Progressive Conservative ReView & ReKnew: The Fusion of Conservative Futures...

Welcome to the new, brand world of Progressive Conservatives. We are the growth DNA for Conservatism. Like Ronald Reagan, we Pro-Cons believe in smaller and smarter government. "My colleague Jack Kemp calls this general movement PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATISM and it is at the heart of the great intellectual revolution of our time." (Dick Armey, October 22, 2004) Discover this new brand intellectual revolution @ www.USProgressiveConservatives.Org. ---Randy Piper, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Progressive Conservative Global Brand & Values Portfolio & Political Continuum

Pro-Cons of the World Unite!

Indeed, we have.

"This doesn't mean that the idea ( 'conservatism' ) is empty of structural content, merely that people disagree about what the content is. And there is, of course, no final authority on the matter, qualified to act as arbiter, nor should there be."

Whose wise words are these?

Why, of course, these are the right-word words of wisdom from Mr. Conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. ("Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?" 1988)

And consider the dynamic pastcast, podcast, and forecast of Yale computer scientist David Gelernter ("The Inventor of Modern Conservatism: Disraeli and Us," Weekly Standard, February 7, 2005).

Here is Gelernter's description of the dynamism of Progressive Conservatism:

"Conservatism is the most powerful and electric force in the American intellectual landscape. Young people no longer discover the left and get excited; they are far more likely to get their intellectual kicks discovering and experimenting with conservatism. But what exactly do conservatives believe? How do they resolve the seeming paradox that so many conservatives revere the past yet are also PROGRESSIVES, determined to move this nation forward and let it grow, stretch, and inhabit more and more of its own best self?"


Pensar Juntos! (Think Together!)

Indeed, we do.

Check out these global sites & blogs:

www.TRG.org.uk (United Kingdom)

www.ProgCon.org (United Kingdom)

www.ProgressiveRight.Blogspot.com (Canada)

www.OntarioPC.com (Canada)

www.Springborg.com (Australia)

www.National.org.nz (New Zealand)

www.FreedomInst.org (Ireland)

www.ProgressiveDemocrats.ie (Ireland)

www.USProgressiveConservatives.org (United States)

www.MyPartyToo.com (United States)

www.GOPProgress.com (United States)

www.BullMooseRepublicans.com (United States)

www.GreenGOP.org (United States)

www.NewAmerica.net (United States)

www.FlowProject.org (Global)


Read the foundation essay for US Progressive Conservatism (and understand how this eco-socio-politico-economic idea learning system differs from the other sub-brands of Conservatism) and learn about US Purple Federalism: Click on the link-post Diffusion of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand.

Due to differences in eco-socio-political culture, institutions, and individuals, Progressive Conservatism will vary among countries. And yes, Progressive Conservatives will differ on their policy-program prescriptions within a particular country.

We are not rawhide-bound ideologues...but we do have a values-ideas learning system.

While our policy-program prescriptions may well vary among and within countries, counties, and communities, our values remain invariable.

Progressive Conservative Values Portfolio:

Freedom, Family, Faith

Peace, Prosperity, Progress

Rewards for Risks, Risks for Rewards

Tradition, Tolerance, Technology

Ownership, Opportunity

Rights, Responsibilities

Pursuit of Happiness, Pursuit of Hope

Health, Wealth

Steadfast Security

We Inflame Reagan's Liberty & Justice & Progress(ive) Torch!!!


Welcome to the New Year!!

Pensar Juntos! (Think Together!) www.PensarJuntos.info

So...shall we continue to think along the single dimension, political straight-line of Left-Right??

No!

Would we prefer to see the three dimensions (X-axis for Domestic Fiscal, Y-Axis for Domestic Social, Z-Axis for Foreign Policy) for each sub-brand of Liberalism and Conservatism?

Yes!

Unfortunately for now, we have to settle for a two-dimensional model, which is explained by the mixed metaphors of (non-linear) ladders and bridges and horse shoes (since this blog software does not allow the integration of software used for three-dimensional models for social networks and biochemistry molecules).

Do we really want to see at least two dimensions and perhaps a mixed-mixed metaphor for understanding better the dynamics of Liberal-Conservative Intellectual and Political Diffusion?

Let's hope so...

Let us see how and why Progressive Conservatism is the Double Bridge Brand within Conservatism and between Liberalism.


Consider the Conservative Ladder Scale (00 to 21):

(00) Anarcho-Communists (NO State, NO Private Property)

(0) Anarcho-Capitalists (NO State, ALL Private Property)

(www.Mises.org and www.LewRockwell.com)

(1) Min-Archists (Night Watchman's State)

(www.Independent.org and www.Cato.org)

(2) NEO-Libertarians

(www.QandO.net)

(3) Classical Liberals

(www.MontPelerin.org and www.AtlasUSA.org)

(4)

(5) Ronald Reagan Progressive Conservatism

(www.BullMooseRepublicans.com and www.PensarJuntos.info and www.MyPartyToo.com)

(6)

(7)

(8) Big Government Conservatives

(9) PALEO-Conservatives

(Big Government Conservatives on Domestic Social Issues...See Pat Buchanan and American Conservative Magazine www.AmConMag.com.)

(10) NEO-Conservatives

(Big Government Conservatives on Foreign Policy Issues...See Bill Kristol and Weekly Standard www.WeeklyStandard.com.)

(11)

(12) Bigger Government Conservatives

(13)

(14)

(15)

(16) Biggest Government Conservatives

(17)

(18)

(19)

(20) Authoritarianism

(21) Toward Totalitarianism


Consider the Liberal Ladder Scale (00 to 21):

(00) Anarcho-Communists (NO State, NO Private Property)

(0)

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4) Small Government Jeffersonian Liberals

(Terry Michael, founder of Washington Center for Politics and Journalism www.WCPJ.org and Tammy Bruce www.TammyBruce.com)

(5)

(6)

(7)

(8) Big Government Liberals

(9) Bull Moose Liberals

(www.BullMooseBlog.com)

(10) Donkey Liberals

(Democratic Leadership Council www.NDOL.org)

(11)

(12) Bigger Government Liberals

(Deaniacs and Kossacks www.DailyKos.com)

(13)

(14)

(15)

(16) Biggest Government Liberals

(Green Party www.GP.org)

(17)

(18)

(19) Socialists USA

(20) Authoritarianism

(21) Toward Totalitarianism


If we place the ladders side-by-side, we can see how Progressive Conservatism = Double Bridge Brand.

Consider the Conservative Ladder:

Between Libertarians and Traditionalists (to use Charles Kesler's Framing), Progressive Conservatism is the Bridge Brand.

Within the Conservative Ladder, we might label this bridge as a Vertical bridge.

Consider the Liberal Ladder:

With the two ladders aligned, we can see that Rung (5) on both ladders provides an opportunity for Liberals to cross to the Progressive Conservative Rung (and vice versa).

Between the Liberal Ladder and the Conservative Ladder, we might label this bridge as a Horizontal bridge.

Thus, Progressive Conservatism creates a Double Bridge Brand: the Vertical and the Horizontal.

Ladders need not be linear. From personal experience, we know that new tech ladders can be adjusted to curvi-linear forms. As such, we can extend and bend these two ladders physically, virtually, and visually to fit and match better the Conservative and Liberal Sub-Brands. (Think of the curvi-linear ladders as a pair of horse shoes...to mix metaphors even more.)

Yes, the two dimensions and mixed metaphors of ladders and bridges and horse shoes are imperfect.

And yes, we are well aware of both the political matrix and test of the Institute for Humane Studies' Politopia Scale (www.TheIHS.org and www.Politopia.com) and the Pew Research Center's Political Typology (www.People-Press.org).

Both the IHS and Pew Scales are incomplete and inaccurate in terms of social science construct validity and measurement reliability, I think.

The Bottom Line:

Progressive Conservatism is the Double Bridge Brand...and...

We Inflame Reagan's Liberty & Justice & Progress(ive) Torch!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Gingrich VisionS -- Winning The Future: A 21st Century Contract With America

The Gingrich (and Reagan) Visions...

Lee Edwards, the Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow In Conservative Thought, raises these questions: "Will conservatives succeed, or is the conservative revolution over? Where is conservatism headed: for the mountaintop or the ash heap?" (The Conservative Revolution: The Movement That Remade America, 1999, p. 333)

Newt Gingrich provides one visionary answer to the Edwards' questions...certainly to the mountaintop...and beyond.

