I was scanning through the comments at the end of a Time article online and came across some interesting claims by a liberal. It came in the midst of the typical Right vs. Left bashing, with accusations and generalizations from both sides. But, it occurred to me that this particular commenter did not have much of a grasp on WHAT conservatives actually believe/do and WHY. So, I thought I’d reproduce his comments here and give brief responses to them:
“Year after year, for almost a decade now, all of my time spent with conservatives both online and offline has displayed that they instantly cling to any talking point, whisper in the night or bogus hearsay that hurts their ‘adversaries’ and lifts them up.”
Hmm. Well, I can’t speak much to someone else’s personal experience without more detail, but I will acknowledge that there are jerks and idiots on all sides of an issue. I cringe at some of the stuff I hear or see my fellow conservatives saying. (Almost as much as I cringe at the stuff that comes from liberals.) Still, it makes me wonder what exactly this commenter was referring to and whether or not the same is equally true (maybe more so?) about the average liberal. Pot calling kettle…?
“They say ‘small government’, yet embrace all kinds of moral laws. They claim this country is a ‘christian nation’, spiting millions who have different religions or none at all.”
I’m assuming that by “moral laws” this person is referring to stuff having to do with sexual behavior, drugs, etc. I guess I can understand why, on the surface, this might seem like a contradiction to the “small government” mantra of most conservatives. In fact, libertarians would probably agree with this criticism. But, “small” or “limited” government does not mean no governmental regulation, of course. And, non-libertarians generally recognize that the government does have an interest in protecting society from itself. Sometimes, that means passing laws to protect individuals and those around them from (self-)destructive behavior — from reckless driving to substance abuse. It’s not always clear what that balance should be between what is made illegal and what is left to individual freedom, which is why we have in-house debates among conservatives, too. But, I think some things — e.g., regular destruction of unborn human beings for often frivolous, certainly non-life-threatening reasons — are well worth outlawing.
I would also argue that, if a law is not based, at least in principle, on some moral concern, then it is merely for the benefit of whatever group or individual is in power. And that is dangerous for everyone.
As for the second part, this goes to a broader misunderstanding (including by some on the Right) of what it means to say that the U.S. is a “Christian nation”. First, it refers to the fact that our nation was founded upon largely Judeo-Christian principles & values, beginning with the acknowledgement of the Creator’s existence, sovereignty, and as the source for our inalienable rights. The Founders may have disagreed on many doctrines and other details, but they almost all believed in some form of “Christianity” or at least the benefits to a society of being based on “Christian” moral precepts. Second, it recognizes that, at least culturally speaking, our nation is still predominantly “Christian” — as opposed to Muslim, Hindu, secular, etc. No one is spited by this. In fact, it is precisely the religious freedoms recognized by the Constitution that allow for such a wide variety of religious (and non-religious) people to live, work, & worship (or not) in America, and without the sort of religious caste system that exists in many other nations.
What the heck is he referring to, here? The amendment process is the constitutionally valid method of making changes — fine-tuning, if you will — the law of the land. Liberals seek to use it, too. If anyone wants to “nullify” the U.S. Constitution, I think it’s those on the Left (e.g., President Obama, Justice Bader-Ginsburg) who think it is not just imperfect but too old & outdated, having outlived its usefulness — if it was ever much good in the first place. They look to the charters and constitutions of semi-socialist countries (e.g., Canada, South Africa, and those in the European Union) for examples.
“They say they are concerned about deficits, but wait for a Democratic President to take office to start their tantrums and protests (didn’t even have the courtesy to wait more than ONE MONTH AFTER HE TOOK OFFICE).”
On the contrary, many conservatives were complaining about some of President George W. Bush’s spending and the deficits under his watch. What got Republicans and other conservatives so riled up with the Obama administration was/is its even more accelerated spending and plans & threats to increase taxes, so it can afford — sort of, but not really — all the additional entitlements, “stimulus” packages, bailouts, and other things the President and his cohorts in Congress keep passing funding for. (Don’t know what that “ONE MONTH” reference was about.)
