Dialog with a moderate (not liberal) law professor

August 21, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Him:

This column by David Brooks pretty much sums me up as a voter, though I'm not persuaded to follow his recommendation to vote Romney-Ryan.

Me:

Yes, I don't understand the mindset. The issues are in fact ideological - that's a good thing. It's not "You think this, I think that, let's compromise and move forward." It's "You believe in big government, big tax and killing babies; I believe the opposite." I don't want to settle with not quite so big government, fiddling with tax rates or not quite so many abortions. 

I guess you guys are Brooks's constituency. Conservatives are not.

Him:

I wasn't saying I was David Brooks. I was saying I'm the moderate. He's more conservative than I am. And framing the issues the way you do, I can't imagine why I'm not persuaded to your way of thinking. The problem with you is not that you're too conservative, it's that you're only conservative. It's boring.

Me:

'Big government, big tax, killing babies' is an accurate, unframed description of Dem policy, sorry if you prefer euphemisms. I'm against that, boring or not. A position in the middle isn't less boring because less coherent.
'Moderate' is framing. You self-identify with Brooks's description of the voter. Correct.
My own positions may be more boring or offensive to you, but are radically 'conservative', eg:
Every voter pays the same tax, say $n/year. No tax, no vote, loss of social standing. No representation without taxation.
Generally no federal involvement in social issues other than as a backstop to protect children because children are the point of society.
Instance: marriage is a contract or statement between adults, significant according to its terms and its symbolism, but not imposing duties of recognition, say, on others.
Preference in government based on individual merit, otherwise left to the individual. You, as a business owner, can fire me because you don't like my face.
The purpose of government is to enable life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not social engineering or re-distribution.
 
Those are tenets, not detailed policies; boring maybe, but coherent.
Romney/Ryan are way to the left of most of that.

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