Myth Busting

I finally, after much coaxing, was able to get an online contact who was (more or less) a self-identified conservative to lay out for me his views and opinions. I was particularly interested in how and why he viewed “Liberals” the way he did. It validated my belief that there is a mountain of misinformation about what ‘liberals’ believe, who they are, and what they want to accomplish. As I have long suspected, “The Liberals” aka “you libtards” is a straw man, it doesn’t actually exist, but has been created as a bogeyman for ‘the base’ to be riled up to fight against. Taken all together, this is the mother of all Big Lies. Unfortunately every attempt to argue, persuade, or flat out criticize conservatives is taken as proof that we are who they think we are. Tricky business to overcome this

There is a lot to glean from this and try to understand and formulate a way to communicate more accurately the stances of those who oppose current RW policy and actions and why.

His post:

I want smaller government. Less governmental interference. I do not want to be forced into buying someone’s insurance because of the actions of others. I want to keep my guns and not be ostracized because of the actions of others. I expect everyone, especially my elected officials to follow the rule of law and if not to be prosecuted under those laws. Sanctuary cities have no place in this country. If you come to this country, I expect you to do it legally under our established laws. I don’t mind paying taxes, it’s my dues for living in this country. I don’t understand the concept of expecting the rich to pay more of their share simply because they are rich. I struggle with the concept of abortion. On one hand, I believe a woman has the right to chose what happens with her own body, yet understand there is another life involved. I can’t arrive at a right or wrong for that issue. To me, liberals want the exact opposite, they want the government solving all their problems, they want to follow only the laws they feel are correct for them. They want “the rich” to pay more taxes because they’re rich. Yet, will stand by while their rich politicians commit crimes. They seem to think the Constitution is somehow a dynamic document that should change at whim (the electoral college comes to mind here. You lost, so the rules must change. That is what I see. As you can tell, I hope, I’m not conservative as much as Constitutionalist. I once considered myself just left of center. My opinions haven’t changed, the scale moved beneath me. Do you still consider me wrong or the bad guy because of my views? That, Stan, is my largest complaint with the liberals I’ve interacted with. They believe themselves correct no matter what.

My comments

I want smaller government.

What does that mean? Define “smaller government.” For that matter, define “Big Government.” Hint: it’s a scare word, used for propaganda purposes. It’s designed to allow the user to define it however he wants, usually as whatever they are afraid of that government might do. No one wants “Big Government.” Certainly not Liberals. That is one of the primary Big Lies that has been driven into our discourse over the past 50-60 years.

BTW, It started as a racist dog whistle after the Civil Rights act and the consequent forced integration of schools. That was, understandably so, seen by southern whites as “Big Government” intrusion into their lives. Nixon and his advisers then expanded on this usage and tactic and it has become known as the “Southern Strategy.” It expanded from there to be used whenever our representatives on behalf of the people, i.e. “government,” enacted laws that those with power or privilege felt threatened by, particularly the elite 1%. They found it a very effective way to get the ‘masses’ who they despised, to vote against their own interests and undo the New Deal which they loathed, and return to what is now becoming a new kind of feudalism.

Less governmental interference.

What does that mean? Define “governmental interference.”

Laws? Rules? or just those laws and rules you don’t like?

Everyone on all sides has laws they don’t like or think aren’t fair. We have a system that is supposed to allow us to elect people who will adjust them to match the people’s will.  I suspect that we might disagree on which laws are unjust and which are needed. As it should be.

There are a ton of laws that Republicans are trying to push through that I steadfastly oppose as ‘governmental interference’ too. Yet they champion themselves as the bearers of ‘freedom’ from ‘government interference.’

I do not want to be forced into buying someone’s insurance because of the actions of others.

The individual mandate was the conservative demand on behalf of the insurance companies. It brought howls of opposition on the “liberal” blogs when it came out, no one wanted to ‘subsidize’ for profit companies, especially in light of their already obscene profits and high CEO payouts, and it was seen as a huge gift to them. It was eventually agreed to in order to get folks with pre-existing conditions covered, and other coverage extensions, the Medicaid expansion (later torpedoed by the SCOTUS) and other concessions, and make the system work financially for the for-profit insurance companies. Liberals wanted to eliminate profit from the health care system with a ‘medicare for all’ or single payer alternative. Conservatives want to keep it a for profit business. The ACA was the eventual compromise, but actually a study showed it to be (I think I recall) 70% the original conservative think tank proposal.

