There is an infographic I found a while ago that I found quite interesting. At the time I found it, It was a “that’s neat” response. Upon revisiting it and doing some critical thinking, I realize that it answers so much about the current political environment. Some questions it explains:
- Why can we never have world peace?
- Why can we never be equals?
- Why must some people be poor?
- Why do those poor people typically vote for Democrats?
- Why are rich, white people typically Republicans?
- Why are we so screwed up right now?
The key, for me, is understanding the base motivations of Conservatives and Liberals. It also made me realize how liberal I am, so consider this your warning.
For reference, the graphic is at: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/left-vs-right-world
Typically, when you hear pundits talk about right/left, red/blue, Republican/Democrat, they focus on stereotypes: Democrats want to raise taxes, Republicans want to start wars, Democrats want government to control your life, Republicans only care about the rich people. No one ever talks about why these parties do this.
A simplistic view is that Liberals want everyone to get along and to be treated equally, while Conservatives want defined classes of people. Why do Conservatives need classes of people? Because their whole ideology is based on getting personally rewarded for your personal efforts – the harder you work, the more reward you get. Sounds pretty good, and I agree with it until I realize that this requires a winner and a loser. Your success results in failure for others. Their success results in failure for you. So, successful people want to remain successful and keep others that would threaten their success as subordinate. “The rich get richer.”
Why are they called Conservatives? Because they resist change. Things are fine just as they are, with us in control. How far back do you have to go to see Conservatives resisting change because Conservatives were in power? All the way back to the days of slavery.
So on the other side you have Liberals, who are always changing things in the interest of balancing power, making advancement possible for people who don’t have the resources available to richer people. And Conservatives hate that. First, because they didn’t get any help for their success, and second, because it gives them competition.
The other light bulb burning brightly from my study of this graphic is a key word applied to Conservatives: fear. It is found in the relationship of parent to child. Parents control their children through fear. It’s been nearly 10 years that we have been besieged with a non-stop torrent of fear mongering from our Republican leaders. When we finally received a break – in the message of “Hope” – the Republican message remained unchanged, but refocused. Now instead of fearing an external enemy, we must fear our own government. But only because the current president is a Democrat, once Republicans take over again, we can start worrying about the rest of the world.
So in summary, having Conservatives in charge means things will not change. That’s great if you are a Conservative yourself and/or you are content with the way things are right now. The problem with being Liberal is that your nature is to promote equality. This tactic doesn’t work against a Conservative, who does not believe in equality and whose prime mission is to rise above and control others in order to succeed – little more than base, primal, instinct.
2012 can not come soon enough.