As Newt did with his (our) Conservative Opportunity Society, so he does with his latest applied vision: Winning The Future: A 21st Century Contract With America (2005) -- Newt provokes thought...and action.

Dr. Gingrich is a great policy synnovator -- a perpetual orchestra conductor of synthesis and innovation.

Gingrich writes: "We do not believe the traditional instruments of government will reform themselves fast enough and thoroughly enough for the twenty-first century."

And consider Contract Goal VII: "Change the mindset of big government in Washington by replacing bureaucratic public administration with Entrepreneurial Public Management so government can operate with the speed, effectiveness, and efficiency of the information age."

No doubt, some Pro-Cons with a deeply inherent libertarian meme-gene will protest (too much, I think) about this Gingrich Contract. These protesters will argue that Gingrich's ideas are an invitation to big and bigger government action.

For these Pro-Con Protesters (and others), I refer them to Contract Goal VIII: "Balance the federal budget and insist on a lean government, low tax, low interest rate economy to maximize growth in a competitive world." Further, these protesters may want to visit the Performance Institute (www.PerformanceWeb.org).

I personally had hoped that Newt would address how PURPLE Federalism could and does eliminate conflict among social value conditions. (For insights on Purple Federalism, see my "Diffusion Of Con-Fusion," posted-published on December 1, 2004.)

I highly recommend Newt's newest book...and each of his Chapters ends with this site address: www.newt.org/winningthefuture.

As a complementary companion to Newt's book, I also highly recommend Brad Lips and Dan Lips' The Reagan Vision: How You Can Revive The Reagan Revolution (2004). As Newt does with his book, Dan and Brad do with their book: The Lips Brothers have an action plan...and a website: www.ReaganVision.com. (Readers can order Reagan Vision from the Goldwater Institute.)

Shout it from the mountaintops:

May the Reagan and Gingrich Visions Be Seen and Heard and Lived!!

Note: Don Devine of the American Conservative Union Foundation sent me the following links to Ronald Reagan's speech "Our Philosophy of Government" (March 20, 1981): www.acuf.org/principles/p_philos.asp and www.acuf.org/principles/index.asp.


And check out these sites:

www.USProgressiveConservatives.org
www.Rudy2008.info
www.BullMooseRepublicans.com
www.FreedomWorks.com
www.IWF.org
www.ForeignPolicySociety.org
www.NationalInterest.org
www.The-American-Interest.com
www.EuropeanAlliance.org.uk
www.WingBeat.Typepad.com
www.FlowProject.org
www.PensarJuntos.info

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Whitman VisionS -- It's My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America

Whitman (and Reagan) Visions...

Lee Edwards, the Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow In Conservative Thought, raises these questions: "Will conservatives succeed, or is the conservative revolution over? Where is conservatism headed: for the mountaintop or the ash heap?" (The Conservative Revolution, 1999, p. 333)

To Lee Edwards' questions, Christie Todd Whitman offers an (implied) answer: to the ash heap...unless....

The answers can be found in Whitman's It's My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America (2005)...And...at the website: www.MyPartyToo.com.

Today (January 27), I watched Christie interviewed on CNN by Lou Dobbs and on FOX by Sean Hannity. All sub-brands of Conservatism should welcome the constructive debate and leadership demonstrated by Whitman...and Gingrich...and others.

As a strong supporter of George Bush, I welcome the critique offered by Whitman and others. W. and Team W should welcome the Whitman critique, which is largely constructive. Yes, Christie may be too harsh on some social conservatives, but other social conservatives have been equally harsh on social moderates.

Conservatism will not grow and gain permanent market share (55++%) unless it includes BOTH social conservatives and social moderates.

And until all sub-brands of Conservatism accept largely the role of Purple Federalism, Conservatism will stagnate. (For the role of Purple Federalism, see my essay Diffusion of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand -- posted-published on December 1, 2004 here at the Pro-Con R&R.)

The Mission of Pro-Con Whitman:

"Inspired by a drive to get back to the fundamentals of the Republican Party, this website advocates for the historic Republican principles of liberty, individual responsibility, and personal freedom." (www.MyPartyToo.com)

Pro-Con Ronald Reagan could have written Christine Todd Whitman's mission statement, I think.

If you doubt my claim and comparison, then check out Reagan In His Own Hand: The Writings Of Ronald Reagan That Reveal His Revolutionary Vision For America (2001).

For example, here is how Reagan concludes his (July 6, 1977) "Property Rights" radio speech: "Yes we support the ideal of Human Rights and in our concept of Human Rights [our] ownership of private property is included. Indeed it is basic to our liberty & our pursuit of happiness. This is R.R. Thanks for listening."

We should (continue to) listen to Reagan.

We should now listen to Christie Todd Whitman...with her leadership, Conservatism is headed to the mountaintop...and beyond!


Note: Don Devine of the American Conservative Union Foundation sent me the following links for Ronald Reagan's speech "Our Philosophy of Government" (March 20, 1981): www.acuf.org/principles/p_philos.asp and www.acuf.org/principles/index.asp.


Check out these sites:

www.USProgressiveConservatives.org
www.Rudy2008.info
www.BullMooseRepublicans.com
www.Newt.org
www.ReaganVision.com
www.FreedomWorks.com
www.IWF.org
www.PerformanceWeb.org
www.ForeignPolicySociety.org
www.NationalInterest.org
www.The-American-Interest.com
www.EuropeanAlliance.org.uk
www.WingBeat.Typepad.com
www.FlowProject.org
www.PensarJuntos.info

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Bridge Brand: Pro-Con Fusionism

Rubric's Cube...

In April 2004, when I first coined the term "Progressive Conservatism," I was not aware of Jude Wanniski's 1979 coinage of Progressive Conservative as a rubric for the Reaganites (to distinguish them from the Paleo-Cons). Following Ronald Reagan's 1980 New Hampshire primary victory, the New York Times used the Pro-Con term to describe the Reaganites.

In July 2004, when I first drafted the "foundation" essay "Diffusion of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand," I was not aware of the Frank Meyer "fusionism" debate that occurred in the 1960s (or was it 1970s?) on the pages of National Review.

Ignorant Me! I first learned of the grand Meyer fusion debate on August 18, 2004, when Kenneth Silber published "The Fusionist Path" at TechCentralStation.com.

In The Conservative Revolution:The Movement That Remade America (1999, pp. 107-108), Lee Edwards, the Heritage Foundation's Distinguished Fellow In Conservative Thought, provides an excellent summary of Frank Meyer's Fusionism:

"There was one other important task that had to be accomplished before the conservative movement could operate effectively in the political realm: It had to be philosophically united. Increasingly, traditionalists and libertarians had been snapping and snarling at each other in the pages of National Review, the New Individualist Review, and elsewhere.

"Traditionalist Russell Kirk was accused of being hostile to individualism and laissez-faire economics, while libertarian Friedrich Hayek was faulted for defending freedom on strictly utilitarian grounds rather than according to 'the absolute transcendent values upon which its strength is founded.'

"One conservative in particular was convinced that beneath all the differences lay a true consensus of principle: Frank Meyer, the fast-talking, chain-smoking, ex-communist senior editor of National Review. Through articles, books, and endless late-evening telephone calls, Meyer communicated his synthesis of the disparate elements of conservatism, which came to be called fusionism.

"The core fundamental was 'the freedom of the person, the central and primary end of political society.' The state had only three limited functions: national defense, the preservation of domestic order, and the administration of justice between citizens.

"The 'achievement of virtue' was not a political question: indeed, it was not even the state's business. Freedom, Meyer argued, was the indispensable condition for the pursuit of virtue. Freedom was the ultimate political end; virtue was the ultimate end of man as man....

"Although both traditionalists and libertarians often challenged fusionism in years to come, it prevailed as an effective synthesis until the collapse of communism in Eastern and Central Europe in 1989 and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991."


For an extension of the Frank Meyer view on Fusionism, see Kenneth Silber's "The Fusionist Path" (www.TechCentralStation.com on August 18, 2004).

For an independent (of Frank Meyer) view on Fusionism, see Randy Piper's Diffusion Of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand (posted-published on December 1, 2004).

Once you have read Diffusion Of Con-Fusion (along with the other posts-publications here at the Pro-Con R&R), you will see why we can view Progressive Conservatism as THE Bridge Brand between Traditionalists and Libertarians.

