Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why It’s Hard to Be a Conservative

 

Is it difficult to be a conservative? That’s the question I was asking myself this morning. It seemed like an odd question, like some hidden part of me invading my psyche and challenging me to look at the truth.

The question seems strange because it’s like asking myself if it’s hard to breathe, or if it’s hard to exercise regularly — uh, well, no that one really is hard. But then I realized there are, for me, responsibilities, limitations, and even difficulties with my wearing the conservative mantle. (Many of you may choose to substitute “conservative” with “Republican,” because they are similar, but in certain cases, the distinction matters.)

It’s also one thing to hold certain values, but to practice them and own up to them can be something quite different and awkward. Conservative values, after all, don’t include moral relativism, nurtured emotion, distortions, and lies. It calls us to be upright citizens, to honor the Constitution, morality, and truth.

So when is it hard for me to be a conservative? When I’m dealing with people who aren’t conservative, or who don’t know what they are. Or when I’m with a person who defines conservatism differently than I do. You could say that we conservatives are not creating the dissension, but our holding to our beliefs with determination and commitment certainly contributes to the strain in relationships.

It’s hard to be a conservative when I have to limit the ideas I discuss with others: we can’t talk about values, laws, customs, or culture because none of those areas is free of politics anymore. As a person who is curious, eager to learn, and friendly, conservativism requires me to be discerning about whom I share with. That means a relationship with a person I disagree with has built-in roadblocks. I don’t like that fact.

But I’m committed to being a conservative, to honoring and living my values. I also value harmonious relationships with friends and family. So, estrangement, whether I like it or not, is part of the equation.

It’s just hard sometimes to be a conservative.

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  1. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I once read a fantastic essay by former Canadian Progressive Conservative Party Leader Robert Stanfield on this very topic. Sadly, I’ve been perennially unsuccessful tracking down a copy of the essay online. The gist of it was that those with principles will always be at a disadvantage when competing against those with no principles. It’s hard to be a conservative because consciously and intentionally putting oneself at a disadvantage creates a lot of cognitive dissonance. It’s not natural to intentionally put oneself at a disadvantage. We alleviate some of that dissonance by believing in rewards after death, but still the dissonance is there.

    • #1
    • January 9, 2018, at 8:29 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  2. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: Is it difficult to be a conservative?

    Nope, but it’s difficult to put up with some of the idiots that chide you for it.

    • #2
    • January 9, 2018, at 8:49 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  3. Old Bathos Moderator

    It is hard being a conservative. A leftist gets the benefit of groupthink. For example, I often encounter people who (unlike me) have never read any part of any of the IPPC reports or any other substantive materials on the subject of climate. But as leftists, they do not have to know or think because someone somewhere has done that for them and all the right sort of people can’t be wrong when they agree and so it must be SCIENCE.

    Conservatives have no choice but to learn the other side’s point of view because social media, the entertainment and news industry bathes us in it daily. It is much, much easier for a leftist to be a bubble creature. Public choice theory, law & economics, even Cliff Notes versions of Hayek or Friedman don’t even exist in their world. They can endorse utterly idiotic policies that fly in the face of real-world incentive structures or economic reality because it is The Right Thing To Do and if it blows up, nothing is ever their fault.

    At its core, leftism is a kind of magical thinking. Process, method, technology and mandates can accomplish anything. Point you finger at a problem and demand a magical solution. Homelessness? A Department of Fixing Homelessness and more studies! Ugly smokestacks? A Department of No More Ugly Technology But We Still Get All the Manufactured Stuff We Want!

    Think of Black Lives Matter demanding an end to the rare occurrence of police misuse of deadly force while simultaneously refusing to discuss the reasons why policemen perceive themselves to be at risk and how program failures created the social conditions got us to this point. Instead there has to be a magic mandate to solve the problem from on high.

