Mark and Amazona and I had an off-blog conversation recently about how we have begun to distance ourselves from friends or acquaintances who inhabit the left side of the political spectrum. For most of my adult life I rationalized keeping such friends by convincing myself that it was “only politics”; that we basically wanted the same things for ourselves and our descendants; we just disagreed with how to get there.
One of the things that the Obama presidency has accomplished is highlighting the stark contrast between Liberals and Conservatives, not just on issues and not just on their approach to problem solving, but on a fundamental conflict in our vision for the future.
The greatest and most obvious conflict of vision is about the basic role of the central government where one side believes the success of government is defined by how many people are helped by government and the other side which believes the success of government is defined by how few people need help from the government.
But the conflict is much deeper and broader than that. It is a conflict between:
- The fundamental transformation of America and the fundamental restoration of America.
- The belief that some people can neither handle nor deserve freedom, and the belief that the yearning for freedom is an inherent part of the human spirit.
- The belief that America is the greatest force for freedom and prosperity in the world, and the belief that America is the source of most of the evil and misery in the world.
- Doing what’s right all of the time, regardless of the consequences and doing what’s right only when doing so yields personal or political benefits.
- Always telling the truth and ignoring the truth when it has negative political or personal consequences.
- Voting for someone because you’re confident they will honor their oath to uphold the Constitution and voting for someone because you’re confident they will ignore or subvert the parts of the Constitution that you don’t like.
- Case law and original interpretation.
- Morality and moral relativism.
- Learning from history and re-writing history to fit an agenda.
- Dwelling on what’s good about America as opposed to dwelling on what’s bad about America.
- The creation of wealth and the transfer of wealth.
- Freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
- A dynamic view and a static view on just about everything.
- Defining success as actually helping someone in need vs. defining success as feeling good because you tried to help someone.
- Accountability and avoiding responsibility.
- Humility and hubris.
- Criticizing policies because they’re bad policies and being accused of being racist for criticizing policies because the policy maker is black.
- Becoming a color-blind society and using race as a political weapon.
- Lightly-regulated free market capitalism and crony capitalism with rewards for supporters and burdensome regulations on and harassment of any company that doesn’t support your policies.
- Policy making based on polling and policy making based on sound scientific and economic principles.
- Transparency and closed door, secret deals.
- Increasing tax revenue and decreasing spending.
- Economic justice and economic liberty.
- Social justice and justice for all.
- The individual and the collective.
- Results vs. intentions.
- Conservation and eco-imperialism.
- Victory and exit strategy when applied to military conflict.
- An educational system that teaches how to think vs. what to think.
- “Our plan didn’t work because we didn’t spend enough money”, and “your plan didn’t work because it was an unworkable plan.”
- Eliminating incentive and fostering dependency vs. entrepreneurship and self-reliance.
- Voting based on issues and voting based on the best way to govern.
- Liberty and tyranny.
- And ,ultimately, between the survival of the human race vs. the here and now.
So I ask my former friends and acquaintances on the Left — common ground? What common ground? We are in a fight for the soul of the greatest nation in the history of the world, and our conflict of vision for the future is so profound that I will, without hesitation, lay down my life to ensure that my descendants are not forced to live under your vision.