2024-07-04 辽阔天空 3635

What major misconceptions do US liberals have about US conservatives?


Ty Doyle
Because American liberalism is entwined with concepts of caring and being compassionate, I think the single largest misconception that liberals have about conservatives is that because conservatives disagree with liberal solutions to various issues, they don't care about (or worse, hate) the things that liberalism purports to value. In other words, because liberals believe themselves to be good people in part because of their political beliefs, those who disagree with them are not just wrong, but bad people, as well.
If I disagree with Big Government solutions to poverty, it does not mean that I hate the poor. If I disagree with single payer health care, it does not mean that I hate the old and sick. If I disagree that there is a present need to spend trillions of dollars on climate change, it does not mean that I don't care about the environment. If I believe that the US should be able to enforce its immigration laws, it doesn't mean that I hate immigrants. The list goes on and on.


During my time living in San Francisco, I would often have political discussions with liberals, and while these exchanges were always civil, I frequently heard comments to the effect of "you seem like a nice person, I never would have guessed you were a Republican." This wasn't said with malice; in fact, I suspect it was something of a compliment, as though I was the rare "good" Republican, in contrast to the stereotype of the super-Christian bogeyman who hates everyone but his family (and probably hates them, too).
I love the book The Righteous Mind, and highly recommend it to everyone--some of the basic findings of the book are relevant here. Why liberals need conservatives, and vice versa . Specifically, while conservatives and moderates were pretty good at guessing how the other side views the world, liberals, especially extreme liberals, were frequently off base. For example, a majority of liberals thought that conservatives would disagree with statements to the effect that harming defenseless animals is wrong, or that justice is one of the most important elements of society. Things like that make me wonder if many liberals have ever met a conservative--if I'm too busy to attend a benefit for sea turtles, it's not because I'm at home killing puppies or working to deny others their rights.


Jeff Kesselman
Okay, here are a few I will say as an honest moderate progressive:
(1) That all conservatives are cheap and don't want to spend money on anyone else.
This is a big one. Conservatives tend to be against big government programs because they are afraid of bureaucracy and the costs thereof, but they arent *necessarily* against financially assisting others. One of the fathers of conservative economics, Milton Friedman, in fact proposed a "negative income tax" that would give every citizen of the US a basic income without any bureaucracy beyond the existing IRS.

(1) 所有保守派都很吝啬,不愿意在别人身上花钱。

(2) That all conservatives are unempathic and don't care about others.
Many conservatives, right or wrong, believe that the best solution that helps everyone is a more free market, and that most of the problems come from market restriction.
(3) That all conservatives are republicans, and that the republican party represents "what it means to be a conservative." There are a lot of conservatives that have figured out that the RP has been doing as much to twist the market for their patrons as anyone, and are not happy about it.


(4) That biggest one-- that Conservatives see the world the same way they do. There is a lot of science now showing that the cognitive biases that tend to lead someone to be liberal are very different from the ones that tend to lead one to be conservative.
(5) That conservatoires don't care about "fairness." They certainly do, they just tend to define it differently. Conservatives tend to define fair by rules, that everyone is playing by the same rules. Liberals tend to define fair by outcomes, that everyone has an equal chance for the same outcome.


Michael David Cobb Bowen
What major misconceptions do liberals have about conservatives?
I was raised as a Progressive within the 'Talented Tenth' in one of the wealthiest black communities in America. When the black sprinters for the US team were booed at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, I was shocked that the best in the world were heckled for raising the American flag. It made me reconsider what black men are expected to do and be with regard to patriotism, especially when they are successful. As part of that investigative process, I registered Republican and strove to understand and become a part of the American Right, and so I began a blog which is a journal of that passage. By becoming this 'paradox' a black American Conservative, I witnessed many myths. Here are some of them.


The first myth is that conservatives are white, want to stay white and interpret all racial issues the same way liberals do and because of that, actively oppose Liberals based on racial or racist principles.
In fact Conservatives spend relatively little time thinking about race and in particular have not evolved ways of speaking different 'racial languages' to different racial constituencies. The myth is that Conservatives speak a 'dog whistle' language to whites. The fact is that Conservatives want to be non-racial and speak to other character traits instead of race. This appeals to people who are not concerned with racial identity as central to politics, which does in fact resonate with people who are nominally 'white'.


