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Author Topic: Why isn't Communitarianism more popular as an ideology?  (Read 5011 times)
AltWorlder
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« on: April 03, 2008, 11:03:52 pm »
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Why isn't communitarianism or Christian Democracy more popular ideologies in the U.S.?  I'm not talking about a CD Party appearing on the scene and displacing the big two.  I mean anything as much as a fringe presence as a third party, anything from the size of the Green/Libertarians to any of the Socialist parties or even something as small as the Peace and Freedom Party.  I mean, communitarianism is supposed to be the corner opposite of libertarianism on the political compass- why isn't a moderate form of it in the U.S.?

And don't tell me that it's the same thing as authoritarianism.  Christian Democracy, a form of communitarianism, is hardly authoritarian.

My theories-

1. It's too different.  American politics never had the social democracy vs. Christian democracy division that appeared in post-World War II Europe.  Americans are used to a tradition of small government and individualism, or at least the romanticized dream of it, and the Euros are too socialist commie pinko blah blah blah.  Ahem.  In any case, I guess the parties just never aligned so that liberal economics was big with the strongly religious portion of the electorate.  Too many self-made televangelists and prosperity gospel people in the Religious Right, I guess.

2. It's too similar.  The Republicans and Democrats are both big government, and the Dems are already socially conservative enough so that a CD party would be moot.  Personally, I think this theory is rather weak- certainly the Dems aren't exactly the champions of LGBT rights, but they're definitely the party for gay people, right?  And the Dem party line is unabashedly pro-Roe.  The Democratic Party isn't CD, in any case.  Even if the European CDPs are actually more liberal than the Democratic Party.

3. Christian Democracy requires an European, or at least Roman Catholic (just look at Latin America and the Philippines) cultural basis to understand it.  Communitarianism isn't really much of a movement as it is a bunch of hazy ideas made by theorists who don't really show up in the news much- as such, it's definitely more obscure than Green ideology or libertarianism or even American socialism.
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Quote from: metropolitan from Wonkette
alan keyes, mike gravel, cynthia mckinney, ralph nader... such a mess.
maybe it would be better if we just had two big political parties that represent wide swaths of ideology run against each other instead of all these warring parties. if we only had to deal with two parties a winner would have already come out ahead and had a chance to stabilize the financial markets and to prepare to deal with iraq.
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2008, 11:14:33 pm »
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Firstly the first amendment nearly prohibits Christian Democratic parties. Also the Republicans are very focused on religion to begin with a.k.a. Huckabee, Bush, etc. Both parties always make a point to say they are Christian and have faith. Also, I don't think people really see a need for a communitarian party. It wouldn't have much basis in the constitution and would go against many American libertarian principles. There really isn't room for these types of parties because the Dems and GOP already fill the shoes.
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2008, 11:54:29 am »
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Ever since the demise of the Federalists in the 1810's the U.S. has lacked a party that espouses the idea that there exists a group of wise elders who are smarter than the common people and that should therefore be entrusted with making decisions for society as a whole.  Whether it be Jacksonian Democracy, abolitionism, populism, progressivism, the New Deal, the Great Society, Reaganomics, New Democrats, etc., the predominant thought in American political discourse has been that there exists some elite group (which group is the elite group differs depending upon the movement) that has been the cause of most of the ills of society, and that if we could just get rid of or control that elite, society would be better.

Communitarianism depends upon people accepting that there exists a group of people who can make wiser decisions than those made by the people as a whole.  The continuing litany of elite-bashing makes acceptance of any self-proclaimed elite unlikely in the American body politic.
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2008, 11:58:20 am »
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Communitarianism isn't really much of a movement
Replace "movement" with "ideology" and you're there. It isn't one.
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2008, 05:27:10 pm »
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Well, American-styled Christian Democracy would need to be quite altered from the Euro/Latin American form.  It's interesting that in a country where religion is so tied with politics, people would still be strongly adherent to the First Amendment that a political party could be sunk if they so much as put the term "Christian" in its name.

Are there any other forms of communitarian ideologies out there besides CD?  Don't most East Asian nations have a form of government structure that has mixed economies with heavy government presence, and social policies that are somewhat conservative due to the Confucian ethos?
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Quote from: metropolitan from Wonkette
alan keyes, mike gravel, cynthia mckinney, ralph nader... such a mess.
maybe it would be better if we just had two big political parties that represent wide swaths of ideology run against each other instead of all these warring parties. if we only had to deal with two parties a winner would have already come out ahead and had a chance to stabilize the financial markets and to prepare to deal with iraq.
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2008, 05:34:16 pm »
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It's interesting that in a country where religion is so tied with politics, people would still be strongly adherent to the First Amendment that a political party could be sunk if they so much as put the term "Christian" in its name.

