Left-Wing Pundit Blames “Untempered Individualism” for Ruining Today’s Conservatism

Don’t let that cool demeanor fool you. Left-wing Washington Post pundit E.J. Dionne cares deeply about the American right. He has “long admired the conservative tradition,” Dionne says in a recent column, especially “American conservatism’s most attractive features: prudence, caution and a sense that change should be gradual.” That’s why it pains him to see modern conservatism abandon “its communal roots” and instead embrace “untempered individualism, which betrays what conservatism has been and should be.”

Maybe it’s because I’m not a conservative, but “untempered individualism” doesn’t sound like such a bad thing to me. Dionne, however, is no fan of the stuff, and as far as he’s concerned, rampant individualism has made the American right go wrong. And just when did this terrible transformation occur? By a strange coincidence, Dionne started losing his affection for American conservatives almost immediately after Barack Obama became president:

[Obama] pitched communal themes from the moment he took office, declaring in his inaugural address that America is “bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions.” The more he emphasized a better balance between the individual and the community, the less interested conservatives became in anything that smacked of such equilibrium.

That’s why today’s conservatives can’t do business with liberals or even moderates who are still working within the American tradition defined by balance. It’s why they can’t agree even to budget deals that tilt heavily, but not entirely, toward spending cuts; only sharp reductions in taxes and government will do. It’s why they cannot accept (as Romney and the Heritage Foundation once did) energetic efforts by the government to expand access to health insurance. It’s why, even after a catastrophic financial crisis, they continue to resist new rules aimed not at overturning capitalism but at making it more stable.

In other words, E.J. Dionne thinks conservatism is great, so long as conservatives don’t actually get in the way of the progressive political agenda. How convenient.

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  • Barfman||

    *barf*

  • CockGobbla||

    E. J. Dionne: Rhodes Scholar, ladies and gentlemen.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Whatever happened to dissent is the highest form of patriotism?

    Oh yeah a democrat got elected pres.

  • tarran||

    If you purge the individualists out of the right, what's left?

    The Socons; the traditionalists; and the fascists of a right-wing variety.

    It's not the socons he wants to work with, and the traditionalists don't truck much with progressivism.

    Hmm. I wonder which group remains, and why Dione would think they'd play well with progressives?

  • Restoras||

    Birds of a feather...

  • BarryD||

    Good point. While I see fascism as an offshoot of early-20th-century leftist movements (which it certainly was), the way the modern progressive defines fascism is, essentially, "hard-right communalism", no?

    Dionne (little surprise) is advocating for fascism, here, if you listen to what he says.

  • Brandon||

    John?

  • Lord Humungus||

    not everyone wants to be part of the hive / collective / tribe / camp / village / commune / consortium / guild / union.

  • CockGobbla||

    .../fraternity/sorority/secret society/cult/religion/circle jerk/country club/pack/club/mailing list/chat room.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Plenty of people want to belong to *this* chat room.

  • Lord Humungus||

    it's like a secret society but the price of admission leaves permanent scars.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Um, did you believe Warty when he told you the price of admission was to go into the room alone with him?

  • Marshall Gill||

    Getting a sleeper hold put on you will really make your anus hurt.

  • Restoras||

    Really? Then why is it the same couple of dozen (at most!) that are responsible for 90% of the commentary?

    People don't want to be libertarians - people want other to make decisions for them. People don't want to be responsible for their own lives and actions - this is scary and full of pitfalls at every wrong turn and misstep. This is stressful and scary and people don't like feeling stressed and scared.

    Much easier to go with the hive than strike out on your own.

  • Rick O'Shay||

    That's right, because libertarians believe in too much government.

  • weslinder||

    That’s why today’s conservatives can’t do business with liberals or even moderates who are still working within the American tradition defined by balance.

    I would like to propose a ban on using the phrase "do business" to mean compromise politically. I don't think too many conservatives have any issues doing business with moderates and liberals, so long as their business interests allow. Most conservatives that I know only care about business person's political interests when they're buying political merchandise.

  • wareagle||

    let's flip the quoted part around and ask the same question: why can't liberals "do business" with conservatives? The answer is simple; the left defines compromise as you doing things its way.

