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Brad @ Burning Man
I've said before, back in April and in August, that one of the things that makes political arguments so villainous is that the two sides think that any reasonable person who looked at the facts would come to the same conclusion that they have. Therefore the other side can't possibly mean what they say, there must be some evil motive behind their opposition. So to address this, as an ex-conservative who's now a liberal, I wrote the following two essays, and promised one more:
The promised 3rd one was going to be about the first principle of lifestyle liberalism, which follows. I had to break this into two pieces because honestly, there isn't a single principle that binds together economic or classical liberals with the lifestyle or counterculture liberals. They're bound together by a handful of charismatic writers and leaders, and by a mutual loathing of conservatives ... which is why, in times when the conservatives don't have a charismatic or powerful leader for both kinds of liberals to hate, the liberal coalition has a hard time agreeing on what to do. But I digress.

To oversimplify what I've already written before, the first principle of conservativism is that there is one obviously best way to live, one prescribed by social and religious pressure, and that when you deviate from that path in any way you're (at the very least) less productive than you otherwise might be, and so you're hurting yourself, letting down those who are depending on you, setting a bad example for others, and by inspiring charity being an economic drain on your loved ones and your whole country. Therefore it is appropriate to stop you.

In a rare moment of candor, in an essay I wish I could forward you a copy of entitled "In Defense of Hypocrisy," conservative morality czar (and problem gambler) William Bennett made the following case, and I am indebted to him for clarifying my thinking on this. The following wording is my own, though, because I'm going to be even blunter than he was. What he and I agree on, more or less, is that for the purposes of this discussion, there are three kinds of people:
  1. There are a lot of people for whom the straight and narrow is comfortable and comforting. It is no trouble for them to stay on the straight and narrow. At the end of their life, they may express some wistful feeling that they wish they'd taken more risks and broken more social rules, but they really know better, because they enjoy the rewards that staying on the straight and narrow gave them and left for their children. For now, let's call them the "naturally compliant," if only because it's more polite than what I usually call them ("mundanes").

  2. There are a few people who simply can not live on the straight and narrow, either because they are badly broken, or because they are biologically wired for urges that are outside the straight and narrow, or because they are a member of some minority group that the other people on the straight and narrow won't accept in their midst. For now, let's call them "deviants," not specifically for the pejorative sense of the word but because their unpopularity comes from the fact that they deviate from a popular and successful way of life.

  3. There quite a few people who can live on the straight and narrow, but who find it uncomfortable and depressing. Given a choice, they'd leave the straight and narrow, and live some alternative path. For now, let's call them "potential deviants."
In "In Defense of Hypocrisy," William Bennett laid out the argument that it is for the protection of the potential deviants that we must suppress all deviation from the straight and narrow. If the people in group 3 (the potential deviants) are allowed to see the people in group 2 (the deviants) surviving and thriving, then they too will deviate, and thereby impoverish themselves, impoverish their loved ones, and impoverish the nation.

Ah, but suppress them how? Even Bennett admits that it is impossible for even the most draconian police state to prevent, in his example, all homosexual conduct. And decades of "war on drugs" haven't put a dent in the $6,000,000,000.00 a year cocaine trade, let alone any other drugs. Back in the 14th century, the Pope declared a literal war on the nation of Languedoc over their informal policy of tolerating protestant heretics and Jews, raised an army that murdered whole cities and annexed the territory to the supposedly more pious nation of France. The result was not the prevention of protestantism or heresy, but a steady rise from there on of anti-clericalism in France, the victor. There is no way to suppress all of group 2, and even Bennett admits this. So what does he advocate?

What conservatives advocate to keep as many people as possible on the straight and narrow is that from time to time, members of group 2 be singled out for public draconian humiliation at the very least, lengthy and mind-breaking jail sentences at best, and if such campaigns mean that from time to time that the police must look the other way while an angry mob attacks or even kills a deviant or two, that's an acceptable price to pay.

A lifestyle liberal, then, is simply someone who disagrees, on one or more of the following grounds:
  • It's unfair. Anti-deviance campaigns can't possibly affect all deviants in the same way, so they ensconce in law and public policy a kind of "scapegoat principle" where an unfortunate few must be murdered or otherwise destroyed for the benefit of the greater number. That's human sacrifice.

  • It's unnecessary. Even if it was once true that the only best way to make an economic contribution to society was to work hard all the time and spend no money or time on pleasure, that may not be true in a world that needs more creative workers and not so many grunt workers. And even if it is still true, there is more than one kind of contribution that individuals can make to society. The great artists and musicians and inventors of history haven't always been economic producers, but their creations once harnessed by the naturally compliant have unmistakably improved quality of life for all of us.

  • It's corrosive. Anti-deviance campaigns sanction selective prosecution, create situations where the wealthy are most tempted to use their wealth to bribe or otherwise suborn the law, put public officials into the position of being vulnerable to blackmail by criminals over their own deviant conduct, and encourage mob violence. All of these things, when tolerated in the long run, are corrosive to civil society and the rule of law. When civil society and the rule of law collapse into either anarchy or machine politics or totalitarianism, then even the naturally compliant aren't very productive any more.
So to a lifestyle liberal, it seems obvious that a social conservative is someone who advocates human sacrifice, waste of creative human potential, and descent into anarchy by way of mafia rule or totalitarianism.

Comments

( 46 comments — Leave a comment )
chipuni
Sep. 9th, 2004 11:30 am (UTC)
Count me in as number 2 and number 3 among the reasons for being a lifestyle liberal.

Think of it this way: as the world grows, and as more of the world becomes industrialized (that is, as our work becomes more multiplied by machines), each person necessarily becomes more specialized, and we require more creative, autonomous workers.

In other words, industrialization and computerization requires the end of "natural compliance": the unwillingness to break rules.
(Deleted comment)
athelind
Sep. 9th, 2004 12:16 pm (UTC)
And that's the greatest threat of all.

I long ago realized that people aren't nearly as threatened by others claiming that they're BETTER than everyone else as they are by those who claim that they're JUST AS GOOD.
bradhicks
Sep. 9th, 2004 10:06 pm (UTC)
for varying values of "survive and thrive"
There's some natural confusion here about what I meant by "survive and thrive." By that, I didn't mean that all or most deviants can live as economically successful a life as those on the straight and narrow do. What I meant was that if they are seen to live without crushing oppression, then that absence of crushing oppression will be taken by people in group 3 as permission to join group 2 in their deviation from the straight and narrow.

