Saturday, April 03, 2010
How Should Conservatives Deal with the Left’s Disrespect and Lack of Empathy?
Helen Smith makes some generally reasonable points below but fails to see that hate is what motivates the Left -- so their behaviour is entirely to be explained by that. They hate people who find anything worthwhile in the status quo -- and you don't expect respect or empathy from haters. Revolution is what the Left basically wants but if they cannot have that, they will at least do their best to white-ant the society they live in and which they hate -- all under the cloak of good intentions, of course.
Branding the Left as the haters they are is the only thing that might slow them down. They know that, which is why they do their best to get in first and find something in conservatives that they can brand as hate
I often feel bad for those on the right such as Jeff Goldstein who try to make sense of someone on the left who treats them with disdain and disgust. Goldstein received an email from an old creative writing professor recently saying that he was disturbed by Goldstein’s writings and wanted Goldstein to remove his name from his “about page.” When Goldstein called Brian Kiteley, the professor, up on the phone for clarification, Kiteley called him names:
So I dialed him up and he answered. When I told him who was calling, he let out a forced “laugh” — I presume to show his bemused exasperation with my gall at having contacted him — and, when pressed, he called me a “jerk”.
Initially, Goldstein says he was hurt by his professor’s intolerant attitude, but then, his hurt rightly turned to anger. This professor tolerated free speech only for liberal ideas. But shouldn’t we all have the right to free speech? Apparently, only if it’s left-leaning. And one would think a creative writing professor might be above this. But the problem is, he may have a blind spot when it comes to those on the right.
Jonathan Haidt, a professor at the University of Virginia and author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, found that conservatives could more readily put themselves in the shoes of liberals and understand morally where they were coming from. The reverse was not true of liberals. They have little understanding of those with opposing views to their own. As Haidt states:
“I think of liberals as colorblind,” he says in a hushed tone that conveys the quiet intensity of a low-key crusader. “We have finely tuned sensors for harm and injustice but are blind to other moral dimensions. Look at the way the word ‘wall’ is used in liberal discourse. It’s almost always related to the idea that we have to knock them down.”
Why are liberals unable to sympathize with conservatives? I offer three possibilities. First, I often wonder if this “blind spot” for conservatives is similar to the psychopath who cannot comprehend the morality of those who are “normal.” At the present time, there is no known cure for treating the psychopath. Trying to get someone on the left to see where a conservative is coming from may be as difficult as trying to change the mind of a psychopath. Perhaps that will happen one day.
I am not saying here that liberals are psychopaths, for this would be incorrect for the most part. What I am saying is that their inability to understand the morality of conservatives makes them unable to understand their point of view, just as a psychopath does not understand the morality of normal people.
So just remember that next time a liberal treats you poorly, it may not be his or her fault. Like the psychopath who has no empathy for his fellow human being, liberals may have a blind spot when it comes to having any empathy or understanding for their conservative brethren. It often makes a psychopath worse to show empathy for him, as he will take advantage of it.
The second possibility is that liberals do have the capacity to empathize with conservatives, but they do not have to do so because of the liberal bubble they mostly live in. Schools, the media, and many of the cities they live in lean left. This means that there is no incentive to understand other ideas and there are no consequences for showing disgust and ugly feelings towards conservatives. Thus, Goldstein’s ex-professor feels free to vent at him — knowing that few will care.
For example, if a Republican vents at a Democrat, he or she will be seen as a “hate-monger.” For an example of this, notice how Eric Cantor can have his office shot at and it is played down with all kinds of excuses, while if the tea partiers are said to have shouted at Democrats without any proof, it is taken as the gospel truth, with no video needed. The left are just “innocent victims.”
So what is the prescription here for those of us who are conservative or libertarian? There may be no way to get the “other side” to understand our views, for they may not have the capacity to do so. Until the lack of empathy for conservatives miraculously changes, we might do better to grow our own ranks, getting more of us involved, rather than trying to rationalize our own views to the other side. Giving in only wastes valuable time that could be put to better use and makes liberals more likely to treat us poorly.
At the same time, we should consider that it could be a lack of consequences that allows liberals to lack empathy or understanding for their fellow right-leaning citizens. Expanding right-leaning media and exposing liberals to ridicule and consequences (e.g., Andrew Breitbart) might then be the correct path to take, for the ease with which they attack may decrease once they realize that they will not get off scott-free as they once did.
