Monday, January 11, 2010

Thoughts on "Conservatism"

Been away for awhile having some bodily things cared for. Feeling better now.

Here is a passage or two from one of my favored authors, Christopher Lasch, and this from his book "The True and Only Heaven: Progress and its Critics." The following is about Thurman Arnold one of the quintessential New Dealers who wrote two books of political satire, "The Symbols of Government" and "The Folklore of Capitalism." As is usual for Lasch, he finds the most interesting people to write about, even when he, Lasch, does not share their points of view.

"Arnold's analysis of the quasi-governmental powers exercised by allegedly private corporations, though not especially original, was penetrating and important. The point he was making can hardly be made too often, since it is the collectivization of private property that deprives it of the moral virtues formerly associated with it. The refusal to recognize this dooms American conservatism, so called, to complete irrelevance in any serious discussion of the moral implications of modern capitalism. Conservative opponents of the New Deal often used rhetoric vaguely reminiscent of 19th century republicanism or producerism, but they never faced up to the obvious differences between private property as it existed in the 19th century and the modern corporation, which cannot possibly confer on its stockholders or employees the independence and resourcefulness classically said to go with proprietorship. Conservatives opposed legislation regulating corporations on the grounds that it penalized 'initiative, courage, hardihood, frugality, and aspiration,' as if those virtues had any place in corporate life." P. [431]

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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