Let me give you a graphic example. How do you define a gay man? Is a gay man ...
  • ... a man who's only attracted to men, regardless of who he's had sex with?
  • ... a man who's ever had a sex act with a man?
  • ... a man who's had more male sex partners than female?
  • ... a man who intends to only have sex with men?
Make it more complicated if you like ... can a virgin be homosexual or heterosexual? Is sexual identity defined by desire, intent, occasional behavior, usual behavior, or exclusive behavior? As many as 1/4 of all men have had at least one sexual encounter with another man. As few as 1/4 of one percent have only had sex with men. Big difference!

Now imagine someone who's had sex with women, who's capable of having sex with women if he tries hard enough, but who finds women sexually uninteresting and who finds himself uncomfortably attracted to some men. If that guy lives in a culture where getting caught engaging in gay sex is a social or literal death penalty, that guy is very likely to marry a woman, have kids, live a life of self-denial with only very few and furtive and regretted outlets for his natural feelings, sublimate that energy into his work, and thereby make a lot of money without spending a lot of money and have plenty to invest.

If that guy lives in a culture where you can get caught engaging in sex acts with other men with no penalty, then forget that noise, he's probably going to be a gay man, and make the best life for himself that he can as a gay man. To a social conservative, that life is obviously oriented towards his pleasure and not towards having kids and then making a better life for them, so to a social conservative it is painfully plainly obvious that he will end up poorer and less able to support his community and his family than if he'd married a woman and done his unpleasant duty to society, no matter how miserable it made him (and probably her).

Take a similar example I mentioned during the run-up to the vote on Missouri Amendment 2. Imagine a bisexual man who's fallen in love with another man. In a society where that's anathema, unless he's a very strong man (or a sociopath) he's going to pass on trying to build a permanent relationship, and instead wait until he falls in love with a woman and marry her, and thereby get along better with the people around him, be more promotable, and so on. In a society where he will be legally tolerated as a gay or bisexual man, he's going to marry the first person he falls in love with, even if it's a man, and thereby make a nuisance of himself to his neighbors who aren't accepting of that. In the language of my article, a bisexual man who'd be just as happy falling in love with a woman as with a man is not a deviant but a potential deviant, one who could in theory be bullied or threatened into staying within society's preferred straight and narrow path.
(Deleted comment)
bradhicks
Sep. 10th, 2004 11:23 am (UTC)
Re: for varying values of "survive and thrive"
There's a perfect story to illustrate your point from the early history of LSD research. I forget if I found it in Albert Hoffman's LSD: My Problem Child or elsewhere. It's a long story, let me see if I can make it short.

Early researchers noticed that people who were on LSD easily shared their thoughts, feelings, and so forth with other people who were on LSD. So a university psychology department came up with the idea of seeing if low-dose LSD could be used to accelerate the psychotherapy process, but helping the patient trust and open up to the therapist more quickly. (Something similar was being tried with MDMA at the time it was banned, too. But I digress.) The plan called for two-man teams, a volunteer wanting psychotherapy and a psychotherapist, to take relatively tiny (modern rave level) dosages of LSD together, and spend 12 hours together, much of that time in intensive psychotherapy, then repeat it one week later and one week after that for a total of three sessions.

Their first subject was a guy who was obviously deeply depressed: insomnia, psychosomatic digestive disorders, anger management problems, impotence. After the first session, he literally vanished, scared the university half to death. It took them months to track him down. He was living two states over on a tiny little truck farm ... and happy as a pig in congress. That first LSD trip helped him confront just how much he hated his life, and so he decided to ditch it and build a life he'd hate much less.

All of the things he'd complained about before therapy had been cured, and he was deeply grateful to the researchers. However, he had left behind a wife and two kids who instantly plunged from upper middle class to poverty. What's more, his previous job had been as an engineer for a defense contractor during war time; his abandonment of his old job may have made the nation less safe.

So a very disturbed researcher presented this case study to the first ever academic conference on the possible therapeutic use of LSD and asked a very insightful question: "Did we cure that man or destroy him?"

A lifestyle liberal is someone who says that it's neither fair to that man to force him to sacrifice his life and health and happiness for his family and his country, nor necessary in a world where happy truck farmers may actually be contributing more to society than weapons manufacturers do, nor worth the devastation of society produced by the outlawing of LSD and other drugs.

A conservative is someone who says that that man volunteered for that life when he took that job and married that woman and sired those kids, and he owes it to them and to his country to be as productive as he can, no matter what it costs him inside, and that it is very much society's job to structure itself in such a way as to punish any other choice.
ponsdorf
Sep. 10th, 2004 05:22 pm (UTC)
Re: for varying values of "survive and thrive"
I disagree with your premise:

"conservative is someone who says that that man volunteered for that life when he took that job and married that woman and sired those kids, and he owes it to them and to his country to be as productive as he can, no matter what it costs him inside, and that it is very much society's job to structure itself in such a way as to punish any other choice."

It just doesn't wash!
nancylebov
Sep. 12th, 2004 05:40 am (UTC)
Re: for varying values of "survive and thrive"
What would you call someone who said that the man owes it to the world (or at least his family) to organize a reasonable transition, but not staying in his niche forever?
bradhicks
Sep. 20th, 2004 12:52 am (UTC)
Re: for varying values of "survive and thrive"
An improbable optimist, because once he created the life that was killing him, I can not imagine an exit from that life that doesn't screw over his wife and kids, and it still doesn't resolve any of the issues raised about whether or not he owes his country and community anything.
ponsdorf
Sep. 9th, 2004 12:26 pm (UTC)
ayn rand and objectivism
You have previously broken conservatism and liberalism in into subgroups which provides a more cogent framework for discussion (assuming discussion is part of your purpose in writing) than the mostly 'one-size-fits-all' approach above.

But it did bring to mind of the writings of Ayn Rand. Not so much the specifics but the tone. What's odd is that I don't think of Rand as a liberal.

But to your final point:

"So to a lifestyle liberal, it seems obvious that a social conservative is someone who advocates human sacrifice, waste of creative human potential, and descent into anarchy by way of mafia rule or totalitarianism."

I dunno what category I fall into so please forgive that I can't use your frame(s) of reference to describe the above sentence.

