Strong opinions, weakly held

Tim Bray on conservatives

Tim Bray has this to say about the state of conservatives in America:

I had come to think, in mid-life, that while I will never really be conservative, there are smart honorable people on that side who have good points to make. That may be true outside the United States, but in the American context, near as I can tell, at the moment “conservative” means “pro-torture” which means “scum”.

I don’t think that’s correct, but I can understand how it seem that way.


  1. Why is it not correct? How would you qualify or modify that claim?

  2. There are conservatives out there who are opposed to torture, so there’s no need to tar every conservative with the “scum” brush. I mean, Bray links to Andrew Sullivan, a conservative who is one of the strongest voices against the use of torture.

  3. Right. I know several fiscally conservative people, who identify with the term conservative, and are by no means scum, and also are not happy with the current situation at all.

    Then there is the far right wing movement that claims that the neocons sold out “true” conservatism for failed and misguided idealism. Not that I am defending the far right wing, mind you.

  4. on the other hand, that Republican debate in which the candidates one-upped each other on pro-torture froth (culminating in the invocation of Jack Bauer) was pretty chilling to behold. blame the Republican party, rather than conservatives, sure, but there’s more than one hook to hang this argument from…

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