Finally, and my third possibility, is it could be lack of education that allows the left to lack empathy. They are not exposed to right-leaning and libertarian ideas. For example, how many classes at school are teaching about the ideas of Hayek, Friedman, and Rand? If kids grow up without this information, they may turn into adults who lack the ability to understand other points of view.
Perhaps a combination of all three is needed: expanding right-leaning media, getting more people involved, and making sure consequences are dealt out to those liberals who lie and treat conservatives with disrespect. Yes, this means all of us speaking up wherever we are when we hear false, inflammatory, or just plain mean remarks made about conservatives. And finally, clamoring for more diverse educational topics and literature in the schools and media would be helpful.
Conservatives shouldn’t back down on any of this, ever. For it is persistence and consistency that will eventually win the day. The left did it for decades and it clearly works. The left’s advantage has been that the right caves and is so worried about appearing moral that they back down, conceding any power. The right’s advantage is that we understand how the other side thinks, while they do not. Keep this in mind when you think about strategies to keep our liberties and freedoms intact.
Introducing the Progressives' Transformation of the 10 Commandments
President Barack Obama promised during his campaign and inaugural speeches that we would witness a fundamental transformation of America. To be sure, his idea of a transformation is more akin to Karl Marx or Hugo Chavez than to Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity.
Perhaps we should be grateful that, so far, President Obama and his progressive cabal are fixated on health care, cap & trade, climate change and other big government projects. With so much on his plate, Obama hasn't had time to fundamentally charge the very basis of our legal system -- the 10 Commandments, as given to the prophet Moses by Yahweh on Mount Sinai.
But rest assured, there will be many -- gay activists, atheists, hard-core leftists, etc. -- who will eventually get around to fundamentally transforming God's 10 Commandments.
I. I am your leader, Obama. When I and my minions are around, who needs God?
II. Obama, Pelosi and Reid must be exalted with carved images throughout the nation.
III. Prayer will be banned in public, but praise, song and poetry honoring Obama will be constant.
IV. Remember the Sabbath Day. Don't observe it, simply remember it.
V. Honor thy mother and thy father if they love Obama; otherwise, call child protection services and claim they’ve abused you.
VI. Thou shall not kill or abuse terrorists or criminals, but unborn babies may be killed right up to the moment of their birth.
VII. Thou shall marry anyone or any creature you wish with the full protection of Obama.
VIII. Thou shall steal from those who work and save and give such bounty to those who are slothful, irresponsible and non-productive.
IX. Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, unless they refuse to accept Obama as their god and their leader.
X. You shall covet your neighbor's house. When Obama is done transforming America you will have it.
Sick Thinking From 'Mainstream' Leftists
The Obama left, realizing it has really stepped in it with the American people by cramming Obamacare down our throats, has decided to blunt the backlash against it by tarring, yet again, mainstream conservatives as racists, bigots, homophobes and violent. Its tactics are objectively despicable.
You know the drill. We conservatives, who happen to understand ourselves better than liberals do, know that we are largely a civil, respectable, peaceable bunch. Attendees to the Rush Limbaugh-inspired Dan's Bake Sale years ago can attest to the mature, wholesome behavior of Rush fans. Ditto Sean Hannity's Freedom Concert attendees and tea party protest attendees.
The leftists who actually believe the fraudulent bile they are spewing about conservatives as being violent are merely projecting. They know their own side often disrupts and shuts down debate and engages in hate speech and even anarchy. Witness the unruly leftist disruptions of Ann Coulter appearances or the sabotaging of Karl Rove's appearance by Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans, one of Obama's radical buddies. Look at the tea party violence from the SEIU left.
But the majority of leftists making these bogus claims about conservatives are either deeply warped or outright lying. There are some isolated acts of fringe violence from the right, but they are just that -- isolated and rare. With the many tea parties that have occurred, how much conservative-spawned violence have you heard about -- even with a liberal media champing at the bit to slander the entire movement? Hardly any -- beyond the fabrications.
The left wants to shut us up. Liberals say they want universal voter registration so all voices can be heard. What? They don't even want dissenting voices among already existing voters heard. After the way they cheated and gamed the system to impose socialized medicine on an unwilling public, they've forfeited their credibility about promoting the people's will -- which we always knew was a ruse anyway.
The Obama left has tried to muzzle us through intimidation -- as in its declaration of a false consensus on global warming, its issuing summonses to corporate executives to justify announcements that Obamacare is going to cost them dearly, Obama's telling those of us who "created this mess" that he doesn't want us to "do a lot of talking," his declaring a communications war on Fox News, and on and on. Failing that, the left intends to paint us all as racists who are just a hair trigger away from committing violent acts.
