Thursday, November 04, 2004

those wacky conservatives.

is it just me, or are conservatives in this country becoming politically savvy and directed, and liberals becoming sort of... well, reactionary?
typically we use "reactionary" to mean ultra-conservative, people vehemently opposed to progress or new ideas. but the more basic meaning is "charactarized by reaction" -- ie, acting in response to things as opposed to acting independently from a set of principles and toward a particular goal.

for the record, i don't like W. i voted for Kerry. but i have to say that in many ways it seems like conservatives in this country are actually more likely to "live and let live" -- at least at a personal level -- than liberals are. the right seems more directed, less angry, less shrill, and more respectful than the left this time around.

yes, one can certainly view things like opposition to gay marriage as an encroachment of the liberties of others (ie, NOT live-and-let-live), but from the conservative's POV, it's not about control at all. almost no conservatives want to outlaw actual homosexuality -- i venture to say many or most are not opposed to civil unions -- what they're resisting is a perceived demand by the left that they (conservatives) sanction and approve a change in a fundamental social structure that they cannot agree with.

but back to liberal reactionism: for one thing, Kerry ran primarily on the platform of being Not George W Bush. IOW, as a reaction to W, not with a plan of his own.

for another thing, the emotion, the absoluteism, the bigotry i've perceived this time from the left is extraordinary. to hear my friends talk, you'd think the barbarians were at the gates. as tom wolfe said (paraphrased) in an interview with The Guardian, there's a suggestion that you must be "twisted or retarded" to support Bush. in other words, there is no case for the conservative position -- all is black and white, us vs them, good vs evil. what happened to the liberal exchange of ideas? of defeating wrong things by reasoned, respectful argument? at this rate we'll soon be intellectually and morally all of a piece, shouting names at each other rather than working for solutions.

or at least, that's how it seems to me.


At Mon Nov 08, 06:23:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts, enjoyed by me. -Kire

At Mon Apr 25, 10:24:00 AM PDT, Blogger rebecca said...

Interesting comments. I think there are a good many conservatives who would outlaw homosexuality if given the chance, but I agree that the liberal left (myself incluced) has become far more reactionary than savvy. The Republicans have been paying attention in marketing class, and the liberals, well, we're just shouting in the wind.

I think a large part of what's behind it is fear. I can't speak for everyone, but I fear having religious zealots on the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade. I fear that my gay friends will never get to be married -- and not even in the religious sense, but in the social sense. It's been fine for years for a man and a woman to be married outside of the church and just about everyone agrees that they are "married", but when two dudes try it all hell breaks loose. I worry about drilling in the Arctic Refuge, the rise of SUVs, and the general lack of responsibility we as humans are showing when it comes to taking care of Earth. It does not appear to be a Republican agenda to make these things better.

It really does seem that the tide is shifting toward larger corporations and less sustainable living and more religion in politics. Perhaps this is the liberal media biasing me, but that's not the whole story -- there's definitely some truth behind it as well. And I won't ignore the fact that for at least half of the nation, these are seen as good things. I happen to disagree.

For the record, I'm not opposed to religion, but I do believe strongly in the separation of church and state. Though I recognize that the Judeo-Christian society in which we live precludes complete separation, and most of the basic tenets are good ones (don't kill, don't cheat on your wife, etc.), I still think there's a healthy measure of separation that can be achieved.

I think the conservatives' viewpoint seems more live-and-let-live if you agree with them. Otherwise, it looks a lot like, well... whatever the opposite of live-and-let-live is.

Okay, this is too long, so I'll refrain from more ramblings. I do think you have a good point about the reactions of liberals and that the Democrats need to be way more savvy when it comes to marketing. Hopefully, we'll all stop freaking out soon and start building toward something better.


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