First a little explanation: I come from a conservative background and some of the figures I most admired as a child were conservative.
But I saw their limitations and outgrew a number of their assumptions. They also differ substantially from the current day urban conservative. A rural conservative when I was growing up would be horrified at the thought of only using something once and then chucking it out. Resources were precious and scarce and you would never discard something just to "prove" some ideological point.
I don't particularly have a truck with fiscal conservatives either. They would have been as disapproving at the massively expensive war on terror or building a $30M detention camp that never gets used.
And straight edge are walking the walk so they have my respect. I wouldn't want to live like them but at least they are principled in their position.
I'm positively fond of DIY entrepeneurs who rely on their own wits to get ahead.
So, having qualified my position, let me revisit that list below and explain what I mean:
decrying catch cries they then peddle their own well worn slogans. These are carefully selected to take a stance without having any deeper knowledge about the issues involved. You just know that they are going to comment 'cleverly' about how protesters use technology in a fast food joint after the rally, or they are not to be trusted/counted because they have piercings, blue hair etc.
Conservatives single out and marginalise groups and individuals in order to discredit their argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.
- engage in ad hominem attack
an extension of the first point. There is no personal insult, no reference to an ineligibility to speak on a topic, no diversion or dissuasion, that a conservative will not use to avoid having to actually address their opponent's argument.
- say one thing and do another
they'll claim to be rational and then form a (un)holy alliance with religious authorities because they are 'normal'
they'll claim to want peace while preparing to enter the skirmish they generate themselves
they'll claim intellectual superiority and then fail to engage at every turn
they'll claim to completely understand leftists and be more aware of both sides of an argument yet they never mention their opponent's true position, relying instead on the opinions and prejudices of fellow conservatives for their statements
- raise ignorance to an artform
this can be summed in a quote of someone saying they are a 'meat and potatoes man'. They know what they know and in order to keep things that way they keep things simple and deny anything complex or difficult.
- try to tell other people what to do with their lives
live and let live doesn't come into their vocabulary. They are censorious and rather too curious about the morals of their neighbours and associates.
- hog things
under the guise of being for 'free enterprise' they merrily squander resources and adopt half arsed science to fight their ideological battle with ecologists
will deny the people who do the work for them, a raise, (or sometimes even a job) but will only be too quick to give themselves more.
- are very selective
In the first sample it has Dylan in the following exchange:
"BF: What in [Barack Obama's] book would make you think he’d be a good politician?
BD: Well nothing really...."
put in the context of a larger interview where Dylan repeatedly demurs commenting politically on presidents past and present ('they name roads after lots of people' 'Most of those guys come into office with the best of intentions and leave as beaten men [goes on to list them by name]') but then extraordinarily states 'But he probably could’ve done anything.'
This selective quoting gives an entirely different meaning to what Dylan intended. If the blogger knew that and snipped the quote, hoping no one would check the original text, then he was dishonest. If the blogger read this snippet as Dylan doubting Obama's credentials then he was stupid.
Whether one is unintelligent or shifty in their selective quoting, they are better off leaving it to professionals.
- take from others
they see nothing wrong with using taxpayer money on enterprise that may not directly benefit those from whom it was taken, provided they have a good excuse.
they happily watch spending go through the roof for guns and god but begrudge any effort to distribute the money back to the communities from whence it was taken.
they believe in things like 'trickle down theory' and replacing government programs with charity - to make the poorer sectors dependent on their largesse without having to put a figure on it.
- distract or distort in order to get their POV across rather than trusting in its truth veracity to be persuasive
an example is the mock election posters that the Liberal Party got caught distributing. These were designed to skew people's perceptions rather than validating them with fact. I am sure you can find many worse examples from far right groups.
and the last point can wait for another post.
Labels: conservative folly