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Old 23.08.2011, 17:02
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Swiss Conservativism

The last time I was in Switzerland, I was talking politics with an Uncle of mine. He said something which I found quite shocking. He told me that he admired the conservative movement in the US.

I like this uncle a lot and wouldn't characterize him as a swiss redneck or hillbilly. I'm just trying to understand what is so appealing to a 65 year swiss man about the US conservative movement, ie Republicans.

I'm assuming he is SVP. Does the SVP really aspire to be like US Republicans?
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Old 23.08.2011, 17:04
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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I'm just trying to understand what is so appealing to a 65 year swiss man about the US conservative movement, ie Republicans.
They're not Democrats.

I'd say that's as good a reason as any.
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Old 23.08.2011, 17:18
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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The last time I was in Switzerland, I was talking politics with an Uncle of mine. He said something which I found quite shocking. He told me that he admired the conservative movement in the US.

I like this uncle a lot and wouldn't characterize him as a swiss redneck or hillbilly. I'm just trying to understand what is so appealing to a 65 year swiss man about the US conservative movement, ie Republicans.

I'm assuming he is SVP. Does the SVP really aspire to be like US Republicans?
There are different types of Republicans in the US, all holding varying beliefs that can't possibly generalized. Short of long distance mind-reading, we couldn't possibly tell you which particular aspects appeal to your uncle. You have the distinct advantage of knowing him, though, so you're probably in a better position to get your answer than we are.
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Old 23.08.2011, 17:22
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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I'm assuming he is SVP. Does the SVP really aspire to be like US Republicans?
Depends what you mean by "to be like the US Republicans"

First amendment style free speech, lean state and low taxes, I think yes.
Being in the hands of the oil lobby or getting involved in foreign wars, I think not.
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Old 23.08.2011, 17:22
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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I'm assuming he is SVP. Does the SVP really aspire to be like US Republicans?
I think it is highly unlikely that the SVP is aspiring to be anyone or anything that is outside of Switzerland...
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Old 23.08.2011, 17:27
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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I think it is highly unlikely that the SVP is aspiring to be anyone or anything that is outside of Switzerland...
The SVP officially does not seek any alliances with foreign parties of similar orientation. However some members do on a personal level have friends in such parties. Thomas Fuchs comes to mind who has links to both the British Conservatives and the US Republicans and regularly attends (and sometimes even speaks at) their events. To his credit he does take care to mention that he is not speaking on behalf of anybody but himself.
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Old 23.08.2011, 17:32
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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The SVP officially does not seek any alliances with foreign parties of similar orientation. However some members do on a personal level have friends in such parties. Thomas Fuchs comes to mind who has links to both the British Conservatives and the US Republicans and regularly attends (and sometimes even speaks at) their events. To his credit he does take care to mention that he is not speaking on behalf of anybody but himself.
Agreed, but the OP used the word "aspire" which a different thing to forming an alliance, or even just speaking at their events.

"Aspire" sounded just a bit too "puppy-dog" for politics...
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Old 23.08.2011, 17:38
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

Interesting question... First things first, generally the Swiss quite like the american ideology / livestyle / culture. Georgie W has probably stopped that trend a bit, but for a long time the biggest dream of many Swiss was to buy a Harley or an American car and drive across the US. I think its a thing of being everything that Switzerland is not. Anyway. A lot of people who do travel will often realise that our little country wasn't as bad as they made it out to be (and maybe the US not so great as they romanticised it to be, especially if they look for work there), but thats not the point...

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I'm assuming he is SVP. Does the SVP really aspire to be like US Republicans?
I don't think any of the big parties (not even SVP) aspire to be like US Republicans. Our political system is full of traditions and unwritten rules and we're probably further away than any country from a government-opposition system, where basically one side says yes and the other says no. With our system of "Konkordanz", all major parties are involved in governing and the only thing that really changes is the strength of their involvement. The best measure for the parties is not so much the elections (although of course they are important) but the recommendations they give out before referenda and the outcome afterwards.