  • Keith3D||

    their goal is an infinitely large and powerful welfare state, but they're willing to compromise for the time being and accept one half as big.

  • widget||

    I didn't find a youtube on this, but Steven Colbert did interview George Will (America's most popular conservative) about some book on baseball or whatever. During the interview Colbert got onto the religion subject. Will said he was agnostic, but not certain enough to be atheist. Colbert was befuddled for a moment, then composed himself.

  • CockGobbla||

    This needs repeating:

    Colbert, dude, the joke is old. At least Stewart didn't hitch himself to a tired gimmick...I mean, other than the tired "self-righteous, cynical liberal" gimmick.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Completely agree. It's a shame, too, since Colbert is clearly an extremely funny person and a great improviser and comedic actor. He has all the talents you would need to be hilarious on television but he's being boxed in by a premise well past it's time and a format more suited for a great stand-up like Stewart.

  • Loki||

    other than the tired "self-righteous, cynical liberal" gimmick.

    I don't think that's a gimmick on his part, it's just his actual personality. The cynical part I can handle, it's the self-righteosness and the liberalness that makes me want to kick him in the head.

  • wareagle||

    is it possible to be liberal without also being self-righteous?

  • Brandon||

    Theoretically.

  • Carston||

    Classical, not modern.

  • Proprietist||

    is it possible to be liberal any ideology without also being self-righteous?

    Come on, even libertarians get self-righteous all the time when we get into No True Scotsman mode.

  • Carston||

    Well, all other ideologies try and tell people how to live, where libertarianism says live however you want, just be prepared to deal with the consequences yourself.

    Some libertarians will try and tell other how to live, but a true libertarian will not want to put together laws to influence or force decisions, that's what the market is for.

  • Pi Guy||

    Personally, I feel that agnostics and atheists hold the same beliefs. It's just that atheist carries such a negative connotation that many noon-believers feel as though they have to cover their ass with "I'm not sure."

    Well, neither are atheists, any more than are believers. Atheists, from what I can tell, just don't start from the premise that gods exist and try to work backwards to prove that they don't exist.

    Comedian Julia Sweeney tells a joke about when she told her mother for the first time that she was an atheist. Her mother apparently said something to the effect of "Honey - you might be an agnostic but not and atheist?

    And I can tell you from personal experience that this is a very common characterization.

  • Pi Guy||

    and the midnight-believers

    *just wanted to beat y'all to it*

  • T||

    I'm using Nick Gillespie's 'apatheist' neologism from here on out. I just don't care.

  • CockGobbla||

    From what I know, "agnostic" was coined by Thomas Huxley to avoid controversy when he went on the academic circuit to talk about evolution.

    But, from what I understand, it indeed is possible to be both an agnostic and an atheist...In fact, it might actually be necessary.

    Agnostic deals with HOW you KNOW.

    Atheism deals with WHAT you BELIEVE.

    It's possible to be open to the possibility of a god's existence should the evidence be presented, but at the same time, fall into a de facto disbelieve of god's existence until such evidence is presented.

  • CockGobbla||

    Oops, that should say "de facto state of unbelief".

  • Rasilio||

    Yes one can be both Atheist and Agnostic as each word refers to a different thing.

    Agnostic refers to what you know

    Atheist refers to what one believes

    Ao one could be

    Agnostic Atheist (I don't know if god exists but I don't believe it to be so)

    Gnostic Atheist (I know that there is no god and therefore I don't believe in it)

    Agnostic Theist (I don't know that god exists but I believe it does)

    Gnostic Theist (I know that god exists and therefore believe in him/her/it)

  • robc||

    The problem with that terminology is that Gnostic has another specific meaning.

  • BarryD||

    This has already been dealt with: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N.....ve_atheism

    Positive or Strong Atheism: The belief that there is no god.

    Negative or Weak Atheism: No belief in a god.

  • Loki||

    noon-believers

    Those kooks who actually believe that there's a specific time each day when the sun is at its highest point in the sky are just whack-a-doodles.

  • MJGreen||

    Yep, similar experience for me. My mother seemed OK that my brother declared himself an agnostic, but shocked when I said I was an atheist.

    Though personally, I try to stick to ignostic/theological noncognitivist, if there is time to explain it and I think people care about the difference.

