The New Conservatives

With all the name-calling and ideological labeling that's going on in politics right now, which will only increase as November draws near, no one seems to have a good idea of exactly what they're saying when they label someone a 'conservative' or a 'liberal.' It's not that we don't have associations; there are plenty of those i.e. liberal = anti-Vietnam, multicultural; conservative = religious, anti-abortion, family values. When asked the question, "What is a conservative," the answer almost anyone would give, including these researchers, would include: unprogressive, intolerant, closed-minded, narrow, resistant to new ways of thinking, deference to authority, dogmatic. However, in my experience, these descriptors apply much more to liberals I have met than to conservatives.

Probably the most intolerant and authority-following people I know are liberal. How can you be intolerant and liberal? Easily. Preach and require everyone around you to follow a doctrine of uncompromising and thoughtless tolerance. Subscribe to fanciful ideas that the races have no inherent differences, that no cultures breed more violence than others, or that people deserve special exceptions simply because they are a minority race, and incriminate those who don't. This is the reason you read about 'intolerant liberals' or 'oppressive PC' in college guides much more than 'bigoted conservatives.'

The brainchildren of liberalism, such as political correctness and egalitarianism, have become unquestionable codes of conduct and thought, imposed dogmas that pre-determine what is right and what is wrong. Especially at our colleges, where much of our adult thinking is shaped, these doctrines reign as the supreme law. Some people conform the rules more than others, but on the whole, the more you follow it, the better a person you are thought to be. Why do we live under such a, for lack of a better word, doctrinaire code? The reason is because 100 years ago people lived under a different kind of code, which said that black people were a lower class and that women weren't fit to be educated. These were obviously incorrect ideas, but unfortunately, as we all know, social change takes a long time to happen on its own. So socially conscious people invented opposite policies (i.e. black people deserve a certain number of spots in institutions REGARDLESS of merit; women are completely equal to and exactly the same as men, in fact they're more powerful than men) to change the majority's opinion by force, and accelerate social change. Well, the good news is that it worked; we live in a better and fairer world than we did 100 years ago. But guess what, it's still a dogma, just as much as the dogma that used to say "believe in Christ and obey His law for if you don't you will go to hell." And, as usual, the people that are the most dogmatic and least flexible are propounding these dogmas the most piously and inflexibly, dismissing and denouncing anything that doesn't adhere to the simplistic notions fed to them as mechanisms of liberal values.

Don't get me wrong: liberals and conservatives should continue to fight it out until they're blue in the face, and people should continue to debate and discuss issues until changes are made. But I don't ever want to hear the cavalier categorization that liberals are more open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful or intelligent again.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I bridle when asked whether I am a liberal or conservative. The questions should be-what is your position on abortion; on deficit spending; on the Iraq war etc. A label can't answer these questions. In any event, Republicans have become big spenders. I surmise that there are many Democrats who supported the decision to commence war in Iraq. It probably is feasible to apply positions on a bundle of issues and come up with a label, but what purpose would this serve? unc