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Thread: The Tragedy of Our Commons

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    The Tragedy of Our Commons

    As a follow up on The New Right Takes on Big Tech, The Tragedy of Our Commons presents cultural commentator Alex Kaschuta’s speech at the National Conservatism Conference held last week in Miami which highlighted the campaign of the “New Right” to fight against the power of Big Tech and social media. Alex Kaschuta is from Transylvania, Romania, so this will have a European view from which American politics are viewed as slightly different versions of liberalism.

    As conservatives, one of the most important questions we face today is: What is there to conserve? A growing number of people are starting to realize that the answer is not: the liberal victories of ten years ago.

    ...We need to understand that the Left worships pure autonomy. Every allegiance you have to kin and kind, every institution, every tradition, every category you use to make sense of the world is an insult to pure autonomy. Your pleas for freedom sound incoherent to the Left.

    ...The old framing that splits politics between individualism concerned with freedom, and collectivism concerned with equality, is a cloak that disguises the fact that both Left and Right have been practicing the same worship of autonomy—one is just lagging a bit behind, but always, always catches up. The game is rigged. We lose.

    If the role of conservatism should be more than to play the heel to the Left’s permanent revolution, and to lose beautifully on every front, every time, there must be a clear picture of what improvement would look like outside of the framing of the Left. So, I’d like to propose a new framing.

    ...There are other domains of human life that I believe are best viewed as commons, as emergent, critical societal assets prone to careless destruction by unsustainable use, less tangible than pasture land, but in many ways, much more important in our daily lives.

    Looking either at the individual or specific collectives does not offer a complete picture of our current or potential dysfunction or the levers that we have at our disposal to improve. I believe most decadence happens in the space in between, the mesh that ties us all together or fails to do so.

    The intangible commons, I believe, offer a new perspective on what we, as conservatives, should be stewarding, beyond the individual vs. collective binary.

    The easiest way to understand the intangible commons is that they create our societal default setting. This emerges from the relationships, technologies, and incentives present in that society. It always takes effort to move past the default, and whatever the default is, will be “chosen” by most people.

    ...my focus today is on the family, I want to highlight one of our most critical and most mismanaged commons of all: our relationships.

    ...The problem, and the secret here that would give away the game, is that our desires are not our own. They do not spring forth unassisted from a mysterious little homunculus piloting you from behind the eyes. They arise from our bonds to each other, our culture, our obligations, and our hierarchies. Once those bonds are severed, admittedly, some may be freed to reach for the stars, but most are more likely seduced by an ever-deepening gutter.

    ...Equating freedom to the ever-expanding autonomy to investigate and pursue our authentic desires means enslavement to those capable of manipulating and creating those desires. The end state of both Left and Right-flavored autonomy worship is enslavement to the state. No man is an island, and the managerial superstructure knows this. If things continue down this path, the only thing we will soon have in common is our dependence on the state/corporate behemoth.
    To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss. ― Michael Joseph Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays

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    If the role of conservatism should be more than to play the heel to the Left’s permanent revolution, and to lose beautifully on every front, every time, there must be a clear picture of what improvement would look like outside of the framing of the Left.

    One problem is that while progressives will often overreach and lose a number of battles they are persistent and never stop pushing, so over time the permanent revolution is being advanced.
    Your Trump Derangement Syndrome is NOT my problem!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RMNIXON View Post
    One problem is that while progressives will often overreach and lose a number of battles they are persistent and never stop pushing, so over time the permanent revolution is being advanced.
    Right, and if conservatives restrain themselves to being reactionary to the left, they will always be fighting a losing battle.
    To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss. ― Michael Joseph Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Right, and if conservatives restrain themselves to being reactionary to the left, they will always be fighting a losing battle.
    Conservatives are by nature reactionary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1469 View Post
    Conservatives are by nature reactionary.
    That needs to change.
    To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss. ― Michael Joseph Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    That needs to change.
    The new GOP has, but it is nationalist progressive that has conservative roots.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1469 View Post
    The new GOP has, but it is nationalist progressive that has conservative roots.
    Not sure I like mixing progressive in there but the "new right" does seem to have adopted some of its uses of government.
    To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss. ― Michael Joseph Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Not sure I like mixing progressive in there but the "new right" does seem to have adopted some of its uses of government.
    Sorry, I meant populist. Not progressive.
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