Doomsday scenarios — are conservatives or Progressives better at predicting the future?

In America, each side of the political aisle routinely accuses the other of engaging in “scare” tactics.  Each side is right.  Doomsday scenarios are how you engage an increasingly distracted population.  My question for you is, when it comes to predicting doomsday scenarios to engage the population, which side is more accurate?

I’ve got three Progressive predictions, two of which were definitely wrong and one of which I think is proving to be wrong:

Progressives argued global cooling, and they were wrong.

Progressives argued anthropogenic global warming, which they’ve now altered to anthropogenic climate change, which I’m sure they will alter to some other fine name when their predictions fail to come to pass.  Currently, I count them as wrong.

Progressives promised that, if “welfare as we know it” ended in 1994, the poor would be dying in the streets.  They were wrong.

Here are three conservative predictions that were correct:

Conservatives said that if ObamaCare passed, health care costs would go up immediately and dramatically.  So far, they’ve been right.

Conservatives said that withdrawing from the Vietnam War would result in a blood bath.  They were right.

Conservatives said that “welfare as we know it” was a miserable, enslaving institution and that reforming it would not result in instant death of all poor people.  They were right.

Obviously, I’ve cherry-picked to find incorrect Progressive predictions and correct conservative predictions.  Can you support my position or disprove it?  I’ll be interested either way.

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Comments

  1. Charles Martel says

    Why do the birds sing? Why does a mother love her child? Same reason. 

    You lack depth, son. Nobody takes seriously a kid who cites morality (what you call “values”) endlessly, but cannot and will not explain his own.

    (I win, SADIE.)

  2. suek says

    >>Should denotes an ought. Keeping promises is an ethical duty. >>
     
    Says who?  Who establishes the “ethical duty”?  Who defines it? Who enforces it?  Is it just a nice idea?
     
     
     
    Sadie and Charles…
     
    Stop it stop it!!!
     
    You had me speed reading!!!

  3. says

    Zachriel: Should denotes an ought. Keeping promises is an ethical duty. 
     
    suek: Says who?  Who establishes the “ethical duty”?  Who defines it? Who enforces it?  Is it just a nice idea?

    The utilitarian argument is that promises are the basis of all human cooperation, and that cooperation can lead to mutual success. However, even that presumes that a benefit to humans is a positive value. We are rather fond of the little monkeys, but perhaps that is just our predilection.

    Most people share fundamental values, but if you don’t share the belief that humans have intrinsic value or that promises are good things to keep, there is no argument that can convince you. 
     

  4. says

    So, the communists in the State Department decided to militarily support French re-colonization against an indigenous communist insurgency.

    As you noted, Ho Chi wasn’t allied with the Communists until the US rejected him. So why wouldn’t Communists reject Ho Chi M, acting on the part of the US, in order to push HCM into the Communist camp.

    Are you sure you can understand how even basic foreign policy is conducted here?

  5. Charles Martel says

    “The utilitarian argument is that promises are the basis of all human cooperation, and that cooperation can lead to mutual success. However, even that presumes that a benefit to humans is a positive value. We are rather fond of the little monkeys, but perhaps that is just our predilection.
    Most people share fundamental values, but if you don’t share the belief that humans have intrinsic value or that promises are good things to keep, there is no argument that can convince you.” 

    Zach has finally walked into the trap of his own philosophical incoherence. Thank you, room, for being so patient to get him to take the bait.

    First, no utilitarian argument says that promises are the basis of all human cooperation. If that were true, then coercion—”I promise I’ll slap you silly if you don’t stop hitting your sister”—would also be a basis for cooperation since it’s based on a promise. Can we assume that Zach finds coercion a laudable thing because it leads to cooperation, thus “mutual success?”

    Next is the cliche, “fundamental values,” conveniently undefined because that would require explaining what they are. Would that be Islamic fundamental values, such as hatred for women and homosexuals? Perhaps Chinese fundamental values, such as antipathy toward female infants? Perhaps North Vietnamese fundamental values, such as their politicians’ hatred for keeping promises? Perhaps the feminist fundamental value that the power to legally eviscerate inconvenient uborn children ranks among humanity’s greatest achievements? 

