As I write and blog about important political and social issues, I suppose that it’s a matter of general principle that people will invariably rant and rage against whatever conclusions I arrive at (and yes, I know that sentence ends with a preposition). Despite the fact that my observations are based on—arguably so by some of you—what I consider reason (sans the passions, emotions, and political ideological dogma), there are those who still insist on making judgments based on their efforts to try to fit their perceptions of reality into rubrics which adhere to conservative ideology rather than what reality says about itself. Granted I have been accused by both liberals of not understanding the nature of a particular issue, and by conservatives of being a liberal in sheep’s clothing, I find conservative individuals’ lack of tolerance for any assessment of a particular social, economic, or political issue which isn’t routinely espoused by right-of-center ideologues to be particularly disturbing. While liberals can be as every bit as acerbic as conservatives when it comes to defending their beliefs, conservatives tend to resort more to vitriol and ad hominem attacks on given issues.
I cite as an example an instance where on another well-known site’s political section, one conservative commentator attacked my blog as “more liberal crap” simply because he took note of the last posting, which supports the idea of universally affordable health care/access in America. Obviously without even reading the article, the poster predictably went into reactionary mode and attacked the idea of universally affordable health care by stating his own esoteric “understanding” of how market realities in America should be (because of the conservative assertion that the idea of universal access to health care is a “socialist” concept, and an anathema the notion that Free Market-driven competition between providers is more than enough to provide universal access). My own support for this idea is not only borne out of personal experience, but the factual reality that the numbers simply support that the economic strain of the current system, which shortfalls some 30-50 million Americans without affordable health insurance, is not sustainable for the nation economically.
If the commenter had been more in control of their faculties, they would have been able to withhold such stinging criticisms of my post/blog until they had actually taken the time to read…and respond with informed persuasion rather than inflamed passions. If they had been more in control, they would have taken note that, for equally pragmatic reasons, I have assailed the policies of abortion (along with the capital punishment—murder is simply wrong), gun control (people have an inherent right to defend themselves and others—and no, that doesn’t include lunatics killing to “protect the rights of the unborn”), government interference in a parent’s right to use corporal punishment on unruly children, and unnecessary government spending (which I will address more in an upcoming posting). As an African-American, I find this notion of having one “liberal” idea making one a “Liberal” to be analogous to the traditional (and somewhat outdated racist) belief that having one drop of black blood makes one black; one idea does not what a Liberal (or Conservative) make. Both notions reflect a lack of tolerance for one doesn’t agree with.
I’m sure that blind adherents (as opposed to those who are open but adherent) to conservative beliefs will respond to this by claiming that “liberal ideas simply don’t work.” The truth of the matter is that both liberal and conservative policies and ideas have a mixed track record for being effective in remedying the nation’s social and economic ills. Fiscal restraint and controlled budget spending has been proven effective when it comes to economic policies; trickledown economics has not so. Cutting taxes (along with a commensurate level of spending cuts) is good for individuals and families and has tangible benefits; cutting taxes for those who already have the ability to shelter their abundant assets from taxes in order to spur the economy is only beneficial from an ideologically abstract perspective. And one can only imagine how much individual economic chaos was averted by opposition to former president George W. Bush's proposal privatize the Social Security and tie it to stock market.
What most conservatives don't see is that rabidly attacking someone who's ideological beliefs are to the left of Pat Buchanan doesn't help their own cause; they seem as every bit as "elitist" as they claim leftist ideologues are. And just as there is a tolerance for varying degrees of conservatism among conservatives themselves, the same level of tolerance should be extended to those outside and beyond that particular ideological block. Blinding one's self to another ideological perspective based simply on the fact that it goes against one's core beliefs is not an example of how beliefs and ideas are exchanged. Its how possible policy remedies are avoided on the strength of opposing stubbornness. Having an allegiance ideology rather than reality itself reveals more about an individual and their political affiliations than how "enlightened" they would like to think others to think they are.