Opinion: Political Conservatism as It Currently Exists in the U.S.

  1. I wrote the following mini-essay on Facebook in response to another member's political post. As you can see by this admittedly long "mini-sassy", that particular post bothered me.

    In the past, I've given much thought to the basic words, "Conservative" and "Liberal". By themselves, totally devoid from politics and political-thinking, the core definitions of these words can serve to be beneficial to human-kind in a near-endless variety of circumstances. But add politics and political-thinking to these words, and the definitions changes dramatically. The politics as found in the United States has profoundly bastardized the word "conservative", in my opinion. I view political conservatism, as it exists in the United States, as a societal diseased mind-set. So, I present to you this "mini-essay".

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    The values of conservatism, as it exists in the United States, is highly resistant to change, especially to when it comes to equal rights and dignities of all human-beings. It's immersed itself in a bastardized version of "christianity" to justify its positions which, I believe, are prejudicial and down-right hurtful. At the same time, it has also immersed itself in a form of capitalism where profits and the welfare of (artificially created) corporations come before the general welfare of the human-beings that make up the ACTUAL citizens of our country. The ideology of conservatism, as it exists in the United States, seems to go as far as to actually give equal standing to corporations as "citizens" as evidenced by the laws that conservative politicians champion. Turn on CNBC and hear the term "Corporate Citizen" freely used, as if the interests of the artificially created corporations are as, if not more, important than human-beings. The economic conservatives turn a blind-eye to the social-conservatives, and visa-versa. And yet, it can be argued that the two are generally distinct from each other. . . except to when it comes to politics. There, the two seem to support each other.

    Conservatism, as it exists in the United States, bastardizes the terms "Liberty" and "Freedom", specifically "Religious Liberty" and "Religious Freedom" to "justify" trumpeting laws that ultimately oppresses, or lessens the liberty and freedoms of others, specifically the LGBT communities. It used similar "justifications" as it took a stance against laws that were created to ensure that the African-American populations can vote as well as enjoy personal freedoms and liberties now granted them, and other "non-white" peoples of our country. Heck!! It used similar "justifications" as it took a stance against laws that were created to ensure that women can vote.

    Conservatism, as it exists in the United States, is pragmatic in nature. It allows lies to fester into the collective minds of fellow citizens. Here are two glaring examples: 1) The lies that President Obama was not a citizen of the United States, and 2) the lies that said that he was Muslim (not that it should matter) when in fact President Obama is a practicing Christian. Both lies were kept in play within the political arena, largely because the Conservatives of this country deemed them necessary as the lies seemed to work in their favor, rather than take a moral stance against these untruths. The fact that the Conservative politicians and pundits would use these lies as "scare tactics" is despicable on so many levels. Yet, with sweet abandon, they allowed these and other lies to continue throughout most of President Obama's term.

    I hold a fairly simple yet equally profound ideal: Living-Beings First. Not entities like economics, religion or governments. Think about it. All three are artificial. Like hammers and cars, they are man-made (artificial) to meet specific needs that ultimately serve humanity in some fashion. When artificial entities become more important than the human-beings they are meant to serve, then something has become terribly wrong. Priorities are turned upside down and the potential for real human suffering becomes a real concern. We now have a President that literally personifies the worst of this. Members of Trump's Cabinet are set to scale-back safeguards that protect the citizens of the our country from poor and proven-dangerous practices of businesses like the oil and gas industries in order to ensure their profitability. Safeguards targeted to be scaled back were wisely created to ensure clean water to drink and clean air to breath. These are freakin' basic safeguards that we NEED to LIVE that are being compromised. And these are just a couple of examples.

    Conservatism, as it exists in our country, is foul. It's a disease born from (the dark side of) humanity. Still, all of humanity needs to rid itself of this disease for its own self-preservation and the preservation of all living-beings on this fragile Earth. Yet greed and fear of change will keep conservatism alive and well. Anyone who champions conservatism should feel relieved. It ain't going away anytime soon, unfortunately for us all.
    Last edit by Ted on Aug 6
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   BCgradnurse
    Ted,

    Well written. I certainly agree with you. Back in the day, conservative idealogy was not like this at all. It seems to have swung into a cult-like mind set as evidenced by Trump followers and what I call "pseudo-Christians". Hate and intolerance are the mottos, and wealth is worshipped. I don't think that's what Jesus, or the founders of any religion had in mind.

    The Republican party is unrecognizable these days.
  4. by   Joe V
    Great read! I agree with everything.

    I consider myself a moderate (Independent) but these past years I've found myself leaning to the left more and more. Not because I value more what the left has to offer but because of the extreme ideas coming from the right.

