Talk:Roots of American conservatism

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 Definition Those formative events that led to the modern American conservative movement [d] [e]

Wording of introductory section

The following wording of mine was added a few days back to the article American conservatism:

"The history of conservatism in America must take into account the fact that the term conservative (and its counterpart term liberal) did not enter the political lexicon in full force prior to a period beginning in the mid 20th century (both the terms conservative and liberal were, of course, in use prior to about 1950, but they were not generally used by Americans as the primary identifiers of an individual's political leanings). In consequence, the antecedents of modern American conservatism must be sought in conjunction with a process examining the political and social context of the times."

This wording was removed and replaced with the following:

"The term "conservative" did not enter American political discourse until well into the 19th century, but the principles were present long before."

Of course I am aware of the fact that the term existed in American politics prior to the mid-20th century and indicated as much in the original wording. What I said was that it did not enter the political lexicon "in full force" until then. This agrees with the position as explicated in The Oxford Guide to United States History which states:

"The term 'conservatism' did not gain parlance until the middle of the twentieth century. . . . When Peter Viereck published Conservatism Revisited in 1949 and Russell Kirk The Conservative Mind in 1953, they invoked an understanding of that term that had clear European antecedents . . . "

I would like my wording restored (but to the head of this article). Also, in keeping with this insight, I believe that it would be more appropriate to title this article Roots of American conservatism or Antecedents of American conservatism.

James F. Perry 22:44, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't mind an alternative name, but I don't consider the Oxford Guide a definitive source on the subject, as opposed to works dealing specifically with conservatism. If you don't mind a factual (I was there for some of it) but funny presentation, see Jerry Tucille's It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand.
My greater concern is that the main American conservatism article have a clear definition of current usage. That article also was growing to an unwieldy size. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:57, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Blandishments of communist propaganda

As a general comment, I dislike having lengthy text in footnotes. If it's substantial, it belongs in the main article where it can be discussed.

Please look at thought reform, and, indeed, if you'd like primary sources, the Biderman report. I agree that it is a conservative mantra that POWs collaborated because they didn't have knowledge of their system, but the data from SERE and other experience do not support such knowledge helps defend against coerced confessions. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:06, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

There was no intent to imply that American POWs were disloyal or otherwise disgraced themselves. I was only trying to point out that many conservatives at the time felt that, or something very like that, to be the case. In the body of the article, I stated: ". . . it appeared to these same conservatives that the American educational system was dangerously flawed in that it did not provide sufficient intellectual armament to American students to resist the blandishments of communist propaganda". Note: it appeared. The footnote was meant to substantiate that assertion by citing an individual who felt that way. There I used the words perceived shortcoming. If it is not clear that I am only reporting what some Americans felt to be the case, then something needs to be (will be) changed.
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. James F. Perry 23:50, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
Oh, there's no question that it was felt to be the case. Unfortunately, for people who complain about liberal social engineering, some conservative solutions are "feel-good" but inaccurate. This is not to say that liberals don't do asinine things, but, in either case, the article should reflect that The Solution didn't solve the problem. Housing Projects, anyone?
In current discourse, we have silly statements like Osama hates us because of who we are -- when bin Laden has been very specific about his complaints. He's dangerous, but not for the simplistic reasons given. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:00, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Revision completed. The word "blandishments" has been dropped. I hope it is clear boeyond doubt that the article is simply presenting what was the position / assertion of a significant segment of the conservative movement. Since it is simply presenting their position so as to demonstrate what it was, I don't see the need to present a rebuttal in this article.
Of course, in the subpages (related articles and bibliography especially) sources and references should be presented giving a much more complete picture of the issues, per se, not only on the Korean War POWs but on other issues of that era.
It may come as a shock to some to hear that conservatives once spilled a lot of ink trashing American POWs, but there it is. And I didn't even mention Verne Paul Kaube's Communist-Socialist Propaganda in American Schools. James F. Perry 17:33, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
I think any ideological position, which turned out to be wrong, needs a very brief rebuttal and link. If one were speaking of liberal solutions to low-income housing, and a young reader was looking at a description of the Pruitt-Igoe housing projects, there might be no information to suggest they were catastrophic failures. My state required three years of high school history to protect us against the Commies -- I liked the history, but I can't say it would, in any way, have prepared me to argue the faults of dialectic materialism with a member of the Enemy Proselytizing Department. Actually, knowing the lines of Mao vs. Lenin vs. Stalin vs. Ho vs. Trung Chinh would have helped there. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:08, 22 July 2009 (UTC)