I find it funny when people from outside say they, and then misattribute what it is that they think. Like when a liberal talks about conservatives as if they can know what conservatives think without being one. Or when someone from outside of Texas or any other state attempts to explain to a resident what it is that they think. I live in the middle of a very angry, red, conservative state. I live here by design, in the chill, blue, liberal heart of that angry red state.
I’m drowning in conservative (and religious) expression around here. You can’t escape it. There are more churches than restaurants in most Texas towns, which means there are more churches than libraries in most Texas towns. Conservatism rules in religion. There is always some tradition somewhere that is going to be contravened by any new thing you propose, and conservatism lives in tradition like it does no where else in human thought. If you love tradition, you are probably a conservative. You might not even know this about yourself.
The cities are hotbeds of liberalism because liberalism at its core is about exploring boundaries. Boundaries in thought, boundaries in expression, boundaries in behavior. City life requires boundaries to be tested because city life is not natural to human culture. City life is itself an adaptation from the rural tradition, especially in America and most especially in Texas. You’ve never heard someone complain more than when you talk to a rural Texan about those crazy folks living in Austin. They’ll wear your ears out bitching about Austin.
What is going on in the world today is rural vs. city life clashing; the reality of the fact that large groups of people working near each other can achieve more than a single person working on his own. The rural insight, the midwestern work ethic, is you have to work hard to get ahead. Everything must be struggled for, including basic needs like shelter and food. The idea that something as complex as healthcare could ever be provided without cost to the end-user is as foreign a concept to them as having crops harvest themselves and bring themselves to market. It just doesn’t happen in the experience of your average red state person. They are convinced that the poor get something that they aren’t entitled to since they don’t have to work to get it. All forms of assistance are cheating (as a disabled person, I see this virtually every time I admit that I don’t work) because someone has to pay for that, and you didn’t earn it.
They are angry, and conservative outlets like Fox news and Limbaugh tell them that their anger is justified.
But it really is just manipulation. Of the top 1% who control 95% of the country’s wealth, how many of them go out and earn a days wage? Let’s go further down the food chain, though. Amongst the angry ‘red’ crowd, how many of you actually get out and sweat in the sun all day earning a living?
Some of the angriest people I know only have time to be angry, because they aren’t doing a job they are happy with and it doesn’t occupy them. But they get to stay indoors out of the sun. By contrast, some of the happiest people I ever worked with worked in the sun all day (oddly, a good portion of them would probably be deported by the angry people) actually doing the work that angry conservatives think they do themselves. The angriest conservatives are city people with a rural attitude that no longer reflects the reality of the lives they lead. Were they not sermonized to, at every opportunity, about the evils of the lazy immigrant and the poor, they might actually come to this realization themselves.
…and that’s the crux of the problem. When I point out to people (as I’ve done a few times) that you cannot know personally that every person involved in creating the products that you use has been fairly compensated for their work, and so consequently you cannot know whether the assistance beneficiary paid their ‘fair share’ and are simply receiving the benefits of someone who worked honestly to get it, they go through the roof in anger. It contradicts the worldview of the average conservative, that getting something without paying a fee for it directly is always going to be cheating the system. Before you disagree with me, ask yourself; if someone sues an insurance company and wins a big check, do you feel happy for them? How about if they don’t have to sue, but get a nice big payout anyway? Do you doubt they earned that payout? Really?
Is a liberal worldview better? No. Most liberals I know (and I am a liberal. Have been one all my life) have no clue how things get done. They just expect things to happen when they want it, and couldn’t begin to explain how the systems around them work. In my experience, the group efforts resultant extra payout is in large part squandered by the middle managers who really are the lazy people in the equation. They’re the ones who don’t want to do the front line grunt work, and don’t want the attention that upper management gets. It’s why groups like Romney’s company will slash that part of the workforce first. At worst, upper management will have to deal with the front line directly for awhile (this is how you get a fiscal conservative like Romney running as a Republican. Strange bedfellows) a liberal sees these actions as detrimental, because they only see the loss of paid positions. Ask stockholders if they think cost cutting is a bad idea, though.
In the end, both sides of the spectrum are wrong; and they are wrong for the wrong reasons. The conservatives are convinced that a return to our roots is required (as if that’s even vaguely possible) and talk about morals and religion as if that’s the work ethic enshrined. It’s not. The liberals talk about safety nets and the rich, as if the rich didn’t get where they were by crafting their own safety net; as if they could simply print money until everyone has enough. There really does need to be a work ethic, and there really is enough wealth in this country that we can afford to keep people from dying on the streets (and don’t tell me it doesn’t happen. Happens all the time) I just wish the hate would stop. Tired of the stupid people hating. Hate is bad for the heart, you’ll end up a burden on society.
Editor’s note, 2019. I did a little bit of wordsmithing on the first few paragraphs because the original verbiage relied on the now-vanished thread on Dan Carlin’s BBS Forum to make sense. I don’t even remember what I was arguing about now, or with whom. The Big Bowl of Crow should be cited here, too. I wasn’t yet ready to admit that there was a need for confiscatory taxes in 2012. The difference that eight years makes.