    “Intrinsic value?” According to what? Based on what? If Skeet is going to trot out the pathetic argument that he made above, that intrinsic value is just an a priori, doesn’t-need-explanation thing, like birdsong and mother love, then he has proven once and for all his lack of qualification to engage the minds in this room. 

    (An interesting “tell” here is Dukakis’s “we are rather fond of the little monkeys, but perhaps that is just our predilection.” If it is, indeed, just his predilection, he wrecks his own intrinsic value argument. Whether he likes humans or not is immaterial—otherwise he’s like the mother who decides to have her unborn child disassembled: if she likes “the little monkey,” it must have intrinsic value. If she thinks it has no intrinsic value, then off with its head. . .and arms, and legs, and torso.) 

    Finally, if a promise is a “good thing to keep,” why do so many people break them? What makes them so special if they fail so miserably? What is there that would make people want to keep them? A bedside paperback of The Works of Jeremy Bentham?

    Now scoot, Skeet.

  6. says

    What Z has begun to describe isn’t so much utilitarian ethics as it is duty ethics. Duty ethics says you don’t have a choice, that the right thing to do is what you are required to do when proper authority commands it.
     
    As such, it is different from utilitarian philosophy in that utilitarians at least place prime import on individual free will. The will to choose what is the best for the most people, at least. An individual’s choice, thus counts as one of the many. Duty ethics, however, completely disregards free will and even treats free will often times as an ethical evil.
     
    Overall, I would say it suits Z’s perspective and what he has written to date on historical events.
     
     

  7. binadaat says

    moving off in a completely different direction…
    I think about this a lot actually.  Predictions not coming true from the late ’60′s of doom and destruction put me on my guard re: global warming. (Where have I heard this before?  same tune, different lyrics).  What are the core values of liberal left in the West? Do they even know? I wonder…
    Below are my rambling thoughts.  then there’s a link to a Zombie post with a nifty chart that I think clarifies the state of things in the modern world.
    http://pajamasmedia.com/zombie/2010/10/11/the-electric-tea-party-acid-test/
     
     
    There are two different views of the world.
     
    One is based on scarcity, restriction, unforgiving boundaries, and limits.
    The other is based on expansion, abundance, freedom and growth.
    On the one hand you have entropy: everything is falling apart.
    On the other hand you have the universe is expanding. (Or is that the same idea?
    I guess I just assume that entropy is everything collapsing on itself in a heap.)
     
    Life requires intervention.
     
    Where to intervene, is the question.
     
    Liberals/statists/socialists want to solve problems and control life by fiat or legislation from the top down .
     
    They have very simplistic view of cause and effect in human affairs. “People are poor because they don’t have money. So give them money and our society won’t have any more poor people.”
     
    They don’t see that problems are made up of the individual and his choices.
     
    They have a low opinion of other humans: ignorant at best, stupid at worst, short sighted and unsophisticated, incapable of reasoned, rational thought or planning.
     
    They don’t trust individuals or groups of humans to chose what is best for them. Probably because they aren’t capable of making healthy choices in their own lives so they project that on the rest of us: serial monogamy/divorces, debt, regular job-address changes, mind altering substance overuse or abuse, overweight. Bad or no relationship with family, children or friends.
    Getting things in order requires intervention: Betty Ford type lock down clinics, therapy, Anon. Groups, legal action, surgery, jail time.
    They cannot be responsible for themselves. Or they are choosing not to be responsible in day today life .
     
    They also seem to be blind to facts on the ground.
    In the late ’60′s, we were told by the experts that the world couldn’t possible support more than a certain number of people, the Population Explosion was going to bury us alive in our waste materials, and we would all be over crowded and die of starvation because the ecology of the planet wouldn’t be able to support us. Those that survive will be pushed back to living under the conditions of the Middle Ages.
     
