The Thing That Used to Be Conservatism…

…meets Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

The videos do nicely illustrate the five stages of dying. But there is something ridiculous about David Frum, the guy who wrote the famous bull of excommunication against unpatriotic conservatives who did not support his ridiculous utopian End to Evil project of peace through militarized capitalism in Iraq, now lecturing the right on how they have been fleeced, exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex. Right message, wrong messenger.

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  • Obpoet

    And the firings begin. This could get ugly. I wonder what the unemployment rate in the new year will be?

    • Ted Seeber

      I read that URL and was wondering just how big of a market share American Picket Manufacturers could possibly have in this day and age, when it is clearly cheaper to make pickets in Siberia where it is still legal to cut down forests.

  • Jen

    I gave a presentation on E. Kubler-Ross on Tuesday night. In giving examples to the class on where the 5 stages might be applied outside of death/grieving a death, I suggested they log on to Twitter later that night and the next morning, to get some examples of the 5 stages, from whichever party didn’t win. The denial, anger, and bargaining stages had already set in, amongst the GOP tweeters, by the time I got home from that.

    Overheard Rush Limbaugh braying on the radio this afternoon. He’s hovering between stage 1 (denial) and stage 2 (anger). I’m not sure he’s capable of stage 3 (bargaining).

  • The Deuce

    It’s especially ridiculous since Frum’s entire “solution” for conservatives can be boiled down to “Become leftists.”

    • Mark Shea

      The man is a remarkably chameleonic opportunist.

  • Mark R

    Yep, Chesterbelloc works as voterbait all the time.

  • R.C.


    Let me get this straight:

    Are we saying that, if Mitt Romney had held different positions, he would have…

    (a.) been sufficiently in accord with Church teachings that you would have voted for him;
    (b.) been more likely to win the election?

    …or are we, instead, saying that if Mitt Romney had held different positions, he’d have been able (depending on which positions he held) to EITHER

    (a.) be sufficiently in accord with Church teachings that you would have voted for him;
    (b.) be more likely to win the election,

    …but NOT both?

    I ask, because I fear it’s either/or, not both/and.

    I mean, let’s say that Mitt Romney’s positions had changed in the following ways:

    1. He supported outlawing abortion for any reason other than saving the pregnant woman from imminent death (and yes, I know, it’s not technically “abortion” but rather a life-saving medical procedure with the unavoidable consequence of killing the child, but I’m phrasing it the way the news media would phrase it); and,

    2. He supported reducing the American military budget by 25% or more and eliminating all American military presence outside North America; and,

    3. He supported life imprisonment for any U.S. government employee found guilty of using “enhanced interrogation techniques” on a terror suspect; and,

    4. Some other really big thing that you, Mark Shea, are angry at him about…not sure what else but basically I’m trying to give you your whole list.

    Okay. Let’s say he did all that.

    Would he then have won the 2012 election?

    It doesn’t look like it, to me.

    I ask, because I’m not sure which of the changes to “The Thing That Used To Be Conservatism” that would satisfy you would actually increase the odds of victories in issues you care about.

    Aren’t you, therefore, asking future presidential candidates to take a Quixotic approach to elections, in order to win your vote? Aren’t you telling them, “I care more about punishing your impurity than I do about punishing the party that’s even less pro-life and just launched an economic persecution of Christians, to boot” …?

    Mark, you’ve seen me comment here before, and over at National Catholic Register, and on InsideCatholic back in the day, and I hope I mostly strike you as sober-minded and willing to listen to reason. So I’m not trying to get your goat here.

    But I would like to put a challenge before you:

    Can you articulate changes to the Republican platform (and let’s assume the Republican candidate would exactly mirror the platform) which would have made election this year more likely AND which would simultaneously have increased the odds of winning the election?

    Or are you admittedly demanding, in order for your own vote to be won, a set of positions which will guarantee ongoing Quixotic defeats at the ballot-box?

    (To sum up, there are four questions: (1.) What other perfect policy position, if any, would it take to complete your list of ideal positions? and, (2.) Are you in fact telling them you want to punish friendly-party impurity more than you want to punish enemy-party emnity? and, (3.) Can you design a platform which both wins your vote and wins more votes in the nation? and, (4.) or are you demanding pure-but-quixotic candidates with not-a-snowball’s chance of winning?)

    • Mark Shea

      I gave a description of a conservatism that would look much healthier here:

      My interest were really quite minimal: don’t ask me to support grave intrinsic evils worthy of the fires of hell. Mitt supported several (including abortion “for the health of the mother”). I wasn’t I reiterate now for the billionth time, looking for perfection.

      Now that the party has lost yet again, I am simply trying to point out a few places where it continue to wrap itself in delusions (Obama is HITLER! Obama is a KENYAN MUSLIM wink wink. We don’t remember or talk about the Bush years, but they were good if anybody asks and the war was a great idea which the Church never opposed and torture is deeply Catholic and so on. The election was lost because so called American minorities just want free stuff from Santa Claus. Some of this folly is particularly germane to being Catholic. Some of it is simply stupid and imprudent. All of it is living in illusion and refusing to face facts. When somebody who is deeply sympathetic to Catholic values of live and religious liberty says “I struggle to support you, but conservatives generally make me and lots of people like me feel deeply unwelcome” the wise thing is not to dismiss that but stay with and think about it.

  • Conor Friedersdorf recommends conservative movement “disassociate itself with the poisonous Limbaugh.”

    I’ve gotten in trouble for this, but I contend that the evil of abortion is at least as evil as racism. That is, if support for racism is beyond the pale, then support for abortion should be beyond the pale. I suppose that some people think I’m making an either/or assertion, and maybe that I think the issue of racism should be pushed down, while the issue of abortion be elevated. I prefer the Catholic both/and in that supporters of racism and abortion should be shunned until they repent.

    It should be widely known that Planned Parenthood’s founder was the racist Margaret Sanger. The slogan for The Birth Control Review was “Birth Control: To Create a Race of Thoroughbreds.”

    It is horrifying that a billboard, which pointed out that babies aborted in New York are disproportionately black, was taken down because it was deemed racist. Perhaps it is, but it is certainly no more racist than Affirmative Action.

    I’ve some friends who are grumbling about Cardinal Dolan’s congratulation letter to President Obama. I think they’re wrong on the issue, but right in principle. They see the problem as one in which people don’t understand the gravity of the evil of abortion. I’m sure Cardinal Dolan gets it. But in the wider arena, Catholics don’t get it. There are friends of ours, fellow Catholics who voted Barrack Obama (he won the Catholic vote again; in the Pew poll which separates white Catholics from Hispanic Catholics, the percentage was over 70% of Hispanics). There are Catholics who say I’m personally opposed to abortion, but I won’t force my views on anyone. How would we react if the person said, “I’m personally opposed to racism, but I won’t force my views on anyone”?

    I expect that since at least half the population supports at least some access to legal abortion, such shunning won’t be effective (it seems to me that in order for shunning to be effective, the vast majority of the society has to agree on it). But I think we should be aggressive in working toward the day when abortion is seen as the grave evil it is.

    • Ted Seeber

      I think we really need to see deportation as a form of abortion. What, really, is the difference between terminating a pregnancy because we imagine the fetus to be unfit, and throwing somebody out of the country because we deem them to be unfit? Other than the murder- isn’t the real sin in labeling our fellow human beings as unfit?

      • Sam Schmitt

        On this logic, imprisoning anyone would be like abortion, because we deem the criminal them to be “unfit.”