Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Nutroots Still Don't Get the Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives

Reading Palin Is For Patriarchy Not Against It. That Is The Beginning To Understanding Her Place In This Race by Anthony McCarthy at Echidne's site, I was faced, yet again, with evidence of how liberals completely misunderstand--deliberately or accidentally--what conservatism is all about.

This is probably due to their own viewpoint consisting of oppressors and oppressed, that everyone is a member of one or the other. The idea that people are not necessarily either cannot occur to them. And thus, the liberal emphasis on emotions such as empathy and generosity misses the greater point of conservatism: you can be extremely generous and empathetic and yet make matters worse for those you pity.

Yesterday, I was listening to a Saturday home improvement show on the radio when the group Texas Baptist Men was mentioned as helping to restore the Houston/Galveston areas. My husband had not heard of this group, but I pointed out to him that they did disaster relief work all over the country for victims of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires and so on. Usually, Texas Baptist Men only gets one sentence out of any story, so it is easy to miss. Yet, aren't groups such as this examples of compassion and empathy? Surely Anthony McCarthy would recognize this.

The main difference, of course, is that McCarthy and liberals in general think it is up to the government to show empathy and compassion...with someone else's resources. Conservatives think it is up to individuals to do the work of Christ through their own efforts. Does this mean that there are some who do nothing? Absolutely. But allowing people to be selfish is as necessary as making sure those wishing to do good have the opportunity.

McCarthy's point is that certain members of the oppressed class develop a sort of Stockholm Syndrome where they don't see themselves as oppressed by their capitalistic slave holders, and that the nasty conservatives use these hapless victims to further their evil plans. But the truth is far less exciting; women like Sarah Palin succeed on their own because they have the interest, optimism and confidence to work through difficulties to achieve their success. They do not sit around complaining about Teh Patriarchy keeping them down; they deal with the sexism thrown their way and confound all expectations.

This has been true of virtually every person--male or female, black, brown, or white--throughout American history who started humbly and succeeded. We do not live in a caste system, as anyone visiting Europe can still see the remnants of. Success can come to virtually anyone willing to work for it. You don't need pity for that.