“Forced” is a rather extreme term and conception of the situation. If you do not have insurance and become sick or are in an accident and run up huge medical bills who pays? We all do, but not you. So if you don’t buy insurance you are ‘forcing’ us to pay for you. Isn’t that against the concept of ‘personal responsibility’ so dear to conservatives? A more ‘liberal’ interpretation or expression would be that everyone is required by ‘personal responsibility’ to fulfill their obligation to the social contract and pay in—we’d prefer into a universal non-profit system or pool on a sliding scale—so that everyone who then comes into need can be cared for, thus reducing costs for everyone and assuring everyone has the same level of care. Sounds pretty fair to me. It doesn’t have to be mandatory, in fact it isn’t as presently structured, you can opt out and pay a fine instead. Thus you still contribute something, but a lot less. You don’t get health insurance coverage, so in that case you’d still be a shirker and a burden on the rest of us if you needed healthcare.  So which is the more ‘moral’ or ‘responsible’ option? 

I want to keep my guns and not be ostracized because of the actions of others.

You can keep your guns. If you are free to have guns, others are free to have whatever opinions of you they care to hold. Not much you can do about that.

I expect everyone, especially my elected officials to follow the rule of law and if not to be prosecuted under those laws.

Don’t we all.

Sanctuary cities have no place in this country.

I understand this feeling, I have a similar response to the extra-legal nature of this phenomenon. There are many more aspects to it, and I would need a multi page dissertation to cover it all. But there are other considerations, mostly of a humanitarian nature. It needs to be debated openly and clearly with all arguments presented and understood by all factions.

It is a mass migration driven by many factors both economical and social and we need to deal with it in the best way from all angles, including addressing the causes, rather than simply locking up and deporting those who come…which costs a lot too and has no return.

If you come to this country, I expect you to do it legally under our established laws.

That’d be nice if there was any way to ensure that. There isn’t. They are coming. They will keep coming. We need to approach this multi-laterally and synergistically as I said above.

I don’t mind paying taxes, it’s my dues for living in this country.

Good for you. Neither do I. I agree.

I don’t understand the concept of expecting the rich to pay more of their share simply because they are rich.

Well, that’s not the concept, so there’s that.

The concept is that the more you make, the more you have benefited from the system, the more you should contribute back. But aside from that, the main reason for progressive taxation is as a deterrent to greed and corruption, to prevent the vast wealth disparity we have now and all the economic problems and hardship that brings with it. Not to mention the corruption of our system by those who have attained massive amounts of money they can spend to accomplish this, and now have to an alarming degree.

I struggle with the concept of abortion. On one hand, I believe a woman has the right to chose what happens with her own body, yet understand there is another life involved. I can’t arrive at a right or wrong for that issue.

As do I. As do most people. In the end, I come down on keeping it safe and legal, because it will happen whether it is or not.

Also this is not really a political or electoral issue, it was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973, but the right has used it as both a litmus test and a wedge issue for all these years to great effect electorally. Those who feel strongly about it will not vote for anyone Democrat so long as they are pro-choice, no matter what else the Republican party may do to them, which in my observation is therefore willfully kept hidden behind an enormous set of self-installed  blinders.

To me, liberals want the exact opposite, they want the government solving all their problems,

This is The Big Lie. No one wants that. Not liberals. Not even socialists, not even totalitarian communists (I doubt any exist either.) As far as I can determine there is no ideology that seeks this. This is a noxious myth propagated by the conservative movement and its vast propaganda machine for nearly 50 years to demonize and discredit all progressive or “liberal” thinking as to how to best utilize our government for the common good.

they want to follow only the laws they feel are correct for them.

Simply not true.

They want “the rich” to pay more taxes because they’re rich.

This was covered above already

Yet, will stand by while their rich politicians commit crimes.

You mean the Republicans/conservatives will stand by while their rich politicians commit crimes right? and thwart any attempts by liberal democrats or others to seek justice?

They seem to think the Constitution is somehow a dynamic document that should change at whim (the electoral college comes to mind here.

Well it is, and was meant to be, but not at a whim, but as the world and circumstances demand and after long debate and a rigorous process of approval.

You lost, so the rules must change.

Well we didn’t lose the popular vote, but that is not why the electoral college is archaic. This is one of those both sides do it things, that whoever gets screwed by the electoral college calls for it to be changed. But the reason is it’s simply bizarre given the way our current geographic, demographic and governmental organization is now. It is simply not a fair way of distributing electoral power democratically. (and opinion on this is not divided by liberal/conservative)

This is also one of those things that everyone yaks about, especially when an extremely unpopular figure is made president, but nothing ever happens so I wouldn’t get too worked up about it. It has pretty much already died down as far as I can see.

That is what I see. As you can tell, I hope, I’m not conservative as much as Constitutionalist.