Liberals require sacrifice by humans, I'm a human.... my taxes and blood, sweat and tears are required to support things I don't believe in or want to support. Liberals seem to be suggesting that if we take energy(money) from the wealthy and give to the poor the world will magically become a better place. Or that if we condone and embrace (not simply accept) behaviors we dislike the world will be a better place. That is sacrifice.

Humans can tend to be lazy... human creative potential is wasted when it isn't provided with challenges. There is not now, nor has there ever been a level playing field for life. In trying to create one liberals are squashing the life out of humans.

I always thought of 1984 and Brave New World as depicting a liberal ideal not a conservative one. And the USSR as a liberal nirvana. One doesn't have to make descisions to live. One doesn't have to worry about retirement or health care.

"The great artists and musicians and inventors of history haven't always been economic producers, but their creations once harnessed by the naturally compliant have unmistakably improved quality of life for all of us."

Well said (no suprise)....but a point might be made that most did all that IN SPITE of the naturally compliant and IN SPITE of not being economic producers. Leading to a question... would they have been more creative without those challenges? I prefer to believe that humans rise to challenges.
felax
Sep. 9th, 2004 06:48 pm (UTC)
Quick point
You've suggested that liberals want us to embrace and condone deviant paths rather than simply accepting them. In this, you've struck on one of the major differences between the conservative and liberal mindsets: what constitutes simple acceptance vs. condonement. To a liberal mindset, simple acceptance includes equality under the law. The first example that comes to mind would be homosexual marriage, so I'll go ahead and use it. Homosexuals who have chosen a life partner currently can not receive tax breaks for marital status, amongst other benefits I'm not going to list. To a liberal mindset, then, they are not equal under the law. To a conservative mindset, this union under the name of marriage somehow embraces and encourages homosexuality as well as somehow degrading the sanctity of marriage.
felax
Sep. 9th, 2004 06:58 pm (UTC)
Exhausted ramblings
Actually, I'm a #3 by your definition. As proof of this, I'll point out that I can fit with the greatest of ease into the mundane world, it just leaves a rather sour taste in my mouth. Frankly, I find that one of the reasons for my perpetual funks is that I spend too much time in the mundane world. I was raised in the "straight and narrow" and have, admittedly, been able to shuck off a lot of the programming. The interesting part, though, is that as I've gotten older, I'm finding my mental programming to now include some very fundamental differences that set me apart from the mundane world. I can still fit in, but it requires more effort than once it did.
ponsdorf
Sep. 9th, 2004 08:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Quick point
"You've suggested that liberals want us to embrace and condone deviant paths rather than simply accepting them."

Yes if we mean 'deviant' as Brad defines it in his post.

"To a liberal mindset, simple acceptance includes equality under the law."

This would be great if it were accurate.... But therein lies the rub in your example. Instead of going thru the process of getting the applicable laws changed, that is, get a majority of voters to convince a majority of lawmakers to do so, the 'liberal mindset' seems bent on using a short cut via the courts and other (political, for one) pressures to do so.

However, if others choose similar short cuts to oppose gay marriage they are deemed bigoted and 'conservative' (usually used interchangeably).

Dragging Brad's "naturally compliant" folks in a direction they don't care for (even if it's good for them) is certainly a sign of intolerance, and should be viewed with the same dismay as forcing the "deviants" into a mold they don't fit.

Aside: Gay marriage is not an example I would have chosen for several reasons. For one thing it's too wrapped up in elements that cross into all 3 of Brad's categories, for another I personally don't care much about it one way or the other.


felax
Sep. 11th, 2004 01:39 am (UTC)
Re: Quick point
Frankly, I used the first example to pop into my head. I understand why you dislike it, but it seemed a reasonable one to use. If you have a clearer example, feel free to use it--it's the mindset that I was trying to discuss. This argument of acceptance vs. condonement is one that I'm well familiar with, as I was raised in an extremely conservative family and still hear a lot of these arguments from both mother and sister. From the liberal standpoint, though, it becomes difficult to see how conservatives can see themselves as even "accepting" deviant paths.
etherial
Sep. 16th, 2004 02:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Quick point
Instead of going thru (sic) the process of getting the applicable laws changed...the 'liberal mindset' seems bent on using a short cut via the courts and other (political, for one) pressures to do so.

See, that's just it. Equality is already written into the laws. Discrimination based on gender is already forbidden. You cannot have a law that prevents a man from marrying a man.
pope_guilty
Sep. 21st, 2004 07:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Quick point
Liberals are using the courts because history has shown that lawmakers are either unable or unwilling to do the right thing. If the left hadn't used the courts to force integration in the 50's, we'd still be a segregated society.

That's the problem with democracy- just because 51% of the populace has an idea doesn't mean it has any moral legitimacy. Hypocrisy: Conservatives want to outlaw abortion over the objection of more than half the country, and point to the unpopularity of gay marriage as a reason to not have it.
pecunium
Mar. 10th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Quick point


This would be great if it were accurate.... But therein lies the rub in your example. Instead of going thru the process of getting the applicable laws changed, that is, get a majority of voters to convince a majority of lawmakers to do so, the 'liberal mindset' seems bent on using a short cut via the courts and other (political, for one) pressures to do so.

That would be great, if changing the applicable laws was working. The Court's job is to uphold the laws, and interpret them, in consonance with the other laws, and the constitution. Brown v. Board of Education was because one law (the 14th Amendment) was being violated. Lawrence v Texas ruled on similar questions.

Laws are not some divine thing, to be reified and obeyed slavishly. You complain that when "conservatives" try to legislate discriminations into the law they are called bigots, well that may be because they are, in fact, bigots. Tolerance doesn't require acquiesence.

I believe in your absolute freedom to swing your fist, right up to the point it touches my nose (and I reserve the right to decide if you intend to stop, and engage in measured defense of my person). I am willing to tolerate a lot of belief.

I am not willing to acquiese to action. When you tell me something like marriage (a social contract; defining the relationship of two people to the state, which establishes a priveleged class) is to be reserved to a specific group of people; because of gender, then I am going to disagree.

No one is forcing anyone to marry someone they don't wish to. There is no "forcing" of condonement. There is a desire to mandate legal acceptance. No aspect of the law requires any church to solemnize such a ceremony. All that is being demanded is equality under law.