    Conservatives are simply those don’t believe in that kind of magic and, depending on how deeply a leftist is burrowed into the bubble world, the non-believer is a major threat to all the good magic there is and the cognitive security blanket it provides. Right-wing muggles are malevolent, planet-destroying, racists haters, all. And with an entire generation taught to feel and immersed in victimology and identity shtick, the possibility of reasoned discourse is reduced to the vanishing point.

    • #3
    • January 9, 2018, at 8:50 AM PST
    • 17 likes
  4. Stad Thatcher

    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending (View Comment):
    It’s hard to be a conservative because consciously and intentionally putting oneself at a disadvantage creates a lot of cognitive dissonance.

    This is the dilemma many conservatives faced in the last election. Many ended up becoming Never-Trumpers, willing to sacrifice our country to Hillary in order to adhere to their principles. I, on the other hand, suffered no qualms about voting for Trump because the other outcome was too terrible to allow to happen.

    To me, preventing a disaster to this nation is a principle worth getting down into the mud for . . .

    • #4
    • January 9, 2018, at 8:52 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending (View Comment):
    It’s hard to be a conservative because consciously and intentionally putting oneself at a disadvantage creates a lot of cognitive dissonance. It’s not natural to intentionally put oneself at a disadvantage. We alleviate some of that dissonance by believing in rewards after death, but still the dissonance is there.

    Wow, I wish you could have found the article, Mis. That’s it: there is real cognitive dissonance and no one likes to live with it. Thanks for making that point!

    • #5
    • January 9, 2018, at 8:57 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. Rodin Member

    Susan Quinn: So when is it hard for me to be a conservative? When I’m dealing with people who aren’t conservative, or who don’t know what they are. … It’s hard to be a conservative when I have to limit the ideas I discuss with others: we can’t talk about values, laws, customs, or culture, because none of those areas is free of politics anymore. As a person who is curious, eager to learn and friendly, conservativism requires me to be discerning about whom I share with. That means a relationship with a person I disagree with has built-in roadblocks. I don’t like that fact.

    It’s not for nothing that the word “trigger” and its variant, “triggering”, has come in to vogue in progressive speech. I think that the real world is broadly speaking “conservative.” As Charles Murray has pointed out, most people who are materially secure act in ways that are consistent with conservative values — marriage, family, deferred gratification, personal accountability, respect for law — regardless of how they would shape the world politically. Conversely people who do not incorporate conservative behaviors into their lives do not achieve material security regardless of how much they might tout conservative values.

    This points out a very human capability of being one thing and thinking we are something else. And we most prize what we think we are over what we actually are. We do not want our beautifully constructed image of ourselves challenged — not by ourselves or anyone else.

    People who are materially secure are the natural targets for providing means to those who are not materially secure. If someone who is materially secure self-identifies as conservative, then they will see this forced redistribution for what it is — immoral and dependency inducing welfare. If someone who is materially secure self-identifies as progressive they will conjure up reasons why forced redistribution is simply social justice. “Social justice” is virtuous and feels good because it is: “just”. But, contra, Thomas Sowell:

    What do you call it when someone steals someone else’s money secretly? Theft. What do you call it when someone takes someone else’s money openly by force? Robbery. What do you call it when a politician takes someone else’s money in taxes and gives it to someone who is more likely to vote for him? Social Justice.

    and

    So many idealistic political movements for a better world have ended in mass-murdering dictatorships. Giving leaders enough power to create ‘social justice’ is giving them enough power to destroy all justice, all freedom, and all human dignity.

    Materially secure individuals tend to associate more with other materially secure individuals regardless of political belief, because ….life. If you show a materially secure individual that they are advocating theft and a new form of slavery, they will not like you.

    • #6
    • January 9, 2018, at 9:01 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    It is hard being a conservative. A leftist gets the benefit of groupthink. For example, I often encounter people who (unlike me) have never read any part of any of the IPPC reports or any other substantive materials on the subject of climate. But as leftists, they do not have to know or think because someone somewhere has done that for them and all the right sort of people can’t be wrong when they agree and so it must be SCIENCE.

