The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Great Debates

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-22-2004, 12:36 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 9,561
Do Republicans have a ignorant, narrowminded, self serving view of the world?

I've come to the conclusion that the 50% of the country that will vote for Bush live an isolated exsistance in which they only care about preserving their way of life.
Why?
I grew up in the midwest with a Republican father who has lived his whole life within 25 miles of where he was born. My two older sisters and younger brother (all voting for Bush) live in that same city and have never moved more than 25 miles from home. Their travels consist of LasVegas, Orlando, and traveling up north to a cabin. All their friends and coworkers are white and christian in one way or another. This is how they have all lived.
I differed from them and broke the mold. In college two of my best friends were from India and Mexico. My two co-worker friends through college were from Pakistan and Cuba. I moved out of state when I was 20 and have lived in Atlanta, Orlando, Baltimore, and Minneapolis. My first roomate of one year was gay. I've met a lot of friends and known a lot of people. I have acquaitnaces that were on welfare, have been in jail, had drug problems, were unemployed, have had to make the difficult decision to have an abortion. I was the first in my family to travel to Europe. One of my friends I made this trip with was Jewish. I now live in a neighborhood of middle class white, black, and asian families.
Since moving away from home 15 years ago I have learned a lot and met a lot of people and have come to discover that I
-Value diversity
-Realise that there are lots of people in the world with different values and different needs.
-Know that people need to cooperate and be tolerant and compromise to satisfy everyone.
My family members on the other hand associate with only people like them. Their neighborhoods are white. They don't know any gay people except what they've seen on tv. Everyone they know is middle class. They don't know anybody that has been on welfare, been in jail, had an abortion, etc. Because of this they believe
-people in bad situations put themselves in those situtations (welfare,drugs)
-gay people chose to be gay or something is wrong with them
-their way of life is ideal, their values and morals are the right ones to have, and their way of life needs to be protected at all costs

Does this seem right? Do those in favor of Bush have a narrow-minded view of the world because all they know is their way of life? Are they victims of isolation?
Are they ignorant of "real" problems because they haven't seen the world and personally know people with these "real" problems?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 10-22-2004, 12:43 PM
John Corrado John Corrado is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Posts: 3,684
No more so than you being ignorant of "real" Republicans because you assume they're all like the ones in your family.

I appreciate and desire diversity. I feel that homosexuality is in-borne, not a choice. I believe that many people end up in bad situations because they are born into them, not because of personal flaws.

But I'm a Republican.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-22-2004, 12:44 PM
Evil One Evil One is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
You are overgeneralizing.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-22-2004, 12:47 PM
davenportavenger davenportavenger is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
At the risk of sounding narrow-minded myself, I would have to say: yes. At least as far as "social" conservatives are concerned. I've met some worldly libertarians. But as far as I can see social conservatism is mostly just Xtian/white/straight people attempting to preserve their way of life in the face of -- gasp! -- other viewpoints and ways of life. There's a reason it's called "conservatism," after all.

con·ser·va·tive adj.
1. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.

They're just scared, is all.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-22-2004, 12:48 PM
Evil One Evil One is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
To take another bite at the apple...

One of the differences that I see between the two parties is that Republicans in general favor pragmatism over idealism and that the reverse is true with Democrats. Also, the futher to either fringe you get, the further away from reality.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-22-2004, 12:54 PM
kayT kayT is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Austin
Posts: 2,802
I am a liberal-minded person with a long history of social activism but I intend to vote for Bush. I'm not Christian. I'm not in favor of outlawing abortion. I'm not pro-death penalty. I am however opposed to tax-and-spend. I am opposed to changing leadership in the middle of a war too, tho that's off the subject. But, I am voting republican without fitting your description, which makes me think your description is as was stated a bit of an oversimplification.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-22-2004, 12:55 PM
erislover erislover is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
I think ignorance in some form is ubiquitous, so let's disregard that.

Some issues do seem to have a priority over others. That can't be helped. But it is hard to see how a well-adjusted open-minded person would seek to amend the Constitution in order to marginalize a minority. Similarly, I find it hard to believe that a tax cut is so important that one can overlook the huge deficit that has no signs of letting up. But these are the choices we hear people making, these are the priorities that have been set. It is a compromise to be willing to live with war on false pretenses in order for the chance of overturning Roe v. Wade or blocking new lines of stem cells to open up, and it is apparently a compromise some feel is necessary.

I do question those priorities, but I don't think they are generally narrowminded.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-22-2004, 12:56 PM
Uncommon Sense Uncommon Sense is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Actually, Repblicans favor individualism. But that comes with a price. You fall on your own sword, or you succeed via your own willpower. The government should play a smaller role in the success of each individual and a greater role in the success of the whole. Give everyone a fair playing field and let them run.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:00 PM
Malodorous Malodorous is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
I agree that the OP is making a huge overgeneralization, a thousand counterexamples to his/her thesis spring to mind immedietly. It is possible though, that there is some statistical corralation between say, lack of travel and political party (or more likely, I think, vice versa). Somewhere there must be a poll that links political party affiliation to different lifestyles, but my google skills were unable to uncover it.

