Friday, September 14, 2007

Sykes, Gousha and Deep Thoughts

I have not been feeling the blog this week but when the conservative Cheddarsphere's Blogfather speaks twenty feet from my office, I've got to say something.

Charlie Sykes participated in a series of the "Conversations" hosted by my colleague and new next door office neighbor Mike Gousha. The event was well attended and interesting. Good questions; provocative answers.

John McAdams did a nice job of live blogging the event. One thing to add. He says that a question about whether talk show hosts screen out dissenting callers was also an accusation. It is, but not by the guy who asked it. I asked it because I have spoken to enough people in that business to know that this is precisely what they do not do. It would make for boring radio which would make for poor ratings which would make for unemployment.
Yet people persist in believing it. I asked the question to clarify that.

I wanted to focus a bit on one question from the audience. John Pauly, Dean of the College of Communications at Marquette, wondered whether there was a contradiction in conservatism around the question of what binds us to one another as human beings. How, he asked, should conservatives define the human community?

Charlie agreed that there was often a contradiction between the more stridently libertarian aspects of conservatism and what he agreed was an essential need for human community.

This is an issue that fascinates me and my own view is tentative. I want to say that the conservative sense of community is more organic in the sense that it tends to base itself in something deeper than the political community and more particular than the "human race" - although it may recognize the rights and worth (are those things also in tension?) of all humans. This tends to result in a community that is at once more libertarian and more authoritarian - the latter because community is more likely to be seen as built around shared values that impose obligations on its members. Therein lies the tension - loosely reflected in the uneasy alliance of economic and social conservatives.

Of course, this tension may exist in left liberalism as well and maybe you'd be better to argue that the distinction between it and conservatism lies in the directions in which the movements tilt. Thus you have Michael Barone's concepts of hard and soft America (also alluded to by Charlie during yesterday's program).

I don't have time for more this morning.

13 comments:

Dad29 said...

Note that both Weber and Belling have gone into full-scale Rant-ation over a lousy $100K subsidy for bus-riders who work in Waukesha County.

Both seem to forget the $810 MILLION project called "the Freeway" which...

Ah, you get the idea...

Anonymous said...

Rick says -

"I want to say that the conservative sense of community is more organic in the sense that it tends to base itself in something deeper than the political community and more particular than the "human race" - although it may recognize the rights and worth (are those things also in tension?) of all humans. This tends to result in a community that is at once more libertarian and more authoritarian - the latter because community is more likely to be seen as built around shared values that impose obligations on its members."

This is entirely empty verbiage. "Deeper" than one undefined thing and "more particular" than another?

In a way other than intended, you provide an excellent example "of what binds us to one another as human beings." Either you are making a gentle reference to religion, or your answer is "nothing" - which of course reflect the two contradictory poles of your party.

Xoff said...

As someone who's been screened out of the Sykes show, I find it a little hard to believe that doesn't happen.

The only times I have been able to comment on his show is when I have called the private studio line, about I topic where I had some personal knowledge, and identified myself.

I tried a few times to call the general number anonymously, but after being "interviewed" by the producer have been screened out.

John McAdams said...

Gee, Rick,

Sorry I didn't recognize your voice on the "screen callers" question.

I had my head buried in my laptop display!

Mike Plaisted said...

On the issue of screening out opposing views, Rick, I have talked to a local politician who has called in more than once to join one of Sykes" "discussions". He was told that the show is "entertainment", which means, I suppose, it is not meant to do anything but, as Limbaugh says often, make the host look good.

To pretend that Sykes or any of the other right-wing radio hosts in Milwaukee are running fair discussions on local issues is a joke. The issues are defined in a skewed way, and discussed by sycophants. Any lefties that find their way on are decidedly weak, and chosen for that reason. On the national shows, in fact, I stongly suspect most of the callers -- especially the lame lefties, who always end up agreeing with the host -- are set up and trained for the "call-in".

What the hell is Mike Gousha doing sitting around the law school, interviewing wing-nuts? Too bad he didn't get Sykes after the judge in Sheboygan threw out the jury verdict. His blather on that subject this morning was stunningly ignorant. Now THAT would have been an education for the law students.

illusory tenant said...

What the hell is Mike Gousha doing sitting around the law school, interviewing wing-nuts?

Good question.

Too bad he didn't get Sykes after the judge in Sheboygan threw out the jury verdict. His blather on that subject this morning was stunningly ignorant. Now THAT would have been an education for the law students.

Which makes the initial question an even better one.

Anonymous said...

I had the same question in mind. For one, this was billed as Sykes speaking on "public policy." Of course, that raises the question as to why an entertainer is teaching law students about public policy.

But what the heck, it's a private school, so this scintillating series is paid for by private donors, not our taxes. Just remember, the next time you need a lawyer, ask whether they spent their time in torts class or with talk-radio hosts.

libocrat said...

I suggest that you moon bats were incoherant and were screened based on your inability to make sense.
Poor socialist cry babies. Booo hoooo. Go read your New York times, you bunch of losers.

illusory tenant said...

Happily, Esenberg doesn't screen for "coherance."

Rick Esenberg said...

C'mon, Mike, you know that universities bring in speakers all the time. This is part of a series that involves local political and media figures of all political persuasions. Charlie wasn't "teaching" anything. He was participating in a conversation about public policy that Marquette - and plenty of other universities - believe to be part of their function. This includes, since the terms seem to be meaningful to you, both wing-nuts and moonbats.

illusory tenant said...

Who's the "moon bat," Fr. William Rickle, S.J.?

Anonymous said...

Smart move by Marquette to hire Gousha, who brings a little needed class to the third-tier law school.

Alex said...

Back to the original post, John Pauly is a brilliant journalism scholar. Getting him as dean for the College of Communication was huge for MU.

The question of community is a good one. I think most conservatives would say that its roots are outside of government (e.g., faith communities), but it's a question worth exploring -- on both sides.