So with our system, no party can afford to make claims or recommendations that are all too far to the right or left or too liberal or conservative - or they won't be taken seriously very quickly. So in many ways, the biggest strength of our system also makes it boring - because you don't tend to get loud, polarising figures who just babble out what little goes on in their heads and risk to offend half the electorate - becasue they al know they depend on the other parties to work together. (Blocher is an interesting exception to the rule here and really, his involvement has majorly re-written the rules)

So for many people with strong ideologies it can be quite a relief to hear a politician actually speak out what they belief, rather than the usual thing that goes on here of finding compromises and not burning bridges.

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I like this uncle a lot and wouldn't characterize him as a swiss redneck or hillbilly. I'm just trying to understand what is so appealing to a 65 year swiss man about the US conservative movement, ie Republicans.
Now I obviously don't know your uncle so its a bit hard to judge but Switzerland has changed MASSIVELY in the last two generations. Before the two world wars, this was one of the poorest places in Europe. People were mostly working in agriculture or manufacturing and life was very hard indeed. Some places in the mountains were seriously cut of from the world - geographically, culturally and mentally.

Change came very quickly and Switzerland (or at least its cities) has become a serious player in the big international game and while it has brought a lot of money and new ideas to the place it has in many ways also hugely altered the traditional lifestyle and maybe destroyed some of the many ideas of people. So that would be my best guess that not everybody who's watched the scene for the last generation or so was so thrilled about everything that happened.

And don't forget - one of the most interesting aspects (politically) in this country is how hugely diverse the opinions in regions very close to each other can be. While Zurich is very driven by red-green ideas and a fairly open minded (wannabe?) global city - within an hour on the train you can get to some very conservative places where traditional rules and lifestyles are still very much present...
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Old 23.08.2011, 17:43
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

There's some pretty deep political debate going on here today. Your non-redneck nor hillbilly Uncle Mine might be referring to Roger Köppel's foreword in the Weltwoche about his fondness for the US's Tea Party political line.

Aside from that, I see zero political comparisons between any US party and any possible parallel in Switzerland. On a global scale, most other countries are oblivious to our internal politics here in Switzerland except for the odd exaggerated referendum scandal result which never actually changes the way that you or I live anyway. As long as our financial institutions don't really mess up (any more than they have in recent times), this fair land is seen as politically stable and financially sound from abroad .

Comparing that with the USA is impossible and serves no purpose. Imagine giving some poor dude four years to clean up the mess that the last (Texan) left behind and before things even start changing, you have to spend a few gazillion and start campaigning for the next four years all over again. The American system is a seesaw in perpetual motion; Switzerland's is as exciting as watching the Matterhorn erode underfoot of enthusiastic climbers.
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Old 23.08.2011, 17:55
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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... He said something which I found quite shocking. ...
You mean he actually had the gall to have opinions different from yours
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Old 23.08.2011, 18:15
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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I think it is highly unlikely that the SVP is aspiring to be anyone or anything that is outside of Switzerland...
here is the whole fascist club:
http://www.thenation.com/slideshow/1...ght-resurgence

But I dont think that SVP wants to copy others, but I believe that SVP is one the biggest influences on the right wing fascism scene in europe, e.g. NPD in germany loves SVP! And since SVP is the biggest party in CH, other right wing fascist parties want to copy them...
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Old 23.08.2011, 18:22
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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here is the whole fascist club:
http://www.thenation.com/slideshow/1...ght-resurgence

But I dont think that SVP wants to copy others, but I believe that SVP is one the biggest influences on the right wing fascism scene in europe, e.g. NPD in germany loves SVP! And since SVP is the biggest party in CH, other right wing fascist parties want to copy them...
SVP in the same bag as the English Defence League? Oops. If that hasn't firmly proven that the author of this article is clueless, then what follows must surely drive it home.

Fascism is a Godwin word. And I don't know of many Fascist parties who were against transferring more power to central government, for keeping their troops out of foreign countries or for giving more democratic powers to the people (all things the SVP campaigns on).