Hopefully, readers will come to understand why Progressive Conservatism is the Growth DNA for Conservatism.

www.USProgressiveConservatives.org
www.BullMooseRepublicans.com
www.FreedomWorks.com
www.PerformanceWeb.org
www.ForeignPolicySociety.org
www.NationalInterest.org
www.Newt.org
www.ReaganVision.com

WE PRO-CONS INFLAME REAGAN'S LIBERTY & JUSTICE & PROGRESS(IVE) TORCH!!!

Read ON...and...Right ON!!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Of Neo-Cons & Paleo-Cons & Paleo-Libertarians & Neo-Libertarians

Mastering the Sub-Brands of Conservatism...


Neo-Cons.

Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz are the Godfathers of Neo-Conservatism. These former liberal "mugged-by-reality" intellectuals of the 1950s and 1960s rejected much of the contemporary capital L Liberalism. "If Kristol was the grand strategist, calm in person and magisterial in his prose, then Podhoretz was the neoconservatives' main tactician, passionate in temperament and ever polemical in his essays and books," according to Lee Edwards, the Heritage Foundation's Distinguished Fellow In Conservative Thought (The Conservative Revolution, 1999, p. 195).

In the 1970s and 1980s, from the pages of Commentary, The Public Interest, and The National Interest, first-generation Neo-Cons made their case and cause for Conservatism. (For Neo-Con Michael Novak's view, see "Neocons," National Review Online, May 20, 2003.)

The second generation of Neo-Cons includes Bill Kristol and John Podhoretz and David Brooks, to name but three. Like their first-generation idea parents, these second generation NCs envision a large role for a large state:

"Editor William Kristol of the Weekly Standard and his colleague David Brooks would ask a pertinent question: 'How can Americans love their nation if they hate its government?' Government does have its great and legitimate purposes, they argued, and we should be guided not just by anger but by 'love of country and informed patriotism.'

"They urged a revival of 'national greatness' conservatism, modeled on the example of Theodore Roosevelt: a debatable choice because, as political historian Matthew Spalding has pointed out, TR's New Nationalism called for 'an activist state with strong regulatory powers,' a goal at cross purposes with modern conservatism. While conservatives might find Roosevelt's 'brand of vigorous leadership refreshing,' conceded Spalding, a better and more recent statesman to emulate was Ronald Reagan." (Lee Edwards, The Conservative Revolution, 1999, p. 328)

Under the moniker (dis) guise of "Progressive Conservatism," David Brooks updated this Big(ger) Government = Good Government view in The New York Times in August 2004.


Paleo-Cons and Paleo-Libertarians.

"Starting in 1989, traditional conservatives, libertarians, neoconservatives, and social conservatives began fussing and feuding like so many Hatfields and McCoys. They missed the soothing presence of Ronald Reagan and the unifying threat of communism....

"Often violent disagreements erupted between conservatives about trade, immigration, and the direction of U.S. foreign policy. One outspoken off-shoot was the paleoconservatives, who took particular delight in savaging neoconservatives. The paleoconservatives, who included political activist Llewelyn Rockwell of the Mises Institute and one-time National Review editor Joseph Sobran among their leadership, spawned the John Randolph Club and the America First Committee.

"They [paleoconservatives] attempted to forge an alliance with paleolibertarians [anarcho-capitalists] like Murray Rothbard, who had once argued that even a city's traffic lights should be privately owned. Casting about for a political leader, Rothbard declared at a 1992 meeting of the John Randolph Club, 'With Pat Buchanan as our leader, we shall break the clock of social democracy.... We shall repeal the twentieth century.'

"...Equally strained was the paleoconservative charge that a 'neoconservative empire' controlled the conservative movement from New York to Washington and beyond. In truth, conservatism's fundamental political problem, following the end of the cold war and the departure of President Reagan, was that no one was in charge of the movement." (Lee Edwards, The Conservative Revolution, 1999, pp. 328-329)

To be sure, Paleo-Conservatives such as Pat Buchanan agree with Paleo-Libertarians such as Lew Rockwell on foreign policy. They both support a pure isolationist military foreign policy. But Paleo-Cons and Paleo-Libertarians disagree on trade and immigration.

Lew Rockwell has recently referred to Red State Conservatives and Republicans as "Fascists"!


Libertarians & Neo-Libertarians.

We can view Libertarians as four segments:

(Paleos) This segment includes Paleos such as Lew Rockwell and the late Murray Rothbard "who hate the state" in all forms. Besides the Mises Institute, the Independent Institute falls in this segment.

(Catos) This segment includes the Cato Institute, which advocates a pure isolationist foreign policy and "strategic disengagement" from NATO and all other US military alliances. But Cato libertarians advocate a bigger government ("night watchman's state") than do most Paleo-Libertarians ("anarcho-capitalists").

(ROs) This segment includes (many) Randians and Objectivists. In the post-9-11 world, Objectivists have parted ways with Paleos and Catos on foreign policy. Some Objectivists even recommended invading not Iraq, but Iran (following the Afghanistan war). Like many Neo-Cons, many Randian-Objectivists want to use US military might now to smash Islamo-Fascism...and Iran is next on the list.

(Neos) This segment includes the Libertarian "Hawks" such as Max Borders and others who write for TechCentralStation.com. Neo-Libertarians see a more active role for the US military than Paleos or Catos, but Neos see a less active role than ROs.

For more on Libertarian Hawks, see my "Brand Libertarian Party" post in November 2004.

In sum: Not only is there a (still current) division among Paleo-Cons and Neo-Cons and other Cons (including Pro-Cons), but there is an ever increasing division among Libertarians, especially on the roles of US military beyond US borders.


Update:

The Neo-Libertarians now have their own website-blog (www.QandO.net).

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Reading Reagan: Paleo-Con, Neo-Con, or Pro-Con???...And...Reagan as Market Populist

Ronald Wilson Reagan...


I. Prologue

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

---George Washington, "Farewell Address" (September 17, 1796)



Accordingly, they [secessionists, rebellionists] commenced by an insidious debauching of the public mind. They invented an ingenious sophism which, if conceeded, was by perfectly logical steps, through all the incidents, to the complete destruction of the Union.

The sophism itself is that any State of the Union may consistently with the national Constitution, and therefore lawfully and peacefully, withdraw from the Union without the consent of the Union or of any other State....

---Abraham Lincoln, "Message To Congress" (July 4, 1861)



Consider, for instance, the rhetorical raids which have been made upon the writings of Thomas Jefferson. His works have been ransacked by Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, radicals and reactionaries, New Englanders and Southerners, to sustain elitism and equality, capitalism and socialism, states' rights and interventionism, isolationism and internationalism, rationalism and romanticism, atheism and Christianity, agrarianism and urban development.

He [Jefferson] has been quoted at length by Earl Browder in defense of Communism, and by Ezra Pound in the cause of Fascism; by Sukarno in the interest of "guided democracy," and even by Ho Chi Minh in the name of Vietnamese nationalism.

---David Hackett Fischer, Historians' Fallacies (1970)



"Rashomon," a celebrated Japanese film, presents four witnesses observing a single crime. Each witness perceives the situation so differently that the audience experiences what appears to be four distinct events.

---Lynn Scarlett, "Clear Thinking About The Earth," Environmental Gore (1994)



Ronald Reagan lives on in the minds of Conservatives!


Since the death of Ronald Wilson Reagan, Pat Buchanan has read Reagan as a Paleo-Con and David Brooks has read Reagan as a Neo-Con. I read Reagan as a clear and concise Pro-Con.

Are we Master Brand Conservatives engaging in the rhetoric for which Lincoln indicts secessionist sophists?

Are we Conservatives following the fallacy of "all things to all people," which David Hackett Fischer assigns to the followers and grand interpreters of Thomas Jefferson? More formally, are we Conservatives suffering from the fallacy of argument ad antiquitam, which is "an illegitimate appeal to ages past in order to justify acts present or future"?

Are we Conservatives "Reagan Rashomons" -- hapless mis-readers of Ronald Wilson Reagan?

As we celebrate the birth dates of Washington (February 22) and Lincoln (February 12) and Reagan (February 6) this month, we will publish our "Reading Reagan" in coming weeks.

Stay Tuned...as the Pro-Con R&R reveals the Real Reagan...



Note: Don Devine of the American Conservative Union Foundation sent me the following links to Ronald Reagan's speech "Our Philosophy of Government" (March 20, 1981): www.acuf.org/principles/p_philos.asp and www.acuf.org/principles/index.asp.


Update: Reagan as Market Populist

Ronald Wilson Reagan was a Market Populist in words and deeds.

