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Thursday, July 31, 2003
By Steven Taylor

“If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.”

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By Steven Taylor

“I know I speak for everyone in this chamber, Republicans and Democrats, when I say to Saddam Hussein, “You cannot defy the will of the world,” and when I say to him, “You have used weapons of mass destruction before. We are determined to deny you the capacity to use them again.”

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By Steven Taylor

Like I said yesterday here and here:

But while Mr. Bush’s response had political clarity, it left supporters on both sides of the issue puzzled as to the legal aspects. The reason is that there already is a law, known as the Defense of Marriage Act, that appears to address the two principal concerns of gay marriage opponents. The law, signed by President Clinton in 1996, prohibits any federal recognition of gay marriage, meaning that benefits like those given under Social Security or to veterans may be claimed only by a surviving spouse of the opposite sex. In addition, the law relieves states of any obligation to recognize gay marriages performed in other states where they might be legal.

Source: Bush Backs Bid to Block Gays From Marrying

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By Steven Taylor

I have never seen this in students, bloggers, commentators, or academics:

So, what is Scott Adams talking about?

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Wednesday, July 30, 2003
By Steven Taylor

While on the topic, Jonah Goldberg’s current column: Conservative study reveals academic bias is also on the topic of the “study” of conservatism,” which he summarizes as follows:

Now, this whole thing is what I like to call a pinata of asininity – bash it from any angle and from any distance and you will get some reward.

Go ahead, read the whole thing.

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By Steven Taylor

Nor do the following excerpts from “The 25 Points of Hitler’s Nazi Party” comport well with the ideological perspectives of modern American conservatives:

4. Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have German blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen. Hence no Jew can be a countryman.

7. We demand that the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood. If it should not be possible to feed the whole population, then aliens (non-citizens) must be expelled from the Reich.

11. That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.

14. We demand profit-sharing in large industries.

16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a sound middle-class, the immediate communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities.

17. We demand an agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.

25. In order to carry out this program we demand: the creation of a strong central authority in the State, the unconditional authority by the political central parliament of the whole State and all its organizations.

The formation of professional committees and of committees representing the several estates of the realm, to ensure that the laws promulgated by the central authority shall be carried out by the federal states.

The leaders of the party undertake to promote the execution of the foregoing points at all costs, if necessary at the sacrifice of their own lives.

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By Steven Taylor

Yesterday, I made reference to a study that purports to demonstrate what a “conservative” is, and it ain’t pretty.

The press release from the study proffered Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh as four “individuals” who nonetheless all exemplified “right-wing conservat[ism]“. This struck me as, shall we say, a bit ridiculous.

In my original post I stated that the study poorly defined conservatism, and in the comments section I noted that I would eventually blog on what I thought was a proper definition of conservatism. This post is more about what conservatism in the American context isn’t–specifically, it isn’t fascism as defined by Benito Mussolini. As the title of the post says, Il Duce was no conservative.

Fascism was a decided illiberal ideology–indeed, it was anti-liberal (in the classical sense). And sense American conservatism is an offshoot of classical liberalism, I have a rather hard time with the Berkley study’s categorization of Mussolini and Hitler with Reagan and Limbaugh.

For example, in Mussolini’s own definition of fascism, he states the following:

  • “the nineteenth century was the century of Socialism, of Liberalism, and of Democracy, it does not necessarily follow that the twentieth century must also be a century of Socialism, Liberalism and Democracy: political doctrines pass, but humanity remains, and it may rather be expected that this will be a century of authority…a century of Fascism. For if the nineteenth century was a century of individualism it may be expected that this will be the century of collectivism and hence the century of the State….”
  • “After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage…. ”
  • “The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State. The conception of the Liberal State is not that of a directing force, guiding the play and development, both material and spiritual, of a collective body, but merely a force limited to the function of recording results: on the other hand, the Fascist State is itself conscious and has itself a will and a personality — thus it may be called the “ethic” State….”
  • “…Fascism denies, in democracy, the absur[d] conventional untruth of political equality dressed out in the garb of collective irresponsibility, and the myth of “happiness” and indefinite progress…. ”

    It is rather difficult to be intellectually honest and argue that such sentiments sound like Reagan, and any other American conservative.

    Source for quotations: Modern History Sourcebook: Mussolini: What is Fascism, 1932

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  • By Steven Taylor

    GOP fails third try to force Owen vote

    Republicans seeking again to focus attention on President Bush’s thwarted judicial nominees failed Tuesday for the third time to break a Democratic filibuster on the nomination of Texas Judge Priscilla Owen.
    The Senate was seven votes shy of the 60 needed to bring a quick end to debate, leaving the nomination in legislative limbo.

    The vote on Owen — a Texas Supreme Court justice nominated for the U.S. 5th District Court of Appeals in New Orleans — was the first of four floor votes scheduled this week on Bush judicial selections who have provoked partisan division. They include the nomination of Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

    As in previous votes, Sens. Zell Miller of Georgia and Ben Nelson of Nebraska were the only Democrats joining the Republican majority in favor of confirming Owen.

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    By Steven Taylor

    Concerning confusion over the President’s pronouncements today vis-a-vis DOMA: “A LAW?”

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    By Steven Taylor

    Here’s the relevant passage of the “Defense Of Marriage Act” 5/96 H.R. 3396

    (a) IN GENERAL.-CHAPTER 1 OF TITLE 1, UNITED STATES CODE, IS AMENDED BY ADDING AT THE END THE FOLLOWING:

    “7. Definition of ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’

    “In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”.

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