    And that didn’t happen. We’re close to 7 billion people on this planet and air’s still good enough to breathe. If anything, judging by what is going in on in Asia, the overall standard of living is rising. ( yes I know that 12 people die every hour of starvation-is that more, less or same as 1969?  life expectancy is also rising)
     
    Liberal’s belief system rejects objective facts and rejects individual responsibility.
     
    They accept all the failings of the human beings which are many! And chose to be blind to the open miracle that we are surviving despite the retched humans. In my opinion the root of the problem is not believing in G*d or a higher power. They refuse to recognize that there is a purpose behind all the history of humankind. What is happening is being directed by a Higher Authority. Higher Authority means that we have responsibility in all our actions, that we are answerable in the end, long or short run, to something other than ourselves. Living life with responsibility eliminates a lot of hubris and arrogance and vanity. A human being must constantly question his actions, attitudes and ideas. It is much more difficult to live this way, because one can’t just take things for granted and run forward on autopilot, but in the long run it’s easier because one has always had a benchmark to judge from when making decisions.
     
    So do Liberals make accurate predictions? No. When working, as they are, from a false set of premisses, the result will be false.
    They aren’t even like the broken clock that reads the right time twice a day. You can’t tell time with only one hand. Or in the modern version, if your screen is broken.
     
     
     
     
     

  8. says

    Ymarsakar: As you noted, Ho Chi wasn’t allied with the Communists until the US rejected him. So why wouldn’t Communists reject Ho Chi M, acting on the part of the US, in order to push HCM into the Communist camp.

    The U.S. didn’t start materially supporting the French until Ho was already in the communist camp. Indeed, the aid was justified as a fight against the communist conspiracy. 
     
    Charles Martel: Can we assume that Zach{riel} finds coercion a laudable thing because it leads to cooperation, thus “mutual success?” 

    Carrot and stick can both be part of developing cooperation. This is standard game theory. Notice it’s the threat of punishment that is at issue. The credibility of the threat, based reputation (history of previous actions, whether it’s an idle threat or not), help determine whether the threat will be effective. (An ironic example is found in Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.)
     
    Charles Martel: Next is the cliche, “fundamental values,” conveniently undefined because that would require explaining what they are. Would that be Islamic fundamental values, such as hatred for women and homosexuals? Perhaps Chinese fundamental values, such as antipathy toward female infants? Perhaps North Vietnamese fundamental values, such as their politicians’ hatred for keeping promises? Perhaps the feminist fundamental value that the power to legally eviscerate inconvenient uborn children ranks among humanity’s greatest achievements? 

    That’s a good point, actually. Values vary considerably across human societies. Without quibbling over your examples, and more specific to our above general description, people usually value other people who are defined as being in the in-group, and value less or not at all those in the out-group. Sometimes the in-group only includes one person, the self. Sometimes, people don’t value people at all. 
     
    Charles Martel: “Intrinsic value?” According to what? Based on what?

    That what we asked. According to you. Are you a misanthrope? 
     
    Charles Martel: Finally, if a promise is a “good thing to keep,” why do so many people break them?

    Another interesting question. Because of competing values. Taking an extreme case, hiding Jews from the Nazis may require lying to the authorities. The person has balanced the value they place on other humans, and the importance of telling the truth. Other people may reach different conclusions, or place little value on promises.
     
    The key is that fundamental values can’t be argued. No one can argue you into loving someone. Yet most mothers need no prompting to care for her child.
     

  9. says

    binadaat: Liberals/statists/socialists want to solve problems and control life by fiat or legislation from the top down.

    The left is defined by the trend towards egalitarianism. That doesn’t always translate into top-down, but often so in the modern world. 
     
    binadaat: There are two different views of the world.
    One is based on scarcity, restriction, unforgiving boundaries, and limits.
    The other is based on expansion, abundance, freedom and growth.