Consider this 1985 excerpt from Reagan's 1985 Labor Day speech in Independence, Missouri:

"I'm here to declare to the special interests something they already know, and something they hope you won't find out. Our fair share tax program is a good deal for the American people and a big step toward economic power for people who've been denied power for generations."

Now consider the frame of Market Populism versus Elitism as developed by Jeffrey Bell (Populism And Elitism: Politics In The Age Of Equality, 1992).

Here is Bell:

"Populism is optimism about people's ability to make decisions about their lives.

Elitism is optimism about the decision-making ability of one or more elites, acting on behalf of other people.

Populism implies pessimism about an elite's ability to make decisions for the people affected.

Elitism implies pessimism about the people's ability to make decisions affecting themselves.

The argument between populism and elitism has become the most important one in politics today. Not only does it explain more of what is happening in the world than the usual distinctions between left and right or socialism and capitalism; it extends in one form or another into virtually every area of life." (Bell, p. 3)

And Bell again:

"The argument between populism and elitism is a disagreement about the competence of people to handle their affairs, not a form of class conflict. A member of a political elite may be a populist; and a member of the lower-middle class may have elitist views." (Bell, p. 5)

And Bell again:

"Why is Populism optimistic about people's ability to make decisions affecting their lives, relative to the ability of elites to make these decisions?" (Bell, p. 31)

Finally, Bell again:

"It was not until the 1980s that Ronald Reagan, the most completely populist president since Andrew Jackson, gave Republicans a coherent agendea." (Bell, p. 190)


Check out this site: www.ReaganVision.com

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Wanniski Wins! -- THE 1980 & 1920 Sources Of Progressive Conservatism (aka Progressive Individualism)

Welcome to the New Year!

Lewis & Clark Meets Wanniski!

In 1805, Lewis & Clark discovered the source of the Missouri River headwaters (today's Beaverhead County, Montana).

In 2005, Wanniski discovers the source (code) of Progressive Conservatism. Actually, Jude Wanniski more than discovers the source; he first coined the term "Progressive Conservative."

In response to my Progressive Conservative TimeLine (posted December 1st below), Jude Wanniski sent to me this e-mail: "It happens that I came up with the term 'progressive conservative' in 1979 in describing the Reaganauts, to distinguish them from the Paleo-Cons. If you look back, when RR [Ronald Reagan] won in 1980, the New York Times used the term in its frontpage headline to describe the movement."

(Note: As readers most likely know, Jude Wanniski is one of the "fathers-founders" of Supply-Side Economics. Along with 1999 Nobel Laureate Dr. Robert Mundell and Dr. Art Laffer, Jude Wanniski is the leading light of Supply-Side Economics. At www.Wanniski.com, see "A Supply-Side History" by Wayne Jett, August 2003.)


In 1979, Jude Wanniski coins the term "Progressive Conservative" and the New York Times adopts the term, following Ronald Wilson Reagan's 1980 primary win in New Hampshire (again according to another e-mail from Jude Wanniski). We can trace the term back farther than 1979, however.

Hoover Meets Von Mises!

Three of the leading books on the Progressive Era are these: (1) Richard Hofstadter's The Age Of Reform: From Bryan to FDR (1955), David Noble's The Progressive Mind, 1890-1917 (1970)and (3) Michael McGerr's A Fierce Discontent: The Rise And Fall Of The Progressive Movement In America, 1870-1920 (2003).

In response to the "coercive collectivist progressivism" of the 1900s and 1910s, a new progressivism emerges in 1920. In the final pages (pp. 311-312) of the final chapter of Michael McGerr's A Fierce Discontent, McGerr provides these conclusions:

"In the 1920 campaign, Harding and Coolidge confidently celebrated individualism. 'The group must not endanger the individual...,' Harding lectured. The government's 'abiding purpose has been the recognition of the rights and the development of the individual,' Coolidge added. 'To the individual has been left power and responsibility, the foundation for the rule of the people.'

"Despite these bold claims for individualism, the Republicans were cautious as they confronted the progressivism that had held sway for a generation. Harding, Coolidge, and the rest sensed what despairing progressives did not--that the nation would not abandon progressivism and its ideas completely. There would be no return to 1914, Calvin Coolidge promised. 'That day is gone.' Harding even called himself a 'rational progressive,' a neat term suggesting at once how much the reputation of progressivism had suffered and how much progressivism still counted.

"In the same way, Republicans carefully qualified their individualism. They called themselves 'new individualists.' Herbert Hoover, one of the chief interpreters of that new individualism, took to describing himself as 'an American individualist' and his creed as 'progressive individualism.'"

(Historical Note: In 1922, Herbert Hoover published American Individualism. In 1922, the famed Austrian Economist Ludwig von Mises published Socialism. Hoover's book was published in America and Mises' book was published in Germany. Though neither Hoover nor Mises were aware of the other's work, they reached remarkably similar conclusions on the dangers of coercive collectivism.)

Post-1920, Herbert Hoover's "Progressive Individualism" faded into FDR's New Deal. Post-1980, Jude Wanniski's coinage "Progressive Conservative" faded fast.

In April 2004, when I first coined the term "Progressive Conservatism" (and its substantive, comprehensive world view in the book outline Progressive Conservatism (Pro-Cons): The Fusion of Conservative Futures in the Clash of Civilizations), I had never ever heard of the words "Progressive Conservatism." Ever!!

We Progressive Conservatives can Not now permit the Pro-Con Brand to slide into historical or current oblivion...again.

Thanks to such organizations as www.FreedomWorks.com, www.BullMooseRepublicans.com, and www.ReaganVision.com (and of course www.USProgressiveConservatives.org and www.Rudy2008.info) all coupled-networked with this Web-Zine Blog Site, the Pro-Con Brand will continue to prosper.

Welcome to the Year (and Decade!!) of Progressive Conservatism!!


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Progressive Conservatism: Brand Diffusion Timeline

Diffusion TimeLine: Anatomy of an Intellectual Brand

April 28, 2004

To Andrew Sullivan, I suggest that he write a book on the fusion and future of Conservatism. I propose this working title -- Progressive Conservatism (Pro-Cons): The Fusion Of Conservative Futures In The Clash Of Civilizations. I provide also a book outline and recommend sources for each chapter.


May 1, 2004

To 500 National Key Influencers -- Conservatives, Libertarians, Liberals -- I begin planting the intellectual seed capital for Progressive Conservatism, which continues over the next few months.


July 3, 2004

I pen a first draft of "Diffusion Of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand."


August 1, 2004

Pro-Cons of the World Unite!!

www.USProgressiveConservatives.Com
www.USProgressiveConservatives.Org
www.Rudy2008.Biz
www.Rudy2008.Info


August 18, 2004

Kenneth Silber publishes "The Fusionist Path" at TechCentralStation.com (TCS). Independently, Ken and I reach essentially the same conclusions.


September 1, 2004

To TCS, I submit the final version of "Diffusion Of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand." TCS rejects the 4,000-word essay. To the 500 National Key Influencers, I begin circulating "Diffusion Of Con-Fusion."


September 5, 2004

Allan Lichtman, the prominent presidential historian at American University, invokes the term "Progressive Conservative" via CNN. Professor Lichtman introduces Progressive Conservative to our national lexicon and discourse via CNN. Independently, Prof. Lichtman and I have reached somewhat similar conclusions. I e-mail Prof. Lichtman to thank him for introducing "Progressive Conservative" to our country.


October 13, 2004

Dr. Ed Feulner, President of the Heritage Foundation, requests that I send to him "Diffusion Of Con-Fusion" as an attached document. I send the Pro-Con "foundation" essay to Dr. Feulner.


October 22, 2004

At www.FreedomWorks.com, Dick Armey posts his Wisconsin State Journal op-ed letter ("Wisconsin's Progressive Conservative Tradition"), which includes this statement: "My colleague Jack Kemp calls this general movement 'progressive conservatism' and it is at the heart of the great intellectual revolution of our time." I e-mail a thank you note to Jack Kemp and forward thank you note to Dick Armey.


November 11, 2004

At www.BullMooseRepublicans.com, I run a Patron BlogAD for Progressive Conservatism and cite Dick Armey's statement and inform the world that Ronald Reagan was a Progressive Conservative.


November 12, 2004

Progressive Conservative ReView & ReKnew: The Fusion of Conservative Futures -- the on-line web-zine begins publication.


December 1, 2004

At the Pro-Con R&R, I publish-post my (September 1, 2004) essay "Diffusion Of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand."