  • Proprietist||

    There's a difference. Atheists are sure there isn't a god, agnostics aren't sure there isn't a god.

    Then there's us ignostics who aren't sure what you mean when you say "God." The asker's definition of God is required before I can determine whether I am a theist, atheist or agnostic. If God is nature, the universe, life, the sum of natural law or a psychological invention - I'm a theist. If God is the unknown or undefined creator of the universe, I'm an agnostic, since I don't know whether or not the universe was "created". If God is a dude up there in the clouds judging me and wanting me to follow the Bible, the Koran or any religious text written by humans, I'm an atheist.

  • ||

    Another goddamn Washington weenie. Fuck.

  • Drake||

    Look at those tiny little fists all bunched up and that mad expression. Like a newborn that lost the teat. That is one mad little pansy.

  • Ice Nine||

    Mad? I think he is merely emphatically pointing out the eminent punchability of his face.

  • ||

    That's what I was thinking! They really are weirdly small and puny

  • ||

    It's an optical illusion caused by the fact that he's wearing a balloon suit. Actually he's proportionally small and puny.

  • ||

    *weirdly* small and puny

  • ||

    Dionne is a caricature straight out of Atlas Shrugged, I swear.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    He even has a ridiculous toady-esque name like those Rand assigned to most of her villains.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Dionne, Dana Milbanks and Katrina vanden Heuval belong at one of Lillian Rearden's cocktail parties.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Makes sense, he probably gets a hard-on for David Brooks. I'm imagining the post-taping sex parties for "Left, Right, and Center".

    I'm gonna' go puke now.

  • R C Dean||

    You'd think a sophisticated urban metrosexual would have a jacket that fits, and some non-hideous ties.

  • SugarFree||

    He's not a "sophisticated urban metrosexual," he's a policy wonk dweeb. Looking nerdy is his cohort's fashion sense.

  • R C Dean||

    Good point.

  • JW||

    What are you talking about? That's right out of the Brooks Bros. Little Toady collection.

  • Ska||

    Hey EJ, don't you have some offs to fuck?

  • Mensan||

    So, this guy works for the Ministry of Truth, huh?
    Conservatives have always been progressive.
    Congress has always worked together until a black president was elected.
    America is a Democracy.
    We have always been a collectivist society.
    We have always been at war with Eurasia.

  • Pi Guy||

    I thought we were at war with Eastasia?

  • fish||

    ROOM 101

  • Pro Libertate||

    If there's one thing that made us great, that was our focus on individual rights. The loss of that focus is what's screwing things up.

  • JW||

    You won't think that any longer, once you're fully absorbed.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Can I be a lawgiver? With a hollow tube of reprisal?

  • JW||

    Landru said I could be lawgiver! See if I trust His Omnipotence again!

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think they have openings for several. I'm ordering my hooded robe right now!

  • JW||

    Alright, I'l lbe a team player, but only if my staff is bigger and hollower!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Staffs must be uniform, per Landru, who must have the biggest staff, but you can have as hollow a staff as you want.

  • JW||

    Hmph. Glorious Leader's pet.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think you need to be re-absorbed.

  • Pi Guy||

    Assimilate!

  • ant1sthenes||

    Exterminate!

  • Bobarian||

    It's the whole Daleks vs. Cyberman debate...

    What side are you on?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Is there really *anyone* who prefers Cybermen? They're the people nerds give wedgies to.

  • Azathoth!!||

    At least the Borg look like they're into some seriously kinky techno-S+M

  • Marshall Gill||

    Don't you mean assimilated?

  • ||

    Yes, but that was tempered individualism. It's the untempered sort that's destroying the fabric of society!

  • Pro Libertate||

    We're plenty tempered--that's the problem.

  • JimDee||

    Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz – "The common good before the private good"; Rudolf Jung popularized it in his book Der Nationale Sozialismus, 1922, 2nd edition. This became Hitler's basic stance on the subordination of the economy to the national interest.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G....._Germany#G

  • ||

    EJ Dionne and David Brooks form an Axis of Something. Not Evil. But Something. Something... stupid and mildly nauseating.

    Maybe an Axis of the Subservient Minions of Evil.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Axis of Establishment Toadies?