The same is true for equality in housing, wages, opportunity. When there are systemic violations of this, it's the courts' job, and duty to reddress it. This isn't activism, it's part of what they are supposed to do.
en_ki
Sep. 13th, 2004 11:20 am (UTC)
I suspect the phrase "human sacrifice" is meant to be read as sacrifice of humans rather than sacrifices by humans. One is the destruction of the essense of one's life ("living a lie"), the other is just paying your dues. As a "lifestyle liberal", I'd call living closeted the former and paying taxes the latter. I suppose a conservative might reasonably say both fall under "just paying your dues", but I'd be shocked if they reversed the relation entirely.
pecunium
Mar. 10th, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
Re: ayn rand and objectivism
Liberals require sacrifice by humans, I'm a human.... my taxes and blood, sweat and tears are required to support things I don't believe in or want to support. Liberals seem to be suggesting that if we take energy(money) from the wealthy and give to the poor the world will magically become a better place. Or that if we condone and embrace (not simply accept) behaviors we dislike the world will be a better place. That is sacrifice.

There's a lot bundled into this.

All social constructs require sacrifice. The Conservative wants to sacrifice various liberties of action, in exchange for a sense of stability. A lot of them want to sactifice my blood and treasure (having done a combat tour in Iraq, I am not being rhetorical when I say blood), in support of things I don't believe in, or want to support (such as an overused military; again, I say that as a 16 year veteran of the Army [SSG 97E/Interrogation]).

Consersatives (to use the dualism in play here) want to sacrifice my time, energy and labor, to maintain the inequities of the status quo. I say inequities because I've heard them say the less well-off don't deserve to be better off. Rush Limbaugh says the minimum wage is high enough, and the workers don't add anything to the process. The employer, by his lights, is the only productive member of society.

The politicians of the Republican Party seem to agree.

When you say magically, what do you mean? The places like Great Britain, France, Canada, which have higher taxes, and greater social suport networks appear to be happier. The people there have more time with their families. They have more money to spend, and fewer worries about things like job-loss, and medical emergency. As an empiric the conservative mantra seems to fail in the real world.

Well said (no suprise)....but a point might be made that most did all that IN SPITE of the naturally compliant and IN SPITE of not being economic producers. Leading to a question... would they have been more creative without those challenges? I prefer to believe that humans rise to challenges.


How heinous. You would rather make people, as a whole, suffer, in the idea that such sufferig will make it possible for some small number to "rise to the challenge"? There's some magical thinkig going on there too. You assume that without the social pressures to conform there would be no good art? One wonders at Florence, where the Medicis' patronage allowed people like Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Titian, etc. to live unconventional lives. They weren't rising above challenges. They had the challenges removed from them.

I'm an artist. Believe me, I have challenges, even without being persecuted for being "different." I have no desire to have to choose between being an outcast or an artist. That's a cruel world you seem to favor.

ponsdorf
Sep. 9th, 2004 01:54 pm (UTC)
oops I'm a No. 2
Forgot to suggest that I'm a No. 2 by your definition.

BTW: 'Economic Producers' are not the bad guys.... If your premise is based on that issue. The only job a poor person creates is in the government (excluding NGO's, like churches, and charities).

And I neglected 'and descent into anarchy by way of mafia rule or totalitarianism'.

Anarchy and totalitarianism are mutually exclusive. That you might lump them together is troubling.
bradhicks
Sep. 9th, 2004 10:15 pm (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
Economic producers are not the bad guys. Economic producers who insist that all of us have our total worth be judged only by our skill as economic producers are the bad guys.

Think of all of the great artists who never made a dime in their lives, or who barely scraped together enough cash to buy materials and a starvation level diet in substandard housing. They certainly did create jobs ... just mostly not for themselves. For crying out loud, for all that those paintings barely made sandwich money for him, there's probably an entire subset of the population making their living off of little more than selling posters of Van Goh's "Sunflowers" and "Starry Night." Considering that the original of "Sunflowers" sold for $15,000,000.00 a few years ago, but only about $2 when it was made, was Van Goh an economic producer by your standards or not?

In the late 1920s there were a bunch of unemployed and unemployable bums with English degrees and bad manners who could only find government jobs with the WPA, and barely that. The government put them to make-work jobs compiling county histories. Two of them, John Steinbeck and William Faulkner, went on to win Nobel Prizes in literature, and huge sums of money to the tune of millions of dollars have been made from book, TV, and movie rights to their works. By your standards, were they only parasites feeding on the public trough, or were they economic producers?

To you, it's obvious that only people with "real jobs" that make real money are economic producers. To me, it's obvious that not all economic production is recognized in the person's life, or easily quantified and reimbursed at the time it occurs, and that there are ways to contribute to human happiness and human wealth that have nothing to do with money.

As for the other point, totalitarianism leads to anarchy when it collapses, as is obvious in the former Soviet Union now. That's why I said "by way of."
ponsdorf
Sep. 10th, 2004 03:56 am (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
"Economic producers are not the bad guys. Economic producers who insist that all of us have our total worth be judged only by our skill as economic producers are the bad guys."

Perhaps we ARE inadvertently mixing terms (or I am). Those who you describe in your second sentence are fools, perhaps, but not necessarily 'bad guys'.

RE: your second and third paragraphs

You said earlier: "The great artists and musicians and inventors of history haven't always been economic producers, but their creations once harnessed by the naturally compliant have unmistakably improved quality of life for all of us."

And I responded: "Well said (no suprise)....but a point might be made that most did all that IN SPITE of the naturally compliant and IN SPITE of not being economic producers. Leading to a question... would they have been more creative without those challenges? I prefer to believe that humans rise to challenges."

So I don't understand your point. I agreed with your premise but took it further to speculate that the very struggle to create may have contributed.

"To you, it's obvious that only people with "real jobs" that make real money are economic producers. To me, it's obvious that not all economic production is recognized in the person's life, or easily quantified and reimbursed at the time it occurs, and that there are ways to contribute to human happiness and human wealth that have nothing to do with money."

I'm lost here... or I misunderstand your comment?
Economic producer = money.
That there are OTHER equally valuable ways to contribute to society is a simple fact.

"As for the other point, totalitarianism leads to anarchy when it collapses, as is obvious in the former Soviet Union now. That's why I said "by way of.""

I guess I did misunderstand your point.... and would add; the collapse of nearly EVERY social construct or form of 'government' can lead to anarchy.

In re-reading your comment:

"So to a lifestyle liberal, it seems obvious that a social conservative is someone who advocates human sacrifice, waste of creative human potential, and descent into anarchy by way of mafia rule or totalitarianism."