“Conservatives say that liberalism is a disease, a cancer than needs to be cleansed. They associate liberals and progressives with homosexuals, even though sexual orientation knows no political boundaries. They boo OUR TROOPS because of sexual preference. They CHEER when they hear about people dying due to lack of insurance. They CHEER when they hear about record setting numbers of death penalties in Texas.”
1) Surely he realizes that characterizations of liberalism as a cancer/disease to be cleansed are metaphorical hyperbole. Certainly, we’re talking about a desire to see the “liberal” political philosophy and accompanying worldview eradicated (ideally), not the people. (Not sure if that’s what he meant to imply.) The reason, of course, is that we think modern liberalism is unwise at best and incredibly destructive to America and the cause of freedom at the worst. The further Left, the worse it is.
2) We “associate liberals and progressives with homosexuals” because, by a wide margin, homosexuals themselves associate with the political Left. Duh! Liberals/progressives are the live-and-let-live, “tolerate”-almost-anything types who are much more likely to accept homosexual behavior and support the “gay agenda”. Sure, there are some in the LGBT community that are politically conservative (e.g., GOProud and Log Cabin Republicans), except maybe on social issues, but they are the exceptions.
3) Any booing might be in bad taste, but it’s an expression of, well, distaste for the homosexual lifestyle, regardless of whether the individuals are troops. Though, I suppose it might also be in disagreement with the policy of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces. (I hope this wasn’t a reference to the morons from Westboro Baptist Church, ‘cuz they represent an atypical, extremely small minority.)
4) This accusation of cheering about people dying sounds like some vitriolic hogwash spewed by the likes of Ed Schultz. It’s ridiculous! Likely this is taken out of context or without regard for the sentiment that was really being cheered. (Maybe from a debate?)
5) No one I know of who is pro the death penalty (including myself) is so twisted as to cheer at the idea of record numbers of deaths in any circumstance. What we would cheer is in appreciation for a state’s willingness to institute capital punishment and implement it to rid society of violent criminals, rather than letting them languish in prison (even on “death row”) for years and years, at taxpayer expense, and at the risk of them escaping or being paroled, released due to overcrowding, or freed on a technicality.
“… [I]deologies tend to attract people with similar traits. With liberals about the only unifying trait I can think of is empathy – something conservatives have a very hard time with.”
The stereotypical liberal is said to “wear his heart on his sleeve”. Unfortunately, such empathy often leads to bad policies that may look/feel good (at least in the short term) but have rather bad, unintended (or ignored) consequences. Take Dodd-Frank and the sub-prime mortgage debacle, as a recent (sub-prime) example. Obamacare is & will be another. Conservatives do have empathy and generally have much better, practical, workable ideas. Such real-world solutions may take more time to implement, though, and we don’t always explain ourselves and our ideas well to the (sometimes impatient & skeptical) public. Not everyone will read or listen through an explanation or discussion on entitlement reform or Austrian vs. Keynesian economics, for example, especially when the solutions involve some “pain”. If conservatives have a weakness, it’s in communicating the soundness and necessity of conservative principles and the solutions that come out of them in a way that garners support from non-ideologues.
Much more could be said about this, but I’ll leave it at that, for now.
To be fair, it sounds as though the conservatives that the writer of the above characterization has been in contact with have not been good ambassadors of the conservative message. This is unfortunate. But, it should not prevent him from taking the time to honestly & objectively assess conservative policies and their rationale — which have plenty of historical support, by the way. I seriously doubt he has done this. So, it annoys me a little to read such inaccurate and unfounded accusations. Plus, I’m really sick of hearing that I don’t have any compassion or want to see people die for one reason or another. It’s just stupid, mean-spirited, and politically-motivated.
But, then, I guess some liberals will “instantly cling to any talking point, whisper in the night or bogus hearsay that hurts their ‘adversaries’ and lifts them up.”