So I consider myself a liberal (or as they term it today a progressive) but every now and then my thinking shifts a little to the right. Nothing too typically conservative but just a meld of mild conservatism mixed in with what I believe can be considered liberal, tolerant, humanistic or enlightened points of view as opposed to conventional, bourgeois, inflexible, and reactionary traits that I find in so many that define themselves as conservative, republican, or traditional. I really can’t speak to what conservatives because generally I picture these as stodgy, overweight, white male, “god-fearing”, racist hypocrites, who sit around counting their money while ever vigilant about what’s going on in other people’s personal sex lives when in reality they are more perverted and have more vices all those they judge (oh my, I think I just became judgmental) only I know that now all conservatives or Republicans meet all of the criteria I just indicated (although it seems like most have at least one of those traits).
Generally its seems that the more conservative a person is the more money they have in the bank (but this is not always true), the more religious they are (but this is not always true), the more “less” educated they are (but this is not always true), and the less tolerant they are (and again, not always true). It’s silly to stereotype them (or judge them as I did in the previous paragraph) though because the stereotypes are not always true… I know rich people who are very liberal in their thinking supporting notions that might be considered socialist or “anti-wealth” by those more to the right. I’ve seen religious people express points of view that are in direct opposition to the extremely restrictive and hypocritical teachings of the bible. And I know people who should be totally tolerant (generally gay) that express very conservative and intolerant (and even racist) points of view.
Just the fact that I am profiling here is an indicator of my “right” (as in restrictive and not correct) way of thinking. Who am I to consider people and their thinking to be either conservative, liberal, religious, or tolerant. Its none of my business. So does saying its none of my business make me a liberal? Of does the fact that I am “thinking” what I am thinking about conservatives and republicans make me and bigoted conservative? Am I intolerant because I am categorizing and classifying people? Of am I liberal because I am defining those that would see our rights diminished or removed to preserve their own personal wealth and know that I’m not one of those people. But what if I had money in the bank? Would my attitude be different? What if I were…say… born a Trump. Would I want to hold on to every penny and back government officials that would change laws to meet my own greedy interests? I am confused by whether my life circumstances have made me more liberal leaning. I am definitely showing I can be as judgmental as the best of any conservative. This is why I say my thinking is a mix or meld of both free thinking and being close-minded. I am neither/nor or either/or.
My family was not religious. We never went to church but my parents expressed a benign belief in the Christian god. My father never really mentioned god but once when I was about 14 I tried to say grace at our dinner table and my father smacked me across the face. Not because I was praying rather he thought I was mocking religion or god or something. I never understood why he would react in this way, he had never in my entire life ever stepped foot in a church and to my recollection had never one “EVER” opened the bible. So that slap across my face was about the most “religious”. Ironically my only memory of religion in my family resulted in the typical religious reaction…violence (as well as the only time I ever recall my father hitting me).
My mother often expressed a doubt in the existence of an omnipotent being sitting in judgment its “sheep”… however my mother would also shift her point of view depending on her mood and what was happening in life. During bad times she was less likely to believe feeling that no god would ever allow the bad things that happen to happen and in good times she would make remarks such as “God was with us” and stupid stuff like that. My brothers never expressed any religious points of view… whether they believe, believed or don’t believe they never really shared this with any of us, again it was never a family topic, we just didn’t go to church, we were all pretty much on our own how we wanted to proceed in regards to religion. I have always questioned my belief and despite wanting to believe and even needing to believe my logic tells me that the whole notion of god is ridiculous. I have tried reading the bible (several times) and have read other such religious texts as well (Krishna, Mormon, etc.) I had always wanted to believe in something… I even tried Tarot cards and I read the Satanic Bible too but in the end I think it’s all hogwash. None of that crap exists to me until the day that any of it proves to me it exists.
My family was not rich, not middle class, but not poor either. I always thought of us as lower middle class or upper lower class… we never had as much as the neighbors but were never so bad off as some of the kids I went to school with that lived in the area we referred to as section 8 housing or the ghetto. There were times when my father wasn’t working and there was no food in the house but when his military retirement check came in my mother would go to the commissary (military grocery store) and our cabinets and refrigerator would be filled with food for a week or two… it was always the last two weeks of the month before my father’s next retirement check came in that food became scarce, but at the same time my parents had bought their house and we always had telephone service and electric and when my father was working (the 70’s were a tough time for a lot of families) things would even get better. So while we often wanted or needed things we weren’t so poor that we were destitute nor did we have the wealth to skew our thinking enough into believing that we were the haves and should always have more than the have-nots.