I was struck by the notion that the "lifestyle liberal" advocates the exact same level of human sacrifice and waste of creative human potential as the "social conservative". For different (maybe even 'better') reasons, to be sure.
It doesn't stretch that idea too far to suggest that abortion and homosexual relationships are robbing humanity of a genetic potential for another Leonardo or Hawking. Or that a business may be forced to sacrifice workers due to higher taxes or medical costs, etc.

luv ya, gene
bradhicks
Sep. 10th, 2004 08:54 am (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
The Bad Guys: Let me expand on the source of my anger here. Ever since Reagan's first term, we've been inexorably on a path where the top economic performers are the only ones who live comfortably; average economic performers live one missed paycheck away from losing everything and sub-par economic performers either become couch-surfers or die of hypothermia in cardboard boxes on the waterfront. We've created an economy so obsessed with maximizing productivity that we can't find any use whatsoever for something like 10% of our population. We then encourage social and employment discrimination against maybe 15% of our population based on in-born traits or lifestyle, and that drags those people down economically; we then criticize them for not getting rich. Imagine how much better off the economy would be if that quarter of the population were able to live halfway normal lives and actually buy something from time to time?

"Overcoming Obstacles:" In other words, Vincent van Gogh wouldn't have been worth jack as a painter if he'd lived a more comfortable life? I don't buy it. This "you have to suffer for your art" thing strikes me as something that the comfortable conformists tell themselves to so they don't have to feel guilty over the fact that creative people get screwed over. Michelangelo was living pretty comfortably on government grants, it didn't stop him from sculpting David or painting the Sistine Chapel. Neither Steinbeck nor Faulkner were doing a lot of writing when they were couch surfing; they only had the time and energy to write after they got minimum-comfort level WPA jobs; the same thing can be said for Thomas Hart Benton who could never have afforded even the canvas he painted on if it weren't for the WPA.

Human Sacrifice: I'm blown away that you could compare having to pay taxes or the idea that business owners should have to pay a living wage to what Matthew Shepherd or Alan Turing went through. When your taxes are literally killing you, not figuratively, then we'll talk.
ponsdorf
Sep. 10th, 2004 12:12 pm (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
RE: your first paragraph:

It's just too broad to deal with simply. Any society would seem to have elements built in that impact some more than others. However, I will easily agree that there are those 'fools' (or bad guys) who are driven by things I find disgusting and of little real worth.

In our case most of those who are "economic performers [who] live one missed paycheck away from losing everything" simply spend more than they make. And I AM emphatically talking about things beyond actual needs. Needs might include creative stuff.... but probably not a big screen tv or a new car.

Further, I'm afraid there will never be a practical human society where everyone has exactly the same 'stuff' and can do the same jobs, and are treated exactly the same by those around them. I tried communes and found them to be depressing, for example.

"In other words, Vincent van Gogh wouldn't have been worth jack as a painter if he'd lived a more comfortable life? I don't buy it."

He was largely supported by his brother... He was driven to paint by his demons and would (and did) paint to the virtual exclusion of all else. I doubt a 'government' grant would have impacted his art or extended his life.

"Michelangelo was living pretty comfortably on government grants"...

Actually he was mostly simply paid for his work.

"Neither Steinbeck nor Faulkner were doing a lot of writing when they were couch surfing"

But look at what they finally wrote about... it had little to do directly with the WPA. I suggest that they (and we) benefited from all their life experiences. It's wonderful that they had the means to write.

There are, without a doubt, creative types who have benefited from a 'government' program or two.... but there are thousands (if not millions) of them who have used to their struggle to create to give us uplifting stuff. And they did it WITHOUT 'government' help. Of course, not all creative types have to struggle at all to be creative.

Your last paragraph surprised me.... But at least you've set a baseline for discussion. Dying?

Here's how it works:

Your "economic performers [who] live one missed paycheck away from losing everything" work several months a years to pay taxes (lower middle or middle class).... They certainly sacrifice. But then... it's rarely involves the threat of death.

A small or medium business has to at least break even to stay open... assuming they don't want to expand (more jobs). Wages can't go up when a business is static. Add to that increasing taxes and other costs and the only thing left is to shrink (less jobs). This causes the the business to sacrifice workers and is a downward spiral. Everybody sacrifices. But then... it's rarely involves the threat of death.

Defining a problem is usually the first step in solving it. You have defined 'it' with a clarity that I envy.... but where is your practical solutions?

That I might disagree with some of your points shouldn't be taken to mean I disagree with your larger definition as I understand it.

Our society is full of easily perceived injustices.... some of them deadly.... some of them crushing.

Carefully annotating them is a start, like outlining a novel or blackboxing a program.

But it's only a start.... I happen to think your perceptions can offer, at least, some solutions.... that's why I hang around.

I've learned here. Do you want me to send $50 bucks for the priveledge... or better yet why don't you do as some have suggested and move most of this to a paid site. It ain't cybersex but it might work.

luv ya, gene
bradhicks
Sep. 10th, 2004 01:01 pm (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
Actually the point of these three essays wasn't to even begin talking about the solutions or the problems. The point of this thread of discussion was to point out that conservatives versus liberals is not a battle of good versus evil. We should ever be so lucky. Battles between good and evil tend to wrap up on the side of good in a single generation or less. No, the worst and longest lasting wars and struggles are between good and contradictory good.

Will we all starve if the majority of the human population were to leave the straight and narrow to suck down tons of drugs, screw each other in heaps, and write crappy poetry or paint crappy paintings while living in comfort funded by the handful of remaining saps who insist on working at real jobs? Absolutely.

Will we pay a harsh price as a society if we prevent this outcome by making social pariahs and jailed criminals out of everybody who can't live on the straight and narrow? Absolutely. Will we gain as a society if, from among those supported in minimal comfort, some of the people who have the leisure to create and care for the unfunded parts of our society do a really good job of creating things for the people on the straight and narrow to exploit? Absolutely.

Two conflicting goods. Two conflicting evils, where we can choose to prevent one but only at the expense of the other. We can't even talk about solving this equation, we can't even begin to strike a balance, until there's a broad agreement that both wrongs must be prevented, both goods must be served somehow.

