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The free and responsible
search for truth and meaning requires a public space for discourse.
Following the ancient tradition of the Greek agora and the Roman forum,
the Pagan Institute invites thoughtful Pagans of all persuasions to make
The conservative Pagan spectrum is broad, and for purposes of this
publication, will include Libertarian economics. The editor's liberal convictions are evident elsewhere in this
In the interest of balance (a classical Pagan virtue), we
offer this forum for conservative and Libertarian Pagan writers to define, describe and
divine the meaning of conservative Paganism.
-----Christa Landon, ed.
In this issue:
Free Market Proposal for Progressive Investment by Don Chaote (Don Meinshausen)
Tube be or not tube be connected or when Bush comes
True conservatism is deeply liberal, by Chuck
After Words: More conservative Pagans
How to Participate in this Forum
Proposal for Progressive Investment
By Don Meinshausen, Libertarian and
columnist for Pagan Institute Report
I am a Unitarian/Universalist and an advocate of increased community and
worker's control of industry, as well as doing what is possible to
increase opportunities for those who have been frozen out of promotions
as well as reducing pollution, increasing charitable giving and other
points of a progressive agenda. I believe that bad institutions (the
state and its corporations) that pollute, exploit people, promote war
and tyranny should be boycotted. The reverse is also true; in
investing and in buying what we need companies that reflect our values
should be encouraged.
I therefore believe that Social
Security privatization is the best tool to accomplish this. As we
should know by now the state does not have our interests in mind.
Rather the state and its corporate allies are addicted to controlling us
and anything they can get their hands on. The worst violation of
American civil liberties came under Lincoln, Wilson and FDR, not under
Reagan, Nixon or Bush, loathesome as all these characters are.
Think of your money and how it is
stolen from you, to be "invested" in Social Security where it is
generally used to finance any government chicanery as well as paying
claims, claims that are determined by Congress not by us. In fact you
have no legal claim to any of this money at all. It is invested in
Treasury bonds rather than socially responsible investments.
In this country there is already over 2 trillion dollars invested in
socially-aware investment funds by unions, churches, foundations,
colleges and progressive people from all walks of life. These
funds have outperformed the Dow Jones Average for decades. They
screen out firms that make their profits from war, pollution, alcohol ,
gambling or authoR.rian regimes. Some also look for firms with good
affirmative action programs, jobs for local poor people or new energy
saving technology. You could also put money in Employee Stock Ownership
Plans that could give workers a say in working conditions and to stop
runaway shops. Another idea is to give mortgages or car loans to
working families below bank rates as is done by a worker owned bank in
So where do you want to have your
retirement money? Invested by Bush & Co and his cronies in Congress?
Or invested by a socially aware investment firm that will give you a far
better return on your money and a good conscience? The answer should
be obvious: Design a SS privatization plan that allows people to put
in their money in safe, profitable investments that reflect our values.
If there is to be a Social Security
privatization it should have these options. That's what a real
ownership society is all about. Imagine the power of a boycott if we
could raise the amount of funds invested in socially aware investment
funds so that they dominated the investment field rather than
banks. Companies would come to us for funding new projects that would
help our agenda of weaning the US off of fossil fuels and autocratic
regimes. The possibilities are endless.
Many articles have spilled ink on the ethics of who owns
Terri and the rights of her husband and parents. I see the court case as
an oblique attack on the right to disconnect or die. This article
addresses instead the cultural implications of how a society changes and
the consequences for leadership.
Back in the old days it is said the
entire libertarian movement could fit in Murray Rothbard's living room.
Murray, exiled by Ayn Rand, was called the Karl Marx of libertarianism.
When he started to believe it and over-managed like Ayn, he was shunned or
exiled again, even though his leadership and scholarship was greater than
He had interesting answers to difficult questions.
