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Failed Conservative Values: All about Greed

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There is sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.  Mahatma Gandhi

I interviewed people around the Democracy for America booth at the California Democratic Party Convention in San Jose.  I asked people how have conservative values failed?  It surprised   me how many responded that the conservative value of greed was the biggest failure.   Here are some of the comments.

Dan Healy

Failed Conservative Values: Dan Healy on Greed & Force

The word conservative is even more abused than the word progressive, I think.  But I guess in its current incarnation of those phrases, I think the word conservative literally means “I’m out for me”, and the word progressive means “We are out for we” at his most basic analysis.  That’s how things seem to look right now.

Greed is a value.  And again, if you think of the word conservative -- and I think even what a lot of conservatives think they are – they would reject that label.  But I think greed obviously as a conservative value is “I’m going to look out for me, and who cares about you”.  That is in a lot of ways a core conservative value, and it’s clearly not working, and has never worked, and it never will work.  And that’s kind of the bedrock one.

In terms of the context of due process, the idea kind of broader in the sense of war, the idea that force is a value that works.  Folks that consider themselves conservative -- which one would think is restrictive – are actually the most aggressive in terms of the use of force. 

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The use of force in context of how we police ourselves, the use of force in terms of how we execute our foreign policy.  That’s clearly a failure, and it’s one that people are hopefully coming to realize. 

Failed Conservative Values: Don on Greed is Good


This is Don at the Democratic Convention in San Jose.  I’m being asked by the cameraman here what was the failed conservative value.  As far as I can see, the key conservative value – I don’t know if it’s failed. 

The underlying fundamental conservative value is greed is good.  If everyone acts entirely in their own self interest, it will make the best of all possible worlds.  I’m not sure that that’s failed.  But that is the operating value.

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And other things flow from that.  What about people who fall by the wayside?  Perhaps because they’re not big enough or that they didn’t act fully in their self interest, that they fell by the wayside.

That’s another conservative value that follows from the first one – that people who do not act in their own self interest do not deserve anything and should fall by the wayside.

Another conservative value is that if people band together in their own self interest and oppose the very greedy, that’s wrong, because they are overcoming the will of the strong. 

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Founder of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. The Culture of Empathy website is a growing portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, (more...)

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Most sociopaths are way beyond greed.  They w... by John Hanks on Sunday, Jun 1, 2008 at 1:43:03 PM