The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - A Spoon Full Of Good Faith Makes The Medicine Go Down
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A Spoon Full Of Good Faith Makes The Medicine Go Down|
Do liberals demonize conservatives? As a liberal, I rather think so. And at least one scientific survey agrees with me:
They asked two thousand Americans to describe their political leanings (liberal, moderate, conservative) and fill out a questionnaire about morality, one-third of the time as themselves, one-third of the time as a “typical liberal”, and one-third of the time as a “typical conservative”. The clear answer was: self-described conservatives and moderates were much better at predicting what other people would believe. Liberals, especially the “very liberal”, were by far the worst at guessing what people would say, and especially bad at guessing what conservatives would say about issues of care or fairness. For example, most thought that conservatives would disagree with statements like “One of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenceless animal” or “Justice is the most important requirement for a society”.
Here’s the thing, you lovely lefties; I am one of you. And holy God, if I ever disagree with you, it’s usually because I’m an evil asshole who’s out to repress and destroy everyone you love.
The assumption that “Hey, we share the same goals of equality and justice” usually doesn’t get brought up. If I don’t think something is X-ist, or think that the solution to solving X-ism isn’t the one you’re currently flouting, well… the proposed reason I disagree is often because I’m a big fat X-ist, and a jerk, and clearly a big secret hater.
Not because, you know, I think your solution isn’t going to work. Or because I think you may be jumping to conclusions. No, it’s gotta be that I am against equality.
I know, I know – the conservatives do it, too! But they don’t claim to be inclusive. We do. And further, looking at my cocktail party history, I’ve had a lot more productive conversations with right-wingers where they’ve pish-toshed my views as hopelessly naive – which is irritating, certainly, to be told that I don’t really understand the world. But at least they give me the benefit of the doubt of wanting to change it for the better.
Whereas a lot of liberals assume that if I disagree with them, I’m basically a little mini-Hitler. You know, someone who doesn’t mind hurting defenseless animals.
Conservatives get a bad rap because, well, a shit-ton of them are actually goddamned crazy. Yeah, all the Tea Party racism and hatred is fucked-up, and certainly Rick Santorum’s ugliness can’t be excused. They’ve been getting batshit crazier over the years as they’ve been preaching to the choir and reducing their message to a soupcon of “all taxes are evil” and “all government is always more incompetent than free enterprise!”
But most of them mean well on many issues. They don’t want to make the world into starving orphans; they genuinely think that handing out welfare leads to making people flabby, dependent, and reliant on the government, which hurts people more in the long run. They aren’t against universal health care because they want gramma to die in the streets, but because they feel that all of these pesky rules and regulations are keeping us from having the cheap and clean health care that you can get in, say, India or Mexico. They’re not slashing funding libraries for libraries because they hate free speech, but because they think that free enterprise will handle education better.
Those are differences of opinion. Yes, some conservatives are deep in the pocket of Big Industry and paid mouthpieces, but most of the line-item soldiers want the same things you want – they just don’t think your way of doing it will get there. It’s a big difference, yes, but the goals are the same. And you liberals often have a stiff-necked, inflexible, unarguable morality that’s the equal of anything a right-winger can give.
And here’s the thing: a little good will gets you a long way. I know, it’s a crazy thought, but giving the benefit of the doubt whenever you can afford to allows you to meet in the middle and potentially change someone’s mind. As I’ve said over and over again, yes, 99 out of 100 people aren’t reachable, but a single percentage point in an election can make all the difference. Accusing someone of ill faith off the bat is just going to teach them that yeah, liberals really are crazy moonbats.
(Note the “whenever you can afford to” in that last sentence, by the way. I put that in there for a reason.)
Like I said: I’m a liberal, and there are too many days I’m accused of ill faith for what is just a different viewpoint, and that bothers me. Assume your opponent wants justice and doesn’t want to go kicking kittens in the gutter. Is that too much to ask?
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/203231.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.
Tags: politics, terrible quirks of the ferrett
Wow, just, wow. It's so much easier to demonize than to question, you don't need to know all the issue, after all. Very well said.
I agree with you right up until "a little goodwill goes a long way," when I think about all the goodwill Democrats in Congress have extended across the aisle; the compromises, the allowances, the retreat from their positions in a rightward direction in the name of bipartisanship... and the reaction they have received, which boils down to "more vilification every year."
