I was directed to a question last week:
Why is it that the more I’m exposed to conservative logic, the further left my thinking goes?
To the person who asked the question, chances are you are likely not being exposed to Conservative logic, at all.
Let me ask you something that you need to answer very honestly; are you being exposed to conservative views, or are you being exposed to people who aren’t conservatives telling you what conservatives believe?
I’ll tell you honestly, I’ve written a great deal over the last few years explaining to people what my conservative views are, and many uncomfortably squirm as they realize that my logic is far more nuanced and based on far too many facts to be explained away as simply as many so freely do. I’m told of how I hate blacks, and women, all people of color really, and any minority. I’m told that I only want rich people to have a good life (ironic given my lowly status in the bottom quartile.) I’m told I’m anti-science by people who don’t understand the concept of P-hacking and still think solar will save us, but nuclear energy is going to leave the world in a barren husk. I also want poor people to die (which explains so much of my behavior.) This is what I’m told of what I believe, anyway. Nevermind that those proclaiming this to me (and you) are those empowered by such untruths because they deceive very good people just like you away from ever giving my views a chance.
Look, I’m going to give you three examples of what our logic really is. It’s not going to be easy. My beliefs take a lot of time to understand, so it’s going to take time to read them. If you balk at the time spent reading it, imagine writing them. That said, I promise anyone who reads the answers thoroughly will have so many of their stereotypes about conservatives shattered and question where they’ve been getting their information for many years.
Let’s start here… you probably think I’m cruel because I am against all forms of government healthcare. Would you like to understand why, or are you fine with that belief about me?
Finished? Let’s shift gears to why you probably think I hate Muslims. There’s way more to that story too.
How about one that gets to the heart of a lot of things.
I feel I’ve made my point, but if you want to keep going, we can keep going.
I can do this all day, bro.
Now, if you read any of those, you probably got challenged a lot on what you’ve heard, and I bet, now that I am pointing you straight to the answers, that you probably can’t say you’ve heard those arguments straight from one of us. Maybe you’ll say, “But I’ve just never heard someone put up such an argument because Conservatives aren’t usually that informed.”
For that, I look_of_disapproval in your general direction.
We are out there, but you haven’t been looking. In all honesty, you’ve known where to look all along. Usually, when you’re told about the most horrible people on Earth, you should actually do yourself the favor of learning what they believe from them, and not from your friends. In this way, I’ve discovered Ben Shapiro, the Jew who was declared a white supremacist Nazi; Toronto Professor Dr. Jordan Peterson, who was recently called a champion of the Alt-Right and compared to Hitler; or to Thomas Sowell, who many on the left like to pretend doesn’t exist because he single-handedly destroys so many of their arguments with his existence alone, let alone the brilliance in his logic that will leave you thinking for days. I’ve learned so much from so many prodigious minds simply by being skeptical of the people who tell me there is something wrong with them.
You’ve probably forgotten how to do that. Instead, you listen to your friends and your trusted sources and your gut leads you to what more perfectly aligns with your cognitive strata of how the world works. That’s okay. I do too, and I get it. “Who’s got the time for all that?” We all have jobs, we all have lives and such. I do, I get it. But this stuff matters. If you do the easy thing and simply vote with your heart and your gut, frankly and bluntly, you’re likely to cause some extremely profound and long-term suffering for many people, and odds are, exactly the people you’re trying to help.
Look, I’ve read many of the other guys, and while they may hyperfocus on a particular problem to unveil fascinating details about their particular subject of interest, the narratives they weave often unravel when confronted with external evidence which conflict with the notions of oppression, repression, and general manufactured misery which are the underlying assumptions for so much of their work.
For example, we can both agree that the blacks in the United States suffer disproportionately more than whites. You’ve probably heard this via progressive theory, which states that this is due to the deliberate works of racist whites to create institutions of repression to keep blacks marginalized.