How does a libertarian society protect itself against murder? He replied
that most murders were never discovered and that most murderers were never
caught. This is especially true if one considers the neglect or "helping
along" of comatose patients by relatives or health care givers. If a
person is murdered the likelihood is that it was done by someone close to
them (crimes of passion in other cases). He also noted in mysteries that
it is usually the private detective or the rebel or eccentric in the
police who solves the case (Colombo etc)
Most have ignored the fact that until recently that
the disconnect decision is a reflection of a new reality. The tubes
connecting Terri to her life support and the wires to the media (our life
support) connect us all to what was an intensely private and new delemma
which somehow demands a popular judgment.
People at the margins of life or conscious
communication have always been at more risk than active, aware people.
Since we are more aware and more powerful to affect this Terri's plight it
becomes a more difficult decision to make. Even
evangelicals are divided. It is not just a practical or ethical
decision. It is a decision that evolves through culture.
Hunter Thompson's decision to commit suicide was
probably influenced by his coverage of Ernest Hemingway's decision to do
so when suicide was a strong taboo. Suicide has emerged as a worthwhile,
moral option through such films as "Whose Life is it Anyway?". Films as
well as documentaries probably have more influence than the traditional
Sunday Sermon which used to be our only source of learning. And Sunday
Sermons have long ago lost out to colleges, the media and especially the
internet as a source of ideas on ethics.
It is good that these issues are being discussed
widely and even that there are differences. The
right to die and to be assisted in this process can not be affirmed
without some guarantee that people are letting go and not being pushed.
The guarantors of these rights should not be the state and rarely the
courts. It is the individual, or failing to have a living will, the
families, friends or spiritual mentors that should make these decisions.
Tradition through art aided by our ever increasing
knowledge of science and psychology will provide the framework rather than
lawmakers or ministers. Look at the living will or the videotaped
will. Memorial services with eulogies by families and friends are
replacing traditional services. Timothy Leary, always ahead of his time
had his wake while he was alive and flirted with cryonics.
Baby Boomers reaching their declining years now
finally break their last taboo; the disconnection of life. Clint
Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" will influence the debate. So will "Six
Feet Under" based on a family owned funeral parlor and the best TV series
on the air.
So far the voluntary euthanasia side is winning the
battle since death with dignity is a better image than the caring of a
vegetable attached to life support. This is supported by the expense and
burnout of people working in nursing homes who take care of bedsores
etc. If there is humanity in a comatose being how do we sense it?
The anti-disconnect people are usually pro-life.
Even with the rise of evangelism the polls show that numbers supporting
the various sides haven't changed. One reason is the novels and films
"Cider House Rules" and "Vera Drake" dealing with active, aware people
dealing with problems of incest and unwanted pregnancy and the nice people
who help them solve their problems. Are fetuses aware? About as aware
as an animal or vegetable.
There is an even greater challenge to the
pro-life/anti disconnect forces. Their moral dilemmas are being dwarfed
by the media's ability to bring the images of tyranny, slavery, atrocity
and other government programs into our homes and consciousness. Whatever
Terri is feeling there are more people in greater pain and lack of freedom
who plead for our attention and Terri isn't pleading. People in prisons,
in intractable pain denied medication by our government and in third world
tyrannies might question our priorities.
As pro-life people offer adoption services they
could provide free hospice care. Better still they could shun those whose
moral decisions are repugnant to them. They should be aware that they
have limited moral capital and public attention is limited as they could
be shunned in turn.
They are right in one area. Choosing who to defend
your life is much more than hiring a police agency or insurance
company. When you choose someone to choose for you when you can no longer
choose for yourself it should be someone who reflects your values;
family, faith or friends. Someone who knows and cares about you.
Chuck Waibel, columnist and reporter for the Pagan Institute Report
I’ve been troubled for a while by the feeling that the labels
“Liberal” and “Conservative” have lost their meanings. I listen to
politicians and others who call themselves by one name or the other, and
they seem to be just tags, with no real connection to reality.