  • SugarFree||

    The Torus of Ass-Tonguing

  • ||

    The Ouroboros of Heading?

  • JW||

    The Mobius Loop of Prostate Tickling.

  • ||

    The Infinity of Irrumatio.

  • Ska||

    They do deserve a nonstop face fucking, that much is true.

  • Loki||

    The Axis of State-Fluffing?

  • John||

    The Axis of Concern. They are always so concerned about conservatives and libertarians.

  • juris imprudent||

    Axis of banality.

    Whereas Thomas Friedman is wrapped around the axle.

  • wareagle||

    Dionne, however, is no fan of the stuff

    well, duh. Dionne is a liberal whose DNA requires strict opposition to anything that deviates from collectivism. Good grief; what's next? Another of Dionne's ilk proclaims gravity as limiting one's upward mobility?

  • aelhues||

    I don't think he has a clue what he's talking about. Conservatives give vastly more to charity, and are typically more likely to be involved in community volunteerism. Yet we tend to believe that each person should work to better themselves, and get out of whatever situation requires us to seek charity. We simply typically disapprove of government doing what the community and local church, should be doing voluntarily.

    Yes, compared to a socialist, I'm an untempered individualist. But I'm an individualist who cares about my neighbor, and will help when I see a need.

  • Lord Humungus||

    communist!!! /snark

  • John||

    But you don't understand. If it is not part of the government, it is individual.

  • JW||

    liberals or even moderates who are still working within the American tradition defined by balance

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Oh, EJ, you little, mendacious cunt. You wouldn't know balance if it took up residence in your intestine, right next to your conscience.

  • Ken Shultz||

    America is "bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions."

    E.J. Dionne doesn't give a shit about me or what I want, so I guess I need to take care of myself.

    Please God, don't leave me to live in a world where I have to depend on people like E.J. Dionne.

  • Restoras||

    I wonder if EJ Dionne broke every bone in his fingers when he clenched his fists?

  • ||

    his bones just bend like silly putty

  • ||

    They call him Mr. Glass.

  • Bee Tagger||

    [Obama] pitched communal themes from the moment he took office

    He's one news report mislabeling him as a Republiacn/Conservative from being plastered on facebook walls as all that's wrong with the Republican party and their insistence that Obama is a communist.

  • Bee Tagger||

    It’s why they can’t agree even to budget deals that tilt heavily, but not entirely, toward spending cuts; only sharp reductions in taxes and government will do

    I can excuse the first paragraph as just an intellectual falling in love with the sound of his voice and the awesomeness of his ideas, but the quote above demonstrates clearly that he's just a partisan hack.

  • John||

    And if only it were true. The "conservatives" have in many cases been corrupted by big government as much as the liberals. Can I please have the Republican Party that lives in Dione's head?

  • Bobarian||

    I would vote for them!

  • CE||

    What sharp reductions in government is he talking about? Rand Paul proposed some, but even the Tea Party thought they went too far.

  • robc||

    American tradition defined by balance

    When I think of the Sons of Liberty, what I think of is "balance".

    Shut the fuck up EJ. The American tradition is defined by radicalism and revolution.

  • JW||

    Balance means standing on the one foot that has the jackboot on your neck, without falling over. Right?

  • John||

    Speak in a language he can understand. Since when was the New Deal or Great Society defined by "balance". Last I looked they were both a case of one side winning and telling the other side to go fuck themselves.

  • Robert||

    Actually in retrospect each, but particularly the New Deal, has been labeled as a compromise between free enterprise and socialism.

  • John||

    See Albo and the parable of his paycheck.

  • Loki||

    E.J. Dionne: still a very punchable face.

  • Old Mexican||

    That's why it pains him {Dionne] to see modern conservatism abandon "its communal roots" and instead embrace "untempered individualism, which betrays what conservatism has been and should be."


    "Communal roots" as in "Socialism." Which is actually correct: Conservatives are socialists. Of the conservative kind, but still socialists nonetheless.

    And is Dionne conceding that after 150 years of forced schooling, 120 years of Progressive propaganda and 70 years of FDR fascism, there's still some "untempered individualism" roaming wild in our midst?

    Should I feel flattered?

