A post from ‘Niceguy’ Eddie got me thinking:
Since I don’t let an ideology do my thinking for me, I don’t really care what positions fall under which label. I really, just DON’T CARE. I’m not trying to Liberal here, I’m just trying to be RIGHT. (As in “correct,” not “wing.”) And the way I see our modern discourse going, there are really only two groups that matter:
One is very strictly and narrowly defined, … And to be in this crowd, you must accept EVERY bit of Dogma, even the ones that contradict other ones; you must swallow every lie, accepting every bit of obviously questionable evidence, and utterly reject ANY evidence or argument to the contrary of ANY point. What’s more you must accuse your opponents of committing all of the sins that you do, and you must HATE them, because they are “out to destroy this country.” You must believe in your own perfection and the perfection of your positions and that you have a mandate from God that justifies this belief. At worst, the weakest in this camp merely keep quiet, fail to criticise the big-talkers, and silently tell themselves that it will all, somehow be OK, since at least the OTHER GUY’S not winning.
Then there are the people who simply can’t abide this kind of insanity. And almost regardless of what positions they actually hold, the people in the first camp call them “Liberals” and demonize them.
So, from my POV, there are really only two schools of thought: Radical, Right-Wing Reactionary Authoritarianism…
…and those who reject it.
It seems obvious that the labels liberal and conservative have lost their meaning, if they ever had any meaning. If I support both abortion rights and gun rights, am I a liberal or a conservative? If I am pro-business but also in favor of single-payer health care, am I a liberal or a conservative?
“Niceguy” Eddie wants to divide us instead into authoritarian and those who are anti-authoritarian. There is some truth to this, since it helps explain things like how the right wing claims to love the constitution while repeatedly tearing it to shreads (and hating the ACLU, whose only purpose is to defend the constitution).
I like to think of these two categories as the “thinkers” and the “believers”. The believers accept dogma (even when it contradicts itself). They like people like Sarah Palin, and believe what she says even when she contradicts herself. They tend to be people of faith, so they believe other people of faith, even when those people are shown to be charlatans. The believers take things on faith, or base their opinions on how things make them feel.
The thinkers, obviously, are more intellectual. They like evidence. They are willing to change their minds based on new evidence. Their positions tend to be more nuanced, which makes them appear wishy-washy, or at least, not “strong”. Dubya was not a thinker, he was “the decider” and wasn’t particularly interested in evidence. He certainly didn’t like to read.
But there is another categorical division that might be even more important, based on greed. There are people who automatically have respect for those people with money or power, no matter how they got it. They are people like Joe the Plumber, who argued against taxing the rich, even though he was not rich. After all, the rich must be good, because they are rich! Interestingly, not all rich are greedy (i.e., George Soros, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet), and many greedies are not rich. The greedies hate all taxes — except of course that they love the military and are willing to spend lots of taxes on war, because they believe that war will give them more money and power.
The opposite of the greedies don’t have a name, but I’ll call them the “fairies”. They are more concerned with fairness and making the world a better place, than with making money. The fairies are in favor of social security because it provides a safety net for everyone (the greedies are in favor of social security because they want the money — they are the ones who tell the government to keep their hands off their social security). The fairies are in favor of single-payer health care (thinkers are in favor of single-payer health care, but because it provides better outcomes for less money). It bothers the fairies that the rich can buy justice. The fairies want the government to spend more money on public education, while the greedies want private schools, and they want the government to pay for them.
Greedies tend to associate with believers, although greedies often take advantage of believers (e.g., Fox News and the Tea Party). Fairies tend to associate with thinkers.
There’s a fairly strong tenet of faith among the Believers that conflates wealth with hard work and success. Unfortunately, the converse is also held to be true. If you’re poor, it’s your own damn fault because you’re lazy.
q.v. The Prosperity Gospel.
Morrius, that’s also a tenet of faith that goes all the way back to the Puritans. I *believe* I read that bit of history worked out in Jacoby’s “The Age of American Unreason”, but it could have been somewhere else.
Wonderful post. I’m one of those who is a strong believer in social security, just not for myself. I’ll take it but you can’t find many people who get less than I do. I’m in favor of abortion rights but not for me.
Interesting. After reading Nice Guy Eddy’s original it would have bene nice to include the a little more background on his viewpoint, but I guess that’s why you included the link. He actually has a broader view and makes some very good points.
Every outside party (out of power) blames this inside to get back in power.
Many liberals are more conservative then they would like others to think.
Many conservatives are more liberal than they would admit.
I believe this. I think most Americans do not fall neatly into one pile or the other and if you sat down and talked with them (without cable news in the background) we could probably agree on 80% of all the issues, or at least come to a realistic compromise.
The problem as I see it is when politicians seize on an idea for political gain. Some are honorable and want to serve their constituency; others just serve themselves because power is the ultimate corruptor. They say whatever they determine will get them elected, they don’t really care what the little voters want. (maybe until this year) They know what is good for each of us, just vote for them.
The politicians and media have pitted ordinary Americans against each other, neighbor vs neighbor. They are attempting to divide us for their political gain or monetary gain as in the case of the media. Don’t be fooled, we are not that far apart on ideas as both these groups would have us believe. I am certain that most Americans are much closer on many issues. Don’t be fooled by politics or media on both sides, let us all come back to our senses. Sit down and talk to someone.
Great comment, PatriotSgt. Thanks.
p.s. I had originally written a longer post including more stuff from “Nice Guy” Eddie, but it was too long so I split it into two posts. I’ll try to finish the other one soon.
I think PatriotSgt is turning out to be a conservative who cannot be pegged into one group. That’s good to see, and makes debate possible. I, like IK, tend to cross that middle line often. I only seem more liberal these days because the right seems to have moved so right of center, they’ve obliterated the center-right altogether. Patriot gives me hope that the middle still exists.
Why thank you Sammy and IK. I’m from MD where you are born a democrat until you choose something else. It’s like a default windows setting. 95% of the fed electorate is dem so if you ever want anything or want to vote in a primary you have to be a dem. Since it’s that way and our parents and theirs were also dems, it’s kind of developed parties within the party. Of course there are party fanatics who blindly follow, but there are conservative dems and independent dems along with liberal dems and this new progressive dems and some even newer neo dem something.
My Dem family taught me fiscal conservatism as an absolute (survivors of the depression). They taught us everybody pulls their own weight, don’t ask for assistance, ask family first, help your neighbor if he needs it. If you are really down, then the gov’t is there but get back to taking care of yourself ASAP. Serve your country and help your community, support the boy and girl scouts. The polarizing issues of abortion (choice) and perhaps gay rights to an extent (choice again), are non issues to me.
It’s not the conservatives or liberals who are moving away from the middle, it’s the media and politicians who would have us believe that. Both the liberal and RW media would eat their young for ratings and the respective politicians would throw their mother under the bus in a heartbeat.
I think Obama is a very smart guy and has some really good ideas. I think he got bushwhacked by a political congress with a payback motive he underestimated, and locked out the opposition and now finds himself between a rock and a hard place. Oct should be fun. I personally hope that the power balance is restored to both houses which will force debate and conversation. Then, maybe we’ll see how great Obama might be. Clinton almost made it, just couldn’t keep his drawers closed. I think Barack would be too scared of Michelle and his daughters to go down that road.
Obama would be singing soprano if he ever tried to mess around.
And I grew up in Delaware in a staunch Republican family. I found out later my mother was always negating my father’s vote. We all campaigned and voted for Obama.
I cannot take a post which mentions the ACLU in a positive light with any level of seriousness.
Mickey, I agree about the ACLU. They pick and choose what cases they challenge, which makes them a political party tool.