Interestingly enough, we may be going there by way of the very avenue you suggested to me a while back: Social Security Disability Insurance as applied to mental illness. We've pretty much dismantled AFDC, because it created a powerful incentive to irresponsible behavior. But now the people who would have been single parents on AFDC don't have to have kids to get paid, they just have to be sufficiently crazy as to be unemployable. I already know people who are being paid not to work, collecting SSDI for their mental illness. Some of them are perfectly reasonable functioning members of society, making contributions to the world around them. Some are learning to be artists, or entering the clergy, or working in volunteer organizations. They can be perfectly productive ... as long as we keep them out of the workplace. Inside a modern productive workplace, trust me, you don't want to be there with them. Even if they don't snap (again) in a way that gets people hurt, they scare the other people enough to drag down everybody around them's productivity.

How many people can we as a society carry on SSDI? Well, a lot more of them if wages went up enough that the taxes on those wages were enough to keep the SSA solvent. And a lot more of them if we take every immigrant who wants a job and put them to work here instead of back in their home country, here where the companies don't benefit from being out from under US law and scrutiny. Frankly, we're going to need their wages to support the Boomers just in retirement, even without the creeping expansion of SSDI. (Ironically, this is one of the areas where Dubya and I come close to agreeing.)

(continued)
ponsdorf
Sep. 10th, 2004 01:19 pm (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
"They can be perfectly productive ... as long as we keep them out of the workplace. Inside a modern productive workplace, trust me, you don't want to be there with them. Even if they don't snap (again) in a way that gets people hurt, they scare the other people enough to drag down everybody around them's productivity."

That's my story with little embelishment. SSDI and the VA pay me to stay out of the workforce.

Of course I'm old enough that I don't much care what may happen when the money runs out.... I'm just happy to stay out of jail or a mental hospital!

gene
bradhicks
Sep. 10th, 2004 01:01 pm (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
(continued)

Other than that, as a lifestyle liberal my top priority is to thwart the Puritan impulse to use politics to force people into the straight and narrow, whether they can survive it or not. I want to dismantle all of the structural, economic, and legal forms of discrimination that keep the potential deviants who want to choose happiness over wealth from doing so. Yeah, that means telling landlords that yes, they do have to rent to deviants, and telling the courts that yes, the deviants' marriage arrangements are just as sacred as anybody else's, and telling bullies and lynch mobs that when they threaten to beat or kill deviants, it's them that are the threat to society, not the deviants.

I'm also willing to trade a certain amount of economic productivity for workplace fairness. I know a woman who used to be in management in the financial industry, good at her job, who's a lesbian. At one point in an argument over workplace discrimination against gays, lesbians, and the transgendered she reminded the brokers that worked for her that it would be perfectly legal under her state's law for her to fire every single one of them for being heterosexual. That gave them something to think about. If your productivity is being impaired by the fact that there's a black man working in the next cube, or a witch, or a swishy gay man, or a woman with two husbands, then it's not them that has to change; your boss (and society) needs to tell you to just get the hell over it.

Way back in 1942, Philip Wylie warned us in Generation of Vipers that squeamishness about sex and sexuality was getting lots of us killed. Conservatives fought and fought and fought that line of argument. 40 years later Surgeon General Koop got into a fight with President Reagan, and won: sexually explicit instructions on how to not contract AIDS were mailed to every house in America, over the President's and Congress's objections. Why? Because silence=death. Because squeamishness was feeding a pandemic. That should have been the lesson that learned us, the time that we were taught that giving in to the preferences of squeamish Puritans is deadly. Yes, I'm saying who cares what they want, even if they're the majority -- if the majority are going to get us all killed, then we stop them. They can complain about it later all they want.

(Or, I suppose, we could salvage the squeamishness of the Puritans in the workforce by putting homosexuality and so forth back into the DSM, and declaring them to be disabilities eligible for SSDI. Paying taxpayer money to submissives to wear collars, paying dominatrixes to beat people, paying lesbians to wear comfortable shoes, paying gay men to bugger each other in bath-houses. Hmm. I don't suppose that'd be any more popular, would it?)
ponsdorf
Sep. 10th, 2004 01:40 pm (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
"thwart the Puritan impulse"

Yeah, well... I certainly agree.... but I still don't know where I fit in the spectrum of your definitions. That's why I'm having so much fun here.

to wit:

I think the abortion is awful but also believe that population control is paramount.

I think a woman should have a right to choose but don't think that the taxpayer (who might disagree) should pay for it.

I think that homosexual behaviour is largely a choice but that are are those few who don't have a choice.

I think that SOME homosexuals are pursuing an agenda that squashes the rights of those who deem it wrong.

I think that war in general is abhorant but that sometimes we have to pick a gun and kill to protect ourselves.

Shucks... I went on too long... And I certainly don't have the answers.

Oh yeah... I'm heading over to DC from the hills this weekend to join the KERRY LIED rally on the 12th. If I survive the big city long enough, and the press covers it... look for a guy (6-3 260lbs with a white ball cap and shorts and a beard) waving at you.... If I moon you it sure won't get on the air.

thanks, gene
pecunium
Mar. 10th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
I think the abortion is awful but also believe that population control is paramount.

I have mixed opinions on abortion. But I don't give a damn about "population control". I care that a person be allowed to live life as they see fit. I'm not female, no more than I think someone can tell me to get/not get a vasectomy, should I (nor anyone else) tell a woman she can't have an abortionl; for whatever reason pleases her.

I think a woman should have a right to choose but don't think that the taxpayer (who might disagree) should pay for it.

Right. How about those taxpayers who don't believe in supporting the DoD? The Interstate Highway System? SSDI and the VA (which are, you say, paying your bills... which seems to me to remove you from the realms of the economic producers, and into that category which, "only produces gov't jobs")?

This is esp. interesting because the Gov't has never been willing to pay for elective abortions. It's a red-herring.
bradhicks
Sep. 10th, 2004 01:12 pm (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
P.S.
I've learned here. Do you want me to send $50 bucks for the priveledge... or better yet why don't you do as some have suggested and move most of this to a paid site. It ain't cybersex but it might work.
Because LiveJournal isn't my work, even as a writer. It's my practice field, my playground. I'd feel embarrassed making money off of any of these essays. I'm not good enough yet, not ready. A couple of years from now I'll sell stuff as a writer. Now I'm just writing.
ponsdorf
Sep. 10th, 2004 01:47 pm (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
"I'm not good enough yet, not ready."

