Sunday, March 29, 2015

False Political Dualities: Rethuglicans Aren't the Opposite of Libtards.

How we see each other, in the comment threads, at least.

Actually, this is a serious post. I just included the ridiculous names each side calls the other in the title as click-bait. (Also because they're super funny in their own perverse way.)

I discovered an article in The Nation that summarizes beliefs I've had for a while now. Conservatives and liberals, as they've evolved over the years, don't represent polar opposites. In fact, there's a false duality at play:
The primary difference between liberalism and conservatism, at least in theory, is that the latter is an ideology and the former isn’t. Conservatism, as Milton Friedman argued, posits that “freedom in economic arrangements is itself a component of freedom broadly understood, so economic freedom is an end in itself.” Liberalism, however, as Lionel Trilling observed, “is a large tendency rather than a concise body of doctrine.” And while John Kenneth Galbraith helpfully pointed out that only those programs and policies that honor “the emancipation of belief” are worthy of the term, liberalism, at bottom, is pragmatism. Conservatives desire low taxes and small government because this is how they define freedom. They like to pretend that liberals prefer the opposite in both cases, but the truth is that liberals are OK with whatever works.
Our political dysfunction has many sources, but one way to describe our problem is this: we have allowed conservatives to define the terms of debate at a time when conservatives have lost all sense of moral, intellectual and especially practical responsibility.
We see this all the time lately. Examples of conservative ideology:
Yes, it's possible to claim that liberals adhere to an ideology, but that claim is weakened by the reality that liberalism is liberal, which roughly translates to "being open to new ideas and knowledge," while conservative roughly translates to "adverse to change," as in the way we used to do things. Burn coal to make electricity? Been doing that a long time. Use solar panels to generate electricity? That hurts Kentucky and West Virginia! Solar is cleaner? Yeah, but coal is a job creator! (Solar power isn't?)

Yes, I agree with Eric Alterman here:
Today’s conservative intellectuals aren’t even bothering to offer “irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.” Instead, they’re making calculated attempts to undermine our democracy, exploiting and manipulating a public that has decreasing resources for the kind of reliable information that would lead to a pragmatic “liberal” response. It’s time we woke up to that reality while we still have a country—and a planet—left to save.
Wake up, liberals, and stop treating conservatives like our political polar opposites. As George Lakoff says, repeatedly, it's the frame, and conservatives have control of it.

Non-compliant children and authoritarian father figure. Kids had it coming.

No comments:

Post a Comment