I went to see the film “I, Robot,” this evening. Like many good
mystery stories, the plot hinged on logic and the subtle meanings of
On the drive home, in one of those free-association flukes, I realized
that the two go together.
most basic values of a culture, what is truly “conservative,” are
usually found in its religion. By this standard, certain ideas are
rock-bottom conservative worldwide. In the West this is called the Golden
Rule. Here are some versions, courtesy of Morgana's Observatory http://www.dreamscape.com/morgana/goldrule.htm
This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which would cause you
pain if done to you. [Mahabharata 5,1517]
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. [Udana-Varga
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do
ye even so to them: for this is the law of the prophets. [Matthew
Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you
would not have them do unto you. [Analects 15,23]
No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that
which he desires for himself. [Sunnah]
What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire
Law; all the rest is commentary. [Talmud Shabbat 31a]
Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain and your neighbor's loss
as your own loss. [T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien]
An' it harm none, do as ye will. [Rede] Any energy you send out will
come back threefold. [The Law of Three]
That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another
whatsoever is not good for itself. [Dadistan-i-dinik 94-5]
pretty well describes Humanity’s shared notion of what is fundamentally,
conservatively right. In the course of human events, it needs to be
restated from place to place and time to time, which brings us to the US
Declaration of Independence:
hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of
Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted
among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
lines from the Declaration of Independence restate the same principle, and
it is inarguably a basic, conservative, statement of US values. It is also
one of the most forceful statements of the Liberal ideas upon which the
country was founded.
secure these rights,” to embody our most conservative values,
“governments are instituted among men.” To secure more money, and for
NO other reason, business corporations are created. Clearly, privatization
and deregulation of the means by which we supply our common needs and care
for one another is not conservative, but some short-sighted, greedy and
also pride themselves on “looking at things as they are.” This is well
and good, but this means that espousing customs and prejudices simply
because they are old is another side of that Other. In the light of all we
have learned in Science and Philosophy, with all that we now know is true
that we didn’t two hundred, fifty, even ten years ago, promoting
creationism and mandatory prayer in schools, to deny a woman’s right to
make up her own mind on agonizing personal issues, to deny homosexuals the
right to simply be the kind of human beings they are, and to make people
submit to proselytizing to get help, are all violently non-conservative.
They are the stingy symptoms of living in that Other’s fantasy world.
recent speech George W. Bush proclaimed that he wanted “a country where
all people could be safe, prosperous and free.” This sounds fine, but
his other proclamations and actions add “…unless you’re gay, of a
different religion or otherwise not like me.” His so-called Conservatism
is not at all conservative, but the same Other.
is the core of this Other that masquerades as Conservatism? It is simply,
purely, FEAR. Humans naturally fear change and differences. That’s why
wars have been fought over these ideas that all cultures claim to cherish:
implementing them, especially in the light of new information, means that
people will have to face change and differences. They may even need to
admit that they were wrong.
many people have lost sight of these most conservative of values. In the
United States this is especially painful, since those who label themselves
as Conservative are actually the farthest from their supposed ideal.
shouldn't PLAY God, we should get serious about it!"
Words: More Conservative Pagans Speak
Forum: A Communitarian Reply
Gods be with us all.
I think lack of years of study of political thinking is showing in what I've
seen so far, here, but that's ok. For many people the spin-doctors of the
various political parties and political cults have totally obliterated the
roots of political philosophy. Finding one's own voice and understanding
is so difficult and finding a name for it is problematical.
Personally, I believe in decentralization. I believe giant governmental
bodies become too alienated and abstracted from the people they govern and
naturally tend to treat with the citizenry as abstracts. Rather than being
able to understand unique conditions in the different areas of the nation,
the tightly-ruled large government relies on the loudest (and wealthiest --
a tendency of all governments) voices and snippets of knee-jerk "common
knowledge" plus the highly personalized voices of "experts" who always
(don't we all?) have their own agenda. It's no wonder they keep making such
I believe communities should care for the people within the community. But
that doing so is a mutually responsible thing. If community members need
help, they should be given the actual help they need and be expected to
reciprocate within their own abilities.