So there was a mix in our levels of liberalism or conservatism in our home… my father was retired military so he was very open mind in regards to things like race however very negative when it came to politics. He believed that the voting process was rigged to benefit the rich and often pointed out that with the electoral college process votes meant nothing, so he never voted. My mother grew up during the war in Germany so she was less tolerant of differences in people, that generation of Germans were so influenced by the war and notions of superiority despite having lost its attempt at world domination every now and then my mother would be more apt to comment on differences in people (i.e. color, religion, etc.) however she wasn’t discriminatory in any way, just expressive at times, she would occasional use the “N” word, something my father never did.
My older brothers moved out when I was very young so they were not as affected by my father’s lack of income (when they lived at home my father was active military) my younger brother however was very familiar with our monthly food dilemma. He also dropped out of school in the 9th grade which was sheer foolishness and to this day continues to struggle financially and as such is extremely conservative and racist, often blaming blacks for all the worlds troubles and believing that the worst thing that happened to this country was the election of our first African-American president, Obama. He never votes taking my father’s line that it does no good to vote because it is the electoral representatives that make the decision and not the voters. So while I love him (he is my brother) he definitely fits in the basket of deplorables who support Trump.
I faced discrimination as a child and teenager, I was one of those fags that was picked on, not to the severity of some of the other gay boys I went to school with but I faced the wrath of those young loving Christians and their hate. I often wish the tables could be turned and I could treat them the way they treated me or some of the other softer or effeminate boys but of course that would never happen, society back then unlike today just told us to “tough it out”.
I grew up to be very tolerant of everyone. I have a “live and let live” perspective and often would challenge my mother’s thinking but would never try to discuss race or politics with my brother, even today, because he is so brainwashed by the right that he will never change his way of thinking, I just learned that you don’t talk to him about such things because he will always revert back to the “N” word and lately Mexicans have been on his target list because as a construction worker he says they impact his work and worth directly. He hates most everybody.
Not being a believer I don’t have the restrictive notions of religion to limit what I can or cannot believe nor the self-righteous and superiority perspective of the financially secure and throw in the mix that I am gay having known first hand how harmful intolerance can be I believe that I am fairly free thinking, tolerant, and accepting. However I do occasionally shift my thinking. Nothing so restrictive as to force my religious (or lack of religious) beliefs to limit or control our society’s freedoms, rights, and privileges as so many god fearing individuals so frequently attempt. Nor am I so conservative to think that we should cut off all government support and remove important regulations just to reduce taxes and burdens on the rich.
Some of my “mix” (among other things) is more limited to thoughts of undocumented immigrants and probably not the way people would think. I believe that the diversity that comes from citizens of foreign decent is essential to the well-being of our nation however I do agree when someone comes into the country illegally they should be sent back to their country of origin however I think they should be given sufficient resources to return legally and I’m not talking about funding, more along the lines of information on what is required to return legally and offer the assistance to return. But to tell you the truth when it comes to immigration I really don’t care one way or another. It just doesn’t matter to me. I feel for the people that want to come here and start lives but I also think about all those that are doing it legally. Then of course I’m confused by the “Lazy American’s won’t take half the jobs the illegal’s will take” thing and I think, “Well maybe if they did come over illegally and got a job perhaps they should be punished, maybe with a fine (stereotypically they send the money home anyway) so for a few month during the fine period they will pay the government and then in turn get a work Visa. But in reality it doesn’t affect me so I don’t care either way.
My mother was German, my sister-in-law was Vietnamese (See “It Dog“) and despite having cultural differences and lingual limitations they never tried to have all of America conform to their language, rather they learned to acclimate. What drives me crazy (and where I become more conservative) is our tendency to change our culture (as we know it) to acclimate towards whatever culture is dominate in their immigration efforts. I’m not talking about religion, this is a non-issue… if you don’t like Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, Krishna’s, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, or whatever other religion exists just don’t go to their church, mosque, or temple or what ever they worship in. What drives me crazy is our push to be a multilingual nation. You drive through different neighborhoods and you start seeing signs in foreign languages or script. I understand that English is not our national language but since its generally what we speak and what is taught in schools I think at the very minimum there should be a requirement that all signage have an English translation. It’s not fair that we grew up in the country and were taught English in our schools, and even though it is we were led to believe that English is our national language and made to think and live with this language only to have our stores display signs in Spanish, not in English or walk my a store with Chinese writing and no way to know what the hell they do in that store or to dial a phone and first hearing the options in Spanish before finally getting to English, please tell us in English first so we can move on and then give the non-English options. (See “Losing My Identity“)
Then my conservative thinking comes into play when we consider government aid and social support. I truly believe that our country needs to support those that need help however lately I’ve been seeing postings that suggest that those that collect such benefits as welfare or food stamps should be required to go through drug testing before and during the period these benefits are given. Maybe I’m wrong but that just makes sense… If I can lose my job at anytime for doing drugs (random testing and I have been tested randomly believe once they tested me twice in 1 week) then I believe those people that are using monies that were unearned should be under the same intrusive, restrictive, and random tests that I and all of us that pay into the system. Technically we supports these individuals, its money they receive that they never contributed into (I have three nephews who are perfectly capable of working and have never worked a day in their lives, their mother taught them how to work the system (she was on welfare her entire life) and in their 30’s they are still collecting welfare benefits).
