Figuring out liberals is sort of like trying to figure out women, but I think I’m on to something here.
I work with a guy who hates conservatives. I mean he genuinely hates them. He’s flat out told me so. Weird thing is, he doesn’t hate me, even though I have a picture on my bulletin board of me shaking hands with Sean Hannity. My friend justifies his un-hatred of me by telling me I’m really a liberal at heart. Surprisingly, I agree with him. I am a liberal when it comes to my own personal responsibility to use my God-given resources to generously help others. But I’m a conservative in the sense that I feel a strong responsibility to make good decisions with my resources and I believe in other people’s personal freedom to make decisions about how to use what God has entrusted to them as well.
Why does my friend hate conservatives so much? Because he thinks they are all greedy. Yep, all of them. Forget the fact that conservatives by and large are more generous than liberals. The truth is, he thinks they are greedy because they don’t use their resources the way HE thinks they should.
Even my pastor used a definition of conservative this week along those lines. He said conservatives want to “hold on” to what they have. I thought, wait I’m conservative and I don’t want to just hold on to what I have. I just want to be wise with what God has blessed me with, so I can use it responsibly to bless others. I want to be a good steward & not waste it foolishly. That takes a conservative, thoughtful approach to resource management. Sometimes I give and sometimes I choose to hold back because I’ve prayed & thought it through. I believe that’s what God wants me to do.
A buddy of mine posted a tweet the other day that asked why you’re voting Republican in this election. So, I tweeted him back this response.
b/c I believe in economic freedom, personal responsibility, & the ingenuity of ordinary Americans and local institutions.
That’s as simple & straightforward an answer as I could give in 140 characters or less. This morning I did a search to find out what other people said, and up popped this gem.
Because I’m afraid of how real solutions might impact me, so I’d rather just say no to everything.
Oh the sarcasm. I’m not sure if this is a liberal or conservative, but it hit on one of my biggest political pet peeves. All sarcastic joking aside, I’ve heard liberals who actually think conservatives just want to say no to everything, so I’d like to address it. It goes to the heart of why liberals don’t get conservatives. I actually think there are 3 reasons.
First of all, liberals don’t get conservatives because just like my friend at work, liberals think all THEIR solutions are right or in this case “real” and they just can’t understand why anyone would disagree with them. In fact, they tend to take it personally. Once they come up with an idea (usually an idea based on emotion that will cost huge amounts of money), they push it forward before they genuinely listen to and address opposition concerns.
In their minds, it is the only viable or “real” solution to a problem. (Actually that’s not completely true. I have heard some liberals who are just happy to be trying
solution, even if they really don’t know how it’ll turn out – “Well at least we’re doing something,” they say. But for the most part, those who embrace a solution as “real” get really upset when anyone challenges that particular solution.) To argue against their “real” solution is not seen as reasonable, responsible debate, but as just saying “no”. Therefore, when a person disagrees with a liberal government solution without proposing their own government solution, in the liberal’s mind that person obviously does not care about the problem.
Let’s take the healthcare bill for example. Here’s a supposedly “real” solution to a problem even though nobody actually knew what was in the “real” solution when it was being voted on – not one Congressman or woman had taken the time to read the entire bill, nor could they because it was so long. So, most conservatives took a genuine and, I would argue responsible approach to the bill, asking serious questions and opposing it’s passage at least until everyone knew what was in it. Conservatives actually proposed
that didn’t have to do with government, but liberals disregard those as non-solutions particularly because they weren’t
Bottom line, what liberals saw as a “real” solution in this case was a bad bill. Republicans would have been irresponsible to vote for it, because it doesn’t make good long-term economic sense for lots and lots and lots of reasons. How do we know it’s a bad bill? Once the American people really did begin to find out what was in it,
. Even Democrats who are up for reelection know it’s a bad bill. I haven’t heard or seen any Democratic campaign ads in which the incumbent Democrat is touting their vote for it. So, a bill that Republicans were ridiculed for opposing is now being run from by the very Democrats who voted for it.
Saying “NO” to this “real” solution was the right thing to do, but it gets to why liberals call the Republican Party the party of “no” & leads to the second reason liberals don’t get conservatives. Liberals don’t understand why conservatives don’t
to have any solutions of their own. Apparently, all we do is say “no”. Why don’t conservatives seem to have solutions, in a liberal mind at least? Because conservatives believe that 99% of the time, the best solutions to problems are not government solutions. So at a national level, conservatives don’t tend to try to solve problems. They don’t think that’s the role of the government. See, liberals view government as a problem-solving institution while conservatives view government as an environment-maintaining institution. When I say “environment” in this sense, I’m talking about a national environment of economic stability & national security.
Instead of trying to solve problems, conservatives in national government spend their time trying to find ways to limit federal government and return decisions & problem solving opportunities to private sector & local institutions. Liberals see that as unhelpful, when in reality it’s giving power to and putting trust in the American people to use their God-given talents & intuition to the benefit of those in their communities, which is really extremely helpful.
Here’s an example. Conservatives believe local school boards know how to solve educational problems & educate kids in their communities better than federal bureaucrats do. So, when a conservative says he doesn’t see a need to have a national Department of Education it makes perfect sense to the conservative as a way to limit government, save money, and cut down on bureaucracy. “Why don’t we empower & trust local leaders?” says the conservative. But a liberal, who puts his faith & hope in the federal government over faith & hope in individual citizens, hears the conservative say the same thing, and assumes the conservative hates children, because if you’re against education you’re against kids. Or he hears a conservative argue against the healthcare bill and assumes the conservative wants people to die quickly – and, then he goes on national TV and says so – see also, Alan Grasyon.
The third reason liberals don’t get conservatives is because liberals are more emotional and they can’t understand why conservatives don’t exhibit an emotional, heartfelt response to the problems of the world like they do, no matter how irrational that response might be. It’s not bad to be emotional, but I think we can all agree that making decisions based primarily on emotion without thinking of the long-term consequences is never a good idea – see also Tiger Woods or the election of Barack Obama.
Getting back to my friend at work, he literally told me a few weeks ago that we just need to keep printing money so the value of money goes down and all the mega rich people end up with less wealth. There’s no other way to frame that idea than to say it’s based completely on his emotional feeling toward rich people. In his mind he doesn’t like the rich because he thinks they are all greedy, so he disregards every negative long-term consequence of such a dumb idea – see also the Weimar Republic.
The conservative looks at history & reality and says, “The rich are the ones in this country who create and invest in businesses. We need strong businesses in order for jobs to be created. So, let’s do things (or undo things) to create an environment where the rich will build businesses and create jobs.” My friend would be against this, because the rich might get richer, disregarding the fact that in reality, everyone would benefit. He, like most liberals is guided by his emotion.
Of course I’ve generalized quite a bit, but I think basically conservatives get a bad rap from most liberals particularly in government & media because 1) they don’t understand why we ask questions & challenge
“real” solutions, 2) they don’t understand why we would say “no” to their
solutions, & 3) they don’t understand why we don’t
to care so much about the things they care about.