About two weeks ago, Mathius posted an article from the Washington Post that was titled “Gerard Alexander: Why are liberals so condescending?” I found the article quite interesting, as it really did a good job of summing up the frustration that folks feel with liberal elitism. I promised him a response to this. He wondered what an article would look like that came from the other side. While this is not really that article, because I cannot think like a true conservative, I will offer my thoughts on the conservative movement as well. So what I am going to do is offer my thoughts on both liberals and conservatives. I will use those two terms loosely, because I do understand the difference between a progressive and a liberal. But I want to be more general, lest I end up spending all my time attempting to define who I am talking about. I also add the caveat that I do not necessarily apply these thoughts to ALL who fall into those categories. For example, I may say liberals kick puppies, but I am aware that not all liberals kick puppies. Only Mathius does that, and it is because when he wakes sweaty from that nightmare, he really does believe it is a Raptor.
Why Are Conservatives So “2012” Obsessed and Blind to Reality?
You know, when I think about the word conservative these days, I tend to find that there are quite a few similarities between the “intellectual elitism” that Mathius’ article discussed in liberals and that found in conservatives. There were several points in that article by Gerard Alexander that I completely agreed with. There were also several points where you could have changed “liberal” to “conservative” and been absolutely correct. I do believe that, in general, conservatives believe that liberals are people making decisions with emotions rather than intellect, a claim leveled at conservatives regularly. But on to my two points in the title!
I simply cannot understand why the general conservative argument against just about everything these days ends up with the end of the world as we know it (the reference to 2012, end of the world). It seems as though no matter what the subject, there is a world altering consequence associated with doing things the way that liberals would have us do them. Obama isn’t just a socialist (which he is whether that hurts people’s feelings or not), he is Hitler exactly, and will begin his dictatorship shortly. The public option isn’t a simple possible solution to a problem in America, it is a government plot to take over health care and start killing grandmothers through death panels. Obama isn’t just a non-citizen (and really who cares at this point), he is a Kenyan Muslim who has gained the Presidency as a first step towards submitting the US to muslim rule. His military use stance isn’t a change in policy, but a calculated move that will result in the ultimate destruction of the United States due to a conquering force invading a now weak America. Attempting to foster international relations and solutions isn’t a rational reaction to a rapidly intermeshed international society, it is a plot to create a one world government that will subject the United States to totalitarian rule.
That isn’t to say that there is absolutely no merit to some of those conservative beliefs. Many of the moves made by the government these days IS about control. But why must we automatically skip past an increase in control and go directly to one world government and or a massive plot. Why can’t we debate the merits of a government health care option instead of immediately jumping to “death panels”? Believe me, there are plenty enough times where the actions on government are going to be the sort of action that points to a dramatic consequence or outcome that needs an alarm sounded on it. The “Civilian National Defense Forces” are one such item. But do you have to go that far on every item you disagree on? After all, when the answer to every proposed legislation is a conspiracy, no one is going to take you seriously when you actually have one that is legit. I agree that the liberal politicians are conniving SOB’s, and their motives are not as good as the liberals would like to paint them, but let’s be honest, you certainly can’t claim that the conservative politicians are even 1% better. Which brings me to point #2.
Why is it that conservatives seem to be able to point out the moral flaws in the liberal plans and politicians, but are completely unable to see that their politicians and positions are equally flawed and equally dirty and equally conniving and full of equally bad unintended consequences? Believe me, I can see the consequences of what the liberals want to do, but can you not see that the conservatives are simply attempting to do the exact same thing in a different way? Both sides are seeking control over the people, and you seem to somehow only see the measures taken to control the people that the liberals attempt to use. You are completely blind to contradictions, falsehoods, and misdirections of your own party leaders. You really believe that Pelosi is the devil and Mitch McConnell is trying to be your savior? Wake up conservatives. They are BOTH one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Pelosi is just Famine while McConnell is War.