If a Baptist tried to start a Christian Democratic party here, he'd get few votes from Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, or Catholics as they'd suspect he thought that he was a better Christian than they.  Same for the other creeds.  The multiplicity of Christian denominations makes it hard to form a Christian themed party here.
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AltWorlder
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2008, 05:38:45 pm »
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I don't think that's the issue.  I mean, European CD parties became conglomerates between Catholics and various Protestant groups, and are now pretty ecumenical.  And there are organizations in the U.S. with "Christian" in the title that are pretty non-denominational.  Like the Christian Coalition for example.
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Quote from: metropolitan from Wonkette
alan keyes, mike gravel, cynthia mckinney, ralph nader... such a mess.
maybe it would be better if we just had two big political parties that represent wide swaths of ideology run against each other instead of all these warring parties. if we only had to deal with two parties a winner would have already come out ahead and had a chance to stabilize the financial markets and to prepare to deal with iraq.
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2008, 06:10:17 pm »
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The Christian Coalition is very recent and despite its name, focused on only a few narrow issues.  Not only that, I'd argue that its collapse proves my point.
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2008, 06:33:21 pm »
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Well, American-styled Christian Democracy would need to be quite altered from the Euro/Latin American form.  It's interesting that in a country where religion is so tied with politics, people would still be strongly adherent to the First Amendment that a political party could be sunk if they so much as put the term "Christian" in its name.

Are there any other forms of communitarian ideologies out there besides CD?  Don't most East Asian nations have a form of government structure that has mixed economies with heavy government presence, and social policies that are somewhat conservative due to the Confucian ethos?

Asia is exactly like that because of Confucianism. The stable nations accept one-party rule. Look at Japan and Singapore. They are basically both one-party states, and Singapore is a perfect example of Confucianism and the communitarian ideology being immensely popular. In fact, Singapore is one of the happiest nations in the world despite some of the strictest laws of a Western state (gum chewing ban was just lifted, they still cane people for crimes). Asians love to be "controlled" I guess. Only Taiwan and South Korea, both rather volatile, have democracies with changing parties. China also is basically stable among Han Chinese, just ethnic minorities are protesting.
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2008, 07:06:12 pm »
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China also is basically stable among Han Chinese, just ethnic minorities are protesting.

Uh... no. Really, really, no. Just because the media doesn't bother to report something doesn't mean that that it doesn't happen.
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ottermax
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2008, 09:29:20 pm »
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China also is basically stable among Han Chinese, just ethnic minorities are protesting.

Uh... no. Really, really, no. Just because the media doesn't bother to report something doesn't mean that that it doesn't happen.

Relatively stable. I'm sure there are protests and upset, but the vast majority of Han Chinese don't really mind their government, yet.
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AltWorlder
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2008, 02:20:01 pm »
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So, in any case, are there any forms of a social conservative/fiscally liberal ideology in the U.S.?  It doesn't have to be CD or communitarianism (whatever that is).  And no, fascism doesn't count.
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Quote from: metropolitan from Wonkette
alan keyes, mike gravel, cynthia mckinney, ralph nader... such a mess.
maybe it would be better if we just had two big political parties that represent wide swaths of ideology run against each other instead of all these warring parties. if we only had to deal with two parties a winner would have already come out ahead and had a chance to stabilize the financial markets and to prepare to deal with iraq.
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2008, 03:27:54 pm »
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Relatively stable. I'm sure there are protests and upset, but the vast majority of Han Chinese don't really mind their government, yet.

If the sort of industrial and agricultural unrest seen in certain parts of China were to happen in the United States no one would call America "relatively stable".
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2008, 05:19:35 pm »
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So, in any case, are there any forms of a social conservative/fiscally liberal ideology in the U.S.?  It doesn't have to be CD or communitarianism (whatever that is).  And no, fascism doesn't count.
Lots of Democrats fit the bill for social conservative/fiscally liberals.
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AltWorlder
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2008, 05:49:54 pm »
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Examples?  I'm trying to assemble a list.
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Quote from: metropolitan from Wonkette
alan keyes, mike gravel, cynthia mckinney, ralph nader... such a mess.
maybe it would be better if we just had two big political parties that represent wide swaths of ideology run against each other instead of all these warring parties. if we only had to deal with two parties a winner would have already come out ahead and had a chance to stabilize the financial markets and to prepare to deal with iraq.
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« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2008, 07:27:08 pm »
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Populism might be prevelant among the minds of Americans (of course populism being way too diverse and often even contradictory to form a coherent movement), but I don't think Communitarianism specifically is that popular.  I don't see many Americans clamouring over the need to submit the private realm to the public good.  We're still all about tax cuts and personal freedom.  While most Americans sense that something is wrong about this country, they don't understand the remedies we've being applying to the state for the last 3 decades aren't going to work.  They don't understand that there is something wrong about our fundamental values right now.  And I think the divergence of our values and institutions from where they need to be in order to advance the public good is so great that it is too shocking for the average American to accept.  That's why I think communitarianism is only going into dominance through the initiative and inspiration of a strong leader.
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« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2008, 08:18:34 pm »
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Simply put, Americans are too afraid of one another to commit to such a cooperative mindset.
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AltWorlder
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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2008, 08:45:07 pm »
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Well, I can understand why such ideologies would fare better in Europe and Latin America, where there isn't the phobia for anything resembling socialism and the fetish for small government.  However, I'm still wondering if a rough analogue to Christian Democracy would appear in the U.S.- one that only barely resembles the Euro version in that it's socially conservative crossed with fiscal liberalism.  I guess it was just hype about Huckabee.
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Quote from: metropolitan from Wonkette
alan keyes, mike gravel, cynthia mckinney, ralph nader... such a mess.
maybe it would be better if we just had two big political parties that represent wide swaths of ideology run against each other instead of all these warring parties. if we only had to deal with two parties a winner would have already come out ahead and had a chance to stabilize the financial markets and to prepare to deal with iraq.
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2008, 03:27:38 am »
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That's too big of a word for Americans to deal with
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2008, 07:36:04 am »
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Why isn't communitarianism or Christian Democracy more popular ideologies in the U.S.?  I'm not talking about a CD Party appearing on the scene and displacing the big two.  I mean anything as much as a fringe presence as a third party, anything from the size of the Green/Libertarians to any of the Socialist parties or even something as small as the Peace and Freedom Party.  I mean, communitarianism is supposed to be the corner opposite of libertarianism on the political compass- why isn't a moderate form of it in the U.S.?