    Conservatives have no choice but to learn the other side’s point of view because social media, the entertainment and news industry bathes us in it daily. It is much, much easier for a leftist to be a bubble creature. Public choice theory, law & economics, even Cliff Notes versions of Hayek or Friedman don’t even exist in their world. They can endorse utterly idiotic policies that fly in the face of real-world incentive structures or economic reality because it is The Right Thing To Do and if it blows up, nothing is ever their fault.

    At its core, leftism is a kind of magical thinking. Process, method, technology and mandates can accomplish anything. Point you finger at a problem and demand a magical solution. Homelessness? A Department of Fixing Homelessness and more studies! Ugly smokestacks? A Department of No More Ugly Technology But We Still Get All the Manufactured Stuff We Want!

    Think of Black Lives Matter demanding an end to the rare occurrence of police misuse of deadly force while simultaneously refusing to discuss the reasons why policemen perceive themselves to be at risk and how program failures created the social conditions got us to this point. Instead there has to be a magic mandate to solve the problem from on high.

    Conservatives are simply those don’t believe in that kind of magic and, depending on how deeply a leftist is burrowed into the bubble world, the non-believer is a major threat to all the good magic there is and the cognitive security blanket it provides. Right-wing muggles are malevolent, planet-destroying, racists haters, all. And with an entire generation taught to feel and immersed in victimology and identity shtick, the possibility of reasoned discourse is reduced to the vanishing point.

    Triple Like! @bathos. Hey, I love fairy tales, too, except they have nothing to do with real life! I love all your points, but I especially get angry when they don’t check whether their “solutions” will work because they are wedded to them; they don’t evaluate their benefits after the fact. And then they demand more of the same. I have a feeling my blood pressure is going to climb with this post.

    • #7
    • January 9, 2018, at 9:01 AM PST
    • Like
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    So many idealistic political movements for a better world have ended in mass-murdering dictatorships. Giving leaders enough power to create ‘social justice’ is giving them enough power to destroy all justice, all freedom, and all human dignity.

    Again, awesome points, Rodin. This one especially got my attention. I think they take freedom for granted in spite of the realities of these possibilities.

    Rodin (View Comment):
    This points out a very human capability of being one thing and thinking we are something else. And we most prize what we think we are over what we actually are. We do not want our beautifully constructed image of ourselves challenged — not by ourselves or anyone else.

    Loved this, too. If they only knew they were tyrants, not godsends, to the world.

    • #8
    • January 9, 2018, at 9:06 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    One difficulty I’ve had with conservativing while female: I never achieved the kind of career that justifies not having pumped out more babies by now. So, I am a bad conservative woman. After all, a good conservative woman should do one or the other, right? Doing neither just makes you a loser, and conservatives should be winners.

    True, I was dealing with unsolved medical difficulties, but then that just means I’m a bad conservative for not having known and accepted my own limitations – accepting limitations being one of those things good conservatives do. That nobody – not even experts who should have known better – saw those limitations for what they were for over 30 years does not allay the guilt. As much as cold reason asserts that it really is harder to accept limitations when you don’t know what they are, guilt takes one look and cold reason and simply laughs.

    Perhaps telling guilt to [CoC] off would be more effective than trying to reason with it, but giving guilt the finger doesn’t seem terribly conservative, either. It seems like a denial of individual responsibility and the fallen nature of man.

    • #9
    • January 9, 2018, at 9:07 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  10. PHCheese Member

    I self identify more as a ” constitutionalist ” than a conservative as such my ideas are more aligned with Republicans than Democrats. In the real world thus far we only have a binary choice unfortunately. I have no problem identifying as a constitutionalist but often have problems with the Republicans. That being said I always have problems with Democrats.

    • #10
    • January 9, 2018, at 9:15 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  11. Rodin Member

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    So, I am a bad conservative woman. After all, a good conservative woman should do one or the other, right? Doing neither just makes you a loser, and conservatives should be winners.