One way to look at this is by noting that most of the ways that blacks are marginalized relative to whites, whites are marginalized to Asians. This is most obviously due to fact that our Korean founders wrote the Korean Constitution of the United States to ensure that they and all other Asians score higher on tests, do better in college, make more money in their careers, live in nicer homes, and retire to better lives than their non-Asian counterparts. Absurd, no? Given that, let’s look at how conservatives explain it.
But Conservative logic does sound very different. They acknowledge the white/black disparity, but instead of placing blame on hate canonized in the bowels of our society’s institutions, they place the blame for this disparity on rationale much more in keeping with Occam’s razor, that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. The competing hypothesis of Conservatives? That rather than some collective cabal of powerful white men secretly pulling the strings to ensure racism remains an institutionalized motivator in the United States… blame the incompetence of the very social programs designed to help minorities. Conservatives believe that racism itself is no longer a driving motivator in America, but that blacks (and other minorities) are still held back, in a tragic irony, by many of the poorly devised social programs sold to Americans to raise them up. Hearing these arguments articulated caused probably the most stunning shift in my beliefs, which I owe completely to Larry Elders, Thomas Sowell, and one particular book by Jason L. Riley (all black, by the way) which I guarantee you will shake up the assumptions many on the left hold to this day, but which I encourage everyone who says they want equality.
I get it though. Everyone wants to be the good guy. You want to feel like the evil in this world is clear and obvious and that you are fighting against it. If you are fighting against the evil, then you’re the good guy, and anyone who disagrees with you — well they must be the villains. It feels good to think that way. That’s why the arguments win so much, because when someone says, “They do this because they are evil,” and the villain replies, “No, you’re just wrong in how you solve problems,” most people will side with the one they think is nice rather than the argument that requires in-depth and impartial analysis and understanding. Suffice it to say, most people would rather give the benefit of the doubt to the one who they think is good than the one they think is reasonable because few people care as much about being right as they care about being good. There are worse motivations in the universe, I suppose.
Having said all of this, I’m fairly certain you haven’t actually been exposed to much conservativism. If you are new to politics, you probably think the left are the good guys and the right are the mean ones who only like money, power, and repression. Almost certainly, you didn’t hear that from your conservative friends. I’d even venture a guess, that you may not have any.
That’s not even a judgment statement. There’s a reason for that.
You need to understand that most people after leaving their parents’ house and coinciding with the time they start forming their own ideas, lose connections with most conservative institutions and begin being inundated with progressive influences. For example, your parents and the family that raised you is a conservative institution. If you attended church as a kid, that’s one too. Most kids have trouble replacing these institutions after they leave the nest. Instead, these institutions are replaced by colleges, which have undeniable value but are grounds where views and opinions highly biased to left-wing attitudes are allowed to go unchallenged and can ironically be very oppressive of dissenting information critical of their ideas. And yes,
Furthermore, this is also the time where you no longer have access to sources of information like your old networks, including your parents, so you’re going to need some new sources of information. This last year has shown us, that almost the entirety of the news industry is too highly biased against an honest understanding of conservative values and views. Perhaps you disagree, but you’re going to have to explain why all the high profile media failings of the last year were all aimed at making someone (namely Donald Trump) look bad. This is also a stage of life where you are okay with this because it is difficult to understand the meaning of the institutions that are lost to you and what the influences you have around you aim to do with your life. Simply put, you undervalue tradition and wisdom, and overvalue your new sources of information without developing a critical analysis of, another irony, the very people telling you to be critical of your traditional pearls of wisdom.
Don’t forget that when this is happening you’re surrounded by friends who are going through the same things you are. You’ll lean on those peer groups heavily as you enter your period where you start forming political ideas. Of course, you’re still basically the blind leading the blind, and one very opinionated know-it-all can affect what is allowed to be said on an entire dorm floor. That probably wasn’t one of the Conservative students, if we’re being honest.
Now, maybe a lot of that matches your story. Maybe none of it does, but probably at least enough to make you question if you ever actually heard a conservative explain their views from their own mouth and if you are really just functioning off assumptions and misinformation told to you by people very against conservatism told you, whether they knew it or not.
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