Being a “conservative” now days is, as my grandpa would say when confronted with a difficult problem, a tough row to hoe.
The media, being to lazy to actually do any real journalism, relies on stereotypes that they are largely responsible for both creating and reinforcing to define conservatives. We are called more names than I can list but some that come to mind are teabaggers, bible thumpers, rednecks, racists and conspiracy nuts.
This media stereotype has conservatives seeing tyranny behind every corner while “clinging to” our “guns and bibles.” We are said to be uneducated, intolerant and unable to “move with the times”. We are, according to this model, rigid ideologues.
I find the rigid ideologue identity the most puzzling of all. Examining the record in even the most cursory of fashions will show that it is the liberal democrats that vote en masse for the party line. The republicans have never mastered the art of political lockstep and I am okay with that.
As is often the case, the truth about conservatives is much different than the perception. Having been a conservative for at least thirty-five years, I should know.
The first and most obvious quality of conservatives is that we see people. This confuses liberals and democrats because they can only see things like skin color, sexual orientation, victim status, a persons wealth or lack thereof and party or union affiliation. Were we see individuals they see groups. While I have never understood that philosophy it seems to win them a lot of elections.
A second major differentiating factor is that as a conservative, I have no desire to be your nanny. Liberals and democrats can’t seem to help themselves. They see most people as completely unable to manage their own affairs. Liberals, while denying it loudly, go about constantly seeking ways to control what you eat, drink, think as well as the kind of vehicles you drive, how much money you can make and what your children should know. They seek incessantly to expand their control over our lives, as if they alone know what is best for us.
As a conservative I want the best for everyone while understanding that equality of outcomes is not likely or frankly even desirable. Not everyone wants to be a doctor or politician. Not everyone wants a BMW or Ivy League education.
As a conservative I believe that everyone should be free to pursue their individual best at whatever they love with the barest minimum of government interference. It must be understood though that in the pursuing of our dreams some of us will fail. Not everyone is willing to put in the long, grueling hours that true success is often built with.
In a similar vein, we conservatives are completely opposed to the class envy belief system that permeates liberal thought and governing processes. I have never understood why tearing down someone who has worked long and hard to achieve much in life is supposed to make you feel better.
It’s clear that those who engage in class warfare “feel” better about themselves for expressing their righteous indignation but I have to ask, what have you really accomplished? How have you improved your life by running down someone else’s? It is a core conservative principle that you can gain no real happiness by “taking down” others.
As a conservative I consider every new proposal, law or regulation through the prism of freedom. How is freedom affected, altered or reduced by the change? What is the actual benefit to be expected by making the change? What is the likely result of the new proposal, law or regulation. What, if any, are the unintended consequences of the proposal? The very liberal idea of passing a bill to “find out what’s in it” is as insane to me as liberals find Americans wanting to secure our borders.
Having studied liberals for a very long time I can safely say they are governed by two sometimes-competing desires. First they desire to feel good about themselves which is why we conservatives can never “judge” them by the results of their actions. It is their intentions that count and they don’t understand why that is not good enough for conservatives.
Their other desire, easily observable over the last four years, is control. Only liberals understand what kind of healthcare you need. Only liberals believe that people who cannot afford a home should have one anyway (fanny mae anyone). Only liberals believe that some businesses are “to big to fail.” Only liberals believe it is acceptable to capture and store every email, phone call, text message and social media post of all Americans without having to go through the annoying process of getting a warrant.
We conservatives are by nature a happy lot and the very idea of feeling compelled to participate in any of the above is abhorrent to us. For that very reason alone liberals may never understand us.