Thursday, September 15, 2016

What makes me think I'm a conservative? Or a liberal?

How would I know?

My Republican friends vs my Democrat friends provide an energetic discourse, and the surprise that frequently emerges -- they agree. Not on the candidates, of course, but on the issues. The common ground for both:
  • Concern about incautious change (Venezuela is today's example) 
  • Concern about injustice (discrimination, abuse, oppression) 
  • Support for national values -- life, liberty, equality, freedom of speech, faith, assembly... 
  • Sanctity of life and the defense of the weak, or so we all say 
  • Concern for children, their safety and health, and their future 
  • Responsible and accountable government and politicians 
Right and left even agree on money. I've heard it expressed dozens of ways by both sides, and it's usually as a fear of losing something I don't yet have. On the right, "my increasing possessions might not continue increasing so quickly if we make things more equal." On the left, "you can help those poor people if you take from those rich people, but don't take from me."  The common ground, don't take from me ....

The Great Divide emerges when we get to the details.

  • Both right and left know that terminating a pregnancy ends the life of a child. 
    • While the right opposes termination, they fail to support the survivors with healthcare, education, and family assistance. 
    • The left supports the termination as a choice mommies should get to make for any reason. 
    • On both sides, the baby suffers for the rest of it's life.
  • Both right and left understand that poverty is not a choice. 
    • While the left supports assisting those in need, they're unwilling to wait for them to catch up. 
    • The right are content to leave them behind with nothing, expecting things to sort themselves out. 
    • On both sides, many are left behind more or less permanently.
  • Both sides share a worldview that's only true for perhaps the wealthiest of the world's people, and neither understands who is responsible or why it works that way.   The great divide is perhaps between them and the rest of the world.
Liberal, conservative, both, neither, ...? Human?

What are the troubling issues humanity faces today?

  • Government corruption, purchased regulation, and rule by an elite?
  • Marketplace abuse and extractive economics?
  • Corporations, especially banks, larger than countries? 
  • Rule by economic success rather than ethical success or human benefit ...
  • Us vs. them? 
Join the great warriors,
those who give all
for good.

Although it is somewhat natural to do so, separating ourselves from others, cutting them off, angrily polarized ... that's below the bottom rung of morality, wishing another ill, ethically equal to bullying, abuse, and killing.

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment. But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

“So if you are presenting an offering at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your offering there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your gift to God."

So why might he have said that sort of thing? Is there something in our culture that might be the point?

Note:  Foundational issues of conservatism and liberalism vary from individual to individual, of course, and without precise definition, politicians and the media are having a ball with the emotionally charged but ill-defined verbiage.  This is perhaps the most confused run-up to a presidential election I've seen in my lifetime.

The left and right are more extreme than ever, moderates are missing from the political venue, and progress is extraordinarily difficult.  We're a polarized nation, and the price is high.

And, there's little left of the original meaning of the words conservative and liberal.