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Getting Beyond Issues. - AdrianG [APOD]
July 6th, 2005
07:25 pm

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Getting Beyond Issues.
It's been while since I've posted to this journal. I've actually sat down to create an entry several times, but the topic is a tough one. I've been trying to think of ways to explain to moderate conservatives why we liberals have a lot to fear from the efforts of the Christian Right to shape our world to their liking. I want such an entry to be rational, respectful of moderate conservatives, and convincing to moderate conservatives. But, my experiences, so far, discussing our current political climate with the conservatives whom I actually see during the day has been frustrating. I am met with double standards for judging politicians that are disturbingly extreme. There's a kind of stubborn group-think going on among some conservatives, and I find the result of the group-think I've encountered is that I'm at a loss for ways to make my case, even online.

This is not to say that all conservatives are guilty of group-think or that liberals are immune to group-think. In fact, I found myself a bit frustrated at some liberal group-think this weekend. But in my day to day life, I encounter moderate liberals, and I have chances to reason with them I have the experience of being able to talk them into avoiding some of the less rational position attributed to liberals. I have few such experiences trying to reason with conservatives. I'm sure part of the problem is that the conservatives I know are not moderate conservatives. But still, the point is that I have few positive experiences reasoning with with conservatives about politics, and when it comes to writing arguments, I draw heavily on my experiences with my target audiences.

I think that, ultimately, we liberals have to find ways to reach out to moderate conservatives; But, for the moment, I don't know how. In any case, this is what I've been stewing on. This is why I haven't posted much. My mind has some tendency to lock onto an issue, until I sort it out. This issue has been hard to get past.

Adrian

Current Mood: preoccupied
Current Music: "Reaching Out 2 U" from "Solo Para Ti" by Ottmar Liebert

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From:pamelonian
Date:July 7th, 2005 02:49 am (UTC)
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I've been trying to think of ways to explain to moderate conservatives why we liberals have a lot to fear from the efforts of the Christian Right to shape our world to their liking.

I, too, am a liberal. I think that even moderates have a lot to fear from the Christian Right's efforts. I guess the problem with Moderates is that they are too "moderate." They don't feel strongly enough about anything to fight for it!
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From:adriang
Date:July 7th, 2005 03:26 am (UTC)

Moderation

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I would agree that even moderates, on both sides, have a lot to fear from the Christian Right's efforts. But I don't agree that moderates necessarily don't feel strongly about things. To me, the extremes on both sides seem thoughtless and divisive. The extremes on both sides seem prone to bigotry and intolerance, although the specific targets of their intolerance are quite different, and I have to say that there seems to be a much stronger and nastier smell to the intolerance of the religious right.

It's really the attacks on reason itself, from the religious right, that trouble me most. It's the sense that they have the right to take power and lie about what their trying to accomplish and hide anything that might raise awkward questions. It's a pattern of behavior on the religious right that seems rooted in self-deception and hate dressed up as morality.

When I see these things, I want to find ways of judging their standards in neutral terms, rather than just saying my sides better than their. I want to find general principles that can help me avoid their mistakes. I want to look for problems in their.. methodology. I want to develop a set of rules of judging political ideas and I want to apply those same rules to my own ideas. It's this kind of thinking that makes me a moderate.

It doesn't mean nothing is worth fighting for. It doesn't mean I think Shrubya and his cronies aren't evil bastards. It doesn't mean I'm not disgusted by the sick perversion of morality pushed by the religious right. When you apply fair standards, the religious right really does earn their status of evil, hate mongering bastards. But I do want to stay thoughtful and open minded.

Adrian
From:ex_likefinew83
Date:July 7th, 2005 08:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Moderation

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But I do want to stay thoughtful and open minded.

And that is why I want to read what you write. That seems to have been mostly lost, today. *sigh*
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From:adriang
Date:July 8th, 2005 01:06 am (UTC)

Re: Moderation

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    That seems to have been mostly lost, today. *sigh*

Yes. *sigh*

Adrian
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From:aki_dreaming
Date:July 7th, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC)

Off topic, kinda, but perhaps important all the same

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What is your favorite Monty Python skit?
Why?

Group think is never good. When I'm in my own positive head space, I remind myself that in terms of human social, and possibly biological evolution, we only seem to be part way into the process of real "individuation".

So we send ourselves all kinds of mixed messages about the subject of thinking for ourselves. I don't think we'll really be able to completely "think for ourselves" until all such thoughts include the awareness that we are surrounded by other individuals also thinking for themselves. And boy, are we not there yet.
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From:adriang
Date:July 8th, 2005 01:03 am (UTC)

Re: Off topic, kinda, but perhaps important all the same

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    What is your favorite Monty Python skit?

The one where some guys are in full climbing gear and climbing a perfectly flat, level street. A reporter walks up to them and interviews them by leaning down and holding the mike to them. In the end, they slip and fall down the level street.
    Why?

Because it's funny, of course. What?? Are you looking for an argument? I didn't expect a Spanish Inquisition! Wouldn't you rather be a lumber jack than ask me all these questions? 8-)

In evolutionary terms, group think can contribute to group cohesion, so I doubt that an aversion to group think will ever be an evolutionary advantage. But as a matter of ethics, I think it's important to learn how to think more carefully when one gets in the business of imposing rules on other people's conduct. I think we should seek to move beyond mere survival and beyond the survival/reproductive skills we've gotten from evolution. I wish people would think more carefully, but they don't have to do so. Still, if they don't want to be bothered to learn to think more carefully, they should stay out of politics. Those people who refuse both to learn to think more carefully and to try to impose their values on other people are terribly irresponsible. They really should be ashamed of themselves.

That's why I don't buy the notion that we all have a duty to vote. Those people who really don't want to be bothered to research and to think should do the responsible thing and take themselves completely out of the political process. It's really too bad we can't get some people to identify themselves correctly as being in that category and to stay away from the polls. But still, those people who are too apathetic to vote are probably too apathetic to make good decisions, even if they went to the polls.

Adrian
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From:aki_dreaming
Date:July 8th, 2005 01:42 am (UTC)

Re: Off topic, kinda, but perhaps important all the same

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But still, those people who are too apathetic to vote are probably too apathetic to make good decisions, even if they went to the polls.

Yeah, but I'll wonder what the numbers would look like if someone threw an election and they did come...
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From:cultivate_peace
Date:July 12th, 2005 04:57 am (UTC)
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Living as a liberal in Orange County CA I find that I am often confronted with some pretty extreme views from people who are trying to be "good people" with the minimum intellectual effort possible. It's hard to explain to people that to become "good" you must first define what "good" is for yourself, not just smile and nod when someone else tells you their definition.

That said, I do have friends who consider themselves conservative who would not vote for the current administration if you "put a gun to their heads" (their from Texas, where most sentences have guns, dogs or pick-up truck in them somewhere).

I also have friends who are Christians who feel pretty much the same way.

I think that the problems you are experiencing are not with "conservatives", but rather with lazy people.

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From:adriang
Date:July 12th, 2005 05:10 am (UTC)
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There's something to what you are saying. It's certainly true that this kind of intellectual laziness is not limited to conservatives.

But it's also true that the problem at hand is that I'm trying to think of how to make an argument which might appeal to moderate conservatives. So, it is more specifically true that I'm having problems with lazy conservatives. Still, this specificity is more a of who my intended audience is and, perhaps, not really any indication of which side might be lazier.

Still, it is important to acknowledge extensive laziness on both sides.

Adrian
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