(You may read this Pro-Con "foundation" essay in the post below. If you reference this essay, please cite September 1, 2004 as the publication copyright date.)


February 7, 2005

David Gelernter publishes "The Inventor of Modern Conservatism: Disraeli and Us" (Weekly Standard).

The second paragraph of Gelernter's article reads:

"Conservatism is the most powerful and electric force in the American intellectual landscape. Young people no longer discover the left and get excited; they are far more likely to get their intellectual kicks discovering and experimenting with conservatism. But what exactly do conservatives believe? How do they resolve the seeming paradox that so many conservatives revere the past yet are also PROGRESSIVES, determined to move this nation forward and let it grow, stretch, and inhabit more and more of its own best self? Disraeli [twice minister of Great Britain] produced a definition of conservatism that resolves the problem. It is so terse and compelling, it ranks as a milestone of political thought."


March 22, 2005

Hope Springs Eternal...

I discover on-line the Spring 2005 issue of Reformer: The Journal of the Tory Reform Group. On the front cover (and right-of-center) appear in big letters the words PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATISM, which is the theme of this issue for the UK Tory Conservative Party.


July 23, 2005

Bill Scranton, a candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, describes himself as a Progressive Conservative in an interview with Bill Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.


August 10, 2005

Katherine Harris, a candidate for US Senate of Florida, describes herself as a Progressive Conservative, as reported by Eric Pera of Orlando's The Ledger.


December 4, 2005

Chad Noble, founder of the UK Centre for Progressive Conservatism (www.ProgCon.org), offers an alternative (European Alliance) to the super nanny state (European Union).

Noble proposes the pro-Europe European Alliance (www.EuropeanAlliance.org.uk).


December 5, 2005

David Cameron, who ran as a self-identified Progressive Conservative, wins the top position (shadow prime minister) and becomes the leader of the UK Tory Conservative Party.

Cameron's Pro-Con Values Statement can be found here:
www.CameronCampaign.org.


Note: The contemporary UK Fusionism of David Cameron and Chad Noble can be understood best as a fusion of the Conservatism of Benjamin Disraeli and Liberalism of William Gladstone.

Compare these four fusionism sites:

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Disraeli

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Gladstone

www.ProgCon.org

www.LibDems4Cameron.com


January 12, 2006

George Lakoff, the cognitive linguist and metaphor master, speaks at the San Francisco Commonwealth Club of California.

In the Questions & Answers session, Lakoff makes this statement:

"There are even Conservatives who call themselves Progressive Conservative."

Note: The mostly left-of-center liberal audience of 200 attendees chuckled-n-laughed at Lakoff's statement...if only the audience realized how uninformed their response was...and just how vast and hyper the growth of the Global Progressive Conservative Brand is...Go Figure!!??


January 23, 2006

Stephen Harper, who ran on a Progressive Conservative message, wins the national election and becomes Canada's 5th youngest prime minister (www.Conservative.Ca).

For a history of the Progressive Conservative Party (1867-2003), see
www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Conservative_Party_of_Canada.

For the present Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, see its current site (www.OntarioPC.com) and its long history (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_Progressive_Conservative_Party).


February 9, 2006

I discover the "first" use of "Progressive Conservatism" in the US.

On September 14, 1953 (Yes, 1953!!), Time magazine publishes the 2,800 word essay by Contributing Editor Alvin Josephy.

Josephy's essay is entitled "The U.S. A Strong & Stable Land: 'Progressive Conservatism' Is Its Mood," which is based on Josephy's 7,400 mile journey across the Mid-West and West.

Josephy makes this statement: "President Eisenhower's policy of 'gradualism,' or of progressive conservatism, is, in my opinion, exactly the mood of the parts of the country I visited."

Previously, I documented in my post (Wanniski Wins!) that Jude Wanniski, one of the co-founders of Supply-Side Economics, had been the "first" to use the progressive conservative moniker.

Indeed, in 1979, Jude Wanniski did apply the Progressive Conservative (PRO-Con) moniker to the Reaganites, as a way to distinguish them from the PALEO-Cons.

Josephy beats Wanniski...and both Eisenhower and Reagan were (are!!) brilliant Progressive Conservative leaders.

53 years after Josephy's "Pro-Con Mood," the Eisenhower & Reagan Pro-Con Legacies Live On at www.MyPartyToo.com.


February 22, 2006

On George Washington's Birthday, I discover the first US Presidential Candidate to announce as a self-described Progressive Conservative.

John Cox, entrepreneur and attorney, has long been an Illinois leader for the Republican Party.

John Cox is a devotee of Ronald Wilson Reagan and a protege of Jack Kemp.

Visit Candidate Cox's site at www.Cox2008.com and click on the book icon Politicians, Inc., where you will discover "The Progressive Conservative: The Politics of the New Millennium."



Hasta La Vista!!

www.PensarJuntos.info

Diffusion Of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand



[About Randy Piper, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.P.S.

Randy has worked on new product development and technology transfer projects for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Southeast Manufacturing Technology Center, and the Department of Energy. He has worked on projects for libertarian and conservative think tanks, including the Reason Public Policy Institute, Heartland Institute, and Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE). He was designated a Salvatori Fellow by the Heritage Foundation from 1991-1993.

Randy has conceptualized and invented various systems, including PESOP—Public Employee Stock Ownership Plan in “Employee Options Under Privatization.” He also developed the Piper Education Inverted J-Curve (not to be confused with the Laffer Curve). The Piper Curve reveals the relationship between public school expenditures and performance outcomes.]




Diffusion Of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand

(c) Randy Piper (September 1, 2004)



I. Prologue

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both....
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

---Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken” (1916)


Like the man who’s surprised to learn he’s been speaking prose all his life, the fusionist is a political category whose members may operate without much awareness of their label.

---Kenneth Silber, “The Fusionist Path” (TechCentralStation.com, August 18, 2004)


I have, after all, sometimes wondered whether I am myself a true conservative.

---William F. Buckley, Jr., “Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?” (1988)



Pro-Cons of the World Unite!

Like Robert Frost’s poetic-deciding traveler and Kenneth Silber’s prose-speaking man and William Buckley’s self-wondering-wandering conservative, we Progressive-Conservatives (Pro-Cons) have been operating without a label for some time.

“Where do fiscal conservatives, social moderates, and eagle foreign policy advocates find their voice and home?” A similar question was raised by Andrew Sullivan in April. Since then, I have been cheerleading Andrew Sullivan to write a book on the fusion and future of conservatism. And I have been promoting and planting the intellectual seed capital to those conservatives and libertarians and even liberals who would listen.

To raise the consciousness of the unaware and to inform and reform the false consciousness of both fusionists and non-fusionists, I am testing this new political category here. As technologists and fusionists know, beta testing a new product is a way to work out the links-n-kinks before the full launch of the new product.

This beta essay interprets conservative fusionism from an interdisciplinary set of lenses, from brand language to Spanglish to the Wishbones of Hayek and Reagan to Silber’s change management and Buckley’s laws of conservative content.


II. Master Brand Conservatism

In his editorial “Big Government Conservatism” (Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2002, www.claremont.org/writings/crb/spring2002/kesler.html ), the prominent conservative intellectual Charles Kesler frames the post-Reagan, post-Soviet Union world in these terms. Within the broad rubric of Conservatism, we face this dichotomy: Traditionalists versus Libertarians. Professor Kesler is partly right and partly wrong.

We can view Conservatism as a socio-political “master” brand. To date, this master brand consists of five sub-brands: (1) Classical Liberals, (2) Libertarians, (3) Paleo-Cons, (4) Neo-Cons, and (5) FiSo-Cons (the pre-Reagan coalition of fiscal and social conservatives).

We believe the time has come to introduce a sixth sub-brand: Pro-Cons (Progressive Conservatives). At first thought, conservatives may blush at the use of the term “Progressive,” since its historical roots largely feed the cause of bigger government and its contemporary use sometimes substitutes for the term “liberal.” In the section The Right Word, we address these blushing conservative concerns.

The Pro-Con sub-brand draws on the history and insights of the other five sub-brands. Though the Pro-Con sub-brand has not been formally formulated and introduced to our lexicon and discourse, we believe that this sub-brand has great appeal to those currently loyal to the Conservative master brand. Moreover, we think that the Pro-Con intellectual product will have immense appeal to those who are not currently loyal to the Conservative brand.