There have been a few polls recently that show how little party members understand their presidential candidates position, they just assume that their guy agrees with them. It would be interesting to see if we could find something that is a stronger predictor of political party then agreement with the parties platform.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:05 PM
erislover erislover is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayT
I'm not in favor of outlawing abortion. I'm not pro-death penalty. I am however opposed to tax-and-spend.
Which is better:
1) Tax and spend; or,
2) untax and spend?

Why? Why is taxation a bigger issue for you than, for example, removing the protection from a woman's right to chose? It is nice that you think you've shown the OP up with your post. I don't believe so. You've made your choice and set your priorities. What motivated that?
Quote:
I am opposed to changing leadership in the middle of a war too, tho that's off the subject.
Actually, I don't think it is. Are you more opposed to that than to holding a politician responsible for their actions (i.e., presenting a justification which undeniably was ill-founded)? To me, that's the choice you've made. Given what you said, I hear, "Sticking with my horse in this race is more important than using my vote for holding politicians accountable for their actions."
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:13 PM
John Corrado John Corrado is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Posts: 3,684
Quote:
Originally Posted by erislover
To me, that's the choice you've made. Given what you said, I hear, "Sticking with my horse in this race is more important than using my vote for holding politicians accountable for their actions."
Hm. For me, it's "Holding Bush accountable for his actions would mean passing the government to someone I in no way trust to run the War on Terror or the war in Iraq."
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:25 PM
erislover erislover is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
John, could you briefly outline which priorities you see Bush as having in the WoT or in Iraq that are better than the alternative? That is, can you phrase your objection in a way that clearly explains your priorities in the matter? (I'm really not trying to turn this into another Bush/Kerry thread, just hoping to elucidate the choices we're making and why).

One thing I think is safe to assume is that you hold "competence" as a higher priority than "accountability". I don't intend to argue that, it is your opinion, but I would like to get the matter spoken a little more practically in terms of personal choices and priorities.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:27 PM
Knorf Knorf is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 6,925
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncommon Sense
Actually, Repblicans favor individualism. But that comes with a price. You fall on your own sword, or you succeed via your own willpower. The government should play a smaller role in the success of each individual and a greater role in the success of the whole. Give everyone a fair playing field and let them run.
Your argument wouold be fine if these conservatives were the least bit honest about what that last sentence really means.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:28 PM
Knorf Knorf is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 6,925
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Corrado
Hm. For me, it's "Holding Bush accountable for his actions would mean passing the government to someone I in no way trust to run the War on Terror or the war in Iraq."
The assumption that Kerry would do poorly at either is one that deserves rexamination.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:28 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 9,561
Okay, I agree my OP was hugely overgeneralized, it's probably not that cut and dry.
However, I'm trying to understand where and why my affiliation changed from theirs. Before I left home I also was a young republican, maybe overinfluenced by my father (no, I'm not rebeling against my dad, we have a great relationship), but somewhere my values changed drastically from theirs.
I've always felt my eyes were opened after seeing and talking and making friends with people in various crisis situtaions (drug addiction to telling their parents they were gay), with people of varying religions (babtists to atheists), with people of varying wealth (friends in Daytona on welfare to my friend in MN who is VP of a fortune 500 company).
Maybe my political affiliation is wrong, who know's, I just feel more empowered to have open-minded views when discussing issues with them.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:32 PM
Gaudere Gaudere is offline
Moderator
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 6,111
[Moderator Hat ON]

I was going to boot this to the Pit, but everyone's discussing it calmly. I guess I'll let it stay.

[Moderator Hat OFF]
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:33 PM
Malodorous Malodorous is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
We will get nowhere examining individual repubs or dems except into another Bush v Kerry debate. The OP seems to be asking how certain lifestyles effect party affiliation. We need statistical data.

I was unable to find to much, but [URL=http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2000/results/index.epolls.htmlhere[/URL] is a breakdown of exit polling in 2000.

Interestinly, non-college grads vote overwelmingly for Gore, so going to college, anyways, seems to make you more, not less likely to be a repub.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:37 PM
Malodorous Malodorous is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Coding fix:

We will get nowhere examining individual repubs or dems except into another Bush v Kerry debate. The OP seems to be asking how certain lifestyles effect party affiliation. We need statistical data.

I was unable to find to much, but here is a breakdown of exit polling in 2000.

Interestinly, non-college grads vote overwelmingly for Gore, so going to college, anyways, seems to make you more, not less likely to be a repub.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:37 PM
Mr. Moto Mr. Moto is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 12,509
Hampshire, you're making a classic mistake.

I'm sure you're open minded and tolerant. But you extrapolate from that, and immediately assume that the folks on the opposite side of the aisle must necessarily be closed minded and intolerant.

That just isn't so. Sorry.

The fact is, in a country with only two large parties, you'll find people of all kinds on both sides of the aisle.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:40 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 847 mi. from Cecil
Posts: 29,065
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayT
I am a liberal-minded person with a long history of social activism but I intend to vote for Bush. I'm not Christian. I'm not in favor of outlawing abortion. I'm not pro-death penalty. I am however opposed to tax-and-spend.
See, this is the position I simply don't understand. Why is pay-as-you-go (tax & spend) worse than the Bush policy of borrow & spend with no regard to enormous deficits? Prudent deficits are one thing, but Bush has proven himself to be an incorrigible spendthrift; he quite literally has never seen a spending bill he didn't like. But instead of raising taxes to pay for his fiscal profligacy, he simply raises the spending limit and puts it all on federal plastic, out of sight, out of mind. How is this more fiscally responsible?
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 10-22-2004, 01:46 PM
Renob Renob is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire
They don't know anybody that has been on welfare, been in jail, had an abortion, etc.
I grew up in a poor rural area that had many people who were on welfare, who were sent to jail (including a lot of my friends from high school and one family member), and who had abortions. I moved to an urban area that has the same. I would say that being around people who do these things only reinforced my view that a lot of people who are on welfare could and should have a job, the people sent to jail deserve to go to jail, and abortion, while it should remain legal, should not be used as a form of simple birth control.