The thing that completely baffles me is that the conservatives seem to not only fail to see the flaws in their politicians, but they fail to see the complete hypocrisy in the things that they believe are correct for government to do. Government should not put a finger into health care, but should absolutely have full control over the term marriage and who is entitled to benefit from it. Cap and Trade is a step towards one world government and is an example of government reaching into the private sector over false premises (AGW), but the Patriot Act was a virtuous attempt to protect us from some great evil that seeping into the country to kill us all. Liberals are insanely stupid to think they can control the economy through their ridiculous tax the rich mentality, but conservatives are brilliant to think they can control the economy through the idea of cutting taxes on the rich. Don’t you dare tell me I can’t wear a cross necklace, but we should outlaw the wearing of muslim headscarves.
Overall, the general tone of the conservative movement, while sound in many of its fundamental ideals of small government, free markets, and a strong military, are shrouded in hypocrisy and contradictions.
Why Are Liberals So Emotionally Attached and Against Personal Responsibility?
I figured I would add to the article from Mr. Alexander with some thoughts on my own, along some similar lines to those I offered on conservatives above.
My problem with the modern liberal or progressive movements is the overwhelming belief that anything that is morally wrong can be justified if they can make enough of an emotional appeal. As a result, we have seen a massive increase in the belief in liberals that government is the answer to our problems. Health Care, the economy, Financial reforms, food safety, you name it. No matter the issue, the liberal answer is ALWAYS some form of government intervention into the game. When the schools fail, government had to control them. Don’t like the BCS, get a commission together and threaten the NCAA. Economy is broken, add more regulations instead of taking those away that caused the problem. It seems as though liberals completely refuse to force anyone to be personally responsible for their own plight. Everything comes down to having the government do what individuals could do on their own. It may be tougher to do it as people, but the dependency that results from the “government solves all problems” mentality has rendered us with a country unable to do anything for ourselves.
But my biggest problem with the modern progressives and liberals is that, in my opinion, they absolutely refuse to listen to reason or rational debates that refute their proposals. No matter the subject, when well thought out and backed up arguments are presented, they overwhelmingly fall back to an emotional appeal. Welfare is wrong, and here is why it doesn’t work. Answer: we have to provide a safety net because it is the right thing to do. The wealthy already pay 90% of the taxes and should be further punished. Answer: Those greedy sonsabitches are working the system to keep the poor down. The government getting into providing health care isn’t the answer, bringing costs down is. Answer: Grandma lost her house because she got sick. People are losing their homes because they failed to read and understand the contract they were signing. Answer: But betty and the kids will be out on the street. Income redistribution is nothing more than stealing from one to give to another. Answer: You are a racist.
And when all else fails, as we have seen lately, I am absolutely disgusted and enraged with this mentality coming from the liberal politicians that if you don’t support their position, it is because you don’t understand it correctly. If the American public disagrees with their plan, then the American public is either manipulated by corporate interests, simply bigoted, or too stupid to understand. Nothing enrages me more than that. The liberal belief that if you don’t agree with us, it is a lack of understanding what we are doing or a lack of intellect on your part. They simply cannot fathom the idea that they could be wrong or that the public might not like their plan. If there is any one thing that has bothered me the most over the last year, that has been it.
I could go on about this, but the bottom line is that I know the emotional side of these arguments. It isn’t about my compassion or lack thereof. It is about what is right under natural law. If liberals and progressives could eliminate the passionate emotional attachments to the positions they defend, they might actually find their debates remain more civil. When you resort to emotional appeal, the opposition gets frustrated because you are choosing to ignore their facts and do what you want to do based on emotion.
Why Is American Politics Rooted in Government Action?
Which brings me to my close. From my personal perspective, I firmly believe in a very limited government. I do this because in my world, your success or failure is up to you. Government has never, in all its history solved a single problem in a way that didn’t cause a different problem somewhere else. Never. Think about that for a moment. If government action solving a problem results in a + and government creating a problem results in a –, the government has NEVER been in the positive. NEVER. And that should give folks on both sides of the aisle politically a reason to pause. You cannot justify any government action that causes a problem by solving another. No matter whether you fall into the liberal camp or the conservative one, there never seems to be the understanding solutions rarely come from government action. The solutions come from government inaction. That is the reality, whether folks on the left or right want to admit it or not. The recent health care summit was a prime example, as neither side ever considered that maybe they are both wrong. Perhaps government getting out of the way is the answer.