    What’s odd about your view is that liberals are often considered the utopians. Conservatives typically believe life has practical limits, and that humans are fallible, but reach their greatest potential when challenged. 
     
    binadaat: They have very simplistic view of cause and effect in human affairs. “People are poor because they don’t have money. So give them money and our society won’t have any more poor people.”

    Well, you’ve already created a strawman. Not everyone on the left has such a simplistic view, just as not everyone on the right has a subtle view. 
     
    binadaat: In the late ’60′s, we were told by the experts that the world couldn’t possible support more than a certain number of people, the Population Explosion was going to bury us alive in our waste materials, and we would all be over crowded and die of starvation because the ecology of the planet wouldn’t be able to support us. Those that survive will be pushed back to living under the conditions of the Middle Ages.
     
    You apparently weren’t paying attention. For most on the left, the problem was soluble. (Some were obviously alarmists.) The reason the air and water are relatively clean in the west is because the left lobbied successfully for changes, such as pollution limits. 
     
    binadaat: Liberal’s belief system rejects objective facts and rejects individual responsibility.

    Again, you’re battling a strawman. You take a flattened and distorted view of liberalism to represent all views on the left.
     
    Let’s see if we can understand your view better. In the early twentieth-century, progressives lobbied to effect laws ending child labor. Was this a reasonable response to a societal problem? What about limiting factory pollution? Worker safety laws?
     

  10. says

    The U.S. didn’t start materially supporting the French until Ho was already in the communist camp.


    So you prove the point that it was Ho, rather than the US, that made the mistake of putting HCM in the Communist camp.

    Rather than supporting French colonial interests, for which the US had no interest in, not even Democrat Wilsonians or Hamiltonians, the US sought to protect an ally’s armed forces, France’s, from Communist insurgencies.

  11. says

    The reason the air and water are relatively clean in the west is because the left lobbied successfully for changes, such as pollution limits.


    That’s like saying the US won WWII because the Germans successfully lobbied for more US war planes.

  12. Danny Lemieux says

    It’s kinda cute, in a way.
     
    In Zach’s world, the Left was all for sweetness and light. Conservatives and Republicans were against clean air, clean water, labor, woman’s suffrage, civil rights, American Indian rights, good weather, Valentines Day, motherhood and apple pie.
     
    Quite a sophomoric re-write of history.

  13. suek says

    >>.if you don’t share the belief that humans have intrinsic value or that promises are good things to keep, there is no argument that can convince you. >>
     
    And then what?
     
    >>We are rather fond of the little monkeys, but perhaps that is just our predilection.>>
     
    This is the second time that you’ve used that designation for humans.  I assume that it’s in line with your theory of evolution, that you are an atheist, and place no special value on humans.  Therefore, all of your preferences are simply based on your person preferences.
     
    Hows that for megalomania (or something)!!  You’d like the whole world ordered in a certain way, and for humans to behave in a certain way – because you’re “fond” of them.  There are no underlying values other than “Zach likes it that way”.  Are there any limits to satiating Zach’s preferences?

  14. says

    Ymarsakar: So you prove the point that it was Ho, rather than the US, that made the mistake of putting HCM in the Communist camp.

    It was the whole idea of either-or camps of the Cold War that prevented a peaceful resolution. It was certainly possible for Vietnam to have found a middle path that included some land distribution while maintaining fundamentals of liberal democracy. 
     
    Ymarsakar: Rather than supporting French colonial interests, for which the US had no interest in, not even Democrat Wilsonians or Hamiltonians, the US sought to protect an ally’s armed forces, France’s, from Communist insurgencies.

    The U.S. didn’t protect France from communist insurgencies, but French colonial interests. 
     
    Ymarsakar: That’s like saying the US won WWII because the Germans successfully lobbied for more US war planes.

    That makes no sense whatsoever. People lobbied successfully for environmental protection laws. This led to significant improvements in air and water quality in the West. In communists countries, which restricted the right of people to peacefully assemble, the air and water quality continued to deteriorate. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: Conservatives and Republicans were against clean air, clean water, labor, woman’s suffrage, civil rights, American Indian rights, good weather, Valentines Day, motherhood and apple pie.