So if your hypothosis is that once people are exposed to these elements they will somehow turn liberal, then I think that's wrong. In fact, I know a lot of people who have their conservatism reinforced once they are exposed to these elements.

The experience of a couple friends illustrates this -- we grew up in a rural area with few minorities. He had no hint of racism when he lived there. He moved to a largely black area in San Francisco after graduation and when I saw him next he was quite racist. Another friend I grew up with was always a bleeding heart liberal. She, too, moved to San Francisco and when I talk to her now she's quite intolerant of the homeless. She was never that way when we were growing up. So in those two cases, being exposed to new things actually turned my friends more reactionary.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 10-22-2004, 02:03 PM
t-keela t-keela is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire
I've come to the conclusion that the 50% of the country that will vote for Bush live an isolated exsistance in which they only care about preserving their way of life.
I think you've got a problem with this statement.
Quote:
Why?
I grew up in the midwest with a Republican father who has lived his whole life within 25 miles of where he was born. My two older sisters and younger brother (all voting for Bush) live in that same city and have never moved more than 25 miles from home. Their travels consist of LasVegas, Orlando, and traveling up north to a cabin. All their friends and coworkers are white and christian in one way or another. This is how they have all lived.
But that doesn't accurately describe ALL Republicans.
Quote:
I differed from them and broke the mold. In college two of my best friends were from India and Mexico. My two co-worker friends through college were from Pakistan and Cuba. I moved out of state when I was 20 and have lived in Atlanta, Orlando, Baltimore, and Minneapolis. My first roomate of one year was gay. I've met a lot of friends and known a lot of people. I have acquaitnaces that were on welfare, have been in jail, had drug problems, were unemployed, have had to make the difficult decision to have an abortion. I was the first in my family to travel to Europe. One of my friends I made this trip with was Jewish. I now live in a neighborhood of middle class white, black, and asian families.
Believe it or not, some Republicans have done this too.
Quote:
Since moving away from home 15 years ago I have learned a lot and met a lot of people and have come to discover that I
-Value diversity
-Realise that there are lots of people in the world with different values and different needs.
-Know that people need to cooperate and be tolerant and compromise to satisfy everyone.
Good for you, you've grown.
Quote:
My family members on the other hand associate with only people like them. Their neighborhoods are white. They don't know any gay people except what they've seen on tv. Everyone they know is middle class. They don't know anybody that has been on welfare, been in jail, had an abortion, etc. Because of this they believe
-people in bad situations put themselves in those situtations (welfare,drugs)
-gay people chose to be gay or something is wrong with them
-their way of life is ideal, their values and morals are the right ones to have, and their way of life needs to be protected at all costs
It sounds like they are the ignorant ones in this OP.
Quote:
Does this seem right?
Not at all.
Quote:
Do those in favor of Bush have a narrow-minded view of the world because all they know is their way of life? Are they victims of isolation?
Are they ignorant of "real" problems because they haven't seen the world and personally know people with these "real" problems?
Some are, some not.
I hate to tell you this but I know a lot of Democrats that are just as ignorant, if not more so.

All that being said. I understand where you are coming from and given the situation you describe I'd say YES (they) are ignorant and self serving. The problem is that there are lots of theys in this world. Hopefully WE aren't some of them. Keep up the fight Hampshire.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 10-22-2004, 03:09 PM
John Corrado John Corrado is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Posts: 3,684
Quote:
Originally Posted by erislover
John, could you briefly outline which priorities you see Bush as having in the WoT or in Iraq that are better than the alternative? That is, can you phrase your objection in a way that clearly explains your priorities in the matter? (I'm really not trying to turn this into another Bush/Kerry thread, just hoping to elucidate the choices we're making and why).
No problem.

I am a neo-conservative. I believe that the only war to truly win the War on Terror is to rebuild the Middle East- placing democracies and effective capitalist systems in place of the demagougic kleptocracies that exist. Once people in the Middle East start having better lives in general, there will be far less interest in blowing oneself up for Allah and greater glory. Likewise, once the states are free and stable, they will not need to demagouge against the Great Zionist Conspiracy to stay in power.

Likewise, I believe that we only encourage the terrorists to strike against us when we show ourselves unwilling to commit to the use of force to gain our goals.


Unfortunately, restructuring the Middle East will be a complete mess because we cannot afford to interrupt the supplies of oil coming out of it. Saudi Arabia, therefore, must be tolerated temporarily. Iraq, conversely, had been removed from the main of U.S. oil imports, and could be a starting ground. By bringing freedom and democracy there, we can plant flowers that will hopefully spread throughout the entirety of the Middle East; or, at least, by creating a free democracy there which will supply us with oil, we can then start working on the *real* problem state of Saudi Arabia because they will have less leverage against us.

