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ETpro's avatar

Can we go back to the conservative use of the word, conservative?

Asked by ETpro (34247 points ) October 2nd, 2013

Looking at the current political impasse between those of both political stripes who want to govern America effectively, and a pack of regressive revolutionaries bent on destroying the government, I have to wonder if a great deal of the blame for things getting this bad doesn’t lie with the press. When Chuck Todd recently got blasted by progressives for parroting blatant lies from the far right, he defended himself by claiming that it was not his job to fact check political spin. Actually, that is EXACTLY the job of an investigative reporter, and when the reporter fails at that job, it is the job of the editor to call them out on it. But Todd is such a reasoned head in reporting that his claim might well be seen as exposing the tip of an iceberg that, in its full underwater bulk, might be big enough to rip a Titanic-sized gash in the hull of the US Ship of State.

As an example, take reporting on what “conservatives” are doing or want done. I would have hoped that news writers and editors were well educated enough in the English language to realize that words have pre-fixed meanings, and conservative does not mean “a radical regressive seeking revolutionary change”. But if writers are unsure of what the meaning of a word is, there is this magical book called the dictionary where they can look the word up and discover its correct meaning. They don’t just have to parrot what political propagandists tell them.

Here, let’s test how the magic book works for those writers and editors that missed learning about it in their elementary school through college years. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines conservative as follows:
con•ser•va•tive:

: believing in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society : relating to or supporting political conservatism

Conservative : of or relating to the conservative party in countries like the United Kingdom and Canada

: not liking or accepting changes or new ideas

Funny. I don’t see anything in that definition that would come remotely close to defining a fellow like tax revolutionary Grover Norquist, who summed up his political philosophy by claiming “I’m not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” The media is perfectly happy with repeating the right-wing lie that Norquist is expressing a “conservative” idea.

Watching our great Republic, the world’s first major nation to experiment in democracy, slowly decay into a banana republic that inures to the benefit of a small handful of well-connected plutocrats thanks to the assault of radical right-wing revolutionaries; I now yearn for a free press that speaks truth to power. Bring back the conservative use of conservative. People who want to destroy everything we have built since the founding of this nation are no more conservatives than Che Guevara was a conservative. Call them what they are. Radical revolutionaries and regressives.

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29 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

I will agree with you on that, ET. Some Republicans, like myself, are having trouble associating with some of Boehner & Company’s moves, but unfortunately they aren’t listening.

drhat77's avatar

The press are calling them conservatives because the subjects of the article call themselves conservatives. It’s like a transgendered man calling herself a woman. She self identifies as a woman, and we should respect that.
So your radical regressives self identify as conservatives, either genuinely or with deceptive intent, and the Press of the Holy Press Release repeats that, because of the right of self identification.

ucme's avatar

Over here the word simply means bastards, or out of touch arsewipes.

ETpro's avatar

@KNOWITALL & @ucme Thanks.

@drhat77 So if the al-Shabaab and and al-Qaeda militants self identify as Red Cross relief workers, would you just believe them and take their names off the terror watch list? I’m perfectly OK with agreeing with a transsexual’s right to self-identify regarding thier gender. It harms no one. I’m not OK with self-identification designed to hide someone’s real, destructive intentions.

drhat77's avatar

@ETpro I’m just saying that the press aplied that right of self identification to your regressives. As long as they call themselves conservatives, I doubt the press will say any differently.

rojo's avatar

@ucme Same over here except for the out of touch part. they are in touch with and feed off each other. Still a minority though

jaytkay's avatar

But they do want to return to “established and traditional practices”.

Like pre-1950s racial segregation and discrimination, for example.

ETpro's avatar

@jaytkay Institutions that died over 60 year ago are no longer established practices.

rojo's avatar

“Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans”. Douglas Adams: “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”

tom_g's avatar

@drhat77 – I don’t think the media use the self-identification rule for everyone. They seem to throw around “radical” and “activist” when describing people who would be unlikely to self-identify this way.

ucme's avatar

We have a word here, davidcameron.
If you look it up in the dictionary it’s clearly defined as pompous twat, head of a dick.

drhat77's avatar

@tom_g if those groups issued a press release self identifying just what to call themselves, the press wouldd be duty bound to honor their designation. As such, the press just falls into easy identificaiton schemes that does not demand much from their journalists or readership.

whitenoise's avatar

Very well said, @ETpro

I am afraid though that is not enough. We not only should use conservative as a word for conservatives (if we can find them), we should also aply the right label to the crazy asswipes that are trying to hijack the term.

I feel anyone voting for these clowns is either crazy or daft and should be chased out of town covered in fudge and marshmellows.

Blondesjon's avatar

Why?

All you’re worrying about is what other people will think when you describe yourself using a generic label.

Labels shouldn’t matter. They’re just grunts and clicks we make so we don’t feel so alone in our opinions.

What other people think shouldn’t matter. You have zero control over the thoughts and opinions of others unless you have some sort of strange super powers in which case, what are you doing here?

Just be @ETpro and know that @ETpro is okay. Everybody else can sort themselves out.

ETpro's avatar

@Blondesjon Oh I see. I shouldn’t try to influence anyone else because you tell me I shouldn’t? Sorry, but the irony alarm is going off so loudly I just can’t hear you.

I am pretty sure the way Democracy is supposed to work is we all raise our voices in the public square and whoever seems to sway the most votes wins. Here’s someone else exercising that right to speak their mind and try to influence others. Would you suggest she just shut up about her opinion as well?

