Are Conservatives a Dying Breed?

Gallup: “Americans’ political ideology remained essentially stable in the past year, with conservatives retaining the barest of advantages over moderates in Americans’ self-identified political views, 37% vs. 35%. Liberals held firm at 24%.”

Americans' Self-Identified Political Ideology -- 1992-2015

“The ideological bent of U.S. adults changed little in 2015, although Democrats continued to inch to the left. This continues a significant long-term trend, with a slight increase in Americans favoring the liberal label, mostly at the expense of conservatives. While conservatives still outnumber liberals by a healthy margin in the U.S. population, the gap is narrower than at any point in Gallup’s 23-year trend. It is also possible that after several years of heightened conservatism among Republicans and independents, this is moderating somewhat, but it is too early to say for sure.”

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  • pisher

    Conservatives are already nearly extinct in this country.

    What we have, as I’ve said before, is radical reactionaries who think of themselves as conservatives, but have already moved much too far to the right to be considered that anymore.

    There are still some actual conservatives among the ranks of the very rich, but as they are learning now, all their billions can’t buy them the candidates they want when the far more numerous reactionaries rule against them.

    More people are calling themselves liberals now in reaction to the reactionaries–there’s less and less sense of embarrassment, but I wonder if a certain percentage of those classified as liberals are actually leftist radicals–the people who spit at the very mention of the word ‘Democrat’, hating the party of liberalism as much as any Republican base voter–if not more.

    Much anger, little real thought going on. A bad combination.

    • Calbengoshi

      I doubt that there are many, if any, “leftist radicals” who identify themselves as “liberals.” While I only have anecdotal evidence, every “leftist radical” I have met had nothing but disdain for people who called themselves “liberals,” in much the same way that those on the radical right have only disdain for “RINOs” or “so-called conservatives.”

      • pisher

        Which is what I said, but what questions were people asked (by Gallup, let’s remember) to determine their orientation? If they said they were liberals, used that exact word, I agree, probably not leftist radicals (c’mon, you don’t need quotes, you know they exist–I met some a few weeks ago, in front of Columbia, passing out flyers saying Bernie Sanders was a fake socialist).

        All such terms are imperfect, I think we both agree. You can never fully sum up anyone’s political opinions with one word, one sentence, or even one really long paragraph.

        The exception is Trump, whose politics can be summed up with the word “Trump.”

        😉

        • Calbengoshi

          I only used quotes around the term “leftist radicals” because I was using your term. However, I don’t think that passing out flyers saying that Sanders isn’t a real socialist makes one a leftist radical. A leftist, yes, but not necessarily a radical.

          • pisher

            I would personally think of any person who says “I want America to be a socialist country” as a radical. Because there’s a difference between wanting to institute socialist-inspired policies, and wanting to remake the entire system of government, which is what that would mean. A radical wants to get at the root of things–that’s what the word means.

            A liberal, like Karl Popper, believes in piecemeal engineering–that we remake the system one reform at a time, because the risks entailed in just rebooting the whole thing are so immense. And yes, that’s what many people who call themselves socialists want. That’s what revolution is, whether it’s violent or not. And in some cases, there may be no alternative, but we’ve currently got lots of them. We just keep failing to use them.

          • Calbengoshi

            Clearly, we differ on the meaning of the term “radical.”

            I think of a radical as someone who wants to change the system using means that are not part of the system. Thus, I would not classify as a “radical” someone who wants to use the electoral system to make the US transition to socialism from its current system of semi-regulated capitalism, but I would classify as a “radical” someone who wanted to bring about that transition by non-electoral means.

          • pisher

            Then Karl Marx wasn’t a radical until very late in his career, since he believed in using electoral means–purely as a means to an end, you understand, but he wasn’t advocating violent overthrow most of the time. Subvert capitalism from within. He actually held radicals who advocated for insurrection in low regard.

            You don’t think Marx was radical? Whoa, dude. You are really hardcore.

            😉

          • Calbengoshi

            Lenin was a radical. Marx was more of a theoretician.

          • pisher

            There are no radical theoreticians? Then where do radical politics come from? Lenin was more praxis than theory, that’s true, but he was no mean theoretician in his own right, and his ideas were very directly adapted from Marx, and they were radical ideas. Marx was a radical, and when he heard that revolutionaries in Russia were taking his writings to heart, putting them to use, he was astounded (the revolution was supposed to come to the developed industrial nations first, not a peasant nation like Russia), but also pleased, and he began to change his ideas, warm to the notion of a violent overthrow (since overthrowing the czar at the ballot box was hardly an option).

            Anybody who wants to rebuild the entire political and economic system from scratch is, to get at the root of the perceived problems with society is, by definition, a radical.

            You’re free to say that doesn’t match up with your personal definition, but that’s all it is. Your personal definition. And if words just mean whatever you intend them to mean, no more and no less, you’re–well–

            http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/aliceinwonderland/images/8/8d/Humptydumpty_tenniel.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20090926013110

            😉

          • pisher

            I would personally think of any person who says “I want America to be a socialist country” as a radical. Because there’s a difference between wanting to institute socialist-inspired policies, and wanting to remake the entire system of government, which is what that would mean. A radical wants to get at the root of things–that’s what the word means.

            A liberal, like Karl Popper, believes in piecemeal engineering–that we remake the system one reform at a time, because the risks entailed in just rebooting the whole thing are so immense. And yes, that’s what many people who call themselves socialists want. That’s what revolution is, whether it’s violent or not. And in some cases, there may be no alternative, but we’ve currently got lots of them. We just keep failing to use them.

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