Do I think Bush mismanaged the Iraq War, putting his faith in rosy scenarios and not preparing at all for the worst case? Absolutely and completely. Am I disappointed in Bush for his incompetence? Totally. Do I think that John Kerry would make things better? Absolutely not. I believe that the War in Iraq was fought for fundamentally correct reasons, even if they weren't what the Bush administration advertised; I think that pulling out and declaring the matter "wrong" is incorrect, and that is what Kerry is advertising himself as believing. I feel that the Bush Administration did the right thing in going ahead even if many of our allies felt differently; I do not trust Kerry to be willing to use force when necessary if it means defying 'world opinon', and I think showing an unwillingness to use force is only going to embolden our enemies.



Quote:
One thing I think is safe to assume is that you hold "competence" as a higher priority than "accountability". I don't intend to argue that, it is your opinion, but I would like to get the matter spoken a little more practically in terms of personal choices and priorities.
Well, it's more a matter of direction. As Thomas Edison said of Woodrow Wilson, "They say the man has blundered. Perhaps he has, but I notice he usually blunders in the right direction." I'd rather have an incompetent in office who moves the country in the direction I prefer than a competent who moves the country away from that direction. I'd prefer most of all a competent who moves the country in the direction I want, but Powell and McCain aren't running this year, so I have to do with what's been served to me.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 10-22-2004, 03:16 PM
jsgoddess jsgoddess is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
I was brought up in a conservative, wealthy, family. Buzzwords in my family had to do with irresponsibility, laziness, greed, and dishonesty. "The X system would be fine, but too many people take advantage of it." "So many of the people on X simply don't want to work." "If we give people money for X, they'll just waste it." "If we give people money for X, more people will claim X." "People need to be responsible for their own X."

These are all things that I have believed. Actually, these are things that I still do believe, to some extent, but that I've decided don't really matter to me.

Like I said, my family was wealthy and conservative. When I was very young, we were incredibly poor, but things changed when I was nine or ten. My parents learned that it was possible to go from being incredibly poor to being worth millions. They taught their children the same thing. They extrapolated from their own lives to the lives of others. If they could do it, others could do it.

My parents had six children. All six of us are financially fine, some more than fine. So, see? We can do it! Except we tend to discount the reason for our successes--tend to downplay the lack of risk.

So, that was my life. What happened to change my mind? I married someone in poor health. Suddenly, I was thrust into the world of healthcare, disability, social security, credit, collections, refinancing, loans, late payments, bureaucracy, paperwork, emergency rooms, hospitalization, insurance coverage that disappears and reappears, snooty billing departments, worry, despair, and anger.

I, with my education, with my brain, with the financial support of my parents if I needed it, with the love and affection of my dear husband, still couldn't wade through it all. I still got stumped, and baffled. I still couldn't always afford everything. I still couldn't get party A to speak to party B.

My parents set me up with everything. I had every advantage. What happens to those who haven't had my privileges? How much humiliation was I feeling when I faced someone in a hospital's billing department who assumed I couldn't pay? How much greater would it be if it were happening every day? How angry was I becoming? How much angrier would I be if it were my whole life? How frustrated was I? How much more frustrating would it be if I had no security blanket of my parents' love and money? How often were we stuck going to the ER with things that were a little too urgent to wait but a little too minor for the emergency room? How many more times would it have been if we had no regular doctor because we couldn't afford one, and ended up at the ER for a sinus infection? How many more hours of waiting in waiting rooms with Nick at Nite playing endless episodes of The Cosby Show and The Facts of Life? How many more questionnaires? How much more pity? How much more contempt? How much more being shunted to the side with an unimportant question or ailment?

And this was just healthcare. It wasn't a house or a car or food or heat or clothes.

So, at least in my case, I went from ignorance to understanding. I went from "anyone can do everything" to "no one can do some things alone."
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 10-22-2004, 03:27 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
The truth of it might be just the opposite, Hampshire.

The best and most comprehensive account I've yet read of the rise of conservatism in America is The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge (New York: The Penguin Press, 2004). The authors are British, and have the advantage of looking at the whole thing with an outsider's detachment. Their thesis is that the late conservative ascendancy results partly from America's uniquely conservative political culture, and partly from a process of conservative organizing, and alliances and synergies between different conservative factions (economic libertarians, traditionalists, religious conservatives, big-business interests, and foreign-policy neoconservatives), which has been going on steadily since Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign.

Yet, the authors are at pains to point out, modern American "conservatism" means something rather different than what earlier generations understood the word to mean. From their introduction:

Quote:
The exceptionalism of the American Right is partly a matter of its beliefs. The first two definitions of "conservative" offered by the Concise Oxford Dictionary are "adverse to rapid change" and "moderate, avoiding extremes." Neither of these seems a particularly good description of what is going on in America at the moment. "Conservatism" -- no less than its foes "liberalism" or "communitarianism" -- has become one of those words that are now as imprecise as they are emotionally charged. Open a newspaper and you can find the word used to describe Jacques Chirac, Trent Lott, the Mullah Omar and Vladimir Putin. Since time immemorial, conservatives have insisted that their deeply pragmatic creed cannot be ideologically pigeonholed.

