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Dean Baker: "How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer"  (View post)

Carston Olson [PersonRank 0]

Tuesday, March 3, 2009
11 years ago3,122 views

The introduction is filled with false information about conservatives. The things being stated have no basis in reality.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Carston, could you please give specific examples and why they are wron? This would help us evaluate this.

CJ [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

Here's a start, Philipp: "In these areas of public policy, and other areas discussed in this book, conservatives are enthusiastic promoters of big government." Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Conservatives!= Republicans. The wasteful spending Arlen Specters and George W. Bushes of the Republican party do not adhere to the same school of economic conservatism ala Barry Goldwater.

The author comes off sounding like his only experience amongst conservatives is the occasional weekend with the father-in-law, a few read opinion pieces in the Wall Street Journal, and a lot of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart watching.

I would like to hear Carston's take on this as well, but as far as I'm concerned this author is painting conservatives with a brush so broad his premise is fatally flawed.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

I can see how that could be too general a use of the term "conservative". Maybe the author was just trying to be polite and not split his theories along party lines... he consistently uses the words "progressives" and "conservatives" in the book (and almost always omits words like "Republicans" or "Democrats"). But I guess then it depends on the exact definition of conservative he's getting at. In the end though, you can perhaps replace it with "nanny state conservatives, a popular portion of conservatives of today [or something]" to understand what he's getting at, and to read his other points, which might be interesting to you (I found them interesting). Baker has had some interesting foresight, like spotting the housing bubble back in 2002.

Peter [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

c'mon with the conservatives/republicans nonsense – we're using general terms as commonly applied in most of the u.s. on most days of the year – we're not debating what the definition of is is. damn. own up, conservatives – you guys suck.

sounds like the book may be along the lines of what chomsky's been saying forever – u.s. has a regressive tax system, transfers wealth from working/middle/lower classes to the rich, etc.

i'll have to give it a whirl!

Scott Cunningham [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

I read the first 6 or so paragraphs in Chapter 8, and pretty much gave up trying to suspend disbelief. The arguments and examples are weak, and jaw-droppingly inaccurate. I'm a conservative (at least by bay area standards). Yet I personally disagree with every statement the author attributes to 'conservatives'. So, what kind of conservatives is he talking about? Calling them 'nanny state' conservatives, as if the adjective constituted a special case, doesn't justify the statements or clarify the arguments, any more than adding any random pejorative of your choice ('greedy elite', 'dunder brained', mullet coiffed').

In what chapter does he compare 'nanny state conservatives' with 'nanny state progressives', to help clarify what the nanny stateists have in common, and how they are different?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Scott, interesting points. I *guess* Dean's only discussing "nanny state conservatives" because in much of public perception, according to him, the progressives (Democrats?) are perceived as "more traditionally nanny state" in anyway – hence, no need to dispel a myth there, while Dean might see a big need for the myth to be dispelled in terms of "conservatives (Republicans?) are all pro market and letting things flow as they naturally do (e.g. copyright and patents and the legal construct of a corporation are all 'natural' and not government-made constructs)".

CJ [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

[put at-character here]Philip: I think "nanny state conservatives" is a good title.

[put at-character here]Peter: "you guys suck"? Don't blow out your cerebellum coming up with winning comebacks like that. There IS a difference between conservatives and Republicans, whether you wish it or not. The former is a philosophy, the latter is an organization.

A similar blurring of the lines has occurred with the word "liberal". Once upon a time, a "liberal thinker" implied that the person in question would objectively consider all possibilities including those contrary to their beliefs.

Today it is considered synonymous with "leftist". Yet I am convinced that there are many out there who consider themselves liberal (classic definition) who do not subscribe to leftist ideology, just as there are obviously many liberals (popular definition) who fall far short of being open-minded.

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