  • albo||

    If one side wants to increase taxes and the other side doesn't, just increasing taxes by a smaller amount that the one side asked for is not a compromise, EJ.

  • John||

    Look Albo, I want half of your paycheck every month. I understand that you are little uncomfortable with that. So how about we compromise and you just give me a quarter of it. I mean, I am meeting you half way aren't I?

  • Robert||

    20-30 yrs. ago Dionne was celebrated by libertarians as one of the few mainstream journalists who'd give us an even break.

    Anyway, bizarre disconnect between "left" "right" or male female in the USA now. Yesterday I spoke to my friend Nadine (she girl, me boy) who shocked me with what she said she'd been hearing about the presidential contest. Her impression of Obama was that he was a nice guy who made far too many mistakes, while Romney was a dangerous reactionary who would take the country back to a time when women couldn't do anything. She didn't specify Romney's other dangers. I told her of how surprising that was to me, considering that all I read of was the fear that Romney would do nothing. It's really like we're in different worlds.

  • Robert||

    I wonder what would happen if I tried to use Allchars to insert ampersands.

  • R C Dean||

    A squirrelpocalypse, most likely.

  • Robert||

    What if I tried to insert a script that chained to Allchars?

  • R C Dean||

    Squirrelmageddon, no question.

  • John||

    I hope Nadine is cute because she is clearly not bright. But we stopped teaching civics how many generations ago? I seriously doubt Nadine knows how Congress and the Courts and the Presidency actually work. If she did, she would know Romeney could do none of that even if he tried.

    But at some level she is obviously willfully ignorant. She no doubt thinks Bush is the spawn of Satan. Yet somehow Bush was President for eight years and none of those things happened. How does it not occur to her that maybe those things won't happen no matter who wins? I think it doesn't occur to her because she doesn't want to think that. She wants to believe that Romney is some great evil force because believing that is how she gets her sense of self worth and pride. It is human nature to want to slay dragons and be a part of great things. In many ways we measure ourselves by our enemies. If Romney is just an ordinary politician who will change a few things at the margin, then it is hard for Nadine to get her sense of self worth by opposing him.

  • JW||

    But we stopped teaching civics how many generations ago?

    We're also getting mighty low on critical thinking.

    I get it, parroting what the tee-vee says and being part of a team is more fun that being an outsider, but don't they even get a tickle of doubt, ever?

  • ||

    Other than math, I didn't ever have a single logical class in the entirety of my schooling, including college. Thankfully my Pa is an engineer and was able to impart some sense of critical thinking.

  • John||

    Sure they do. But it is more fun to live in a fantasy world.

  • JW||

    You'd think that the echo chamber would eventually produce some cavitation.

  • John||

    I think it will at some point. The fact that they have grown so aggressively hostile and willfully ignorant is not a sign of strength. It is a sign of weakness. At some level they know their ideology is in its death throws. Sadly, they are likely to do some bad things before they come to their senses.

  • Tulpa the White||

    I don't see how it's more fun to be chained to a team. Unless you're including the deviate sexual encounters with other team members in the calculation, but they can be easily replaced with a totally noncoercive fleshlight.

  • John||

    It is totally more fun to be chained to a team, if you are delusional enough to think that you are fighting against some great evil.

  • Wat Tyler||

    I took a college course in Critical Thinking, called exactly that, in '94. It wasn't a requirement, but one of the electives to fulfill the required 6 credits in Philosophy.
    We learned the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning, all the logical fallacies, etc. At the end, we had debates, real debates where you pointed out the logical fallacies of your opponent's argument. It was fun!

  • TomD||

    John, that was a wonderfully eloquent post.

  • John||

    Thank you.

  • CharlotteHaze||

    Is it me, or has the left really been ramping-up its efforts to suppress the concept of the individual lately? They don't even USE the word anymore, unless as calculated camouflage for a collectivist scheme (as in "individual mandate").

    Sure, they've been inventing cockamamie "group rights" for as long as I can remember, but it seems you could ONCE count on the left to staunchly defend the concept of the individual. Now, they're positively hostile to the word itself.

  • John||

    I don't think it is just you. It used to be that liberals would side with libertarians on issues like criminal defendants' rights and police brutality. Not so anymore. I think that they have grown completely hostile towards the individual. And that is why the whole "Liberaltarian" dream is in shambles.