Typical artist response.... I (Gene) gave up trying to write 'cause I could never decide when I was done.... not that I claim to be as good with words as you (or an artist in any form) I just couldn't handle the frustration.

luv ya, gene
nancylebov
Sep. 12th, 2004 06:00 am (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2
Brad? Why not let your readers decide whether what you're writing is good enough to get paid for?

I can tell you that what you're writing is more interesting than the average newpaper editorial, and the people who write those presumably get paid. There isn't a "good enough to get paid for" standard floating out there in the universe.

The idea that you shouldn't get paid because you're having fun is outrageous--it's a way of condemning yourself to work you don't like.
en_ki
Sep. 13th, 2004 11:26 am (UTC)
These three essays have unquestionably been good enough that I want to pay you for them. There are two approaches that would satisfy me: one would be to see you in a newspaper or magazine like The Nation and pay you indirectly along with many other people, and the other would be to do what I do for people whose writing and art I like on the web and Paypal you $100 every now and then. As far as the latter goes, you've reached the threshhold for your first payment. Want it or not?
bradhicks
Sep. 14th, 2004 10:39 pm (UTC)
In case you didn't see the posting about it, I've set up a link to my personal PayPal account (it's in the name of dionysus_at_stl, but it's my personal account. Your donation would be quite welcome, yes, thank you. Click here, please.
pecunium
Mar. 10th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
Re: oops I'm a No. 2


BTW: 'Economic Producers' are not the bad guys.... If your premise is based on that issue. The only job a poor person creates is in the government (excluding NGO's, like churches, and charities). See above (my comment re Rush Limbaugh).

That's only true if one believes poor is equal to unemployed. I am, at present, defined as poor. I am making less than $15,000 US a year. I earn that money. What I do to earn it adds to the economy. I buy things with that money. I keep other businesses in business. I contribute to my local polity.

I, actually, don't (apart from the DMV, and the VA) require, nor draw, any specific attention from the Gov't. I am, straitened though my circumstances may be, paying my own way. I am an economic producer, and I'm poor.

I happen, in fact, to be more than a little put out by your implication that I ought to be suffering. That absent "STRIVING" against social pressures (and at this point they seem conflated; am I expected to be struggling against my desires to live as I see fit, and so sublimating those energies into my art, or am I suppposed to be struggling against being poor? The latter is false. Shakespeare wasn't poor. Nor was Chaucer [depsite "the complaynt against mye purse"]. Gainsborough didn't suffer poverty either. We revere, "the struggling artist" but there are any number of great artists who weren't such. Byron was a wealthy aristocrat. Darwin was a comfortable member of the upper middle classes, Bach, and Haydn were comfortably enconced).

I think we console ourselves with the stories of the Van Goghs, and the Coleridges, pretending they couldn't have been productive if they'd not been desperate for their next meals.
thesigother
Sep. 9th, 2004 09:27 pm (UTC)
Hmm having some issues with terms
There are a couple of contradictions that I caught, and could not let go right away.

#1) If the Deviants are seen as being surviving / thriving then the potential deviants may become deviants.

#2) Deviants do not walk the straight and narrow, and therefore deviate from a "popular and succesful" lifestyle.

Depending on how you define surviving/thriving, and popular and successful, then #1 can never come true BY DEFINITION.

Let me put it another way.

A) Potential Deviants will become Deviants if Deviants become an attractive lifestyle.

B) Deviants shun a lifestyle that is Productive and Successful.

C) Productive and Successful lifestyles are attractive.

D) Therefore Potential Deviants will not become Deviants.

I have read some Bennett, so I am not sure he would try to push this issue this far. Although he does like to push both sides of a view point pretty hard.

I guess I am having a problem with the Deviant definition. It also does not take into account the joys of deviation. There must be some benefit to them for not walking the straight and narrow. Does it hurt the conservatives if there are people who do not walk this path? Does it help the conservatives if EVERYONE walks this path? I am thinking some game theory may go a long way here, and perhaps some random forgiveness may be in order.


phierma
Sep. 10th, 2004 08:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Hmm having some issues with terms
> Let me put it another way. > > A) Potential Deviants will become Deviants if Deviants become an attractive lifestyle. > B) Deviants shun a lifestyle that is Productive and Successful. > C) Productive and Successful lifestyles are attractive. > D) Therefore Potential Deviants will not become Deviants. This argument is invalid. C) asserts that Productive and Successful lifestyles are attractive. It does not assert that ONLY Productive and Successful lifestyles are attractive. Deviant lifestyles could be attractive for other reasons. (I would, in fact, argue that that's the case. I once deliberately took a significant cut in pay in order to reduce my stress level and have a more comfortable work environment.) (Yes, Brad, I've been skimming the Wikipedia articles on logical fallacies.) :-
phierma
Sep. 10th, 2004 08:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Hmm having some issues with terms
OK; why did that post get mangled when I specifically told it NOT to auto-format AND checked the preview before submitting it?
nancylebov
Sep. 12th, 2004 06:05 am (UTC)
Re: Hmm having some issues with terms
Possibly relevent--I've seen pinball machines flash "winners don't use drugs" in the score box. Aside from the annoyingness of having a public service announcement when I'd like to focus on the game, it's a lie. If using drugs kept people from winning, then there'd be much less reason to pressure athletes to not use drugs.

Brad's may be overstating the case, but part of the conservative thing is to prevent deviants from getting earned rewards.

I'm also reminded of a Jules Feiffer cartoon to the effect that conservatives don't really want gays out of the military--they just want gays to not get credit for serving in the military.
thesigother
Sep. 10th, 2004 10:39 pm (UTC)
Cut in pay
As did I. I learned my computing/networking skills in the School of Hard Knocks. My degrees are in 2 other completely different things. And the Fact that C does not compute, means that we are probably in the Cat 2 or Cat 3 range. Since a Cat 1 person would not bother to look around that viewpoint.


See, I get that there is something more out there than being successful, productive and popular. I am not entirely sure the standard right wing Conservative would get it though.

Although I think I like the previous discussion of Liberals a little better than this one on the Conservatives. IE Liberals think that there is a minimum standard of living that all citizens should be able to have, whether they can be economic producers or not. I think the conservative point of view is, "Well I don't want to pay for that." OK, that is reductio ad absurdum, which I am sure you will find in Wiki. The point is that the Conservative/Liberal dichotomy makes it possible to balance the Gov't should pay for all vs. I don't want to see money going for that points of view. I think it is possible to be a hardline conservative without having to be Religious, or wanting to impose your views on others. I think you can just say, "I don't wanna pay for that." and call it good.