But, in philosophical terms at least, classical conservatism does mean something. The creed of Edmund Burke, its most eloquent proponent, might be crudely reduced to six principles: a deep suspicion of the power of the state; a preference for liberty over equality; patriotism; a belief in established institutions and hierarchies; skepticism about the idea of progress; and elitism. Winston Churchill happily accepted these principles: he was devoted to nation and empire, disinclined to trust the lower orders with anything, hostile to the welfare state, worried about the diminution of liberty and, as he once remarked ruefully, "preferred the past to the present and the present to the future."

To simplify a little, the exceptionalism of modern American conservatism lies in its exaggeration of the first three of Burke's principles and contradiction of the last three. The American Right exhibits a far deeper hostility towards the state than any other modern conservative party. . . . The American right is also more obsessed with personal liberty than any other conservative party, and prepared to tolerate an infinitely higher level of inequality. (One reason why Burke warmed to the American revolutionaries was that, unlike their dangerous French equivalents, the gentlemen rebels concentrated on freedom, not equality.) On patriotism, nobody can deny that conservatives everywhere tend to be a fairly nationalistic bunch. . . . Yet many European conservatives have accepted the idea that their nationality should be diluted in "schemes and speculations" like the European Union, and they are increasingly reconciled to dealing with national security on a multilateral basis. American conservatives clearly are not.

If the American Right was merely a more vigorous form of conservatism, then it would be a lot more predictable. In fact, the American Right takes a resolutely liberal approach to Burke's last three principles: hierarchy, pessimism and elitism. The heroes of modern American conservatism are not paternalist squires but rugged individualists who don't know their place: entrepeneurs who build mighty businesses out of nothing, settlers who move out West, and, of course, the cowboy. There is a frontier spirit to the Right -- unsurprisingly, since so much of its heartland is made up of new towns of one sort of another.

The geography of conservatism also helps to explain its optimism rather than pessimism. In the war between the Dynamo and the Virgin, as Henry Adams characterized the battle between progress and tradition, most American conservatives are on the side of the Dynamo. They think that the world offers all sorts of wonderful possibilities. And they feel that the only thing that is preventing people from attaining these possibilities is the dead liberal hand of the past. By contrast, Burke has been described flatteringly by European conservatives as a "prophet of the past." Spend any time with a group of Republicans, and their enthusiasm for the future can be positively exhausting.

As for elitism, rather than dreaming about creating an educated "clerisy" of clever rulers (as Coleridge and T.S. Eliot did), the Republicans ever since the 1960s have played the populist card. Richard Nixon saw himself as the champion of the "silent majority." In 1988 the aristocratic George H.W. Bush presented himself as a defender of all-American values against the Harvard Yard liberalism of Michael Dukakis. In 2000, George W. Bush, a president's son who was educated at Andover, Yale and Harvard Business School, played up his role as a down-to-earth Texan taking on the might of Washington. As a result, modern American conservatism has flourished not just in country clubs and boardrooms, but at the grass roots -- on talk radio and at precinct meetings, and in revolts against high taxes, the regulation of firearms and other invidious attempts by liberal do-gooders to force honest Americans into some predetermined mold.
By this analysis modern American conservatism is, perhaps, narrow-minded and selfish -- but also forward-looking rather than nostalgic. Newt Gingrich, not William F. Buckley.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 10-22-2004, 03:39 PM
rjung rjung is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Short answer: The modern platform and philosophy of the Republican Party can be boiled down to, "I've got mine, so screw you, and everyone should agree to my way of doing things."

All this talk about "more pragmatic" or "personal responsibility" are all buzzwords to cloud the real heart of the Republican ideology, which is to whittle government down to a point where it doesn't interfer with their personal hoarding (or, as Grover Norquist put it, "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."). Conservatives who harp on about making people personally accountable have no problems with giving massive tax breaks to their corporate interests, or giving farm subsidies to their constituents. And the whole debacle in Iraq puts a stake in the whole "we're pragmatic realists" lie.

Now, to be fair, liberals aren't perfect either, and it doesn't take much effort to imagine a scenario where idealistic dreams of boundless optimism and social aid balloons into a a bloated mess. But (a) we're nowhere near that point in the United States right now, and (b) I'd rather err on the side of caution than the side of callousness.

And remember, Jesus was a liberal.
__________________
--R.J.
Electric Escape -- Information superhighway rest area #10,186
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 10-22-2004, 03:57 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
That has been my view. To be fair there are offensive generalizations that can be made about liberals too (they are emotionally knee jerk, they are inexperienced in life like college kids, etc).

But in my experience the vast majority of hardline republicans had some kind of financial safety net that the majority of the public do not have. They had either wealthy parents, a wealthy spouse or wealthy businessmen who made them their proteges. I'm sure there are exceptions but of the handful of extreme republicans I know they are all protected from the truly viscious (financial) aspects of life in some way.

As for cultural isolation, I have seen that too but in my view its the financial safety net that seperates them from most people.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 10-22-2004, 04:05 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malodorous
Coding fix:

We will get nowhere examining individual repubs or dems except into another Bush v Kerry debate. The OP seems to be asking how certain lifestyles effect party affiliation. We need statistical data.

I was unable to find to much, but here is a breakdown of exit polling in 2000.