    Don’t confuse being against clean air and water with being against clean air and water regulation. Conservatism, by definition, means deference to existing institutions. Political pressure to regulate pollution generally came from the left, while resistance came from the right. However, long term political change usually comes by developing a consensus, that is, by convincing the naysayers. Also, don’t confuse conservative and Republican. Nixon, a Republican, was instrumental in enacting pollution controls. Each of other points, including apple pie, have their own unique histories. 
     

  15. Danny Lemieux says

    You all have a strange definition of “conservative”, Zach.
     
    For example, much of the environmental (conservation) movement came from conservative and Republican quarters, such as hunting and fishing constituencies (beginning with Teddy Roosevelt). TR was also a leader in pushing for civil rights and women’s suffrage. You are way oversimplifying.
     
    If conservatism ‘by definition” means deference to existing institutions, it certainly puts the Tea Party in an odd position within your political constellation, doesn’t it? The Tea Party is very much in favor of rolling back or dismantling many of our existing institutions.

  16. says

    Danny Lemieux: For example, much of the environmental (conservation) movement came from conservative and Republican quarters, such as hunting and fishing constituencies (beginning with Teddy Roosevelt). TR was also a leader in pushing for civil rights and women’s suffrage.

    Teddy Roosevelt was a Progressive, and believed the federal government had a role to play in regulating private property, such as limiting the power of trusts, and a graduated income tax on big fortunes. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: If conservatism ‘by definition” means deference to existing institutions, it certainly puts the Tea Party in an odd position within your political constellation, doesn’t it?

    In the U.S., the term conservative is often used to refer to those on the right who want to undo corrupt modern institutions and restore the world to the good ol’ days of mom and apple pie. See here for a more complete explanation:
    http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html
     
    Zachriel: The key is that fundamental values can’t be argued.

    Charles Martel: So why are you here?

    To add points of relevance to the discussion for the benefit of the blog’s readers.
     

  17. Danny Lemieux says

    I guess we expect too much from the Zach cohort and their Howard Zinn view of history. Expecting Zach to tell us the meaning of “conservative” is a bit like expecting a Muslim to explain the meaning of Christianity to a Christian or Judaism to a Jew.
     
    Here is an excellent link to an article that talks about how the meanings of labels such as “Progressive”, “Liberal” and “Left” change with time.
     
    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/how-todays-liberals-betray-yesterdays/
     
    The meaning of the word “conservative” among Left-challenged peoples appears to remain very constant over time, however – it means “cooties”.

  18. says

    Charles Martel: He did it again!

    Danny Lemieux: The meaning of the word “conservative” among Left-challenged peoples appears to remain very constant over time, however – it means “cooties”.

    Actually, no.

    It’s can’t be that difficult to follow a link. We reprint it here for the link-impaired.

    Definition of “Conservatism”: a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change.
     

  19. Charles Martel says

    Zacky, it’s not difficult to follow a link, true, but it’s a hoot to follow yours. Why refer us to your own link where all of your stuff is boilerplate that you’ve cadged from other sources?

    You’re like the art forger who keeps pestering museum docents to visit his online gallery so they can seethe real thing.”

  20. SADIE says

    I’d like a large popcorn with a conservative amount of butter, please.
     
    This is why I stick with the OU or K labels, I am assured that I am not buying a ‘pig in the poke’ ;)
     
     

  21. says

    Charles Martel: Why refer us to your own link where all of your stuff is boilerplate that you’ve cadged from other sources?

    Because it is not necessary to repeat the entire text when it is available as a link. Did you have something to say about the caricature of “progressives”? 
     