However, it is interesting that it seems to be that they conservative gets "married" to the religious right mentally, although I am not sure that the two are necessarily, er, uh necessary.

See, for example what we have in charge now, is a Republican who is conservative when it comes to welfare, but extremely liberal with trying to fund his own private war.

I think it may be fairer to say that Conservatives do not want to pay for someone else's lifestyle choices. They don't want to pay for crack babies, they don't want to pay for abortions, and they don't want to pay additional health care because someone's bad decision (heroine addiction, dirty needles, HIV transmission from unsafe sex) is going to cost a tax payer LOTS of money.

The conservatives don't want to make the government be the magic wand that gets waved when someone screws up. I can't say I blame them.

See, you can get into a Conservative/Liberal conversation without bringing religion or personal beliefs into it. When I think of Conservative/Liberal, I am thinking in terms of more the fiscal side of politics, without getting into the Social pressures that go along with it. After thinking about it that may be more my issue since I believe, whole-heartedly in the separation of church and state. That being the case, I may not be aware of points of views that smoosh them together.
pecunium
Mar. 10th, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Cut in pay


I think it may be fairer to say that Conservatives do not want to pay for someone else's lifestyle choices. They don't want to pay for crack babies, they don't want to pay for abortions, and they don't want to pay additional health care because someone's bad decision (heroine addiction, dirty needles, HIV transmission from unsafe sex) is going to cost a tax payer LOTS of money.

But they do want to pay for lifestyle choices. It's just which lifestyle choices. They want taxes to be set up in this way, not that. They talk a good line, but the things they do affect others lifestyle choices. What they outlaw is making me pay for their desires to see drugs illegal. To see consenual sexual acts illegal. To restrict what I may read, see, hear. Those restrictions cost money.

And they impinge, both directly, and indirectly, on how I live my life. They have second order effects (the rise of crime in relation to the profitability of drugs, the people who can't be as productive as they might be, because they had to have children, because family planning was forbidden to them; the people who are in Emergency Rooms, and so raising my medical costs, etc.).

The real difference, seems to me, that the Liberal says, "Everyone should have an equal chance to be happy and healthy, and I am willing to help them out" and the Conservative says, "Everyone who is like me can be happy and healthy. If they aren't like me, I won't help them out."
fengi
Sep. 16th, 2004 03:00 pm (UTC)
Fascinating
I find your essays fascinating. To me the most important part is this about #2: "or because they are a member of some minority group that the other people on the straight and narrow won't accept in their midst." I would argue the majority of "deviants" fall into this group.

This is where conservatism falls down. The First Conservative Principle posit an ideal definition of straight and narrow which is just and practical, based on logic and economics. But this definition has never existed. The group which defines straight and narrow does so to benefit themselves by excluding others who are hardworking and moral, but not of their kind. Besides self-interest, there's religion, superstition, perverse fears, delusions of granduer and other factors which have nothing to do with economics or logic.

Conservativism also assumes - or pretends - that those with wealth and power always acquire it through hard work and fair play.

Your essay on the First Conservative Principle traces the tradition to groups who burned witches at the stake, kept slaves and acquired land by slaughtering those who owned it.

The idea Conservatives function on empiricism is a lie. The Indians worked hard, kept a strict moral code and were functioning in a sustainable economic environment before being killed off by a bunch of people who excused it because they were "deviants."

Conservatism harkens to idealism whenever reality exposes this lie.

Take the discussion about welfare mothers in the comments of your First Principle essay. Conservativism claims that having a "welfare net" encourages people to take the risk of having unwanted children. This supposes a) every woman takes this risk by choice, b) an ideal world where every child can have a father who can find a job to support it unless the mother selfishly chooses otherwise.

It also presumes that the naturally compliant never have extramarital sex. The very conservatives spouting this crap are often on their second or third wife and have had plenty of non-marital sex, even illegitimate kids and abortions.

Yes, there were single mothers who didn't work but just squeaked by on welfare checks. The idea this was the majority of those who receive the programs which make up welfare is a falsehood existing only in Ronal Reagan's head. The majority of children receiving aid had working and/or two parents.

This assumes there's no rape, no husbands who die without adequate pensions and anyone who loses a job can find another before they run out of money. The same conservative values which advocate preventing sex ed and contraception, supposedly because children are vulnerable, deems these same children no longer worthy of protection if their vulnerability results in a mistake. Then they are getting what they deserve. And I guess orphans are born sinners.

The same thing holds true for homosexuality. First, plenty of these conservatives are closet cases. Second, there is nothing in history and statistics to prove the steady percentage of homosexuals has any impact on the functionality of the hetero majority.

I'd argue the whole point of conservatism is creating a facade of reason on what is boils down to "We've got power, so we make the rules and these rules will keep us in power." It is morality created by those who are priveleged and can keep their own deviance hidden, their own mistakes easily fixable.

This is why I think Conservatives are evil. Their system is based on a lie by the powerful.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 28th, 2004 01:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Fascinating
Phil Agre wrote a long piece that agrees, largely, with fengi's points. It is definitely an argument against conservatism. It is here: http://polaris.gseis.ucla.edu/pagre/conservatism.html .
tyrsalvia
Sep. 21st, 2004 06:31 pm (UTC)
I found your journal through en_ki, and am very impressed with your political essays and others. I've added you, hope that's ok. I'd really like to forward these on to the people in my political rhetoric class.

Also.. just noticed you have an icon that's the tower card. Me too. I hadn't expected to see anyone else with one.

Yeah. Hi.
bradhicks
Sep. 21st, 2004 10:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've got a bunch of Rider-Waite tarot icons. I ended up with five of them, to represent the moods I'm most likely to refer to via tarot in my journal: 4 of cups (reflection), 7 of rods (conflict), Temperance (balance or negotiation), Devil (carnality), and Tower (disaster). If offered a chance to pick my own significator, I generally take the 4 of cups.
tyrsalvia
Sep. 21st, 2004 10:44 pm (UTC)
Nods. I simply have a fascination with the Tower. I view it as enlightenment through destruction rather than just plain destruction, and it's a card I've tended to use as a significator of personal revoloution and change that sometimes comes with an unhappy cost.
metaphorge
Sep. 21st, 2004 11:31 pm (UTC)
You're quite good at this.
bradhicks
Sep. 21st, 2004 11:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I just have my good days.
( 46 comments — Leave a comment )

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