Interestinly, non-college grads vote overwelmingly for Gore, so going to college, anyways, seems to make you more, not less likely to be a repub.
Yes and no. People with no high school vote Gore. People with Some college and who are college graduates vote Bush. After a person gets a Post-Graduate Degree (which may mean graduate degree, I guess) they are more likely to vote for Gore again. So its a mix of the uneducated and the highly educated who vote for Gore. The median educated vote Bush. But evenso the percentages are only different in minor ways.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 10-22-2004, 04:15 PM
Renob Renob is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
All this argument comes down to, really, is liberals saying, "if you don't agree with me, it must be because you're ignorant." That, I think, is one of the most ignorant propositions there is.

To be fair, of course, I've heard many conservatives and libertarians say the same thing.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 10-22-2004, 04:28 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark
But in my experience the vast majority of hardline republicans had some kind of financial safety net that the majority of the public do not have. They had either wealthy parents, a wealthy spouse or wealthy businessmen who made them their proteges. I'm sure there are exceptions but of the handful of extreme republicans I know they are all protected from the truly viscious (financial) aspects of life in some way.

Yeah, not like those Kennedys. Or John Kerry and his wife.


Maybe a better way of characterizing the parties would be:
Republicans are selfish imbeciles. Democrats TREAT everyone like selfish imbeciles.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 10-22-2004, 04:34 PM
John Corrado John Corrado is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Posts: 3,684
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjung
Now, to be fair, liberals aren't perfect either, and it doesn't take much effort to imagine a scenario where idealistic dreams of boundless optimism and social aid balloons into a a bloated mess. But (a) we're nowhere near that point in the United States right now, and (b) I'd rather err on the side of caution than the side of callousness.

But I feel I'm erring on the side of caution as well.

Government programs are absolutely easier to implement than to remove, or even to cut. Only one President in the last forty-five years has presided over a net cut in social spending. Only one major social program- Welfare- in the last sixty years has ever been dismantled.

So, those who want to dismantle the entire government have an intensely tough job which is easy to fix. Those who want to spend more and don't care about the eventual boondoggle scenario have an easy job which is intensely tought to fix. So, by supporting those who want to reduce government size, I'm erring on the side of caution.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 10-22-2004, 04:45 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537
Maybe a better way of characterizing the parties would be:
Republicans are selfish imbeciles. Democrats TREAT everyone like selfish imbeciles.
[grease]

We go together!
Like rama-lama-lama
Gi-dinky-gi-dinky-dong!

[/grease]

Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 10-22-2004, 05:11 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Cloud Cuckoo Land
Posts: 23,342
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renob
All this argument comes down to, really, is liberals saying, "if you don't agree with me, it must be because you're ignorant."
Not really. I came from a background similar to jsgoddess and was active in the local Republican Party in the district that gave us Don Rumsfeld and Phil Crane. While I worked with some intelligent and cosmopolitan people the vast majority were ignorant, insular, and, I hate to say, idiotic. Completely selfish, self-centered, and greedy. They had never seen or understood anything beyond their Suburban Chicago ghetto. Barely intelligent enough to tie their own shoes. Parroting Nixonian talking points because the butterflies were so crowded in their heads there was no room for anything else.

Good Lord, it was a transforming experience. Out of it came a dropzone shaking his head in bewilderment that people could be that shallow, stupid, and vindictive. When the party took its big turn to the right and left the moderate and liberal members to become Democrats I was already gone. I wanted nothing to do with those people.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 10-22-2004, 05:17 PM
Blackacre Blackacre is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Hell
Posts: 234
Answer is no, you fool.

BA
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 10-22-2004, 05:18 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Quote:
Do Republicans have a ignorant, narrowminded, self serving view of the world?
No one noticed the irony in that sentence?
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 10-22-2004, 05:26 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire
I differed from them and broke the mold. In college two of my best friends were from India and Mexico. My two co-worker friends through college were from Pakistan and Cuba. I moved out of state when I was 20 and have lived in Atlanta, Orlando, Baltimore, and Minneapolis. My first roomate of one year was gay. I've met a lot of friends and known a lot of people. I have acquaitnaces that were on welfare, have been in jail, had drug problems, were unemployed, have had to make the difficult decision to have an abortion. I was the first in my family to travel to Europe. One of my friends I made this trip with was Jewish. I now live in a neighborhood of middle class white, black, and asian families.
"Oh I've been to Nice and the isle of Greece
Where I sipped champagne on a yacht
I moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo and showed 'em what I've got
I've been undressed by kings and I've seen some things
That a woman ain't s'posed to see
I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me...

Sometimes I've been to cryin' for unborn children
That might have made me complete
But I, I took the sweet life and never knew I'd be bitter from the sweet
I spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that cost too much to be free
Hey lady, I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me."
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 10-22-2004, 06:17 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Cloud Cuckoo Land
Posts: 23,342
Yeesh, Jack! That's a BANNING offense!
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 10-22-2004, 06:48 PM
yosemite yosemite is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Actually, I have known a lot of knee-jerk Democrats who were ignorant, poorly educated, never had travelled anywhere, racist (ragingly racist), have no appreciation for the arts and culture, but by damn, they were Democrats!

I've also known many very well-educated Republicans who are well-traveled, well-read, appreciate culture, non-racist (one Republican I know is black, by the way), and yet—they're Republicans!

