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Social Conservatives of the Left: Collier, Lasch, and Bell - Russell Nieli

Social Conservatives of the Left: Collier, Lasch, and Bell - Russell Nieli

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Published by Cocceius
Social conservatism is a political or moral ideology that believes that government has a role in encouraging or enforcing what they consider traditional values or behaviors. A second meaning of the term social conservatism developed in the Nordic countries and continental Europe. There it refers to liberal conservatives supporting modern European welfare states. Social conservatism is distinct from cultural conservatism which focuses on cultural aspects of the issues, such as protecting one's culture, although there are some overlaps.

The accepted meaning of traditional morality often differs from group to group within social conservatism. Thus, there are really no policies or positions that could be considered universal among social conservatives. There are, however, a number of principles to which at least a majority of social conservatives adhere. Social conservatives in many countries generally: favor the pro-life position in the abortion controversy; oppose all forms of and wish to ban embryonic stem cell research; oppose both eugenics (inheritable genetic modification) and human enhancement (transhumanism) while supporting bioconservatism; support a traditional definition of marriage as being one man and one woman; view the nuclear family model as society's foundational unit; oppose expansion of civil marriage and child adoption rights to couples in same-sex relationships; promote public morality and traditional family values; oppose secularism and privatization of religious belief; support the prohibition of drugs, prostitution, premarital sex, non-marital sex and euthanasia; and support the censorship of pornography and what they consider to be obscenity or indecency.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_conservatism#Social_conservatism_and_other_ideological_views

Russell K. Nieli is a lecturer in Princeton University’s politics department. Author of an important study of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, he has written numerous articles on public policy topics and edited an anthology of writings on affirmative action. Nieli graduated summa cum laude from Duke University, received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1970, and taught at several colleges before returning to Princeton. He is the author of a paper published by the Pope Center in March 2007, “The Decline and Revival of Liberal Learning at Duke: The Focus and Gerst Programs.”

http://www.popecenter.org/about/author.html?id=287

Social conservatism is a political or moral ideology that believes that government has a role in encouraging or enforcing what they consider traditional values or behaviors. A second meaning of the term social conservatism developed in the Nordic countries and continental Europe. There it refers to liberal conservatives supporting modern European welfare states. Social conservatism is distinct from cultural conservatism which focuses on cultural aspects of the issues, such as protecting one's culture, although there are some overlaps.

The accepted meaning of traditional morality often differs from group to group within social conservatism. Thus, there are really no policies or positions that could be considered universal among social conservatives. There are, however, a number of principles to which at least a majority of social conservatives adhere. Social conservatives in many countries generally: favor the pro-life position in the abortion controversy; oppose all forms of and wish to ban embryonic stem cell research; oppose both eugenics (inheritable genetic modification) and human enhancement (transhumanism) while supporting bioconservatism; support a traditional definition of marriage as being one man and one woman; view the nuclear family model as society's foundational unit; oppose expansion of civil marriage and child adoption rights to couples in same-sex relationships; promote public morality and traditional family values; oppose secularism and privatization of religious belief; support the prohibition of drugs, prostitution, premarital sex, non-marital sex and euthanasia; and support the censorship of pornography and what they consider to be obscenity or indecency.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_conservatism#Social_conservatism_and_other_ideological_views

Russell K. Nieli is a lecturer in Princeton University’s politics department. Author of an important study of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, he has written numerous articles on public policy topics and edited an anthology of writings on affirmative action. Nieli graduated summa cum laude from Duke University, received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1970, and taught at several colleges before returning to Princeton. He is the author of a paper published by the Pope Center in March 2007, “The Decline and Revival of Liberal Learning at Duke: The Focus and Gerst Programs.”

