Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What I Learned from My Talks with Conservatives

For a while now I have been on a search mission to find a conservative who would be able to argue in favor of a conservative worldview in a reasonable, logical and intelligent way. It's great to talk to people who think the way you do and believe in all the same things, but it would be equally great to hear what the other side has to say. At the beginning of my search, I almost thought I struck gold very close to home: my father proclaimed that he was a conservative and damn proud of it! As soon as we started talking, though, it turned out that he is fiercely in favor of a woman's right to choose, believes people are entitled to healthcare and higher education, thinks that the right to bear arms is silly, and considers any attempt to bring religion to bear on politics a profanation of that very religion. Oh, and he is appalled at the military presence of North America in Iraq and Afghanistan. So much for our family conservatives.

My place of work is a university, so understandably it did not produce many conservatives for me to observe and study. As a result of this woeful lack of conservatives among my acquaintances, I proceeded to search online. Of course, self-identified conservatives abound on the Internet. Reasonable and logical conservatives, though? Not so much.

Here are some things I discovered from my discussions with conservatives:
  • Somehow, they manage to combine a strong opposition to abortion with an equally strong opposition to Obama's healthcare plan that is going to give health insurance to millions of kids. Until now, I have not been able to get a straightforward answer as to why they want to save the babies before they are born but are more than willing to let the babies die of treatable diseases after the babies are born.
  • They believe in fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget but go into fits at the mere suggestion that some Pentagon costs could be cut to save money and reduce the national debt.
  • They think that Obama is trying to impose "Big Government" on the US. They do not think, however, that Bush's Patriot Act and the way he unashamedly pushed the corporate bailouts through Congress can be qualified as authoritarian and as having anything to do with the "Big Government."
  • They think that the Affirmative Action marginalizes white blue collar people but at the same time believe that the unions - which help those blue collar people fight for better working conditions - are evil. They are also opposed to unemployment benefits that in the current recession are desperately needed by blue collar workers.
  • And my most recent discovery of conservative stupidity: they believe that a PhD (incidentally, translated as 'Doctor of Philosophy') in Humanities is not a "real" PhD. According to their logic, people who wrote a doctoral dissertation in philosophy should not be awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree.
Gosh, how did we end up with such crappy conservatives? They are no use for anything, not even for a nice discussion.

Feel free to add your own discoveries of conservative lack of logic.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Modern conservatism is not supposed to be based on logic. Arguing with them, or even trying to understand them, on a logical basis will never result in anything comprehensible.

It's all based on feelings, impressions and unfalsifiable beliefs.

We liberals always try to understand this brand of conservatism (and really the only one present in America right now) as some sort of intellectual construction, when it fundamentally isn't.

It's about slights, gut feelings, and honor -- that last probably as a result of the Southern co-opting of conservatism.

Liberals, at least at the core, tend to base more of their beliefs (though alas not 100% of them) on what the evidence shows.

Conservatives ignore reality (evolution, global warming) as a badge of honor, and instead believe what the feel -- which is the operating mode of most humans for most of history.

I think many conservatives actually experience a week version of bicameralism of the mind that we who do not experience it simply do not understand.

There's more to it than that, of course. But reasoning from feeling is why folks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are so easily able to conduct an Inception against conservative minds.


-Mike

Izgad said...

"better woring conditions"

working

(or it could be " better whoring conditions" :p)

Izgad said...

“Somehow, they manage to combine a strong opposition to abortion with an equally strong opposition to Obama's healthcare plan that is going to give health insurance to million of kids.”

Millions of kids

I manage to combine opposition to having homeless people and other such “inconvenient undesirables” murdered with an opposition to have these same people receive government healthcare.
The government exists to allow you entrance into society without being murdered. Beyond that you are on your own.

Anonymous said...

"The government exists to allow you entrance into society without being murdered. "

You are forgetting that there are different ways of being murdered. Being shot or stabbed is just one of them. But you can also be murdered by a corporate thug who robs you of your life savings and drives you to commit suicide.

Anonymous said...

How about the contradiction of being all for cutting the welfare for the poor but never in favor of cutting the far more costly welfare for the rich, for the corporations, etc.?

butterflywings said...

Great takedown, Clarissa. I love the utter logic failness of conservatives.
Here in the UK, David Cameron is trying to bring about a 'Big Society' which is kind of the opposite (apparently, poor people should rely on charity, not the state...)
Anon 2.00, you remind me of the ending of the dystopian novel 'A Scientific Romance' (in which global warming and some form of CJD-like disease kill 99% of humanity) - killing people is wrong, unless you're the huge corporations that cause death indirectly through utter negligence and stupidity.

Izgad said...

Anonymous

Government exists to protect you from direct physical harm. That includes being defrauded by corporations. It does not include being protected from sinking into depression and committing suicide.

Anonymous said...

"Government exists to protect you from direct physical harm. That includes being defrauded by corporations. "

The US government never fulfilled that role, so what are we talking about?

Izgad said...

Even the Republicans makes some sort of attempt at this.

eric said...

"The government exists to allow you entrance into society without being murdered. Beyond that you are on your own."

Gov't is whater you want it to be, given enough political wherewithal. Conservatives may disavow this fact publicly, being how they paint "government" as an abstract entity the only purpose of which is to intrude on the freewheeling freedom of the free market, but understand it implicitly--that is why they have been so politically successful.

Homeless people could, in theory, be in charge, if enough folks who represent their interests get voted in. It'll never happen, but it is a pleasant thought nonetheless.

profacero said...

They're throwing out those contradictions to confuse and amuse the masses while they go about their business behind the scenes. It's a common tactic of abusive types.