
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Old 02-10-13, 03:51 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by BKenn01 View Post
If you believe that no deficit is to big and the economic conditions are never good enough to cut spending.....



There has to be a better way that expecting the govt. to solve our problems at the expense of our liberties.
I do.
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Old 02-10-13, 03:57 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
I do.
Unfortunately that thinking seems far too common now days.
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Old 02-10-13, 04:00 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by BKenn01 View Post
If you believe that no deficit is to big and the economic conditions are never good enough to cut spending.....
That's not what Krugman thinks, so you're arguing against a straw man.
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Old 02-10-13, 04:13 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by DeputyDave View Post
Unfortunately that thinking seems far too common now days.
Eh, I would argue the other way. It's the spending cuts imposed by the IMF that have only made things worse for Spain and other European countries.
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Old 02-10-13, 06:14 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Wow, so if you get some radical change in policy and still defend it decades later, you are now a conservator of that radical change, and thus a conservative. The long con is in play.

Public education is around 85-90% funded by states and local levels. Everything proposed by the feds does nothing but put up more tests and more red tape which essentially eats up everything good that was intended. Yet they play it on the stage every 4 years and people buy into it. On a local (state) level, most Republicans act like the Democrats at the Fed level, but with less funding. They want more accountability (which requires more administration), but then say that they want to see more money going to kids and less to administration. Democrats on a local level tend to go either way.
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Old 02-10-13, 06:17 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

krdave remember when the GOP proposed doing away with the Department of Education and the Left spun it as the end of public education if it happened. Sad thing is the sheep bought it.
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Old 02-10-13, 08:02 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Wow, so if you get some radical change in policy and still defend it decades later, you are now a conservator of that radical change, and thus a conservative. The long con is in play.
If nobody in living memory can remember a time without social security, is it still radical?

Time was, the essence of conservatism was resistance to change, particularly dramatic change, because of the possibility of unforeseen consequences. But that's no longer conservatism. In fact, today it's conservatives who are pushing for a radical restructuring of society. It's conservatives who have a vision of the way society "should be" and are pushing extreme programs to remake society into that vision.

Which is their prerogative, of course, but I find it very silly to try to cram a Newt Gingrich/Rand Paul/Eric Cantor agenda into an Edmund Burke, or even William F. Buckley, framework of conservatism.
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Old 02-10-13, 08:45 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
If nobody in living memory can remember a time without social security, is it still radical?
I only meant radical in the time it was put in, though that doesn't mean it isn't a decent program. But it is a stupid way to frame the discussion as there are many issues the Democrats want to change (gun laws, for example) and what Krugman has done is simply taken a few programs that they want to hang on to.
Time was, the essence of conservatism was resistance to change, particularly dramatic change, because of the possibility of unforeseen consequences. But that's no longer conservatism. In fact, today it's conservatives who are pushing for a radical restructuring of society. It's conservatives who have a vision of the way society "should be" and are pushing extreme programs to remake society into that vision.

Which is their prerogative, of course, but I find it very silly to try to cram a Newt Gingrich/Rand Paul/Eric Cantor agenda into an Edmund Burke, or even William F. Buckley, framework of conservatism.
I don't disagree with that. I would like to believe the "radical restructuring" is being proposed based on the radical notion of balancing a budget. Though one can obviously argue that the Republicans have done a shit job of that when they had the chance as well. But the point is that framing the conversation around an ideology like "balance the budget" makes far more sense than "look at these programs the Democrats don't want to change....thus they are conservative."
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Old 02-10-13, 08:50 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by BKenn01 View Post
krdave remember when the GOP proposed doing away with the Department of Education and the Left spun it as the end of public education if it happened. Sad thing is the sheep bought it.
Absolutely. If we simply got rid of the Dept. of Education, and gave half of the budget to schools in block grants to use as their local districts saw where their needs are, the schools would be far better off, and we'd save around 35 billion. And if money wasn't used well, there is a far better chance of change at the local level with the school board than there is at a federal level. The very idea that what Cleveland and Baltimore need is essentially the same as what Boise and Santa Fe need is just asinine.
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Old 02-10-13, 10:45 PM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
I only meant radical in the time it was put in, though that doesn't mean it isn't a decent program. But it is a stupid way to frame the discussion as there are many issues the Democrats want to change (gun laws, for example) and what Krugman has done is simply taken a few programs that they want to hang on to.
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are a few of the largest and most important government projects. Another two that come to mind are public education and the military.

The Democrats and the vast majority of American citizens want to keep all five. Republicans are trying to undermine four of the five.

So Krugman makes a good point.

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
That's not what Krugman thinks, so you're arguing against a straw man.
Correct.
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Old 02-11-13, 07:30 AM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Democrats are bigoted, too, Paul Krugman!
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Old 02-11-13, 07:40 AM
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Re: Paul Krugman: Democrats are the true "conservatives"

Originally Posted by Ghostbuster View Post
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are a few of the largest and most important government projects. Another two that come to mind are public education and the military.

The Democrats and the vast majority of American citizens want to keep all five. Republicans are trying to undermine four of the five.
How exactly do Republican's want to undermine the other 4? If anything, the ACA (mostly a Democrat piece of legislation) undermines Medicare.
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