Why Progressives and Conservatives Can’t Get Along

From WeirdDave at Ace of Spades:

Of all the pathologies that the Left engages in, I know that the inability to simply accept reality as it is is one of the things that can drive conservatives nuts faster than anything else. It’s easy to see why: conservative politics are based upon reality and are focused on finding the optimal solution to any given problem, and as such establishing the reality of any given situation is fundamental to the process. Proggy politics are based upon emotion, reality isn’t so important as long as the proposed course of action makes them feel good about themselves. The welfare state is a perfect example of this. To a conservative, it’s a disaster. Generations of institutionalized poverty and soul crushing dependence on government, the destruction of the nuclear family, cycles of poverty that continuously worsen while costing more and more money every year. They rightly demonstrate that reality proves the welfare state an utter failure and want to change it.

To a prog, however, the welfare state is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Crime, poverty, hopelessness, despair and all of the rest of the myriad disasters that come with a modern welfare state….who cares? The welfare state makes them feel good about themselves, and allows them to pat themselves on the back about how “kind” they are, and the best thing is they don’t have to do anything themselves to feel this way! THEY don’t have to meet any icky poor people. THEY aren’t forced to interact with minorities. Let the government do it and observe how benevolent they are, sailing along smugly, secure in their unearned moral superiority.

I was out in California this past weekend and it suddenly occurred to me that the California legislature was recently debating two proposals:

1.  Allow doctor-assisted suicide.

2.  Raise the smoking age from 18 to 21.

So, Progressives are so deeply concerned about your well being that even though you’re an adult who can fight in a war, marry (anyone you like!) and sign contracts, they won’t let you smoke. On the other hand, once you get a little along in years – or have a budget-busting chronic disease – they’ll “help” you into the hereafter.  The Progressive world is a world in which a Nanny watches over your every move – and then kills you when you become too troublesome (oh, sure it’s all voluntary…and there won’t be any chance that family members, doctors and bureaucrats will kinda nudge you in the direction they want you to go…)

Maybe its because I’ve been smoking for 35 years (sorry, liberals – still astonishingly healthy: even with the bacon-double-cheeseburgers and the smoking…and if I do quit then I might be here to annoy you for 4o more years or so…muhahahahaha!…on the other hand, that does mean I might have the depressing duty of writing about the Chelsea Clinton/George P. Bush Presidential contest…), but I don’t care if people smoke. Certainly not anyone 18 or older.  I also don’t want to off people because they are sick or old; I’d rather try to help them. There are things we can do besides kill them, after all. The bottom line is that my world view is 180 degrees out of sync with the Progressive world view…and I believe that goes for all of us on the right. We just don’t see things the same way.

And it does have a bit to do with cold, hard facts – our Progressive friends in the Reality-Based Community do seem to have a problem with facts.  Facts such as policing the smoking of people 18-21 is rather impossible (I think that younger folks are not smoking so much lately is not due to laws against it, but because smoking is just going out of fashion).  Facts such as human nature is unchanging and if you give people a chance to get rid of an inconvenient person, some people will take advantage of it.

There is no real bridging of the gap between left and right. We can’t work across the aisle. I won’t agree to a compromise where the smoking age is raised to 19 years, 6 months and 4 days. I won’t agree to a compromise where we can help the sick commit suicide as long as everyone pinky-swears it is what the sick person wants. Our way out of this is that ultimately facts emerge triumphant – you really can’t keep borrowing money forever. You really can’t have open borders forever. You really can’t sustain an education system which wants “safe spaces” and to stop “micro-aggression”.  It all falls apart – with the good news being that we on the right, who live on facts, will come back on top eventually.

14 thoughts on “Why Progressives and Conservatives Can’t Get Along

  1. Retired Spook June 15, 2015 / 10:40 pm

    The one common denominator I’ve noticed with virtually every Liberal/Progressive I’ve ever known is that they all believed they were in the mainstream; this in spite of the fact that most polls show about 20% of the population self-identifies as Liberal. I suspect, truth be told, most Liberals suffer from some sort of identity crisis, which may well be why they (the collective they) have adopted identity politics as one of their primary tactics.

    • M. Noonan June 15, 2015 / 11:25 pm

      I’ll add that people also need to believe in something transcendent…and since our Progressives have mostly rejected any real conception of God (while there are genuinely Progressive Christians, they are a distinctly small minority of all Progressives), they simply transfer that desire to their causes. Of course, this means that once you’ve elevated the State to your god, you must suppress all heresy against the deity…

      • Retired Spook June 16, 2015 / 6:56 am

        Of course, this means that once you’ve elevated the State to your god, you must suppress all heresy against the deity…

        Excellent observation. If they would leave it at that, I’d be content, even if they have to lie (which they do) to defend their POV. The problem lies with their constant and unrelenting attacks on aspects of life that they don’t agree with, whether it’s one’s right to defend one’s self, the right of conscience, or just the ever-increasing, all-encompassing club of political correctness. To be fair, there are busy bodies on the right as well, but the vast majority of Conservatives just want to be left alone.

      • M. Noonan June 16, 2015 / 11:27 am

        Yep – look, not a single one of us cares what the good, Progressive people of, say, San Francisco decide to do in their fair city. What we do care about is when the good, Progressive people of San Francisco insist that those in Boise do it the exact same way…

      • Cluster June 16, 2015 / 8:16 am

        Progressives self superiority complex and their false sense of moral superiority is a huge problem. And when someone does take a morally superior stance, all objectivity is removed. You can not have a rational conversation with someone who believes themselves to be your moral superior and believe you to have ill intent, and that is the premise of every progressive. We all saw that last week when Rusty jumped into the forum.