And don't tell me that it's the same thing as authoritarianism.  Christian Democracy, a form of communitarianism, is hardly authoritarian.

My theories-

1. It's too different.  American politics never had the social democracy vs. Christian democracy division that appeared in post-World War II Europe.  Americans are used to a tradition of small government and individualism, or at least the romanticized dream of it, and the Euros are too socialist commie pinko blah blah blah.  Ahem.  In any case, I guess the parties just never aligned so that liberal economics was big with the strongly religious portion of the electorate.  Too many self-made televangelists and prosperity gospel people in the Religious Right, I guess.

2. It's too similar.  The Republicans and Democrats are both big government, and the Dems are already socially conservative enough so that a CD party would be moot.  Personally, I think this theory is rather weak- certainly the Dems aren't exactly the champions of LGBT rights, but they're definitely the party for gay people, right?  And the Dem party line is unabashedly pro-Roe.  The Democratic Party isn't CD, in any case.  Even if the European CDPs are actually more liberal than the Democratic Party.

3. Christian Democracy requires an European, or at least Roman Catholic (just look at Latin America and the Philippines) cultural basis to understand it.  Communitarianism isn't really much of a movement as it is a bunch of hazy ideas made by theorists who don't really show up in the news much- as such, it's definitely more obscure than Green ideology or libertarianism or even American socialism.

What you call communitarian I call populist. And there are many many many of them. I'd even venture to say Mike Huckabee is one.
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AltWorlder
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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2008, 12:33:50 pm »
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I guess we might as well refer to it as populism.  That has about as much to do with the dictionary term for populism as the political terms for "liberal" and "conservative" have to do with their dictionary terms.

Populism, from what I understand, refers to any sort of movement with a tone that appeals itself directly to the common people.  That doesn't necessarily have to be socially conservative/economically liberal.  However, I do like it as a name better than communitarianism, though.
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Quote from: metropolitan from Wonkette
alan keyes, mike gravel, cynthia mckinney, ralph nader... such a mess.
maybe it would be better if we just had two big political parties that represent wide swaths of ideology run against each other instead of all these warring parties. if we only had to deal with two parties a winner would have already come out ahead and had a chance to stabilize the financial markets and to prepare to deal with iraq.
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« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2008, 10:26:20 pm »
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Because, especially in recent decades, the vast majority of Americans tend to value individual freedom over collective action; though we may differ as to the actual definition of 'freedom'.

However, many modern day Republicans, especially ones like Huckabee, are increasingly communitarian/populist. Also, the Democrats used to have a very strong populist wing (especially in the South).
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Yankee Capitalist Scum!
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« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2008, 10:43:31 am »
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Because, especially in recent decades, the vast majority of Americans tend to value individual freedom over collective action; though we may differ as to the actual definition of 'freedom'.

However, many modern day Republicans, especially ones like Huckabee, are increasingly communitarian/populist. Also, the Democrats used to have a very strong populist wing (especially in the South).

I would agree with that assessment.  That is also why the left has to be careful when it tries to fashion a so-called religious left. That whole concept is basically taking socialism and dressing it up in religious drag to appeal to people who have a genuine faith in say, a Christian religion of some domination or another.  If they overdue it a lot, people in this country will likewise see it as too much mixing of church and state.
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War on Want
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« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2008, 10:52:40 am »
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Because, especially in recent decades, the vast majority of Americans tend to value individual freedom over collective action; though we may differ as to the actual definition of 'freedom'.

However, many modern day Republicans, especially ones like Huckabee, are increasingly communitarian/populist. Also, the Democrats used to have a very strong populist wing (especially in the South).
I really don't think most Americans value individual freedom more than collective action. Has libertarianism improved its numbers compared to Populism? Yes, but I still think that Populism is much more popular than libertarianism in America.
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DownWithTheLeft
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« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2008, 11:40:13 am »
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Examples?  I'm trying to assemble a list.
Sure, most politicians we label as populists, prime examples include:

Gov. Brad Henry
Sen. Ben Nelson
Sen. Mark Pryor
Sen. Bob Casey Jr.
Gov. Bill Ritter
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Gov. Christopher J. Christie
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