Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Difference

Introducing another feature here on BBS. This one is designed as an outlet for my obsession with trying to pinpoint the real differences between those who skew liberal vs. conservative.

No, this isn't going to be a total political hack job. That's too easy. What I've been trying to do for a long time is create an evolving list of objective differences between the two philosophies. The purpose? To bridge these differences and create a world of peace and everlasting harmony.

Just kidding. Liberals will always think conservatives are selfish and judgmental, and conservatives will always think liberals are weak and lazy.

Introducing Difference #1:

Conservatives believe in the American myth. Liberals believe in the American promise.

That probably doesn't sound too objective, because of the word "myth." But hear me out. Conservatives love their country and want to protect its tradition. That tradition is based on a story that goes like this: Columbus discovered America. People came here for a better life. They settled the land from east to west. They established democracy and defeated every enemy who got in their way. America is the land of freedom and opportunity, where you can forge your own destiny and succeed if you work hard. It's all about a self-sufficiency that goes back to colonial times. If ask for a handout, you fly in the face of that tradition.

Liberals don't derive as much pride from this American myth, because they know it's a myth. Columbus didn't discover anything; there were already 10 million people living here. We "settled" the country through war, smallpox and broken treaties. We established a democracy that said only white men who own property have the right to vote. We built an economy through a system of free labor called slavery. But despite all this, we did dream up (with help from the ancient Greeks) the idea--the promise--that "all men are created equal." We've never lived up to it, but we've probably done it better than anybody else.

The interesting thing is that while liberals are often seen as negative, the liberal view is the forward-thinking one. They're always trying to reach an ideal. They see progress over time, and they don't want to go back.

Conservatives are usually painted as positive and optimistic, but they're the ones who want to go back in time to an older American "ideal" that sounds nice until you realize that it also brings back the things we've managed to transcend, like segregation, slavery and inequality at the ballot box.

One position is complicated but more truthful. The other is simple and a lot easier to market.

3 comments:

Ted said...

I guess I would argue that for some people the old past is sacred. There was some struggle, all though clearly our forefathers were kinda rats at times, that forged this country. Slavery, don't want it back, don't want to try to understand it, or condone it in anyway. But the patriotism that may or may not have existed. That I wouldn't be adverse to. I am excited to see where this segment goes. It will be interesting to see how you view the other side.

Stephen Dashboard said...

Yeah, keep 'em coming, and check out the latest L&P for the article: "Enemies: A Love Story." I think you'll enjoy it re: Consevatives and Liberals.

Vegas Gopher said...

Back in the days of his Air America show, Al Franken used to say that conservatives love their country the way a five-year-old boy loves his mother. She's perfect, she's infallible, and don't try to talk about her flaws because there aren't any, I can't hear you, na-na-boo-boo.

Liberals, he said, love their country the way a mother loves her five-year-old son, i.e. with all her heart, unconditionally, but there are expectations and standards and when he steps out of line, it's up to her to make sure he learns from his mistakes and doesn't repeat them.

Conservatives, of course, would debunk this argument by stating that Al Franken is a fag.