III. Domestic Policy

Pro-Cons are fiscal conservatives and supporters of private property rights. We can quote with ease lines from E.S. Savas’ Privatization: The Key to Better Government and Mark Popovich's Creating High-Performance Government Organizations. We believe in smaller and smarter government. We do not think that “smash the state” or “starve the beast” libertarian rhetoric serves our cause well. In fact, such harsh rhetoric erects communication barriers among reform advocates and public policy makers and the public-at-large. This harsh rhetoric slows the diffusion process and even may destroy it.

Pro-Cons defend most markets at most places at most times. For example, we support emerging, innovative water markets and requisite government institutions that define better the ownership and transfer of water. But our strong support of markets does not apply to all goods and services at all places and all points of time. We do not support the universal application of markets. Instead, we advocate a decision-rule of contingency support of markets…hence, “most markets.” For example, we would oppose markets where fetuses, fetal tissues, and body parts are for sale via for-profit organizations.

Like Neo-Cons, Pro-Cons believe that humans do not live by bread alone. Cultural and political systems often (but not always) trump economics. Incentive-based economics is important, but not primary. (See Michael Novak, “Neocons,” National Review Online, May 20, 2003.)

For Libertarians who find this hierarchy disturbing, they need to ask themselves this question. If we humans are universally rational individuals who assume roles as perpetual-searching, profit-maximizing, price-discovering, equilibrium entrepreneurs, then how do we explain the existence of non-profit think tanks and non-profit universities and the presence of Libertarians in these organizations?

Pro-Cons are social moderates and social conservatives, a commingling social economy of sorts. Our general decision rule is that Federalism should apply to most social issues at most times. Many, if not most, social issues should be decided by the states and even by counties, not by the national government.

By embracing and celebrating this division of powers, we think that the perpetual conflict generated by divisive social issues will subside somewhat. Equally important, the states as laboratories of democracy will produce a diverse set of options that individuals and families can incorporate into their respective moral and religious value systems. These decision-makers will be better able to choose a mix of values and recognize a series of trade-offs. For example, some states may offer better economic opportunities but not offer equally attractive social value conditions.

Gambling and prostitution. These social conflicts and concerns have been left for the states to decide. Compare the lifestyles of those who reside in Utah and “saint” Salt Lake City to those who reside in Nevada and “sin” Las Vegas. In an act of super-federalism, Nevada has gone so far as to let each county determine the legality of prostitution.

Civil unions and gay marriages. Pro-Cons emphatically agree with Vice President Cheney. Homosexual marriage remedies are best left to individual states and individual families to decide. To be sure, these state-level decisions will involve rough-and-tumble, sharp-elbowed exchanges.

Illicit drugs. Pro-Cons are not social libertarians who believe that all or most drugs ought to be legalized. We do not believe that hard drugs such as crack cocaine, heroin, or meth-amphetamines should be legalized. But we do believe that states ought to have the right to decriminalize certain forms and amounts of marijuana, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes. Equally important, if a state passes a law decriminalizing marijuana or some other soft drug, then this state needs to develop safety standards and intoxication tests for those driving under the influence of soft drugs, just as it has for alcohol consumption.

Abortion rights and wrongs. Pro-Cons believe that late-term abortions and partial-birth abortions are abhorrent and immoral and ought to be illegal. Moreover, these specific “term” issues ought to be decided on a national level, not a state level since it involves the clear choice of whether innocent life lives or dies.

Beyond this late-term position, Pro-Cons will differ. I personally believe that early-term abortions ought to be legal (as in Roe v. Wade), safe, extremely rare, and decided at the state level. I am pro-choice and pro-life. How is this so-called straddling possible?

Consistent with Roe v. Wade, women should be able to have legal and safe abortions. But as a way to make abortions less frequent, teenagers should have to get permission from their parent(s) before being able to get an abortion. Moreover, we should attach a strong social stigma to those who do get abortions. Finally, when parents fail in their roles and responsibilities as sex educators, then religious organizations and schools need to assume the roles as complementary sex educators.

Libertarians and even some FiSo-Cons have taken the Bush Administration to task for its “compassionate conservatism” strategy. These critics believe that compassionate conservatism is nothing more than a clever political ploy to expand the welfare state at a slower rate than would liberals. This slow-growth outcome may eventually become the unintended consequences of compassionate conservatism, instead of shrinking the welfare state.

Pro-Cons believe that the practice and rhetoric of compassionate conservatism serve another role. Pragmatically, this strategy allows conservatives to introduce incentive-based welfare reforms. Rhetorically, this strategy allows conservatives to trump the narrative of liberals’ “social justice.” Like Friedrich Hayek, we believe that the construct of “social justice” is largely a facade for income and wealth re-redistribution via government.


IV. Foreign Policy and International Relations

Pro-Cons stake claim to the metaphor of Eagles. We are neither doves nor hawks.

Following the lead of Walter Russell Mead’s four-school categorization in Special Providence: American Foreign Policy And How It Changed The World, we can allocate accordingly the six sub-brands: Jefferson School (Classical Liberals, Paleo-Cons, Libertarians), Hamilton School (FiSo-Cons, Pro-Cons), Jackson School (FiSo-Cons, Pro-Cons), and Wilson School (Neo-Cons).

I would posit that there is now a historical fifth school: The Reagan School. David Brooks recently wrote that “During his presidency, Reagan pushed authoritarian regimes toward democracy.” I would venture that FiSo-Cons, Neo-Cons, and Pro-Cons are in the best positions to stake their respective claims to the Reagan School of “peace through strength.” Time will tell who passes the test.

Pro-Cons reject the pure isolationism of Paleo-Cons and Libertarians. We agree with FiSo-Con Charles Kesler: “September 11’s attacks settled nothing on this score [conservatives acquiescing to the then present size and scope of government], except to perhaps discredit the most extreme forms of libertarian anti-statism [as they relate to foreign policy and international relations].

Pro-Cons also reject (some of) the Neo-Cons’ “world policeman” strategies. We do believe in the proposition of “peace through strength” and advocate an aggressive pursuit of global terrorism. But military action may not always prove to be the best remedy. Think of Pro-Cons as “constrained” Neo-Cons.

Pro-Cons certainly reject the Liberal-Con(fidence) School. Former Senator Gary Hart offers the latest tall-tell-tale for Liberal-Cons in Fourth Power: A Grand Strategy for the United States in the 21st Century.

Does the world really require another (inevitably failed) set of super international government organizations? In a recent book panel and promotion, Sen. Hart ventured that we need an UN2 or Global EPA. (Someone needs to send Sen. Hart a copy of Hayek’s Fatal Conceit!)

Pro-Cons advocate the freer-flow of resources within and between nations. These resources include financial capital, physical capital, intangible information capital, and human capital. But our general decision rule must be placed in the context of social systems and contingencies. Pro-Cons are not pure-play advocates.

Pro-Cons believe that a nation has a right and obligation to protect who and what comes and goes across its border. Pro-Cons are at odds with both Paleo-Cons and Libertarians on immigration policy. Unlike Paleo-Cons, we do not think that the US should adopt a closed-door policy. Unlike Libertarians, we do not think that the US should have a wide-open door policy.

Milton Friedman has acknowledged that a wide-open door policy doesn’t work well in the context of an attractive welfare state. And in a post-9-11 world, even if the welfare state were not a magnet, the United States may not ever enjoy the luxury good of completely free and totally open borders.

Pro-Cons do believe that immigrants who have come here legally ought to be rewarded for their behavior. As a matter of justice as fairness and justice as due process, legal immigrants ought to be awarded citizenship as the current law dictates. This citizenship process must include some kind and degree of government-sanctioned assimilation criteria, including the ability to speak and understand a minimal level of English.

Adam Smith’s explanations about the division of labor and specialization and David Ricardo’s insights about the law of comparative advantage help us better understand the benefits of international trade, market-oriented capitalism, and globalization. But how do freer-flow advocates sell the benefits to those who only see the costs of globalization through their interpretative lenses?

One set of constructive solutions has been developed by Hernando De Soto, the 2004 winner of the Milton Friedman Prize for the Advancement of Liberty. In The Mystery Of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, De Soto argues that in many countries people have not been given formal and legal property titles to their assets. These assets are “dead capital” and cannot be used as secured leverage to obtain additional credit. Government’s role should be to develop legal systems that efficiently register and recognize these property titles.

Pro-Cons support the movement toward freer and fairer international trade. Unless and until free-trade advocates incorporate both the language and institutions of fairer trade as part of their narrative on globalization, neither free nor freer trade will diffuse widely.