    * * *

    Perhaps telling guilt to [CoC] off would be more effective than trying to reason with it, but simply giving guilt the finger doesn’t seem terribly conservative, either. It seems like a denial of individual responsibility and the fallen nature of man.

    Absolutely not, @midge. Conservative is accepting the reality of being a human in this world and all the joys and sorrows that accompany it. There is no reasoning with guilt. But accepting that it is one more element of the human condition that some people have in greater abundance than another, without any just cause, may help deaden its affect. There is an inescapable duality in us all.

    • #11
    • January 9, 2018, at 9:20 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  12. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rodin (View Comment):
    I think that the real world is broadly speaking “conservative.”

    Sorta. It depends on how you define “the real world”.

    Functional civilization is certainly conservative, but is functional civilization “the real world”? One could argue that functional civilization is an anomalous phenomenon.

    • #12
    • January 9, 2018, at 9:31 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  13. PHenry Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I have a feeling my blood pressure is going to climb with this post.

    I think the hardest part about being conservative is that no matter how well thought through, evidence based and historically proven any particular conservative position is, so very many just outright reject it, can’t comprehend the evidence, and in fact consider those who believe it to be mean spirited, ignorant or outright evil.

    In other words, the hardest part of being conservative is the realization that most of your friends and countrymen are never going to get it. Who needs facts or evidence when your feelings are so strong as to be indisputable?

    • #13
    • January 9, 2018, at 9:32 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  14. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    One difficulty I’ve had with conservativing while female: I never achieved the kind of career that justifies not having pumped out more babies by now. So, I am a bad conservative woman. After all, a good conservative woman should do one or the other, right? Doing neither just makes you a loser, and conservatives should be winners.

    True, I was dealing with unsolved medical difficulties, but then that just means I’m a bad conservative for not having known and accepted my own limitations – accepting limitations being one of those things good conservatives do. That nobody – not even experts who should have known better – saw those limitations for what they were for over 30 years does not allay the guilt. As much as cold reason asserts that it really is harder to accept limitations when you don’t know what they are, guilt takes one look and cold reason and simply laughs.

    Perhaps telling guilt to [CoC] off would be more effective than trying to reason with it, but giving guilt the finger doesn’t seem terribly conservative, either. It seems like a denial of individual responsibility and the fallen nature of man.

    This is a point you’ve raised often before, and I’ve been mulling it over for a long time.

    I would posit this: Too often Conservatism sounds (and acts) an awfully lot like the Prosperity Gospel.

    Prosperity Gospel has, in no small part, its roots in Calvinism’s notions of the Elected / pre-destined, for the old followers of that belief (the root of the so-called “Protestant Work Ethic”) believed that if you were pre-destined to be saved, then GD would also bless you materially on Earth, and that meant that it was of great benefit to work hard and attain prosperity in order to demonstrate that you were actually elected.

    Prosperity Gospel in essence works on the same principle – that in order to show that you have been blessed, you should be showing it through material prosperity and physical health, and if you don’t have those to show, then you probably haven’t been blessed.

    Too often, Conservatism sounds much the same when it is taught badly – that if you live your live according to these principles, you should have something to show for it, and people use their prosperity (be it in wealth, health, or kiddos) as a way of displaying their bona fides.

    Except that life doesn’t work that way, and can be a cruel trickster at times.

    • #14
    • January 9, 2018, at 9:46 AM PST
    • 16 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    One difficulty I’ve had with conservativing while female: I never achieved the kind of career that justifies not having pumped out more babies by now. So, I am a bad conservative woman. After all, a good conservative woman should do one or the other, right? Doing neither just makes you a loser, and conservatives should be winners.

    True, I was dealing with unsolved medical difficulties, but then that just means I’m a bad conservative for not having known and accepted my own limitations – accepting limitations being one of those things good conservatives do. That nobody – not even experts who should have known better – saw those limitations for what they were for over 30 years does not allay the guilt. As much as cold reason asserts that it really is harder to accept limitations when you don’t know what they are, guilt takes one look and cold reason and simply laughs.