The second myth is that Conservatives are born and not made.
There is this idea that only if you are raised in a particular kind of Christianity, or live in the South or did not get some crucial education or some other demographic stereotype, that you are likely to be and stay Conservative. Liberals almost always ignore or discount those Americans who grew up liberal or progressive and then thought their way away from those ideologies. I don't know for certain, but I would guess that there are more Progressives who became Conservative than the other way around.


The third myth is that the American Right is just like the Right in other countries.
This is especially annoying when it comes to Germany. Liberals tend to blithely associate Conservatism with Fascism when it comes to the matter of Conservative support of military service and military engagement. Very few would stop to look at the founding principles of the Nazi Party and see why, in principle, it is a Socialist worker's party. Because of this, Liberals assume for example, that nobody who escaped Nazi Germany would become an American Conservative, but in fact there is an entire school of Conservative thought called the Straussian School.


The fourth myth is that Conservatism is monolithic.
Liberals mistake conservative political philosophies for a dictionary definition of 'conservative' like 'lack of nerve' or 'unwillingness to change'. Few people, including many if not most Republicans, bother to read books by conservative thinkers like Hayek, Oakshott, Strauss or Kirk. Just as few Liberals, including many if not most Democrats, bother to read books by Adorno, Marcuse or Rorty. I think in general this is because Liberals assume that Republicans are true exemplars of Conservative principles and that their policy positions are principled.


Doug Garnett
I'm a moderate to conservative Democrat... The misconception that bothers me is that liberals refuse to discuss the extraordinary downside of bureaucracy on issues they care about. (Of course, conservatives are the same way - ridiculing bureaucracy on one hand then demanding extraordinary waste in bureaucracy to make sure "no one ever defrauds welfare"...)
We must begin talking about this - on both sides. Because there are two absolute guarantees for bureaucracy (with only the rarest exceptions):
1. Bureaucracies only grow - they don't diminish.
2. Bureaucracies tend to see preventing risk as their primary guidance. But risk is sometimes/often necessary for success. So they often stand in the way of things we need to do as a country.


Bureaucracy IS necessary --- but must be controlled. But try to get my liberal friends to discuss, for example, EPA mission creep or how bureaucratic management of renewable energy programs may not deliver the good benefits we thought they would. (Like wind farms whose energy isn't actually used...but we paid a lot for them to exist.)
That said, try to get a conservative to understand the wasted bureaucratic millions for government paid drug testing that uncovers 3 or 4 cases of abuse
Both sides are really bad on this.


Gary Teal
What major misconceptions do liberals have about conservatives?
Liberals seem convinced that conservatives don't care about people in need, know very well that that they are working against the poor, and are happy that the poor are not being helped. To the contrary, we strongly believe that the best way to help the poor is to allow the free market to create business opportunities not only for jobs but for the poor themselves to become owners and employers.


We believe that even well-intentioned government programs often reduce the availability and value of jobs. This is not in any way a suggestion that there should not be a strong safety net for those who may never be able to care for themselves. But those who are poor and able to work need opportunities to work their way out of poverty, and government can't provide those opportunities (apart from directly employing the poor, which is a good thing and an excellent opportunity for many, as long as the jobs are necessary to the operations of the government and not created merely to employ people.)


Large government programs, by taking money out of the private economy, can actually prevent many of the poor from escaping poverty. Where that happens, the cost outweighs the gain. This idea that money is more useful in the hands of those who made it can be attacked as trickle down economics or rising tide, etc., but it's not an idea that is discredited or refuted, just one that is fairly criticized as not being a cure-all. In many cases, this discussion turns on the question of whether one believes it's okay for rich people to get richer, as long as middle class and poor people are also getting richer.

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Conservatives are asking now whether the liberal solution, the so-called War on Poverty, is effective at all. We care about the poor, but don't want to merely maintain them in poverty. We want to see prosperous families that have enough income to live comfortably, make discretionary purchases, and save money both for inevitable downturns and eventual retirement. It seems clear that programs that pay people to stay poor have backfired. Conservatives do not think (as liberals honestly seem to believe) that the poor are primarily lazy or unintelligent. On the contrary, the poor are quite aware of how government programs work, and they know that if they save enough money, the result will be that they will lose their benefits.


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