It has been found that when blind-from-birth persons have had their sight restored by operative means, they don’t automatically ‘see’ like you or I. These newly sighted people have to learn what the various colors and shades of light coming in through their eyes mean. They must walk around and explore the world in order to recognize what a ‘chair’ is, for example. Then, they can understand what a chair ‘looks like’. It seems experience of the world is necessary before we can understand what the perceptions we have mean.
It has been widely recognized that as people age, they generally become more conservative. It has also been noted, in this recent article “Why Won’t They Listen?” by William Saletan in the New York Times, (which is a review of the book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt), that “Conservatism thrives because it fits how people think, and that’s what validates it.” Minds are like eyes. They must ‘learn’ to ‘think’. They must learn to ‘see’ what is there.
Saletan goes on to note that whereas Conservatives tend to base their convictions on 6 moral foundations (including faith, patriotism, valor, chastity, law and order), Liberals “focus almost entirely on care and fighting oppression” (my italics). Because of this, he goes on to note, Conservatives most often can understand what Liberals are arguing (because of their wider moral stance), but Liberals often cannot make sense of Conservatives (because of their narrower moral stance).
In my own world I’ve often heard liberals scorn the ‘hypocrisy of Conservatives’. They would do better to scorn the hypocrisy of thought – or of reality in toto. A true evaluation usually contains a dark side. Nearly any effort suffers ‘unintended consequences’. Liberals seem especially poor at discerning this. They are like actors who cannot grasp the subtext. They seem to prefer living in a world where if there is a problem hole, filling the hole will solve the problem. In the real world something caused the hole, and will cause there to be a hole again. This is what Conservatives would like to discuss with them. But a Liberal will say, “You say you hate holes, but here you are, refusing to fill them.” To which a Conservative might answer, “Filling the hole will not make it go away.” This dumbfounds the Liberal. ‘How can filling a hole NOT make it go away? A child could understand this!’
In lieu of gathered wisdom, Liberals often dismiss Conservatism as representing a particularly nasty side of humanity. Rarely a day goes by that I do not hear the grumbling of some Liberal that they are just giving up on talking to any more idiotic, brutal, blind, closed-minded, and greedy, Neanderthal Conservatives. And if I am lucky enough, within the same day, to meet with a fellow Conservative, I’m mostly likely to see a shake of the head, whenever they speak of Liberals with chagrin, and a response somewhat of the retort, “They are like children!”.
Living as a ‘declared’ Conservative can be lonely, isolating and quite trying experience, rather like a beleaguered parent. You feel like a piece of hanging meat being pestered by flies.
And trying to get on in a world where there are people, who would fashion themselves as Progressives – shopping for their politics at the only the best stores – this is the Conservatives burden. ‘Progressive’ is a name brand which declares its own infallibility. Progressives walk around in designer thoughts, bemoaning all of the unwashed; while swearing at the odd Conservative as if stubbing their toe on a chair they cannot comprehend and spilling their Kool Aid. They don’t care that you don’t agree with what they think – or drink. What offends them is that you can’t recognize extremely fine fashion when you see it.
But we Conservatives DO recognize fashion. We just feel that life requires practical, tested measures.
A Conservative might hope Liberals would take advice from their own ecological laments and realize culture is a profoundly complex thing best left to grow organically; that culture is an accretion of collected individual wisdom best tended within a wisely structured environment of what lawyers call ‘natural law’, and is not something to be corrected and rearranged at intellectual whim. That you can kill things this way; completely destroy a habitat. (As Ronald Reagan noted, civilization is fragile as an eggshell.) But they don’t. They keep importing their intellectual kudzu and disseminating it as far as able. As Saletan points out in his article, they destroy ‘moral capital’.
After a day of trying to get through to these modern day knuckleheads, a Conservative can be sorely tempted to wander off by themselves for awhile, sit on a rock and pray.
Pictures taken from Google Images