Once community members are adults there will always be something they can
offer, if only, as in the case of the very ill, a job for other community
members. There are all kinds of values to be considered within a community
which are not monetary. The person who is always there with a kind word and
help when one is going through hard times may not be a "go-getter" in
monetary ways and may occasionally have trouble due to unavoidable financial
difficulties. But since they live their lives with generosity to other
community members, the reciprocity would be the community helping out.
Some people have physical or genetic-based psychological disabilities. It
is important for the health of the community to, as soon as the problem is
detected, create the needed healing and training which will bring these
people into a state of ability which will give them the health and skills to
join in to the common weal.
While I am not a pacifist, I believe that wars of aggression are stupid. I
prefer the Swiss concept of a citizen army. Only for use against an
invasive armed power. Never for use against the citizenry. Now, when I use
the term "stupid", I actually am referring to a low degree of intelligence.
I have been, in my young past, a student of martial arts -- and the
philosophies of those arts. The wise and knowledgeable Warrior is aware of
the ambiant and realistic factors of the greater world and will never apply
more than a minimum of action for achieving a maximum of advantage. This
application to the world scene would rationally keep track of the patterns
of world needs and political movements and act in minimal ways to head off
problems before they begin. Nobody can know everything. But clear-headed
and intelligent true Warriors do not flail about and attack the neighbor of
the true villain which has attacked the homeland no matter how much the
neighbor is disliked.
Since that is what has happened in terms of the current administration's
letting Osama Bin Ladin's organization go and attacking Iraq, there is no judgement
I could possibly make other than that the invasion and devastation of Iraq
is not the act of a conservative presidency but rather the behavior of an
impulsive and low-intelligence thinker. This is no Warrior. No
Conservative. And certainly not a person of goodwill for our nation. As
well, it angers me to see our service men and women disrespected so
incredibly as to be sent to a foreign country as an invading army for no
purpose beyond making money for certain people in high government offices.
I believe that marriage has two significances in society. The first is
community and personal relationships. Any deeply meaningful relationships
have an impact on their community which is why most people marry within a
circle of those most closely involved. Of course, some cannot believe
their lives are part of the community but are emotionally committed to each
other so their tiny circle is, essentially, their community. A marriage in
this context could be religious or simply an announcement.
The other significance, currently, of marriage is financial. I believe that
this constitutes, legally, a partnership. For tax and debt purposes, if
two people plan to pay taxes and shoulder each others' debts, a partnership
license should be enough for the government. However, if a couple simply
wishes to join their lives within their community, publicly declaring their
love and willingness to live together as a couple, I don't believe that
should be any of the government's business. I believe that should be
considered totally legal. Without any government forms filled out. I
believe that all the benefits of a familial relationship should go with such
a non-government-licensed relationship. To join together in terms of
financial liability and for tax purposes, such people would have to go
through the government process of getting a secular partnership. I do not
believe the government has any business in the marriage situation.
And the rules of government-licensed partnership would apply as if they
were a business partnership.
Of course, in a decentralized world, these things would probably be
I believe that the human community has always been "raising" the children in
its midst to at least equal responsibility with the parents. This is simply
true. A community which rejects its responsibility is no less "raising" the
children. It is just doing a very bad job of it. Unless parents are living
essentially as hermits, with no contact with the outside world, the
children's sense of who they are and what and who they are responsible to
comes mostly from the community around them. Anyone who has ever been the
parental part of a childhood knows that at about third grade the luster has
worn off the child's idea that their parents know everything. By the time
the child is fourteen the only people they respect or believe know anything
are outside the parental category. In other words, even though they are
dependent on the parents, their actual values and education is coming from
So when young people in your area misbehave, look to your role in their
lives. Have you been absentee to your community? Have you left it up to
schools and the media to give those young people a sense of what "Good" is?