I make no bones about the fact that I would love to get to a world with no government. I simply don’t believe it is possible. But I do believe that it is possible that we could get to a world with very little damn government. Would it be a tougher world? Probably, at least for the first chunk of time. Would there be injustices committed against man? Absolutely. But government really hasn’t slowed that down any, has it? In fact, I would argue that most injustice today is either caused by, or allowed by, government.
And now that I have written my article as I wanted to do, I want to answer Mathius specifically, by talking about myself a little bit as he did, and then answering his questions.
I don’t know whether I would call myself an elitist. I do believe that I am above average in intelligence. Education is something I have always pursued, but which I place a limited amount of credibility in (formal education at least, and I have plenty of it. I am not anti-intellectual at all, I merely see more value in life lessons than formal schooling). I feel as though I am a logical thinker. I am fair in my analysis when pressed. I will take every argument step by step, issue by issue. Mrs. Weapon will tell you that I simply do not think like other people do. I allow zero emotion into my thought process. And I am always open to being wrong and changing my opinion if convinced. But I am tough. Because if you want to change my opinion, you have to PROVE me wrong. You can’t dance around it. Making your friends say “damn, you sure told him” does not mean that you have actually proven anything. Facts only please.
I view those on the left as emotional. I believe that the far left in America is a “touchy feely” group that wants to claim a moral high ground by taking from those that have and giving it to those they feel sorry for. They want to solve the world’s problems by forcing others to behave in the way they see fit. More importantly, I view the left as completely devoid of understanding natural law. Theft is theft. There is no justifying it because it is a good cause. My property that I earn is mine. I worked for it, and I didn’t step on someone else to get it. I feel sorry for those on welfare. But it is not my duty to save them. I didn’t put them there. And I used to be one of them (poverty wise). I took no government handout and it took years to raise my status. It was hard, and painful. But I did it. So I abhor anyone who tells me I have to contribute to the pool to make it easier for others to do what I did.
I find it interesting that Mathius noted the anti-intellectualism standing out as a conservative theme. Because I see it standing out as a liberal theme, as well. The only difference is the way that intellectualism is defined. I feel as though liberals think intellectualism is gained as enlightenment. They believe massive schooling has put them in a superior position in terms of understanding the world. I agree that conservatives in general disagree with that. I believe that what liberals lack is realism. They can only see the world as they wish it to be, as their professors told them it should be, but fail completely to see it as it really is. For the record, I believe that this is why the military is overwhelmingly conservative. I know that the reason given is because Republicans give more money to the military. I disagree. I believe that they are conservative because they have seen enough of the world to see it as it really is, rather than how they would like it to be. As for intellectualism for conservatives, I believe conservatives place too little value on education. They tend to go too much with that gut feeling that they have learned from the church. So they believe liberals are anti-intellect and liberals think the opposite.
I believe that neither side, IN GENERAL, puts enough faith in the other’s strengths. I, on the other hand, believe I see the world as it is. I am a realist. I also see the world through the eyes of intellect, because I am well educated and well studied far beyond formal education as well. And to that end, I also have the ability to condescend to most people, whether they deserve it or not, and regardless of their political ideology. I have tried very hard for the last 5 years or so to stop doing so, and I have made great progress, but I still haven’t beat it.
I see the progressive movement alive and well throughout the United States. I see it as very sinister and very bad for both the country, and for individual liberty. I see more propaganda with it than I do with the Southern Strategy. But I see the Southern Strategy as well. I don’t discount either one. But I refuse, thus far, to accept either one as well.