    Perhaps telling guilt to [CoC] off would be more effective than trying to reason with it, but giving guilt the finger doesn’t seem terribly conservative, either. It seems like a denial of individual responsibility and the fallen nature of man.

    Midge, I chose not to have kids, long before I was a conservative. Mainly for selfish reasons. In a sense I betrayed my faith, too. I can’t change the past. I can’t make up for my choice. I can only try to be a good person, a loving wife, a caring friend, a faithful Jew in my way. I wish you peace.

    • #15
    • January 9, 2018, at 10:03 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  16. Stad Thatcher

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    After all, a good conservative woman should do one or the other, right?

    A good conservative would find her true path in life and follow it, whether it involves procreating like a rabbit or crashing through a glass ceiling.

    Being a “good” conservative doesn’t mean you have to follow a rigid set of actions and beliefs. That’s what liberals do.

    In my mind, the only bad conservative is one who turns into a liberal . . .

    • #16
    • January 9, 2018, at 10:17 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  17. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    So, I am a bad conservative woman. After all, a good conservative woman should do one or the other, right? Doing neither just makes you a loser, and conservatives should be winners.

    * * *

    Perhaps telling guilt to [CoC] off would be more effective than trying to reason with it, but simply giving guilt the finger doesn’t seem terribly conservative, either. It seems like a denial of individual responsibility and the fallen nature of man.

    Absolutely not, @midge. Conservative is accepting the reality of being a human in this world and all the joys and sorrows that accompany it. There is no reasoning with guilt. But accepting that it is one more element of the human condition that some people have in greater abundance than another, without any just cause, may help deaden its affect. There is an inescapable duality in us all.

    The rational part of me knows exactly what you’re saying, and agrees. The guilt part of me looks at advice like this and says, “Haha! I knew your problem was not wanting to live within your limitations!”

    • #17
    • January 9, 2018, at 10:28 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  18. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I would posit this: Too often Conservatism sounds (and acts) an awfully lot like the Prosperity Gospel…

    This sounds like a great OP.

    • #18
    • January 9, 2018, at 10:30 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  19. Old Bathos Moderator

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I love all your points, but I especially get angry when they don’t check whether their “solutions” will work because they are wedded to them; they don’t evaluate their benefits after the fact. And then they demand more of the same. I have a feeling my blood pressure is going to climb with this post.

    It is useful and fun to say things like:

    “I could never be a Democrat and have to defend what has been done to poor African-Americans by programs we Democrats have known were disastrous for over half a century but we keep doing because it is politically useful to do so and we don’t really have any new ideas despite all the bluster about being ‘progressive’. Forget that. I don’t want any part of it”

    Or:

    “Suppose there were no rules governing food safety in restaurants. What would you put in place? (select one or more) A. No laws just rely on market reputation and the right to sue for damages? B. State and local licensing and inspection? C. A federal agency to regulate and oversee all restaurants? D. All restaurants owned and operated by the federal government?” (Call this Intro to Subsidiarity 101.)

    Never discuss issues with a leftist in which (a) you assume they know enough to actually explain their position; (b) you assume that they are aware of the the assumptions and premises underpinning that position and/or (c) that they are in the habit of using rational discourse to defend/expound their positions.

    Never refer to the Federalist Papers or the Constitution. It would be more useful to read the Ten Commandments to your cocker spaniel because he would not understand it either but at least he won’t have an unconscious negative reaction he can’t explain.

    Instead look for novelty, hypotheticals and Socratic guidance otherwise the magical mindset will sense the threat to itself and start firing out “racist” “homophobic” “patriarchal” etc. flak to ward off the threat to comfy groupthink.

    • #19
    • January 9, 2018, at 10:33 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I love all your points, but I especially get angry when they don’t check whether their “solutions” will work because they are wedded to them; they don’t evaluate their benefits after the fact. And then they demand more of the same. I have a feeling my blood pressure is going to climb with this post.

