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Failed Conservative Values Stories: Barbara, Carole, Nina on Dogmatism

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I'm starting a new series of articles on how Conservative Values have Failed.   It's obvious that conservative ideas and policies have failed, but the failures go even deeper to the very heart and essence of the conservative movement, to their Failed Conservative Values. In this series, we will pull back the mask of Conservative Family Values, Conservative Traditional Values,  individual freedom, individual responsibility, individual liberty, Compassionate Conservativism, etc. to reveal the underlying Failed Conservative Values of fear, authoritarianism, secrecy, dogmatism, greed, indifference, self-righteousness, arrogance, hypocrisy, etc.

I ask for your assistance to systematically build the arguments and tell the stories that reveal how Conservative Values have Failed. Join in our effort to create a documentary and book on the subject by contributing  articles, posts, chapters for the book and video clips. Check our website for more information and a growing outline of tasks that need to be done on this project.

The first failed conservative value we will look at is dogmatism. I interviewed Barbara, Carole and Nina at a conference of Democratic Clubs in Los Angeles. When I asked them to contrast conservative and progressive values, they all talked about conservative dogmatism and rigidity. Conservative dogmatism starts with the beliefs first and fit the facts to support them. The war and occupation of Iraq is a case in point. If the facts don't fit the dogma, they are ignored. 


Failed Conservative Values: Barbara Levin on Dogmatism

My own feeling and my own prejudice is that people on the right are believers rather than thinkers. And they start with the belief, and they fix the facts around their beliefs. That’s how we got into Iraq, under the memo that says, as you know, we’re fixing the facts around the policy that’s already established.

You start with a belief, then you fix the facts to go with your belief. And they do that with gay people, they decide that it’s a chosen lifestyle, because they start with a premise that it’s wrong, and if it’s wrong, it can’t be something you’re born with – it has to be chosen. That is a classic example of fixing the facts around the policy.

And I think they do that with a number of things. I think they listen to code words, and then don’t think through what these things actually mean. So family values – what does that mean? To most people on the right, I think it means anti-gay, it used to be anti-black, anti-woman, anti-change. Because they’re used to the universe as they believe it was created. And they think the universe was created as the way they see it existing. And therefore, any change is against the natural order of things. Because the natural order of things is what’s already there – what they’re used to.

Progressive, as the name implies, is always pushing for change, which conservatives, who are anti-change, hate. They are uncomfortable with it. And progressives look for progress – as the name implies. Progress means change of a specific kind, not just any old change, but change to improve people’s lives. Change for betterment, change for economic justice. Change for legal justice, for social justice. Change that will improve conditions for the most number of people.

That’s what progressive values are all about, as the name implies. And conservative values are about, “I’m used to this. Change is threatening. I don’t want change.” I mean, the right likes to have their version morality as very static, “God wants things this way, and this way is the way it is”. And that’s their idea of morality. They start with the rule, and then they use their idea of morality which is to use morality to judge people. So people are bad if they don’t obey the rule.

Progressive values start with the premise being people.  That which helps people is good. That which hurts people is bad. And then they use people to judge the rule. So, if the rule helps people, it’s a good rule. And if the rule hurts people, it’s a bad rule and should be changed.

Failed Conservative Values:  Carole Marie on Rigidity

Conservatives values, just um, are very ridged and they deal with almost religious family. From a certain type of religion, which I'm very well aware of because I'm from Okalahoma.  and I know the religion,  I know why they frame it that way.

We need an enlarged support system around our families - education, health care.

More expanded  caring feeling, much more accessible to humans, and egalitarian so to speak.   Whereas republican values is very ridged, very focused, you have to be a certain type of religion or mind set. Whereas we are this large supportive caring type of feeling.

Failed Conservative Values: Nina Sharky on Dogmatism


Conservative values are based on beliefs, not the world around us.  This has nothing to do with religion, because I think there are religious progressives, and there are religious “conservatives”.  There is a belief among the conservatives that I know that there is right and wrong, and those people that are not in their mind right, have no rights.

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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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Can you pose some questions about conservatives an... by Edwin Rutsch on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 12:17:15 PM
What are the progressive alternative values to dog... by Edwin Rutsch on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 12:17:58 PM
What are other examples of  conservative dogm... by Edwin Rutsch on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 12:19:55 PM
In what other ways have Conservative Values Failed... by Edwin Rutsch on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 12:20:57 PM
(   ) authoritarianism  (I'll e... by Edwin Rutsch on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 1:09:09 PM
the biggest failure of conservatism is greed.Money... by liberalsrock on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 7:55:53 AM
I'll be posting a few Failed Conservative Valu... by Edwin Rutsch on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 11:16:37 AM
Economic libertarianism is a failure too. Conserva... by Ty on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 6:51:29 PM
I'm not clear on what they are about.. they sa... by Edwin Rutsch on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 7:08:16 PM
I don't know what libertarians you've been... by Darren Wolfe on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 6:52:44 AM
it seems to value freedom over empathy. From the l... by Edwin Rutsch on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 11:28:52 AM
Edwin,You wrote:  valuing ... by Darren Wolfe on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 7:41:42 AM
When you said, " people on the right are beli... by kanawah on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 7:50:27 PM
First of all, this topic is a horrible can of worm... by Ivan Hentschel on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 8:03:40 PM
OEN is happy to have this "research" don... by Rob Kall on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 8:55:06 PM
I'm interested in all directions, libertariani... by Edwin Rutsch on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 11:45:45 PM
You are certainly barking up the wrong tree. Don&#... by Wolfie on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 10:56:10 PM
No one mentioned morals.. No one mentioned right a... by Edwin Rutsch on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 11:59:50 PM
I just saw that one of the interviewees did mentio... by Edwin Rutsch on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 12:16:52 AM
Why have standards or values if your standards res... by Wolfie on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 12:38:55 AM
I'd say principles rest on values. As mentione... by Edwin Rutsch on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 12:52:16 AM
 As an !activist! I am a late poster-too much... by shirley reese on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 12:35:02 PM
I've been thinking about conservative con... by Edwin Rutsch on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 12:58:24 PM
ED, I started my career as a businessman-entrepren... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 12:38:39 PM
if you had a list of Failed Conservative Values, I... by Edwin Rutsch on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 3:09:56 PM
At some point, during a philosophical discussion w... by Anne Kennedy Rackham on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 1:59:44 PM
What I've seen related to this is you argue wi... by Edwin Rutsch on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 3:06:17 PM