Thursday, April 30, 2009

Conservatives & Liberals

It seems that most who call themselves conservatives have been co-opted by rich white men who require pliable dupes to do their bidding. Conservative "ideologues" appeal to the basest, most simplistic, atavistic instincts of voters who are too uncertain in their knowledge or too lazy to pursue a thorough understanding of the issues that imperil them. These citizens rally behind demagogues who devolve every debate into the personal "us vs. them" dichotomy; demagogues who show no shame when they use half-truths and outright lies to demonize those who threaten their privileged status quo; demagogues whose mesmerized followers seem to crave the tribal oneness that such witch hunts provide.

Liberals recognize that "us vs. them" is not productive; that some of "us" are bad, and some of "them" are good; that most of society's problems are complex, and that to solve them society must take risks and accept failure as part of the problem solving process. The ultimate durability of society rests in the hands of the majority, and if that majority is well informed and gainfully employed, everyone benefits.

In every society, there are those who seek to exploit economic inequalities to their advantage, and in so doing perpetuate and amplify those inequalities. Economic predators extol the virtues of a free market while enjoying the benefits of market imbalances: oil companies who enjoy cheap oil leases and captive customers; media vendors who enjoy free broadcast spectrum; coal mine operators who enjoy lax environmental protection. Such citizens are not free-market capitalists. They are lazy, morally corrupt, cowardly parasites that we would do well to banish to the backwaters of civilization. Yet, Conservatives uniformly praise such “rugged individualists” as the most productive members of American society.

Liberals recognize that bureaucracy occasionally breeds corruption, that progressive taxes might stifle some investment, that unions marginally impede profits. But, such costs will be borne easily by a society where every honest, hard-working member can expect long-term, stable prosperity that will never be obliterated by venal demagogues who profit from illicit trade in fear mongering and pandering.

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