    It is useful and fun to say things like:

    “I could never be a Democrat and have to defend what has been done to poor African-Americans by programs we Democrats have known were disastrous for over half a century but we keep doing because it is politically useful to do so and we don’t really have any new ideas despite all the bluster about being ‘progressive’. Forget that. I don’t want any part of it”

    Or:

    “Suppose there were no rules governing food safety in restaurants. What would you put in place? (select one or more) A. No laws just rely on market reputation and the right to sue for damages? B. State and local licensing and inspection? C. A federal agency to regulate and oversee all restaurants? D. All restaurants owned and operated by the federal government?” (Call this Intro to Subsidiarity 101.)

    Never discuss issues with a leftist in which (a) you assume they know enough to actually explain their position; (b) you assume that they are aware of the the assumptions and premises underpinning that position and/or (c) that they are in the habit of using rational discourse to defend/expound their positions.

    Never refer to the Federalist Papers or the Constitution. It would be more useful to read the Ten Commandments to your cocker spaniel because he would not understand it either but at least he won’t have an unconscious negative reaction he can’t explain.

    Instead look for novelty, hypotheticals and Socratic guidance otherwise the magical mindset will sense the threat to itself and start firing out “racist” “homophobic” “patriarchal” etc. flak to ward off the threat to comfy groupthink.

    Now why didn’t I think of all that! Good advice, OB.

    • #20
    • January 9, 2018, at 10:39 AM PST
    • 1 like
  21. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Midge, I chose not to have kids, long before I was a conservative. Mainly for selfish reasons. In a sense I betrayed my faith, too. I can’t change the past. I can’t make up for my choice. I can only try to be a good person, a loving wife, a caring friend, a faithful Jew in my way. I wish you peace.

    When you’re not a convert in later age, but have always been conservative, youthful mistakes can’t be binned in the category “before I was a conservative and saw the light.”

    Conservatives love nothing more than a tale of having screwed up – of past screwups now overcome by making good. The suspicion that you are screwing up, right now, and not making good, on the other hand, is almost unspeakable. So even when we’re not making good, it’s difficult to frame our failures in a way that doesn’t sound like we’re making good, not just for our vanity (which may know all too well how artificial the frame is), but for others’ peace of mind: there’s something morally indecent about framing the story any other way. One can feel obligated to tell stories of ones making good even when one profoundly doubts those stories oneself.

    Speaking of indecent, @titustechera?

    • #21
    • January 9, 2018, at 10:43 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. KentForrester Moderator

    I don’t have anything to add right now, but I do want to say that I have really enjoyed this post and its responses, especially yours, ms. Rattlesnake.

    Kent

    • #22
    • January 9, 2018, at 10:51 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  23. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    Conservatives love nothing more than a tale of having screwed up – of past screwups now overcome by making good.

    I think you’re proving my prior point: Prosperity Gospelers also dearly love a good conversion story.

    • #23
    • January 9, 2018, at 10:52 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  24. Hoyacon Member

    It would be easier being a conservative if those who are not understood the real nature of conservatism. In fact, I’d say it’s hard being a part of any group, the core identity of which is largely misunderstood. One area where I’ve been moderately successful in overcoming the frustrations and hostilities of political dialogue is discussing theoretical conservatism, keeping the hot button headline issues of the day off to the side. Some on the left are willing to talk about “why conservative” and hopefully do gain some understanding of answers that deviate from the more commonplace caricatures of today.

    BTW, this article from The Federalist seems tangentially related to the topic.

    • #24
    • January 9, 2018, at 11:16 AM PST
    • 1 like
  25. Ralphie Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    At its core, leftism is a kind of magical thinking

    As someone once said, “The amount of energy necessary to refute bs, is an order of magniture bigger than to produce it” don’t know the author, but it makes sense.

    If we started a “we are losing the moon” movement and came up with laws that punish the poor and powerless, liberals would be all for saving the moon.