Like De Soto, Pro-Cons see a role for government. Freer and fairer trade agreements should compensate capital and labor interests that are directly affected under the new trade regime. For capital, businesses would receive a series of tax credits that would last three to five years. For labor, employees would receive a series of education tax credits and grants for retraining that would last one to three years.

Pro-Cons would also support some level of environmental side-constraints that forces firms to more fully internalize some of their external environmental costs, which arise from poorly defined property rights.

To be sure, capital interests and labor interests will negotiate protectionist measures under the guise of fairer trade to protect their positions, independent of whether they compete in an infant or mature industry. Pro-Cons do not believe that these relatively limited roles for government puts us on a slippery slope toward economic nationalism or protectionism, which has been supported by Paleo-Cons and many liberal interest groups.


V. Mixing Metaphors—Shaken, Not Stirred

Metaphors matter, whether the discourse is about brand goods or brand politics!

In a technical sense, metaphor is the economist’s model. In If You’re So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise, Donald McCloskey identifies the rhetorical tetrad: logic, fact, story, and metaphor. The philosopher’s model is “logic”; the historian’s model is “fact”; the literary writer’s model is “story”; the economist’s model is “metaphor.” But in a less technical sense, metaphor applies across all narratives and helps us to better understand one thing in terms of another.

Linguists and literary purists discourage and disparage and even purge those who would dare mix their metaphors. But we Pro-Con fusionists encourage the mixing, whether we heed the drink-mix request of James Bond “Shaken, Not Stirred” or choose another variation such as “Stirred, Not Shaken.”

For now, we shake and stir the Pro-Con metaphors of Sunflower, Software, and Spanglish.

The Sunflower is a robust plant. Its roots run deep. Its stalks tower sky high. On the semi-arid, Montana heights at 6,000 feet elevation, it can grow from a seed to a 7-foot memorable monument in fewer than four months. Its colors redefine aesthetics.

Software is the brain, if hardware is the body. Software can be evolutionary. Its releases may be slight modifications such as Release 1.0 and Release 1.1. Software can be revolutionary. “Killer apps” such as spreadsheets, web browsers, search engines, web logs, and electronic markets give new meaning to Joseph Schumpeter’s concept of capitalism’s “creative destruction.”

Spanglish is the slight convergence and not so subtle fusion of Spanish and English. In one context, Spanglish carries a negative connotation. If you speak Spanglish, you are not speaking the formal Queen’s English or the King’s Spanish and are considered uneducated.

In another context, Spanglish is Hayek personified (Friedrich, not the actress Salma). In Hayek’s frame, language is an example of a spontaneously evolved institution. It has form and function and order. It is not the product of central government planning. In Living In Spanglish: The Search For Latino Identify In America, Ed Morales reaches this conclusion: “If you are a dreamer, like me, you know that we are moving toward a Spanglish hemisphere. That is, an America that is united, a region where the inevitable mixing of north and south comes to full fruition.”


VI. The Right Word: Spheres and Fears of Progress and Progressives

“Progress! No word comes more often or more naturally to the lips of modern man, as if the things it stands for were almost synonymous with life itself.”

Whose wise words were these…Woodrow Wilson or the ever optimistic, forward-looking, Morning-In-America Ronald Wilson Reagan?

Historically, conservatives and libertarians have fought and found fault with Progressive reforms. From John Dewey on education to Gifford Pinchot on forests to Frederick Taylor on work environment to Teddy Roosevelt on trust-busting and imperial adventures, Progressives got it ALL wrong. Progressives could do no right in the mind of the right!

Recently, Charles Kesler criticized both the process and candidate in California’s 2003 recall efforts to oust governor Gray Davis. Why? Because direct democracy--the use of recall, initiative, and referendum—can fuel the passions of the masses. Direct democracy violates the principle of representative (indirect) democracy.

Charles Kesler wrote that “Progressivism…is the father of direct democracy in California…. There’s no more vivid canvas of Progressive hopes and illusions than California.” Kesler also thought that candidate Schwarzenegger was the wrong candidate for change because “He embodies so many Progressive predilections.” (“Recalling Political Science,” Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2003, www.claremont.org/writings/crb/fall2003/kesler.html.)

Like many Libertarians, Pro-Cons agree with Governor Schwarzenegger on many issues. While some may characterize Schwarzenegger as a small “l” libertarian, we would more accurately characterize him as a Progressive Conservative. Pro-Cons certainly agree with many of the direct democracy "empowerment" tools, whether the roots find their way to Progressivism or Populism or Conservatism.

Don’t call me “Liberal” anymore!

Post-1984, the Brookings Institution no longer refers to itself as “Liberal.” (If you do an internal Brookings search for “Progressive” and “Liberal,” the internal search produces 223 sources for “Progressive” and 289 for “Liberal” as of August 2004.)

Brookings researcher and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne did not use “liberal” in the subtitle of his 1995 book, They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate The Next Political Era.

The Democratic Leadership Council named its idea pool the Progressive Policy Institute. In 2004, the George Soros-financed think tank chose a curious name: The Center for American Progress (as opposed to against American Progress).

While market makers fear the use of “Progressive,” they do not fear the label of “Progress.” The libertarian-leaning Progress and Freedom Foundation apparently valued (and branded) Progress as its lead positioning word over Freedom. Virginia Postrel, a past editor of libertarian Reason, titled her book The Future And Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress.

Our brief review of Progressivism gives rise to the following question. Is there not a single Progressive reform, whether from the 1870s to the 1920s period or more contemporary periods, that the various sub-brands of Conservatism can identify as constructive and positive and progress sustaining? Pro-Cons do believe that there was (some) progress in the Progressive Era.

Pro-Cons will yield neither the content nor the package of “progress” to liberals. Pro-Cons will not surrender the present or the future use of “progressive” to liberals. As conservatives, we reclaim and wear proudly the progress and progressive mantles!


VII. The Pro-Cons’ Tablets

What are the sacred writings for Pro-Cons? To be sure, we would lay claim to many of those sources identified by Charles Kesler and William F. Buckley’s Keeping The Tablets: Readings in Modern American Conservative Thought and by David Boaz’s The Libertarian Reader. One source we would add is Peter Berger’s The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions about Prosperity, Equality, and Liberty. Libertarians and conservatives rarely invoke Berger as a leading light. If they do, it is never for this work of Berger’s.

Peter Berger, Director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture at Boston University, is an economic sociologist. As such, he puts Capitalism and Democracy to the formal empirical test. As Milton Friedman has stated, “I do not have faith in free markets; I have evidence about free markets.”

A few critics may suggest that we admire the process or method of Peter Berger, but that Berger does not provide much of any vision. Indeed, Berger does not provide any romantic vision or sugar-coated version of capitalism in the vein of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. But Berger does provide us with a series of testable propositions and hypotheses and a credible way to interpret the capitalism and democracy discourse.

A second tablet that we Pro-Cons would initially add to our canons is Michael Novak’s The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. Novak provides the religious and moral context of capitalism. And he leaves us with this observation: “Building a humane social order is not a task for one generation merely. It is a journey of a thousand years. For democratic capitalism, barely two hundred have been traversed.”


VIII. Wishbones of Hayek and Reagan

In The Constitution of Liberty, F.A. Hayek’s terminal chapter is titled “Why I Am Not A Conservative.” Since its 1960 publication, American anti-statist conservatives and capital “L” Libertarians have been pulling on Hayek from both sides, each claiming that Hayek was a “true” conservative or an “authentic” Libertarian. Apparently, Libertarians pulled the hardest, ended up with the biggest side of the Hayek wishbone, and ultimately won the wish since the Cato Institute has an auditorium named after Hayek.

Like the Hayek wishbone, the Reagan wishbone has been pulled hard since the 1960s. Since Ronald Reagan’s death (indeed, even before Reagan’s death), all sub-brands of conservatism have claimed an intellectual pull of Reagan in their tribute columns. Why we all make a claim on Ronald Reagan is understandable, especially in light of Michael Novak’s 1999 speech celebrating Reagan’s 88th birthday. Novak reconstructs these four Reagan pillars: love of the American creed, individual liberty, opportunity, and to spread democracy around the world. (See Michael Novak, “Our Better Angels,” National Review Online, June 7, 2004.)

To date, the Reagan wishbone has not snapped with any of the five sub-brands holding the biggest side. But in time, with the addition of Pro-Cons, we may in the end hold the wishbone of Reagan. And our wish would be…the acknowledgement that Ronald Wilson Reagan most closely resembles a Pro-Con.