But then, I'm willing to concede that Congress may be a special case. And even if I wasn't, I still wouldn't think disagreeing with me made you Pol Pot.
Edited at 2012-04-02 01:17 pm (UTC)
Congress is most definitely a special case - the incentives are so drastically skewed that it distorts reasonable differences.
The problem is though that while they don't want those results, they are the results we get from the policies the conservatives want. </p>
And when I ask "How will this be different the the results we had before we put these rules/regulations in place? What has changed so that we get different results?"
And generally the responses are silence, or some version of "you just don't understand how this works."
This is why we oppose them.
|Date:||April 2nd, 2012 01:54 pm (UTC)|| |
I think a big part of this is the public image. What we hear about conservatives is generally the bigotry, the anti-equality, the big guns, the big religion about which we also hear mostly the bad stuff). So it stands to reason that the stuff that sticks is the negative crap.
What we usually hear about liberals is the bleeding heart open hand stuff. Universal health care, gay rights, etc. So it stands to reason that what sticks there is the stuff that is of that bent. Which basically means that the "negative" image that liberals have makes them easier to predict.
The "negative" public image that conservatives have is probably, also, less common and far less extreme than it is billed as.
after two full decades of conservatives operating under the framework codified in Gingrich's mid-90s GOPAC memo where he advised Republicans to call Democrats "sick", "deranged", and far worse things; after seeing the level of hatred that expressed itself in December of 1992 on bumper stickers saying "Impeach the President ... and her husband!", and in the last three years in accusations of Obama being an Islamofacist alien with no right to hold office; of Fox News being full of goddamn liars who will claim that Republicans who get embroiled in scandals are actually Democrats, and then when called on it will remove any mention of party affiliation whatsoever rather than admit that they have an "R" before their name; of reflexive, kneejerk hatred that will cause them to support anyone or anything on no grounds other than that it will piss off the Left; of slandering people for having the nerve to speak out in any way other than those that would support whatever the GOP orthodoxy ofthe moment is; and countless other grievances, it is far less easy to cut people slack when those with whom they are affiliated refuse to cut anyone any quite so loudly as they do.
A big part of this is the assumption that the "other side" is a monolith instead of being many often-conflicting factions. I can't count the number of times expressing a disagreement has made someone act as if I'm a fundamentalist social conservative. That's pretty annoying to to this libertarian.
Yeah. Part of the problem there is that the Republican establishment is essentially a monolith - there's so much more pressure to toe the party line than there is on the Democratic side. So very nearly the only "conservative" voices anyone ever hears in the media are marching lockstep to the drumbeat of "guns are good, taxes are bad, Christian morality should be the law, and Obama wants to destroy the country".
Which I imagine is quite maddening to moderate conservatives, seeing what amounts to a parody of their viewpoints being the message of the party that purports to represent them.
|Date:||April 2nd, 2012 02:57 pm (UTC)|| |
Yes, some conservatives are deep in the pocket of Big Industry and paid mouthpieces
I would say the same is true for both sides. Depends on how you define "Big Industry", but many liberal leaders would not mind huge donations from REI or Apple, even though production of their goods is just as cruel and profit-driven.
The problem with everyone being for "equality" and "justice" is that different groups of people define those words differently. Agreeing on words while disagreeing on their definitions isn't necessarily useful, unless the goal is reductionist harmony for reductionist harmony's sake.
|Date:||April 2nd, 2012 03:27 pm (UTC)|| |
One thing that bothers me about liberals is the assumption that prejudice = hate, that judgement = hate, that rudeness = hate.
Recently an activist friend of mine was uninvited to a party. Even if she was right about it being for political reasons it still doesn't show that the host was hateful. But that was her conclusion.
"Even if she was right about it being for political reasons it still doesn't show that the host was hateful. But that was her conclusion."
Ok, now I am mystified. So a liberal was uninvited to a party with a bunch of republicans and the reason was because she was a liberal, and she thought it was because republicans hate liberals. . . .
But it's not because republicans hate liberals it's because . . . . republicans love liberals and especially love feminists, but couldn't invite a feminist because . . . .
They already had had their quote of a single token femi-nazi?
Completely stumped here.
I don’t think it’s good for a free people to engage in too much myth making. That is turning three dimensional human beings into two dimensional cartoon characters, cause then you end up either deifying them or demonizing them. And in America right now most of the myth making is done by the right. They try to deify their characters and they try to demonize everybody else.
