People You Know With Inconsistent, Or Incompatible, Political Views

In this thread, we talked about a conservative friend of mine who believes in God, Guns, and The Bible, but couldn’t care less if gays marry or if people smoke pot.

I’d like to open the discussion about people we know whose political views are inconsistent, incompatible, or all over the map.

Mom, for example, believes that:
[li]Only the State should be allowed to have guns. Send the National Guard in if we have to, and round up all the private guns. And that means no hunting, either: you can’t hunt without a gun, so sucks to be you.* (Yes, you can hunt with a bow; work with me here.)[/li][li]Nationalized/Socialized (however you want to label it, and yes I know there’s a difference, but the nuance is lost on me) medicine is The Shizz. Why is the US behind the rest of the world on this?[/li][li]Public education is the way to go. Home-schooling should be illegal: the kids must be socialized! Private schools should be subject to intense state oversight to make sure they’re not teaching Creationism, that they’re meeting Common Core, etc.[/li][li]Abortion-on-demand should be legal (but rare).[/li][/ul]

Sounds like the textbook definition of a strongly left-leaning Democrat, right?

EXCEPT, Mom also believes that:
[li]Islam is a cancer that must be removed from this country. Send the police into Dearborn and make those women take off their Burqas! They can practice Islam if they want to, but only within the confines of their mosque, but sure-as-hell not in public.[/li][li]Colorado and Washington made a HUGE mistake in legalizing pot. What about the children! Denver’s emergency rooms are going to be filled with psychotic teenagers with got the Reefer Madness! Washington’s roads are going to be filled with stoned, catatonic drivers making the roads a hazard for law-abiding folk such as herself.[/li][li]Ed Snowden is a traitor who put countless American lives in danger. So what if the NSA is spying on you? If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.[/li][li]Mike Brown was a thug who got what was coming to him. The people protesting his death were lazy slobs who needed to get jobs, and the police were right to put down the protests with riot gear, tear-gas, a no-fly zone, etc.[/li][/ul]

Do you know anyone (or are you someone) whose political beliefs defy quick categorization or are even incompatible with one another?

Yeah, I’d be that person. Without going into a lengthy list of contradictions regarding my beliefs, I’m not one dimensional. That’s why it’s so hard to pigeon hole people. When I was a wee laddie, I thought it would be easier to catagorize people and did in fact do that. Then I became confused when they defied my neat little catagorizations. Political pollsters would love it if we all fell into easily defined slots of belief, but it ain’t gonna happen in this world. See also Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”.

Very few people I know are decidedly left or right on all issues, which I assume you’re thinking.

That is the way your Mom is. A combination of left and right views. I would call her normal.

I am the same with views that fall on both sides of the political aisle.

Yeah, your mom’s views are perfectly self-consistent. Some of them are what we call “left” and some are “right”, but they’re all on different issues. And in fact, in some ways, they’re more consistent than the traditional American “left” and “right” views are. For instance, it sounds like she’s very pro-government across the board: Only the government should have guns, the government should be in charge of health coverage and education, going against the government is treason, and when a government agent gets into a fight with someone not in the government, the government agent is the good guy.

She sounds a lot like me, honestly.

Mostly agree, but I’d allow qualified individuals to own a licensed and registered rifle or shotgun for hunting and animal control in rural areas.

I agree on all of these points, but I’d go farther and nationalize all private schools and universities. Education is a human right, not a commodity to be sold for a profit.

I agree if the same restrictions are applied to Christians and to all other religious groups.

I agree, but not for the reasons she does - I disagree with states legalizing marijuana because it’s antithetical to federal supremacy and probably unconstitutional, and it’s just as sleazy as when the Jim Crow states tried to resist integration with grandfather clauses and literacy tests and shutting down the public schools.

Absolutely agree.

Also absolutely agree.

I have been told I’m “inconsistent,” for disfavoring the death penalty when many right-leaning conservatives supprt it.

I don’t agree my opposition to the death penalty is inconsistent with any other views I hold.

Would it be considered inconsistent to think that Mike Brown was a thug, but so was the officer that shot him?

Just curious… has your mother ever tried pot?

Your mother seems perfectly normal to me.

The ones who scare me are those who align themselves with a certain political team and tag along with whatever the leaders dictate. That is a real worry. Someone who feels comfortable picking and choosing their own policies is more likely to be amenable to reason and discussion.

Thankfully I think that your mother represents by far the majority of people and that the binary concept of a true “right” or “left” viewpoint is too simplistic. We are all a mass of conflicting, and in some cases, contradictory and hypocritical views that we do our best to make sense of and come up the most practical solutions we can.

e.g. the immigration debate in the UK. Can you find many left-leaning people who want no restrictions at all? No. Can you find many right-leaning people who want a total ban? No.
So we end up agreeing that some limited amount of immigration is to be encouraged and then quibbling about the numbers and rules. Rinse and repeat across any policy area you choose.