http://www.popecenter.org/about/author.html?id=287

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Published by: Cocceius on Feb 09, 2011
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 Social Conservatives of the Left:
 James Lincoln Collier, Christopher  Lasch, and Daniel Bell 
The Rise of Selfishness in America,
 by James Lincoln Collier. (Ox-
ford: Oxford University Press, 1991). Cited in the text as
 RSA.
 Haven in a Heartless World: The Family Besieged,
 by Christopher 
Lasch. (New York: Basic Books, 1977). Cited in the text as
 HHW.
The Culture of Narcissism,
 by Christopher Lasch. (New York: W.W.
 Norton, 1979). Cited in the text as CN.
The Minimal Self Psychic Survival in Troubled Times,
 by Christo-
 pher Lasch. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1984). Cited in the text
as
MS.
The True and Only Heaven: Progress and its Critics,
 by Christopher 
Lasch. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1991). Cited in the text as
TOH.
The End Of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the
 Fifties,
 by Daniel Bell. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,
1988; originally published 1960). Cited in the text as
 El.
The Coming of Post-Industrial Society,
 by Daniel Bell. (New York:
Basic Books, 1973). Cited in the text as PS.
The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism,
 by Daniel Bell. (New
York: Basic Books, 1976). Cited in the text as
CCC.
"The Return of the Sacred? The Argument on the Future of 
Religion," by Daniel Bell.
 British Journal of Sociology,
volume
28, number 4, December 1977. Cited in the text as
 RS.
The Winding Passage,
 by Daniel Bell. (Cambridge: Abt Books,
1980). Cited in the text as WP.
 
Social Conservatives of the Left 
199
This is the cultural dilemma of capitalist society: it must now
acknowledge the triumph (albeit tempered) of an adversary
"ideology," the emergence of a new class which sustains this
ideology, and the collapse of the older value system which was,
ironically, undermined by the structural transformation of 
capitalism itself. The inimical ideology is not the secular social-
ism of the working class . . . but the cultural chic of "modern-
ism" which retains its subversive thrust however much it is
absorbed by the system. This new class, which dominates the
media and the culture, thinks of itself less as radical than
"liberal," yet its values, centered on "personal freedom," are
 profoundly anti-bourgeois. The value system of capitalism
repeats the old pieties, but these are now hollow because they
contradict the reality, the hedonistic life-styles promoted by
the system itself . . . . The historic justifications of bourgeois
society-in the realm of religion and character-are gone .
.
Yet one of the deepest human impulses is to
 sanctify
their 
institutions and beliefs in order to find a meaningful purpose in
their lives and to deny the meaninglessness of death ... .
This lack of a rooted moral belief system is the cultural contra-
diction of the society, the deepest challenge to its survival.Daniel Bell
The moral bottom has dropped out of our culture.Christopher Lasch
When the Protestant Ethic Was in Vogue: Tocqueville onthe Nature of the American Character
European observers who came to the United States in the first half 
of the 19th century were struck by two contrasting features of 
American society that seemed to form equally important aspects of 
 
200
 THE POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEWER 
a distinctly American character structure and to contribute to what
at least some of these observers saw as the great success of the
American experiment in democratic self-government and personal
liberty. These observers were impressed by the restless energy andinsatiable striving which Americans displayed in their various pro-
ductive activities-whether in manufacturing, trade or small-scale
farming-all of which seemed to be aimed at the single goal of 
 bettering their economic condition and the condition of their fami-
lies. As a nation containing many immigrants and the first generation
offspring of immigrants many of whom had come to the country for 
the explicit reason of taking advantage of the cheap land and
expanded commercial opportunities that the new nation offered,America in the first half of the 19th century appeared to foreign
observers to display a distinctly bourgeois work and achievement
ethic that was unlike anything to be found on the continent of 
Europe.
But this emphasis on improving one's standard of living, which
in an earlier age churchmen and aristocrats had condemned in the
severest of terms, coexisted with another equally prominent feature
of American society that foreign observers noticed. This was the
deep piety and strong family-centered values, which, no less than the
striving to improve one's living standard, seemed to define the
general tenor of American life. Reflecting the influence of the heroic
age of the early 17th century Puritan settlers, and the several Great
Awakenings and religious revivals of the 18th and early 19th centu-
ries, America in the first half of the last century appeared to many
observers as a land in which religious observance and religious
feelings, no less than a restless desire for wealth, permeated the very
heart and soul of the culture.
Our best source for understanding early 19th century America,
of course, is still Tocqueville, whose
 Democracy in America' 
makesfor a most informative reading today primarily for the light it throws
on the dramatic changes that have taken place in this century,
 particularly over the past three decades, in the nature of the Ameri
-
can character. Indeed, a typical college-age student today, who knew

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