    • Cluster June 16, 2015 / 8:08 am

      They believe they are mainstream because the MSM gives them that false impression. They are the vocal minority who act and behave like the majority. Your observation the other day was spot on and that was that many liberals live conservative lives. Why they continue to vote Democrat is beyond me. I heard a liberal pundit the other day mention that the GOP will have a hard time attracting voters once again in the 2016 POTUS election, to which I would say that the GOP has already attracted many voters at the county and state levels over the past four years and won those elections.

      • Retired Spook June 16, 2015 / 8:20 am

        Why they continue to vote Democrat is beyond me.

        That’s pretty simple. The majority of Democrat voters fall into one of two categories: those who get free stuff and those who feel good about providing those less fortunate with free stuff paid for with other people’s money.

    • Retired Spook June 16, 2015 / 8:44 am

      You know you’re in trouble when the WAPO prints stuff like that about you.

  2. Amazona June 16, 2015 / 12:47 pm

    It’s that false dichotomy I mentioned in another thread. Ideally, if you think the feds should be the ones feeding the poor you will also be able to discuss the idea that because of the Tenth Amendment this is something denied to the federal government and must be handled by the states. This is, or should be, a completely calm and rational discussion.

    But the Left, excelling at emotional manipulation, has carefully crafted the concept that if you don’t agree with someone on how feeding the poor should be addressed, this means you really don’t care if the poor starve. It’s that little flick that lies at the heart of the antagonism between the Left and the Right, that little twist of reality that shifts a rational disagreement on the mechanism for best dealing with poverty into a Right/Wrong paradigm.

    When we started talking about socialized medicine in this country, I found that I got a lot more traction by saying “OF COURSE we should be able to vote to have government pay for health care! We just have to be careful to do it in a way that doesn’t violate the Constitution.” The first sentence disarmed the potential argument by agreeing with the basic concept, and the second usually produced a slightly baffled reaction, a mix of “of course we can’t violate the Constitution!” and “what do you mean by saying we have to do it in a way that doesn’t?”

    The second reaction would come from ignorance of the simple fact that the Constitution itself limits the size, scope and power of the federal government. To people like us, people who are so deeply invested in political discourse and who read and study, this is a given, but to the vast majority of Americans this is a completely new concept.

    We tend to toss out simplistic statements that mean something to us because we know what is behind them, so we say things about something being Constitutional, or we have to follow the Constitution, but because these statements reflect only the surface of a deeper philosophy they don’t really register. The reaction tends to be one of “Naturally we have to follow the Constitution..” but they don’t realize that what they want violates the Constitution. There is a disconnect.

    I am not talking about the hard-core who simply dismiss the Constitution as an archaic artifact of a long-ago time, interesting and even with a hint of sentimental value but with no real authority. I am talking about good people, honest people who really do have respect for the Constitution and for this country but simply don’t know what the document says or means. This is why I stopped using Identity Politics terms like Dem or Republican or even Left or Right, because these terms are so tied in with emotional knee-jerk reactions they don’t mean anything any more. I used to get engaged in long political discussions with a Lefty and finally one day he got enraged at me for constantly using the term “Left” to describe his positions. He said he was tired of me hurling insults at him, and that this was a pejorative. I was astounded—he truly did not know that the positions he was supporting are clinically defined as being on the Left.

    We see this all the time—it is a very successful strategy of the Left. Look at the Leftist terms we accept and use ourselves: Pro-Choice and Religious Right come to mind. Mainstream Media. We participate in and contribute to the Semantic Infiltration of Leftist memes. But pro-abortion is not about “choice”—if it was, the pro-abortion crowd would not object to full disclosure as a condition of getting an abortion, such as ultrasounds, counseling, and information on prospective adoptive families willing to pay for the pregnancy and childbirth in exchange for being able to give the unwanted babies loving homes. If there is a “religious Right” what about the Religious Left, the black and Latino congregations deeply invested in their religions but politically aligned with the Left for emotional or financial reasons? Leftism itself is not “mainstream” but when we use that term we tell the unthinking that the “news” sources they depend on actually DO represent the “mainstream” of American thought.

    With enemies as dumb as we are, the Left doesn’t need friends.

  3. Retired Spook June 17, 2015 / 6:42 am

    OT, but check out the headlines this morning at MarketWatch:

    The odds of a Greek default just spiked

    Greek central bank sees ‘uncontrollable crisis’ if no bailout

    European stocks calm (WTF?)

    Will Europe really risk it all for a few crumbs from Greek retirees?

    The third one says, “Greece who?” which makes the fourth one kind of redundant.

    • M. Noonan June 17, 2015 / 11:03 am

      Greece will functionally default, but somehow or another the rest of the EU will, I believe, cobble something together where the markets can pretend it wasn’t a default. Keeping the EU together pleases too many people powerful in finance and politics for it to be allowed to go…no matter what happens, Greece will never exit the EU.

      • Retired Spook June 17, 2015 / 12:37 pm

        Whether they default or not, it’s pretty clear that, while the Banksters may care, most Europeans don’t give a rat’s rear end. All those previous headlines are now gone, and the lone reference to Greece is buried way down the main page at MW. It now says “European stocks lower as Greek jitters persist”.

      • Cluster June 17, 2015 / 1:45 pm

        ….most Europeans don’t give a rat’s rear end.

        Because they are numb to the drama which never does have consequences. There always seems to be another bail out just before sh*t hits the fan. Thatcher’s line that “sooner or later you run out of OPM” has yet to materialize and unless and until it does, don’t expect Europeans to give a rat’s rear end.

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