  22. Danny Lemieux says

    And here is the Merriam-Webster definition of “liberalism”
     

    lib·er·al·ism noun \ˈli-b(ə-)rə-ˌli-zəm\
    1
    : the quality or state of being liberal
    2
    a often capitalized : a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity
     
    And for “liberal”,
     

    a : of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism
    b capitalized : of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives
     
    OK…bwahahaha! Like I said, the issue we were discussing is the corruption of language by the Left over distance and over time. A “Progressive” or “Liberal” in the 19th Century is nothing like a “Progressive” today. A “Conservative” in Europe is nothing like a Conservative in America.
     
    An American Liberal or progressive today is to traditional meanings of liberalism and progressivism as “Democratic Peoples Republic” is to North Korea.
     
     

  23. SADIE says

    When in doubt, Yiddish offers flexibility.

    Schmuck, a Yiddish word, has a range of meaning depending on context. In its most innocuous use, a schmuck is a person who does a stupid thing, in which case “dumb schmuck” is the appropriate expression.

    A schmuck’s behavior ranges from pesky and inconsiderate, to obnoxious and manipulative. A schmuck’s personality type ranges from jerk to bastard.

    Schmucky behavior also falls within a range of intentionality. Some schmucks carefully plan their bad behavior, some only a little, and some not at all. For example, the bastard may spend considerable time planning his bad deeds. In contrast, the dumb schmuck and the pesky behave badly without any forethought.

  24. Charles Martel says

    Because it is not necessary to repeat the entire text when it is available as a link. Did you have something to say about the caricature of “progressives”? 

    Unresponsive.

    (SADIE hands Martel his ermine cape and sceptre of power, which he wrested from Zackling in some obscure ideo game basement dwellers play.) 

    I hearby Dukakisize you and declare you anathema. I’m also giving you a D- for lack of social skills and terrible writing.

    You are dismissed.

  25. SADIE says

    Follow the bouncing ball and all together now for Charles Martel….
     
    Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl

    Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl

    As I-I walk through this world
    Nothing can stop The Duke of Earl
     
    Ymar ;)

  26. says

    Danny Lemieux: And here is the Merriam-Webster definition of “liberalism”

    You left this out for some reason: specifically : such a philosophy that considers government as a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities (as those involving race, gender, or class).

    That’s because recent history has shown that guaranteeing individual freedoms requires government intervention, such as federal civil rights laws, and because industrialization reduced individual freedom through economic shackles. Abuses, such as child labor and pollution of the commons, found solutions through law, not the workings of the market. The flip-side of this is that even the best thought out reforms can have unintended consequences, and when change occurs too quickly, the results can be disastrous. Hence, conservatives counsel a cautious approach. Conservatives may lament some recents changes, and want to roll back the clock. There’s no strict dividing line, and individuals may be conservative on some issues, liberal on others, or change their views, depending on the circumstances.

    Here’s a statement of conservative principle in the midst of a revolutionary document: Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    We’d be happy to discuss this in more detail, but you have to abandon the caricatures you’ve invested in. The rest of the commenters apparently have nothing to add concerning the topic.

  27. Charles Martel says

    Danny, it appears that you have been served with an ultimatum.

    I, King of the Franks and Nightmare of the Mooslims, will rush elebenty zillion crack troops to your side if you decide to resist the evil Zack Zod.

  28. SADIE says

    Charles and suek..
     
    Badda bing, badda boom … tell  z-kids to leave the room.
     
    Refreshments will be served to the troops loyal to the cause. Others will be force fed copious amounts of *prozack.
     
    *Warning: side effects include: yawning, nausea, loss of the sex drive.

  29. says

    Danny has our moral support. That’s all he needs.
     
    Z is demanding that Danny restrict himself to only Z’s assumptions about life. That’s not exactly how free debates are structured.

  30. Danny Lemieux says

    Wish I could…however, I am on the road on business pretty much through this weekend and will only be able to post sporadically. No armchair philosophizing for me.

  31. suek says

    <<Z is demanding that Danny restrict himself to only Z’s assumptions about life.>>
     
    That’s Zach’s SOP.
     
     
    >>That’s not exactly how free debates are structured.>>
     
    Pesky details…!

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