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Sender: millershed@EARTHLINK.NET
Subject: Re: Conservatives
Date: Fri, May 2, 2014
Msg: 100962

Good stuff, Bill! I would just say that, when values become aligned (regardless of what we believe, though it's nice if these become aligned as well), policies will follow, reflecting those values (given, of course, the inherent lag time due to resistance from vested powers).

John Miller
(952) 797-2302
Green Tea Party Movement

-----Original Message-----
From: William Schenken
Sent: Apr 30, 2014 12:27 PM
Subject: Re: [TRANSPARTISAN] Conservatives


For me this conversation is about the level on which level partisan dialog should happen. It seems to me that the dialog would ideally happen at levels but that is not practical. We are never going to get everyone to agree on everything. 

So I think of three levels. First is values. By values, I mean the things we want before we define ourselves as conservative or liberal. They are inherently difficult to discuss because they are largely emotional and experiential. I view values as the subject expression of our individual experiences. 

The second level is beliefs. These range from our beliefs about what is a fact (creation vs evolution) to more philosophical areas (conservative vs liberal, science vs religion vs scientific religion).  In the world of beliefs there appears to me a spectrum from art to science. Some things like political questions about the role of government will always be an art where compelling arguments can be made but the answer cannot be known. Conversely, some things like whether vaccines cause autism do submit themselves to scientific study. 

To me, the middle of that spectrum is most fruitful area for transpartisan dialog. That is where there is the greatest ability for people to change their beliefs because the discussion can be based mostly in facts. Let me use abortion as an example. The morality of abortion is very close to values and people are not likely to change their values from a public dialog. That said, no one wants more abortions. So it seems there is fruitful ground around what we can do to reduce abortions while still allowing women control of their own bodies. 

The third level is policy. We use our values and beliefs to determine the policies we want. To me, the goal of a transpartisan movement is to use dialog on beliefs to build consensus on policy. And the key to making that dialog successful is to avoid overly philosophical discussions that will highlight differences and focus on accomplishing shared goals. Then in the long term, finding ways to move the more philosophical discussions forward and maybe if we don't agree, at least have them.

One other thought on freedom vs order. My personal belief it that it will forever be a struggle for humans to understand the proper balance of the two and how to determine the role of government. The only way forward is to keep having the conversation and make adjustments as we gain evidence from past experiences.

RE: Incentive Reform

The problem I have with incentive reform is that I don't agree with Rick's premise that "government is currently dramatically beyond such limits". I think the government is bloated and corrupt in places but I want higher taxes, more wealth redistribution and more regulation of Wall Street and pollution. From what I have gathered, it is based in conservative principles. I think the idea has merit, but it's something short of what I envision.

RE: Apologies

I would feel like this would be productive if most Americans felt a strong association with either political party. To me, this assumes that the political division shown on cable news permeates America. I see a small percent of political elites in a heated battle and most people thinking those people are the problem. 

And, well, I had to re-read that part several times because I thought conservatives should be apologizing to liberals for the 2008 crash, the patriot act and based on the work of Piketty, the entire Reagan/Thatcher NeoCon movement. And yes, I think our police/fire departments, mental health support services, addiction recovery services, environmental protection/conservation efforts, and schools still need way more funding before we call social efforts failed. That said, I think there are structural problems stemming from the unprecedented inequality in out country that will take a generation of wealth redistribution to address because institutional effects. I believe that markets are effective at allocating scare resources but no at determining what should be scarce. So, I only elaborate on this to emphasize that these issues are complex and nuanced. Where one person sees a slam dunk, another sees another chapter in the conversation.

I would also point out that my views on them change constantly as I learn new information. I have gone from being very liberal to being more conservative back to being more liberal. So people who are engaged are constantly going to be evolving their understanding. How can we help those of us that want to understand more and find news ways forward to learn and connect?


Bill Schenken

Bellingham City Club

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