    • #25
    • January 9, 2018, at 11:18 AM PST
    • Like
  26. Profile Photo Member

    I was raised in a conservative family, didn’t get married until age 36, and never had children: I didn’t experience what @midge is talking about, but the conservative circles I was raised in were Catholic and mostly working class, and there do seem to be cultural differences in different conservative circles. I do see the kinds of social pressures she is talking about, but from the outside, for the most part: it is possible for conservatives to be more laid back, and some of us are. Not about everything, of course, or we wouldn’t be conservatives :)

    By laid back, what I mean is, no one was ever pressured to get married at all, never mind by a certain age, and no one was ever pressured to have children either-or to not have them, unless they were unmarried. There was room in our universe for couples with 20 children, for couples who never had children, for people who married young, old, or not at all. I was so blessed to have been raised in that environment: there are enough problems in the world without trying to micromanage everybody else’s personal life. :)

    • #26
    • January 9, 2018, at 11:21 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  27. Typical Anomaly Inactive

    SkipSul (View Comment):I would posit this: Too often Conservatism sounds (and acts) an awfully lot like the Prosperity Gospel.

    Prosperity Gospel has, in no small part, its roots in Calvinism’s notions of the Elected / pre-destined, for the old followers of that belief (the root of the so-called “Protestant Work Ethic”) believed that if you were pre-destined to be saved, then GD would also bless you materially on Earth, and that meant that it was of great benefit to work hard and attain prosperity in order to demonstrate that you were actually elected.

    While I can agree things like conservatism, Calvinism and the prosperity gospel share that they can, and often are, taught or represented badly, I cannot agree with the rest of your point until the end where you characterize life as a cruel trickster. That’s on the mark.

    But positing that Calvinism teaches one’s election would be verified or indicated by material blessing is not accurate. The opposite is the case, which is why the rich and the poor could recognize one another as fellow believers despite the differences in material wealth. Calvinism called its followers to walk according to the Scriptures and recognize G-d as a benevolent master of all men. Riches come and go. An elect soul is that way forever.

    The teachers of the prosperity gospel expressly say that the material blessings we enjoy are a mark of our spiritual blessings. But Calvinism teaches the election of a person cannot be known by another, only by G-d. It has little to say about material blessing except that which is in the Old and the New Testament. Some material wealth comes to the person through no labor of their own, some comes from exercising wisdom and discipline. But in no way does Calvinism tie material wealth to election. Election is taught as solely G-d’s choice.

    • #27
    • January 9, 2018, at 12:19 PM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    So even when we’re not making good, it’s difficult to frame our failures in a way that doesn’t sound like we’re making good, not just for our vanity (which may know all too well how artificial the frame is), but for others’ peace of mind: there’s something morally indecent about framing the story any other way. One can feel obligated to tell stories of ones making good even when one profoundly doubts those stories oneself.

    @midge, maybe it’s late in the day for me, but I don’t understand what you’re saying, but I want to. Could you find another way to say this?

    • #28
    • January 9, 2018, at 12:26 PM PST
    • Like
  29. Typical Anomaly Inactive

    The OP brings out a common human theme: that we labor to do what is right. It’s hard to be a honest lawyer, to be a thorough doctor, to dig the very best ditches you can dig. Conservatives live a similar life. We have a set of values which may just seem right, but living them out is hard work.

    If you don’t believe in an unchanging set of values, it seems easier, because you simply rewrite the rulebook. But given how much of humanity does have fixed values, I would guess there is a price paid by those who rewrite the rules, but we don’t see it.

    • #29
    • January 9, 2018, at 12:26 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Typical Anomaly (View Comment):
    But given how much of humanity does have fixed values, I would guess there is a price paid by those who rewrite the rules, but we don’t see it.

    I love this point. Could you flesh it out a bit, @typicalanomaly ?

    • #30
    • January 9, 2018, at 12:28 PM PST
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