I've never really seen big connection between Democrats and ignorance, and Republicans and well-educated. Or vice-versa. Usually, I meet people who are Republican and well-traveled but a little racist, appreciate culture but not well-read, or I meet people who are Democrat but not well-traveled, appreciate culture but . . . (and so forth and so on).

It's very ignorant, in my view, to pigeohole people like this. Many people are a mixture of many things.

To just assume that if they belong to one party they are probably ignorant and selfish? How rude. How short-sighted. It sort of reminds me of those smug religious folks who decide that all atheists are "immoral." It ruffles my feathers in exactly the same way.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 10-22-2004, 06:55 PM
rjung rjung is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Assuming things about individuals based on political affiliation is silly -- you can find jerkish behavior in any socio-economic group.

Better, instead, to focus on what the parties themselves endorse, both through their platforms (what they say they believe in) and their acts (what they actually do believe in).
__________________
--R.J.
Electric Escape -- Information superhighway rest area #10,186
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 10-22-2004, 07:09 PM
yosemite yosemite is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjung
Assuming things about individuals based on political affiliation is silly -- you can find jerkish behavior in any socio-economic group.
The OP title talks about Republicans, not the Republican Party. The OP is making assumptions and judgments about the majority of individuals who belong to both parties.

I've never seen a big connection between religious people and "goodness," and I've never seen a big connection between atheists and "immorality," but if you talk to some people, they've got their minds made up about both sets of individuals based on what side of the aisle they're on. Same thing going on here, for the most part. It ruffles my feathers.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 10-22-2004, 07:56 PM
ninetypercent ninetypercent is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
after years of seeing this debate done over and over again.. i still have no idea what either side believes. the political system in this country is a ridiculous agglomeration of ideology. it's a farce.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 10-22-2004, 10:16 PM
aaslatten aaslatten is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
I think this is a certain breed of Republican that you might see in certain areas of the country more than others. I certainly know a lot of Republicans in Texas who seem more concerned with "preserving their pile" than anything else. I think this comes out of fear, nurtured by Republican party rhetoric over many years, that Democrats are irresponsible, tax-and-spend nutjobs who are itching badly to get into office and raise taxes to ridiculous new levels to fund all kinds of new welfare programs.

I have heard self-proclaimed conservatives froth about this issue many times, and they seem to be fixated on the welfare bugaboo. Welfare, they reason, is where all their money is going and it needs to stop. It is the cause of all our problems and is symbolic of Democrats' arrogance and bleeding heart weakness.

We know from the modern presidential record that the spending doesn't really change that much under the leadership of either party, so it's really a matter of whether you'd like a balanced budget (Clinton) or a high deficit coupled with inconsequential tax cuts.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 10-22-2004, 11:12 PM
JThunder JThunder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
The vast majority of church soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy centers, homeless shelters and inner city mission are staffed by God-believing conservatives who tend to lean Republican. I think they would take great offense at the notion that they are just self-serving ignoramuses who only want to preserve their ways of life.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 10-23-2004, 12:01 AM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 25,541
Being a Canadian I'm not a Republican, but I would be voting that way this year if I were American.

I grew up poor. Surrounded by welfare families. I saw what welfare did to people. I also grew up in an area surrounded by native reservations, and I saw what their perpetual welfare did to them.

My family was too proud to take welfare. My mom raised two boys by herself, working late hours. I had a job from the moment I was old enough to stuff flyers or deliver papers. By age 14 I was working 20 hours a week in a grocery store.

My mom had friends on welfare, and they thought she was crazy. They sat home all day and watched their 'stories' and drank. And they had more money than we did, and access to more services.

But you know what? My family rose out of that neighborhood. And most of them stayed there. I had friends I grew up with there who are STILL living in that neighborhood - second generation welfare families. They are constantly angry, convinced that they have been given a raw deal, and convinced that it is impossible to succeed.

I also grew up during the cold war, and I studied communism extensively. I wondered why so many countries that started with glorious plans for the worker wound up as despotic hellholes. They couldn't all have had the bad luck to have megalomaniac assholes for leaders. That led me into economics, and the works of people like F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ludwig Von Mises, and others. I learned that central planning doesn't work, can never work, and invevitably leads to oppression. There are solid reasons for this, having to do with the inability of central government to collect and use the vast amount of information required to control a modern economy. It simply cannot work. It is a fairy tale.

I also learned that Capitalism is far from being anarchy - that the mechanism of the market is actually a complex structure for regulating behaviour and tranferring information between producers and consumers in a highly optimized manner. It is an evolved mechanism that works very well on average.

Thus my world view: Be skeptical of government. Always, always look for the hidden costs and unintended consequences of the latest government plan to fix things. Understand that there are no free lunches, and that the larger the government program, the more likely it is that it will turn out to be an oppressive, inefficient system that is impossible to kill.

There is also something fundamentally noble about capitalism. Socialism divides people into groups - taxpayers and recipients. Oppressors and the oppressed. Rich and poor. You are either rich, in which case you owe someone part of your wealth, or you are poor, in which case someone owes you. But I believe that humans have a right to live for themselves. The poor do not have a moral claim on the rich, and the rich do not have a moral duty to serve the poor.