  • Proprietist||

    Yeah, yeah. And during the Bush years the "conservatarian" dream was in shambles. It all shifts with the political wind.

  • Tulpa the White||

    I was trapped in a room grading with a bunch of undergraduate TAs last December, who were complaining about those evil Republican 99%ers trying to push SOPA through (yes, this was their understanding of it). The phrase "so-called 'individual rights'" peppered their conversation. At one point I got fed up and asked them whether the "so-called" indicated that they didn't think the rights were truly individual or they didn't think that individuals truly had rights. They acted like they didn't understand the question... it was just a buzzword to them.

  • Tulpa the White||

    I mean 1%ers, not 99%ers, of course.

  • CharlotteHaze||

    "So-called individual rights" eh? Cute! There's no better passive-aggressive, numb-nuts way to denounce and ridicule a word than to randomly insert the prefix "so-called" before it.

  • Brandon||

    Individualism is fine, as long as its something like dressing up creatively to go to the OWS rally and parrot the same mindless chants as everyone else. In other words, as long as it is in support of the collective, you can be as much of an individual as you like. Just don't dare think verboten thoughts.

  • Tulpa the White||

    No one enforces conformity more strictly than rebels.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    No, it's not just you. I am fairly observant when it comes to these sorts of things. I would say that in the past year, there has been a distinct uptick in the perjorative use of "individualism". Whereas the term individualism used to be an admirable trait in humans, and more specifically an ideal trait in Americans, it has now been twisted to mean "selfish", even "unpatriotic".

    All I know was that growing up in the 70's and 80's, individualism was touted as the great defining trait of Americans, as opposed to the mindless conformity and forced drudgery of the Soviet Union.

    It was supposed to be the American individual and his creative capacity that would repel the growing threat of Japanese industry, and their "yes man" management.

    But alas, this is 2012 and we have lost those memories.

  • Bill Turner||

    I'm glad to see communal themes on the decline. A few of my least favorites in the last century were "Buy war bonds, Loose lips sink ships, Uncle Sam wants you," and "This is merely a kinetic military action." Bunk. The lot of them. Hopefully, we are seeing the death throes of "progressive" ideology.

  • Tulpa the White||

    This past weekend I was bicycling along the Monongahela with three Chinese grad students, supposedly friends of each other, who were in Pittsburgh for the first time. None of them had any idea where we were going and were totally dependent on me for directions. At one point after I'd been trying to help one of them pronounce the river's name correctly, I noticed that I had only two with me. I asked the other guys where the third guy was and they said they didn't know, and, rather than stopping or going back to look for him, just kept on pedaling forward.

    I told them to wait, and I rode back about 0.3 mi along the trail to find the third guy, whose shoelaces had gotten caught in the chain and he fell off his bike. A bunch of awful individualist Americans, as well as myself, were gathered around seeing if he was OK, and helping him extract himself from the chain, while his supposedly communalist friends from China didn't give two shits.

    The moral of the story -- and many others I could relate from my experience with PRC-trained individuals -- is that statism makes you less communal because it trains you to depend on the state for everything and other people for nothing.

  • CharlotteHaze||

    Recent gory news stories --about Chinese toddlers squashed by cars, then breezily ignored by passerby as they lay wailing in the street-- serve to confirm your theory.

  • Brandon||

    "There's supposed to be a government agency to take care of lost and injured people, so we don't have to worry about it!"

  • thom||

    I was helping a kid, maybe 19 or 20 years old, fill out his tax return a couple of years ago, in Baltimore. When we finished, I broke the news to him that he owed the state about $500. With complete seriousness, he asked me what agency he should call to get the money to pay his taxes. I patiently explained to him that no such agency. The look on his face was priceless, as he realized that the state that he had been dependent on for the previous two decades was now demanding a sizable sum of money from him, and that he could go to jail for failing to make the payment.

  • CharlotteHaze||

    My company often employs young people, I take a certain perverse delight when I see them scrutinizing their first pay stub, usually pretty shocked and indignant that so much tax has been withheld. First paychecks are also first reality- checks.

  • Virginian||

    One of the reasons I became first a Republican, and then a libertarian, is getting my first paycheck when I was 14 and 3 months old.