    Thank you for sharing.
  5. by   toomuchbaloney
    I was born and raised with conservative values; work hard, be honest, be generous and kind to others, and work to better my community for all of us. It is increasingly difficult to find conservative politicians with any history of supporting those things in their public or professional lives. Their voting history or historical behavior does not support that notion.
  6. by   Ted
    Interesting. . . I don't consider myself anything, to be honest. I just hold the strong notion that the general welfare of living beings come first, that is coupled with an acute awareness that our planet we call, Earth, is rare. At least it's rare in our part of the galaxy. If we mess up our planet too much, we can kiss our collective butts good-bye. It's probably simplistic thinking. But we really need our planet and each other to be somewhat pleasant with each other to survive. I grew up with a family that was quite non-political. We just never thought in terms of politics. We were aware of "politics" when watching the news, of course. But then we went on a merry way being the dysfunctional family that we were! LOL!! Oh. . . I grew up as a "preacher's kid" if that means anything. Had LOTS of religious education. LOTS! However, my ideas towards religion has significantly changed since my youth.
  7. by   chare
    Quote from Ted
    [...]
    Conservatism, as it exists in our country, is foul. It's a disease born from (the dark side of) humanity. Still, all of humanity needs to rid itself of this disease for its own self-preservation and the preservation of all living-beings on this fragile Earth...
    How exactly do you propose that this happen?
  8. by   herring_RN
    Quote from chare
    How exactly do you propose that this happen?
    Good question. People have been trying to answer how to deal with our dark side since pre-history.
  9. by   toomuchbaloney
    Quote from chare
    How exactly do you propose that this happen?
    education?
  10. by   Ted
    Quote from Chare
    How exactly do you propose that this happen?

    Quote from herring_RN
    Good question. People have been trying to answer how to deal with our dark side since pre-history.
    Oh yes! I would add that entire religions have been attempting to grapple with humanity's "dark side" throughout millennium! LOL!

    Maybe we simply need to start with being honest with ourselves as individuals, and collectively as a society. Painfully honest self-reflection.

    Chare. . . I wish to add the two sentences that you did not include when quoting me:

    . . . Yet greed and fear of change will keep conservatism alive and well. Anyone who champions conservatism should feel relieved. It ain't going away anytime soon, unfortunately for us all.
    Contained in those last two sentences are two words that might give direction to approaching some kind of long-lasting "solution". . . as long as that long-lasting solution involves serious self-reflection, in my opinion.

    "Fear and Greed"

    Fear, especially, is a great motivator for all kinds of actions. . . both positive and negative. In the political world, it can do great harm when law-makers, fearing change, create laws that can be discriminatory in nature, for example. And as for greed?!? Well, us human-beings LOVE our stuff! (Money, land, POWER, electronic musical equipment, etc., etc.) In the political world, law-makers certainly are known to create laws so that those in power remain in power, and those with LOTS of stuff keep their stuff, often at the expense of a vulnerable population.

    Edited to add:

    Quote from toomuchbaloney
    education?
    Yes! Education! Education, FACTUAL education, can go a long way in helping individuals and a society make well-informed decisions. It also can go a long way in dealing with soul-deep fears that can make or break us as individuals and as a society.

    I guess I believe that "Fear" is a significant motivator to our species.
    Last edit by Ted on Aug 7
  11. by   toomuchbaloney
    Fear is a powerful motivator, that is why despots, dictators, and movie villains use it to manipulate people.
  12. by   elkpark
    Quote from Ted
    Yes! Education! Education, FACTUAL education, can go a long way in helping individuals and a society make well-informed decisions. It also can go a long way in dealing with soul-deep fears that can make or break us as individuals and as a society.
    Yeah, I used to have a lot of faith in education as a remedy for a lot of social problems, prejudice, and general societal ignorance. Then, I saw this several years ago:

    How facts backfire - The Boston Globe
  13. by   toomuchbaloney
    Fear is powerful, that's why hope seems so audacious.
  14. by   Ted
    I've been watching (too much) television during these past couple of days. The Science Channel (one of my favorite stations offered by DirecTV), aired a documentary that focused on the United States' achievements in space exploration. Of course, one of our country's greatest achievements was putting people on the moon. (Given the limited technology of that era, it really was quite an achievement!) It must have been life-changing to see the Earth from such a vantage point! I envoy those few individuals who viewed Earth from the Moon. I certainly enjoy viewing the photos that they shared of their collective experiences while there. While spending (too much) time on the internet last night, I found this quote from Edger Mitchell who was part of Apollo 14, and the sixth astronaut to walk on the Moon. He was obviously moved by the experience. I agree with his sentiments. . .

    Edited to Add: After hearing Jefferson Sessions give his speech regarding DACA, I wish any politician who supports rescinding DACA to be grabbed by the scruff of the neck and dragged a quarter million miles out and told: "Look!!" Unbelievable.

    Conservatism as it exists in the United States today is a foul disease.



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    Last edit by Ted on Sep 5

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