Arguably, everyone is consistent in their beliefs. By definition, those beliefs are all being held by one person.

You might be surprised to find a person who strongly opposes both same-sex marriage and gun ownership or who strongly supports both affirmative action and the death penalty. But there’s no inherent reason these issues are connected.

Your mother is an authoritarian and all her views are consistent with that.

The reason I find people have inconsistencies is not looking far back enough into the fundamental principles that drive their positions. Both major political party platforms are very inconsistent in that they have no core values they represent. That’s why you can have those on the right espouse individual freedom but be against recreational drug use. Those two things are incompatible. Or those on the left who support individual freedom but support crushing taxation.

Libertarians on the other hand, tend to hold consistent beliefs :slight_smile:

Your mom’s beliefs are very authoritarian, pro-government across the board. Not inconsistent or contradictory at all, if you use a diamond-shaped political spectrum like this: .

Most political analysis is largely meaningless, as most people reference only right/left, with a badly defined “center”. I am neither right nor left, but my centralness is libertarian, very much unlike the OP’s mother. In fact, I disagree with nearly all of her stances.

I find most liberals and conservatives to be very contradictory and inconsistent, as they believe in government control of certain things and little or no control of others.

I’m right leaning on many issues but I’m completely non-religious and pro-science. So that certainly puts me at odds with a lot of the more vocal members of the Republican party. But I think that is pretty normal. Those that only toe the party line seem like cartoon characters.

I am surprised that you would expect any individual’s political beliefs to align perfectly with the official positions of any major party.

Partisans push an “either-or” mentality to try to increase fervor or loyalty. Especially true at highest levels where parties have “whips” to maintain control of a legislature.

The media push the “either-or” narrative because it makes for a simple story of tribe vs tribe. In-depth analysis takes time and complicates everything.

But people are rarely “consistent”, because their beliefs are not theorems derived from axioms. Political positions are the end result of a complex calculus based on a large number of subjective values, some rational and some emotional. So everyone has their own priorities.

It wouldn’t be - at least I would not consider it to be - if there were consistent underlying principles that were used to determine who was, and was not, a thug. ISTM that one can only be considered inconsistent if your principles come and go.

For instance, I am a pro-choice Republican who feels strongly that Roe v. Wade ought to be overturned. Is that inconsistent? Not as far as I can tell. I do not believe that a non-vialable fetus is a separate human being. I am also a textualist, and strongly in favor of limited federal government under the Constitution. The Constitution makes no mention of abortion (or privacy). It does, however, make it clear that for the federal government, whatever is not mandatory is forbidden, and that anything whatever that the Constitution does not explicitly say is the purview of the feds goes automatically to the states, or the people. Abortion is one of those things - ergo, it is to be decided by the states, or the people. So Roe v. Wade is un-Constitutional. QED.

Of course, people can weight conflicting principles differently, and thus decide that it is more important that women be able to get abortions than that we strictly adhere to the text of the Constitution, but that is not an inconsistency on anyone’s part who thinks otherwise.


No, everything about me is consistent

Yep, and it seems pretty normal. Sometimes it happens within its own party; pro-life, but also for capital punishment? Or pro-choice, but against the death penalty?:confused:

I’ve also noticed that people are more receptive to opposing ideas, the less you align them with a particular party. Give it a different name or keep it as objective as possible, and they’re more likely to consider it. I have no cites, just casual observation and experience.

Social issues dominate my political choices yet I usually vote republican on a nation level. Sometimes I feel doing nothing is better than doing something wrong. I believe in national healthcare, and free education for worthy students. I believe in extensive change to our human resource development programs and rehabilitation. All very liberal views. I just disagree with the solutions being offered on the left.

Political beliefs do not exist on a one-dimensional line that goes from “Left” to “Right”, and thinking that they are is an unfortunate byproduct of the fact that two coalition parties are stable in the sort of first-past-the-post voting representative democracy we have.

There’s nothing even remotely inconsistent or incompatible about someone who’s Pro-Life and Pro-Gun-Control, or in favor of public schools and against socialized medicine. Sure, there are philosophical positions that are related to multiple issues, but thoughtful people must consider lots of conflicting issues and ideals to reach their positions.

Honestly, I’d think that someone who agreed 100% with either political party’s platform wasn’t doing much in the way of critical thinking. The composition of the parties and how various issues have shaken out has much more to do with accidents of history than any sort of coherent philosophy.

The Pew Research group identified eight separate political groups in the US in 2014. And even those groups can’t be easily defined by a simple philosophical position.