    Honestly, it would be great if voting required a photo ID and a pay stub dated from the beginning of the year in question.

  • Brandon||

    "There's supposed to be a government agency to take care of lost and injured people, so we don't have to worry about it!"

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Cool story bro.

  • R C Dean||

    At one point after I'd been trying to help one of them pronounce the river's name correctly,

    "Monangahela".

    That had to be hilarious.

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  • Brandon||

    Who is Rose? Is she hot?

  • EJBlitz||

    EJ Dione is the Elsworth Toohey of our age. Unrepentant hater of anything that is outside of the control of his ideas, especially the libertarian individual. He doesn't care if we support his positions on civil rights if we aren't doing it for his collectivist reasons.

  • John||

    If you run a google image search for Elsworth Toohey, the second image is Pauli Krugnuts. No kidding.

  • CE||

    You know who else emphasized communal themes in their presidency?

    George W Bush

  • R C Dean||

    No, no, CE. You ask the question, and then let people guess. Geez.

  • Bobarian||

    And somebody always has to guess 'Hitler' before you give the correct answer.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The United States rose to power and wealth on the basis of a balance between the public and the private spheres

    America rose to power and wealth after we destroyed all of our likely industrial competitors (some of them even had it coming to them...Germany).

    "everyone who receives the protection of society owes a return for the benefit."

    I'm always amazed when statists glowingly and unwittingly compare government to a protection racket which, last I checked, is a criminal enterprise.

    For much of our history, Americans — even in our most quarrelsome moments — have avoided the kind of polarized politics we have now.

    Yes, tax riots, draft riots, slave riots, anti-immigrant riots, race riots, nothing polarizing at all about all of those things that have happened in the 200+ years of American history.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    everyone who receives the protection of society owes a return for the benefit.

    Wait a minute? I "owe" the government for doing its Constitutional duty of protecting my rights? How about the $2.5T you take from us EVERY FUCKING YEAR?

    How about this . . .

    Scale back government to do nothing more than what is constitutionally mandated, and I'll shut the fuck up about government stealing from me in order to give it to someone else.

  • thom||

    Ha...exactly. I guess our most quarrelsome moment is probably the Civil War. If that wasn't polarizing politics who knows what is...

  • mad libertarian guy||

    As a libertarian, I have no problem being part of the community. But it will be a community of my choosing that will benefit me the most (which is not the same as receiving benefit with out being a benefit - I.e., how a liberal would interpret that statement).

    This happens EVERY FUCKING DAY where I live (a small farming community in central KY). There isn't a day - particularly this time of year) that goes by where I'm not helping my neighbors sling bales of hay or feed livestock or clearing brush, because I know that when I need help with clearing my brush or tilling my garden or in need of tomatoes because I'm a pretty shitty gardener or anything else that needs doin' on a piece of country property I can count on him to help me get it done. This is what community is all about, not about getting government goons with guns to force me to hand over vast sums of my income to give to some faceless drone who receives checks to sit on the couch all day.

    If leftists wanted welfare (in whatever form) to make any sense, they would immediately fire every government worker and give those jobs to welfare recipients. You want a check/food stamps/someother form of government assistance? It's now YOUR job to mow the grass on the median or push papers at government agency "x."

    Then those who work for government who do have some kind of marketable skill can get a job in the productive sector where they can contribute to society rather than simply leech from productive people.

  • Shaun M.||

    Unfortunately for Mr. Dionne, I do not worship at the alter of The Heritage Foundation. I do not believe the "expansion of access to healthcare" was the true goal of either Romney's plan nor "Obamacare", considering all the uninsured there will still be, while lining the pockets of massive insurance companies.

  • NL_||

    Sounds like the best conservative for Dionne is basically just a more stubborn moderate. No real ideology, no particular worldview, no deeply held principles. Just a personality that tilts away from overreaction.

  • NL_||

    Though to be fair, this isn't really different from the Bush-era Republicans who chided Democrats for not being Democrats in the mold of Truman, Kennedy or Scoop Jackson.

  • Bruce Majors||

    EJ, also known as He Who Lisps with Forked Palate, started out at the Post on the Warren Memorial Diversity Internship for White Cherokees.

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