I don’t know what a Constitutionalist is supposed to be, but I don’t really see anything above that suggests a strong reliance or fidelity to the Constitution in particular or as opposed to anyone else. Enlighten me…

I once considered myself just left of center. My opinions haven’t changed, the scale moved beneath me.

The scale moved far to the right. What was once moderate or middle of the road, is now seen as far left. Even what was once considered ‘conservative’ is considered ‘leftist.’ Some of Reagan’s positions would cause him to be drummed out of the party today. It’s quite astonishing.

There never was much of a left in this country to begin with, except in the Great Depression era, although there has always been a few around. I think that’s a good thing actually. Now center right Democrats are called Leftists. Most current Democrats have become center right and abandoned center left positions, out of political expediency, as the population allegedly moved right. This also led to the current punditocracy drone of the ‘Democrats abandoned the white working class.’ (more bullshit as you can read in the sidebar on my other post with the chart.  It was the other way around, unfortunately for both groups.) The only remaining actual traditional center left Democrat is Bernie Sanders, who is called a Socialist, rather laughably IMHO. I’ll add Elizabeth Warren too.  They are thus portrayed as “crazies” way out on the far left. LOL. (See further comments toward the end re. the blurring of terms and uselessness of the obsolete linear right-left scale.)

From what I read above, I’d say you are still center right, but with a few strong right conservative positions. I still consider myself Liberal, or old school New Deal Democrat, and by traditional definition that means roughly in the middle, but definitely leaning center left, as that was the compromise position to avoid going left, and preserve both capitalism and democracy, but I think I’m the only one in the world that thinks that. LOL.

Do you still consider me wrong or the bad guy because of my views?

No, of course, not. I never did.

I still don’t get this question or concern. I don’t think you are a bad guy because of these views. But if I thought your views were bad, wrong,  or dangerous I would say so, and if you have the courage of your convictions then you stand by them and support them. And if you can’t, you need to be willing to say you’re wrong. If you believe in your values, or views, or stances, why be insulted when someone questions them? Back them up, or back down.

I just don’t get it. Sorry. Please don’t be insulted, not everyone in the world will think you’re a good guy, some will think you’re a bad guy. In their eyes maybe you are. Not much you can do about it but stand up for what you believe, and listen to why they think so and consider it might be true. And if you don’t agree, then their judgments & name-calling don’t mean shit, to coin a phrase.

That, Stan, is my largest complaint with the liberals I’ve interacted with.

Well there are a lot of assholes in the world. And most of them are on the internet. It’s a place where anyone can say anything. It doesn’t have a thing to do with “liberals” or “conservatives.” Nor does it have anything to do with the relative validity of their respective ideas, policies, or ideologies, or lack thereof.

They believe themselves correct no matter what.

As I said before, they want to argue and debate to decide who is right or has the better ideas. They typically don’t give in when they think they have the better argument and their opponent refuses to give a counterargument or gives one that is weak or easily disproved.

Most conservative types, (I’m referring to brain mindset as discovered by neuroscience, not politics for a second) for the most part, it appears, just want their views to be accepted as is, and consider questioning them or trying to get them to change them “the height of arrogance” as a conservative friend of mine once said. I was blown away. I said “then why discuss, debate, or argue at all? Why even communicate? If we’re not going to decide who’s ‘right’ or has the ‘best ideas’ and choose their path as a result of reasoned discourse: How do we then make decisions? How do we come together? You’ve just declared doing so off limits!”

This explained a lot to me eventually—particularly the ‘we won, get over it’ attitude so prevalent from RW trolls now post Trump—it explains finally to me why huge the focus on “Winning!” It’s not about debating who has the best ideas, since they assume theirs are equally valid or more valid, or the only truth, but about which team wins the election, that is all the validation they need or want. For them it’s do or die, winner take all. We are evil, they are the good guys. I have heard them say that. Many, many times. The Lie-brals & Demon-craps are the representatives of SATAN!!!!!1!1!!11 They HAVE to win. Even if they cheat to win, even if they win by technicality, even if they actually lost among the people. Getting power and enacting their agenda is all that counts. Forget Democracy. This is an ideological and Religious War! (BTW Danny, this is why it’s so odd to me that you, and others on the right, get so easily offended if we say something you think infers you are the bad guys or some policy or action your side takes is bad or wrong. Hell, if we even try to critique your views and put them to the test of debate you take offense. I see conservatives calling liberals pure evil all the time and pouring out the hate and even death threats. Why isn’t saying we think your ideas are wrong allowed from our side? That’s the whole reason to debate in the first place. We have opposing ideas and values. Why do your guys get to call us every hideous name in the book but if we do it, we’re smug elitists, etc. Is it because your side is the one which actually thinks only they are correct? Both sides do it. And that’s expected. What’s even more crazy and sad is I see folks on our side now just going right to name-calling having long ago given up engaging, especially when the RW comment IS totally nuts, not even worthy of deconstruction, then guy on your side comes back with: ‘you guys never debate relative merit of ideas, you just attack and call names.’ Saw this exact quote the same day I connected with you. It’s nuts. There is even some suspicion and evidence that it is all done deliberately via paid trolls to squash any real communication and create anarchy. Divide and conquer.) Conversely, of course losing didn’t stop them from attacking Obama and the Democrats non-stop for the past 8 years with the most egregious and outrageous outright lies and exaggerations at that…the Devil had to be stopped and any method is allowed…