I am ridiculously in the center. I've even had a a political scientist say the she had never met anyone like me so there you go. I don't talk politics with most of my friends. Everybody as a piece of the puzzle and life has taught me a truism that I've seen proven again and again: the answer usually lies somewhere in the middle.
Eh, there's more I was going to say but that's really enough.
I am interested and want to do a bit of research on this author to get a sense of what his biases might be.
Edited at 2012-04-02 04:01 pm (UTC)
I have to confess -- I might answer the same way as those liberals to how conservatives feel about hurting defenseless animals, and the value of justice.
As far as I can tell, conservatives are much more likely than liberals to hunt for sport. That's not a morality thing; it's a region and culture thing. But hunting for sport IS hurting a defenseless animal. That doesn't make it a terrible thing to do, it doesn't make it the same thing as kicking puppies for fun, but I don't see how it's possible to say that people who hunt for sport would think that "One of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenceless animal." (Heck -- I'm a vegetarian, I'm super liberal, and I don't think that one of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenseless animal, because if I thought that I wouldn't have any friends.)
Most of the conservatives I know would value justice highly, but I don't think they would say it was the most important requirement of a society. I think that they're mostly okay with giving up a little justice for a little more liberty. I think that's a reasonable position. I don't hold that against them.
Maybe I'm wrong here, and maybe I'm splitting hairs unreasonably.
I think some conservatives are very law and order types that are willing to give up civil liberties in order to feel safer.
|Date:||April 2nd, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)|| |
but I don't see how it's possible to say that people who hunt for sport would think that "One of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenceless animal."
Because when they read "defenceless animal" what they picture is a cow or horse strayed onto the road or train tracks, or a kitten somebody is trying to drown because they don't want it, or a bunch of bratty kids tying fire crackers to the tail of a puppy. They don't think "prey animal that I can eat" or even "trophy animal that proves what a good shot I am."
Whereas a lot of liberals assume that if I disagree with them, I’m basically a little mini-Hitler.
Actually its more like "If you don't believe everything that I believe, in the exact way I believe it, then you are clueless idiot." This type of reasoning is one of the biggest reasons that progressives have trouble getting people behind them. The elitism that gets mixed in with the progressive point of view. Although to be honest a lot of that comes from the internet where you have 22 yrs all excited because they took a few sociology classes and so they take things to the extreme and attack anyone that doesn't agree with them.
|Date:||April 2nd, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)|| |
This, that identity thing. First they assume everyone is just like them and then when they are slapped in the face with evidence that's not so, they have an identity crisis and must reject the cognitive dissonance of somebody they previously admired not being exactly who they thought.
|Date:||April 2nd, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)|| |
If I don’t think something is X-ist, or think that the solution to solving X-ism isn’t the one you’re currently flouting, well… the proposed reason I disagree is often because I’m a big fat X-ist, and a jerk, and clearly a big secret hater.
Oh yeah, this. Big time. It's one of my ongoing discomforts with the rhetorical strategies of all sorts of causes and ideas I basically agree with. Worst is when whole categories of criticism are ruled out and shut down before they can even be uttered, which is how I understand most accusations of "derailment" to work. It's fine if you only want to communicate with people who already agree with you in every particular, but if you want to reach out and convince people of your views, it's less effective.
A liberal, a moderate and a conservative walked into a bar. The bartender said, 'hi Mit!'.
My understanding of conservatives is that they have a strong belief in justice and reaping what you sow. Therefore, if you have an unplanned pregnancy you don't abort, you live with the consequences and learn from them. If you don't work hard and earn your own money, why should anyone be forced to help you out? These types tend to see liberals as sabotaging karma.
Personally, I am very strongly results driven. I will support something if I think it will work, and I tend to base my opinion on evidence. Don't tell me something is constitutional or unconstitutional, that is meaningless to me. Show me evidence that it is or is not effective. Example: my father is from England and his entire family still lives there. I have had two cousins treated for cancer by the National Health. Don't try to convince me that government health care does not work when I have seen it work.
Therefore, if you have an unplanned pregnancy you don't abort, you live with the consequences and learn from them.
Sounds about right, except if you're thirteen and you're pregnant because your dad has been raping you for quite a while now. Conservatives still don't want you to abort and it has nothing to do with reaping what you've sown.