IX. Silber’s Change Management

In “The Fusionist Path,” Kenneth Silber concludes with two keen and key observations. He concludes that “The extremes cannot hold. Both conservatism and libertarianism have manifestations that are—deservedly—at the margins of American political life.” Next, he reaches this conclusion: “The center has changed…. Centrist politics gradually has become more amenable to limited government ideas. This raises the possibility of using center-right coalitions to enact policies compatible with fusionism.”

In this beta essay, I have sketched a skeleton with a few pieces of flesh. Many of my views coincide with those of Kenneth Silber and Andrew Sullivan. I challenge other conservative fusionists to present their sub-brand of conservatism.

For guidance, let us look to the insights of two leading historians. Michael McGerr offers this observation: “Progressivism was an ideology of the center.” Richard Hofstadter advances this assessment: “Pervasive as Progressivism was, it was not a fully articulated dogma which would have made all Progressives think alike.”

For inspiration, let us recall William Buckley’s laws of conservative content and supreme arbitration: “This doesn’t mean that the idea (‘conservatism’) is empty of structural content, merely that people disagree about what the content is. And there is, of course, no final authority on the matter, qualified to act as arbiter, nor should there be.”

Initially, many critics will falsely label Pro-Cons as “liberals in sheep’s clothing” or “sympathetic statist hegemons” or “nouveau apologists for the mixed-mixed economy” or “wannabe Democratic Leadership Council members” or “Dick Morris strangulation triangulation-ists” or “Com(promise)-Cons.”

No doubt, as we continue to construct the Pro-Con lexicon and discourse, we will face many doubters and slogan-shouters.

We say: “Let the Con-Fusion Continue!”


© Randy Piper (September 1, 2004)



Monday, November 15, 2004

Brand Democratic Party -- Lakoff as Linux...Moore IS Less & That's No Bull...Moose



What IS the future for the Brand Democratic Party?

That depends on what "Is, Is"!!

And the momentum of George Lakoff as the Metaphor Magician...or in Piper's Metaphor: "Lakoff as the Language Linux: Political Operating Systems--Metaphors or MetB4s or NetB8s!!"


Currently, there are four sub-brand suppliers for the Democratic Party.

(1) Democratic Leadership Council (Sen. Joe Lieberman & Friends).

The DLCPPIers can be found at www.NDOL.org.

I highly recommend Marshall Wittmann's Bull Moose Blog... www.BullMooseBlog.com ...BUT...the "real" Bull Moose Blog can be found at www.BullMooseRepublicans.com ... and check out my Patron Blog AD there this week!!

(2) The Carville-Clintonistas.

Unfortunately, former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton and their FOB&H band try to straddle most issues at most times. At times, Bill-Hill are firmly in the DLC sub-brand. Other times, they are in the (3) camp. This (2) sub-brand subscribes to what I call "Dick Morris Strangulation-Triangulation."

(3) The Goreless-Deaniacs-LBJ (aka Kos Kossaks).

Reincarnate the "Great" Society as the Great Environmental Society...this sub-brand wants to return to the LBJ Texas roots. The Goreless-Deaniacs think they are "authentic" Dems...and that the DLCers are the false prophets who profit.


(4) The Naderite-Green Party.

Like it or not, the Green Party will continue to act as a near perfect substitute for the Goreless-Deaniacs. Given their global socio-political presence (and presents), the Greens will be able to entice Dem-voters for decades to come.


Update: "All the world, a Metaphor"

Before reading and reviewing George Lakoff's works (and to best understand Lakoff's cognition paradigm), I recommend that you read these works in the following order:

(1) If You're So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise (Donald McCloskey, 1990)

From Simile (explicit comparison) to Metaphor (implied comparison), McCloskey provides us the rhetorical tetrad: Logic (Philosopher's Model), Fact (Historian's Model), Story (Literary Writer's Model), and Metaphor (Economist's Model).

For Pro-Con Metaphors (Sunflower, Software, Spanglish), see my essay "Diffusion of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand."

(2) Images Of Organization (Gareth Morgan, 1986)

If you are satisified with the economist's mind and model of the theory of the firm (organization)...where the firm equals the present value of future cash flows (Period!), then do Not read Morgan.

But if you would like 10 or so new metaphors for interpreting and talking about the theory and practice of firms, then read Morgan!

(3) How Customers Think: Essential Insights Into The Mind Of The Market (Gerald Zaltman, 2003)

How do we process information and conceive and express the world? Metaphors Matter...regardless of the roles we humans assume!

(4) Metaphors We Live By (George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, 2003, revised edition)

(5) Moral Politics: How Liberals And Conservatives Think (George Lakoff, 2002, second edition)

For the Social Conservative sub-brand of Conservatism, Prof. Lakoff is mostly on point (or rather on mind) regarding the Grand Unifying Metaphor (GUM) of "Strict Father."

But for the other 5 sub-brands of Conservatism, Lakoff is off...base and out of the ball park!

(6) Don't Think Of An Elephant!: Know Your Values And Frame The Debate (George Lakoff, November 2004)

Howard Dean wrote the Foreward.

For more on framing via Metaphors, see www.DemSpeak.com.

For a liberal critique of Lakoff, see "Wooden Frame: Is George Lakoff Misleading Democrats?" (Noam Scheiber, The New Republic, May 17, 2005)

May The Metaphor Be With You!!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Brand Libertarian Party -- From 1980 Craniacs to 2004 Borders' Re-Branding

Reality Check for the Libertarian Party!

1980 LP Presidential Candidate Ed Clark: 921,299 votes

2004 LP Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik: 370,000 votes

24-Year Return on Investment: "Priceless"


Last week at www.LewRockwell.com, 1996 & 2000 LP Presidential Candidate Harry Browne argued that national vote totals were an irrelevant metric for "success."

On Thursday, November 11 at www.TechCentralStation.com, Max Borders offered a vision for re-branding and re-positioning the Libertarian Party. Unfortunately, Orthodox Libertarians at Lew Rockwell's Blog once again criticized Max Borders for his thoughtful and innovative recommendations.

I say "once again" because first in September and next in October at TCS, Max Borders challenged Libertarian Orthodoxy with a defense...or better yet...with an offense...for Libertarian Hawks. The L-Hawks challenged the L-Orthodoxy about strict military isolationism.
Max Borders' 2 TCS articles led to Cato hosting a conference on the L-Hawk topic, which was moderated by the "always Johnny-Cash-esque, dressed-in-black, anarchist-fashion-statement" and Reason editor Nick Gillespie.

A Lesson from the 1980s...

In 1980, Ed Crane and the so-called Craniacs tried to modify the LP position and re-brand the LP. On a sunny Sunday at Stanford University--where I was attending a Cato University seminar--Murray Rothbard--who I was standing next to--got one of his many admirers to question Ed Clark in public at an LP rally, which was covered by NBC nationally.

On the Stanford Campus, the Rothbardian devotee shouted out to presidential candidate Ed Clark during Q&A: "Why have you compromised the LP position on the legalization of hard drugs such as heroin?"

(I should know since I was the one who posed the question to Ed Clark.)

Well...as we know, the Rothbard "purists" indicted the Craniacs for selling out the LP...and its "Party of Principle" position.

Fast forward 24 years...and as we know, the Rockwell-Rothbard "purists" have indicted Max Borders for daring to re-brand and re-position the LP.

As a former card-carrying LP member and former Rothbard-Rockwell devotee, I congratulate Max Borders (and others) for their constructive insights on L-Hawks and the Libertarian Party.

Unfortunately, L-Hawks can't and won't fly...so we welcome them all to the Progressive Conservative Eagle.

And unfortunately, Max Borders' insightful suggestions about re-positioning the LP will not be heard.

Max...ask Ed Crane why he left the Libertarian Party after the 1980 election??


Friday, November 12, 2004

Master Brand Conservatism: Intellectual Capital

Welcome to the World of Brand Politics!

We can view Conservatism as a socio-political "master" brand.

Quick...name the 6 sub-brands of Conservatism.

We got (1) Classical Liberals, (2) Libertarians, (3) Paleo-Cons, (4) Neo-Cons, and (5) Fi-So Cons, the pre-Reagan coalition of fiscal and social conservatives.

And now the new brand...(6) Pro-Cons...as in Progressive Conservatism.

Early 2005, I will begin a more systematic introduction of the Pro-Con brand.