Aside: They did it to the Clintons too for 8 years, and then continuously to the present, even as they got almost all they wanted from them, and then later hit the Democrats for the harmful results of the policies they pushed through, blaming the Clintons with selling out the working class! Trump basically ran against Hillary for being a Republican!

All this leads to is more “both sides do it” as each side, all sides, then decide they have to fight fire with fire, and claims ‘the other side started it.” And argument over relative merit of ideas is lost to arguing over who is being the biggest asshole and deserves to be beaten back just because of that. It’s ultimately childish and unproductive…but I’m already digressing a lot…

What you see as stubbornness and intransigence can also be seen as passion, conviction, determination, or dedication to one’s values and views and decisions. I expect that from anyone on any side. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But… If one is proven wrong, one should have the courage to admit it. If you call yourself “liberal” and you don’t, you aren’t.

On the other hand, to identify as conservative means by definition that you don’t concede ever, or you aren’t ‘conserving’ the ideology, so you aren’t then ‘truly conservative.’ Not all self-identified conservatives live by or fit the definition thankfully. Hence the ‘cuckservative’ label that the alt-right has been slinging at anyone on the right who compromises or doesn’t adhere to their hard line white supremacist views. 

So in the end we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Again there are lots of assholes who behave this way when arguing for ‘their side’ irregardless of where they are ideologically. It’s a human thing, not a right-left thing. People behave stubbornly on all sides of all issues if they have strong convictions.

IMHO some of the people conservatives like to call “Leftists” are some of the worst. (Not all are actually leftists, though some are.) We both have seen plenty of them online. There are some I loathe as well. Some, not all, but some very vocal and powerful self-proclaimed feminists are the very worst offenders. Even I don’t dare criticize them, point out their blind spots, or illogical or unfair assumptions. They simply won’t hear it and will then try to destroy you. Then there are the so called Political Correctness Police, now calling themselves Social Justice Warriors. From what I hear they are utterly intolerant and actually claim that as a plus. As far as I can tell, not having actually dealt with them, they are mostly in small groups on certain college campuses where they exist in a closed feedback loop of self-congratulatory confirmation. They are seriously not Liberals at all, although they may be on the ‘same side’ on some issues, it is not at all clear where they are politically on any right/left scale since that is not their core set of issues. They appear to mostly be concerned with feminism and minority civil rights and rabidly seeking out sexism and racism and finding it everywhere so they can attack and destroy it viciously. They absolutely sicken me. There are lots of others I’m sure you’ve run into as well, like the Bernie Bro Progressive Purists and others, like those who wouldn’t vote for Hillary, even though it meant Trump, because they thought Clinton was a far right corporate shill and imperialist neo-con (LOLOLOL laughter thru tears…*sniff*). Some of these people are so nuts, I swear they must be RW plants infiltrating the “leftie” blogs just to cause trouble…they are the bane of anyone trying to express what “Liberal” really means.

They are Totalitarians. There are Totalitarians with a wide set of beliefs on all sides, and often opposing each other. Totalitarian is the opposite of Liberal. They are not Liberals. But I am coming to realize that to folks on ‘your side’ they are often held up as the example, even the prototypical or generic example of “Liberals” or “Leftists.” This is bad for everyone and very dangerous and I fear will lead to violence, perhaps a complete civil war or martial law.

One is not automatically a ‘Leftist’ or ‘Liberal’ if one argues with conservatives or opposes their views or ideas or values. If someone is an asshole about it on any side, it does not then follow that all holders of that view are then also assholes and the view itself is also discredited. I’d have to say this is my biggest beef with ‘conservatives.’ They think and even say right out: Everyone who is not on their team is a ‘Leftist.’ There is a world of differing opinions and ideas and ideologies and special interest activists and the left-right linear spectrum is so obsolete it’s ridiculous…unfortunately it’s deeply ingrained in our discourse…for now.

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