Social Security on the other hand is another animal altogether, I’m referencing drug testing here…and I would need more time to think on this one. Its seems to me you pay into Social Security and are collecting your own money, money you invested during your lifetime, so I don’t see anything wrong with someone collecting Social Security and getting high as much and as often as they want. The point is that I don’t smoke pot but I see nothing wrong with pot. I find it ridiculous that someone that indulges during their off ours can quite frankly lose everything by using what is essentially a safe drug… much safer than the legal alcohol. Now doing pot or alcohol on the job is a different story…but if these things are done outside of work and don’t affect a persons ability to work and they do what is required of them then why should they be limited while people who aren’t working and are enjoying the benefits of welfare (now I’m talking about those doing drugs) the working individuals are required to pay be allowed to indulge at their hearts content? Somehow its not fair to me that some people (not all) on assistance can collect money and smoke pot and even though I don’t smoke it I’m limited because I can’t risk losing my job to smoke it. Something just isn’t fair about this one.
I totally disagree with the concepts of “Wikileaks” and what Snowden has done as being acceptable. I enjoy the security that comes with our nation and don’t believe that what our government is doing is a move to restrict or remove rights and privileges from American citizens. I truly believe that our government is doing what it needs to do to protect the “Homeland”. I believe that efforts by individuals and such entities as Wikileaks or what Snowden has done are truly doing more to harm to our nation than good. Who cares if our government is listening to our phone conversations if it keeps me safe and keeps another attack such as 911 from happening then I truly support these efforts. If I were to start publicizing what my company does, its finances, practices or whatever I would be fired, sued, or both. Snowden did a terrible thing…he is a criminal and his actions deserve to be dealt with as he decided that betraying his government and nation was more important than preserving our freedom and safety, even if the mean are questionable.
Children today (those up to the ages of 30ish) don’t remember growing up with the USSR empire and what was commonplace spying and bugging and espionage. Every television show from the Bionic Woman, Charlie’s Angels, to Hawaii 5-0 (among others) dealt with listening devices and spying. We grew up knowing that everyone of our phones could be and likely were bugged by any government agency and even foreign government as well. We were taught that any family regardless of how mainstream or socially accepted could be a spy or sleeper waiting for that special phone call the trigger their pre-programmed assassination instructions. It seems like with the fall of the Berlin Wall that we have suddenly decided these activities no longer exist. I am sure at this moment everyone of the countries that are appalled that our nation’s security activities (Obama’s administration monitoring foreign leaders’ phone calls), each of these offended governments and peoples “MAY” be listening using their own spying and intelligence gathering which includes bugging and wire tapping and many of these nations simply would not give a shit and would quite likely and quickly kill individuals like Snowden. Snowden’s treachery has allowed those countries that also listen and spy and probably more overtly than our country ever has or ever will to point fingers and claim superiority over our government and way of life while they would never tolerate what he did if he were a citizen of their country. He would have been silently executed and anyone that questioned his execution would have found themselves in the same dilemma. What Snowden did would be considered treason in those nations. Our country wants to bring this man back to his nation, the nation that allowed him to grow up comfortably and in wealth (many of us to this day can not enjoy) and stand trial for his actions whether found to be criminal or not. He will have a fair trial (as fair as it could be considering he had jeopardized everyone of our lives with his big mouth. I think his betrayal was criminal…
… but guilty or not, right or wrong, acceptable or objectionable… this is simply my special meld of conservative liberalism…
- Liberals, Conservatives, & Constitutionalists… (malpartisan.wordpress.com)
- Conservatives, Liberals, and Happiness (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)