In a twitter conversation I was first instructed to "wake up" then to "elaborate." It's hard to elaborate in 140 characters.
In recent years "conservatives" have been waking up to tricks of the "progressives."
I put the words in quotes because I've discovered that terms have more than one meaning.
For that matter, I've learned that many of the tricks occur at a root level. People have been manipulating Americans for well over a century.
For example, progressives pulled the study of logic out of the curriculum over a century ago.
Progressives favor a system in which the elite manipulate the evolution of society through changes in language and style. Marx named his style of manipulation "Material Dialectics." His work was based largely on observations of the French Revolution. The idea of Hegel and Marx is that society evolves through a system of thesis/anti-thesis conflicts. Conflicts resolve in a catharsis then move on to the next conflict.
One of the fundamental believes of this "modern" style of thought is that every civilization lays the seeds of its own destruction.
This dialectical model is different from the logical (analytical) model of the Founders. The founders believed there was a truth and esteemed logic. They believed in a process where civilization built upon itself and improved with time.
The foundational thought system of the US Founders was never fully developed. The founders failed to see the entrenched party system. The Left/Right split that dominates modern politics came out of the French Revolution.
While American conservatives admire the American Revolution and disdain the French Revolution, the name for the "conservative" movement comes from the French Revolution.
Like American Conservatives, I admire the US Founders and believe the US Founders were on the right track.
A major problem of Conservatism is that self-described conservatives are often drawn into the culture war with the Progressives. When drawn into the culture wars, one runs the risk of assuming the underlying rational style of this modern dialectical process.
A great example can be found with the definition of "capitalism."
Marx wrote a big long book called "Das Kapital." He believed that society evolved through a scientifically predictable series of conflicts. Marx claimed that the modern period was dominated by a conflict between groups he called the bourgeoisie and proletariat. Marx predicted that the intelligentsia would unite with the proletariat in a revolution against the bourgeoisie. The catharsis would be a new thing called "Communism."
Marx wrote in German. Translated into English, the bourgeoisie became "capitalist" and proletariat translated to "worker."
The term "capitalism" and "capitalist" were rarely used before this period.
The US Founders were trying to establish a free society. They admired "The Wealth of Nations" which was published by Adam Smith in 1776. Many of the founders disliked the way the Europeans manipulated the financial system (a different, longer story). The US Founders did not use the term "capitalism" to describe their free market.
I really wish Conservatives would look at the terms they use, and use them with caution.
Marx hated the free market. He wanted it overthrown. He believed society evolved through conflict. Marx wrote a really long book called "Das Kapital" which highlighted and magnified every fault of the financial system. He then wrote a second short book called "The Manifesto" which showed revolutionaries how to use the false image he projected on the market to raise people in revolution. In the Manifesto, Marx promised that, after the revolution, a wondrous new world order called "Communism" will evolve.
Don’t you see the irony?
Marx never defined Communism beyond the vaguest of terms. What Marx did was to describe a perversion of the free market in minute detail. This perversion of the market is called "capitalism."
The term "Capitalism" was essentially defined by the enemies of capitalism. A central part of Marx's trick was that he over-emphasized the role of money, and de-emphasized the role of freedom in his description of the market.
The free market of Adam Smith was a description of how free people optimizing their individual resources tend to optimize the resources of the community at large.
Marx's perversion of the free market was a description about how a corrupt ruling class uses money (the financial system) to dominate society. Marx's goal in defining capitalism was to lay the seeds that would destroy the free market!
Apparently Marx was compelling to our intellectuals because it drew everyone into the conversation.
Today, we find ourselves in a strange situation where a group called "conservatives" defends a thing called "capitalism." The problem is that the etymology of terms undermines the cause.
Many conservatives use the term "capitalism" to describe the free market described by Adam Smith. The term also can refer to a perversion of the market in which a ruling class creates a corrupt financial system which empowers an elite.
As for the word "conservative," this word emerged as one side in the left/right split.
Patriotic conservatives in the United States are trying to preserve the thought system of the US founders. The problem is that their ideas are being defined as part of this dialectical split.
For example, the fact that the term "conservative" rose to describe a "left/right" split has the effect of making the split the center of discourse, rather than the underlying structure of society.
The enemies of the American experiment have laid before us a terrible series of traps. To restore the American system, we have to be wary of the origin of terms. When discussing ideas, we need to be wary of what people mean by "conservative," "capitalism," etc..
This post is getting too long. I wanted to give an example of how our terms are used against us.
A good example is ObamaCare. This system creates a centralized health exchange. An exchange could be described as "capitalism" because it uses the flow of capital through the health care system to control the behavior of people and to empower a ruling elite.