Monday, May 3, 2010

David Frum vs. Jonah Goldberg


h/t: Hot Air

This is 67 minutes long. More than long enough to have many boring patches and also delve deeply enough to be more interesting than most online political discussions.
One big topic here is the question of whether or not Obama is a socialist and whether or not conservatism is harmed by many of its spokespeople asserting that he is.
Frum believes that the GOP totally blew it in how they responded to the ObamaCare bill. He feels they went for cheap but showy talking points when they could have actually had significant influence on the final form of the bill. I wish they would have talked some about the amount of social and economic dislocation that would have cost the country.
I like Goldberg and enjoy reading and hearing him. I tend to generally react negatively to Frum. And I think this example helps explain my gut reaction to Frum. When he says (at minute 61), ". . . socialism is bad and nobody should be one," I become very uncomfortable. He seems to want to control. He wants to control peoples' thoughts, speech and actions it seems. Personally I think that socialism is something some people have to flirt with and even accept for a time. But I do not see them, especially if they are young, as lost. It is a phase and kids are too lacking in real world experience to always escape the socialist trap. Actually it is a beautiful thing in the abstract. But it should remain in books and dorm discussions. It saps the energy and spirit of whole societies. And the distance from a socialized factory floor to a gulag is about ten times closer than the distance from Independence Hall in Philly to the gulag. Many of these socialists kids are going to be mugged by reality so we'll get them as they mature. Just as you want to have a libertarian in the room when discussing policy, having a socialist will also help to help sharpen the debate and more fully define the points under discussion (I find that the arguments in Milton's Areopagita prove convincingly that society benefits more long term from near total freedom of expression: any short term benefits from censorship are offset by the inevitable narrowing of the mind and blunting of the spirit of inquiry; a look at the Sunday morning talking heads demonstrates the pernicious effects of exclusion of contrary points of view). But we probably don't need more than two or three socialists per congressional district. I think that conservatism that does not look at whole life of men and the many and varied journeys men take is unrealistic and ends up in a mass of empty syllogisms in a airy fairy debating society.
If you feel that the 67 minutes are a waste of time please feel free to explain why in the comments section.

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