Have you modeled it for them in a way which they could admire and aspire
to? Well, own up to what you have and haven't done.
Honesty and taking responsibility for your effect on the world around you is
part of a truly conservative vision.
Speaking of which, everybody knows that when one lives in a house it is not
ok to simply leave messes all over the place and trash the contents.
Particularly when that's the same house the next generation is going to live
in. With planet Earth, we're talking about something so dramatic in terms
of the after-effects of the consumeristic society and the blatant spreading
of poisons throughout the air, water and land that it is quite likely that
all lifeforms which need the sort of range of resources that humans need
will be obliterated by the desertification of all once-fertile areas. Being conservative about Mother Earth is one of the
truly deeply ethical things any Pagan can do.
So let us all be responsible, honest, far-thinking and reasoning
mean I'm not alone?
mean I'm not the only conservative pagan ever? I was starting to
My grandfather challenged me to read the writings of people I disagreed
with. Since then I have gone from peace activist to war hawk (in
the space of about 2 years).
I am a libertarian conservative. Some of my beliefs:
the war in Iraq is defensive and therefore just. Side benefits
that many Iraqis wanted it, and that it might spread Western feminism.
That it is not possible to support our troops without supporting the
That Communists were and are a threat (especially China right now).
That we live a basically good country.
That government regulation should be limited to keeping corporations
doing actual harm--we should not subsidize any industry.
That state welfare should be limited to those with a demonstrable,
physical or mental impairment blindness, chronic schizophrenia, etc),
those in "disaster areas". I also don't mind temporary
recovering addicts and etc. If we want to assist poor children,
do it through schools, not by paying their parents money.
That whether I have an abortion is my business.
That the War on Drugs is a waste of money.
That church and state should be separated BUT that communities should
allowed some moral authority to protect their children.
That gays should have equal rights.
That minors should not be invited to ceremonies involving nudity or
That racists come in many colors, and that I don't need to pay for the
of other white Americans. As a person of Irish (and some
ancestry, it's pretty likely that my ancestors endured discrimination
died as Yankees in the Civil War.
a new conservative, I feel as though I have been lied to all my life.
am still trying to deal with my anger.
My pagan views encompass conservatism well because I follow Sekhmet, who
a goddess of war and healing, and in whom I can see my own ideals.
followed her since before I was a conservative.
----- Thriving Joy
(email addy withheld on request)
What a relief to see this forum. I am a practicing conservative pagan. I
am a member of a womyns group, (coven - as non pagans would say) and I
do not fit the cookie cutter political machine that most pagans sway
I believe in the following: we are all responsible for our own
actions. I do believe that everyone has a right to protect
themselves....yes, own or possess items to do so. War is sometimes
inevitable and necessary, to protect oneself from the persons who want
to see your lifestyle destroyed.
Most pagans are pro-choice, and even though I do not want to state
because it is personal to everyone, I don't think being pro-choice
should be the only view of a pagan, after all pagans cherish all life
I do not believe that everything in life is a right, sometimes there are
things that are gifts or privilege. I believe that sometimes, if not
most the time you should work hard for the things you want. I do not
believe in the typical socialized system or perfect future world where
we all have the same thing and everyone makes the same money...if that's
the case, what's the point of getting an education or striving for
I think parents raise a child not a village or "commune"ity or
a government agency. We must be responsible for our children's actions!
We do not live in a prehistoric nation, and most important, we are not
our children's best friends, but their parents.
So as you can see, a lot of my pagan cohorts believe otherwise, as do
some of my liberal friends. But there are some people who you would
never know to be pagans, and they too are conservatives..!
Thanks for allowing my 15 minutes of fame.
Sandy (email addy withheld on request)
a conservative Pagan?
does that mean to you?
Reconstructing an ancient Pagan culture and religious practices?
(Conservative economics; liberal tolerance)
Capitalism providing special rights and immunity to corporations and
control of consenting sexual behavior between adults?
Trusting the government to regulate your personal life?
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