Blondesjon's avatar

Nope. I just don’t see the need to label it and then cling to that label like some sort of magical talisman. It’s kinda like being a professional wrestler except they change sides sometime.

ETpro's avatar

Better still, here’s a short video that says why I vote, and write letters to the editor, and speak my mind on a public forum like this. And when words cease to have any meaning save what each of us individually decides they should mean, discussion in public forums ceases to have any meaning at all.

Blondesjon's avatar

Easy fella. Where did I say that you shouldn’t vote, speak your mind, or write letters to the editor? I was talking about labels.

it’s what your question is about

chewhorse's avatar

The same applies to the word ‘Liberal’ which is a sock puppet that ‘conservatives’ constantly down grade which creates the same emotion from the libs toward the cons, so it’s not who we are but what someone in the background says we are as the media picks up on it for the sake of profit. I really don’t know any libs who would want to release a pedophile three years into his twenty year sentence because he’s been punished enough yet it’s said that’s exactly how the libs operate.. I also do not believe cons want to return to an envisioned paradise where minorities become servants and the hanging of blacks a national tradition yet this is exactly what those behind the curtains tells the media that they can’t wait to do. The real problem are those who whine and shout the loudest, while they seem irrelevant they often get their way just to shut them up. You read on almost all forums today mostly negativity and hatred for their own neighbors and you think the world (or at least this nation) is going to hell but if you look close enough you will find that there are hardly any more than a few thousand associated with the site.. a few hundred who actually reads the posts and less than a hundred who writes and or replies to those posts and this is an over percentage.. In short not even a small minority works on these forums, it’s just that we think there are thousands and sometimes even millions because they are so damned loud when they spew their rants. We’ve lost the ability to compromise. I am not a republican (nor a true democrat) but I thought Dwight Eisenhower was exactly what a conservative represented.. He worked FOR the nation and it’s people regardless of party.. Maybe it was because he grew up in a middle class environment then associated with average soldiers throughout WWll I don’t know but I would think all potential presidents (and congress) spend one year with the people (not in a mansion) before running. I’m a dreamer, I know but it will take PEOPLE to change this nation, not republicans, democrats or independents.

ETpro's avatar

@chewhorse Agreed on the corruption of the meaning of liberal, as well. Both liberal and conservative are needed viewpoints, but only when the words aren’t redefined for propaganda purposes. I’d think anyone who had read George Orwell’s 1984 would know the danger Newspeak poses to democratic government.

I’d guess you are right that Fluther does not boast a huge following, but Facebook, Twitter, Reddit,,, The list is long and there are hundreds of millions reading the aggregate bunch of them.

@Blondesjon We may be talking past one another here, because I missed the first part of your first reply here. “All you’re worrying about is what other people will think when you describe yourself using a generic label.” That has nothing to do with my question. I am worried about how Newspeak, unchecked by a lazy or complicit press, will erode democracy. I am not worrying at all in my question about how people label me.

Paradox25's avatar

When I look at various literature about whom the greatest presidents were, regardless of the source and various presidential choices, I’m amazed at how progressive they were. Things that great presidents such as Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln accomplished were things that you would never catch most mainstream Republicans doing today.

Republicans did move very far right in the past forty years, and I’m rather surprised that most self-proclaimed conservatives can’t see this. Standing up to racism and tyrant corporations, now how many Republicans would be caught doing these things today? Hint: Probably not many.

Blondesjon's avatar

You are worrying about the label “conservative” and how it is defined. This is clearly stated in your question and the body of the question.

Seek's avatar

For what it’s worth, I used to love tea parties. They fucked that up for me, too.

mattbrowne's avatar

We should test all things and keep what is good and change what isn’t.

The Green Party, for example is about conserving our precious nature and about changing practices that ruin it. They are both conservative and progressive.

ETpro's avatar

@Paradox25 How true. The original Tea Party was all about liberal causes. They were rebelling against corporatism, not worshiping it. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Paine; they were all liberals intent on improving government by addressing its abuses under the English monarchy. As to Republicans today who might govern like Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt or even Dwight Eisenhower, threre are a few. They are now labeled Rinos and are being purged from the party as quickly as possible.

@Blondesjon Suit yourself, but if you elect to spend your time on fluther trying to control what I choose to concern myself with, you will be wasting whatever time you devote to that end. If you want to show me logical reasons why my concern might be in error, I will consider them and, if I deem them worthy arguments, change my mind. But your original complaint about this question dealt solely with how I choose to self identify. That was not the question. You will not persuade me to live and speak the way you think I should by erecting straw men.

@Seek_Kolinahr Ha!

@mattbrowne Great example. That’s conservative used properly.

Blondesjon's avatar

@ETpro . . . Again, just answering the question as I read it.

Perhaps you should have requested that only nice people answer?

ETpro's avatar

@Blondesjon Nah, I wanted to hear from you too. ;-)

Besides, I wanted to be able to participate in the discussion.

Paradox25's avatar

@ETpro I’ve read quite a bit about our past presidents and American history, though I wouldn’t call myself an economist, historian or some other social scientist. My take on this issue, going by my own research here, is relative to your definition of conservatism though.

The fact is that most modern day Republicans would not be caught dead doing many of the things that our greatest past presidents (subjective term obviously) have done, and some of these former great presidents were Republicans themselves.

ETpro's avatar

@Paradox25 Yep. That is anathema to conservatism.

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