As I've gotten older and a little less idealistic, I can see the shades of gray around the edges. I recognize that there are times when capitalism fails. I also recognize that it is in all our interests to help the desperately poor, the infirm, and other strongly disadvantaged people.

The conclusion for me is that the right amount of government is a government that protects us from internal and external violence; a government that regulates the market enough to prevent it from breaking down into market failures; a government that regulates our behaviour enough to prevent 3rd party harm from pollution, maintains access to public parks and other common assets, and taxes enough to pay for these functions.

I wholeheartedly reject the notion of government as nanny. Freedom means not just freedom to succeed, but freedom to fail. Freedom to make bad choices, and the freedom to suffer the consequences of those choices. Freedom to choose to be lazy instead of hardworking, but the freedom to suffer the ecnomic consequences of that choice.

I believe in equality of opportunity. I do NOT believe in equality of outcome. I believe it is wrong to tell people where they can work and for how much, who they can trade with, what they can put in their bodies, what kinds of businesses they can run, whether people can smoke in their restaraunts, what safety gear they need to ride their bicycles or drive their cars, and all the other trappings of the nanny state.

Finally, I believe that government is the most dangerous institution on the planet. It may be necessary, but it is dangerous. Therefore, its scope should be kept as small as possible, and expansions of government power should only take place as a last resort, and not just because someone has a 'plan' to 'improve' things. Thus my opposition to socialized medicine, socialized day care, industrial policy, tax-the-rich schemes, and the creeping regulatory fascism of the modern state.

I believe my belief in these principles is firmly grounded in solid economics and science. There is nothing at all close-minded, bigoted, or hypocritical about it. My beliefs are shared by a large collection of nobel prize winners in economics and some of our greatest leaders.

Now, I'm not a social conservative. I'm more of a Libertarian. But I understand the social conservative argument, and they have good points that at least deserve to be considered without sneers and derision. Their basic point is that society is an evolved structure. Institutions like marriage and the family unit serve important functions, some of which we may not even fully understand. The conequences of meddling with them are unclear, but potentially dangerous. So they tend to act as a resistive force against the tendency of some to constantly push for change to 'improve' things.

I don't look down at Liberals. I understand their motivations, which I think are honorable. I just happen to think they are wrong, and that many (not all) of the things they work for will do more harm than good in the long run. I think they tend to think of only the most rosy outcomes of their policies, and refuse to see things like the disincentive effects of welfare, the damaging effect of disrupting the information flow of the markets with constant regulatory meddling, and the sheer folly of thinking that you can be smart enough to manipulate the market into 'better' outcomes.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 10-23-2004, 12:21 AM
Loopydude Loopydude is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by JThunder
The vast majority of church soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy centers, homeless shelters and inner city mission are staffed by God-believing conservatives who tend to lean Republican. I think they would take great offense at the notion that they are just self-serving ignoramuses who only want to preserve their ways of life.
Funny, seems like most of the soup kitchens up this way are staffed by flaming, godless liberals who insist on not evangelizing or having any other agenda but to help people.
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 10-23-2004, 12:36 AM
jsgoddess jsgoddess is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by JThunder
The vast majority of church soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy centers, homeless shelters and inner city mission are staffed by God-believing conservatives who tend to lean Republican. I think they would take great offense at the notion that they are just self-serving ignoramuses who only want to preserve their ways of life.
The vast majority of church soup kitchens are staffed by "God-believing" people? Shocking!

As for your other claims, I am certain you'll be able to provide a cite.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 10-23-2004, 12:37 AM
yosemite yosemite is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loopydude
Funny, seems like most of the soup kitchens up this way are staffed by flaming, godless liberals who insist on not evangelizing or having any other agenda but to help people.
My mom used to volunteer at a soup kitchen. They were all conservatives.

And they didn't preach any, either. They also had an agenda of just helping people.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 10-23-2004, 12:44 AM
JThunder JThunder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Well for the sake of argument, let's grant your claim, Loopydude. You still have the problem that the majority of conservative churches DO support such efforts. In addition, they tend to support humanitarian efforts such as overseas literacy programs, well-building and irrigation in Third World countries, and large-scale charitable programs such as Compassion International and Operation Christmas Child.

Now, a cynical liberal might say, "Well, they're still doing it out of selfishness! They just want to be noticed for their good deeds!" or words to that effect. Indeed, I've personally heard such claims on several occasions. Ultimately, there is precious little that one can do to reason with such individuals, as this stance amounts to interprets any good deeds from conservatives as having some sinister, ulterior motive.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 10-23-2004, 12:56 AM
Loopydude Loopydude is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
The only ulterior motive I suspect is evangelism. Perhaps carriers of the meme don't recognize themselves as vectors in those circumstances, I suppose.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 10-23-2004, 01:14 AM
JThunder JThunder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loopydude
The only ulterior motive I suspect is evangelism. Perhaps carriers of the meme don't recognize themselves as vectors in those circumstances, I suppose.
And if evangelism is a factor, those churches seldom make a secret of it.

Moreover, this would still demonstrate that they are motivated by something other than selfishness and a desire to preserve their way of life. Heck, these efforts are often quite disruptive to one's personal affairs. Just ask anyone who's gone overseas on a missions trip, or who has chosen to teach a Bible study in an inner city mission. That hardly amounts to "preserving one's way of life" in any realistic sense.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.