And if you put NPD in the same bag as the SVP you have tragically and dangerously if not lethally misunderstood who the NPD are or what they want.
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Old 23.08.2011, 21:00
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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The last time I was in Switzerland, I was talking politics with an Uncle of mine. He said something which I found quite shocking. He told me that he admired the conservative movement in the US.

I like this uncle a lot and wouldn't characterize him as a swiss redneck or hillbilly. I'm just trying to understand what is so appealing to a 65 year swiss man about the US conservative movement, ie Republicans.

I'm assuming he is SVP. Does the SVP really aspire to be like US Republicans?
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Old 23.08.2011, 21:15
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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The last time I was in Switzerland, I was talking politics with an Uncle of mine. He said something which I found quite shocking. He told me that he admired the conservative movement in the US.

I like this uncle a lot and wouldn't characterize him as a swiss redneck or hillbilly. I'm just trying to understand what is so appealing to a 65 year swiss man about the US conservative movement, ie Republicans.

I'm assuming he is SVP. Does the SVP really aspire to be like US Republicans?
Odd isn't it, you'd think with him be related and all - sharing genes and so on - he'd just vote the way you do.

I guess half the voters in the US sometimes vote for the Republicans from time to time. That'll be how you got Republican presidents an' all...
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Old 23.08.2011, 21:17
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

Q: Why does the discerning European admire the American Republican Party?


A:
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Old 23.08.2011, 21:39
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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I guess half the voters in the US sometimes vote for the Republicans from time to time. That'll be how you got Republican presidents an' all...
I beg to differ, but the statement is not exactly correct.
The US system was inspired from the Swiss one.
It's the amount of senators (or seats, if you wish) representing a state, that determine the vote, not the % of population.

Hypothesis:
1 small state with just 100 people, represented by 2 senators
and
1 medium state with, let's say 5000 people, represented by 2 senators
.. both will have the same weight.

I think it's possible to win the popular vote and still not win the presidency
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Old 23.08.2011, 22:28
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

I didn't mean to make it a Democrat vs Republican thing. I made a mistake by saying the "SVP really aspire to be like US Republicans".

My mistake was instantly associating Conservatism with being a Republican. This instant connection speaks to the strength of the Conservative movement in the the States.

In the US, the conservative movement has generally been portrayed as a group of religious fundamentalist and lately as a bunch of Tea-Party hillbilly terrorists. I just wondered(shockingly) why someone would admire the fringe/winger labels associated with the US conservative movement.

Tomberli pointed out that, "So for many people with strong ideologies it can be quite a relief to hear a politician actually speak out what they belief, rather than the usual thing that goes on here of finding compromises and not burning bridges. " In the case of my uncle, I think this is exactly what he admired... the principled nature of the US Conservative movement.

I didn't realize how marginalized the SVP was in the current four-party set-up. Ultimately, I think he looks across the Swiss political spectrum and realizes that 'Swiss Conservatism" on the whole will never make the political gains that have been achieved in the States.
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Old 23.08.2011, 23:04
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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The last time I was in Switzerland, I was talking politics with an Uncle of mine. He said something which I found quite shocking. He told me that he admired the conservative movement in the US.

I like this uncle a lot and wouldn't characterize him as a swiss redneck or hillbilly. I'm just trying to understand what is so appealing to a 65 year swiss man about the US conservative movement, ie Republicans.

I'm assuming he is SVP. Does the SVP really aspire to be like US Republicans?
Basically YES ! Except that the SVP is right of the centre of the US Republican Party. It ranges from the Republican Party centre out to the Tea Party
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Old 23.08.2011, 23:08
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

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I think it is highly unlikely that the SVP is aspiring to be anyone or anything that is outside of Switzerland...
The SVP already 20 years ago copied political methods from the USA, most particularily of the Republican Party. Their aggressive style was unknown in CH before. And the SVPler have lots of international contacts.
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Old 23.08.2011, 23:33
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Re: Swiss Conservativism

Swiss Identity Card
Swiss Obama
Swiss Conservativism

...am just waiting for the OP to start his next thread.
Will it be "Swiss Thanksgiving"? "Swiss 4th of July"? "Swiss Kraft Mac'n'Cheese"?
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