On a more personal level, I do not feel that those on the left are beneath me in any way. That is especially true of those that engage here on this site. That they are here, vastly outnumbered, attempting to have honest dialogue and find solutions to our problems speaks volumes about both their character and their willingness to test their own beliefs. I decided to write this overall article because I felt Mathius had done a brave thing to expose his own beliefs, even though he knows it could hurt his standing with some here. I wanted to offer my honest thoughts on all sides of the issues. I WANT TO BE CLEAR, HOWEVER, THAT I DO NOT MEAN ILL TOWARDS ANYONE ON THIS SITE WITH MY VIEWS. I attempted to paint with a very broad brush, to show some of how I view each of the different political stances. If I offended anyone, I sincerely apologize. That wasn’t my intent. My intent was to foster some honest dialogue around political ideology. Hopefully that will be my result, and not a mass of offended folks. I am who I am. And I am not ashamed of it. And I think that is something that I share with just about every single reader of this site. I think being honest about with oneself about who you are is the first step towards meaningful dialogue with those who are different than you.
Mathius finished with these questions, which I will answer:
But what about the flip side of the coin? Are some of our views about the conservatives (even if over-simplified, and not applicable to the whole) viable? Absolutely.
-Does race-bating play a role? I am not sure that I understand what you are asking here. Do you mean do conservatives race-bait? I honestly see race as a small issue in today’s society when it comes to the majority of people. I believe that most race issues are perception rather than reality.
-Do corporate interests manipulate the masses (to a greater extent than in the liberal camp)? Good question. Yes, they probably do. But not by much. I think that corporate interests manipulate conservatives more than liberals. But I also believe that corporate interests control the two political parties equally.
-Do conservatives get so blinded by “guns, God, and gays” that nothing else matters? I think a very small majority of them do. To be honest, it isn’t about guns for me. It is about the 2nd amendment and the understanding that our greatest threat comes from a government that disarms its citizens. I truly believe that. I think many Americans do. God is a non-issue for me. I think that the religious right is losing power very quickly in the conservative camps. And where I believe that god was a blinding factor for 50% of Americans 30 years ago, I think it is only for about a vocal 10% today. You can simply put gays into the god issue. The only people that have issue with gays are those who do so on the basis of God. At least I think so.
-Are many conservatives proudly anti-intellectual? Absolutely not. At least not proudly. I think they are anti liberal intellectualism, but not intellectualism as a whole. There are as many educated conservatives as liberals. And the uneducated liberals feel the same way about intellectualism as uneducated conservatives. I think the conservative movement in general isn’t against intellectualism, but they do believe that intellectualism is only half of the puzzle. Book smart and street dumb, as they say. They value intellect but feel it is worthless if you lack common sense or are unwilling to think things through logically. I also, for the record, think that the rampant emotionalism in vocal liberals makes folks think that their education left them lacking the ability to argue on merit. I think that is the anti-intellectualism you see from conservatives. It may be unfounded, but you asked for my opinion.
Do conservatives condescend to the bleeding heart liberals, too? You bet your ass they do. I think condescending is a universal fact in American politics. I also think it is the number one reason why folks are unable to discuss politics respectfully. I never could have had a site with differing points of view ten years ago because I would have run everyone off with my condescension. And I see folks condescending to the folks on the left on this site regularly. It makes me cringe and wonder whether I should be stepping in. So long as it doesn’t get nasty, I have not done so. But watch it! 😉
I can own up to the failings of my side. But what about your side? I think I have successfully bashed all sides except the USWeapon side, lol.
So I offer a couple of questions of my own.
- Do you believe that conservatives are simply less educated or less intelligent than liberals?
- Do liberals play the race card far too often?
- Do you believe that liberals fall to emotional appeal too often?
- Do you think that liberals are at all concerned with the Constitution if it doesn’t support their vision?
- Do you think that liberals are so blinded by a hatred of the wealthy that they fail to hold any others accountable for their own personal results in life?
- Last question. Most important. Is there a limit to how much of our wealth government is entitled to or how large in size and scope government should become?
A link to the original article that Mathius referenced:Gerard Alexander: Why are liberals so condescending? – washingtonpost.com