Ok, I had several political things I was planning to post up prior to my aunt’s death, and Thanksgiving and it’s attendant madness..
I’ll get back to that, of course. But something has struck me, and my wife, about how Conservatives view speech. When a liberal says something, Conservatives interpret it in a way that is not only not intended, it’s just plain weird. So, I thought I’d write a bit of a primer. This is aimed at the average conservative. When you feel your knee jerk, refer to this article. First. Before you fire off that tweet that makes you look like you have an IQ south of Arctic temperatures. Cuz what Liberals and Progressives have to say is not what you’re perceiving. We aren’t the problem. Most of us understand two things that you don’t:
English, and politics.
So let’s get started.
X should be free for all citizens. Note that “X” can denote a number of things, such as health care, access to legal advice, etc..
This means it should be supported and paid for by taxes. You know, the way y’all view killing and subjugating brown people. We are not engaging in pie-in-the-sky fantasies, we are voicing our opinion about how our money should be spent by our representatives.
This is not a novel concept. It is, in fact, the argument that led to the American revolution. Ya know, where we threw off British rule at great cost in order to be taxed WITH representation?
Democracy. A political process where the Citizens either rule directly (such as the Swiss Confederacy) or choose their representatives who are (ideally) responsible to their needs and wants. Note that a republic is a FORM of government that is not by itself democratic or not. It is a contrast to a monarchy or dictatorship, but still may be democratic or authoritarian. The United states is a *gasp* Liberal Democratic Republic.
Liberal. For this one, I’m going to give the dictionary definition, because it is blunt.
- willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas.
2. relating to or denoting a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.
What it does not mean is Socialist (though a liberal can have socialist leanings, they are not mutually inclusive or exclusive. I’ll get to that), against business (see 2.) against your religion (see 1).
It does mean that we have a burning hatred of luddite, sexist, racist, anti-human bullshit. Thus, we find much of your very public philosophy (Silent majority my Cherokee ass!) to be repugnant. Humanity does not move forward by excluding most humans from the dialectic. That way lies madness, and when you parrot that nonsense, we, liberals and progressives alike, view you as mad. Not angry, though that’s obvious too, but mad. Crazy. Out of your fucking mind.
Democratic Socialism. This one is trickier, because it enmeshes a great many philosophical points. It’s easier, for purposes of this primer, to illustrate what it is not. It is not an authoritarian system with a command economy. Rather, it seeks to take the parts of actual capitalism (not the Corporate Socialism that we laughingly or angrily call Capitalism with a big C) and the ideas of fairness, democracy, and decency and provide a system that actually works for the betterment of the Citizens generally. Not just the elite few who have figured out how to legally game the system and make billions.
When an American Democratic Socialist (or Progressive, if you will) is speaking of these things, we are mostly looking at the very successful examples like Norway and Sweden, which have a high standard of living and an extremely high level of individual happiness, and, yes, personal rights. We aren’t talking about abject failures and authoritarian regimes like Venezuela, or less abject but still failed states like the USSR. We are talking, instead, of allowing free enterprise, but acknowledging the incontrovertible fact that those at the top cannot succeed without the labor of those who are not. Further, we are saying out loud that those below the top HAVE EARNED a share in the wealth.
I could go on and on illustrating the differences in what we say and what you hear, but this is a basic primer. If you get those few things to filter through your indoctrination, you’ll have a lot easier time engaging with us. If, on the other hand, you continue to just regurgitate what your morally bankrupt and fiscally rich O̶w̶n̶e̶r̶s leaders tell you to think, well…
Let’s just say that the derisive responses you get are earned.
We often try to see your side of things. It’s why we tend to be politically to the middle in our choices of representatives. I, personally, do not think that the far right deserves this, but hey, unlike you people, Liberals and Progressives do not march in lock step. Mostly, we come to our positions by reason, discussion, logic, and yes, argument. Mostly, what we do that sets us apart from conservative mainstream polity, is we THINK. You should try it. It will do wonderful things for you, as an individual. It also, likely, will seriously damage your faith in the conservative cause.