With the groundwork rationale established -- that conservative "hate speech" incites violence -- liberals will be a step closer to using laws and regulations to emasculate or silence conservative talk radio. But their claim is a vicious, destructive, divisive lie -- just like their depiction of conservatives, by virtue of their conservatism, as racists.
A caller to Rush Limbaugh's guest host Mark Davis said conservatives might not consciously be racists, but the results of their policies harm African-Americans, so it's fair to infer they are racists. Well, under that standard, Obama is racist because he recently reversed welfare reform, which everyone agrees reduced black poverty and the black illegitimacy rate. The same thing holds for his liberal education policies that result in trapping minorities in inferior inner-city schools. The list goes on.
Yet I don't believe leftists are racists because the effect of their policies often works to the detriment of blacks; I just think they are misguided and, after all these years of failed policies, have no moral authority to claim otherwise. Good intentions cannot trump decades of bad results.
But the more Obama forces through his unpopular agenda to dismantle America's founding principles the more outraged the public will become and the more protests and blowback we'll see (sans violence). These protests, in turn, will result in Obama leftists' ratcheting up their wild accusations aimed at demonizing their conservative opponents -- ordinary Americans, who at this point can be considered victims.
So we should expect more disgraceful columns from liberals, such as Frank Rich, who wrote that conservatives' "over-the-top rage" over Obama's policy agenda is caused by "the conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House -- topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman" -- not his agenda. Or Chris Matthews, who asked, "What are the tea partiers really angry about, health care reform or the fact that it was an African-American president and a woman speaker of the House who pushed through major change?"
This is just sick stuff, folks, but not uncommon for leftist thinkers. We conservatives simply don't think this way. It doesn't compute. Yet there are scores of examples of other leftist commentators making the same claims.
Health plan may hobble economy recovery: "While President Obama's health insurance mandate on businesses is being slowly phased in to prevent any immediate damage to the economic recovery, it nevertheless poses an obstacle to his overarching goal of creating jobs and could end up adding to spiraling medical costs rather than controlling them. Economists not connected with either political party expect the new law to intensify the boom in health care spending - it already is the only major business sector that managed to grow during the recession - while adding to the reluctance of millions of businesses outside of health care to take on new workers because in the future they must provide costly and comprehensive medical benefits that previously were optional.
Seniors fear hit to Medicare: "Seniors aren't breaking out the champagne for President Obama's health care law, and for good reason. While Democrats hail the overhaul as their greatest health care achievement since Medicare, seniors fear it's a raid on that same giant health care program - a bedrock of retirement security - in order to pay for covering younger, uninsured workers and their families. There's no doubt that broad cuts in projected Medicare payments to insurance plans, hospitals, nursing homes and other service providers will sting."
Robbing Peter to pay Paul's health care: "Obamacare is a socialist law designed to take money from some Americans and use it to benefit others. The health care bill signed into law by President Obama is full of hidden time bombs. One costly provision buried in the lengthy reconciliation bill at the last minute has taxpayers covering long-term at-home care for the elderly. Through the so-called Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS Act), Americans will find between $150 and $250 taken out of their paychecks each month to cover this program nobody knew about."
Poll: Vast Majority See No Improvement in Economy: "President Barack Obama and his band of hopey-changers are not going to appreciate the findings of a recent nationwide poll of nearly 800 main household grocery shoppers which reveals, by a very sizeable margin, that American consumers appear to be at odds with recent reports that the economy has improved. Eight out of ten supermarket shoppers see no improvement in the economy, and forty percent actually believe things have gotten worse. As consumers continue to cope, the study affirms, the appeal of store brand products is stronger than ever and may even be intensifying."
Lobbyists get windfall from new health care bill: "Healthcare reform made the public mad, and it made lobbyists rich. Though President Obama promised during the 2008 campaign to curb the influence of special interests, slap a leash on lobbyists and ‘put the interests of Main Street in front of K Street and Wall Street,’ the past year hasn’t exactly live up to that standard. Special interest spending on Capitol Hill broke records in 2009, topping $3.47 billion. And almost half of the president’s recess appointments last weekend were tied to or work for so-called special interests. Finance figures show those interests are giving huge sums to Democrats and Republicans alike.”
My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 12:17 AM