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Ever wonder why conservatives and progressives can’t seem to get along? I think I have a clue. We see evil in different things.
When I was in college, I was a good little liberal. I marched in feminist rallies, I signed petitions, I feared nuclear warfare. I was all for world peace and universal harmony and couldn’t understand why everyone else didn’t yearn for the same. And I felt disdain for the close-mindedness of those poor ignorant conservative sods who Just Didn’t Get It.
I was a pacifist and felt sincere bewilderment at the emphasis on America’s military strength. This was during the days of Reagan (for whom I felt the obligatory liberal hatred) – I wondered why people hadn’t been clear-headed enough to elect a solidly progressive president.
Ah, to be so young and ignorant …
Age and life experience has a funny way of changing one’s perspective. So does parenthood and the responsibilities of training up one’s children to be decent people and contributing members of society. All this combined to gradually change my perspective from raging liberal to thoughtful conservative. Now I wonder how the progressives can be so close-minded that they Just Don’t Get It.
Recently, I came across a quote that was so powerful it stopped me dead in my tracks:
“It is tempting to deny the existence of evil since denying it removes the need to fight it” (Alexis Carrel).
Aha. Perhaps this helps explain the widening chasm between the perspective of the conservatives and the progressives. No, I’m not saying progressives deny the existence of evil. As I see it, progressives identify the wrong things as evil, then proceed to fight those things tooth and nail.
I’ll take this moment to point out that this dichotomy between progressives and conservatives transcends the minuscule differences between Democrats and Republicans. While in theory Republican politicians are (cough) conservative, all too often they’re just a slower version of the more blatant liberal progressives.
Progressives apparently do not believe our founding documents have relevance in our modern society. In fact, it seems progressives believe those documents are evil – otherwise, why would they fight like mad to change or (worse) ignore them? Why else would they seize the opportunity to translate their particular beliefs into federal law explicitly against constitutional restraints? Why else do they seem to rejoice in the massive and intrusive expansion of government rather than the small and streamlined government put in place by the Founding Fathers?
When you get such things as a ban on incandescent light bulbs, forced socialized medicine, cap-and-trade and even such absurdities as federal regulations about what schools can serve in their cafeterias … well, I’m sorry, but it’s clear progressives have no faith in peoples’ ability to govern themselves. We are all little children and must be told what to do.
Given the nature of the quote (“It is tempting to deny the existence of evil since denying it removes the need to fight it”), it seems progressives see individual freedom and liberty as evil (or at least misguided). Otherwise, why would they work to deny personal liberties and implement the power of collectivism and the State, as with Obamacare? Otherwise, why would they applaud the redistribution of our wealth through the largest tax hike in the history of this nation?
Conservatives see this constant encroachment of federal micromanagement as evil and contrary to the economic health of this country. That’s why we fight it.
But progressives embrace it. They prefer to fight us, for fighting it. See how it works?
We think we’re right and they’re wrong. They think they’re right and we’re wrong. And never the twain shall meet.
But like all differences of opinion, there is a simple and time-tested method of determining in a debate which side is more correct. You know this method. Your children know it. It is so simple that every creature on God’s green earth knows it.
The simplest method of determining who’s right and who’s wrong is called “risk-reward,” or, as we were all taught as children, “the burned hand teaches best.”
At NO point in human history has growth in the power of government over the governed ever resulted in freedoms and liberty. Never. It always results in tyranny and oppression.
Our founders knew this. Their hands had been burned by a massive and intrusive government, and it taught them well. That’s why they built a system of severe restraint and limited power. Unrestrained government can and always does become the “fearful master” of which Washington spoke, when it expands to replace the rights of man with the “privileges” of government.
And so conservatives fight. We fight our government, trying to force this evil genie back into the small lamp from which it escaped thanks to the misguided, gleefully rubbing hands of progressives. The progressives believe conservatives are evil to fight this genie, and therein lie all our conflicts.
To paraphrase Solomon, there is nothing new under the sun, and the course on which our country is heading is no exception. We have only to look back through history to see the same thing happening again and again. The kind of “change” for which progressives long has been tried many times before, and always with disastrous results.
So, wearily, conservatives must continue to fight the evil we see, which is the ballooning size and power of an increasingly despotic government. To add insult to injury, conservatives must also continue to fight the tools of that government – the mainstream media, the useful idiots (progressives) who applaud that government, and the megalithic industries (financial institutions and multinational corporations) that can only maintain their monopolies by partnering with those who have guns and the willingness to use them (the government).
Conservatives cannot deny the existence of this evil. Therefore we cannot deny the need to fight it. Fighting is hard work, and I work hard enough as it is – but it’s better than standing dumbly to one side and allowing history to repeat itself because I was too apathetic to fight evil when I saw it.