My wife and I were talking about political conversation a couple of weeks ago. She observed that political conversations, regardless of where they begin, often end up in the same place—a re-hashing of the same ideas, or, repetitive laments on how the opposition is ruining things.
If this is generally true for political conversations, it’s especially true for political arguments. Debates are sparked by current events, about which people can, and sometimes they even do, have real conversations in which they listen and respond to others. Soon, however, that spark ignites a flame of ideology. Often, people then end up running quickly from the cool, rational debate into fiery shouting matches.
So this all got me to thinking about the fact that, as far as I can tell, many people never bother to actually understand most others’ positions. I might be generous in assuming that people even care why other people believe what they do, but that’s another matter. I was recently accused of being a “blind fool” for my conservative beliefs. Modesty aside, I think I’m more informed than most, and I have rational reasons for everything I believe. I’m not saying I’m never a fool (nobody’s right all the time), but I’m certainly not the type to simply agree with those around me without thinking or reason. If I were, I never would have held on to my political ideals through four years at a state college and three years in Los Angeles. I held on to them because, after listening to both sides of the argument, the conservative solutions generally made more sense to me.
In my experience, both conservatives and liberals can be patriotic, selfless, thoughtful, and logical. Both camps—despite what each says about the other—want what’s best for us all, including (and specifically), a better life for the poor. And I mean it when I say both can think logically and rationally, though some individuals on either side may demonstrate this skill better than others. The problem, and where people close their ears and start locking antlers, is that we start with vastly different premises. Most of us can agree that 2 + 2 = 4, certainly, but if I’m adding 3 and 6 when you think I’m adding 2 and 5, and vice versa, we each reasonably think that the other is an idiot for coming to a different conclusion. And we almost never talk about the premises. They’re the source of the disagreement, and they get woefully overlooked. People don’t talk about the deep, theoretical differences. We liken each other to Hitler and Stalin and make commercials saying the other party wants to KILL YOUR GRANDMA! Righteous anger is so satisfying.
But this doesn’t get us anywhere. This, in fact, sucks.
Hence, this blog. I want you to know my reasoning, starting from first principles. My conservative manifesto, if you will. I want to help people understand why conservative solutions really make the most sense. It’s my hope that even those who disagree with me will at least, seeing my reasoning, understand it and know that it exists; and know that, though we disagree on the means, we all want a better world for everyone.
Well, deep down, it’s my hope that those who disagree with me will read this and say, “Holy crap, I’ve been wrong all these years, I’m actually a conservative,” but I’ll take what I can get.